|Most Affordable Essay Writing Services|
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Essay on Plato - What is Plato's Theory of Forms
Plato’s Theory of Forms occupies a central theme and one of his greatest contributions in the history of philosophy. He was the first Greek philosopher to have made an exhaustive discussion on his concept of Forms or Ideas and the distinction between reality and appearance which were very influential to many philosophers including Hegel. In fact, some authors say that the other philosophers were just modifications of Plato’s philosophy. His extensive discussion on the Theory of Forms can be found in his work the Republic.
In writing an essay on Plato's Theory of Forms, there are some important points that need to be considered. Plato was concerned with the distinction between reality and appearance. What is real and what is not? What is mutable and what is immutable? Plato’s Theory of Forms is intricately connected with his other major philosophies.
Consider the situation wherein prisoners are chained inside a cave. They are chained in such a way that they are unable to turn their heads to see what is outside the cave. All the prisoners could see is the wall of the cave. Behind the prisoners is a fire that casts a shadow on the wall. Between the prisoners and the burning fire is a parapet where puppeteers can walk. When puppeteers walk, they cast a shadow the wall of the cave which the prisoners could see. If a dog walks between the prisoners and the burning fire, the prisoners would naturally see the shadow of a dog. Since they could only see the shadow of the dog they mistakenly assume that the shadows that they see are the real thing. If a man walks between the prisoners and the burning fire, the prisoners would naturally see the shadow of a man. Since they could only see the shadow of a man they mistakenly assume that the shadow that they see is the real thing. This is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
Plato goes on to say that just like the prisoners inside the cave what we see are mere shadows of the real things. When we see a cat or a dog they are just reflections what is real which is the Idea of a cat or the Idea of a dog. These are just reflections because the real Ideal cat or dog is not born when a particular cat or dog is born. The real Ideal cat or dog does not die when a particular cat or dog is born. It is immutable, unchangeable and can only be perceived by Reason. On the other hand, the particular cat or dog that we see comes and go. They are born and they die. They can only be perceived by the senses. Thus, for Plato, the Form or Idea dog or cat is abstract which is not subject to change. It does not change and continue to exist even if every dog or cat in the world will be obliterated.
Plato’s concept of the Theory of Forms contains a number of obvious mistakes. However, his Theory of Forms is an important piece in the advancement of the history of philosophy. It was the first theory that emphasized the problem of the universals which until today is still the subject of debate among many philosophers.
This is a free essay on Plato's Theory of Forms. We are the leading provider of affordable essay writing services in the United States and the United Kingdom. If you need help we will write well written essay on Plato's Theory of Forms at very affordable costs starting at $7.50/page.