Plato's Forms

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by shasta, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. Lets discuss some real philosophy. Concrete philosophical principles are becoming few and far between in threads lately. I suggest we start somewhere near the beginning of modern western philosophy.

    Thats from wikipedia, they saved me some effort. Heres my shorter version:

    The forms are the archetypes of all things. They are the highest level of existence, they are what things strive to be. The things you see in your daily life are representations of the forms. The chair you are sitting on is a representation of the form of chair. If you destroy the chair you have not destroyed what a chair is, you have only destroyed the physical representation of what a chair is. The forms exist outside of the physical world. I guess the easiest way to explain it to a modern person would be that the forms exist in a dimension that is like the one we live in except that the other dimension is perfect.

    The allegory of the cave is an analog for Plato's thoughts on the forms. It also hints at Platos idea of enlightenment which comes when a person approaches the forms. The forms can be thought of as the highest level of truth:

    So what do you guys think about the forms? It has not been proven scientifically. It probably never will unless some theory of physics prove the existence of a perfect dimension or something like that. Its simply a philosophical principle that attempts to explain the nature of existence. What do you guys think about the implications of the allegory as far as the nature of reality. Do we all live in a world of shadows? How do we get out of the cave? Discuss.
  2. Yeah I recently heard about the world of forms, its quite an interesting idea. Although it's not really something I subscribe to.

    As for the allegory of the cave, I really love the way the story plays out. But I would say that finding the light is like finding enlightenment through meditation. Its something you must experience for yourself, and there is really no way to explain it, or to show others without them going through all you have, and learning all you have.

    Too bad I suck at really bad..
  3. Interesting, good thread. When I have some more time I will finish reading and hopefully comment.
  4. I read the forms quote and think its some pretty intresting yet a little puzzling until i read your summary. good work and +rep for putting some of the Ancient greek philosphy back up here. isnt it from Plato?
  5. Very interesting indeed... if you haven't read Plato's "Phaedo" I would highly recommend it. In it, Plato discusses the theory of the forms and uses them to argue for the existence of an afterlife and the immortality of the soul. The dialogue is set during Socrates' final days just before his execution.
  6. I tried to read The Republic once... It was very boring, however. Guy makes a point on page three, on page 35 he is still trying to make the same point. I GET IT ALREADY, is what I felt like screaming. :p

    Yes, that was an exaggeration. :)

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