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Cory Ruda The world in Platos time was that of mystery to be solved, and he tried this through many

ways. The search for happiness and truth pulled at the soul of many people, each of them offering their explanations. On top of this, a continuing debate was that between two ways of viewing the world: Is the world chaotic and ever changing, or is it static and perfect in its absolution. To explain this, Plato thought up the idea of Forms. Plato's Forms (or Ideas) was an idea that everything viewed by us through our senses is only a representation, a copy, and always a fraction of a greater fundamental perfect that our senses cannot see. A Form of Happiness is perfect happiness. These Forms, as explained to us by Plato's character Socrates in the Republic Book X, are created by a greater entity that is God, so that we all have a Form of everything that we could imagine to be perfect to base of representations off of. Everything, here, means every concept, every emotion in existence, ranging from square, to joy, to justice, and everything in between. If you were to take an object such as a bowling ball and take into consideration its roundness and only its roundness, that would be the Form of roundness. Platos Forms were presented as being not in this time or space, but in an abstract reality that we could never truly see. In fact, what are presented as images to us arent even true material objects. From the very Form of anything an offspring would connect it to a lower level of Forms, or Higher Forms. They would then branch off to Lower Forms, then to Material Objects. At this stage the Forms would combine to create the objects we understand. From Material Objects, we would then recognize Images, copies of those material objects. We are so far removed from the Forms, in Platos explanation, that, considering Forms are the only real, nothing we can see, or hear, or smell is real. They are all only a long-removed copy real; They are tricks, or illusions. That is where logic comes into play. Through logic and intellect we could work to attain a picture of a true form. Only when we did this, we would find true and utter happiness. Through the above argument Plato also tried to draw a conclusion to the unchanging versus

chaotic argument. He attempted to explain that our existence on our reality, or universe, is changing and chaotic. Everything in our reality, however, is based and anchored by the Forms, which are, in definition, unchanging, as is everything in their plane of existence. To prove the truth and existence of the Forms, Plato argues that they provide an objective basis for all things. Without them, we couldnt understand anythings existence, and that they are understood within us (as all knowledge to Plato is within us and must be unlocked) before we could even comprehend them. He also argues, though less blatently, that they must exist as perfection since we could understand and visualize what is perfection, though never really know to the exact extent of that perfection. Also, he argues, that the Forms are One Over Many in the Republic, and thus, for any word to really describe what we mean when we speak, Forms must exist. One object must imitate multiple Forms or else our senses could not recognize it. Thus, an object more basic, more objective would be closer to a true Form than a complex item. A flower may imitate the Forms of Beauty, of Short or Tall, of Wide or Thin, and of any multitude of other Forms. All of these Forms combined (in the Material Object stage discussed above) become a flower. These Forms were important to Plato (and thus, to humanity) in that knowledge itself is the understanding and recognition of true Forms. To be able to see that the copies we see are only reaching up to their true perfect we can then strive to grasp for the true perfect, and if we can not recognize the Forms, we could never hope to attain perfection in ourselves. The Forms explain what was unexplainable in Platos time, and did so well. They gave meaning to the otherwise meaningless, and explained how everything could be unchanging and chaotic at the same time. It is a shame that this theory was never continued, and that Aristotle disagreed with it.

Bibliography Plato, 1901, The Republic, Translation of Benjamin Jowett, web edition at <http://studymore.org.uk/xpla0.htm> P lato , C . J .R ow e. T he Phaedo . 3rd. N ew York, N ew York: C ambridge U niver s ity P res s , 2001. P rint.