Theory of Forms
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Plato's Theory of Forms asserts that Forms (or Ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. The Forms are the only true objects of study that can provide us with genuine knowledge. Plato spoke of forms (sometimes capitalized in translations: The Forms) in formulating his solution to the problem of universals.
Dialogues that discuss Forms
The theory is presented in the following dialogues:
71-81, 85-86: The discovery (or "recollection") of knowledge as latent in the soul, pointing forward to the theory of Forms
389-390: The archetype as used by craftsmen
439-440: The problem of knowing the Forms.
210-211: The archetype of Beauty.
73-80: The theory of recollection restated as knowledge of the Forms in soul before birth in the body.
109-111: The myth of the afterlife.
- Book III
402-403: Education the pursuit of the Forms.
- Book V
472-483: Philosophy the love of the Forms. The philosopher-king must rule.
- Books VI-VII
500-517: Philosopher-guardians as students of the Beautiful and Just implement archetypical order.
- Book III
248-250: Reincarnation according to knowledge of the true
265-266: The unity problem in thought and nature.
129-135: Participatory solution of unity problem. Things partake of archetypal like and unlike, one and many, etc. The nature of the participation (Third man argument). Forms not actually in the thing. The problem of their unknowability.
184-186: Universals understood by mind and not perceived by senses.
246-248: True essence a Form. Effective solution to participation problem.
251-259: The problem with being as a Form; if it is participatory then non-being must exist and be being.
27-52: The design of the universe, including numbers and physics. Some of its patterns. Definition of matter.
14-18: Unity problem: one and many, parts and whole.
- Seventh Letter
342-345: The epistemology of Forms. The Seventh Letter is possibly spurious.
- Actual infinity
- Jungian archetypes
- Platonic idealism
- Potential infinity
- Problem of universals