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Plato And The Theory Of Forms

 
 
Anthrobus
 
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Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 08:19 am
@Khethil,
You think that Parmenides is irrelevent to the present day, yet while we speak the quantum physicists are looking for the smallest possible particle : the building block of matter as it were. It shall never be found. In order to exist there would have to be the WHOLE of it : the part would then be smaller. The WHOLE would then have to grow larger and smaller at once, and in order to retain its identity. The SMALL as an existent entity cannot, and does not exist in the physical realm. There must always be something smaller...
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Anthrobus
 
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Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 11:59 am
@jgweed,
We need to get away from the notion that PLATO is the originator of the doctrine of FORMS. Whatever it was that ARISTOTLE and PLATO spoke about it most certainly was not the doctrine of FORMS. Will you have us believe that a SOCRATES less that twenty years of age produced such a doctrine and placed it before PARMENIDES at the GREAT PANATHENEIA of 500 B,C,E...Otherwise Plato is a mere PLAYRIGHT and Parmenides and Zeno his mouthpieces...thereby Plato is talking to himself and not to Aristotle...and that is not the DIALECTIC, and cannot be defended...that baloon is burst I'm afraid...the ELEATIC SCHOOL produced the doctrine of FORMS...ZENOPHANES was the MERLIN...PARMENIDES the intellectual warrior...Zeno the eager pupil...refer at all times to the ELEATIC STRANGER...
Stringfellow
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 04:33 pm
@Anthrobus,
The "Allegory of the Cave" of course, an allegory for the the way we perceive and "know" what reality is. All that we perceive are imperfect "reflections"[symbols] of the ultimate Forms[Archetypes], which subsequently represent truth and reality. In his story, Plato establishes a cave in which prisoners are chained down and forced to look upon the front wall of the cave. Behind them are people holding objects in front of a fire, whose reflections are projected on the wall in front of the prisoners. What they believe to be reality, the projections on the wall, are only representations of the true objects which lie behind them. We could say they are symbols of the forms or ἀρχή (arche) or first principals that exist in the sunlight outside the cave entrance. IMO, it is not hard to understand a first principal the way Plato saw it if you use the analogy of DNA.


http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h55/david_higg/cave.gif
simple image of the cave

The Allegory of the Cave (The Republic, Book VII)
Socrates

Quote:

ENDNOTES
1 If you understand this first distinction, the much more difficult division of the intelligible world will make more sense. Think over this carefully: the visible world, that is, the world you see, has two kinds of visible objects in it. The first kind are shadows and reflections, that is, objects you see but aren't really there but derive from the second type of visible objects, that is, those that you see and are really there. The relation of the visible world to the intelligible world is identical to the relation of the world of reflections to the world of visible things that are real.
2 The lower region of the intelligible world corresponds to the upper region in the same way the lower region of the visible world corresponds to the upper region. Think of it this way: the lower region deals only with objects of thought (that are, in part, derived from visible objects), which is why it is part of the intelligible world. There have to be certain first principles (such as the existence of numbers or other mathematical postulates) that are just simply taken without question: these are hypotheses. These first principles, however, derive from other first principles; the higher region of the intelligible world encompasses these first principles. So you can see that the lower region derives from the higher region in that the thinking in the lower region derives from the first principles that make up the higher region, just as the mirror reflects a solid object. When one begins to think about first principles (such as, how can you prove that numbers exist at all?) and derives more first principles from them until you reach the one master, first principle upon which all thought is based, you are operating in this higher sphere of "intellection." Plato's line is also a hierarchy: the things at the top (first principles) have more truth and more existence; the things at the bottom (the reflections) have almost no truth and barely exist at all. [http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/GREECE/ALLEGORY.HTM]
Pangloss
 
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Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 05:15 pm
@Stringfellow,
On the cave, here is an interesting claymation adaptation/interpretation:

YouTube - The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato's Allegory in Clay
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Anthrobus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 05:10 pm
@Pythagorean,
These first principles, however, derive from other first principles...these notes are non-sense, and make no sense whatsoever, and under no circumstances can a FIRST PRINSCIPLE dreive from other FIRST PRINSCIPLES...perhaps you should have your first prinsciples fight it out for the KING'S SEAT at the head of the table...unless its a draw one of them will be declared a second prinsciple...you can take my word on that...
Stringfellow
 
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Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 05:26 pm
@Anthrobus,
[quote=Anthrobus;35355]These first principles, however, derive from other first principles...these notes are non-sense, and make no sense whatsoever, and under no circumstances can a FIRST PRINSCIPLE dreive from other FIRST PRINSCIPLES...perhaps you should have your first prinsciples fight it out for the KING'S SEAT at the head of the table...unless its a draw one of them will be declared a second prinsciple...you can take my word on that...[/quote]

Maybe, but I read it as things that are mutable following from those that are immutable. (And these are not my beliefs, but rather an hypothesis to developed by someone else on the distinction of the forms as illustrated in the allegory.) Perhaps we can dissect it and show it to be the statement to be true or false. My problem of course is that I'm a Sophist and tend to argue for either side.

If I had written the end notes, I would have put quotations around first principles as they relate to the lower part of the cave. If we take and absolute approach to the forms, we must say that by definition a first principle is first and nothing precedes it. I agree with you there. Given that, can we say that there are distinct forms from which all representation originates? Or is it that there is one Form and all other derive from it? I think Plato is saying that there are forms relevant to knowledge we use so that there are many forms but they are in principle "the first" archetypes. He deals with this in his famous remembering speech of the boy, slave and the discussion of the triangle.

That in rough form is my response. That the first principles of the lower region are in fact not first principles at all, but rather representations of them. And I'm glad the quoted notes are leading to some interesting inquiry.

S.
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Anthrobus
 
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Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 05:49 am
@Pythagorean,
Or is it that there is one Form and all other derive from it?...close enough: there is but one FORM, and excepting that the OTHERS do not derive from it...a half true statement then...
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Anthrobus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 08:38 am
@Pythagorean,
the mirror reflects a solid object...is it that the mirror image partakes of the image of the solid object, excepting that the solid object does not partake of the image of the solid object, otherwise it would not be the solid object, and but would in fact be the image of the solid object...we shall not divide the solid object into object and image, and in order to surmount the difficulty...the solid object is the solid object, and the image of the solid object is the image of the solid object: they do not partake of one another; therefore we can conclude that FORMS do not partake of a certain reality by dint of REFLECTION...
Stringfellow
 
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Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 01:21 pm
@Anthrobus,
Anthrobus wrote:
the mirror reflects a solid object...is it that the mirror image partakes of the image of the solid object, excepting that the solid object does not partake of the image of the solid object, otherwise it would not be the solid object, and but would in fact be the image of the solid object...we shall not divide the solid object into object and image, and in order to surmount the difficulty...the solid object is the solid object, and the image of the solid object is the image of the solid object: they do not partake of one another; therefore we can conclude that FORMS do not partake of a certain reality by dint of REFLECTION...

The Parmenides deals with this question and is a recount of a discussion between Socrates, Parmenides and Zeno of Elea. I remember the argument and I'm sure Socrates put them in their places Wink, but I don't recall how he comes out on the question. I do remember a favorite quote, "we shall say what he is proving [concerning the one and the many] is that something is many and one, not that unity is many or that plurality is one; he is not telling us anything wonderful, but only what we should all admit. (my addition and emphasis) And this is a distinction between knowledge and wisdom IMHO and gets to the heart of why I am a philosopher...because of the wonder of it all. But back to the question given the compendium of Plato's writing, I don't think the distinction between whether all forms come from one or many is ever truly made though it may lean toward one or the other. That is beyond my recollection of him. Pythagorean points to an excellent outline of this here Theory of Forms

As for what I think, (and this may and most certainly will change as I inquire deeper), the Many comes from the One as THE first principle yet the One is Many. It's the paradox that I appreciate most, mostly because if I try to answer where the first principle, or cause, comes from, I get flustered. That kind of questioning takes me from Plato back to the pre-Socratics or even the poets. It is less a question of science and evidence than it is on what is "Being." And the only way I can make heads or tales of that is through a mytho-poetic explanation whether found in Plato, Zeno, Aeschylus, or Chaung Tzu.
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Anthrobus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:07 pm
@Pythagorean,
Socrates most certainly did not put Parmenides or Zeno in the places...that much is absolutely certain, and is indeed an ignorant prejudice on your behalf...
Anthrobus
 
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Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:09 pm
@Pythagorean,
mutable following from those that are immutable: if the mutable could or would follow from the immutable, the immutable could or would not be the immutable...
Stringfellow
 
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Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:10 pm
@Anthrobus,
Anthrobus wrote:
Socrates most certainly did not put Parmenides or Zeno in the places...that much is absolutely certain, and is indeed an ignorant prejudice on your behalf...

You seem to have missed my "wink" icon Smile after my statement.
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Anthrobus
 
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Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:13 pm
@Pythagorean,
The fact of the matter is that, but and that the modern PHILOS have nothing constructive to say about the THEORY of FORMS...
Stringfellow
 
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Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:13 pm
@Anthrobus,
Anthrobus wrote:
mutable following from those that are immutable: if the mutable could or would follow from the immutable, the immutable could or would not be the immutable...

Yes, and this is the difficulty in speaking of things as they are and as they exist, athus my favorite quote "he is not telling us anything wonderful, but only what we should all admit." This distinction IMO is that one doesn't follow from the other as in cause and effect, rather that it represents the immutable. The immutable may or may not exist in and of itself, but is an ideal and gives us something to point toward for our own understanding. Again, IMHO.
Anthrobus
 
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Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:15 pm
@Stringfellow,
stringfellow wrote:
yes, and this is the difficulty in speaking of things as they are and as they exist, athus my favorite quote "he is not telling us anything wonderful, but only what we should all admit." this distinction imo is that one doesn't follow from the other as in cause and effect, rather that it represents the immutable. The immutable may or may not exist in and of itself, but is an ideal and gives us something to point toward for our own understanding. Again, imho.


this reply just won't do, and wholesale...
Stringfellow
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:18 pm
@Anthrobus,
Anthrobus wrote:
The fact of the matter is that, but and that the modern PHILOS have nothing constructive to say about the THEORY of FORMS...

Yes and it's so much the poorer for it in my opinion. It may however be a necessary consequent given our 400 year love affair with what we can proven. I sometimes wonder if the new age "philosophy" is in some way a discontent with the Modern, (and even Postmodern) philosophies and is a portent of a new renassance of sorts. But of course, that's only an inkling of mine. I see no other evidence of it. Though I will say also that the Modern age doesn't necessarily supercede all those philosophies that come before it. Somehow, they all seem relevant in one way or another.
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Stringfellow
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:18 pm
@Anthrobus,
Anthrobus wrote:
this reply just won't do, and wholesale...

Perhaps you'll enlighten me.
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Anthrobus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:22 pm
@Pythagorean,
When the ONE exists the MANY is ceasing to be, and when the MANY exists the ONE is ceases to be: we seek their synthesis...the ceasing to be, and the ceases to be are PASSIVE modes of BEING: they exist...
Pangloss
 
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Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:31 pm
@Pythagorean,
From Konrad Gaiser's Plato's Enigmatic Lecture 'On the Good':


Quote:
(1) Simplicius wrote in his commentary In Aristotelis Physica, p.151, 6-11 Diels:

Alexander (of Aphrodisias) says: 'According to Plato, the first principles of everything, including the Forms themselves are One and Indefinite Duality, which he called Large and Small, as Aristotle mentions in his work on the Good.' And one might also learn this from Speusippus and Xenocrates and the others who were present at Plato's lecture on the Good. For they all wrote down and preserved his teachings, and say that he recognized these first principles.

In another passage of his commentary (p. 453, 25-31) we read:

The first principles of sensible objects as well are One and Indefinite Duality, as Plato is said to have held. He also assigned Indefinite Duality to the intelligible world, calling it Unlimited; Large and Small he set up as principles and labelled them Unlimited in his discourse on the Good, at which Aristotle, Heraclides (Ponticus), Hestiaeus and other associates of Plato were present.
Stringfellow
 
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Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 02:33 pm
@Anthrobus,
Anthrobus wrote:
When the ONE exists the MANY is ceasing to be, and when the MANY exists the ONE is ceases to be: we seek their synthesis...

And that's the paradox. The interesting thing to me is what you say here, that "we seek their synthesis." And I think you're right. So I ask myself "why?" Is it mere curiosity? A psychological necessity?

The question comes in may different philosophies and is expressed in multiple religions as well. It seems We are obsessed with the apparent paradox. It may even be based in our psychological/sprirtual/religious need to know why we or anything exists in the first place. And yet, I can't do any more with it from an acedemic philosophical perspective without devling into my personal psychological worldview and beliefs if you will.

The best I can do is point to Anselm's "proof" of God and say, that one still hasn't been proven. And perhaps it's proof that is the problem. I can make a valid argument for the one or the many, but still I can't prove the truth. And that's where I get "caught up."
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