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Plato's theory of Forms, Metaphor or Reality?

 
 
emnj
 
Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2014 04:33 pm
The above is a title I have been given by my lecturer. Im a first year student taking a philosophy module and I am struggling with this one.

I have read many sources and I get what the theory of forms is, but the question posed is puzzling me. I have tried to rephrase it and think in basic terms it is asking me, do you believe that Plato believed in his theory of forms? Am I on the right track or way off?

Please dont think I'm trying to cheat, I'm here as a last resort after reading much material on Plato and his theory of forms.

Everything I have read starts with 'Plato believed...' Therefore it leads me to think that for him the theory of forms was reality but then it almost seems too straight forward. Is it a trick question?

Im really enjoying my philosophy module, it's completely eye opening and already has me looking at things in a different light, but I'm completely stumped by this title
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 1,887 • Replies: 3
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mikeymojo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2014 11:20 pm
@emnj,
The question is an example of a form. The adding of the words metaphor and reality forces you to believe there is an answer to what Plato believed.Plato and his theory are the "true" form and idea, the words metaphor and reality are the "imperfect" forms of his theory. It's a trick question.
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Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Mar, 2014 01:03 am
@emnj,
Plato believed that your reality was a metaphor.

Your personal experience, Plato believed, is but a variation on the original narrative. Invert your personal "chain of being", and you'll probably be able to grasp Plato's metaphysics.
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G H
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Mar, 2014 01:18 am
@emnj,
emnj wrote:
I have read many sources and I get what the theory of forms is, but the question posed is puzzling me. I have tried to rephrase it and think in basic terms it is asking me, do you believe that Plato believed in his theory of forms? Am I on the right track or way off?

You will have to deal with Plato's criticism of own theory in Parmenides. There's no consensus among scholars about how to interpret the work. So whichever way you go -- that Plato did later change his mind about "forms" or did not (that is, only strengthened apprehension of them in the discourse method of that dialogue) -- the applicable texts will have to be recruited as evidence for your take on it.

Plato via the characters of Parmenides to a young Socrates: "I think that you should go a step further, and consider not only the consequences which flow from a given hypothesis, but also the consequences which flow from denying the hypothesis; and that will be still better training for you."

You cannot even appeal to Kant's conclusion, alone, about the ancient rationalist tradition. Which he turned on its head to create his own version of / fusion with empiricist thought:

The dictum of all genuine idealists from the Eleatic school to Bishop Berkeley, is contained in this formula: "All cognition through the senses and experience is nothing but sheer illusion, and only, in the ideas of the pure understanding and reason there is truth."

The principle that throughout dominates and determines my Idealism, is on the contrary: "All cognition of things merely from pure understanding or pure reason is nothing but sheer illusion, and only in experience is there truth."
[Prolegomena To Any Future Metaphysics]
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