Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Plato: Where Do the Forms Exist?

If the Forms are truly real, if they embody Being, it would seem they must be someplace. How can they since they are immaterial? They are separate from the "concrete" things; they exist "apart from" the things we see. The question of their location comes up as a consequence of our language, which implies that Forms, being something, must be someplace in space. Plato says that the human soul was acquainted with the Forms before it was united with the body. God used the Forms in fashioning particular things, suggesting that the Forms had an existence prior to the embodiment in things. These Forms seem to ave originally existed in the "mind of God" or in the supreme principle of rationality, the One. Whether the Forms truly exist in the mind of God is a question, but that the Forms are the agency through which the principle of reason operates in the universe seems to be just what Plato means.
A hierarchy of Forms as representing the structure of reality, of which the visible world is only a reflection. The "lower" one comes in this hierarchy of Forms, the closer one comes to visible tings and therefore the less universal is one's knowledge, as when one speaks of "red apples." 

No comments: