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The Forms

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Lesson

Plato described the universe as having three levels: the world of particulars, the world of forms, and the form of the good.

Outline

Platonic Philosophy

Part 2
 

III. Plato's Theory of the Forms

A. Human beings participate in two different worlds.

1. Physical world (the lower world)

2. "World of Forms" (the higher world)

B. There is a form in the world for every class of object.

1. Universals - properties that are shared by many objects

2. Eternal entities - numbers or propositions that can only exist in a mind

C. The Allegory of the Cave

1. Slaves represent the entire human race.

2. Freed prisoner represents the philosopher who sees the truth.

D. Plato's Three-story Universe

1. The World of Particulars (the material world)

2. The World of Forms

a. Higher Forms

b. Lower Forms

3. The Form of the Good (the sun)

a. The good is the ultimate end and highest goal of human life.

b. The good is the necessary condition of human knowledge.

c. The good is also the creative and sustaining cause of the intelligible world.

E. An Example