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Plato’s Theory of Forms Review


Plato is one of the most studied and celebrated philosophers. His attempt to find concrete, specific solutions to the significant problems in the world resulted in his work on the “Forms”. Elucidation of “Forms” is his major work describing them as supra-sensible identities. According to Plato, “ideas” or “forms” are not dependent on the human mind being non-mental entities. Simultaneously, genuine knowledge might be obtained only by studying the “forms”.

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Theory of Forms

Plato attempted to solve the major problems in his time’s world he considered essential ones. The first issue was ethical as before then no one explained the ways humans should live fulfilling lives in a continually changing world. The second issue was the problem of change and permanence. Plato sought to approach the question of whether the world can be simultaneously permanent and changing. As Plato studied these problems, he divided existence into transcendent forms realm and material realm. He stated that individuals could access the realm of the form through reasoning using their minds.

According to Plato, “everything has a form which is independent of the actual instances of the thing. It is by these forms that we recognize a characteristic when it occurs” (Piyong, n.d.). Although things, in reality, tend to change, forms stay single, unchanged, and eternal. The cases of conceptions and objects change all the time in the sequence of forms being the source of different opinions.


The Forms theory reflects Plato’s attempts to engage the capability of abstract thinking. During his time, psychology was a new unique science. Hence, it had to compete with epic poetry and mythology to describe how individuals perceived their position in life and the world. Art and Mythology primarily appealed to emotions and desires. In turn, a philosophy called intellectual potential and abilities. According to Plato, this approach enabled individuals to gain more excellent knowledge through differentiation between the abstract worlds of senses and thoughts.


Piyong, L. (n.d.). On Plato’s theory of forms. Canadian Social Science. Web.

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