Metaphysics of the Forms
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Metaphysics of the Forms






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Metaphysics of the Forms Metaphysics of the Forms Presentation Transcript

  • Metaphysics of the Forms
  • By Tom Phillips
    • A metaphysics is a philosophical theory concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and of the world
    • Through asking two questions
    • 1). What is there?
    • 2). What is it like?
    • Plato (428-348BC)
    • Created his own metaphysics based on the premise that there are independent, original concepts called forms, i.e. beauty, which particular things i.e. a beautiful butterfly ‘participate in’ and get their qualities from.
    • This is a controversial metaphysics, Plato’s star pupil Aristotle rejected it, for example.
    Plato’s Metaphysics
    • Plato claims that there are several essential properties of the forms
    • Self-predication
    • Perfection
    • Independence (from particulars)
    • Permanence
    • Simplicity
    Essential Properties of the Forms
  • The Form of Beauty
    • To show each essential property, I am going to use ‘the Form of Beauty’ as an example..
    • I am using this picture to represent the form of beauty
  • Self-predication
    • The Form of Beauty is itself beautiful
  • Self-predication
    • Everything else is beautiful because it participates in the Form of Beauty
  • Self-predication
    • Whereas, the form of beauty simply is beautiful, it is what it is in virtue of itself
  • Self-predication
    • A thing is made beautiful when it participates with the form of beauty because the form is itself beautiful, beauty is transmitted to particulars
  • Perfection
    • The form of beauty is a perfect example of itself, nothing can be more beautiful
  • Perfection
    • Particular things can get close but can never reach the level of beauty that the form of beauty has
  • Independence (from particulars)
    • A form is its own essence. Therefore, it is separate from particulars
  • Independence (from particulars)
    • It doesn't even exist in time and space
  • Independence (from particulars)
    • Also, because a Form is its own essence it is not essential for its particulars to participate with it for it to exist.
  • Independence (from particulars)
    • I.e. if nothing was beautiful in the whole world, the Form of Beauty would still exist because it doesn’t require particular things for existence
  • Permanence
    • Forms do not change at all!
  • Permanence
    • If the Form of Beauty changed then it couldn’t have been perfect before, which is a contradiction
  • Simplicity
    • The Forms are one
  • Simplicity
    • Each Form only has one property/component. I.e. Beauty has beauty. Therefore there is simplicity
  • Superior
    • Particular things are complex, changeable and imperfect
  • Superior
    • Forms are the opposite
  • Superior
    • Contrasting the two, the existence of the Forms is superior, they are in a way that particulars are not
  • World of Forms
    • Plato asserts that there is a world of forms and one of particulars (our one)
    • Plato says that properties particulars have are faded copies of the forms in their world
  • World of Forms
    • Particulars can loose their properties (something can become less beautiful)
    • And they rely on Forms and the world of forms for their existence
  • Form of the Good
    • Every Form is meant to be Good
    • However the ‘best of the best’ or ‘form of forms’ is the Form of Good