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The - The argument can be schematized as follows 1 We...

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The “Imperfection Argument” ( Phaedo 74-76) This is both an argument for the existence of Forms and an argument for our possession of a priori concepts. Plato bases the argument on the imperfection of sensible objects and our ability to make judgments about those sensible objects. (The Forms are supposed to be the perfect objects that the sensibles only imperfectly approximate). The argument as given at Phaedo 74-76 concerns the concept of equality , but it could equally well be given with respect to a number of different concepts (any concept that might have some claim to being an a priori concept). The argument tries to show that we cannot abstract the concept of equality from our sense- experience of objects that are equal. For a. We never experience (in sense-perception) objects that are really, precisely, equal , and b. We must already have the concept of equality in order to judge the things we encounter in sense-perception to be approximately, imperfectly, equal.
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Unformatted text preview: The argument can be schematized as follows: 1. We perceive sensible objects to be F . 2. But every sensible object is, at best, imperfectly F . That is, it is both F and not F (in some respect - shades of Heraclitus??). It falls short of being perfectly F . 3. We are aware of this imperfection in the objects of perception. 4. So we perceive objects to be imperfectly F . 5. To perceive something as imperfectly F , one must have in mind something that is perfectly F , something that the imperfectly F things fall short of. (E.g., we have an idea of equality that all sticks, stones, etc., only imperfectly exemplify.) 6. So we have in mind something that is perfectly F . 7. Thus, there is something that is perfectly F (e.g., Equality ), that we have in mind in such cases. 8. Therefore, there is such a thing as the F itself (e.g., the Equal itself ), and it is distinct from any sensible object....
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