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Theory of ideas it is in the context of this general

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Theory of IdeasIt is in the context of this generalproblem of reconciling unity and multiplicitythat we might understand Plato's theory ofideas or forms. For Plato, human knowledgeis possible only insofar as man is able tograsp some stable structures or relations inthe midst of all the changing sensible world.As had already been pointed out byParmenides, there must be some stablebeing as the foundation and object of trueknowledge. It was also clear to Plato thattrue or valid knowledge does exist, asexhibited by the sciences of the time, suchas arithmetic, geometry, grammar, andPythagorean numbers governing musicalharmony, and astronomy as well asgeometrical figures. Thus, Plato theorizedthat there must be a world of permanent andimmutable forms which are the proper objectof human knowledge. This alone couldexplain the fact that, notwithstanding theflux of things, man is able to know. The factof human knowledge, therefore, would seemto argue to the existence of another worldaside from the ever changing sensible world,a world of spiritual and immutable idealforms. Moreover, this world of ideal forms isthe source and foundation of the sensible ormaterial world. This sensible world exhibitsgradients of greater or lesser degree, such asthe more or less good, the more or lessbeautiful. But it never presents that which isthe good itself or the beautiful itself, theparousia. Hence, Plato argued, the sensibleworld by metaphysical participation is thepale copy or reflection of the ideal world.Thus the sensible world proceeds from theideal world as its source of being andexemplary model. Within the world of idealforms itself, there is an ascending order ofmore and more inclusive, more and morefundamental ideas. All these ideas areeventually subsumed under the ideas ofMovement and Stillness, which in turn aresubsumed under the ideas of Being andNonbeing (Nonbeing is relative nonbeing orpotential being). All of these ideas ultimatelyfall under the paramount idea of the Good,
insofar as all beings and potential beings areunfoldings of the Good. The Good therefore isthe idea of ideas, Source of all ideas and ofall things, the Absolute itself, excluding alllimitation and all potentiality, the Light andUltimate principle of explanation. Everythingis a participation of the Good.If human knowledge is the "grasping"of the ideal forms, which is a world otherthan the sensible world, how then does mancome upon these ideal forms amidst the everfleeting sensible world? How is knowledgepossible under the circumstances? Here wecome to a second feature of Plato'sphilosophy,namely,histheoryofReminiscence.Theory of ReminiscenceMan, for Plato, is a reflection of theduality of the sensible and ideal worlds. Manhimself is composed of a body and soul. Thebody is made up of the four traditionalelements-earth, water, air and fire. The soulconsists of three distinct faculties, threelevels of knowledge and desire. There is, atthe lowest level, sensation (aisthesis),ordered to the cloudy reflections of the idealforms in sensible things. On the level ofsensation there is the corresponding sensedesire (epithumia), seeking satisfaction inthe ever changing and thus formless,endlessly frustrating material things. Thereis, secondly, opinion (doxa), which in itself isnot free from error but is sufficient forordinary practical matters such as thehypothetical sciences and the government of

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Politics, teacher Plato, The Metaphysics, Physics,

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