The pure objects of mathematical and dialectical
knowledge. In the vigorous realism
's middle dialogues, necessary truths
are taken to involve knowledge of eternal, unchanging Forms
(or Ideas). Particular things in the realm of appearance
are beautiful, or equal, or good only insofar as they participate in the universal
Forms of Beauty, Equality, or the Good. The doctrine of Forms was attacked in Plato's own Parmenides and by Aristotle
Philosophical Dictionary: Fibonacci-Foucher
Since we really do have knowledge of these supra-sensible realities, knowledge that we cannot possibly have obtained through any bodily experience, Plato argued, it follows that this knowledge must be a form of recollection and that our souls must have been acquainted with the Forms prior to our births. But in that case, the existence of our mortal bodies cannot be essential to the existence of our souls-before birth or after death-and we are therefore immortal.
Immortality of the Soul
Use of the dialogue as a literary device made it easy for Plato
not only to present his own position (in the voice of Socrates) but also to consider (in the voices of other characters) significant objections that might be raised against it. This doesn't mean that philosophy is merely an idle game of argument and counter-argument, he pointed out, because it remains our goal to discover the one line of argument that leads to the truth. The philosopher cautiously investigates every possibility and examines every side of an issue, precisely because that increases the chances of arriving eventually at a correct account of reality.
Distinction between kinds of truth
. Necessary truth is a feature of any statement that it would be contradictory
to deny. (Contradictions themselves are necessarily false.) Contingent truths (or falsehoods) happen to be true (or false), but might have been otherwise. Thus, for example:
"Squares have four sides."
"Stop signs are hexagonal."
"Pentagons are round."
This distinction was traditionally associated (before Kant
) with the distinctions between a priori and a posteriori
knowledge and the distinction between analytic and synthetic
judgment. Necessity may also be defined de dicto
in terms of the formal logical property
In response to this criticism, Plato significantly revised the argument from opposities by incorporating an additional conception of the role of the Forms. Each Form, he now maintains, is the cause of all of every particular instance that bears its name: the form of Beauty causes the beauty of any beautiful thing; the form of Equality causes the equality of any pair of equal things; etc. But then, since the soul is living, it must participate in the Form of Life, and thus it cannot ever die. (Phaedo 105d
) The soul is perfectly and certainly imperishable, not only for this life, but forever. Despite the apparent force of these logical arguments, Plato chose to conclude the Phaedo
by supplementing them with a mythical image of life after death. This concrete picture of the existence of a world beyond our own is imagined, not reasoned
, so it cannot promise to deliver the same perfect representation of the truth. But if we are not fully convinced by the certainty of rational arguments, we may yet take some comfort from the suggestions of a pleasant story.
I want to study or discuss this a bit more later. Getting in scope...
There has been a fundamental error in my understanding of the word form-- and now all things are making more sense. That is a good joke. :p