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Compare And Contrast What The Word Form

Means In P Essay, Research Paper

In Greek, the word eidos, that is commonly translated to the words form, archetype, essence, and idea is the basis of Plato s theories expressed in this paper. This question of what is the difference between the meaning of Plato s idea of what the word form as compared to what Aristotle thought the word form means is like comparing a biologist to Mathematician. Plato s idea of the word forms is completely abstract to the point they can not even exist in this realm. On the other hand, Aristotle s view on the word forms is that they are what make primary substances essential. These theories will be explained in greater detail in the following paragraphs. In platonic thought, the term the forms refers to things not of this world. That means the forms are transcendent and exist completely separate from time and space, which includes any kind of matter. Like numbers, they are real and do exist to Plato, but he thought of them abstractly as knowledge. The forms to Plato are definitely part of reality, but just not physical reality. Forms do not change, because the senses are separate from them, as is the human consciousness. Plato believed that even though forms are abstract objects they are more important, ie real, than physical objects. Plato doesn t limit forms to just virtuous things, but he also includes logical relations and sensible properties. Examples of forms are as follows: courage, piety, wisdom, triangularity, equivalence, identity, beauty, even an object’s yellowness, or an object s roundness. Although many things are yellow and round the essence of being yellow and round is the form of yellowness or roundness. There is only one form of yellowness or roundness, but there are many different things that share a degree of yellowness or roundness. If our senses perceive an object as fading in color or change in shape, the form doesn t change with it. This is because the form is pure and unchanging. These are just a few examples, and show the complexity of his theory of forms. Plato also believed that nothing can be perfectly round, because sensible objects will always have some kind of mixture or impurity. In order for two objects to be the same, they would have to be perfectly round or whatever forms that are shown in the object. This is impossible to Plato, because things can only be perfect in the actual form itself, in abstract. This is Plato s way of explaining, in a rational way, that knowledge is possible.

Aristotle had many problems with Plato s theory of forms, because he saw them as not relative to social, moral, and political issues of importance. Plato s theory of dualism states that there are two different worlds; the world of becoming, and the world of being. He also called the world of the senses and the world of forms. He talked about how could a form of color exist if the opposite, absence of color, doesn t exist also. So he basically says that Plato s idea of forms is wrong, because forms must be things of this world, not abstract ideals. He also says that the form of something can be extracted from the object, but can not exist without it. So, the idea of the soul going somewhere else is false. This is another reason why he disagrees with Plato s theory of dualism. Aristotle doesn t stop here; he goes on to define primary substances and secondary substances. Primary substances are what an object is, not what makes it what it is. The primary substance is the individuality of something. What makes it what it is, is the secondary substances divided into different kind of souls, forms. Examples of these souls are as follows: the nutritive soul, the locomotive soul, the species of the object, the genius of the object, and so on. Although many different things may share these souls, these are what makes the thing what it is. Meaning, a thing wouldn t be that thing with out it. If a dog didn t have locomotive soul then it wouldn t be a dog. So, without form, secondary substance, of something it wouldn t be its self, the whatness that makes the thing that thing. Another very interesting contrast between Plato and Aristotle is Aristotle uses a different word then Plato for forms. He uses the Greek word ousia witch is commonly translated to essence. This concludes my essay on Plato s idea of forms verses Aristotle s idea of forms. I used the following sources they are as follows:Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy from Thales to Aristotle 1985 – Dictionary of Philosophy; edited by Douglas D. Runes; 1962 editionThe Internet various sites to many to list My notes from a previous class at J. Sargent Reynolds