Plato Develops His Theory of Ideas (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: Greek philosopher Plato developed his theory of Ideas, providing a philosophical formulation of the concept of the ultimate reality.
Summary of Event
Plato’s concept of eidos, meaning “vision” in Greek, has influenced thinkers from Aristotle to medieval scholastics and theologians to modern philosophers such as René Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and even the twentieth century German mathematician Gottlob Frege.
The Forms, or Ideas, are the penultimate reality of things. The Platonic realm of ideas contains the pure Forms of mathematical entities, such as numbers and geometrical shapes, and moral and aesthetic ideas, such as “the just,” “the beautiful,” and “the good.” These Forms are immutable and timeless, unlike phenomena in the actual world, which are shadowy, unreliable reflections of their Forms. Although humans can never fully articulate or define the Forms using limited conceptual terms, they can grasp them intuitively. The purer the mirror of the mind, the clearer the reflection received from the realm of Ideas.
In one sense, the emergence of this theory is the consummate logical expression of the classical Greek way of viewing human experience of the world, but in another, it is possible to trace the emergence of Plato’s theory in the context of pre-Socratic and Socratic thought.
For example, from...
(The entire section is 1496 words.)
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