a) Explain the Platonic Concept of ‘Forms’
Plato believed that behind every concept or object in the visible world there is an unseen reality which he calls its ‘Form’. These Forms exist in the world of the Forms separate from the visible world. Within the world of the Forms the pattern or the objects and concepts for the material world exist in a state of unchanging perfection.
Plato was more interested in the Forms of concepts such as good, truth and justice, than he was in the Forms of material objects. The meaning of the word beauty would correspond to some external reality (Plato called it the Ideal Form). Therefore according to Plato, beauty is not a word used to describe certain things or people, beauty actually exists in and of itself.
The Cave is a famous analogy written by Plato which he uses to explain some parts of his theory of Forms. Within the analogy many of the key factors represent something else. The actual cave represents the world we perceive, the world of experience (doxa). It acts as a barrier to the truth because our perceptions may be flawed. The prisoners trapped in the cave represent us. We are trapped in the physical world of illusion with our handcuffs being our flawed senses and experiences. The shadows represent our experiences/perceptions. The journey out of the cave shows us reaching for the reality of the outside world by escaping from our chains of flawed senses and using our minds. The escaped prisoner represents the philosopher, like Plato himself. Being a rationalist, Plato uses reasoning and his innate knowledge to understand the concept of the Forms. The philosopher then goes back into the cave to try and share his ideas with the other prisoners.
The sun in the outside world illuminates the truth. When the philosopher first goes out into the light he is blinded by it. This could show that it’s painful to accept reality after living in the cave for so long. The sun could also represent the Form of the Good which...