The Forms Good things are not the same as goodness (Form of the Good). –If all good things were destroyed, this wouldnt destroy goodness itself. Forms dont exist in any particular place or time. Forms dont change. Forms are perfect examples (nothing is more good than goodness itself).
Sense experience All objects of experience are particular things. All particular things are both one thing, e.g. large, beautiful, good, and the opposite. If something is both X and not-X, then we cant know that it is X.
Knowing the Forms The Form of beauty is beautiful under all conditions, to all observers, at all times. The Form of beauty is pure beauty; it (alone) is not both beautiful and not beautiful. Therefore, we can have knowledge of the Forms, though not through our senses.
Levels of understanding Each level of understanding has corresponding level of reality in its object: –What does not exist is related to ignorance. –Absolute unchanging reality, the Forms, can be known. –Belief relates to what is between what is (X) and what is not (X), i.e. the changing particulars of the world around us.
Objection There is no need for a match between an epistemic state (belief, knowledge) and its object. Even if knowledge cannot change, that doesnt mean the object of knowledge cant change: –I can know the size of this handout now, even if the handout changes later.
The Forms and Reality Plato thinks the Forms are more real than particular things. One way to understand this is to ask how it is that particulars share or participate in the Forms, as Plato argues. One suggestion is that the properties particulars have are copies of the Forms. The beauty of this rose is a copy of the Form of Beauty. Unlike the Forms, a particular can lose its properties (e.g. its beauty) and even cease to exist as that particular (a rose can become ash).
The Forms and Reality A particular is what it is in virtue of the properties it has (e.g. a rose, beautiful, etc.). But its properties are how it participates in the Forms. So a particular only exists by participating in the Forms. So the Forms are more real than particulars.