Presentation on theme: "Plato’s Metaphysics Plato’s Dilemma In order for humans to be able to know it, the world must be changeless. It has to “sit still” for humans to know."— Presentation transcript:
Plato’s Metaphysics Plato’s Dilemma In order for humans to be able to know it, the world must be changeless. It has to “sit still” for humans to know it. (Parmenides’ insight) The world is clearly ever-changing. (Heraclitus’ insight)
Plato’s Solution There are really two worlds! A changeless world. and An ever changing world. World of Being: The non-material, eternal, changeless world of the Ideal Forms. World of Becoming: The material, temporal, ever-changing world of sensible objects.
Ideal Forms: The transcendent, archetypal (general), and perfect realities that are the objects of rational intelligence. Essence abstracted from all particularity, serving, thereby, as the pattern for particulars. Sensible Objects: The “earth bound,” imperfect, specific copies of the Ideal Forms that are the objects of perception.
Lower (Mathematical) Forms: Forms comprehended by mathematical reasoning. Their copies in the World of Becoming are tangible. Example: Tableness Higher (Philosophical) Forms: Forms comprehended by philosophical reasoning. Their copies in the World of Becoming are (at least partially) intangible. Example: Justice
Pre-existence of the Soul Each person first exists as a soul without a body in the World of Being. Each person’s soul somehow gets “imprisoned” in a body. Most people never “escape” the body. They become bogged down in the world of sensation. Only the philosopher, through philosophical discipline and contemplation frees his soul (intellect) to attain true knowledge, i. e. knowledge of the Ideal Forms.
Death frees the philosopher’s soul from the “prison house” of the body, and it returns to the World of Being “where” it will spend eternity contemplating the Ideal Forms. Wordsworth The Phaedo Unlike for Christianity, for Plato, death is a good thing because it frees the soul from the prison of the body. For Christianity, death is an evil that Christ’s Resurrection conquers. Salvation is not complete until all the just rise in their bodies.
All of the Forms derive their existence from the Universal Form of the Good, which is undifferentiated Being itself. (This is the closest one gets to God in Plato’s Metaphysics.)