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Saturday, September 29, 2018

What is a form?


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, XoMEoX

Photo license: CC BY 2.0


What is a form? Here is my definition:


A form is a general representation


I believe that forms are very similar to concepts. Concepts and forms are both general representations that we establish to interpret reality.


From my understanding, Plato believed that every particular form we encounter in life has a corresponding transcendental ideal form. For example, if we see a frog then there is a corresponding ideal form of a frog that exists in transcendental reality. This also applies to every concept such as justice, horse and courage. Plato also believed that above all the ideal forms there is a Form of the Forms which permeates the entire system.


According to Plato, the world of transcendental forms is the most true reality. Plato believed that when we recognize a horse, we are actually remembering the ideal form of the horse that we knew before we were born. In this regard, forms are not based on experience but are rather based on remembering the ideal form.


Aristotle disagreed with Plato and believed that forms are created through experience rather than remembering an ideal form. For example, we can establish the form of a horse by experiencing multiple examples of horses. Through experience we can figure out a commonality to every particular horse and label this concept. Aristotle's theory of forms does not rely on remembering the ideal form.


I agree more with Aristotle on this topic. I believe that reality is full of potential forms and the conscious mind establishes these forms. Upon establishing a form, the ideal form is stored in the mind. In this regard, ideal forms existing in the mind could be considered as transcendental, but I do not think there's a list of perfect forms that exist in a perfect transcendental realm.


It should also be mentioned that reality has an unlimited amount of potential forms. For example, we can establish the form for when a computer is on top of a stack of books and call it 'X'. It seems strange to think that an ideal version of 'X' exists somewhere in a metaphysical reality.



License: CC BY-SA 4.0