Poly & Phil Cafe Discussion - Platonism and Forms

Plato, one of the founding fathers of western philosophy, argued that forms exist. Basically he says that all physical things that exist (say, a chair) are instantiations of forms (the ideal chair) and that these ideal forms actually exist somehow. If you are interested in learning about and debating this age-old notion of platonic forms then please come by and take part in this discussion.

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  • Eric C.

    Hi, fellow lovers of wisdom. I get out of work at noon tomorrow, but I'll drop by then and see if the conversation is still alive :)

    Plato was indeed a highly influential figure in western philosophy, but Whitehead's alleged contention that all of western philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato is a gross exaggeration (I can hear skeptical Socrates himself groaning in his grave). A "footnote" implies an explication or expansion of arguments in the text, but many western philosophers refuted Plato's arguments and/or proposed alternative ones, sometimes without reference to (or apparent influence from) Plato at all. Even Aristotle, Plato's own pupil, drastically departed from some of his ideas (including his conception of essences and forms).

    September 20, 2013

  • Chris

    Can't be there, but whitehead, I believe, famously stated all western philosophy is but footnotes to Plato. May well be wrong on the source, but not the power of the statement. Would love to be there if I could. Earning my daily bread interferes. Realize Aristotle intervened, through the thomists. But Plato and the neo-platonists, seem to have won this hands down on the continent. As for the Anglo-Americans seems to be some contest, but tepid at the best. Even Wittgenstein gave up the conceit that philosophy is just a language game.

    September 17, 2013

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