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Platos Forms The theory of Forms may be understood best in terms of mathematical entities This Theory was his way of explaining how the same universal term can refer to so many particular things or events An individual is human to the extent that they resemble or participate In the Form humanness if humanness is defined in terms of being a rational animal and human being to the extent that he or she is rational An object is beautiful to the extent that it participates in the Idea or Form of beauty Everything in the world of space and time is what it Is by virtue of its resemblance to or participation in its universal Form The supreme Form is the Form of Good which like the sun in the myth of the cave illuminates all the other ideas The theory of Forms is intended to explain how one comes to know and also how things have come to be the way that they are The forms are eternal and changeless but enter into a partnership with changeable matter to produce the objects and examples of concepts we perceive in the temporal world These are always in a state of becoming and may participate in a succession of forms The ever-changing temporal world can thus only be the source of opinion Plato likens the opinions derived from our senses to the perception of shadows of real objects cast upon the wall of a cave True knowledge however is the perception of the archetypal forms themselves which are real eternal and unchanging Whilst the forms are invisible to the eye our souls have participated in the eternal world of forms prior to being incarnate in a physical body and retain a memory of them Although this memory is not readily accessible to the conscious mind its presence is sufficient to enable our limited perceptions Plato maintains however that
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