I have a suspicion that Plato took his idea of the "perfect world" a little bit too far. He said that the material world is something that we experience with our senses, but is also an imperfect representation of the "perfect" form of what everything is. The only access we have to this perfect world is through our minds, like when we see the many variations of trees in the world (to give a very particular example), we still recognise them as trees. It isn't like we have a different recognition of what each of those tree types actually are, and whether or not they can be perceived as something completely different, so we recognise them all as a "tree". This "tree" is an idea in our minds which is our only (and very limited) connection to the ideal world, as we use this idea universally to recognise all types of tree. But isn't this idea of a perfect world a little bit absurd? Isn't it simply that the human mind uses packets of information (schemas) to encode and condense the vast amounts of information in this world so that we can understand what it all actually is?

  • What you're describing in your last sentence is a perfectly valid view. But why would you suppose that that wasn't exactly what Plato was getting at? The whole point of Plato's theory of the forms could easily be construed in a phenomenological light: it is as if there is some eternally existing realm of ideas of which this world is a mere shadow. Saying this is merely descriptive of the way human beings experience the world and how they think, not so much about how the world really is, since this latter statement could easily be misconstrued, especially in our scientific-positivistic age. – RP_ Jun 4 '17 at 0:16
  • Thank you for replying, if I'm right, what you are saying is that I am describing how humans think, not the way that the world really is, correct? – F. Munden Jun 4 '17 at 9:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.