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It is said within Plato's dialogues that he believes in a Form of beauty. This I can not reconcile by reason, and I imagine some mental gymnastics are needed, or, more likely, is that I am to dumb to grasp his concept of the Forms.

The most beautiful pen, the form, by my understanding, does not exist; but it is beauty itself which is the Form. And our perception of beauty is directly in reference, mirroring, reflecting that which is a Form. What I find beautiful in a pen is reflecting the Form of beauty in the same way as I find my wife beautiful; neither are perfectly beautiful, but both are shards of it.

If all humans' souls are to pass through the dimension of Forms all the same, and to experience these Forms, how does one hold different opinions, different reflections of the Forms?

What woman or man I find beautiful is hardly similar to those whom my friends find beautiful. A beautiful painting, and a beautiful pen, neither of these are similar whatever to my mother's opinion of them.

Are there a variety of Forms of the same things? Multiple Forms of beauty? Are there Forms for some, but not others? Are my opinions of beauty based in the true Form that my soul witnessed, or are my friend's opinions of beauty true? Or are neither? Or is it impossible to know, thus rendering the thought exercise of Forms irrelevant?

I want to emphasize that I am rhetorically asking the series of questions above, and I do not expect an answer for them, but I should rather have an explanation for reconciling the Form of beauty with differing opinions.

And anything which you may call me stupid on should also be desired if I am wrong.

  • Of course, Plato's doctrine assume that there is an objective criteria for beauty. All red pens are red because they share some "universal" quality; call it redness, and we cannot fail to perceive it (is ti so ? what about daltonism ?). The same for esthetical quality: every beautiful painting is so because it is a "copy" (an incarnation ? an instance ?) of the eternal Beauty and we all can perceive it because it is embedded in our mind from the start. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Mar 1 '18 at 8:13
  • Replacing the original (Greek) word "idea", used traditionally in discussing Plato, by the Latin "form" obviously creates misunderstandings. Being old-fashioned and reverting to it might help. – sand1 Mar 1 '18 at 8:54
  • Whilst your ideas of beauty differ amongst you and your friends, nevertheless you all have a standard of beauty. – Mozibur Ullah Mar 1 '18 at 15:58
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You are not stupid at all for experiencing this concept in this way --arguably this is exactly how this concept is meant to be experienced. In point of fact, the early Platonic dialogues (believed to be closer to the philosophies of the historical Socrates, who is the main character in them) almost always end in aporia, a state of confusion, and suspended belief, in which the hearer understands and acknowledges that he believes things that are incompatible and paradoxical --the very state that you describe.

The later dialogues introduce more of an explicit metaphysics, and end less often in aporia. Many readers, however, myself among them, believe that Plato deliberately left paradoxes and flaws in his metaphysics. If so, his goal was perhaps to force the reader to think past any ideas or concepts that we can grasp, formulate, teach or learn in this earthly plane, and ultimately to grapple directly with a deeper and greater truth that cannot be accurately reflected from within our degraded version of reality.

If this viewpoint appeals to you, you might be interested in Neoplatonism, a highly influential ancient Roman interpretation of Platonic thought, that advocated a more mystical approach to Plato than the literalist Aristotelian one that was current at the times.

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Are there a variety of Forms of the same things? Multiple Forms of beauty?

yes there must be

Are there Forms for some, but not others?

yes. But what about universals? they could be counted as individuals as any other kinds of Ideas(I don't like the Latin either) without incurring any loss. After all, you just need uncountable number of Ideas.

Are my opinions of beauty based in the true Form that my soul witnessed, or are my friend's opinions of beauty true? Or are neither? Or is it impossible to know, thus rendering the thought exercise of Forms irrelevant?

both are true to either of you. You know only yours not your friend's. What are communicated between you both are other kinds of Ideas or other Ideas.

I should rather have an explanation for reconciling the Form of beauty with differing opinions.

like I said, you need the Ideas of communication, give it a good shot. Don't just rely only on your OWN Ideas.

My answers are subjective but are based on: 1. Semiotic 2. Panpsychism that I find as magic wands which should be good explanations for Platonism and much more...

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