I'm trying to construct a fictional reality out of the Socratic-era (ideally) theories of Forms, but every philosopher's attempt seems to have at least one fatal flaw (and most of them several big ones), from Aristotle, Parmenides, Plotinus, Plato, Zeno, etc. Have any philosophers (in your opinion) managed to make a fully/almost fully consistent worldview out of the concept of Forms? Ideally, someone who existed before 600AD, but if there is a really great one, I'm happy to accept one all the way up to the modern day.

To be clear, I'm not looking for a theory that maps reality well, considering it's a well-discredited area of thought, but one that has the fewest problems with contradicting itself so I can create a fictional reality out of it.

  • Parmenides and Zeno did not have a theory of forms, or forms, they only had the One. Plotinus merges the One with Plato's theory of forms. So the only two essentially different theories are Plato's and Aristotle's, and the difference is, in modern terms, between substance and property dualism about them, not consistency. You just have to decide whether you want free floating abstract entities or aspects attached to material bodies. There are modern theories of abstract objects in Plato's spirit that are more palatable, presumably.
    – Conifold
    Apr 25, 2020 at 22:09
  • @Conifold Yes, I get that most of them didn't have their own theory, but they proposed 'fixes' to existing ones. Even Plotinus' One had the three hypostases and the sense world. I was hoping for someone who set out to 'solve' Aristotle or Plato rather than evolve them to fit with their own pet project.
    – Carduus
    Apr 26, 2020 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


Sounds like you might already be familiar with the material, but in case you're not: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-parmenides/#ProForTheFor130 goes over inconsistencies in Platonic Form theory, as addressed by a perhaps highly fictionalized Parmenides, along with this same Parmenides' proposed plan of response. I hope this helps somehow, though it seems as if it might not: maybe not so much in finding an already consistent-enough model, but in devising your own?

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