Plato's theory of Forms or theory of Ideas asserts that non-material abstract (but substantial) forms (or ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality." - WIKIPEDIA.

Even the Church (all branches of...) seem to only take 'some' of the Theory. For instance, whilst many believe God is the creator of all joy, most cannot see Him as being an abstract (like an idea/ideas) so struggle with notions of Him actually BEING joy (among other fulfilled archetypes), saying it is an attribute OF Him rather than Himself being the perfected version of that idea.

If the Forms does fit with Christianity then I might point out 'Dracula' is a great book and many Christians (among many others) have enjoyed it: however, they might have a problem if I suggested the 'perfected' Dracula exists in the form of God. However, the enjoyment of such a fiction is not a sin (surely!), thereby it has as much right to be perfected as any of our other enjoyments...if one follows Platonism.

My question is, does anyone? I assume they'd be religious or interested in quantum physics (it would be hard to agree to Plato's theory of heavenly versions if one only believed in this reality!) Or is it a 'dead theory' only used as inspiration for other, 'related' ideas?

1 Answer 1


It is very rare for any philosopher's full set of views to be accepted by anyone else. But, that said, there is an ongoing discussion in metaphysics about “the problem of universals,” in which the problems are very much like ones Plato raised, and forms are probably one kind of universal.

And, for an example of out-and-out Platonists, Platonism is probably the current majority view in Philosophy of Mathematics. See the Stanford Encyclopedia article Platonism in the Philosophy of Mathematics.

  • I will say something that is polemic, but in practice i think that platonism is popular between mathematicians because the branch called philosophy of mathematics is not well developed, there are, for exemple, new ideas coming with a more aristotelian approach that basically is inexistent for the professional matematician. Matematicians are platonists at day and nominalists at night.
    – LAU
    Mar 4, 2019 at 0:43

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