<metaphysics, scholasticism, essence, epistemology, ideas> <cartesianism, form, aesthetics, idealism, innatism, mymesis> for Plato, the ideal Archetypes or patterns according to which all things are constructed. These are grasped by rational insight -- which Plato held to be a kind of recollection -- and not by sensory perception. The Forms, according to Plato, intelligible realities which are transcend the material world of sensible objects which somehow resemble or participate in them: they are ideals which material or sensible things imitate or aspire to. For Aristotle forms or essences are immanent aspirations -- teleological principles of development -- in the things themselves.
<Platonic ontology, metaphysics, Aristotle, scholasticism>, <Aquinas, medieval philosophy, Alberto the Great, accident>, <Bacon, Descartes, epistemology, mathematics, dialectical> <knowledge, realism, idea, ethics, aesthetics, reality>, <reason, logos, soul, memory, theory of ideas> (Gk. eide) the pure objects of mathematical and dialectical knowledge. In the vigorous realism of Plato's middle dialogues, necessary truths are taken to involve knowledge of eternal, unchanging Forms (or Ideas). Particular things in the realm of appearance are beautiful, or equal, or good only insofar as they participate in the universal Forms of Beauty, Equality, or the Good. The doctrine of Forms was attacked in Plato's own Parmenides and by Aristotle. Recommended Reading: The Dialogues of Plato, ed. by Eric Segal (Bantam, 1986); Gail Fine, On Ideas: Aristotle's Criticism of Plato's Theory of Forms (Clarendon, 1995); and John Malcolm, Plato on the Self-Predication of Forms: Early and Middle Dialogues (Clarendon, 1991).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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