What is for something to participate in a Form? [30 points]
According to the metaphysical theory that was developed by Plato, there is some aspect of reality beyond what someone can see and that the aspect is more real compared to what people are able to see. Form refers to these unseen realms that the people can only perceive and think about. There are characteristics that are associated with the realm and they include the fact that they are unchangeable, eternal, incorporeal, intelligible and not perceptible, divine, causes of being and that they are unqualifiedly what their instances are only with qualification. The forms have been postulated to solve a number of problems. They are used to solve the epistemological problems where they give an answer on what the objects of knowledge are, how knowledge is possible and how it can be separated from a belief or an opinion. It also solves the metaphysical problems with the answers on what things are real, whether there is a mind-independent reality or whether there is anything permanent in the phenomena that keeps on changing. It also solves the moral problems with the answers to whether there can be moral knowledge, whether there are objectives of moral truths and whether morality is a convention or it is founded in nature. The concept is also used in solving the semantical problems with the answers to the questions such as what the general terms stand for and what the people are able to grasp when they understand something.
There are several arguments for the existence of forms and they include the fact that they are objects that are corresponding to Socratic definitions, they are objects of recollection, the argument of imperfection, the argument about the knowledge that comes from the sciences and the one over all argument. These absolute entities that are referred to as forms include beauty, redness, goodness, sourness and so on and they are the cause of the objects that the people are able to experience around them in the reals that can be seen and touched. For instance, an apple is red and sweet because it participates in the form of redness and the form of sweetness. A woman can be seen and described as beautiful because she is an active participant in the form of beauty. The forms are therefore the objects of knowledge. The most outstanding form among all that are found in the world today is the form of good. Plato did not have the ability to explain exactly what the form was but he said that is the source of the intelligibility and the capacity of the people to know several things in the society.
Plato also noted the fact that the form of good brought the other forms into existent hence they are the reason why people can describe some things that they see in their environment. To illustrate his point and to enable the people to to understand what he was talking about, he compared the form of good to the sun in the visible realm. Just like the sun is responsible for providing light that the other sources of light such as the moon can reflect, the form of goodness informs the other forms. He refers to it as the ultimate object of knowledge. It, therefore, means that a person has reached the highest level of intelligibility once he or she captures the form of good. He said that a philosopher-in-training becomes a philosopher-king after grasping the form of good. One grasps the form of good when he or she becomes an active participant. The concept of form has improved the people’s understanding of what form is.
According to Socrates philosophy is an academic subject that uses logic and reason in an attempt to know more about reality and come up with answers to several questions on morality, life, virtue, human life, and knowledge. The term was coined from the Greek word Philosophia meaning the love for wisdom. Socrates claimed that he did not have the answers to the questions and issues that he raised. However, his questions have played a very important role in building philosophy to what it is today by creating a strong foundation that the others could build on in the future generations. Socrates believed that one was able to gain knowledge and wisdom by living in the world, therefore, he actually wrote nothing. Socrates did not have an express definition of what truth was but he questioned ta he other people’s idea of what truth is then developed a dialect that was called the Socratic Method. If a concept or an idea went through the Socratic Method, it was referred to as the truth. He used to ask questions of his conversation partner and after the latter gives an answer to the question, he would then ask a question that is related to the answer. He would then ask more questions and at the end of the question, the other fellow could be forced to admit that he did not have the answer to the question. He, therefore, took the conventional view of the issues being addressed. Socrates argued that the philosopher king was supposed to rule the Kallipolis.
The philosopher king was the individual who has grasped and related to the form of good which he described as the leading form among the rest in the society. The philosopher king was the individual who was able to educate the others on matters to do with the topic. Basically, a philosopher king is an individual who possesses both the love of knowledge as well as reliability, intelligence, and the willingness to live a simple life. Socrates argued that for a community to come into being, then it was necessary for the philosophers to become kings and the persons who were chosen to be kings were under obligation to philosophize. There are some reasons why Socrates believed that it was necessary for the philosophers to be kings for a community to stand. First, go all he argued that there was a conjunction of political power and philosophy. He believed that if the people who chosen to lead the city do it for the love of ruling, then they would not represent the good of the whole city but rather they will take the leadership position for their own benefit which does not reflect the needs of all the people in the society. Such people according to Socrates would engender civil strife. He added that only philosophers have a life that they prefer strongly to political life. The philosophers will, therefore, make better leaders because they are focused on the good of the whole community as opposed to their individual interests and gains that they desire to have in the society. The question of the people who should rule at times leads to bitter, intractable, and destabilizing conflicts between the social and economic masses as well as the elites in the society.
The philosophers are able to handle such conflicts adequately to the benefit of the society and forestall the controversies that the people have to deal with in their day to day interaction and in the activities that they carry out. According to Socrates, the philosophers have wisdom which is a prerequisite to a good ruling system.
According to Socrates, pleasure is a single simple feature of experience that make the experiences to be good and attractive to the extent it is present. He argues the fact that the people are able to take pleasure in the things that they value most in the society. There are some people who will derive pleasure from treating others right and the others will derive pleasure from activities such as playing games. He says that there are three types of people in the world namely the profit-loving, the honor-loving, and the truth-loving. He says that only the philosophers have the ability to make a judgment with regards to pleasure because they have experienced all the three pleasures.
It is, therefore, possible to understand a philosopher when he or she argues that the best type of pleasure is the one that involves truth-seeking and when they say that the best life is the one that involves the maximum use of this pleasure. If the philosopher is right, then the pleasure that one derives from having a soul is one of the greatest pleasures in the world. Socrates argues that the pleasure that is experienced by a philosopher is the only real pleasure and that the other pleasures are a relief from pain as opposed to being positive pleasures. He argues that the other pleasures are not the real pleasures because they can never be completely satisfied. All that the people do is to temporarily quench the desires that they have and easing the pain of wanting.
Socrates argues that the philosophical type of pleasure can only be fulfilled by grasping the form of good. He added that a king lives 725 times when compared to a tyrant the calculation might be arbitrary but the main point is that just person is able to live happily compare to the unjust. Socrates argues that a human being has three animals inside of him and they include the multi-headed beast, a lion and a human. He notes that some people feed the beast and the lion making them stronger at the same time neglecting the human and that is why there are issues in the society that are not easy to solve. It also explains why some people derive pleasure at the detriment of the others. Socrates says that it is important for the people to be ruled by divine reason. He argues that the reason may be extrinsic or intrinsic.
He says that the reason that is imposed from outside is the essence of having laws to govern an individual or a given country in the world. According to Thrasymachus, laws are not there to harm the people but they are there to help them lead good lives. The laws are therefore used to impose reason to the people whose rational part is not strong enough to rule the soul. Socrates, therefore, says that justice is worthwhile because it enables some people to gain pleasure that will help them in enjoying their day to day lives. Justice, therefore, pays because of the numerous advantages that it brings to the people in the society. Precisely one of the best pleasures that they people can enjoy in the society is having to live with each other peacefully and in harmony to the benefit of the society and the people. The arguments that have been presented above are a true reflection of the advantages of philosophy and how it affects the day to day lives of the people in the society.
Carpenter, A. D. (2008). Plato on knowledge and forms: selected essays.