Arguably, in the history of ideas, Plato has planted the strongest and deepest seeds to the mind of humans and we have been pondering and trying to exercise them ever since. His “theory of forms” will be discussed, and somewhat hesitantly dismissed, in the context as he writes in the works of “The Republic”, because his theory is sound the same way math equations are sound and lead to undisputable answers, but problematic in how it can be proved and to whom it actually benefits will always vary. The definition of knowledge is too undetermined for Plato’s ideas to be necessary. Lastly his notion that philosopher kings must rule the ideal city will be decisively dismissed because the word “ideal” leaves room for creation and I argue that permanent procedures can be placed in the “ideal” society, which leaves open the position or positions of power for anyone to operate and the philosopher king no longer is needed for the “ideal” city to it run.
The “Theory of forms” is taught in Plato’s “allegory of the cave”, a thought experiment which makes his point from a real world scenario. He wants us to imagine humans in the conditions of enslavement to the extent that we cannot move and what we can only see are images of everyday objects: pencils, books, tables, letters, etc. What the people, in this condition, are actually seeing are shadows, because behind them there are imperfect representations of the actual objects made out of wood which are moving across their vision as shadows because behind the objects there is a fire which is the only light in this dark cave. Once we at least have semi-clear vision of what this thought experiment entail then we can see what Plato is trying to say in his theory of forms. The shadows, which the slaves see and perceive as reality, are actually illusions just as human perceptions are illusions. The objects we see every day are shadows of the perfect objects, their forms. What is real is not what the slaves see in the cave rather what is outside which the world of forms, just as for humans what is true is not perceptions but what is behind them; the world of forms.
Forms, which can be thought of as ideas or concepts, are perfect everlasting and are the only things to which everything human beings have ever created are inspired or drawn from. For example someone’s table is only a thing which is close to being the form of a table which is the perfect table. The problem arises when Plato argues that the forms are perfect while everything in our world is only representations or copies of the forms. His assertion raises many questions. Where are these forms located? I could claim as Bertrand Russell, did that there is a tea cup on the moon. I could neither disprove nor prove that a tea cup is there but I believe there is an everlasting tea cup on the moon. It’s this lack of certainty which makes it hard for Plato’s theory of forms to be accepted; there are too many problems with his theory even if...