On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 1:48 PM, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > On 26/09/2011 17:37, Patrick Dunn wrote: > >> On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 10:34 AM, Jörg Rhiemeier wrote: >> > [snip] > >> >>> Same to me. How can eternal, unchangeable Forms >>> account for a universe which is characterized by >>> variation, evolution and creativity? One would have >>> to assume an infinity of Forms for everything that >>> could ever be, most of which are never ever manifested >>> in the physical world. To me, that is nonsense. >>> >>> >>> That would be nonsense, or at least pretty unlikely, but >> that's not the sum total of Platonism. >> > > Maybe - but it was clearly a central part of Plato's > teaching. As to the sum total, that must forever remain > unknown. Plato made it clear that only exoteric teaching > could be put into writing; his esoteric teaching was given > orally to initiates only. > > It is, in fact, not possible to produce a coherent picture > of Plato's philosophy just from his writings; much > conjecture is needed. The Neo=Platonists of later ages did > of course "fill in the gaps" - but how true they were to > Plato himself we shall never know without time travel. > Platonism does not end with Plato. It's a complex philosophy with a large and complex lineage of proponents. To refute a statement about the Forms by saying that Plato didn't argue that is like objecting to the periodic table because Empedocles didn't describe it. > > In fact, Platonic forms may be more or less roughly >> equivalent to universal laws, which even you empiricists >> admit do not change (at least, not since the >> establishment of the universe). >> > > No - Plato talks, for example, about a table 'partaking' in > the Form of Table. There does appear to be a hierarchy of > Forms, but this is not entirely clear. > It's not clear in Plato. Later Platonists (or, if you like, Neo-Platonists) make it quite clear that there is. > > Also the Forms are clearly thought of as having an objective > and perceptible existence. Part of Plato's teaching was that > between death and reincarnation, the soul contemplated the > perfect Forms. We forget them during the trauma of entering > the physical world at conception. Learning is nothing other > than a process of 'remembering' (anamnesis). I recognize > something as a table because its shape causes my soul to > recall the Form of Table which my soul once knew. > > Jörg's point, I think, is that by the same token, I > recognize the thing in front of me as a computer monitor > because it caused my soul to recall the Form of > Computer-Monitor, in which mine (and yours) partakes. > Neither he nor I accept this theory. > > The laws of geometry do not change, and we can imagine >> that an alien with no contact with human culture would >> very likely develop something quite a bit like the >> Pythagorean theorem all on its own. Yet the universe is >> not, on the whole, a plane, and no triangle within the >> physical universe is a perfect right triangle, so how can >> it be that two beings separated by lightyears could >> acquire the same thought? If the Pyth. th. is an >> approximation based on empirical evidence, then how is it >> that two people separated in time and space could make >> the same exactly approximation? >> > > Because, as far we know, the 'Laws of Physics' are the same > throughout the cosmos. But that is _very different_ from > Plato's theory of Forms. Indeed, Plato himself gives a very > different explanation as why a slave 'remembers' Pythagoras' > theorem ;) > > But this is way off topic. > I'd love to engage you in dialog about this, but yes, it's off topic. I suppose it'll have to wait until I make it to a meet up somewhere. --Patrick -- Second Person, a chapbook of poetry by Patrick Dunn, is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press<http://www.finishinglinepress.com/NewReleasesandForthcomingTitles.htm>.