What are platonic concepts?


What are platonic concepts?

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9 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Are you asking about everything Plato ever did or are you referring to platonic *forms*?

Anonymous 0 Comments

Platonic concepts are those which are discussed in the works of Plato, the pre-Christian Greek philosopher. These writings are usually framed as records of philosophical exchanges between various Greek citizens and Socrates, Plato’s mentor.

Concepts or ideas attributable to Plato are Platonic, whereas those which are attributable to Socrates are Socratic.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’d suggest reading [Plato’s allegory of the cave](https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/seyer/files/plato_republic_514b-518d_allegory-of-the-cave.pdf) and then coming back and asking more specific questions.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Platonic forms are imaginary, perfect representatives of a concept. There are lots of different types of birds. However, if we had one bird to represent the “bird-ness” of all of them, this would be the platonic form of a bird. We could also imagine a platonic form of a chair, serving as a perfect example of chairs, capturing all of their “chair-ness”.

If there is a set of things, such as birds, then there is likewise a distinctive attribute uniting all the parts of this set–like their bird-ness–and the platonic form of that thing is the imaginary entity that possesses that distinctive attribute (the bird-ness) and nothing extraneous to it. For example, the platonic bird will not be red or blue, since these attributes are contingent and not definitive of bird-ness.

These things don’t really exist. But they are similar to the idea of a “prototype” from cognitive science. The idea is that our brain builds up concepts through examples, for example building the concept of “bird” by seeing lots of birds; maybe all of this information is stored in a “prototype” for bird in our brains.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Let’s consider squares.

* Is there even such as thing a square? We can easily imagine a square, but are they *real*?
* Can you point to even a single square in the physical unvierse?
* Certainly we can make nearly-square shaped things, but if you zoom in enough you’ll find they don’t truly have 4 *perfectly* straight sides, so they aren’t true squares.
* Indeed, squares are 2d, so any object you create, even if you somehow make it perfectly straight, will be 3d, so it can’t be a square.
* Even a drawing of a square is 3 dimensional, because the ink on the page has some tiny thickness.
* Even a square made of lines just 1 atom thick/deep has some thickness, and isn’t truly a square (and those atoms probably can’t *really* make *straight* lines anyway).
* So do squares not exist?

Well, even if there is no true square any in the physical universe, we might still choose to believe that there is still a very real concept of a square in a conceptual/mathematical/idealistic sense.

We might call a square a ‘Platonic Ideal’, because Plato argued that they were real, and I think he even argued that they were *more* real than the physical world. After all, if the unvierse never existed, or it crumbled to nothing in the future, then perhaps, in a sense, the *concept* or *ideal* of a ‘square’ would still exist despite there being no physical universe. If these Platonic Ideals are ‘real’ then they transcend the universe.

Anonymous 0 Comments

So far, all the answers given are wrong or off..Many are presenting the Platonic forms as either imaginary or conceptual. This is directly opposite of what Plato believed. For Plato, the forms are what is ultimately real. Physical existence is a poor copy made by a demiurge. It is a shoddy copy because matter is inherently chaotic and evil.

Now, what are the forms? They are universals. Of any given class of things, there is a perfect ideal – the universal shared among all the individual instances. All humans participate in the form of humaness. Forms (ideals) themselves can participate in other forms, up the ladder until we reach the ultimate form: the form of the Good. Depending on your form of Platonism, this form could be deified.

TL;DR forms are the very real universals in which all things in the material world participate.


Anonymous 0 Comments

You know what a table is, right? Like if you see a table sitting there, you can point at it and say “table”. Well, how do you do that? What factors are there that make you identify it as a table? Is it the number of legs? Some tables have 4 legs, some have 3. Some tables even have one big leg in the center. So it’s not number of legs. Is it size? Nope. Some tables are big, some are small. Is it shape? Nope. Some are square, some are round, some are weird shapes.

So what is it that makes you recognize it as a table? Plato argued that there was some kind of ideal table. All other tables were poor copies of this one perfect table. And our minds recognized this ideal table, out there somewhere in space or another realm or something. And when we saw a table here, we understood what it was supposed to be by recognizing the qualities it shared with that ideal table.

The same thing would apply to trees, houses, birds, rocks, basically everything had an ideal version. Plato’s ideal. A *platonic* ideal.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The platonic form of a thing is a kind of abstract “essence” of that thing. The things you interact with are visible versions of that platonic form.
Plato argues that these platonic forms are real, and are in fact the only real versions, since the ones you can see and touch are temporary.
I have a chair in my house, before it was a chair, it was a tree, and when it breaks, it’ll become firewood, and then it’ll become ashes. The platonic form of chairs have always and will always exist, my chair, has not and will not.

In this view, when someone “invents” a new thing, they actually just discovered it and gave it a name. According to Plato, it always existed in this platonic form, just waiting for us to stumble upon it.

Edit: Quick not about “real”. Plato wouldn’t say that my chair isn’t real, but he would argue that it’s not a chair, it’s something that, at this time, has the properties of a chair.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Abstract traits don’t physically exist, like I can’t hold up “Deservingness” and show it to you, but you think you know what it means for someone to deserve something, and you think some situations are more deserving than others.

Plato thinks instead of deservingness being a subjective concept that exists in your mind and you then apply to the world, the abstract idea of perfect deservingness exists, somewhere, maybe in like a form-heaven. Something is more or less deserving based on how well it conforms to that thing instead of how well it conforms to a representation of deservingness in your mind.

So basically you can understand it as Plato reifying subjective ideas, and then to be consistent he says all objective properties probably work the same way too.