Plato Theory of 'Forms'

Plato Essay on his theory of ‘Forms’

a)   One of the truly great philosophers of all time was Plato, a native Athenian born in 427 B.C. who died in 347 B.C.  As a student of Socrates he adopted many of his teacher’s beliefs though he certainly had a great mind all of his own.  His early works reflected much admiration for Socrates and since Socrates never wrote any of his own works, Plato’s early dialogues are most representative of Socrates’ philosophical beliefs.  The format of most Platonic works is called the “dialectic”, and was undisputedly mastered by Plato.  His middle dialogues use Socrates as a character advocating Plato’s own thoughts, and in his later dialogues Plato is quite critical of himself at an earlier age. 
Plato was a rationalist (a priori), in reference to epistemology, and a dualist. A rationalist epistemology claims that knowledge (as opposed to opinion [doxa]) is possible only if it is based on self-evident and absolutely certain principles.  Such principles are not learned through experience; instead, they are implicit in the very notion of reasoning itself (noesis); they are innate.  Sense experience cannot provide the certainty needed to guarantee that what we claim to know is true.  So, like mathematicians, we have to rely on reason itself as the basis for determining whether our opinions are justified true beliefs (that is, knowledge).   Plato claimed to know this through his concept of recollection (amnesis).
  The dualist viewpoint divides the human being into two substances: matter (sarx) and mind.   Plato saw the mind (nous) as identical with the soul (psyche). However, Plato argued that the soul both pre-existed and survived the body, going through a continual process of reincarnation or "transmigration".   Obviously this is a metaphysical dualism.   Plato raised a number of arguments for the existence of the soul.   One is the argument from the cycle of opposites.   This argument is based on the cyclical flux by means of which...