The Third Man Argument : A Criticism Of Plato 's Theory Of Forms

1043 Words May 24th, 2015 5 Pages
The third man argument refers to a criticism of Plato’s theory of forms. Plato believed that for every class of objects, a group of objects that share that same defining property or essences there was an ideal form that is over and above it. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes that for the theory of forms, for every property F there must be a form, F-ness, where all objects with F get that property. “From the existence of a plurality of F things and the fact that, for any such plurality P, there is a form of F-ness by virtue of partaking of which each member of P is F, it follows that there is one form over the many members of P” (Stanford Para number). Lets consider the following class of variables; x1, x2, and x3, there exists an ideal form and we can call that ideal x above that class of variables. Plato thought that for any class of x, the ideal x is an x itself. If, lets say that all men share the same essence, thus that would mean that they belong to a class of men. Plato would have believed that there is an ideal man. And in terms of the ideal form, that meant that the ideal man must be a man himself. But the problem is that if the ideal man is himself, then the ideal man must belong with the class of men. Since we are left with a class, then there must be an ideal man over and above that class of men, thus this process keeps on repeating. But the ideal man is still and will always be a part of the class of men. However, I think that the form of a man…

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