Gail Fine

in On Ideas

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780198235491
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597398 | DOI:

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Fine begins by delineating precisely what is at issue in such questions as ‘Are forms universals or particulars?’. Fine argues that Plato's forms are not meanings, as they would be on a semantic conception of universals; and neither are they particulars: rather Plato, like Aristotle, has a realist conception of universals. They both conceive universals as explanatory properties of things, and both agree that such universals are the basic object of knowledge: however, for Plato the forms are self‐predicative and separate, while Aristotle denies this of his universals. Fine lists the five arguments for the existence of forms that Aristotle sets out in the Peri Idēon and divides them into the ‘less accurate’ and the ‘more accurate’ arguments. Fine concludes with some remarks on Aristotle as a critic of Plato, in which she argues that, on a proper understanding of Aristotle's argumentative strategy, it is possible to deny that Plato's theory of forms is vulnerable to Aristotle's criticisms, while also denying that Aristotle is guilty of misinterpretation.

Keywords: Aristotle as a critic of Plato; forms; semantic and realist conception of universals; the ‘more accurate’ arguments; universals and particulars

Chapter.  4479 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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