The doctrine of Forms under critique

Dorothea Frede

in Aristotle's Metaphysics Alpha

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199639984
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743337 | DOI:

Series: Symposia Aristotelia

The doctrine of Forms under critique

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In the chapter's first part Aristotle diagnoses the problems in Plato's theory of the Forms as causes. He focuses on the Forms as paradigms of their participants, familiar from Plato's middle dialogues. His diagnosis consists of little more than a catalogue of problems: questioning the need for Forms, the types of Forms assumed and their justification, and the adequacy of paradigmatic separate Forms as causes from an ontological and epistemological perspective. Despite its compressed form Aristotle's critique provides valuable information, for it addresses Forms of relative and negative terms, of perishables, a version of the Third Man argument, and Forms of artefacts. The article discusses the defensibility of Plato's position and the reasons for Aristotle's preference of immanent substantial forms.

Keywords: Aristotle's ‘Razor’; artefacts; immanence; negative terms; paradigms; participation; perishable; relative terms; separation; substance; Third Man argument

Chapter.  16670 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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