Philosophy Essay Example: Plato vs. Aristotle's Theories of Form

Published: 2022-04-25
Philosophy Essay Example: Plato vs. Aristotle's Theories of Form
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Philosophy Plato
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 561 words
5 min read

Two of the world's greatest philosophers are Plato (c.428-347 BC0 and Aristotle (384-322 BC). Socrates was also seen as one of the influential philosopher given that he influence Plato's thinking since Plato was his student. Aristotle later becomes a student to Plato although he disagreed with Plato's theory. Aristotle hence came up with his theory to criticize that of Plato. The two approaches are focused on the same aspect of form and matter. Both philosophers believed that form was a way of classifying all things. For instance, chairs are considered to be chairs since they have the form of a chair.

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On the contrary, the definition of form differed from one philosopher to the other. Plato argued that objects or particulars are just a mere representation of form. For instance, he says that beauty object is only sensible and accessible on the physical basis. When the physical form is removed or when the person becomes old the beauty does not exist anymore. On the other hand, Aristotle disagrees with Plato that form is a representation of all things. He does not agree that a chair is merely a chair because it takes the form of a chair. He describes an object as an idea from the designer. He explains that a chair becomes a chair because the designer wants it to be a chair. It can be a different object if the design is changed. I will explain in my opinion why Aristotle's explanation of form and matter makes better sense.


Aristotle argues that form is made from matter. In short, he means that all things must have matter or material before they came into existence. Indeed, his explanation that a chair becomes a chair because of its design is valid. This is because the chair comes from woods which can be designed to become something else, say a table. When some woods are designed to make a chair, the chair takes the form of a chair. If the form is not completed, there is nothing that comes out from the matter. For instance, if the wood is not made or designed to make something, it remains as just a piece of wood.

Looking at Plato's, he argues that form is a perception of the mind. For instance, he argues that beauty is a perception of the mind. When matter is put in place, the form does not exist. As much as he made be true, I think that Aristotle arguments on matter and form make more sense. The two cannot exist without each other. Surely, if there were no organs in human beings, then how one could discuss the beauty of human beings? We could not talk about a table or a chair if wood did not exist. Hence, in my opinion, when the matter is taken out of Plato's theory, the theory is untenable. In short, matter cannot be separated from its form, and if it happens, the form does not exist. For instance, when organs are removed from the human being, the person is no more.

To sum up, I think that Aristotle's theory of matter and form us making better sense than Plato's. This is because his explanation is practical and convincing. The form cannot be separated from matter, and the design of any matter determines the kind of form that will be produced.

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