What is Plato’s “Theory of Ideas”?

The theory of ideas is Plato’s (A Greek Philosopher) expression of his belief of the life forms that exist beyond the material realm and are unchanging- as they never come into existence, change, or pass out of existence. According to Plato, these ideas are the objects of knowledge. Furthermore, Plato stated that the body which communes with the physical world is inferior to the intellect as he believed the physical aspect of human beings was irrational and that intellect was considered as rational. 

The origins for Plato’s theory of ideas can be traced back to Socrates, who believed that the inner spirit (psyche) has intuitive access to the divinely known principles, the principles in which Socrates attempted to formulate through conversations he had with others. The Socratic dialogues (written by Plato), reveals that Socrates was striving to define the exact nature of the traditional ancient Greek virtues of piety, temperance and courage.

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