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Plato Got it Right — 2 Comments

  1. Hi John,
    “ideas, though non-physical, are at least as real as physical things…”
    That statement hinges on what it means for something to be real. Can’t agree that imaginary = reality. If an idea or concept does not manifest itself in reality then, though imagination exists, it is not the same as being physically real. Both exist, but they are not equal in reality. Interesting blog.

    • Hi Cameron, and thanks for the comment.
      Plato actually thought that ideas are more real than physical things. I hold the more modern view that reality and existence are on-or-off affairs. Either you’re real or you’re not. A thing exists or it doesn’t. Existence and reality do not come in degrees. You’ve either got it or you don’t.
      So my idea of a rutabaga is every bit as real – it exists every bit as much – as an actual rutabaga. Of course the two are radically different things. The latter is a physical thing – a rather disgusting-tasting tuber. The former isn’t a physical thing at all – at least so says me, and Plato. The idea of something is a completely different thing from the thing it is an idea of. But they are both really existing things.
      Of course we also have plenty of ideas of things that are not real and do not exist. Unicorns, fairies (I think), invisible rhinoceroses. Those things don’t exist. But the ideas of them do. They’re in your mind right now.
      Of course Plato went even further. (And I agree.) Those ideas would still exist even if none of us were thinking them. The ideas would still ‘be there.’ There would still be such a thing as unicornness, and fairieness, because there still could have been those things. On the other hand, if ideas cannot exist without a mind to think them, then we have good reason to believe in God – a single great mind thinking all the ideas even when we’re not

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