Plato’s Theory of Forms in 10 Minutes

Environmentalism relies heavily on Plato’s theory of knowledge including his Theory of the Forms. The environmentalist movement emerged as a major social force during the 1970’s and it is no coincidence since it is an extension of the New Left and that Plato’s philosophy is very authoritarian as revealed in his book The Republic.

Stefan Molyneux gives a brief overview of what the Theory of the Forms is and contrasts it with Aristotle’s conclusions.

The real problem for the modem mind is not between Catholicism and Protestantism, nor between the Reformation and the Renaissance; it is between Christianity and the Enlightenment, that hardly datable era which began in Europe with Francis Bacon, and hitched its hopes to reason, science, and philosophy. As art was the keynote of the Renaissance, and religion the soul of the Reformation, so science and philosophy became the gods of the Enlightenment. From this standpoint the Renaissance was in the direct line of European mental development, and led to the Illumination and Aufkldrung; the Reformation was a deviation from that line, a rejection of reason, a reaffirmation of medieval faith.

And yet, despite its original intolerance, the Reformation rendered two services to the Enlightenment: it broke the authority of dogma, generated a hundred sects that would formerly have died at the stake, and allowed among them such virile debate that reason was finally recognized as the bar before which all sects had to plead their cause unless they were armed with irresistible physical force. In that pleading, that attack and defense, all sects were weakened, all dogmas; and a century after Luther’s exaltation of faith Francis Bacon proclaimed that knowledge is power. In that same seventeenth century thinkers like Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, and Locke offered philosophy as a substitute or basis for religion. In the eighteenth century Helvetius, Holbach, and La Mettrie proclaimed open atheism, and Voltaire was called a bigot because he believed in God. This was the challenge that Christianity faced, in a crisis far more profound than the debate between the Catholic and the Protestant version of the medieval creed. The effort of Christianity to survive Copernicus and Darwin is the basic drama of the last three hundred years. What are the struggles of states and classes beside that Armageddon of the soul?

The Story of Civilization, Vol 6, The Reformation, by Will Durant