The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

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In coming to grips with what are essentially logical and conceptual problems Plato doubtless had in mind and followed the example set by the natural philosophers. It seems very likely, therefore, that he thought of his Forms as causes of certain puzzling facts in a manner initially not wholly unlike that in which others had believed air or fire to be causes of various physical phenomena. Plato's language suggests that his own explanatory formula, though strikingly different in function from any other, was fashioned after those of his precursors.


Charlotte Stough presented “Forms and Explanations in the Phaedo” at the meeting of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy with the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in Atlanta, 1973. A revised version was published in 1976 in Phronesis 21.1:1-30.

For information about the author, see her obituary online at University of California