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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 95, Issue 2, Spring 2021

Justin W. Keena
Pages 271-285

Plato on Forms, Predication by Analogy, and Kinds of Reality

I argue that Plato held a kinds of reality theory, not a degrees of reality theory, and that this position solves otherwise intractable problems about the Forms, notably the Third Man critique. These problems stem from the fact that Plato applied the same predicate bothto a Form (ness) and to its participants. Section I shows that this creates serious difficulties for the Forms, whether the predicate is taken in the same sense or in totally different senses. Section II presents the evidence that Plato had a third way of applying that predicate (namely, by analogy) which obviates those problems. Finally, section III explains how predication by analogy requires a kinds of reality theory, but is incompatible with a degrees of reality theory. Thus, Plato’s kinds of reality theory validates the third way of predication discussed in section II, which in turn solves the problems enumerated in section I.