Concepts of Form date back as far as Plato and Socrates. Plato wrote that there is a divine, perfect Idea that material forms strive to imitate, a paradisical form somewhere, that acts as a model for worldly objects. Aristotle also taught that these forms are “in things”.

Thereafter, for many centuries, Western philosophers patterned themselves after Plato and Aristotle. The early Christian philosophers, Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, taught that Ideas or Forms exist in the mind of God. Aquinas and John Duns Scotus taught that God is Pure Form or pure energy.

A modem writer, L.L. Whyte, takes a scientific point of view. He says “particles … tend to assume regular or ordered arrangements” and “The ‘form’ in the new sense of the underlying structural pattern is more important than it material components” (meaning particles) and suggests that there should be Professors of Form and courses on Form in future universities.


The School of Form is very old, dating back to about 400 years before Christ, with Plato and Socrates. I will quote from S.E. Frost “Basic teachings of the Great Philosophers”. Plato taught that this world is “not real but a copy world” but there is a real world, a spiritual world of ideal forms. Everything in this physical world are copies of the, things in the ideal world. The “ideas” or “forms” are the eternal patterns for things in our world. Thus Plato taught there was a differ­ence between the ideal world and the world of matter, that matter was lifeless.

Plato’s student Aristotle also believed that Ideas or Forms exist, but that Forms “are not outside of and above things, but are in things …. here form and matter are one” and that the world we live in is the real world. Aristotle believed that the “first cause or the unmoved mover” is “pure form without any matter”.


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