Key Features of Platonic Philosophy

1. The cosmos is eternal.

2. The world we see is the world of appearances and changes constantly.

3. The Real world is the world of Forms, and it does not change.

4. Things in the phenomenal world come to be as they participate in the forms, although imperfectly.

5. Matter is not the material world but a receptacle for Form. It is completely passive and has no qualities whatsoever.

6. The cosmos is a living being and has a soul.

7. Things can only participate in Forms if they are like them; like only knows like.

8. Humans can participate in the divine (unchanging) realm because they have souls.

9. The soul is the most important part of a human being and is only temporarily encased in a body.

10. Humans originally knew all these things but at birth they forget them: knowledge is a process of awakening.

11. This process of awakening requires purification from all that is not soul (i.e., matter and the body): ascesis.

12. The name for this process is theoria (contemplation).

13. Love (eros) is how one begins the process of awakening.

14. Through the process of purification the soul restrains the physical passions, and thus acquires union with the Good.

15. This insight is beyond cognitive knowledge, so it cannot be described in language.