, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 63-78

First online:

A Novel Interpretation of Plato’s Theory of Forms

  • P. X. MonaghanAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Iowa Email author 

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In several recent issues of this journal, I argued for an account of property possession as strict, numerical identity. While this account has stuck some as being highly idiosyncratic in nature, it is not entirely something new under the sun, since as I will argue in this paper, it turns out to have a historic precedent in Plato’s theory of forms. Indeed, the purpose of this paper is twofold. The first is to show that my account of property possession can be utilized to provide a novel interpretation of Plato’s theory of forms. And the second is to show that once it has been divorced from a variety of implausible doctrines with which it has historically been wedded, Plato’s central insight that all properties possess themselves, far from being of mere historical interest, is independently plausible, ironically enough, even from an empirical point of view.