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No Horse Is A 'horse'

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Posted by Michael Levine on July 23, 2003 14:21:47 UTC

A bit complicated...

"Horses exist" can be a valid (true) statement
"X is a horse" is only true if everything that is true about 'X' is also true about 'horse'

As you must know too well, there is no physical entity for which every true statement about it is also a true statement about 'horse'. For instance, "horses have four legs" sounds like a true statement about horses, but a horse doesn't cease to be a horse if you cut one of his legs off. A three-legged horse is still a horse, albeit a less-than-ideal one.

My point is simple: the word 'horse' implies a state of perfection and sameness which just doesn't exist in the physical world. A 'horse', by any definition, is a mythical creature.

It's a bit embarassing to present Plato's ideas as if they were my own...

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