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Or, to put the point in not quite Aristotelian terms, primary substances are the only concrete existents; Socrates, the bearer of a proper name, exists in a way in which humanity or whiteness or being greater do not.

The latter are really no more than abstractions, and nothing but confusion can arise from neglecting that fact.

The question of how the one Form was supposed to relate to the many particulars that participated in or resembled it was nowhere satisfactorily answered.The difficulty turned on how the Form was to be thought of at once as an existent and as a structure.However beautiful any one of them might be, it was also in another respect lacking in beauty.It turned out to possess contradictory characteristics, and as such could never be identified with true reality.Plato had taken over from his predecessor in this world because everything is in a state of becoming something else.

Forms were needed to provide stable objects for knowledge as well as to answer the question of what is ultimately real.Souls were also distinct from Forms in Plato’s thought.In the discussions that developed around the theory of Forms, many difficulties were revealed, most of them familiar to Plato himself.There was, as Plato put it, a “place accessible to the intelligence,” which was the place, or realm, of Forms.Each Form was a genuine existent, in the sense of being precisely what it pretended to be; the Form of particular things that partook of or resembled what was truly beautiful were one and all defective.Again, the problem of the precise population of the world of Forms never got a definitive solution, perhaps because the theory of Forms was put to more than one purpose.