Plato and the form of the good

             Plato, (427 – 347 BCE), was the second, and probably the most famous of the three ancient Greek philosophers. it has been said that all later philosophy is merely a “footnote to Plato” (A.N. Whitehead). Plato is the first philosopher to have his work recorded so that future generations would be able to examine it.
             Plato was the student of Socrates, and was greatly influenced by him, along with other philosophers which included Pythagoras and Heraclitus. He came from an aristocratic family in Athens, and his ancestry was well respected. Plato was a strong believer in a hierarchical society. He believed that at the top of this hierarchy were the intellectuals; the philosophers, whom be believed should hold the most power. After these would come the civil service, these people would carry out the ideas and wishes of the philosopher kings. At the bottom of the hierarchy was the “hoi polloi”- the common mass. Plato believed that these positions in society were hereditary and were not interchangeable. After Socrates forced suicide on charges of impiety and corruption of the youth, Plato left Athens to travel, very much disillusioned by Athenian politics and law. Around 389 BCE he returned to Athens and established his Academy, what is said to be the first European university. Here Plato taught politics, mathematics, biology, philosophy, the harmonics of sound, astronomy and his theory of “Forms”. He wrote 26 dialogues, the most famous being the Republic, which explores politics and his concept of philosopher kings. In his dialogue Parmenides, he further expands upon his theory of the world of the Forms, along with the dualism of the body and soul. Plato’s theory of the world of the Forms incorporated his ideologies concerning the Form of the Good.
             Plato believed that the imperical world that we see around us is made up of “particulars”, these being ind...

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