EXPLAIN WHAT PLATO MEANT BY 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.
Here Plato taught politics, mathematics, biology, philosophy, the harmonics of sound, astronomy and his theory of "Forms". Plato called the creator of our imperfect world the "Demiurge". The prisoners take these shadows for real, truthful objects. This part of us according to Plato is our soul. In the process of doing so he developed the idea that there is a "two-world" system of epistemology. They are using words in their language to refer to something that does not exist in their reality, (as we do in reference to particulars). One of the prisoners eventually escapes his chains and runs from the cave. Plato conceived the Forms as arranged hierarchically; the supreme Form is the Form of the Good. The escapee prisoner represents Plato, or indeed other such gifted philosophers, who realize that this imperical world is a mere copy of a perfect world; the world of the Forms. The Form of the Good is the ultimate principle, as without is "light" all of the other concepts of Forms would not be visible, understandable or even existent. This is a being who existed outside of space and time and who fashioned the universe from already existent matter, (this idea was to be later adopted by the Christian church as God). The shadows are the particulars (copies of the true Forms) here on earth and the puppets represents the universal Forms in their own world. This definition will relate to the perfect cat in the world of the Forms, not the individual, particular cat here on earth. These particulars exist in a specific time and place, and are not eternal or unchanging. They are made to face a wall, and raised up behind them is a fire.