Explain Platos understanding of the form of the good.





Plato is a dualist in ideas of existence, meaning that he has a two world veiw. His veiw is that there are to realms, the visible realm and the intelligable realm. The visable realm is the realm that we live in. It is immanent meaning within space and time, imperfect, perceived by the senses, its appearance seems real and is dependant on peoples perceptions.


The intelligible realm is beyond space and time, its absolute and perfect, known by reason; itís real and exists independently of a persons mind.


Plato believes that the visible realm is only known by experience where we think something is beautiful or good but it is not, it is only an imperfect version of the true form. We know that what we see is an imperfect version of the true from because Plato believed that we already have complete knowledge, which is locked into our souls and when we think we have seen something beautiful in the world our souls memory would be jogged and we would feel a compulsion to try and remember the Form of the Beauty. The same is with Justice and the Good.


In the intelligible realm there is ideas and true perfect forms, these are eternal and unchanging ideas. Plato said that the highest Form is the Form of the good and the highest form of knowledge he also said that the Form of Goodness causes the Goodness of any good thing in both realms and that The Form of the Good is the ideal or perfect nature of goodness, and so an absolute measure of justice.


He poetically compares the Form of the Good to the sun. Just as the sun provides growth so things have their existence, so the Form of the Good provides the other forms with their truth and value. And just as we are able to see the world with our eyes using the light of the sun, so we can make sense of the world with our rational minds only through the assistance of truth, derived from the Form of the Good.


Plato felt that our knowledge on this earth is always unreliable so we may see goodness in someone, or recognise an action as being good, but this is only a reflection on the perfect Form of Good that shines onto our world. If we look at Mother Teresa as being a good person, we recognise she held a form of goodness, but this is not pure goodness as it is just a reflection from the physical world. We can\'t reach pure goodness by observation of people\'s actions, through experience, but by sitting and thinking and for Plato once someone understands the Form of the Good they too will be good.