Plato's Moral Theory Essay

1747 Words Dec 6th, 2011 7 Pages
When Plato’s Republic was introduced in my coursework, I approached this book just like other books that I have read. But the Republic is not written like a typical textbook, but rather, like a living conversation. And like most conversations, it develops important ideas to improve our lives. As you read this book, you notice a main idea that Plato is trying to convey: why a person should bother to be good. But in order to be good, the Republic opens with asking the reader what is justice. Plato provides us with many answers, but he doesn’t frame those answers in terms that we would expect. Instead, Plato frames the answer in terms of how an individual should structure the different parts of his mind in order to become a just person …show more content…
This suggests that forms are perfect and unchanging and are beyond space and time. They are the source of all things. The objects in the physical world are merely copies of these forms. These forms are only accessible through the intellect and not through the senses. The analogy of the cave, which is narrated by Socrates, will help us understand Plato’s theory of forms.

The cave analogy allows us to examine why these ideas or forms take shape. First, the prisoners in the cave are like humans, trapped in a world of shadows and copies. Second, humans will not of their own accord leave their imprisonment. Therefore they might need to be forced out of the cave, perhaps by a teacher who knows what is best for them. Third, the prisoner who is freed becomes the philosopher. The philosopher has seen the sun and gives light to his new surroundings. The philosopher starts to take interest in the sun and all things that lead from it. Plato interprets the sun to be the perfect form of the good. This explains why the sun is so important in the analogy of the cave. The form of the good is the ultimate perfection; it is superior to all other forms, and it is the ultimate source of all things that exist in the realm of the forms and the material world. This acknowledgment becomes the pinnacle of philosophical knowledge, the contemplation of the form of the good. This explanation is a reminder that Plato’s focus was ethical. It is why
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