"The Good"

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      Today, the word “good” has many meanings, such as, “That which is morally right, enjoyable or satisfying, thorough, having the qualities required for a particular role” (“Good” Google Dictionary). Plato, however, believed that there was an unchanging, perfect form of “the good” that existed. He explained that there are good people and good houses, but these good things point towards the form “good” which is perfect and unchanging. “The good” to Plato was the highest of the forms, and it was the goal of the philosopher to know “the good” (Republic V-VII). I believe that “the good” is when people play their part and give others their due, and this “good” exists apart from any religions, morals, or laws.

      “The good” according to Plato was the highest form, but he never defined “the good.” “The good” and justice have many traits in common, and by examining justice, I believe a definition of “the good” may be achieved. According to Plato, justice is when everyone does their part and does not meddle in other people’s affairs. When people do their job, which contributes to the community, we call them “good” citizens. We also, however, call people “good” when they give others their due by not robbing, slandering, or killing. Thus, the ultimate “good” is doing your part but also giving others their due (Plato IV-VII).

      This good, or goodness, that minds its own business and gives others their due, exists in and of itself without reliance on religion, deity, or law. Regardless of a person’s religious or moral beliefs, he still has a sense of “the good” and “the bad.” If people did not have this sense, they would not obey any laws that were placed over them. They would murder, steal, and slander others with no sense of remorse. Some people do commit these offenses, but most people have convictions that tell them these crimes are bad. We call these convictions their sense of “the good.” This sense of “the good,” that does not come from religion or law, causes people to do their jobs and give others their due.

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