Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Plato’s artistically expressed philosophy can be called idealistic in the sense that it teaches that the bases of reality are eternal, immaterial Ideas or Forms. Material things exist only because they participate in the existence of the Ideas or Forms. Physical matter is inferior to spirit, and that is why the human person, who is essentially pure spirit, is hampered in this life by the physical body. The philosopher is one who is able to distinguish between the deceptive qualities of material existence and the real reality that is nonmaterial. Philosophy is a way of life, the two foundations of which are a sound intelligence and a sound morality. Its sole purpose is to attain the Good. For Plato, Socrates was the prime example of the model philosopher.