and pre-ference [Vor-ziehen], freedom of choice, (ultimately, propensio in bonum, the propensity toward the good), hence the connection between ground and freedom. The concept of potius, "rather than," μᾶλλον, contains a moment of preference. We know possibilities of preference only in areas where there are decisions about value or lack of value, higher or lower value. Of course reference to the dimension of value as a possible horizon for preference, assessment, and disapprobation does not provide a solution to the problem, since the idea of value is as obscure in its metaphysical genesis as is the good, the ἀγαθόν or bonum. Nevertheless, the connection between the good or ἀγαθόν and being or ὄν emerged already in ancient philosophy.
The intrinsic connection between the problem of being and the problem of preference is especially apparent in Plato where in the Republic he teaches that "beyond being," ἐπέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας there is still the idea of the good, ἰδέα ἀγαθοῦ: 1) Ἡ ἀγαθοῦ ἰδέα ἐν τῷ γνωστῷ τελευταία (Rep. VII, 517b8f.) [The last thing in the realm of the knowable is the idea of the good]. But it is last in such a way that the idea of the good completes everything; it is that which embraces all beings as beings. Being has an inner relation to the ἀγαθόν. This idea of the good is μόγις ὁρᾶσθαι difficult to see. 2) Πάντων αὕτη ὀρθῶν τε καὶ καλῶν αἰτία (517c2), it is the cause of all things right and fine. The idea of the good is the basic determination of all order, all that belongs together. Insofar as belonging together, κοινωνία, is the essential determination of being, Plato is saying that the idea of the good is the primary bearer of this coherence, κοινωνία. 3) Ἔν τε ὁρατῷ φῶς καὶ τὸν τούτου κύριον τεκοῦσα (517c3) [In the realm of the visible, the idea of the good bears the light and its master]. The idea of the good brings the light, in the realm of the visible, and at the same time the master of this light, i.e., the sun. Here would be the place for a thorough interpretation of the myth of the cave. Light is the prerequisite for vision. The sight of the understanding also requires light, and what originally provides light for knowing beings, i.e., for understanding being, is the idea of the ἀγαθόν. 4) Ἔν τε νοητῷ αὐτὴ κυρία (517c3/4) [The idea of the good dominates in the realm of reason]. It is directly dominant in the realm of what is graspable by human reason, so that it provides truth and reason. The intrinsic possibility of truth and reason is based on the idea of the good. 5) Ἡ τοῦ παντὸς ἀρχὴν (511b7) [It is the origin of all]. It is beginning, ground, cause of all. 6) The idea of the good is ἔτι ἐπέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας (509ba) [even beyond being], transcending even beings and their being. What then does the idea of the good