Plato's Republic

question arises as to why the god allowed only one idea to go forth for each realm of individual things, for example, bedframes. εἴτε οὐκ ἐβούλετο, εἴτε τις ἀνάγκη ἐπῆν μὴ πλέον ἢ μίαν ἐν τῇ φύσει ἀπεργάσασθαι αὐτὸν κλίνην (597 c). "Either he desired, or a certain necessity compelled him, not to permit more than one bedframe to emerge in outward appearance." δύο δὲ τοιαῦται ἢ πλείους οὔτε ἐφυτεύθησαν ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ οὔτε μὴ φυῶσιν. "Two or more such Ideas neither were brought forward by the god, nor will they ever come forth." What is the reason for that? Why is there always only one Idea for one thing?

Let us illustrate briefly Plato's answer, with a glance back to the essence of the true, which we discussed earlier, the true in its singularity and immutability.

What would happen if the god were to allow several Ideas to emerge for one thing and its manifold nature—"house" and houses, "tree" and trees, "animal" and [186] animals? The answer: εἰ δύο μόνας ποιήσειεν, πάλιν ἂν μία ἀναφανείη ἧς ἐκεῖναι ἂν αὖ ἀμφότεραι τὸ εἶδος ἔχοιεν, καὶ εἴη ἂν ὃ ἔστιν κλίνη ἐκείνη ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ αἱ δύο. "If instead of the single 'Idea' house he were to allow more to emerge, even if only two, then one of them would have to appear with an outward appearance that both would have to have as their own; and the what-being of the bedframe or the house would be that one, whereas both could not be." Hence unity and singularity are proper to the essence of the idea. Now, according to Plato, where does the ground for the singularity of each of the Ideas (essences) lie? It does not rest in the fact that when two Ideas are posited the one allows the other to proceed to a higher level; it rests in the fact that the god, who knew of the ascent of representation from a manifold to a unity, βουλόμενος εἶναι ὄντως κλίνης ποιητὴς ὄντως οὔσης, ἀλλὰ μὴ κλίνης τινὸς μηδὲ κλινοποιός τις, μίαν φύσει αὐτὴν ἔφυσεν (597 d), "wanted to be the essential producer of the essential thing, not of any given particular thing, and not like some sort of framemaker." Because the god wanted to be such a god, he allowed such things—for example, bedframes—"to come forth in the unity and singularity of their essence." In what, then, is the essence of the Idea, and thereby of Being, ultimately grounded for Plato? In the initiating action of a creator whose essentiality appears to be saved only when