The Divided Line

Decent Essays
In philosophy, philosophers develop ideas that can change the way we view the world. Many of the pre-Socratics, meaning before the time of Socrates, shared ideas that were later found in incorporated into other philosophers ideas and beliefs. For Plato, he incorporated ideas from Heraclitus and Parmenides in his book The Republic. Heraclitus believed that things are in a constant state of change. This was different compared to the ideas of the pre-Socratics who believed in monism. Monism is the belief that only one form of being is the key to our existence. During Heraclitus’ time many thought he followed the monist beliefs, but he was rather trying to teach that there is more than one thing that makes us the way we are. He focused on how…show more content…
For Plato his sphere of what is known and what is unknown comes from his idea of The Divided Line. The Divided Line is a metaphor to show how the world is broken down. This line is first broken into two unequal pieces and those two pieces are then cut in half themselves. The first cut breaks the visible world from the intelligible, in the visible the bottom layer is images (perception) topped by physical objects (faith). On top of the visible world is the intelligible world and the lower level for the intelligible world is hypothesis (understanding) and topped by perfect ideas (reason). For Plato if you reach the top level of perfect ideas, then you have found the good. The good is “light and sight…truly said to be like the sun, and yet not be the sun…the good has a place of honour yet higher” (Plato). This illustrates the good in a way that anyone could understand. The good is true beauty that is known, but not seen because it is part of ones intelligence. Another way Plato talks about realms is in the mystery of the cave. The cave represents knowledge and what we know, life in the cave, and what we don’t know, life outside of the cave. While in the cave the prisoners are chained up so they cannot wander around or in the cave, and are constantly monitored by the guards whom are people who have already left the cave. In order to leave the cave…show more content…
Both philosopher’s had his own idea of a higher power that is not tangible, but everyone should try and reach. For Plato, the Good, and for Parmenides, Being. The both clearly articulated ways to reach a higher being, and Plato had a more complex method than what Parmenides had proposed. For Plato you had to achieve success in all layers of the divided line, while Parmenides only required rational thought. Heraclitus touches on Plato’s ideas of change and trying to reach it, but is unable to articulate a way to become a higher being. He talks about change and how things are constantly changing, but have no clear end point of what we should change into. Plato connects Parmenides’ ideas into his divided line in that, “the ideas are known but not seen” (Plato). In the divided line Plato illustrated that perfect ideas are the highest level of knowledge one can achieve, and Parmenides idea of Being can only be achieved through rational thought. While all three philosophers Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Plato, had strong views, Parmenides and Plato were the most similar on the idea of knowledge. They believed that there is a way to reach a higher level of knowledge than what people have current access
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