Posted by Spratley on September 22, 1998 at 02:11:20:
In Reply to: Plato's/Socrates' line analogy? posted by Genevive Jones on September 21, 1998 at 20:09:25:
The line is spilt into two parts, the world of forms and the world of substances. Think of the substances as the shadows on the cave wall and the forms as the real thing.
I wish I could draw a diagram, the version of The Republic that I have has a good one.
So the line is divided into the invisible but intelligible world (from whence comes our ideas and understandings) and the visible of objects. At the top of all is the Good, which shines down on all and illuminates. The Good is what sustains the rest, under which all is included. Next is the forms, the perfect versions of earthly objects which we remember when we see the objects. The forms provide us with our understanding, knowledge, intelligence. We understand or know a horse becasue of the momory of the form horse. Next lowest is reason or thought based on axioms. This includes mathematical principles, which are too perfect to be entities of the visible world. The triangle is the form but the pythagorean theorem is an axiom based upon the form, an extrapolation of the form. Get it?
The we cross the divider in the line, the visible things to which the other side of the line is applied. At the top of this lower section is belief, or perception based ideation. We see objects, percieve information about the object and form beliefs based on the sight, sound, etc. Now, these beleifs will get us from place to place all right, but we can sure them up with axiomatic thought, reasoning and making it more perfect. . . You understand.
Then comes the imagination. It is represented by dreams, refections in ponds, the least real of the things around us. The most ephemeral. Our art and creativity comes from this imaginative, illusory division. It can be considered as taking a vision at face value, not reasoning about it to find out more, not recognizing any forms in it, just seeing the image. (most scholars admit this is the most confusiong part).
As you read the allegory of the cave, understand that Plato is walking you up the line (VII 516), from the cave of ignorance, up a steep path into the light where he then first sees shadows and reflections in the pond, then the things themselves. Then he looks up into the sun (towards the Good). He sees the sun and reasons about it, drawing conclusions etc, until he senses that the sun is the cause of all things.
Hope I helped.
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