Analogy Of The Divided Line
Plato, in his dialogue The Republic Book 6 (509D–513E), has Socrates explain through the literary device of a divided line his fundamental metaphysical ideas as four separate but logically connected models of the world. The four models are arranged into a first pair for the visible world, and a second pair for the purely intelligible world. The models are described in succession as corresponding to increasing levels of reality from common illusion, to belief, to reasoning, and then to philosophical understanding.
The analogy of the divided line immediately follows another Platonic metaphor, that of the sun, and is in turn followed by the Allegory of the Cave.
... Plato holds a very strict notion of knowledge ... For example, he does not accept expertise about a subject (the Gorgias,482d), nor direct perception (the Theatetus), nor true belief about the physical world (the Meno) as knowledge ...
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