Cognition, Objects, and Proportions in the Divided Line




Plato, Divided Line, Existence, Degrees of Reality, Two Worlds Theory


In a recent publication, Nicholas Smith discussed some elements of the Republic’s divided line (Rep. 509d6-511e4) to demonstrate that they create an unresolved problem. I tackle Smith’s argumentation to show that elements of the divided line that are mentioned by him do not create problems in interpreting this passage. On the contrary, these features convey one of the most important doctrines behind this passage. This is the idea that the world of sensible things holds a dependence upon the world of Forms in the same way that shadows and reflections depend on the things that are shadowed and reflected. Following this line of reasoning, I propose an interpretation of the divided line in which both knowledge and opinion are set over the same kind of objects F. One has an opinion about F whenever apprehending F by means of its effects, and one has knowledge about F whenever apprehending F itself.


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How to Cite

Matoso, R. (2021). Cognition, Objects, and Proportions in the Divided Line. PLATO JOURNAL, 22, 19-26.