The Way Up and the Way Back are the Same: Plato’ s Analogies of the Sun, the Line and the Cave and the Path Intelligence Takes

Zovko, Marie-Élise (2008) The Way Up and the Way Back are the Same: Plato’ s Analogies of the Sun, the Line and the Cave and the Path Intelligence Takes. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium Platonism and Forms of Intelligence. Akademie Verlag, Berlin, pp. 313-341. ISBN 978-3-05-004507-8

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In this paper, Heraclitus' metaphor of the 'Way' is applied to the interpretation of Plato's Divided Line, itself an image of the stages in the ascent to true knowledge, in its relationship to the Analogies of the Sun, the Cave and a hypothetical 'fourth member' of their overarching proportion. The image of the ascent is reinterpreted and expanded in the Analogy of the Cave, which serves to clarify the role of Plato's differentiation of forms of intelligence for education. The ascent to knowledge/enlightenment and the path of return, as well as the reascent in the company of another form a unity. The "way up" to knowledge of the highest things and the "way back" to a rediscovery and redefinition of individual kinds and species, to a reproduction of the objects of intelligence in our words and acts, as well as in our efforts to "turn about" and encourage to the ascent those who have yet to turn their vision in the right direction, are the 'same' in an ontological sense and an epistemological sense with regard to the original proportionality and hierarchy of the forms and functions of intelligence. The mathematical proportion portrayed by the Divided Line comprises several distinct ratios which describe the inter- and intrarelationships of our sensible and intelligible capabilities. This complex proportion, however, is not a mere abstraction, but exhibits something like the character of a living, organic being and reflects the actual functioning of our intelligence as recognized by modern neuroscience, psychology and educational theory. The interactivity of dianoia and noesis in the realm of thought and the intelligible do not merely replicate or mirror those of eikasia and pistis in the realm of opinion and the sensible, nor do either of these ratios merely copy the overarching ratio of episteme and doxa, but represent the specific functioning and cooperation of our intuitive and logical powers in thought.Like Kant, Plato recognized that mathematical intuition involves a synthetic activity different from that of mere sense perception and also from that of discursive reason, one which neverthless requires the "flight to the logoi" for its explication. Like Kant, Plato also recognized the aesthetic nature of the highest form of human thought, in Plato noesis, especially as it functions in the method of hypotheses described in the Phaedo and the Divided Line, in Kant reflective judgement. Yet neither confounded the aesthetic nature of judgement/intuition with the perceptive and emotional faculties, despite their analogous relationships. Both recognized and upheld the requirement of subjecting manifold impressions of sense and the phenomenal objects which give rise to them to a process of definition and "justification", applying methods of collection and division to trace the natural connections and ratios which go to make up complex phenomena and thereby prepare the soul for truths that transcend the realm of discursive thought.In keeping with the overarching proportionality of intelligence and sense, Plato and Kant agree that it is the ideas communicated to our intellect by the intuitive and aesthetic faculty of human judgement which form the basis of our ability to even recognize the impressions of sense (eikota) as representative of things and things for what they are (phyteuta, zoa, skeuasta), as well as of our discursive and hypothetical attempt to define and categorize them and how they behave (dianoia). Though analogous to the lower faculties of perception, however, noesis differs essentially from these in being ultimately an activity of intelligence, the highest expression of our spontaneity, as Aristotle recognized (Metaph. 1051 a 23-31), and requiring a consistent and coherent formation, which may neglect neither empirical research nor rational principles of discursive reasoning.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Depositing User: Maja Šoštarić
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2014 14:22
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2021 11:47

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