What Are Plato’s Two Realms of Epistemology?


Martha Robinson

Plato, the famous Greek philosopher, is known for his contributions in various fields such as metaphysics, ethics, politics, and epistemology. When it comes to epistemology, Plato divided reality into two distinct realms – the realm of Forms and the realm of Sensible Things.

The Realm of Forms:

Plato believed that the realm of Forms is a non-physical world where abstract concepts such as beauty, justice, goodness, and truth reside. These forms are eternal and unchanging and are not subject to human perception or interpretation. According to Plato’s theory of knowledge, true knowledge can only be obtained by accessing this realm of Forms.

The Realm of Sensible Things:

On the other hand, the realm of sensible things is the physical world that we live in. This world is full of constantly changing objects that we can perceive through our senses.

However, because these things are always changing and imperfect, they cannot provide us with true knowledge. Instead, they can only give us opinions or beliefs.

Plato believed that our senses deceive us into thinking that the physical world is real and that true knowledge can be gained from it. He argued that true knowledge can only be attained by reasoning about the abstract concepts in the realm of Forms.

To illustrate his point further, Plato used an allegory called “The Cave.” In this allegory, he describes a group of people who have been chained up in a cave since birth.

All they can see are shadows on the wall created by a fire burning behind them. These shadows represent what we perceive as reality – an illusionary version of what’s real.

However, if one were to break free from their chains and venture outside of the cave into the sunlight (the realm of Forms), they would see things as they truly are – not just shadows but real objects with depth and substance.

In conclusion,

Plato’s two realms theory states that reality is divided into two worlds – the world of Forms and the world of Sensible Things. The realm of Forms is where true knowledge resides, while the realm of Sensible Things is where we perceive reality through our senses. According to Plato, true knowledge can only be attained by accessing the realm of Forms through reason and intellect.