Analogy of the Divided Line  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

The Analogy of the Divided Line (or Allegory of the Divided Line; Template:Lang-grc-gre) is presented by the Greek philosopher Plato in the Republic (509d–511e). It is written as a dialogue between Glaucon and Socrates, in which the latter further elaborates upon the immediately preceding Analogy of the Sun at the former's request. Socrates asks Glaucon to not only envision this unequally bisected line but to imagine further bisecting each of the two segments. Socrates explains that the four resulting segments represent four separate 'affections' (παθήματα) of the psyche. The lower two sections are said to represent the visible while the higher two are said to represent the intelligible. These affections are described in succession as corresponding to increasing levels of reality and truth from conjecture (εἰκασία) to belief (πίστις) to thought (διάνοια) and finally to understanding (νόησις). Furthermore this Analogy not only elaborates a theory of the psyche but also presents metaphysical and epistemological views.

This analogy is immediately followed by the Analogy of the Cave at 514a.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Analogy of the Divided Line" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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