The theory rests in the myth that describes people chained within a cave. The only images they see are the shadows of objects and animals held in front of a fire that is behind them that reflects on the cave walls in front of them. That is all they had ever seen so that is what they believe to be real. One day a man escaped the cave and went outside. With the sun he saw what was real in the world and realized all he ever saw were just shadows. He went back to the men in the cave and told them all this. He told them that they too could see the outside if they broke free of their chains but they didn't believe him.
The environment of the cave to Plato symbolizes the physical world of appearances. Escaping into the sun-filled world means the transition into the real world that is full and perfect. A world where things are not viewed only in a material sense. It is here that the whole of Plato's philosophy is summed up. Plato's theory of knowledge is devoted to definitions of science and knowledge. Developing the argument from the lower consciousness to the higher consciousness, in which perception, opinion, reasoning are closely examined.
Cornford F.M in his interpretations "Plato's Theory of Knowledge", the phrase "degrees of reality" is found in many commentaries to describe the aforementioned hierarchy. ...Show more