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Sensible world and intelligible world

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Sensible world and intelligible world: definition

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In this lesson from a TEACHER we will give a definition of Plato's worlds, the sensible world and the intelligible world. The separation of reality that the philosopher makes, is what is known by the name of ontological dualism: in reality there are two different dimensions that are the sensible world, or that of the senses, and the intelligible world, that of reason.

Related to this is his anthropological dualism: in human being it is divided into Body, which belongs to the sensible world, and the soul, which belongs to the intelligible world, and unlike the body, it is immortal, and with the death of the body, it will return to the intelligible world, the world of ideas from which it fell. If you want to know more, keep reading.

Platodivide reality in two (ontological dualism), by affirming the existence of two worlds: the sensible world and the intelligible world. The sensible world is prior to the sensible world, which is no more than a copy of the first.

1. Intelligible world

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The intelligible world is the World of Ideas and it constitutes the authentic reality, since the sensible world is only real to the extent that it participates in the world of ideas. This world can only be accessed through the reason. This world is outside of space and time and in it they meet the ideas, immutable and eternal, and also the soul before its birth in the body, for that reason, it already knows the ideas (reminiscence theory), but has forgotten them, although through reason, it can remember them again.

It is the world of science. This conception of the intelligible world has ethical, political and epistemological consequences. It is the world of absolute entities, universal, immutable and eternal, and that they are known beyond time and space, and that they are known through reason, which is the most precious part of the world. soul, which the philosopher divides into 3: rational, irascible and concupiscible.

2. The sensible world

The sensible world, also called visible world from the Greek, is the physical world, that of physical objects, which is accessed through the senses. It is characterized by its spatiality and temporality, corruptibility and change. You cannot get true knowledge of the sensible world, just opinion.

Sensible things have being and existence, but only because they participate in the world of ideas, the truly real world, and it has been built by him. Demiurge shaping matter, starting from the intelligible world, which it imitates. It is the set of entities particular, changing, corruptible, multiple and that are known through the senses.

Sensible world and intelligible world: definition - Ontological dualism: sensible world and intelligible world

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In the Book VII of the "Republic" (514a-516d), Plato presents his well-known myth of the cave, which tries to be a metaphor “of our nature regarding their education and their lack of education”. This means that in addition to exposing his theory of knowledge, he also has implications in other fields such as ontology, anthropology, ethics or politics, the latter being the main purpose of his most important work.

In this metaphor, Plato describes a underworld, a cavern in which some prisoners are chained and immobile so that they can only see the bottom of the cave. Behind and above them, there is a fire that illuminates it, and higher up, a path with a wall in the middle, through which different individuals who speak, animals, trees and different artificial things, etc... but as the wall is in the middle, the prisoners can only see the shadows and hear the echo of their voices, and they think, wrongly, that this is the reality. The cavern, would represent the physical world.

But one day, one of the prisoners breaks free and goes outside. East outside world is he intelligible world. And when he leaves, when he sees the light for the first time, his eyes begin to hurt, because I've never seen the sun before. This would symbolize effort and ascension on the path of knowledge, through education. The sun would represent the idea of Well, the most important of all, which he identifies with the idea of ​​justice, love, beauty and even with God. Later, he returns to the cavern to free the rest of the prisoners (as Neo who returns to the Matrix to try to free the rest)

Imagine a kind of cavernous subterranean dwelling with a long entrance, open to the light, which stretches across the entire cavern and some men who are standing there. in it since they were children, tied by the legs and neck so that they have to stay still and look only forward, because the ligatures prevent them from turning the head; behind them, the light of a fire that burns somewhat far away and on a higher plane, and between the fire and the chained ones, a path situated high up; and along the way suppose that a partition similar to the screens that stand between the puppeteers and the public has been built, above which they display their wonders. (Plato, The Myth of the Cave, The Republic, Book VII)

Sensible world and intelligible world: definition - The sensible world and the intelligible world in the Myth of the Cave

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