Aristotle's Approach to Ethics and Plato's Divided Line
3) Explain the so-called ‘Divided Line’. What do the different levels mean? How does this apply to
ethics? How does this apply to Knowledge, perception, and/or awareness? Explain in depth and detail.
Plato’s ‘Divided Line’ is a model indicating not only levels of knowledge, but basically levels of
everything. It is divided into four levels and two sides. The left side consists of ways we know, become
aware of, and perceive things, while the right side consists of the objects of knowledge, awareness, and
perception. The bottom half includes those things in the physical realm and the top half includes those
things in the spiritual and intellectual realm. The highest point in the physical realm is the sun, and the
highest point in the spiritual realm is the form of the good and beautiful, both of which are essentially
impossible to reach.
The different levels mean different things. On the lowest level, the left side is made up of our
imagination, perception, and conjecture. The right side is made up of shadows and mirages. The next
level up, on the left, is where we believe something because we see it. The right side of this level is
where we find all physical things. At the top of the physical realm before entering the spiritual realm, is
the sun. The next level up is the lowest level in the spiritual realm. The left side of this level includes
thinking from hypotheses, while the right side includes objects of math and science. The top level in
Plato’s model contains true knowledge and dialectical thinking on the left. The rite contains all forms
and ideas. The topmost point, the forms of the good and beautiful, is the ultimate goal of human
happiness, or eudaimonia. These non-physical forms are the ultimate reality, the ideal perfect model of
all that exists.
These different levels apply to knowledge, perception, awareness, and ethics in the same way.
For each of these things, the higher one goes in the model, the higher one goes in any of these particular
areas. For example, regarding different levels of knowledge, the lowest level is on the bottom and the
highest level is on top. Therefore, the closer one gets to the top of the model, the more...