According to Plato the things you can see, feel and touch, like for instance, a pear, are not the genuine article but only a shadow of the real thing. We know, for example, that a circle is all points in a plane equally distant from the center, yet the circles you and I have actually seen are only a shadow of this perfect idea. It's an idea (or "form" as Plato would say), that we readily understand even though none of us have ever actually seen one.
Back to the Cave
Candace S. Weber
Portland State University
Copyright © 1995, Candace S. Weber, Revised November 27, 1995