When one browses through the famous Western literatures, there is nothing that would compare to the short passages of Plato’s Divided Line, which appeared at the later part of the Republic. In his passages, Plato is suggesting that human knowledge has four kinds. It is the analogy that can be perceived from the passage wherein a line has been divided into different segments. The first thing that Plato did is to distinguish each segment into subject matters. Plato also considered comparing physical things known by human senses against the ones known to the intellect. After which, he subdivided these analogies into sections and came up with four sections that consists of practical and real world knowledge, imagination, wisdom and scientific and logical knowledge. The arguable point of this analogy appears to be the elucidation of the nature of knowledge or “noesis” and that the other segments are there to provide contrast, but al of the four segments cannot be divided because they are interrelated to one another.
Based on Plato’s views about knowledge, the world and reality, it appears that his divided line is suggesting an idea that belief (pistis) and imagination (eikasia) are the lowest form of epistemic state. Furthermore, reasoning (dianoia) and intelligence (noesis) is by far the most important epistemic state that people can provide realistic reasoning through the latter. However, it is arguably a bleak statement of contrast because in order to demonstrate dianoia, one should show a sensible image of proof. For instance, students learning about geometry could only prove that a square has four sides by means of drawing an illustration.
However, the ability to demonstrate imagery for the sake of reasoning also constitutes imagination. Therefore, eikasia segment cannot be assumed to be less important than dianoia. It is true that the scientific study of shapes and figures involves logic in order to be recognized as a true knowledge. However, one cannot demonstrate the physicality of the wisdom being conveyed with a sensible aid, which imagination and can only provide. Therefore, there is no apparent line that divides them because they are relatively connected with each other.
Another important point of argument in Plato’s divided line is the recognition of belief as something irrelevant to intelligence. Plato believes that beliefs are uninformed views that people upholds without a mere consideration to commonsense that what if the things they believed in are actually the complete opposite of the truth. However, beliefs can also be statement of assumption used for reasoning. For example, mathematical reasoning is drawn from a hypothesis, which could be a common belief. In order to prove the assumptions, one should make use of imagination to illustrate proof of idea. Once a physical illustration of such idea has been presented, it is only then that the hypothesis drawn from scientific belief in this case is an acceptable knowledge. Therefore, knowledge cannot be called as such unless a proof derived from belief and imagination has been presented.
In a nutshell, Plato acknowledges noesis as the highest state out of the four segments because it represents pure and perfect knowledge that does not use imagination. On the other hand, a person without knowledge will not have the ability to construct an imaginative illustration of his reasoning because imagination signifies creativity, Creativity is a form of knowledge, therefore they four segments do not contrast, but rather interconnected.