The concept of diegesis in the philosophy of Plato is a fundamental aspect of his theory of knowledge and metaphysics. Diegesis refers to the distinction between two realms of existence: the realm of appearances or sensory perception (also known as the sensible world or the world of becoming) and the realm of true reality (the intelligible world or the world of being).
According to Plato, the sensible world is the world of appearances, where things are in a constant state of flux and change. It is a world of shadows and illusions, where our senses deceive us and provide only a partial understanding of reality. In this realm, we encounter the physical objects and phenomena that we perceive through our senses, such as tables, trees, and the changing seasons. These sensory experiences are not considered to be reliable sources of knowledge because they are subject to variability and are contingent on individual perspectives.
On the other hand, Plato argues that true reality lies in the intelligible world. This world is beyond the realm of sensory perception and is accessible only through reason and intellectual contemplation. It is a world of eternal and unchanging Forms or Ideas, which are the ultimate objects of knowledge. These Forms, according to Plato, are abstract and perfect entities that serve as the blueprints or archetypes for the imperfect and transitory things we encounter in the sensible world. For example, there is a Form of Beauty that exists in the intelligible world, which serves as the basis for our understanding and recognition of beauty in the sensible world.
Plato sees the relationship between the sensible and intelligible worlds as hierarchical and interconnected. The sensible world is considered a reflection or imitation of the intelligible world. The things we perceive through our senses are mere copies or shadows of the true Forms. The task of philosophy, for Plato, is to ascend from the world of appearances to the realm of true reality through rational inquiry and contemplation. By engaging in dialectic and philosophical discourse, one can gain knowledge of the Forms and attain a higher understanding of the ultimate truths and principles that govern the universe.
The concept of diegesis in Plato’s philosophy emphasizes the distinction between the illusory realm of sensory perception and the higher realm of true reality. It underscores the importance of reason and intellectual inquiry in seeking knowledge and understanding beyond the limitations of the senses. Through the process of dialectic, Plato invites us to transcend the world of appearances and engage with the eternal and unchanging Forms that underlie and give meaning to our experience of the sensible world.