Plato’s theory on delusion or the truth?

plato's theory

Have you ever wondered what makes a tree, well, a tree? The mirage that we see on hot summer days, what is it? Someone long back might have thought it as water, which later proved to be a reflection of the sky. So what is there a connection between what we see, believe and the actual truth? Does our brain focus actually comprehend things that it wants to or is it the actual reality? Let us discuss this by going through plato theory. It will help us understand whether or not everything we see is merely a shadow of its true self.

Plato theory on truth and delusion

Plato’s Allegory of the cave

A philosophical metaphor by Plato, the allegory of the cave presents the idea that our perceptions of the world around us are limited and incomplete. He uses the concept to illustrate enlightenment and showcases how the pursuit of knowledge is about understanding the true nature of reality.

This theory is illustrated through a group of people who have lived their entire lives in a cave, unable to see the outside world. They are only able to see shadows of objects that pass in front of a fire behind them. They believe these shadows to be the only reality.

Plato also argues that, like the people in the cave, we are all limited by our own perceptions and that it is only through the pursuit of knowledge and understanding that we can begin to see the world as it truly is. The allegory of the cave is often interpreted as a metaphor for the journey from ignorance to knowledge and understanding and is considered a classic work of philosophy.

This philosophy holds true for most of us. In pursuit of a good life, perceive the life around us as ideal for us. We forget to test the waters of the real world that has multiple opportunities for us. Our ignorance and lack of knowledge do not act as a barrier to our growth, it creates a delusion and ignorance, that stops us from exploring the world. This also explains our incapability to understand nothing.

Theory of forms

Another marvellous philosophy by Plato, also known as the theory of ideas, is a philosophical concept proposed in a number of his dialogues and writings. According to this theory, there is a realm of eternal, perfect, and unchanging forms or ideas. These are separate from the material world that we perceive through our senses. Plato believed that these forms were the ultimate reality and that the material world was only a shadow or imitation of the true reality that exists in the world of forms.

For example, Plato might argue that the concept of “beauty” is a form. And all beautiful things in the material world are imperfect copies of this eternal form. Similarly, he might argue that the concept of “truth” is a form and that all true statements or beliefs are imperfect copies of this eternal form. Plato believed that the forms were the source of all meaning. The knowledge of the forms was necessary for true understanding.

The theory of forms has been a central and influential concept in Western philosophy. It has been discussed and debated by philosophers for centuries. Despite its widespread influence, the theory of forms has also been the subject of criticism. It has been challenged by other philosophical perspectives.


Plato changed the way we think about the world. According to Plato, everything people see and experience in their daily lives is a mere representation of a reality that they cannot access but which still has an impact on the world. Although most people find this theory to be counterintuitive. It has had a significant impact on philosophy and shares elements with Kantian metaphysics and other philosophical views.