I have been learning about Plato's Theory of Forms, and I have read that Plato's visible world is Heraclitean, and Plato's intelligible world is Parmenidean.

I think I understand the parallel between Plato's visible world and Heraclitus: our senses are not useful in obtaining knowledge about the higher realities (in Plato - forms | in Heraclitus - logos), and relying on them alone yields an incomplete picture (in Plato - the so-called lovers of sights/sounds only believe in the many X things, which are no more X than they are not-X | in Heraclitus, the senses are "bad witnesses" if you don't use you your reason).

However, although I think I understand why Plato's visible world is considered Heraclitean (i.e., senses can only show you so much - you need reason/intellect to access the higher reality), I don't at all understand why Plato's intelligible world is considered Parmenidean.

Can someone please explain why Plato's visible world is said to be Heraclitean and Plato's intelligible world is said to be Parmenidean.

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    It would help if you had a reference to where you are getting this from. The obvious, off-the-cuff answer is that the the intelligible world is eternal, unchanging, without motion, one, etc., much like Parmindes' supposed monism. Jul 25, 2019 at 18:22
  • I think that's the intended reasoning. Thanks a lot. The place where I am getting it from doesn't give any explanation or provide any extra context, but I think this is what it meant. Is my understanding of the connection between the visible world and that of Heraclitus feasible? Jul 25, 2019 at 19:34
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    "The place where I am getting it from" And this place is ...? Jul 26, 2019 at 1:16

1 Answer 1


In a nutshell, the sensible world is "Heraclitean" because it is the locus of change (becoming) while Plato's Forms are immutable, like Parmenides' being.

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