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Doxa (δόξα) is a Greek word for the type of truth whose foundation derives from convention. Contrary to a truth derived the nature of beings as such without recourse to empirical examples, doxa relies on particular cases, myths, commonly held opinions, and traditional beliefs. Because the truth of doxa resides in the world of sense, that is, the sensible things of material existence, it pertains to things that change and come to be and cease to be. In his dialogues, Plato opposes these types of objects - the particular examples which over time are shrouded in myth, stories, traditions and customs - with the unchanging truth of Forms. The problem of doxa is that it represents a sedimented form of visible truth, the truth of 'appearances.' The problem of the philosopher, however, is precisely to determine the connection between 'appearances' and reality. The philosopher's job is to investigate reality but because he finds himself in the world, he must be an expert at helping hearers pass through resemblances (262b).[1]

The difference between the philosopher who deals in such image-making in order to cause hearers to move through resemblances can be distinguished from the sophist insofar as the images arising in philosophical discourse are retain their connection to the original form, in other words, reality itself. Sophists, on the other hand, are content to persuade others of the value of their arguments by combining words and arguments in aesthetic arrangements.


  1. Plato (1914). Plato I of Plato. Harvard University Press. ISBN 13: 978-0-674-99040-1.