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First Prompt - Essay Example

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Greek philosophers were symbols of the perpetual quest for truth, knowledge and life. Plato's most famous piece of literature "The Republic" includes the well knows story-metaphor of the "Allegory of the Cave". There, Plato tries to present his thesis that we as human beings are imperfect and our reflections about the world around us are not ultimate…
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First Essay Prompt
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Download file to see previous pages What we see is only our dim reflections on the walls, metaphor for our imperfection and ignorance.
There are prisoners in the cave who are chained to the floor in the darkness and unable to move their bodies to see what is happening around them. Under the protection of a parapet there are the puppeteers who display shadows on the walls. The prisoners are disillusioned that this is their reality. The story is told not from the perspective of the prisoners, but rather as a conversation between Socrates and Plato's brother - Glaucon. Plato's idea is that people are governed by the supreme forces of nature and Gods and we are unable to control our destiny and life. Everything is decided upon Gods and they are who captivate us and release us. And because people are under the possession of a higher power, we can not understand. Scharffenberger and Jowett (2004) comment that Plato's work "Republic" is identified mainly with the concept of the good. Plato's philosophy is often written as conversations and dialogues which shows that before reaching some conclusion the readers must be presented with all arguments and viewpoints (Scharffenberger and Jowett, 2004).
In the "Allegory of the Cave" scene Socrates is the one describing the situation in the cave and he is the one to convey the idea that behind the prisoners puppeteers exist who move objects to resemble the reality. Another important aspect of the story besides our human imperfection and wrong interpretations of reality and goodness is that we often give names to objects to make sense of the world. However, language appears to be the limit of our understanding for the physical objects that surround us, and the invisible remains indecipherable and unreachable for our mind. Our thinking is bound by our imagination and we can think as long as we see and witness existence with our sense. Beyond this, our mind can not grasp other realities. Thus, human knowledge is full of mistakes and too limited.

Once the prisoners of the cave are released they face different world - they see the sun, the light, the people around. They realize that these new images are the "truth", the reality. Now prisoners change their perceptions and start to believe that the sun leads their own existence. Scharffenberger and Jowett (2004) remark that this is the climax of the storyline - people regard as good what they are presented with. Then human goodness and knowledge are questionable, since they are not omnipresent and we do not possess them by nature. We have to discover them alone. So goodness and knowledge are controversial, because they depend on individual's reactions and beliefs. And there is no ultimate, supreme notion to unite them for all human beings.


Apology is Plato's interpretation of Socrate's speech where they accuse him corrupting the young men of Greece through worshiping gods, which are not recognized by the state. With Apology Socrates defends himself and give reasons for his actions. "The Delphic Quest and the Gadfly are the two poles of Socrates' public self-vindication: the one submissive to the dawning wonder of the complexity of political and moral affair, the other aggressive in the hunt for clarification of this wonder (Newell 98)." Newell (2000) remarks that Socrate's philosophy consists of two dimensions. The holistic - represented by the Delphic Quest in Apology, and the analytical - embodies by the Gadfly. Socrates' ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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