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Commentary for Plato,s allegory of the cave - Essay Example

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Platos allegory of the cave is one of the most famous attempts to describe and illustrate what the nature of reality is and how it is represented in the world. The cave symbolises the state of people – how they function in everyday life, surrounded by their own thoughts, ideas…
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Commentary for Plato,s allegory of the cave
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Extract of sample "Commentary for Plato,s allegory of the cave"

Download file to see previous pages Being a Greek philosopher of his era, Plato adopts a common way to narrate the story through series of conversations between Socrates – his mentor, and Glaucon – a student.
In the dialogue, Socrates instructs his student to imagine a cave, where prisoners are held. They are all chained and immobile. They can only see in front of them where there is a wall. There is a fire behind the prisoners which they cant see. There is also a passage where they can walk. The prisoners carry objects with different shapes and figures. They are like puppeteers, behind a window-dressing, because they can see the flickering reflection of the object they carry on the wall and believe that they are real. However the shadowy representations are not the real image.
The plot offers a twist. Socrates is to free one of the prisoners from his chains, so that he can turn around and see that the images which his fellow prisoners believe to be true are only reflections produced from the fire behind them. The liberated prisoner will also be allowed to exit the cave. The light of the sun to which his eyes are not accustomed may blind him. Now in the outside world, he can see different dimensions like the reflection of his image in the water. The prisoner now learns how wrong his fellow cave companions were. However, even if the enlightened attempts to explain the true nature of the shadowy images and the real ones, the other prisoners will not believe him, because they dont hold any other perceptions of the world in order to compare the two.
One of Platos predominant ideas (and of Socrates too) is that of the form of things. This is explained in the allegory with the help of reflections. The world consists of forms – ideal and perfect, however people can only filter them as reflections through their eyes. Thus, human beings can grasp half images of these reflections ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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