Summary Of Plato's Cave

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Plato was an Athenian philosopher, who founded the first academic institution in the western world, the academy and is well-known for paving the path for philosophy in western traditions. He was a student of Socrates’ and often used Socrates in the discussions of his dialogues, the myth of the cave being one of them. Plato was a believer of idealism. He believed that immaterial qualities are more real than empirical objects, which we can feel, see, and touch. In the myth of the cave, Plato paints us a picture of how we can be easily fooled by our senses, and of our original perceptions of the world. We humans usually think that the most real things are solid, and can be touched. Plato thinks differently, he thinks that the most real…show more content…
The prisoners symbolize the people who are not aware of the truth, those who are ignorant, while the shackles that bind them in place are their unwillingness to understand or their unwillingness to open their minds to new possibilities. The darkness stands for the ignorance, the shadows that are reflected on the cave wall symbolizes our perception of reality, and the things we deem real and the prisoners’ belief of the shadows corresponds to their belief of reality. The objects that cast the shadows on the cave wall are the true forms of reality. The fire in the cave represents the cause of sight, the thing that casts the illusions on the walls, their substitution for the sun. The prisoner who escapes represents a person gaining knowledge of reality, a philosopher. The prisoner’s journey to the outer world corresponds to the upward progress of the mind into the intelligible region. The steep, rocky path symbolizes the difficult journey of achieving knowledge and truth, while the outer world the prisoner encounters after overcoming the challenges of achieving knowledge represents the intelligible region. The shadows and reflections in the outer world corresponds to mathematical relations, and the objects that cast them are the forms. The sun represents the ultimate form of knowledge, the form of goodness, which is the highest form of reality. The prisoner’s realization of the sun…show more content…
First, is his view of ultimate reality. In the story, the outside world represents the intelligible world. The sun stands for the Form of goodness, the most basic truth of all. The other Forms are represented by objects in the outer world, while shadows and reflections in water stand for the lowest level of entity in that world, which is mathematical relations. Second, his view on origins, Plato shares how he believes all humans start in the cave which corresponds to the visible world, and in the darkness representing how humans all start out as ignorant, but do not necessarily have to stay there corresponding to the prisoner who has escaped. Thirdly, his view on human nature. In the myth we can see both sides of human nature, the positive side and the negative side. On the positive side, the prisoner who is enlightened goes back to the cave in order to also enlighten others which represents how the person who knows goodness, will find a way to try to help others. On the negative side, the murder of the returned prisoner shows the nature of humans to deny the truth, the unwillingness of humans to see a worldview that differs from theirs, and how humans simply, do not like to be wrong. Fourthly, with his worldview of goals, the journey of the prisoner to the outer world represents how humans should strive to know more, to be dazzled and be temporarily blinded, but still continue on the path
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