Plato's analogy of the cave

Topics: Existence, Truth, Sun Pages: 1 (350 words) Published: October 1, 2013
The analogy of the cave tells us nothing about reality. Discuss [10] To explain the way in which Plato’s analogy of the cave could tell us something about reality, one could use the example of a small town, in the middle of nowhere. Many people live in this town, and it has a school, a church, a post office and a shop. The population of the town rarely leave to visit other places. These people can be considered to be the prisoners in Plato’s analogy, chained together, facing a blank wall, assuming to know everything about the world from the small part of it they’ve seen. They know nothing of the world outside their town, they know it’s there, but they don’t understand it. These people are happy enough to live in the dark, as it were, with little or no education about life outside the town’s boundaries. Plato says that as long as we are enthralled by what we see and have knowledge of, we will never be able to consider other abstract ideas we don’t understand. The allegory teaches us about enlightenment, and how if we can be philosophers we can be free. The Allegory of the Cave also represents an extended metaphor for the state of human existence, and for the transformation that occurs during philosophical enlightenment. When the light of the sun shines on the freed man, this is allegory for enlightenment and perception of the truth. The minor concerns of the world as he has viewed it previously are now seen as falsely held perception and he is eager to share enlightenment with others. Some believe that the Allegory of the Cave teaches us much about education. Though there are many aims of education, the ultimate aim is to ‘move us out of the cave’, meaning to come into the light – being enlightened – and understand something clearly – see the light of knowledge. Education leads us to question facts, to seek new information, to question old assumptions, and to move closer to the "truth" than students and teachers were before.
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