Philosophy Plato Essay
a) Explain Plato’s analogy of the cave (15 marks)
Plato was a Greek philosopher, he had a mentor named Socrates, Plato explains in his analogy of the cave the relation between the physical, material world and the higher world of forms. He wants us to challenge the ignorance of humanity when people don’t engage in philosophy, the injustice of the death of Socrates, the view of another world with forms, not appearances, and the potential for true knowledge that philosophy brings.
There are 3 stages to the cave, imprisonment in the cave, leaving the cave and returning to the cave.
At the start of the story, Plato begins by describing a scenario in which what people take to be real would in fact be an illusion. He asks us to imagine a cave inhabited by prisoners who have been chained and held immobile since childhood: not only are their legs (but not arms) held in place, but their necks are also fixed as well as there hands, so they are forced to stare at a wall in front of them. Behind the prisoners is an enormous fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised pathway, along which people walk carrying things on their heads including figures of men and animals made of wood, stone and other materials. The prisoners cannot see the raised walkway or the people walking, but they watch the shadows cast by the men, not knowing they are shadows. There are also echoes off the wall from the noise produced from the pathway. These prisoners no of non-other life, apart from the appearances; as they think these are the only real things in life. Plato suggests the prisoners would take the shadows to be real things and the echoes to be real sounds created by the shadows, not just reflections of reality, since they are all they had ever seen or heard. These prisoners just accept everything and do not question; something a real philosopher doesn’t do. Their lives are empty and meaningless. Plato then suggests that a prisoner is freed...
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