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Allegory of The Cave

Allegory of the Cave

Research papers on Allegory of the Cave by Plato look at the parable by Plato that illustrates the man cannot truly see himself clearly. Have a paper custom written on the Allegory of the Cave by Paper Masters so that you fully understand the philosophic work.

In book seven of Plato's Republic, Plato gives us his famous Allegory of the Cave. This allegory is meant to explain the nature of reality and of human knowledge of that reality. Plato asks us to imagine the following. There is a cave. From the time of their childhood, human beings are chained and fettered so that they face the back wall of the cave. Their backs are to the entrance of the cave, but they have never seen that entrance. High up behind them there burns a fire. Between the fire and their backs is a low wall. Men carry past this wall, things that rise above the wall, "human images and shapes of animals as well, wrought in stone and wood and every material". The chained prisoners never see these directly, but because of the fire behind them they see the shadows that they cast on the back wall of the cave that they face.Allegory of the Cave research papers have been written by philosophy experts. Paper Masters can produce a custom written project following your guidelines.

What Plato Believes

We are, Plato believes, like the prisoners. We do not see reality, but only the shadow of the real. The concrete, material objects perceivable to men are imperfect copies of that which truly is real. Their imperfection is a sign of their inferior status vis a vis reality. Any human attempt to draw a straight line will fail; the attempt is less real than the Form of the straight line that is graspable by the intellect.

The Allegory of the Cave asserts the following:

  1. Everything that man "knows" from his experience of the world through his senses is a shadow of its more real parent Form.
  2. Real knowledge cannot be gained of concrete objects because they are, actually, mere shadows.
  3. The senses, organs of the body, are fallible.
  4. It is the mind, an organ of the soul, that can, through reasoning, apprehend the Forms, and it is only by such an exercise of the mind that knowledge worthy of the name is gained.

Annas, speaking of Plato's views on knowledge as expressed in Meno and Phaedo states, "our reasoning capacity, identified with the soul, is sharply separated from our empirical means of cognitionThe soul, the reasoning ability which grasps reality, isdrastically separated from the body, understood as everything that is not pure reasoning". Annas also remarks that this is the model of human knowledge that is on display in the middle chapters of Republic.

Plato's Republicshow that The Republic is best remembered for two ideas: philosophers must be kings and the Allegory of the Cave. Both of these are connected, for it is through the Allegory of the cave that Plato provides justification as to why certain people must be elevated toleadership. Power rests in those withknowledge.

The Allegory of the Cave made the following main points:

  • Those who have left the cave are knowledgeable of the real world, and "are reluctant to manage the affairs of men".
  • Power, according to Plato, derives from strength.
  • The laws of the country are made by the ruling party for its own interest.
  • Right and wrong are subjective terms based on the laws written by the power group.
  • Therefore, Plato's Allegory of the Cave solution was to have Philosopher Kings.

In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato compares the physical world to a place where men see only shadows, created by performers, akin to a puppet show. Ascent into the light outside the cave is philosophical knowledge, the ability to know the truth of the universe. In other words, men turn to politics for money and power. By placing power in the hands of those above such mundane concerns (Philosopher King), good governance will result. Power will be in the hands of those who care little for it.

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