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Assess platos smile of the cave

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Introduction

Assess the simile of the cave. This essay will assess the simile of the cave by concluding whether the simile is strong in explaining society, both the way it is now and the ideology of it, with philosophers ruling, it will also decide whether it would be right to implement such a society. The simile of the cave is a story within Plato's Republic. The simile of the cave asks you to Imagine prisoners, who have been chained since their childhood deep inside a cave: not only are their limbs immobilized by the chains; their heads are chained in one direction as well so that their gaze is fixed on a wall. Behind the prisoners is an enormous fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway, along which puppets of various animals, plants, and other things are moved along. The puppets cast shadows on the wall, and the prisoners watch these shadows. When one of the puppet-carriers speaks, an echo against the wall causes the prisoners to believe that the words come from the shadows. Suppose a prisoner is released and compelled to stand up and turn around. At that moment his eyes will be blinded by the sunlight coming into the cave from its entrance, and the shapes passing by will appear less real than their shadows as that's all his ever known, shadows. ...read more.

Middle

he gains wisdom, intelligence and the power of reason. When he looks at the sun, he receives a vision of the Form of the Good; he then gains total and true understanding (this relates to the next simile, the simile of sun). When the Philosopher returns to the cave to try to enlighten his fellow prisoners, this is when his mission begins. He returns out of a sense of fairness, not because he wants o re-visit the ignorance of t the cave. However the masses are comfortable with their world and refuse the philosophers attempt to free them. The idea here is that most people like their limited state and do not want to see and think more clearly. Eventually Plato argues the prisoners will kill the philosopher (Plato is thinking here of Socrates, who was killed by the people of Athens). The biggest problem with this point is that if the masses will not accept what the philosopher is saying then how will he ever introduce the state of the Republic? How are the philosophers going to be leaders if they cannot get anyone to follow them, also the simile emphasises the reluctance of the philosopher to return to the cave to free the others, this is a bad quality in a ruler. ...read more.

Conclusion

Its is argued however that it is impossible to re-organise a society from the ground up as much violence and destruction would have to be justified to achieve this. It is also argued that an attempt to organise society along rational principles is destructive. For society to be healthy it must be allowed to develop from within, growing naturally, not subject to a rigid system of rules and principles. The simile of the cave is not strong in explaining society as it has many flaws and criticisms. It may have been a stronger analogy at the time it was written. However within today's society it has become very weak as we have a great knowledge of equality which the Plato's idea of society does not consider. Also we have a large understanding of morality and I personally find Plato's ideology of society to be very unmoral as it discriminates against the class one is in. e.g. Guardians, Auxiliaries or Producers. It would not be right to implement such a society as it would create a huge class divide, much violence and unequally which in today's society we would understand to be unethical. I also believe would be virtually impossible to implement such a society as I believe it would cause a huge revolt maybe even a war between the Producers and the higher classes, the Auxiliaries and the Guardians. Lucy Brennan I I ...read more.

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