• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss Plato's analogy of the cave

Extracts from this document...


2b) ?Explain Plato?s analogy of the cave? Plato?s analogy of the cave is from a book he wrote called The Republic and he used the analogy to illustrate his ideas of ?The Forms? and is a way of Plato explaining how the soul becomes ?englightened?. It begins with ?unenlightened? prisoners chained in a cave, which they have lived in their whole life. They can only face the wall in front of them and are unable to see people walking behind them in front of a fire with puppets projecting shadows, allowing them to only guess what the images are that they see. Voices echo throughout the cave and the prisoners associate these with the shadows. The shadows are the only things they can see, so they perceive this as reality. One of the prisoners is freed and is shown the fire and the puppets and realises that the fire and puppets caused the shadows. He then thinks that the fire and puppets are the most real things in the whole world. ...read more.


The shadows they are seeing symbolize a world of false reality, which Plato considers simply an imitation of the real world. The world outside the cave, the world of ?light? symbolizes a world of spiritual reality, a world which can only be entered be breaking free from the cave. The prisoners? journey out of the cave symbolizes an average person?s journey into the world of reality and wisdom through philosophy. Like the prisoner in the cave, this journey of knowledge is hard at the beginning which causes people to question themselves. However, once new found knowledge is gained, like the prisoner who was freed from the cave, people will want to use it wisely and not live a life of ignorance ?in the cave?. The sun represents truth and knowledge and the ?form of good? and is the origin and source of all other forms; without the sun there would be no light. Being temporarily blinded by the light from the sun symbolises enlightenment, because it allows the prisoner to see what is causing the shadows and allows them to discover a world that is ?real?. ...read more.


If this idea is applied to humans it would mean that all of our supposedly perfect actions that we carry out such, as perfect relationships are not actually perfect. People such as philosophers and scientists who have come out of the cave don?t always have the right or genuinely want to believe what they have seen. It may actually cause people anxiety or discomfort to experience a new world. Also, some people only get a partial view of reality, so only having only a slight understanding could lead to people having an even more distorted view on reality than they had originally. To an extent everyone is ?in the cave?. When applying the analogy to everyday life, no one will actually see absolute reality. Everyone sees forms. Understanding actual ?reality? and what lies outside the cave is a difficult process if people do not have the mental skill to understand it (and many people don?t), but not everyone who gets slightly out of the cave believes it and lots of people probably find it easier to not believe. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Plato used the analogy of the cave to criticise the unphilosophical and to 'get ...

    you now have an additional series of beds which means you must have an additional form that shares what all these beds have in common. You now have a seies of beds that includes two forms. However, you must now have an additional form for this series. And so on.

  2. Explain Plato's metaphor of shadows in the analogy of the cave.

    We would in fact have to be brought kicking and screaming into the real world of forms. His Use of the metaphor of shadows is to help us understand the relationship between the particulars of the physical world and the forms of the real world.

  1. Explain what Plato meant by the Form of the Good?

    our initial judgments are also often influenced by our expectations and biases. As a result of these circumstances, Plato supposes that we can never gain knowledge through our senses. Empiricism is rejected in Plato's philosophy, contradicting with his theory of Forms to a large degree.

  2. Explain Plato's use of the metaphor of the shadows in his analogy of the ...

    under the seeming chaos and disorder of the world around us, there must be an order. This idea of 'method to the madness' was reflected in Plato's belief that all of the Forms are linked together. The highest of them is the 'Form of the Good'.

  1. Explain the Analogy of the Cave in Platos Republic

    a world further on than the one we can see in front of us. It was a theoretical situation, were prisoners were tied up and could only see what was in front of them, which was a shadow play due to a fire behind them causing objects to reflect shadows which the prisoners assumed were real.

  2. Explain the Analogy of the Cave in Platos Republic, ) The Analogy of the ...

    Furthermore, in the analogy it is only the philosopher that is released. It makes us question how is this ?reality? only exclusive to philosophers, in a society where we are all treated as equals.

  1. The analogy of the cave teaches us that in life people only like to ...

    like them we remain in the dark and do not really understand the truth, but what we do understand is the shadows of truths. It is very easy for a person to assume that after going through years and years of education that what we were being taught was the

  2. Explain Platos analogy of the cave

    to the real things that cast the shadows. Plato turns from the senses and begins to investigate the realm of ideas. The realm of appearance (what you see) only contains opinion and error, knowledge is only possible in the Realm of Ideas. If a prisoner says ?That?s a cat? (s)he thinks that the word ?cat? refers to the very thing (s)he is looking at.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work