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Explain Plato's use of the metaphor of shadows in his allegory of the cave.

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Explain Plato's use of the metaphor of shadows in his allegory of the cave Plato used the concept of a cave, with which prisoners lived within, to explain the different types of worlds (world of ideas and the natural world). In this story, he writes about many different concepts, in which is illustrated throughout his work. Most of the story corresponds to the beliefs in which Plato has. To begin with, there are some prisoners sitting, chained to the back of the cave, with a fire creating shadows of themselves and the objects behind them, on the back wall. They see this as the real objects because they have no real knowledge of what the real world or real things are like as they only see reflections. When one man breaks free, he gets to experience the real world, instead of just seeing shadows of the objects and other prisoners. This prisoner realises that up until this point he has only been seeing shadows. This part of the story corresponds to the way that objects shadows, will always be different and forever changing. ...read more.


They do not believe him and are happy to live the life they are living without knowing the true world. In the end they end up killing him. Which is like what happened to the famous philosopher Socrates. The analogy of the cave is very similar to the concept Plato uses of the world of ideas and the real world, which we live in. He uses the shadows as the real world and the idea of the cave in which the prisoners are trapped in as the natural world. They have been believing this all their lives and don't like change. The analogy of the cave helps to understand the two different types of world's as it helps to understand that there is change in the real world, and is all bought to life by the sun, which is the same in the world of ideas, with the form of the good. On what grounds might Plato's understanding of human reason be criticised. Plato might be criticised on many reasons due to his understanding of human reason. ...read more.


Plato might also be criticised for his understanding of human reason, because over time good and justice changes. Whereas, if we were to go along with the forms in the world of ideas, this would not be true. This is because the forms never change and therefore the form of justice will never change, but this is not true within the natural world, because everything is constantly changing here. We also use our mind to decide what we do, which we gain from our senses, and things in this world are constantly changing so it is not very reliable. Whereas Plato believed that everything was the same and non-changing in the world of ideas. Justice is experienced in both worlds. Your soul will get the form of justice/injustice from the world of ideas. But you will also see and experience justice/injustice in the real world. Which will enable us to see things from both points of view. Plato was criticised on many of his concepts about human reason, but even though the concepts make sense. They may not be able to be used because the natural world is constantly changing and is timeless, whereas the world of ideas is not. It stays the same. Leanne Down 13ML ...read more.

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