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The Allegory of the Cave - Plato was a Philosopher who used a story based on people imprisoned in a cave to explain the way in which he thought humans formed ideas based on their senses.

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Introduction

The Allegory of the Cave Plato was a Philosopher who used a story based on people imprisoned in a cave to explain the way in which he thought humans formed ideas based on their senses. The story is known as `the Allegory of the Cave' and is one of Plato's most famous passages. The allegory has different meanings at different levels; therefore there is not just a single moral in this story. Plato believed that there were two worlds, the world of appearance, the world we are in, and another world known as reality - a world we were all in before we entered the world of appearance, however we can't remember it. Plato suggests that the body is a kind of prison in which the soul is trapped. The story begins with several prisoners tied up and trapped in a cave with little light. Plato uses this to show how he feels the soul is trapped in the body, as if it were imprisoned. ...read more.

Middle

The operator then leads the prisoner into the outside world. As he sees the natural light he us in great pain as his senses have never experienced anything so bright before. In the outside world he learns about new things, and how his sensors effected what he believes to be reality. In the outside world he adapts to the light, to start with he sees only reflections in water and shadows, then he starts to see all things but only at nighttimes, when the light is dim. He then starts to be able to see light from the stars and the moon and finally he can see all things in daylight, created by the sun. He learns how the sun is the most important object for people living on the earth, just as the fire was important to the prisoners despite them not knowing it was there. Plato uses this example to show that all we aware of, as reality is what we pick up from our senses. ...read more.

Conclusion

But I disagree with the way in which Plato makes some of his arguments. He claims that we build up all knowledge based on our senses; I consider this to be untrue. I think that we build up knowledge through what we experience via our senses and through our intellect. I can understand Plato's theory behind his decision but he doesn't seem to take into account human intellect. It is obviously possible for human's to create a false sense of reality if they are put into extreme situations, such as the prisoners in the allegory of the cave, or a person who is blind. But as humans we do naturally think beyond the obvious, for example Plato is using his intellect to make these presumptions not his senses. If we were to rely solely upon our senses we wouldn't have discovered many areas of science and other complicated subjects. I think Plato says we can never know the whole truth because he feels that we rely too much on our senses to gain knowledge. The most intelligent people are those who try to develop with the intelligence what they collect through their senses. David Jackson ...read more.

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