'The unexamined life is not worth living'
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'The unexamined life is not worth living' Following this theory initiated by Plato we can investigate the Analogy of the Cave and the concepts and ideas put forth by Plato from this allegory. Plato presents an interesting theory of knowledge through this allegory, explaining to us that the only way of finding true knowledge is through a long and grinding process of studying, researching and thinking. Plato believed knowledge is innate within us so this process is simply of us re-discovering our innate knowledge. By using the theory of the cave Plato explained that general people choose to ignore the unanswerable questions of life, and go through life ignorant of these questions. Unlike philosophers who search for the answers, and eventually find them, giving them true knowledge. Of course, being a philosopher himself, Plato is considered to be an elitist. When describing the analogy of the cave Plato declares that the philosophers, being the greater minds with deeper understandings of the world should all be kings. Another point made by this allegory is that knowledge can only be rediscovered if the individual searching accepts that there are two worlds.
However, if the prisoner were forced to face reality, they would realise that there is an entire world outside of the cave. Plato uses this analogy to explain to us that once we have been through the studying process, the adjustment, we will discover the real world, and have full knowledge, like philosophers. So instead of living in a world of opinion, we will live in a world of knowledge, instead of a world of what the senses perceive, we will live in a world of what reason understands, a world of reality. In Plato's opinion this world of the 'Forms' is arranged in a hierarchy. The most important form is the form of the good, which is the ultimate principal, making the world of the 'Forms' to be a world we should all aspire to be in. However, one major flaw in Plato's argument is that it is based on opinion. Considering part of his argument bases this perfect world on being of knowledge and not opinion, and bearing in mind Plato considers himself, as a Philosopher, to be in this world, his argument is based on opinion.
Therefore, Plato could have been saying that those people who decide to ignore, or have not considered there being a different world other than the physical, can't really know the whole truth. This then brings us to the conclusion that it is true some people are and will remain to be without any knowledge of the whole truth, of goodness, and will be happy to accept the physical world as the only world. Yet there will still be those who enquire and question the physical world, and will search for the world of 'forms'. The world where the whole does exist. These people will become philosophers whilst going through the process of reacquiring the innate knowledge. But they are still people, and will gain true knowledge of the truth. Or so Plato's opinion tells us. Plato's message was not that normal people cannot ever access the world of reason, the 'forms', just they have to rediscover their innate knowledge. Simplistically knowledge is there in front of us, and if we open our eyes to it we will be able to access it, if however we turn away and remain eyes closed to this knowledge, we will remain in a world of shadows and opinions. Danielle Bailey Page 1 of 3
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