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Republic of Plato Essay - Ignorance, and Philosophical Conflict

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´╗┐William Orletsky May 1, 2014 Ms. McCluskey Republic of Plato Essay Ignorance, and Philosophical Conflict As a lover of learning, seeker of the constants in life, searcher of wisdom, the Platonic philosopher appears to have a very straightforward and uncomplicated life. However, his two images that build this harmonized figure also reveal the conflicting forces within the philosopher himself. In the city in speech, the philosopher rises from the ignorant masses, separated under the Noble Lie, ad is educated and made to serve to city as its king. In the metaphor of the cave, the philosopher is dragged out from blissful ignorance by benevolent superiors, which he in turn repeats for the others in the cave without discrimination, pitying all whom are ignorant. These different portrayals of ignorance between the images of the philosopher represent the emotional conflicts within the philosopher himself. This parallel appears in the philosopher?s self-image, his learning process, and his relation to society. Between the philosopher of the city and the philosopher of the cave, the nature of the ignorance of the masses is separated by the restrictions imposed upon the people in each image. In the city, the citizens are born under the Noble Lie, separated at as youths into their appropriate classes, and ensuring that the justice of the minding one?s business is maintained. In the cave, the individuals undergo no separation, but rather all are stuck in ignorance. ...read more.


In their complete ignorance, they have no compulsion to explore, believing themselves to be already wise, and also are not chosen for their philosophic nature but rather at random. The ignorant prisoners need not prove themselves to others, nor do they have any desire to explore. Their opportunity for reaching the truth is enabled by the enlightened individuals who return to the cave to drag out the prisoners. While the philosopher of the city had to prove himself to earn his path to wisdom, the philosopher of the cave was pitied by the other philosophers and helped, pulled away from the bliss of ignorance. In either of the two education processes, the philosopher will have a different view on ignorance. For the philosopher of the city, ignorance is an undesirable entity that identifies the masses but from which he himself has always been separate. For the philosopher of the cave, ignorance is a very tangible entity form which he was able to escape through the help of others. While under either mindset, the philosopher values the truth similarly in itself, the different possible views of ignorance alter their views on learning. For either mindset, the philosopher acts as if he is climbing a mountain of philosophy, whose actual geography depends on their view of ignorance. For the philosopher of the city, the mountain has a tall cliff at its base. ...read more.


Through his different view on ignorance and his experience, the philosopher of the cave disproves the theory of cynical noninterference, and pities the masses rather than rejecting them. While the philosopher of the city deals with ignorance through rejecting such an entity, the philosopher of the cave resolves to fix this issue through helping one ignorant person at time reach wisdom. In doing so, he faces this undesirable entity and diminishes it instead of hiding it. The Platonic philosopher is eternally one who loves wisdom, seeking to learn the constants in life, and naturally disliking ignorance. Depending on what way he sees wisdom, his attitude towards his standing, learning, and society are wildly different. If the city in speech and the cave truly existed as described, the philosophers in each theoretically would not have any form of internal conflict. Those in the cave would act more cynically, while those in the cave would act with more compassion. However, this is not the case, as both are simply images describing the whole of philosophy. Within the philosopher, his views are dynamic, rather than locked in one scheme, as are the images' metaphors themselves. As the philosopher examines the truth, he can see it in more than one way, as with his views on ignorance. In this dynamic search for the truth, the changing thoughts influence other beliefs and ideas, causing the conflict within the philosopher. ...read more.

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