Explain Platos Analogy of the Cave

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By ellisgreenwood
Words 345
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The analogy of the cave is written in Plato’s famous book known as Republic. It is one of the three similes he uses to illustrate his theory of Forms. Plato uses analogy to help describe philosophical difference between physical world and the difference of the world of forms. In short the analogy explains to others about the physical world as nothing but full of illusion. He describes the true reality is to be found in the eternal unchanging world of forms.

The analogy begins in the cave. The cave represents the visible world or the world of sense experience, where the shadows seem more real than truth itself. It indirectly represents the human body, which imprisons the soul preventing it from seeking the true knowledge. People are chained up in the cave such a way that all prisoners are facing the wall. They are chained up in a way that they can only look ahead of them at the wall of the cave. The only light in the cave comes from the fire. There is a wall behind the prisoners and fire is located behind the wall. Behind the wall other people are walking up and down carrying statues on their heads. The prisoners observe the shadows that flicker before them. The prisoners believe the shadows are reality as that is all they are able to see. If they hear the people behind the wall they associate the sounds made by individuals with the shadows. They think of the shadows as the true reality. Plato represents our condition as human beings; he describes that our senses chain us and cause us to accept the world around us, symbolised as the cave.

In this analogy the prisoners symbolize ordinary people who have not yet discovered the philosophical truth. They are deceived into believing that the shadows they see are real objects and the sounds people make are made by the shadows. Plato argues that the shadows are equivalent to the senses of the human body that deceives…...

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