Allegory of Caves: Plato, Socrates, Reality, Knowledge & Masses-Object of Representation-Philosophy YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Title: Allegory of Caves

Allegory of Caves: Plato, Socrates, Reality, Knowledge & Masses - Object of Representation-Philosophy

According to this simple those who have no β€˜knowledge’ in the proper sense of the term may be compared to prisoners in a cave, who are only able to look in one direction because they are bound and who have a fire behind them and a wall in front.

What is Reality?

  • 2400 years ago – life is changed in caves in stone walls – by Plato – Book 7 of Republic – Ideal society by justice, truth and beauty.
  • At last, some man succeeds in escaping from the cave to the light of the sun; for the first time he sees real things and becomes aware that he had hitherto been deceived by shadows.
  • Things around him are real and shadows are reflection – could not believe. Shadows appeared clearer to him. Now his eye adjusts – reflection in water and through sun. Share discovery to the friends in cave.
  • If he is the sort of philosopher who is fit to become a guardian, he will feel it his duty to those who were formerly his fellow-prisoners, to go down again into the cave, instruct them as to the truth, and show them the way up. But he will have difficulty in persuading them, because, coming out of the sunlight, he will see shadows less clearly than they do, and will seem to them stupider than before his escape.
  • Between them and the wall, there is nothing; all that they see are shadows of themselves and of objects behind them, cast on the wall by the light of the fire. Inevitably they regard these shadows as real, and have no notion of the objects to which they are due.
  • Plato here hints perhaps at the trial of Socrates, Socrates was sentenced to death as he tried to educate the people of Athens and their political leaders.
  • Masses are stubborn and ignorant to govern themselves.
  • Allegory – theory of forms – like shadows on wall – things in real world are mere reflections of ideal forms like roundness or beauty
  • Origin of knowledge, problem of representation, grouping concrete things under abstract forms.

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