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Plato's Allegory of the cave

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nicole desmond

on 20 September 2012

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Transcript of Plato's Allegory of the cave

Plato's Allegory of the Cave Plato believed that humans are exposed to two worlds at once- the world of senses and the world of the truly authentic. He found this difficult to explain to ordinary people so he created his story of the cave. Plato described the cave as a dark, box shaped room. There was a huge fire blazing at the back of the room. We believe this must have made the room hot and stuffy. In front of the fire was a tall wooden platform. There were 4 prisoners at the opposite end of the room facing the wall. They were chained to a board with their knees brought up and chained at their chest. Their heads were also chained in a way that they could never move their heads. These prisoners had been in this position since they were born. All they had ever seen was the blank wall in front of them. The master of the cave used to move wooden animal shapes across the platform to create shadows on the wall in front of the prisoners. One day one of the prisoners was freed. He was shown the blazing fire and the wooden animals. At first he refused to believe that what he had been seeing all his life was an illusion. He was told to go outside and experience the real world. He began to notice the true beauty of things that are real, and he saw the sun, and saw the flowers and plants grow and change. He returned and told the other prisoners about his experience but they laughed and told him he was wrong and stupid to have gone and ruined his eyesight out in the sun. In this story Plato sees himself, the philospher, as the freed prisoner. He feels that he has experienced the world differently to other people and he knows he should share his experience, but no one will listen to him. He believes he is in a better world. He feels that he should teach others of their illusions so they may see what is real and true instead of living in a world of illusions. Plato told this story to explain how he believes that the body does not truly exist, only the soul and our ideas do. He says that for something to really exist it has to have some form of unchangeability in it; our bodies change and grow therefore they do not exist. However, our minds and souls do not physically change, which means they exist. Plato said that our senses must not be trusted, they must be ignored. We must go with our minds because sometimes our senses only pick up the illusion, what we are given at face value and they accept it for what it seems on the surface. Our minds and souls are what we must listen to.
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