Explain Platos Analogy of the Cave

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Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher, who came up with the Unity of Opposites, meaning everything has an opposite. Heraclitus also once said, “on those stepping into rivers staying the same other and other waters flow.” This meaning the world of nature is always changing, and this world is the world of opposite. Plato took Heraclitus original idea further by using the cave analogy and the World of the Forms to explain and use it further. Plato’s cave analogy shows us the difference between this world and the world and the world of the Forms. Plato describes the cave as having prisoners chained up facing the cave wall. These prisoners are in an illusory world (our world- the world of appearance). These prisoners are chained to the floor, these chains could symbolize our senses, saying our senses (the chains) cause us to accept everything that we see and hear around us. There is a fire burning behind them, of which they can see the shadows of on the wall in front of them, they believe the shadow is real and is the reality of the fire. As well as the shadow of the fire, the prisoners can also see shadows of people crossing the footbridge behind them, carrying stone animal statues; again they believe these shadows to be real. One of the prisoners escapes from the empirical world of the cave, making a hard journey to the outside, into the real world. His eyes take a while to adjust in the sunlight in the real immutable world. He then chooses to go back into the cave to tell the other prisoners the knowledge he had gained from the outside world, however they did not believe in his knowledge and decided they wanted to ridicule and mistreat Plato- a similar thing happened to his early teacher Socrates, when he tried to share his knowledge and theories with people. Furthermore, this could also show the prisoners are content with what they already know in their idea of

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