Plato and the Cave Essay

951 WordsFeb 11, 20144 Pages
Plato Sample Answer Part (a) | | | Philosophy - Plato | Explain Plato's Analogy of the Cave (25 marks).This was written in 30 minutes in timed conditions.In Republic book VII Plato explains his analogy of the cave (an analogy is a simple story that has metaphorical meaning). Plato uses the analogy to help describe his philosophical position on the main difference between the physical world and the World of Forms (WoF). He believes that his analogy could clearly explain to others why the physical or world of sense experience was nothing but an illusion; that true reality must be found in the eternal unchanging World of Forms.Plato's analogy begins in a cave. The cave is meant to represent the physical world or the world of sense experience. A number of prisoners are bound by their necks and legs so that they cannot turn around. They have been this way since birth and know no other life than this. Behind the prisoners are a low wall, a walkway and a fire that burns. From time to time individuals carry objects like marionettes in front of the fire and shadows are cast against the wall in front of them. The prisoners observe the shadows that flicker before them and have developed a game over time. They try to predict the movements of the shadows. They associate the sounds made by the individuals with the shadows as this is all they know. They think of them as true reality.The prisoners in this case represent the ignorant unenlightened individuals yet to discover philosophical truth. They are duped into believing that the shadows they see are the real objects in themselves or that the sounds the people make are being made by the shadows. Plato argues that the shadows and games played are equivalent to the five senses deceiving the individual. He believes that the objects we see in the physical world are pale reflections or imitations of the true ‘Form' of that

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