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Analysis Of The Allegory Of The Cave By Plato, And Dualism

951 words - 4 pages

knowledge? What is reality? These are the philosophical concepts that many renowned philosophers have concentrated on for centuries. One of these philosophers who was particularly concerned with this question was Plato. In an attempt to answer these questions, he wrote the “Allegory of the Cave” using the metaphor of the allegory to contrast reality with true enlightenment. Plato uses the dark of ignorance and the light of the accent into true knowledge to paint a picture of an individual’s rise to the understanding of true reality. The “Allegory of the Cave” is also used to represent Plato’s theory of dualism. Dualism is the idea of a world made up of material things, such as the physical form and immaterial things, such as the mind, but that do not necessarily depend on each other to exist. This glimpse into Plato’s teachings will include an explanation of the “Allegory of the Cave,” and some thoughts on whether dualism exists or Plato is wrong in his claim that reality is beyond the material world.
Plato’s allegory of the cave is an example of what Plato deems “the accent of the mind to true knowledge.” In the parable, the prisoners at the bottom of the cave represent the obliviousness of humans to what Plato believes constitutes true knowledge. What they judge to be reality is only a shadow depicted on the wall of the cave. These obscurities are all the prisoners have known of their lives and realities, and so they do not question them, leaving them in blissful ignorance of the world above them or what Plato likens to “true knowledge.” If one of the prisoners were suddenly released from the chains that hold him in his current state of ignorance, the movement would be uncomfortable, even agonizing, and he would want to return to the pleasurable state he was in before. He would see the fire and the images that cast the shadows he previously thought were reality, and become closer to a truer perception of what might actually constitute reality. It would be challenging for him to understand that everything he was sure was truth was, in actuality, just a deception on the cave wall. If the hostage were taken further up toward the mouth of the cave and “out into the full light of the sun” his eyes would have to adjust further and get used to viewing the world in a completely different light. Bit by bit, his eyes and mind would progressively get used to seeing the reality before him. If the prisoner were forced back into the cavern, or back into obliviousness, he would be chastised by his former confidantes, as everything he had developed knowledgeable of would appear outrageous and bizarre to those who know nothing of the upper world. By questioning whether his perception of the shadows made them real and...

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