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Critique Of Plato's Theory Essay

951 words - 4 pages

Critique of Plato's Theory In Plato's writings he addresses the issue of knowledge. How can one know things if not introduced to them by experience? Thus, Plato claimed that all knowledge was gained through experience. Not only is it derived from experience, but it is also a changing thing. Everything in life changes, therefore people's knowledge will change. Different people who live in different times and areas will know different things. According to Plato, people's beliefs, opinions and their varying degrees of knowledge influence their view of the world. In The Cave, Plato describes a group of men who have lived in a dark cave, chained up since childhood. All they know is what they see in the shadows on the walls of the cave and what they know of each other. It is like a movie to them, but that is all they know; therefore it is all that is important to them. The shadows cast on the walls and each other are their reality. The shadows are the equivalent to human beings to us. Plato discusses what would actually occur when one of the men actually got out and saw what the outside world really is. He would be utterly perplexed. He would then go to the other men back in the cave to try to tell them what he saw, what really existed outside of their walls. None of the men would believe. This is the same as if one of us were to go to Mars and report back with wild stories of life. Everyone would be very skeptical. In fact, Plato says that the other prisoners would kill him had he tried to take them up into the light that he had seen. They would essentially think that he was crazy. By saying all of this Plato was saying that knowledge is gained through experience. When the man went up into the light he learned a great amount of what those in the light knew. Had he stayed in the cave all of his life he would never have known anything of that world, nor would he had questioned his world. The men who stayed in the cave all of their lives knew all that they needed to know in order to survive in a cave. While when the man who left went into the light, he learned what he needed to know to live in the light. If we all went through our lives only knowing one thing we would be very skeptical to any type of change to any of the theories that we knew. When people thought that the Earth was round and not flat they were not believed. They were cast off as insane mostly. Their...

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