Comparing Plato's Republic And Book VII Of The Republic

998 Words 4 Pages
Plato was an early Greek philosopher who instituted the Academy and is most well-known for his writings of unparalleled influence. Throughout his life, Plato had written many dialogues over numerous subjects, some being justice, epistemology, political philosophy, and even theology. One of Plato’s most successful and widely read dialogues was the Republic. Before the Republic, many of Plato’s dialogues consisted of a speaker, Socrates, refuting the positions of his interlocutors, and many of the dialogues do not end with an adequate answer. However, the Republic delivers a position in which Socrates takes on justice and its relation to happiness. Plato also gives his own idea of justice, which individually, is a human virtue that makes a person …show more content…
Plato, speaking through Socrates, views the perfect society as consisting of three classes that are not viewed more important than the other. However, he believes that philosopher-kings should rule the perfect city. Plato expresses that these rulers should have a passion and love for learning. In Book VII of the Republic, Plato introduces the most renowned metaphor in Western thought, the allegory of the cave. The allegory of the cave illustrates Plato’s views on the nature of knowledge, truth, and the effects of education on the human soul. Plato unfolds the allegory of the cave within the context of education and by creating a scene in which Socrates tells Glaucon, one of Socrates’ interlocutors, to envision prisoners who have been bound by chains since childhood. Their necks and feet are restrained in a way that renders them incapable of moving or looking around them. For their entire lives all these prisoners saw was what was in front of them, which is the wall of a cave (Plato, 2012). In the theory that Plato presents, the cave signifies individuals who accept that knowledge comes from their physical senses interpreting the world around them, also known as empirical evidence. The cave …show more content…
These men represent the individuals that possess authority, the prisoners only believe in what the overseer’s show them. Plato is writing about the government, teachers, and religious leaders that impact the thoughts and control the views of society. Plato argues that philosophers should rule as kings in the government because all philosophers seek and possess knowledge. In Plato’s utopian society, political rule depends on knowledge not power. The great difference between individuals who seek and possess power and the individuals who seek and possess knowledge is evident in the allegory of the cave. Socrates goes on to explain how the prisoners begin to create names for the shadows; some of the prisoners then guess which shadows will appear next. The prisoners who can guess the next shadow correctly are given the title of expert or master by the other prisoners (Plato, 2012). The guessing game represents how individuals believe that one can become an expert when they have knowledge of the empirical world. Plato indicates that this expert doesn’t really know what is true, and it’s absurd for individuals to glorify someone like this. Plato

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