The Allegory Of The Cave In Plato's The Republic

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Socrates was a Greek philosopher and the main source of Western thought. Little is known of his life except what was recorded by his students, including Plato. In Book I of Plato’s “The Republic”, Socrates and Glaucon were ‘asked’ to join Polemarchus along with Adeimantus and others at Polemarchus’ house (sp. 327-328c). Even though he was coerced into this discussion, Socrates shared his knowledge with the assembly. Socrates’ intentions were to get his interlocutors at the Piraeus to adopt the dialectic methodologies in order to aid them in finding true knowledge in what they apply it to. Having noted their adamancies in winning another argument, and not contemplating fully, he uses an allegory of a cave (in Book VII) to represent their ignorance to a better way of living or thinking.
Plato wrote Respublica
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Socrates states that life is like being chained up inside a cave, forced to stare at shadows on a stone wall. In the allegory, a group of prisoners have been shackled inside a cave since birth, with their backs facing towards a fire. Unable to turn their heads, they spend their life trying to make sense of what they see on a stone wall. Behind the prisoners is a short wall, the fire, and puppeteers, set up in such a way that the puppeteers can manipulate puppets above the short wall and cast their shadows upon the wall of the cave. The prisoners, since birth, will only have experienced the shadows on the wall, and be oblivious to the other prisoners, puppeteers, and have no knowledge of the outside world. The prisoners with their ability to speak will have embedded reality into what they’ve experienced their whole life (the shadows). Therefore it is concluded that “By every measure … reality for the prisoners would be nothing but shadows cast by artifacts” (sp. 515c). Suddenly, one prisoner is freed, and makes his way to the mouth of the cave. The bright light hurts his eyes and he

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