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Explain Plato's Analogy of the Cave

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Explain Plato’s analogy of the cave.

Plato’s cave analogy of the cave it this because it is a simple story that has a metaphorical meaning. Plato uses this analogy to show the link between the physical world and the world of forms. Plato thinks that this analogy helps people to understand why the physical world is all an illusion. Only true reality can be found in the world of forms, in which everything is unchanging.

Plato’s analogy is set in a cave, the cave is meant to represent the physical world, from which people only see what Plato describes to be an illusion. The prisoners within the cave know of nothing but what they have seen for all their lives. Behind the prisoners are a low wall and a walkway, in the walkway a fire burns, every now and then people walk past the fire carrying objects that reflect into the cave as shadows. The prisoners see the shadows and think that what they see is reality, like we think about our world now. The sounds made by the people walking past are thought to be from the shadows, what is seen and herd here is thought to be real. The shadows represent the images of the forms, which are all that is seen in the physical world.

The prisoners in this case represent the ignorant individuals who need to discover the philosophical truth; they believe that the shadows they see are the real objects because they know of nothing else. Plato relates this to the 5 senses, touch, taste, smell, sound and sight, it is easy for people to believe what is seen, touched, tasted because it is what we believe to be true. He believes that what we see in the physical world is an imitation of true ‘form’ of an object in the world of forms. Furthermore the people that carry the objects are the government at the time, Plato uses them to show how at the time the government discouraged independent thought.

In his analogy Plato wants us to imagine…...

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