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Plato's world of forms belongs in a category of philosophy
called epistemology (the study of knowledge)
There are two main branches:
Empiricism (the view that all useful knowledge is experienced
and we are a tabula rasa)
and Rationalism (the view that all useful knowledge is innate)
Plato was a Rationalist who thought knowledge was innate
(already in our minds when we are born)
He uses his cave idea to explain how we all have a concept of
things that we cannot experience (like beauty) in our minds…read more

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World of Forms
Plato believes there is a world in the sky called the world of
forms. Our soul visits this world
In this world the true form of everything imaginable exists
There you will find beauty and you will experience it (along
with everything else)
Before you are born you drink from the fountain of
forgetfulness which makes you forget what you experienced,
which is why you do not remember it.
In the world we know as reality everything is copy of the its
true form, like a shadow or an echo of something of more
We return to this world when we die so that our next self can
experience it when we are reincarnated.…read more

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The Cave…read more

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What can the cave represent
Plato mostly used it to explain where innate knowledge comes
It can also illustrate ideas about appearance and reality: The
prisoners who accept the shadows for reality will never know true
reality, the escapee however is enlightened and it sets him free not
only from the cave but from the shackles of an unfulfilled shadow
Explores ideas on deception: The puppeteers are like Henry
deceiving Dorian about the reality of hedonism, he spends the
majority of his life shackled to the shadows (Mephistopheles
distracting Faust with various delights )…read more

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Dorian Gray
Dorian is a shadow of his true self after he sells his soul for a painting,
and the painting Dorian's true form,
Dorian prefers the shadows to reality e.g. the opium dens at night
We can see this in his treatment of Sybil: he falls out of love with her
when she realises what true form of love is and becomes enlightened.
Dorian is an Eikasia in the eyes of Plato: a creature with the lowest level
of understanding about reality.
We can also see this in his Opium habit, which shows he prefers the
contrived euphoric dream state that comes with the drug than real
Victorians (especially high society) often saw appearance and reality as
one in the same, this is explored in the book and the cave allegory…read more

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