plato revsion- allogory of the cave


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Ancient Greek influences on philosophy of religion
Plato: analogy of the cave
The story:
There are some prisoners in a cave, who are bound in such a way that they can only see the back wall.
Behind them is a wall the height of a person and a fire. On the other side of the wall people are constantly
walking back and forth with objects on their head that cast shadows onto the back wall for the prisoners to
see. One of the prisoners decides to turn around. The fire dazzles him and hurts his eyes and it is very
overwhelming. He then ventures out of the cave into the world of sunlight outside and gets used to the light.
He travels back to the cave to tell the others about the world outside and that the shadows aren't all there
are, but the prisoners reject his claims and kill him.
The prisoners: are everyone on earth that hasn't realised the truth of the Forms. They're forever watching
the shadows, which is all they've ever known, and so believe that that's all there is. We refuse to see the
truth and so are prisoners in our own bodies. We are only able to see illusion.
The shadows: are the reflections of phenomena in the visible world. They are not real, but an illusion.
They're the lowest form of reality. They are extremely vague and fuzzy images in comparison to the Forms.
The cave: is the physical world, the world of senses. It is the world that we all live on, and it contains
phenomena and illusion, which are not fully real, but lower forms of reality. Exiting the cave would mean
exiting the physical world into the truth beyond.
The outside world: is the world of ideas, world of the Forms, the intelligible world. The Forms exist in this
world and venturing out of the cave to this world shows you the truth and you then gain true knowledge.
The Forms are the beautiful, unchanging and eternal moulds of the imperfect phenomena.
The sun: is the Form of the Good. In the outside world it is the source of everything life and growth, and
everything that the philosopher sees in the visible world, and in the cave and what's inside, depends on the
sun. This is highest form of knowledge and is the source of reality and truth. All other Forms, and objects
which participate in them, derive their usefulness and value from the Form of the Good.
The journey out of the cave: represents a philosopher's journey to find the truth, and to do this he must
move away from the physical world, where he can only see partial realities, to the reality of the world of the
Forms. As he breaks away from his confines and faces the light he starts to find the truth, and must accept
that everything he believed in is merely an illusion.
The return to the prisoners: is the philosopher telling the world the truth of the Forms which he has
discovered after "journeying out of the cave". His intentions are good and wishes to let the prisoners know
that the shadows are not all there is. When the prisoners deny this, it is the people in the physical world
denying the philosopher's truth about the Forms. They do not want to leave the security of the cave and
see the truth that lies beyond the illusions of their lives. The prisoners turning on him was greatly influenced
by the death of his teacher Socrates.
It looks at the bigger picture what's preventing us from reaching greater understanding
It is seeing outside yourself whether we are striving for the truth or passively absorbing information
It makes us question things, which leads to knowledge
Demonstrates very vividly the essential nature of philosophy he leaves the cave and does not stop even
when the light hurts his eyes and reaches true knowledge of the world of the Forms.
Puts too little value on the physical world and that inside it makes us seem unimportant

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No proof
Makes you feel uneasy
If the highest form of knowledge is the Form of Good, how can we know what Goodness is when two
people of equal intelligence come to different conclusions about right and wrong? Plato suggests that the
form of Good keeps in existence the whole world of Forms like the sun gives light and casts shadows.…read more

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To understand the forms, the mind must free itself from imagery.
The Form of the Good and the relation between the Form of the Good and other Forms: Plato
believed that all of the Forms were connected work together. He justifies it through his study of
mathematics, proportions and harmonies. The highest of all Forms is the Form of the Good.
Plato said, "The highest form of knowledge is knowledge of the Form of Good, from which things
that are just..." loving, good, noble "...…read more

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Aristotle: ideas about cause and purpose in relation to God
The causes:
Aristotle believed that the Form exists within an object itself he thought that what was in the human soul
was simply a reflection of the real world. The matter of a thing can exist after the thing itself has ceased to
exist. A form is a thing's specific characteristics, and matter is the `stuff' that a thing is made of.…read more

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If then God is always in that good state in which we
sometimes are, this compels our wonder. And God is in a better state. And life also belong s to God
for the actuality of thought is life and God is that actuality we say therefore God is a living being,
eternal, most good, so that life and duration continuous and eternal belong to God for this is
God." Aristotle's descriptions of the Unmoved Mover.…read more

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ü Scientific and religious explanations of the origin of the universe have often been seen as in conflict
with each other, but Aristotle`s theory shows us that this need not be the case. A scientist may look
at the efficient cause of the universe in terms of the Big Bang, whilst at the same time arguing that
the final cause of the universe is God.
ü Aristotle`s ideas have been taken up and developed by many other philosophers.…read more


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