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Plato ­ in the Cave
· Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher.
· A group of people were chained in a cave
since childhood, they were facing the back
wall and there was a fire behind them causing
shadows to appear on the wall that they
couldn't look away from, so they believed that
what they saw was reality, that there was no
more.…read more

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One prisoner eventually escapes from the
cave, into the real world.
· At first his eyes are not accustomed to the
bright light of the sun which hurts his eyes
until he gradually gets used to it.
· Then he looks around, amazed at the colourful
world he is seeing for the first time.
· Eventually, he looks up at the sun again and
realises that it is the source of life.
· He realises that the world he knew in the cave
was merely a pale shadowy form of reality.…read more

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He returns to the prisoners in the cave to tell
them the truth about the world, about all of
the wonders he has seen, but they reject his
stories, not believing him and continue on
with their lives in the dim, shadowy cave.…read more

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The Forms
· In this analogy, the prisoners represent
ordinary people who fail to question
everything, and take it at face value.
· The cave and shows are our physical world.
· The prisoner who is taken out of the cave
represents philosophers, those who question
things and want to know what is really going
on.
· The sun represents the Form of the Good.…read more

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The prisoner's knowledge is based purely on
their senses and they accept it without
question, but Plato is telling us that empirical
knowledge is flawed, it's not showing them
reality.
· However, the prisoner who escapes discovers
reality after emerging from the cave into the
real world. His power of reasoning led him to a
philosophical understanding of the truth, a
priori knowledge of reality is based on
reasoning, not the senses.…read more

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