Quotes, and Scholarly Opinion of Plato's Analogy of the Cave

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these quotes show the situation of the cave, events in the cave, the symbolism, the Forms, and other people's opinions on Plato's theory, I hope you find it useful.

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Plato Quotes
The Republic
The situation inside the cave:
"Behold! Human beings living in a underground den, which has a mouth open
towards the light and reaching all along the den. Here they have been from their
childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can
only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their
heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire
and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall
built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them,
over which they show the puppets."
"And do you see", I said, "men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels,
and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials,
which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent."
"And they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the
fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?"
(Socrates describing the situation of the Allegory of the Cave)
"Suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other side,
would they not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice
which they heard came from the passing shadow?"
(The Echoes)
"The truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images".
(the knowledge of the prisoners)
The escapees:
"At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and
turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains;
the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his
former state he had seen the shadows;"
"And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his
eyes which will make him turn away..."
"He is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he's
forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and
irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be
able to see anything at all of what are now called 'realities'."

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He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he
will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the
water, and then the objects themselves;"
"Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in the water,
but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another, and he will
contemplate him as he is".…read more

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Form of Good before his eyes."
Scholarly Opinion
"For Augustine, what [was] outside the cave [was] the realm of the Christian God"
William G. Smith (PRAISE)
"The safest general characterisation of the European philosophical tradition is that
it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato"
Alfred North Whitehead (PRAISE)
"Plato is philosophy, and philosophy, Plato, -- at once the glory and the shame if
mankind, since neither Saxon nor Roman have availed to add any idea to his
categories.…read more

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Useful Websites
Mel Thompson on the Theory of the Forms:
Bryce Howard on Plato's Cave
rom-Platos-Cave-by-Bryce-Haymond.…read more


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