Philosophy of Religion - Greek influence on Philosophy Plato

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  • Created by: JM
  • Created on: 31-03-13 16:12


Plato lived between 428 BC and 348 BC in Athens, Greece and was born into a wealthy family.

Plato was a student of Socrates 

Plato was the teacher of Aristotle

Socrates was Plato's biggest influence:

(Socrates irritated people and was arrested and charged with "corrupting the minds of the youth"- he was sentenced to death)

When Socrates died Plato took it upon himself to voice Socrates views and to become his 'mouthpiece'

Platos books are written in the form of dialogue between Socrates and others.

Plato is a dualist

Dualists believe that Human beings are made up of two materials:

  • The corporial substance (bodily substance)
  • The non-corporial substance (the soul)

(Materialist believe we do not have a soul and are just made of bodily substances)

Plato's Analogy/Allegory of the Cave 

Allegory Meaning

  • Cave- The World of appearances
  • Prisoners- Us
  • Shadows- what we accept as being the real thing, as it's the only thing we've known
  • Chains/Shackles- Ignorance
  • People/Animals/objects passing the wall/puppeteers - Leaders of the world sharing false information with us as they themselves don't know the truth
  • Freed Prisoner -Philosophers- people who question the ongoings of the world
  • Sun- Form of the Good/ Ultimate Knowledge
  • Struggle/Reluctance to leave cave - Not being able to accept that there could be something else
  • Denying the Freed Prisoners ideas (The prisoners threaten to kill anyone who tries to free themselves or others) - Not wanting to accept what the truth is.

Plato describes the prisoners as being in an "Eikasia" state of mind ( Eikasa derives from Eikon, meaning an image or likeness) which he believes to be the lowest level of understanding, as they just believe what is in front of them.

Plato explains a series of events in which one prisoner is set free. He can stand up and turn around – finds movement painful at first, and is too dazzled by the light form the fire to see anything properly.

The escapee or former prisoner feels sorry for others in cave, goes down to tell them. His ability to see the shadows on the wall has deteriorated since his sight has been adjusted to the sunlight of the outside world. The other prisoners laugh at him and say his journey into the light was a waste of time because it spoiled his ability to see clearly. They threaten to kill anyone who attempts to set them free – they are afraid of philosophical enlightenment.

The Theory of the


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