Platos cave analogy

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  • Created by: Abitracey
  • Created on: 14-04-12 15:14

Cave anology parts:

For Plato, knowledge gained through the senses (empirical experience) is no more than opinion. Knowledge gained through philosophical reasoning is certain.

The allegory of the cave makes a contrast between people who see only appearances and mistake them for the truth, and those who really do see the truth.

Some prisoners are trapped in a cave, away from a “real life.” The prisoners are chained and only able to look straight ahead at a wall in front of them, whilst there is a fire behind them. Between them and the fire is a kind of track with a parapet in front of it, rather like the stage of a puppet show.

People can carry a variety of artificial objects made from wood and stone along the track making them move and sometimes giving them voices – like the puppeteers of a puppet show

Shadows of the puppets are cast up on the wall in front of the prisoners caused by the fire. Since the wall is the only thing the prisoners have ever known, they are lead to believe that these shadows are entities in themselves and the only reality. Due to the flickering fire the shadows are poor quality and are merely images of artificial objects imitating real objects that exact in a reality the prisoners are not aware of.

The prisoners experience echoes of the puppeteers pretending to be the artificial objects

The prisoners thus have an experience similar to that of an underground cinema. Their experience of reality is far removed from the everyday world - they see poor shadows of artificial objects pretending to move and hear echoes of


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