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Plato's cave, Aquinas' five and existentialism

1. Summarize Plato's story of the Cave. (Found in the Republic)

2. Explain the Five of Aquinas.

3. Discuss Existentialism, noting 3 major Philosophers who subscribed to the view. (Soren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger,Jean Paul Sartre).

I have the Big Questions by Robert Solomon textbook.

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1. Summarize Plato's story of the Cave. (Found in the Republic)

The fundamental belief in Plato's story of the cave is that everything we see and experience is only a poor representation of the true form. In this story there is a line of prisoners chained together facing the front wall of a cave. They cannot see each other or anything around or behind them. They can only see the cave wall directly in front of them. Behind the prisoners, people are using a fire to cast shadows on the cave wall. The prisoners believe these shadows to be real things rather than understanding that they are only shadows of the true objects and people. Though the shadows would be clearly seen as shadows by the non-prisoners, to the prisoners the shadows would be their reality since that is all they would know.

If the prisoners were set free and allowed to look at the objects that made the shadows they would be confused and frightened and would probably desire to go back and simply look at the shadows (reality) that they are more comfortable with. If the prisoner were to overcome this understandable fear and confusion he would leave the cave altogether and enter the world of sunlight outside of the cave. If he were to look up to the Sun and recognize that it casts shadows in the real world without aid of fire or man he would fully realize the form rather than the shadow.

2. Explain the Five of Aquinas.

Thomas Aquinas gave ...

Solution Summary

This solution gives a short description of Plato's cave analogy, the five of Aquinas as well as a brief summary of existentialism. Over 900 words of original text along with a link to an educational website for further research.