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Plato's Allegory of the Cave: A Discussion

In Plato's cave allegory, what are the shadows on the wall? Draw some comparisons to our own life in the twenty-first century United States.

I read your solution to someone asking to provide the allegory of cave from a personal experience and found it insightful, so I thought you'd be able to help...
So I understand that the shadows are of what exists outside the cave in reality, and those in the cave don't know that they are looking at shadows.. I guess I'm looking for more of an elaborate answer to the one I already have, along with comparisons to our own life. Maybe that would help me better understand.

Thanks

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Dear Student,
Hello and thank you for your patience. I sincerely hope that this solution gets to you in time. In this posting, you have asked for further elaboration on the work of Plato. I will refrain from doing the usual presentation that I use for writing solutions (suggesting an outline, then writing a narrative-source based on that outline) and go straight to your question.

First off, let's discuss the dynamics of Plato's allegory. What is the allegory about? According to Kreis (2012), "The Allegory presents, in brief form, most of Plato's major philosophical assumptions: his belief that the world revealed by our senses is not the real world but only a poor copy of it, and that the real world can only be apprehended intellectually; his idea that knowledge cannot be transferred from teacher to student, but rather that education consists in directing student's minds toward what is real and important and allowing them to apprehend it for themselves; his faith that the universe ultimately is good; his conviction that enlightened individuals have an obligation to the rest of society, and that a good society must be one in which the truly wise (the Philosopher-King) are the rulers." This is pretty much the gist of what this particular philosophical position is about essentially. In Plato's work, Socrates is in a dialectic dialogue with Glaucon where he declares, "And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: --Behold! Human beings living in an underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave; 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." The next element to their conversation sees Glaucon remark that they appear to be prisoners of the cave in some strange fashion while Socrates agrees and relates this to the Greeks - whom he and Glaucon are a part of - that being 'trapped' in their situation, in their realities, they only see their shadows, that which the fire throws out on the other side of the ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task (see above) on the topic of Plato's Allegory of the cave. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic. 1583 words.

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