In the allegorical tale of the cave, part of the greater work The Republic, Plato related his ideas through a story; one that was designed to teach and inform and explain. By examining and summation of the cave, the connection between the story and Plato's world view can be established.
The story of the cave portrays a group of people, chained within a somewhat darkened cave all their lives. Enough light exists to show shadows upon a wall in front of them, and in these shadows a myriad of objects and shapes are displayed; objects and shapes that portray all these prisoners have known. This leads into one prisoner being unshackled and forced out, past a fire and people carrying varying objects that create the shadows below. Further he is trailed along a harsh, rocky path into a blinding and painful to see world above. Outside the sheltering confines of the cave, t...
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...the defining experience of the prisoner into the truth of life, ties to a greater than physical existence in Plato's world view may be identified.
The myth of the cave was a powerful tool developed by Plato is explaining his world view. It allowed him to teach abstract concepts using tangible concepts. By examining the journey of the prisoner and the experiences he takes in, Plato's view of the the philosopher is, is defined. Further, the outside world shows the nature of his worldly and metaphysical viewpoints and beliefs. In the end the return of the prisoner to the cave, as well as simply the beginning of the cave of the entrapped prisoners gives an explanation of human nature and goals. While, by no means a definitive breakdown of the Platonic philosophy, it is a starting point into understanding his core beliefs, ones that worked to shaped future hypothesis.
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