Wrongful Persecution of Philosophers

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In The Republic, Socrates uses several images in his arguments as metaphors to explain a larger, more significant statement. The allegory of the cave is used to demonstrate that philosophers are wrongly persecuted by the unphilisophical, in that they are indispensable because they are the only ones in the city able to view the world through the intelligible realm, and therefore are able to see the truth (Plato 189). The philosophers in the cave are able to see more than what is projected in front of them, unlike the others chained to the wall. They are able to leave the cave and view the real world representing the intelligible realm (194). They do not praise what is false, but have seen the truth and are able to make a distinction between the two (161). Unphilosophical individuals view the world through the realm of the visible which, unlike the realm of the intelligible, is subject to change and inconsistency. They have never seen or experienced the intelligible realm and therefore do not know the value of it. Because of this, they are unable to understand the philosophers who do see through the intelligible realm. In the allegory, when the philosophers are brought back into the cave after being exposed and adjusting to the light, they are blind in the darkness and can no longer see the images on the wall. The images are solely what the unphilosophical see and have ever seen, and therefore deem the philosophers useless for not being able to see the only things that they know to exist (195). The philosophers, although, are satisfied, for they have seen the truth and what is real, and cannot go back to participating in falsehood (196). Their being able to see in the realm of the intelligible makes them valuable over tho...

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...philosophical, they are thought to have a radical and irrational way of thinking, when really it is the most rational way of thinking and the most beneficial in the ruling of the just city (169). Their way of seeing what things are is essential to knowing what justice, the foundation of the city, really is. They are also crucial to the education of future philosopher guardians because they are the only ones that possess the knowledge and wisdom that is necessary to be passed on to the next generation in order to maintain a successful just city, just as the only ones that are able to bring the new philosophers from the cave to the light are those that are accustomed to it and are capable of seeing the importance of it. Even though the philosophers are ridiculed and thought to be useless to the society, they are, in fact, integral to the success of the just city.

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