“The Allegory of the Cave”, written by Plato, is a story that presents prisoners who are trapped in a cave and only able to see what is in front of them. There is a fire burning in a distance, and they can only see images in shadows coming from the fire. Since they are trapped in this cave, they believe that the shadows are real, and not just reflections of what really is. The tale goes on to say that one prisoner escaped, and talks about his first perception of the world. In the “Allegory of the Cave”, Plato uses the prisoners in the cave as a metaphor, or an allegory to express ideas about knowledge and enlightenment. Plato’s main purpose for writing the “Allegory of the Cave” is to inform his readers that it is in human nature to believe
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave describes ignorance and the process of enlightenment. The cave symbolizes a prison for the mind. Cave dwellers only know of the one reality presented in the cave, yet it is not reality at all. The cave dwellers are ignorant, knowing only one way and not trying to broaden their minds. Plato uses chains and shackles to represent the mental bondage of the cave dwellers. In spite of the bondage, few minds are able to break free of ...
Stumpf, S.E and Fieser, J. Philosophy: History and Readings, New York: Mc Graw Hill, 2008.
Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’ rotates around the notion of our vision as humans being limited, and only being exposed to a certain extent of knowledge within our surroundings. The Allegory of the Cave presented a rare case where prisoners were trapped in a cave for all their lives with hands, neck and feet bound to look at a wall with shadows beings casted by a fire that lies behind them. Once a prisoner breaks free of the binds, his curiosity allows him to follow the light that then exposes him to the real world where he is blinded by the sun. Each of the elements in the allegory are symbols that can be related to modern day situations as metaphors. Though society has evolved drastically, many struggles that we face today resemble the allegory.
(14) W. James, Some Problems of Philosophy: A beginning of an Introduction to Philosophy (New York: Longmans, Green adn Co., 1924)
__________ (1993) 'Philosophy' in Philosophical Occasions 1912-1951, eds J. Klagge and A. Nordman, Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company.
Bailey, Andrew, ed. First Philosophy: Fundamental Problems and Readings in Philosophy. 1st ed. Toronto: Broadview Press, 2002.
1 Roger Ariew & Eric Watkins. Modern Philosophy: An anthology of primary sources. Indianapolis/Cambridge, 1998.