How Plato Views Human Knowledge And Ignorance Essay

How Plato Views Human Knowledge And Ignorance Essay

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The central theme of this text is an extended metaphor for how Plato views human knowledge and ignorance. Plato uses the metaphor of people in a cave as most humans, and people who leave the cave as those who are enlightened. The metaphor serves as an explanation of ignorance and how it relates to knowledge and how that knowledge is treated in society. There is a special mention of how people come to gain knowledge and how those with knowledge are perceived in society at large. Plato writes, “Next then,” I said, “make an image of our nature in its education and want of education, likening it to the condition of the following kind” (Plato). Socrates in this text is educating the reader on what it means to have an education and to be a lover of wisdom in an active way. Those that have not been enlightened are represented as people in a cave since childhood with their feet and necks chained, as to ensure they only look at one wall their whole lives. Those who are enlightened are people who escaped the cave and experienced the real world, showing to them that the shadows in the cave that were once a reality are now mere illusions. However, when the person who escaped return to the cave to enlighten their peers the peers perceived them to be not as intelligent as before, because they now fail at predicting the shadows. This represents the false honor that those who are not enlighten seek.
Plato has a lot of personal interest in what is at stake in writing this text. It can be said that the enlightened man being put to death in the cave is closely related to Socrates being put to death of his philosophical teachings. Furthermore, the allegory of the cave can be seen as an almost instructions for how to be a true philosopher. Plato writ...

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...e I can relate to is my relationship with feminist theory. The illusions created by systematic oppression were the metaphorical shadows of my life. These shadows were the lies that the system told me about gender roles and expectations. The shadows were mistaken for truth in my eyes. However, when I was exposed to feminist theory through the internet in middle school I felt like I had been lead out of the cave. I now saw sexist ideas and origins in many different institutions. I was hyper aware of how sexism creeped into different aspects of my life. I was frustrated with how the sexist misconceptions were still taken as truth for some of my peers. I made and continue to make the metaphorical descent back into the cave in an attempt to educate and inform my peers. I hope that one day through this kind of education a more widespread call for equality can be achieved.

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