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The Cave

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By Shaquilla
Words 596
Pages 3
Shaquilla Carter
November 13, 2013
The Cave
The parable of the cave is a story where men are held prisoner is a cave. These men could not move because they were chained underground and all they could see are shadow of things from the fire that was burning. These men only saw shadows of things because of the fire and walkway. The light was projecting objects and these men would guess what each was. These men were never outside in their entire lives. They were trapped in a cave where darkness ruled and very little light was shown. There only contact with mankind was echoes they heard from people passing by. What kind of life is this for these men? They had no understanding of life outside the cave. Plato later asks the question of one of these men being freed and getting a chance to see real light. How would this man react? How would he adjust to the light? This man finally was able to see the real images of life. After taking all of this in the man finally got to see the real light, the sun. Now his eyes are opened for the first time in his life. Then the man comes back to the cave. He has to readjust his eyesight to the darkness.
Plato's divided line theory talks about the distinction between the different levels of knowledge and reality it wants us to imagine a vertical line. The left half is dedicated to metaphysics and the right half is dedicated to epistemology. Now imagine a horizontal line running through the middle of the vertical line to form quadrants. The upper left quadrant represents the intelligible world of being which is invisible, eternal, unchanging, and etc. The lower left quadrant represents the visible world of becoming, which is visible, temporal, changing, and more. The upper right quadrant represents knowledge. The lower right quadrant represents opinion. Next we imagine segments on the vertical line from lowest to highest. On the left side the segments are degrees of reality and on the right side the segments are degrees of certainty or clarity. The lowest level represents illusions in the visible world of becoming quadrant on the being side represents imagination in the opinion quadrant on the knowing side. At this level we tend to carry illusions and form opinions based on shadows, images, reflections, fantasies, etc. Ascending to the next level we have belief in the visible world of becoming quadrant on the being side and perception in the opinion quadrant on the knowing side. At this level we actually perceive the objects themselves unlike imagination where we observe reflections pictures and shadows of things or experience illusions and fantasies. The objects that we see at the perception level are physical and three-dimensional such as a tree but we are still unable to make the distinction between different types of trees.
In Myth of the cave it points a person who is set free, and goes out to see the real world, and what lies behind the shadows of light that we see? Having been enlightened to the nature of reality, it is not easy to explain this to others. Humans in their unenlightened beginnings are symbolized as imprisoned at the back of a dark cave. The shadowy environment of the cave symbolizes for Plato the physical world of appearances. Escape into the outside the cave symbolizes the transition to the real world, the world of full and perfect being, the world of forms, which is the proper object of knowledge.

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