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Reality and Knowledge in Plato's Myth of the Cave - Essay Example

Therefore, analyzing philosophic ideas of the rationalists and empiricists, dualists and monists, idealists, materialists and pragmatists begins with perception or rejection of Plato’s ideas of reality and knowledge. The expression that philosophy is a footnote to Plato does not necessarily mean that the philosophers continue Platonic traditions or agree with Plato’s ideas. However, in my opinion, it is Plato who we think of first when we start dealing with philosophic issues. The tendency to incline to the ideas regarding the nature of knowledge and reality can be found in thinking of many European philosophers. Furthermore, it would be wrong to associate every philosopher with Plato, as there are many great thinkers whose ideas were not based on Plato’s teaching or are contrary with them. Of course, Plato is one of the greatest philosophers standing in line with Aristotle, Socrates, Hume, Locke, and Kant. Nevertheless, power of Plato’s thought like nobody else’s is so great that his ideas can be traced in others thinkers’ philosophy, especially when to speak about European philosophy. Intellectual tradition started by Plato has never ceased to prosper. Europeans are the first and the most frequently said to be referring to Plato’s philosophy, because his thinking seems to be the closest to this particular group of people. The meaning of the statement that philosophy is a footnote to Plato is nothing else, but a metaphor which means that power of his thinking can be neither denied nor rejected, because it has been interwoven into the philosophical tradition of many other great philosophers. Therefore, today it is difficult to discern the ideas regarding, for example, knowledge and reality and classify them into Platonic and non-Platonic. It is difficult to say exactly which philosopher was influenced by Plato and which was not. My understanding of knowledge and reality is that reality is limited to the point what we can comprehend and see on basis of our senses usage. To put it simply, if we see a beggar on the street, we conclude him to be a poor and miserable man because of his real physical appearance. However, this person can be a great thinker the same as the worst conman, but we do not know as our knowledge is limited by what we can only see on the surface. The knowledge about this man as well as about different things in the world is hidden. We can discover the knowledge only when we strive for such discovery and keep searching even at times it seems pointless. I agree with Plato that people must try to rise above their limited knowledge to learn more and to attain the highest form of knowledge. At the same time, I think that one type of knowledge can be perceived and explained differently as we have ability to compare things. Our experiences and knowledge of something is relative: for example, if we’ve tried a very delicious cake, we tend to think it’s best in the world. But when we continue tasting more and more delicious cakes, we understand that the first one was not the best one. The same can be claimed about anything which exists in reality. Besides, I’d like to conclude that real knowledge and true wisdom comes with life-long learning. To start, the allegory of the cave also referred to as Plato’s Myth of the Cave is the allegory used by the Greek Philosopher Plato in his work The Republic. Plato basically uses this allegory to illustrate the nature and wanting of education. He describes the interacting phenomena of ...Show more
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Reality and Knowledge in Plato’s Myth of the Cave It is said that philosophy is a footnote to Plato, because this great philosopher was the first to make a distinction between reality and the world of ideas in our minds that became one of the primary contributions to philosophic science…
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