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Plato's Allegory of the Cave - Essay Example

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March 16, 2012 Philosophy 101 “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave” “If I am the wisest of the men, it is only because, whereas other men think know when they do not, I know that I don’t know.” Explain what is puzzling about this statement and what Socrates most probably meant by it…
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Platos Allegory of the Cave
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Plato's Allegory of the Cave

He expresses a point unknown and less considered by many, that a philosopher could be zero in knowledge. Through the puzzle, the victim of such circumstances only discovers of such truths after a long time. Exposure, which happens to be less in the profession, uncovers such truths hence making it a puzzle that majority of the philosophers are ignorant and hide behind the veil of ignorance. The claim that Socrates makes to be the wisest of all and later declares his ignorance as every other philosopher therefore makes the riddle. Socrates happens to come out as one of the wisest philosophers. By denouncing the level at which philosophers are placed in the society, he tried to connect with what is considered as the real world. He comes out as one who is certain of the shortcomings in his world that other philosophers have not discovered. By saying ‘I know that I do not know’, he comes out as a wise philosopher who knows he does not know everything. He brings out an aspect of acceptance that one can never be self-sufficient. Regardless of how much one is perceived by others to be sufficient, a gap in everybody can only be discovered through exposure. This is the opposite of what the world thinks of philosophers. It is also the opposite of what philosophers think of themselves. To many of them, their small professional world gives them confidence as all knowing. Majority do not acknowledge their struggles as part of a problem emanating from ignorance. To them, the struggles are just part of the process. Allegory of the Cave is a dialogue between Plato’s teacher, Socrates and Plato’s brother. Socrates, who is the main narrator, brings out a dark, congested world inhabited by people in a particular class of wisdom. In that small world symbolized by a cave, there is commonality of knowledge since all are pinned to the same wall. They face the same issues and none of them feels free to explore the outside world even when freedom is declared. The Allegory is given in a setting of a prison where prisoners are put in an underground cave. The cave receives limited light that makes it hard for each one of them to see anything that happens behind them. All they know are their own shadows and those of people passing behind them. Their manner of communication and the things they talk to each other relates to what they share in common. Their discussions are tied around what is common to them and any attempt to release them will not be easy for them. Select one incident from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave that best serves to illustrate the meaning of this statement. According to the allegory, the prisoner disabused of his error and liberation to walk around represents Socrates. Due to the conditions he has been in before, the prisoner is likely to suffer so many things. Part of the problems will be facing the light that has been rare in the former state. Any exposure to the light will be so disturbing but a positive step towards discovering the reality outside the prison. The exposure will be the start of getting wisdom as he tries to define different things around him. For example in the Allegory, giving seasons and the years will be a demonstration of newly found wisdom that never existed in the former state. The incident brings out a realization of the real world where fantasies do not apply. Facing realities makes one realize how much they do not know even after being higher in knowledge as per fellow people. To Socrates, getting ... Read More
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