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Plato’s Cave Only

In Book VII of Plato’s, “Republic”, Socrates attempts to show his belief of how people can come to know “justice”, and how such knowledge can be used to lift the level of justice within the state.
The Republic comprises ideas and hypothetical arguments that are quite abstract and removed from the commonplace thought of everyday people.Plato, and indeed his mentor Socrates, are very intelligent men in that their intellect and imagination can create and sustain unorthodox or uncommon ideas that everyday people do not bother to think about or do not have the mental faculties or intellect to do so.Plato recognizes this fact and uses dialogue between the character of Socrates and “everyday” people such as Glaucon to explain such strange ideas to the reader of “The Republic”.
A very useful technique used to portray these intangible ideas is through various analogies relating commonplace objects and situations to complicated and in depth trains of thought.Some of Plato’s analogies include that of the sun and its light relating to the form of good and truth, the line analogy relating to our varying degrees of understanding and comprehension and the cave analogy.
This ‘cave analogy’ is helpful in illustrating the way Plato believes we can come to know justice, truth and goodness.He likens our current level of understanding to that of a group of manacled prisoners watching the back wall of a dark cave, lit only by a fire that casts shadows of passers by on this wall.Plato explains that the real, true world is outside this cave and due to the physical and mental restraints on these prisoners they cannot understand this true reality, only within which real goodness and justice can be realized and understood.
Socrates explains that, as all these prisoners have ever known is this shadow world of insubstantial half-truths and illusions, it has become their reality.As, even the voices from the passing people are echoed off this wal…

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