Out of the Darkness: The Relationship between Plato’s Cave Allegory and The Republic Essay

“Book VII” of The Republic. by Plato ( 360 B. C. ) begins with the concluding of three consecutive analogies used by the writer to present his construct of justness and the function of a philosopher-king in a land that is genuinely merely. The Cave fable describes a group of people who have lived their full lives inside of a cave—“an belowground den” ( Plato. 360 B. C. ) . Chained in such a mode as to forestall their traveling. they can see in merely one way: frontward. In forepart of the people who are chained in the cave is a short wall. and on this wall are reflected a assortment of forms and figures.

The shadows that the chained people see are created by “a fire [ that ] is blazing at a distance [ . . . and. . . ] puppet players” who create narratives with “vessels. and statues and figures of animals” ( Plato. 360 B. C. ) . The chained people have ne’er seen anything but the shadows that dance on the wall. and as a effect. their world is made up of nil more than the obscure images seen in the reflected fire visible radiation. What they comprehend as people. animate beings. and things are simply the shadows of those things as they appear on the wall in the cave—but it is their world.

One of the cave captives is so “liberated and compelled all of a sudden to stand up and turn his cervix unit of ammunition and expression towards the light” ( Plato. 360 B. C. ) . This new vision—no longer reflected shadows. but the existent things and the fire—becomes the cave-dweller’s new world. What he comprehends is much clearer than it was before ; nevertheless. he remains in the dimly lit environment of the cave—his world still distorted. Having progressed this far. the captive is “reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged acclivity. and held fast until he is forced into the presence of the sun” ( Plato. 360 B. C. ) .

Now outdoors. his eyes must set to the sunshine. Not merely does the cave-dweller finally see the secular objects for what they are: existent people. animate beings. and things. but besides he can see their sunglassess of colour and their assortment of textures: he understands merely how existent these objects are. and he acknowledges that they are all made possible by the Sun. The freshly freed cave-dweller so recalls his clip in the deep. dark cave. and “when he remembered his old habitation. [ . . . ] and his fellow captives. [ . . . ] he pit [ ied ] them” ( Plato. 360 B. C. ) .

Having been extricated from the darkness. the cave-dweller can ne’er return. for non merely has he experienced existent world ( i. e. the outside universe ) . his eyes would no longer map good inside the cave—going back would intend “his eyes [ would make full with. . . ] darkness” ( Plato. 360 B. C. ) . The procedure of apprehension is a one-way event. and one time a adult male leaves the shadows. he is able to move intelligently ( i. e. rightly ) for the interest of justness itself. Plato’s The Republic ( 360 B. C. ) “is a treatise on justness and the ideal authorities. [ . . . and has long stood as an illustration of the impression that if we rely on our perceptual experiences to cognize the truth about the universe. so we will cognize really small about it” ( Jacobus. L. A. . 2002. p. 314 ) .

The Cave fable presents the issues of perceptual experiences and worlds. and shows merely how different an visual aspect can be from a truth. The focal issue that Plato chose to set about in The Republic ( 360 B. C. ) was to turn out that a man’s acting rightly was its ain wages. and that “just” actions based on a assortment of frights ( i. e. penalty. requital. failure. etc. ) was false.

To carry through this. Plato sought “a definition of justness that entreaties to human psychological science. instead than to comprehend behavior” ( Goldstein. Y. . 2000 ) . When the Cave fable is paired with Plato’s account of cognitive activity. ( i. e. the Line fable ) . one comprehends that imaginativeness and belief ( the first and 2nd phases in the Line ) are elements of perceptual experience that can be clouded. but thought and understanding ( the tierce and 4th phases of the Line ) are far more concrete—things that are moderately proven—the things that control existent human behaviour.

The Cave fable bears out Plato’s postulate that existent human behaviour ( i. e. psychological science ) is far more dependable than human behaviour that is perceived. The perceptual experience of behaviour is every bit fuzzed as a shadow that dances on the wall of a cave ; nevertheless. existent human behaviour is every bit clear as the signifiers seen in the brightness of daytime.