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As Level Essay on Plato's Allegory of the Cave

  • Submitted by: SarahMatthews
  • on October 5, 2012
  • Category: Miscellaneous
  • Length: 1,180 words

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Below is a free excerpt of "As Level Essay on Plato's Allegory of the Cave" from Anti Essays, your source for free research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Plato intended the allegory of the Cave to be a simile to illustrate his theory of Forms. He took his inspiration from questions that were being asked by many Greek philosophers at the time, like “what is real?” “do we exist?” and perhaps most importantly, “do humans have a higher purpose?”. Plato believed our souls are immortal; they descend to our bodies at birth and anchor themselves to our physical beings. When we die, our bodies decay etc. but our souls ascend to where they come from i.e. what Plato called the “Realm of Being”. In this other realm, reside “Forms” or “ideas”. They are unchanging concepts and Plato believed that all physical objects, that is objects in the world we perceive to be reality (the Realm of Becoming), derive their essence from a perfect, eternal form found in the “Realm of Being”. For example; the vast majority of humanity recognise what a horse is, despite no two horses being the same – Plato thought this was because our souls spent time in the other realm where Forms are present and the form of a “perfect” horse, was there. A more adept example however would be, rather than a horse, the existence of beauty in the “Realm of Becoming”. Plato was far more intrigued by the concepts of beauty, truth, justice etc. So, although humanity recognise the concept of beauty, no two people perceive it as the same thing and many different things can be thought of as beautiful. The Platonic ideal is that beauty has an unchanging “perfect form” in the “Realm of Being”.
A common question asked of Plato’s theory is “if our souls come from this other realm of Forms, and know it to exist, then why doesn’t all of humanity recognise Platonic belief as the absolute truth?” Plato’s answer to this was that upon descending from the “Realm of Being” there was confusion and the souls forgot the other realm, he said that ascension to the realm can only be achieved by consistent training in mathematics and philosophy, then the mind is freed from the world of...

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