The Cave

The philosopher Plato presents us with the allegory of the cave. In the allegory, there are some people chained up in a cave. They are chained in such a way where they cannot see to their left, to their right, or behind them. They can only look straight ahead. Behind them is a fire with puppeteers casting shadows on the wall in front of the prisoners. The prisoners never see the items that the puppeteers are holding; they only see the shadows. So when they use the word “book” to describe the book shadow for example they are wrong in saying that, because he is only looking at the book’s shadow and not the book. This allegory summarizes Plato’s world of the forms. He believed that there is an immaterial realm full of all the perfect forms of every material item and idea. While what we see however, is just an imperfect version or shadow of the ultimate idea.

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