Plato’s allegory of the cave and his political views

Ask a Philosopher

Iris asked:

Use the allegory of the cave to illustrate Plates political views. In doing so, you should b) explain how the theory of forms supports Plato’s favoured form of Aristocracy (to begin with, recall the relation between individual men and the Form of man) and c) explain how the theory of Forms grounds his criticism and rejection of democracy (where in the cave are the Athenian democrats? where are they on the divided line?).

Answer by Martin Jenkins

The Cave

People in the cave are secured so they cannot move their heads. This ensures they continuously look at the cave wall upon which, shadows move and pass. Shadows are cast from actual statuettes carried by other persons as they walk in front of a fire. If one of the shackled cave occupants were set free, s/he would be able to observe the whole spectacle of the fire, the statuettes…

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