Plato’s analogy of the divided line/Allegory of the cave questions


1)      How Does Plato’s analogy of the Divided Line and the Allegory of the Cave further Plato’s theory of the Forms?

It furthers his theory of the forms as both the Allegory of the cave and Divided Line analogy suggest theories of questioning perception and what is real. Like the forms, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave plays with the idea that you accept any reality that you are given, even if it is in the form of an image perceived. It is similar to the forms as in the cave, what they are perceiving is imaging that are not real, and are in fact replicas of what is “real” in the outside world. So the objects in the world outside the cave represent Plato’s “true forms” whilst the images that are projected represent the replicas. Then Plato’s analogy of the divided line relates to the theory of the forms as it also presents two different realities and that our world we live in is not in fact perfect (like the world of forms), it has “ a lower degree of reality and truth than the intelligible”

2)      The unreleased prisoners from the cave would be at what stage of mind according to Plato?

The unreleased prisoners of the cave would be at the stage of mind which is accepting the copied forms of reality. So the replicated forms which are being projected onto the wall are the forms which have been copied from the true forms which actually exist in the outside world. So in regards to the stages of mind, the prisoners would be in the imagining (or eikasia stage). This is because they “take sensible appearances and current moral notions at their face value”. Their only truth is what has been given to them, and they haven’t actually learnt what is real themselves. They don’t do any thinking about reality could be, they only accept what they are shown.

3)      Do you believe/support Plato’s theory? Write a blog entry to show as to why or why not.

I do not fully support Plato’s theory, but there are some aspects which I can find truth in. For example, I do not believe there is another world which exists that has the “true forms” or everything we find in our reality. However I do agree that there are different stages of our mind. With knowledge and starting to think about philosophical questions, we can move out of lower stages which only include the acceptance of reality. It is only by questioning and asking questions that we can actually learn of fully understand what is happening around us. I also think that his theory of the cave is correct. If prisoners who had only been exposed to one way of living (or what was projected on a screen for years), they would in no way be able to accept the reality now presented to them. It would take time to be able to think and then accept what is a new reality. Then, if the prisoner was to return to the cave I think that the others prisoners would in fact have the reaction that Plato suggested. After seeing their friend return and not be able to see “in the darkness” as he had before, they would probably just reject his theory of a new world and just continue to live in their world or projection images.

4)      What is Plato’s hierarchy regarding the four states of mind? Do you agree? Why or why not?

His hierarchy regarding four stages of mind reflects how he thinks people can move from just acceptance to actual knowledge of reality. The first stage is known as imagining, in which he believes is the most unsatisfactory as it is only accepting what you are told (or shown in the case of the allegory of the cave). The second stage is known as belief (or pisits), in which a person accepts ‘correct beliefs without knowledge’. So even though a person have thought about certain topics or even have been taught the knowledge, they can’t actually believe until they have proved it themselves. The next stage is thinking (dianoia) which concerns mathematical science sand the use of visible diagrams as objects of pure thought and also unquestioned assumptions branched from unconditional principles. The fourth and final stage is the intelligence (knoesis) or knowledge (episteme) stage and can be simply defined as philosophical conversation. It is the stage when visual illustrations are no longer available and all premises arise from your own thought and seeking the principle in which they all depend.  I would agree with these stages. I do believe that we reach a higher stage of intelligence through inquisition and not just acceptance.

5)      How does Plato’s theory of forms serve as an example of metaphysics?

His theory of forms is an example of metaphysics as it questions our perception of knowledge and what is real.


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