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Plato's Divided Line and Cave

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Plato's Divided Line and Cave

In the book Republic, Plato's metaphor of the Divided Line can be seen through the state of sensible objects or the soul, which is usually accessed via our senses. Plato's allegory of The Cave suggest we can speak and think but have no further acknowledge of his or hers surroundings. In a lot of ways, the Divided Line and The Cave are connected but before I discuss the similarities of the two, I will propose a few differences they have.

The way the cave has been explained is that there are prisoners chained down, unable to move their heads. Behind them burns a fire with walking puppeteers that cast shadows on the cave where the prisoners can watch. The prisoners can not see the puppeteers or the real objects that pas behind them. What they do see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they can not seen. Plato suggests that such prisoners tend to mistake appearance for reality. They would think the objects they see on the wall were real but they would know nothing of the real causes of the shadows. If an object is carried behind them and casts a shadow, a prisoner might shout out they see a "cup," but that is all the prisoner sees Ð'- a shadow of the cup. When the prisoners are unchained and able to move around and see the actual objects, they realize their error. Plato's point is that the general terms of our language are not names of the physical objects that we can see. They are names of things we can not see, things that we can only grasp with the mind.

The Divided Line is a bit different from The Cave. While prisoners in the Cave sees and thinks the shadow on the wall before them were real; they know nothing of the real causes of the shadow. The Divided Line however suggests that people mistake image as reality. If you were at a lake and you see the reflection of the trees on the surface of the water, you are seeing a sheer image of the trees- sensible objects. On the Divided Line, this example would fall under the lowest level of knowledge development- Imagining. Imagining is seen as "true reality," what you see is not essentially what you get. Plato explains that when you grab sensible objects themselves, we are in a state of trust or belief.

Despite the slight difference between The Cave and the Divided Line, they are interconnected. The Cave suggests to us that Plato saw most

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