source: The Cave
Barts, let me ask you for your thoughts. I read this in my philo class a while back. While I understand the premise of the allegory, where, if i'm not mistaken, reality being subjective... what I would like addressed, even though they are going to be assumptions, is the factors that contribute to the forcefullness of the prisoners not being able to look behind them. I'm not sure if i'm making sense in what I would like discussed about this, but to me, there are factors that Plato dismisses (because of the times he is in) or doesn't include in the delievery of this specific message. What say you?
Like you, k...627, I read The Republic in university. My interpretation wasn't that reality is subjective, but rather that what we see (or think we see) is a "shadow" of what reality truly is, a simulacrum at best. For a vast range of reasons, some known, some unknown, some unknowable likely, what we think we are seeing is not the whole of reality.
To me, one lesson of the cave is to not be too confident in what we think we're seeing no matter how convincing it may be. Another lesson is to be aware that we tend to put meaning, usually ego-centric, on what we think we see that may not be there.
Lastly, I think the allegory is flawed. It assumes that there is a reality that can be observed and fully understood. I'm not so sure. I suspect that all we are able see for very practical reasons are "shadows", blurred and distorted ones at that. Plato believed the "Forms" could be seen, were accessible. In my view, the "Forms" were Plato's shadows, and he did not even realize it, was not able to see his own cave.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd - Voltaire