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The Allegory of the Cave

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  2,086 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Plato's Allegory of the Cave is what many believe to be the foundation of Western Philosophy. It addresses what is visible and invisible, seen and observed versus intuited and imagined, and what is public versus private and just versus unjust. It also concerns the meaning and importance of education, the state of the soul, the conflict between truth and beauty, animal urge ...more
Published (first published 1998)
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Cindy Crijns The cave with the shadows is world of sight. The light of the torches is the sun/knowledge. The cave is underground, so people would have to walk…moreThe cave with the shadows is world of sight. The light of the torches is the sun/knowledge. The cave is underground, so people would have to walk uphill to go to the sun. People down the cave don’t have a lot of knowledge, and it is painful to look for knowledge, but you will gain it walking uphill into the sun.
You gain knowledge by making an effort, and you can be able to act rationally. It doesn’t say anything about origin.


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The allegory of the cave takes the form of a conversation between Socrates and Plato's brother Glaucon, in one of Plato's literary works, The Republic, (Volume 7).

Since Socrates never wrote anything down, we know of his teachings mainly through third party accounts. Plato had been one of Socrates' pupils, so it is possible that the allegory could be based on a real conversation that Socrates had.

Plato uses it to illustrate his concept of our ephemeral world as contrasted with his construct of t
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd forgotten how much I adore Plato. I studied philosophy for my higher education and fell in love. It's been a little while since I read it last, I remember spending weeks worth of lessons discussing, dissecting and debating Plato, very fond memories indeed.
Plato's Allegory of the Cave is a fantastic place to start as it draws upon his ideas of the Realm of Forms and of knowledge being Good. It's also pretty short so there is that.

Plato mostly wrote Dialogues that had Socrates as the narrato
Apr 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This allegory is central to so much Western thought and really struck me when I first encountered it. I remember thinking how brilliant the allegory was, and being driven to never be stuck staring at the shadows.
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Good stuff! The meaning behind this allegory is truly enlightening, it's obvious that this story super-duper old, but what's interesting is that you can relate it to any decade or century.
alyssa ❥
One of my all time favorite classics.
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is about society today. It is not a story about some guy in a cave, or some neanderthal who lived a thousand years ago, or about Greece. This is today. This is now.
(_.- Jared -._) ₪ Book Nerd ₪
Known also as "myth of the cave", "metaphor of the cave", "parable of the cave", and "Plato's Cave", this is perhaps one of the most famous allegories in history. For those of whom don't know, this is an allegory told in a dialogue between Plato's (427-327 BCE) brother Glaucon and his mentor Socrates (470-399 BCE) recorded by the Greek philosopher Plato in book 7 of his famous work The Republic. It contrasts the effect of education and the lack of it on human nature and on our perspectives and i ...more
Stephen Richards
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I rate this book by one of my favorite authors so highly because it examines belief in some detail. Belief in and of itself is neutral, but when they either help or hinder the fulfillment of your dreams, then they are either positive or negative, respectively. Beliefs that empower you or allow you, drive you forward, while those that do otherwise, hold you back.

We can take a lesson from this book, that if your beliefs drive you toward your dreams faster, then you should encourage them, entertain
Celeste Batchelor
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
For many years, I've had a hard time understanding Plato. So much so that I read one of his books and decided to never read him again! Boring! I'm thankful that I didn't stop trying to understand his works. If I had, I would have never read "The Allegory of the Cave" which has so many applications in life.

My ability to apply this allegory to my life has taken on a new level as I strive to understand human nature, truth, and the process we call Life. It is a process isn't it? We can be either mov
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
A very short, but very important piece. While most would disagree with many implications of a close application of the allegory, it is an unsurpassed gateway to greater thought and metaphysical exploration.
Michael Herrman
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Before there was the Matrix, there was the AoC.
Natasha Castillo
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Es bueno siempre releerlo.
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-for-school
Feb 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've read this three times. This is actually how I argue my theological beliefs. Well done, Plato.
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this for my philosophy class and it really opened my eyes up to looking at things differently. It's a great book.
Aug 09, 2013 marked it as fini
One’s reality can only be that which is known.
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Possibly my favorite allegory by maybe my favorite philosopher, Plato. I am nearly convinced it is relevant to every philosophical concept.
Not really sure what went down here...
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Want to understand false realities, puppeteers and what keeps people chained...? read this book!
Hannah Bousfield
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was very impressed with the allegory of the cave for a few different reasons. Firstly, it is an incredibly interesting and vivid way to describe the basics of western philosophy. Secondly, this story is transcends any decade or century as we are taken into the imaginary world of Socrates, as he describes to us the idea of "people" representing minds that are trapped into a cave! These people are chained down and can only see and perceive what they are told. However, an other character is intr ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mind-mapping
Just an another brilliant book. I wanted to read Philosophies as I do think a lot. This book and its simplicity had impressed me, actually there is nothing much serious about this book and it revolves around a very fantasized story. It explains how common illogical thinking is on earth and how to handle it, or-else you will be killed. No wonder he took this lesson from "Socrates life".

After you read it, or if you don't want to read the book but want to know more.
Here is my blog for you:
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Lol....I had to read this in an anthology textbook, and I legit don't know if this is the version I read or not, but since I read it(wasted my time on it for the sake of school) imma just say I read this version. Ha.

Anyway, this passage by Plato is basically about hidden, wanting to deny truths, coming forth into the light. Once knowledge in known, it almost can never be not unknown. Yeah....I might say some other things later on, but for now...see ya.
Syed Asif
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lovely. Plato's was a mind way beyond his time.
John  Palacio
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Acabas, Sócrates, de fabricar, como un hábil escultor, perfectos hombres de Estado." Glaucón
McKenna Fernandini
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really makes you think. Great read
Jill Nelson
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
The first reading, in the first seminar course, in your first year at Saint Mary's! Everyone reads this and goes "WTF?!". It's so funny to look back and remember that discussion and how awkward it was. No one understood the story, no one knew anyone in the class, the professor was doing his best to get people to say something/anything, and we were all sitting there silently, thinking "What did I sign up for? I have an entire semester of this?!". Once you're a few classes in (and you realize your ...more
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: enlightened-mind
"The power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already."

What chains are we bound by that keep us from turning & seeking the truth? "If they had been released from these impediments & turned in the opposite direction, the very same faculty in them would have seen the truth as keenly as they see what their eyes are turned to now."

What shadows (or perceptions) do we focus on & become distracted by? "Like ourselves, they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another."
Shaunaly ~  (A Book Away From An Episode Of Hoarders)
Of all of our humanistic internal and external beliefs, the most essential, yet challenging matters to prove are the ones we cannot visually see yet are able to perceive and feel. If we cannot actually “see” them, how does one rationally draw a conclusive resolution that they are in fact, truly in existence?

What is one’s true reality anyway? Does it differ from our assumptive realism?

The world outside of OUR own reality may never exist; this of course, does not make the world outside any less re
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(Greek: Πλάτων) (Arabic: أفلاطون) (Alternate Spelling: Platón, Platone)
Plato is a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosoph
More about Plato...
“How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?” 87 likes
“It is the task of the enlightened not only to ascend to learning and to see the good but to be willing to descend again to those prisoners and to share their troubles and their honors, whether they are worth having or not. And this they must do, even with the prospect of death.” 23 likes
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