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Word Count: 621
Platos theory of knowledge is found in the Republic particularly in his discussion ofthe image about the myth of the cave Plato distinguishes between two levels of awarenessopinion and knowledge The myth of the cave describes individuals chained deep within therecesses of a cave Bound so that vision is restricted they cannot see one another The onlything visible is the wall of the cave upon which appear shadows cast by models or statues ofanimals and objects that are passed before a brightly burning fire Breaking free one of theindividuals escapes from the cave into the light of day With the aid of the sun that personsees for the first time the real world and returns to the cave with the message that the onlythings they have seen are shadows and appearances and that the real world awaits them ifthey are willing to struggle free of their bonds The shadowy environment of the cavesymbolizes for Plato the physical world of appearances Escape into the sun-filled settingoutside the cave symbolizes the transition to the real world the world of full and perfect beingthe world of Forms which is the proper object of knowledgePlato established the Forms as arranged hierarchically the supreme Form is the Form of theGood which like the sun in the myth of the cave There is a sense in which the Form of theGood represents Platos movement in the direction of an ultimate principle of explanationUltimately the theory of Forms is intended to explain how one comes to know and also howthings have come to be as they are In philosophical language Platos theory of Forms is atheory of knowledge and a theory of beingThe shadows of ourselves are the passive states which we know by thinkingThe learned in the cave are those who possess empirical forms of knowledgewho know how to make predictions the doctors who know how to curepeople by using empirical methods those who know what is going on etcTheir knowledge
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