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Word Count: 643
1 Plato realizes that the general run of humankind can think and speak etc without so far as they acknowledge any awareness of his realm of Forms 2 The allegory of the cave is supposed to explain this 3 In the allegory Plato likens people untutored in the Theory of Forms to prisoners chained in a cave unable to turn their heads All they can see is the wall of the cave Behind them burns a fire Between the fire and the prisoners there is a parapet along which puppeteers can walk The puppeteers who are behind the prisoners hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave The prisoners are unable to see these puppets the real objects that pass behind them What the prisoners see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they do not see Here is an illustration of Platos Cave 4 Such prisoners would mistake appearance for reality They would think the things they see on the wall the shadows were real they would know nothing of the real causes of the shadows 5 So when the prisoners talk what are they talking about If an object a book let us say is carried past behind them and it casts a shadow on the wall and a prisoner says I see a book what is he talking about He thinks he is talking about a book but he is really talking about a shadow But he uses the word book What does that refer to 6 Plato gives his answer at line 515b2 The text here has puzzled many editors and it has been frequently emended The translation in GrubeReeve gets the point correctly And if they could talk to one another dont you think theyd suppose that the names they used applied to the things they see passing before them 7 Platos point is that the prisoners would be
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