Note: the book is Plato, Book VII
After explaining briefly his account of the nature of reality, and our knowledge of what is real, in the allegories of the sun and the line at the end of Book VI which
we looked at in class, Plato offers what is perhaps the most famous passage from all of Ancient Philosophy—his Allegory of the Cave. In this story, Plato expresses his
view about the nature of a proper education, a story which has often been taken to offer a metaphor more broadly of the human condition.
Here are some things to keep in mind while answering the questions that follow. One, for Plato, each of us aims, as we’ve been noting throughout our discussion of
Plato so far, to live well or achieve a good life (eudaimonia), and the soul is that part of our individual natures through which each of us gives shape and direction
to the life we create deliberately. Two, humans develop in stages, where different parts of their souls or psychology emerge in their lives as they grow. Three, each
part of our soul’s nature is associated with a different kind of pleasure (appetitive pleasure, the pleasures of reputation, the pleasures of contemplative
understanding). Presumably, a good life under normal circumstances is also one that is pleasurable.
In no more than a single page, answer the following questions about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. First, find and quote a passage in which Plato tells us what he
thinks education is NOT. Second, find and quote a passage in which Plato tells us what he thinks education really is. Third, in thinking about the allegory as a story
about how education ought to be undertaken and what its effect is on one who undergoes education, what do you think the shadows on the wall of the cave represent in
the context of the soul’s development? Finally, do you think Plato’s view of education is sensible for you? Why or why not?
provide the marginal numbering reference for the passages you cite so that we can look at the passage in class discussion.