His epistemology indicates that the knowledge about forms of platonic ideas is innate. Therefore, this means that the process of learning is a combination of ideas that develops gradually. Ideas are found deep in a person’s soul. He also argues that the soul of human being existed even before birth and had knowledge of ideas and form of the good. Plato would argue that an idea is not learned instead it is recalled from the original form it existed in. He tries to explain the differences between knowledge and opinion using the analogy of the divided line, allegory of the cave and the metaphor of the sun (Gulley 20). The ideas of the divided line have two distinct parts. One of the parts stands for the visible world while the other one shows the intelligible world. Each of these two parts is further sub-divided into high and lower forms and ordinary visible object and reflection respectively. These parts are compared to the truth and reality of the form. The allegory of the cave on the other hand talks about human sensation and shadows or reflection. Shadow of things passing in front of a cave wall may give an insinuation to a person in the cave that those shadows are real human being. This shows that reality is far from the truth and one need intellect knowledge to differentiate them. Knowledge from sensation is not the true form of reality. Knowledge by intellect demonstrates that sensation may focus on the shadow and not the real object. Thus, to find the reality of the form, there must be an existence of knowledge on the real form of an object. Sensation assumes that an object exist only if it can be felt but when it comes to intellect knowledge an object must not necessarily exist for it to be real.
Allegory of the Cave convey the idea that philosophy is an activity that results in freedom and autonomy
Plato idea about the cave tries to explain the freedom of a person gained after leaving a cave after spending all his or her life in the cave. Before a person is freed from a dark cave, he or she believes that the shadows of people passing along the war are real human beings. When he or she gets out of the cave, he or she realizes that shadows were not real human beings. In the same way philosophy seek to relocate things that are beyond human knowledge and reality of the form of an object. Philosophy is the urge to seek knowledge that opens the mind of a person to freedom of thinking abstractly (Allen 31). When the prisoner is blinded by fire, he or she wishes to be taken back to the cave and never return back in the light. Philosophers who reach the peak of knowledge about the reality of form need not remain there; rather they should descend to the lowest level and share their experience with others. Reality of the form is not attributed to the object materials that are at our exposure. This explains the reason as to why we should be concerned about seeking the truth about reality and not reality in itself. Intellect knowledge will help us fathom things that fall beyond human beings understanding.
How you can relate the Allegory to your own life
Reality about life is one of the things that people struggle with to understand each and every day. In my own experience I would relate to the allegory of the cave as understanding myself. Taking a certain path in life seems to be a mystery to many people. Before I decided being a teacher in life, I had so many choices that made me lose focus. Weighing my strength and weaknesses was the turning point to my career path. Childhood dreams would drag me back by holding my thought from thinking abstractly about passion to serve people as a tutor. Big dreams of becoming a banker would haunt back my career progression moves and makes me hover around the reality. Being in the cave for the rest of my life reflects to the time I spent before I realized my career path of being a teacher. Coming out of the cave represents the time I realized that I will be more productive being a teacher, not a banker or any other career. Shadows in this case represent the dreams of becoming a banker which appeared to be the reality looking at it from the cave. This shadow showed me how I could achieve the goals in life being a banker nevertheless a dream that would never come to be. The action of going back to the cave represents the initial idea on the reality of being a teacher which was not appealing. Thinking of such a minor job in the society would even make me not to work hard in school. The reality dawn on me after I grew up and the teaching career developed in me. My strength started showing up when I conducted some lectures and this changed my whole life. This is how I relate my experiences in life to the allegory of the cave.
Allen, Reginald E. Plato’s ‘euthyphro’ and the Earlier Theory of Forms. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2012. Print.
Gulley, Norman. Plato’s Theory of Knowledge. Abingdon [U.K.: Routledge, 2013. Print.