Plato's Parable of the Cave 
Plato's Parable of the Cave
by Whitworth U / Bruce Gore
Video Lecture 8 of 39
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Date Added: July 20, 2017

Lecture Description

One of the most famous illustrations from Plato involves his so-called "cave" parable. The parable is found in Book VII of Plato's Republic, and represents his introduction to a theory of practical education in his ideal society. You will read this parable in the collateral reading assignment. You will also have an opportunity to watch a short YouTube video that dramatizes the parable. The students in the video class have just watched the video as well.

The cave parable is intended to show that there is a higher level of truth, but that many people never discover this higher level, being bound as prisoners in a sort of intellectual cave. All the prisoners in the cave ever see are shadows, and they come to believe that the shadows are reality. Only by escaping from the cave is it possible to experience the higher world of the forms, the world of truth rather than shadow and illusion.

As we have noted before, the teaching of Plato bears some similarity to a Christian perspective, but Plato definitely stops short of a vision truly reflective of biblical teaching. It is nevertheless helpful to read his account of the cave, and to compare Plato's thought to the truths set forth in the Word of God.

Course Index

Course Description

This wide ranging course starts with the pre-Socratic philosophers of the ancient world, and traces the history of philosophical speculation across the ages up to the present. Included along the way is special attention to the greatest Christian thinkers in history, including Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and many others.


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