Plato’s Cave (Political science)


What do you think? Here, I’d like to give you an opportunity to explore this famous story a little more – and to add your own voice. Many people have listened to this story and come up with different interpretations or meanings. In this assignment, please take about 30-45 minutes to compose a summary of Plato’s Cave metaphor. In your summary, please address the following three questions:

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1) what is the purpose of Plato’s metaphor?

2) why does the escaped prisoner have a hard time returning to the Cave – and what do you think this might mean for us today?

3) Plato might be right or wrong about the nature of reality. As your teacher, I take no position on this. I only ask you to consider what might follow, logically, if Plato was right about the illusory nature of reality (“the sun itself”). In about one or two paragraphs, explain how we might approach political life differently if Plato was right about the nature of Reality. *In your answer, you are also free to explore the opposite side: if Plato is wrong about the nature of reality, how might we approach political life and political philosophy differently?

I hope you have a positive experience attempting to answer these questions. If any of this interests you, write up your thoughts and I will assess them for extra credit. I look forward to reading them and to hearing about your experience reading this strange, bewildering, and wonderful book.

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