Plato’s Allegory of the Cave [4:32]


Alex Gendler provides a great introduction to Plato’s famous Allegory of the Caves.  For Plato, the Allegory pointed us toward his Theory of Forms, which explained what made any given instance of a chair a chair or dog a dog.  Many philosophers reject this theory now, but the thought experiment still provokes ideas in epistemology, metaphysics, education, society, and other areas of human life.

Discussion Questions

  • What was Plato trying to argue with this allegory?
  • What are the ‘Forms’ like?  What role do they play in our world?
  • What does this parable say about the importance of education?
  • Are there any ‘shadows on the wall’ that we still need to educate ourselves about?
  • What do you think of Plato’s argument for a Philosopher King rather than Democracy?

Keywords: philosophy, Plato, parable, epistemology, the forms, education, Ancient Greek


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