Discuss how Plato addresses these following distinctions, making references to how they are located in the Allegory of the Cave:
- The appearances vs. reality
- One vs. the many
- Forms/ideals vs. physical objects
- What would be a specific example of one of these distinctions in real life?
- Do you agree with the basic claim, that appearances can be deceiving? Why or why not?
Another way to understand the Allegory of the Cave and the Divided Line is to use one particular example and take it through all the different levels of the Divided Line. Here are some examples like that:
- A picture of a dog in a dog magazine/ An actual physical dog//A diagram of a dog used to train a dog show judge at Westminster Dog Show/The idea of the perfect dog – Less “real”//More “real”
- A picture of a beauty pageant participant/Meeting the actual beauty pageant participant//A description of the ideal “Miss America”/The concept or ideal Miss America in someone’s imagination – Again, the more perfect it is, the more real it is, even if it’s just an idea.
- How does the way Plato describes knowledge and reality relate to your own education and how you learned concepts?
In your responses, be sure to discuss how the distinction Plato makes relates to how philosophers use arguments and logic to convince us. His claim, that appearances are deceiving, relies on a kind of analogy between sense experience and a cave. Does that analogy hold or is it possibly a false analogy? In terms of our previous unit on the self, how does our understanding of our self actually rely on our senses? If our senses are unreliable, what does that mean for how we know our own body?