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Platos concept

: The source of pain in education is in encountered because one resists change from what is familiar. In philosophical education one resists but if one persists in trying the new and the unfamiliar, he will eventually find that the new and unfamiliar is a good thing and it is something better. The example given was one a man who had for a long time lived in a cave and then suddenly he is allowed to explore the outside world. He would, at first, feel disoriented and “pained” by what he would view as foreign and unreal. He would certainly be “blinded” by the light outside and seek the familiar comfort of the dark cave.

Although if someone were to “drag him…by force along the rough, steep, upward way, and didn’t let him go before he had dragged him out into the light of the sun” he would find out that there is something better out there. He would realize that outside he can see better, breathe better, and move better. According to Plato, it is difficult to perceive the good beyond that of what you actually see and thus, it is perceived as unfamiliar and uncomfortable. One does experience some pain and discomfort when traversing the unfamiliar. For a child to walk, he must first stumble and fall.

Q2: Plato’s political point is that ideally, each member of society has a role in society and a responsibility. But because man’s knowledge of good differs from one another, there are stages that he can reach and stages of goodness he can achieve. For Plato, an ideal society is one that has the philosopher king at its helm since the philosopher king has achieved the highest knowledge of what is good. In this sense, Plato is actually against democracy. He is more for monarchy. Plato views democracy as a replacement of oligarchy where the poor are able to overthrow the oligarchs.

The same poor grant liberties and freedoms to the citizens. A visually appealing demagogue is then made to protect the lower classes and their interests. However, too much freedom opens the door to tyranny and liberties that create a chaotic society. Plato’s ideal state is more like a tyranny or monarchy since it is rules by a ‘philosopher king’ who is fortunately not self-centered but dedicated to the good of the state since he knows that this is what is best for his people. Q3: The allegory of the cave justifies the need for a philosopher king.

Plato imagines a group of people who have lived in a cave all of their lives without seeing the outside or that behind them. Behind these prisoners is a flame that throws flickering shadows of moving statues in the cave. These shadows imitate are seen by these men as an imitation of human life and give them forms (naming them) such as “dog” or “cat”. This is their reality. Plato then expounds on the philosopher king as a former man living in the cave who had been freed and realized that this is not reality. He realized that outside he can see the beauty and goodness in the objects around him.

The prisoner’s stages of understanding correlate with the levels on the divided line that Plato imagines. The line divides the visible realm that receives no sunlight, and outside he comes to be in the intelligible realm. The shadows in the cave that the prisoners can see correspond to the lowest level on Plato’s line, that of imagination and conjecture. Once the prisoner is freed and spots the fire’s reflection onto the statues which causes the shadows in the cave, he reaches the second stage on the divided line, and that is the stage of belief, as the freedman comes to believe that the statues in the cave are real as can be.

On leaving the cave, however, the prisoner comes to see objects more real; this correlates with the third stage on Plato’s line as understanding. Lastly, the prisoner turns to the sun which he grasps as the source of truth, or the Form of the Good, and this last stage, named as dialectic, is the highest possible stage on the line. The prisoner, as a result of the Form of the Good, can begin to understand all other forms in reality. Plato reasons that the freed man is the philosopher, who can discern the Form of the Good, and thus absolute goodness and truth.

Plato also asserts that it is the philosopher’s burden to reenter the cave. Those who have seen the ideal world have the duty to educate or spread the light to those in darkness. Also, since the philosopher is the only one able to recognize good, only he can reach the last stage on the divided line, and rule society according to Plato. REFERENCES: Ariel Dillon. “Education in Plato’s Republic. ” Presentation, Santa Clara University Student Ethics Research Conference, May 26, 2004. www. en. wikipedia. org

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