Coming Back to Plato's Cave

1125 Words Jan 30th, 2018 5 Pages
This allegory motivates the arguments given in the larger context of the Republic, namely the construction of the perfectly good and just city. Specifically, the allegory shows how the philosopher, as the only person who exits the cave in the allegory, is required to re enter the cave after having exited and come into direct contact with true reality. Some have critiqued the demand on the philosopher to be contradictory to other claims made by Plato, namely the claim that true justice is personal virtue and that it is always doing what is best for yourself. Critics claim that with the in the allegory of the cave, it seems to be to the disadvantage of the philosopher to come back to the cave. The problem doesn’t become any clearer when applied to the philosopher-king either since Socrates clearly states that the philosophical life is better than the political life. Richard Kraut attempts to clarify this seemingly contradictory stance in Plato’s work in his paper Return To The Cave: Republic 519-521. In this paper I will examine Kraut’s argument and offer my own thought on the plausibility of his solution.
Kraut explains that two questions must be addressed in order to makes sense of this apparent contradiction that arises from the political serviced demanded of the philosopher. Firstly, we must address the question, is…