Plato's Theory of Knowledge Essay

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Plato's Theory of Knowledge

Plato's Theory of Knowledge is very interesting. He expresses this theory with three approaches: his allegory of The Cave, his metaphor of the Divided Line and his doctrine The Forms. Each theory is interconnected; one could not be without the other. Here we will explore how one relates to the other.

In The Cave, Plato describes a vision of shackled prisoners seated in a dark cave facing the wall. Chained also by their necks, the prisoners can only look forward and see only shadows, These shadows are produced by men, with shapes of objects or men, walking in front of a fire behind the prisoners. Plato states that for the prisoners, reality is only the mere shadows thrown onto the wall.
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Plato considered shadows, art and poetry, especially rhetoric, deceptive illusions, what you see is not necessarily what you get. With poetry and rhetoric you may be able to read the words but you may not understand the "real" meaning. For example, take, again, the shadow. If you know a shadow is something "real" then you are beyond the state of imagination which implies that a person is "unaware of observation and amounts to illusion and ignorance". Belief is the next stage of developing knowledge. Plato goes with the idea that seeing really is not always believing we have a strong conviction for what we see but not with absolute certainty. This stage is more advanced than imagining because it's based more firmly on reality. But just because we can actually see the object and not just it's shadow doesn't mean we know all there is to know about the object. In the next stage, Thinking, we leave the "visible world" and move into the "intelligible world" which, Plato claims, is seen mostly in scientists. It stands for the power of the mind to take properties from a visible object and applying them. Thinking is the "visible" object but also the hypotheses, "A truth which is taken as self-evident but which depends upon some higher truth". Plato wants us to see all things as they really are so we can see that all is inter-connected. But
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