Philosophy Word of the Day – The Image of the Cave

“Plato’s illustration in the Republic (Book VII) of the difference between knowledge and illusion, reality and appearance.  Men chained in a cave, facing a blank wall, with a fire burning behind them, can see only shadows, which they take for real objects.  When one who has been made to leave the cave and see the real world by the light of the sun returns, it is hard for him to adapt to the dim light; he is ridiculed by his former companions and is unable to convince them that what they see are but vague reflections of reality.”

A Dictionary of Philosophy (2nd ed), p. 59.

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