Philosophy and Ethics AS level
1 (a) Explain the Analogy of the Cave in Plato's Republic 
(b)'The Analogy of the Cave tells us nothing about reality.' Discuss. 
(a) The allegory of the cave in Plato's Republic is one of three similes used by Plato to explain his theory of forms; however this is not its only use. It also gives us ideas about reality. the main features of this analogy are a group of prisoners who have been in the cave all their lives, they are shown shadows on a wall which is being cast by objects being placed in front of a fire and then one of the prisoners is set free and leaves discovering that his idea of reality has changed.
The cave is an analogy as each aspect of it relates to situations or people in real life. The prisoners are a society who are being forcefully fed this misconception of reality, and accept it out of some sort of sense of conformity. Puppeteers are those who can create and carry an illusion of reality. The puppeteers are controlling the portrayal of shadows as images to the prisoners, this could be a representation of the heads of society (e.g. politicians and kings), these leaders are leading the people away from a true sense of knowledge and are creating false realities in which the shadow of an object is the true form with the object being unfathomable to the prisoners. The prisoner that is set free is a philosopher who is taking into the outer world to explore, he seeks true knowledge of reality. The philosopher has to walk along a very long path to get into the outer world; this journey is seen as the process of attempting to achieve a higher level of knowledge and thinking and is hard for the philosopher at first. The philosopher has to adjust to the light outside of the cave before he can see, he begins to see at night, and then he is able to see the suns reflection before finally being able to look directly at the sun. He then concludes that the sun is the giver of life and provides the seasons. The...