• Shawn
    11.8k
    Plato spoke of the shadows on the wall, upon which the chained would look upon. What Plato had in mind was the light upon which the figures or abstractions would appear. Yet, the psychology of what Plato might latter call the ignorant and unenlightened was never apparent in his description of the ideas or forms which the figures would present themselves as imperfect shadows in Plato's cave. The unenlightened suddenly become free to walk out of the shadowed cave by Platonic philosophers who would want them to enjoy themselves within the outside where one would contemplate the forms or ideas. Indeed, as an act of kindness, according to Plato, a philosopher would take the time to unchain the prisoner from the cave and welcome them into the light.

    Yet, modern day man seems comfortable inside the cave, where opinions, ignorance, and one's unconscious might be found. Indeed, nowadays man has a tendency to resolve one's issues in the cave, conversing with a psychologist about the shadows on the figurative wall of their troubled mind, perhaps even laying on a sofa reasoning or even rather rationalizing their thoughts and conditioned behaviors to themselves.

    Why is this so? Why can't the prisoner unshackle and free himself? Why is philosophy still associated with no inherent value, or even more practically, valued so little?
  • Bitter Crank
    9.8k
    Why can't the prisoner unshackle and free himself?Shawn

    Did you free yourself from your shackles? If so, how did you do it? If not, what seems to prevent you from unshackling yourself?

    But to back up, is Plato's cave real--is it a valid metaphor of our world? Are people figuratively chained to the wall and capable of viewing only shaky flickering shadows on a wall?

    The opposite is a very attractive -- that we know reality; that we are not stuck with flickering shadows of reality. Thinkers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains and a world to gain!

    Was Plato himself free of the cave? He may have had the insight that what he saw of flickering shadows was not reality, but did HE know reality? I suppose he thought he did. Forms schmormes.

    Why is philosophy still associated with no inherent value, or even more practically, valued so little?Shawn

    Maybe because it's stuck in Plato's cave.

    Look, Pig: It's up to you to decide for yourself. You have the wherewithal to declare what your values are, practice them, and defend them. If philosophy does anything, doesn't it enable you to think for yourself?

    Maybe we should just burn philosophy's libraries. Smash its statuary; close down philosophy departments. Fire the faculty. Slam the door shut on 2500 years of rehashing stories like The Cave. Publish a notice in every newspaper, on every website -- hell, print it on the currency -- YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. THINK FOR YOURSELF.
  • Shawn
    11.8k
    Did you free yourself from your shackles? If so, how did you do it? If not, what seems to prevent you from unshackling yourself?Bitter Crank

    I read Ayn Rand, obviously and she helped or taught me to shrug them off. At least that's what she learned from Aristotle, no?

    No, but more seriously...

    But to back up, is Plato's cave real--is it a valid metaphor of our world? Are people figuratively chained to the wall and capable of viewing only shaky flickering shadows on a wall?Bitter Crank

    Well, your looking at a wall of text, no? Perhaps even something more interesting than what's happening on the TV? All things considered, the strength of the metaphor has been echoed throughout time for some 2500 years, so there's some psychological reason if not literary interest in how it was phrased. I heard Plato was a really smart guy.

    The opposite is a very attractive -- that we know reality; that we are not stuck with flickering shadows of reality. Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose by your chains (and a world to gain)!Bitter Crank

    Certain truths are inconvenient to display nowadays than mention. Yes, it seems true. The power of mathematics, being Plato's main interest at the Academy with geometry still hold true. Thinking aloud, Is this really all about education? Don't we have enough educated people today with so little to offer in terms of the liberation one can find in one's self from the tyranny of reality of one's own ill psychology?

    Was Plato himself free of the cave? He may have had the insight that what he saw of flickering shadows was not reality, but did HE know reality? I suppose he thought he did. Forms schmormes.Bitter Crank

    I think his influence has the appeal that he was in some sense free. He had something to offer to the world that made it a better place.

    Maybe we should just burn philosophy's libraries. Smash its statuary; close down philosophy departments. Fire the faculty. Slam the door shut on 2500 years of rehashing stories like The Cave.Bitter Crank

    Supposedly, no. I think education is important. But, the recent threads about stupidity and climate change, and science denial mean that were still sitting in some figurative cave...
  • Wayfarer
    13.8k
    Yet, modern day man seems comfortable inside the cave, where opinions, ignorance, and one's unconscious might be found.Shawn

    The Western liberal tradition is profoundly hostile to the Platonic 'doctrines of illumination'. It's the task of liberal philosophy to make the world a safe space for the individual, grounded firmly in a naturalism which sees h. sapiens as simply another species, albeit a very clever one. Homo Faber.

    There is a little-known intellectual movement from the 20th Century centered around the perennial philosophy. The idea of the perennial philosophy is that there is a kind of universal core of philosophy of which particular schools, including Platonism, are representatives or offshoots. Influential members of that movement included René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswami, Sayyed Hossein Nasr, and Frithjof Schuoun, to name a few. But they were all implacably opposed to modern Western culture, indeed, they wouldn't describe as 'a culture'. Consequently many of their ideas became associated with reactionary political movements such as facism, although individually none of those mentioned above were overtly political. Mark Sedgewick's book on that movement is called Against All Modernity, which gives an idea of it (although I think that particular author is lacking in philosophical depth. His blog.)

    I wouldn't advocate for 'the perennialists' other than to say that their perspective is worth considering, as it's so remote from the usual run-of-the mill instrumentalism that passes for philosophy in today's academy.

    The power of mathematics, being Plato's main interest at the Academy with geometry still hold true.Shawn

    “I believe that the only way to make sense of mathematics is to believe that there are objective mathematical facts, and that they are discovered by mathematicians,” says James Robert Brown, a philosopher of science recently retired from the University of Toronto. “Working mathematicians overwhelmingly are Platonists. They don't always call themselves Platonists, but if you ask them relevant questions, it’s always the Platonistic answer that they give you.”

    Other scholars—especially those working in other branches of science—view Platonism with skepticism. Scientists tend to be empiricists; they imagine the universe to be made up of things we can touch and taste and so on; things we can learn about through observation and experiment. The idea of something existing “outside of space and time” makes empiricists nervous: It sounds embarrassingly like the way religious believers talk about God, and God was banished from respectable scientific discourse a long time ago.
    What is Math? The Smithsonian Magazine
  • Shawn
    11.8k
    The Western liberal tradition is profoundly hostile to the Platonic 'doctrines of illumination'.Wayfarer

    Yes, that's an interesting topic one can go on about for quite a while. While the Medieval scholastics and other clergy so viciously appropriated Plato's Cave along with even the Bible, I don't believe that one can argue otherwise that the metaphor has not been treated fairly. After all, it wasn't religion that should be doing the liberating from the cave, which it has come to pass as what actually has transpired throughout time.

    It's the task of liberal philosophy to make the world a safe space for the individual, grounded firmly in a naturalism which sees h. sapiens as simply another species, albeit a very clever one. Homo Faber.Wayfarer

    I can't help but notice that this is the Aristotelian interpretation of a guiding telos. Is that true or off mark?
  • Wayfarer
    13.8k
    While the Medieval scholastics and other clergy so viciously appropriated Plato's Cave along with even the Bible, I don't believe that one can argue otherwise that the metaphor has not been treated fairly.Shawn

    When I was studying comparative religion, I formed the view that Christianity had appropriated many vitally important ideas from the sorrounding culture and 'locked them in the vaults' so to speak, where they could only be accessed on the condition of 'signing the contract' - pledging allegiance to the articles of faith. I've moderated by view a little since then, on account of realising that some of the Greek-speaking Church fathers (such as Origen) were philosophically profound in their own right. Nevertheless in my view Western culture was enormously influenced by the conflict between the 'pistic' Christians - sign of the fish - and the gnostic movements which were brutally suppressed by the mainstream (See A Perfect Heresy.) It created a very specific type of religious mind-set, which most of the Western world has been reacting against for the centuries. (Also worth noting some of Origen's teachings were anamethatized, and that Miester Eckhardt, a well-known medieval philosopher-theologian, was also accused of heresy. There are many deep tensions in Christian doctrine around the synthesis of Greek and Hebrew, and a long history of charismatic teachers who have skirted or actually been charged with heresy.)

    On your second question - I see Western individualism as a product of Christianity - a universal religion that promised salvation to all who believed. It was from there that the idea that every individual has infinite worth originated; you would not have found that in pre-Christian culture, where slaves, women and foreigners were more or less chattel. Secular culture retained the idea of the inherent worth of every human, which is the basis of human rights, while abandoning the belief in which it was originally grounded. So now the individual is the arbiter of value. The motto of liberalism is nihil ultra ego - nothing beyond the self; challenge it at your peril.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.8k
    I heard Plato was a really smart guy.Shawn

    I would not presume to criticize any of the 'great philosophers'. Plato was no doubt an outstanding individual amongst other remarkable men. The long-dead philosophers aren't the problem.

    And yes: The Cave is a rich, rich metaphor. It's got legs.

    However...

    To suppose that 2500 years later we (collectively) are still in the cave, still confusing the flickering shadows with reality, is a profoundly pessimistic take on history and the present. No, we are not 8 billion "enlightened" people who, with cool dry vision, see the world with 20/20 vision. But...

    Widespread education, literacy, freedom to think (when and where possible) and communicate has unshackled masses of people; they've left the cave. I'd say we have made enough progress in the last few centuries, to have no one but ourselves to blame for our persistent collective problems.

    Take climate change: Billions of people have at least a basic understanding of what it is. Are we solving this existential problem? Not yet, not now; we are not heading toward success. Whose fault is that? It is ours, unmistakably, Pick a collective -- neighborhood, city, county, state, province, nation... Very, very little sign of success, anywhere.

    The people in the cave were not, could not be, active agents. They were, after all, chained to the wall. They did not have any options. No remote: the channel was always the same. They could not be responsible for their situation. We are not 100% free, of course, but we are sufficiently responsible of our own actions. We are, to varying degrees, active responsible agents. If we fuck up, we can, we shall, we must, we will take the blame.
  • Thunderballs
    204
    Widespread education, literacy, freedom to think (when and where possible) and communicate has unshackled masses of peopleBitter Crank

    True. But the rise of the modern world has beaten a lot in submission or compliance too. How about people once living peacefully in harmony with Nature. They had their own non-western ways in dealing with all problems of life. They had colorful languages (even whistling!), worldviews (to use a very ugly word), ways of keeping peace (without thermonuclear devices!), their own way of raging a war (without an atom bomb or two), and in general respect Nature, of which they are part instead of standing vis a vis with.

    The shadows cast by the western (Greek) way.
  • Amity
    2.2k
    An Analysis of the Shadows.

    Excellent title of a captivating thread :cool:

    Plato spoke of the shadows on the wall, upon which the chained would look upon. What Plato had in mind was the light upon which the figures or abstractions would appear.

    Yet, the psychology of what Plato might latter call the ignorant and unenlightened was never apparent in his description of the ideas or forms which the figures would present themselves as imperfect shadows in Plato's cave...
    The unenlightened suddenly become free to walk out of the shadowed cave by Platonic philosophers who would want them to enjoy themselves within the outside where one would contemplate the forms or ideas.
    Shawn

    Interesting to consider from the psychological perspective. Have not analysed Plato's Allegory of the Cave well or deeply enough to have an opinion on this aspect of the Ideas of Forms.
    How did you come to that conclusion ? And is it an important consequence of accepting Plato's description, even if we have understood it correctly ? How would it change our lives and behaviour?
    Is it about 'enjoying themselves within the outside where one could contemplate the forms or ideas' ? Within the outside...another 'cage' ?

    Perhaps a quick reminder would help, either from other members such as @Fooloso4 or:
    https://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/cave.htm
    https://graduateway.com/platos-allegory-cave-analysis-summary/

    -----

    Indeed, nowadays man has a tendency to resolve one's issues in the cave, conversing with a psychologist about the shadows on the figurative wall of their troubled mind, perhaps even laying on a sofa reasoning or even rather rationalizing their thoughts and conditioned behaviors to themselves.Shawn

    I see you answered my question...but the 'cave' here is our reality, no ?
    'One's issues' - there are so many particular and global. Where do we begin ?
    I don't think that that many tend to lie down talking to a psychologist. However, you are right, we can and do try to work things out with a view to a better life. Some rely on faith to help them, others politicians, governments...how many turn to philosophy ?

    Why is this so? Why can't the prisoner unshackle and free himself? Why is philosophy still associated with no inherent value, or even more practically, valued so little?Shawn

    Why, why, why ?
    Don't know. Because we're human ? You mention 'values'.
    Some don't know what is of value; some values are relative. In philosophy, we can ask what does 'Value' mean ? Is that of value ? What do we find worthwhile, what is important. Sometimes this is tied to chains or rules/standards imposed on us by others. We are the puppets on a chain...

    You have the wherewithal to declare what your values are, practice them, and defend them. If philosophy does anything, doesn't it enable you to think for yourself?Bitter Crank

    Good point. But not a lot of people know that...have the ability or capability.
    The 'wherewithal' is limited; freedom restricted.

    One example:
    While in power in Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Taliban’s rights record was characterized by systematic violations against women and girls; cruel corporal punishments, including executions; and extreme suppression of freedom of religion, expression, and education.Taliban restrictions - Education, Social and Justice

    hell, print it on the currency -- YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. THINK FOR YOURSELF.Bitter Crank

    :smile: Well, first you gotta get rid of 'In God We Trust'. Good Luck with that !

    The idea of the perennial philosophy is that there is a kind of universal core of philosophy of which particular schools, including Platonism, are representatives or offshootsWayfarer
    Influential members...representatives...they were all implacably opposed to modern Western culture, indeed, they wouldn't describe as 'a culture'.
    ...I wouldn't advocate for 'the perennialists' other than to say that their perspective is worth considering, as it's so remote from the usual run-of-the mill instrumentalism that passes for philosophy in today's academy.
    Wayfarer

    What interested me here is the idea of ' a universal core'. Then came their implacable opposition to a modern Western culture not even thought of as 'culture'. Wow. Where is the 'core' ?
    It certainly is a 'remote' perspective.
    Where do you see academic philosophy as 'run of the mill instrumentalism' ?

    Secular culture retained the idea of the inherent worth of every human, which is the basis of human rights, while abandoning the belief in which it was originally grounded. So now the individual is the arbiter of value. The motto of liberalism is nihil ultra ego - nothing beyond the self; challenge it at your peril.Wayfarer

    I think we need to be clear as to the meaning of 'secular'.
    Here's just one article which ends:
    So, that’s what secular means. At least in a contemporary American context; what it means to be secular in Japan, India, Yemen, or the Brazilian rainforest, is a whole other ball of wax. And there are so many related terms, such as secularism, secularization, atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker, apostate, heretic, infidel, spiritual but not religious, etc., etc.Psychology Today: The Secular Life

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-secular-life/201407/what-does-secular-mean

    Then there is 'liberalism' - another 'Idea' or 'Form' ?
    How can you say what the motto is ? There are so many definitions and meanings ? Casting shadows.

    Widespread education, literacy, freedom to think (when and where possible) and communicate has unshackled masses of people; they've left the cave. I'd say we have made enough progress in the last few centuries, to have no one but ourselves to blame for our persistent collective problems...]We are not 100% free, of course, but we are sufficiently responsible of our own actions. We are, to varying degrees, active responsible agents. If we fuck up, we can, we shall, we must, we will take the blame.Bitter Crank

    Hmmm. Yes, we can make individual decisions as to how to behave or act, given our set of values.
    If we have an all-round knowledge or understanding. Informed by reading, listening, reflecting.
    Attempting to analyse, or distinguish, the real from the shadows.

    Your qualifications, regarding degree, matters as to how much 'we' as individuals are to blame or can be held responsible for 'persistent collective problems'.

    Like many, I am in despair over so much.
    The most recent: AUKUS.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/16/the-guardian-view-on-the-aukus-defence-pact-taking-on-china

    I wonder if there will ever be a universal core value which will hold against powerful governments.
    I think not.

    In the meantime.., within our own philosophy caves...we might enlighten ourselves with books such as this:
    https://www.cambridge.org/gw/academic/subjects/religion/philosophy-religion/dissent-core-beliefs-religious-and-secular-perspectives

    Committed to dialogue across cultures and traditions, the collection begins that dialogue with the common challenges facing all traditions: how to maintain cohesion and core values in the face of pluralism, and how to do this in a way that is consistent with the internal ethical principles of the traditions.Cambridge subjects: religion, philosophy - dissent core beliefs

    So many books we can get chained to...the ideas within...but of what use ?
  • Thunderballs
    204
    An Analysis of the Shadows.Amity

    Sounds like a horror movie. A very refined one. Or the title of a book. "When you're walking down the streets at night. Turn around and die of freight. What's that in the shadows? Is it a dog? Is it a cat? What you think of that?"
  • Wayfarer
    13.8k
    What interested me here is the idea of ' a universal core'. Then came their implacable opposition to a modern Western culture not even thought of as 'culture'. Wow. Where is the 'core' ?Amity

    Alduous Huxley published a book in 1945 called 'The Perennial Philosophy'. That would be as good a starting point as any. He presents quotations and passages from diverse sources to illustrate the purported 'perennial core' of world religions and philosophies. His sources and topics include Aquinas, Augustine, St. Bernard, Bhagavad-Gita, Buddha, Jean Pierre Camus, St. Catherine, Christ, Chuang Tzu, "Cloud of Unknowing", Contemplation, Deliverance, Desire, Eckhart Fénelon, François de Sales, Godhead, St. John of the Cross, Lankavatara Sutra, William Law Mahāyāna, Mind, Mortification, Rumi, Ruysbroeck, Self, Shankara, Soul, Spirit, "Theologia Germanica," the Upaniṣads.

    The expression 'philosophia perennis' dates back to Liebniz, although the historical source for such ideas probably goes back to the Italian Renaissance humanists, such as Pico Della Mirandolla and Marcello Ficino.

    Modern culture would not be thought of as 'culture' in their terms, because of its concentration on the ephemeral, the passing, the stimulation of pointless wants, and its overall shallow materialism. That said, I wouldn't want to live in a reactionary traditionalist theocracy, thanks all the same, but I think their criticism are regardless cogent.

    I think we need to be clear as to the meaning of 'secular'.Amity

    The word is derived from a calendar - there used to be the 'religious calendar', in which holidays ('holy days') were marked, and which governed the liturgical year. The secular calendar governed public works and other matters outside the province of the sacred calendar.

    Then there is 'liberalism' - another 'Idea' or 'Form' ?
    How can you say what the motto is ? There are so many definitions and meanings ?
    Amity

    The 'liberal tradition' of modern culture is a very broad term - much broader than political liberalism or any liberal party. I would say all the OECD countries - don't ask me to name them - are liberal political cultures. China is not, being a totalitarian government. Russia is anaemically attempting to become one, but doesn't ever seem to be able to cut the apron-strings of dictatorship.
  • 180 Proof
    6k
    Why is this so?Shawn
    "Plato's Cave" is only a metaphor, y'know, playing like a shadow on your inner skull wall.

    Why can't the prisoner unshackle and free himself?
    "The prisoner" will shed his flesh soon enough; what's the hurry?

    Why is philosophy still associated with no inherent value, or even more practically, valued so little?
    What value is "inherent value" anyway? Popularity says more about the crowd than it indicates the worth of their latest idol. Beware lest a statue slay you. :fire:
  • Fooloso4
    2.6k
    Socrates begins:

    "Next, then," I said, "make an image of our nature in its education and want of education, likening it to a condition of the following kind ... (514a)

    What follows is an image of images regarding the human condition according to its education. Since we have been in this condition since birth we are not even aware that we are in bonds and can only see what is right in front of us. We do not attempt to escape because we do not know we are not free. The images whose shadows we see are:

    ... statues of men and other animals wrought from stone, wood, and every kind of material ... (514e-515a)

    It should be noted that these images are not images of Forms, but of humans and other animals.

    It is said that it is "by nature" (515c) that one is freed from the wall, but it is by force that someone drags him out of the cave into the light of the sun. (515e) By nature I take him to mean the nature of that prisoner. It is not said who it is that drags him out.

    Who is able to drag us into the light remains in question. There is a type of wisdom in the cave (516c), but those who hold such honors are not the same as one who is capable of bringing you out of the cave. Such a person would not be regarded as wise but foolish and not to be trusted.

    Who the puppet-masters are, also remains in question. The puppets are images. Do the makers have knowledge of the originals, or do they mistake the images they make for the originals?

    "Well, then, my dear Glaucon, " I said, "this image as a whole must be connected with what was said before. Liken the domain revealed through sight to the prison home, and the light of the fire in it to the sun's power; and, in applying the going up and the seeing of what's above to the soul's journey up to the intelligible place ... (517a-b).

    There is a problem with this analogy. The prisoner who escapes the cave does not see the Forms. She remains in the visible realm, culminating in the sight of heaven, the stars and moon at night, and the sun (516a) before returning to the cave. The domain revealed through sight includes what is seen outside the cave. Outside the cave one first sees reflections in water:

    ... the phantoms of the human beings and the other things in water; and, later, the things themselves.

    What are here called the things themselves are the things of our ordinary experience. But according to the hypothesis of Forms (511b), these are not the things themselves, but images of the Forms. In that case, the shadows are not simply images of images, but images (shadows) of images (puppets) of images (humans and other things) of Forms (which are called the things themselves).

    The fire in the cave is the image of the sun, and the sun is the image of the Good. Where are we in this three-fold division? Both the fire and the sun correspond to the visible realm. By which light do we see?

    To put it differently, how does this three-fold division, cave, light of sun, Forms, correspond to the two-fold division of visible and intelligible? Are the Forms themselves more than images or are they shadows in the mind cast by Plato the image maker? Does the image of escape from the cave to a light above the light of the sun bind us more firmly to the cave?
  • Wayfarer
    13.8k
    To explore these questions, it's necessary first to study the Parmenidies, don't you think?

    Both the fire and the sun correspond to the visible realm. By which light do we see?Fooloso4

    Isn't it the case that in the later tradition of Aristotelian philosophy that nous apprehends the forms, and the senses apprehend the body? That all particulars are a compound of form (morphe) and matter (hyle)?
  • Fooloso4
    2.6k
    To explore these questions, it's necessary first to study the Parmenidies, don't you think?Wayfarer

    I don't see why. What do you find in Parmenides that addresses these questions?

    Isn't it the case that in the later tradition of Aristotelian philosophy ...Wayfarer

    There are a few problems with this. First, I think it necessary to distinguish between Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition. It is questionable whether that tradition understood him. Second, the problem of interpreting Plato is only compounded by having in interpret Aristotle. Third, hyle is Aristotle's concept. It is not found in Plato and Plato's Forms are eidos not morphe. Tying these problems together is whether Aristotle should be understood as rejecting or supporting Plato. The tradition assumes the former, but recent scholarship points to their affinity.
  • Wayfarer
    13.8k
    What do you find in Parmenides that addresses these questions?Fooloso4

    Not in Parmenides, but in the dialogue, The Parmenides, which is almost wholly concerned with the nature of the forms and possible objections to it. I'm just working through Jowett's intro and translation, which is the edition contained in the Kindle version.

    The tradition assumes the former, but recent scholarship points to their affinity.Fooloso4

    Lloyd Gerson maintains that Aristotle was a 'dissident Platonist'. One of his books is 'Aristotle and other Platonists'.' He aims to show that the twentieth-century view that Aristotle started out as a Platonist and ended up as an anti-Platonist is seriously flawed.' Indeed 'hyle' was an Aristotelian term, I believe it actually meant 'lumber' or 'timber', being that which something is made from, but I don't know if that detracts from the general point.

    In any case, leaving aside those questions of provenance, the basic intuition of the rational intellect as 'that which perceives the forms' (i.e. the principles or essences) and the senses as 'that which sees the material body', makes sense as a philosophical theory (or it does to me anyway). So the outline is that 'the soul' is both the principle of unity of the body (Phaedrus 246d–e) and the faculty of rational judgement. It is identified with the immortal aspect of the human (in e.g. the Phaedo).
  • Fooloso4
    2.6k
    Not in Parmenides, but in the dialogueWayfarer

    Yes, I understood that. The name of the dialogue is not The Parmenides, although it is referred to as the Parmenides. The dialogue is about the Forms, but this does not answer the question.

    He aims to show that the twentieth-century view that Aristotle started out as a Platonist and ended up as an anti-Platonist is seriously flawed.'Wayfarer

    That may be, but it is not the interpretation of Aristotle I was referring to. This interpretation does not regard Aristotle as either a Platonist or anti-Platonist.
    the basic intuition of the rational intellect as 'that which perceives the forms'Wayfarer

    I don't know if that detracts from the general point.Wayfarer

    What is the general point?

    the basic intuition of the rational intellect as 'that which perceives the forms'Wayfarer

    What you call the basic intuition is an image on the cave wall. Do you perceive the Forms? Socrates admits he did not.

    It is identified with the immortal aspect of the human (in e.g. the Phaedo).Wayfarer

    The Phaedo talks about the immortal soul but whether or not the soul is immortal remains in question. Socrates tells them that it is better to believe it is, but, as the arguments make clear, if one's concern is with the truth, belief, however beneficial it may be, is not a satisfactory alternative.
  • Wayfarer
    13.8k
    The Phaedo talks about the immortal soul but whether or not the soul is immortal remains in question.Fooloso4

    It’s phrased in such a way as to leave it an open question.

    What is the general point?Fooloso4

    I’m trying to respond to the questions you raised:

    To put it differently, how does this three-fold division, cave, light of sun, Forms, correspond to the two-fold division of visible and intelligible? Are the Forms themselves more than images or are they shadows in the mind cast by Plato the image maker? Does the image of escape from the cave to a light above the light of the sun bind us more firmly to the cave?Fooloso4

    ‘The visible’ is what is perceived by the senses, ‘the intelligible’ is what is understood by the intellect. According to the later tradition, matter is perceived by the senses, forms by the intellect.

    If, then, the senses are material powers, they receive the forms of objects in a material manner; and if the intellect is an immaterial power, it receives the forms of objects in an immaterial manner. This means that in the case of sense knowledge, the form is still encompassed with the concrete characters which make it particular; and that, in the case of intellectual knowledge, the form is disengaged from all such characters. To understand is to free form completely from matter.

    Moreover, if the proper knowledge of the senses is of accidents, through forms that are individualized, the proper knowledge of intellect is of essences, through forms that are universalized. Intellectual knowledge is analogous to sense knowledge inasmuch as it demands the reception of the form of the thing which is known. But it differs from sense knowledge so far forth as it consists in the apprehension of things, not in their individuality, but in their universality.
    — Thomistic Psychology, Brennan
  • unenlightened
    6k
    The motto of liberalism is nihil ultra ego - nothing beyond the self; challenge it at your peril.Wayfarer

    The religion that worships its chains! There is a persistent illusion that distorts my view of the world, that my pain and pleasure is more significant than yours, and my life more important than yours. The combination of this myopia and short arms means that I tend to myself and let you tend to to yourself most of the time. But when there is nothing beyond self, we cannot even communicate, let alone cooperate. Have some more tea.
  • Banno
    14.5k

    Well I suppose it was a contributing influence to the Beach Boys, and they were around longer than the Stones. Pretty extraordinary, really, but not my cuppa.

    The Stratocaster, with a longer sustain than a Telecaster, seems to have been central to their sound. And getting electrocuted by your guitar - what a way for a bassist to go!
  • Amity
    2.2k
    And getting electrocuted by your guitar - what a way for a bassist to go!Banno

    So sayeth a stoned Greek goddess. You shape-shifter you... :smile:
  • Banno
    14.5k
    If you look closely you can see I got baptised, too.
  • Amity
    2.2k
    We do not attempt to escape because we do not know we are not free. The images whose shadows we see are:
    ... statues of men and other animals wrought from stone, wood, and every kind of material ... (514e-515a)
    It should be noted that these images are not images of Forms, but of humans and other animals.
    Fooloso4

    Thanks for responding with your usual clarity with quotes from Plato's Republic.

    It is said that it is "by nature" (515c) that one is freed from the wall, but it is by force that someone drags him out of the cave into the light of the sun. (515e) By nature I take him to mean the nature of that prisoner. It is not said who it is that drags him out.Fooloso4

    Interesting points to consider. Which translation are you using ?

    Who the puppet-masters are, also remains in question. The puppets are images. Do the makers have knowledge of the originals, or do they mistake the images they make for the originals?Fooloso4

    Again - you pose thought-provoking questions. A deeper analysis...perhaps another Plato thread in the making :wink:

    There is a problem with this analogy. The prisoner who escapes the cave does not see the Forms. She remains in the visible realm, culminating in the sight of heaven, the stars and moon at night, and the sun (516a) before returning to the cave.Fooloso4

    I find the whole analogy difficult to imagine. I need a visual...

    Outside the cave one first sees reflections in water:

    ... the phantoms of the human beings and the other things in water; and, later, the things themselves.

    What are here called the things themselves are the things of our ordinary experience. But according to the hypothesis of Forms (511b), these are not the things themselves, but images of the Forms. In that case, the shadows are not simply images of images, but images (shadows) of images (puppets) of images (humans and other things) of Forms (which are called the things themselves)
    Fooloso4

    Thanks, I get a better sense of what is going on - I think.
    It reminds me of Russian dolls - the nesting of stories within stories within Dialogues.

    The fire in the cave is the image of the sun, and the sun is the image of the Good. Where are we in this three-fold division?Fooloso4

    Trapped between a rock and a hard place ?

    Both the fire and the sun correspond to the visible realm. By which light do we see?Fooloso4

    By the light of the silvery moon ?

    To put it differently, how does this three-fold division, cave, light of sun, Forms, correspond to the two-fold division of visible and intelligible? Are the Forms themselves more than images or are they shadows in the mind cast by Plato the image maker? Does the image of escape from the cave to a light above the light of the sun bind us more firmly to the cave?Fooloso4

    I have no idea. Hadn't even thought of it in these terms.
    Good questions. What and where are the answers, if any ?
  • Amity
    2.2k
    If you look closely you can see I got baptised, too.Banno

    Ah yes - the sign of the cross on the forehead. I thought the sculpture markings were later accidents.
    A baptism by fire ?
  • Thunderballs
    204
    If only Aristotle and Plato (A&P) knew modern physics and math... The cave, the shadows, the light, the mathematics assumed to exist in a metaphysical realm (like angels in a heaven), the dusty mirror and its Platonic splendor, the down-to-Earthness of A, A&P's relationship, their combined intellect, and their friendship, would have produced tears forming a fuel for modern day rockets. The teardrops explode.
  • Bret Bernhoft
    14
    I believe it's because they aren't properly inspired into action. Not enough souls whom have escaped to the surface have returned with the good news.

    Awakening is possible, for anyone/everyone.
  • TheMadFool
    12.6k
    I struggle to find a modern day equivalent for Plato's allegory of the cave? It seems it's necessary to come up
    with one - to bridge the roughly 2000 year old gap between Plato's contemporaries who would be familiar with the experience of being in caves and a person from the 21st century whose probability of being inside one is minisucle.

    Analogies, by definition, require a good degree of familiarity with the analog (the cave in this case) but that seems a rather tall order for people of this era, trapped as they are in mega-cities.

    The best that I can do is to resort to higher dimensions - it seems appropriate as shadows are, bottom line, 2D figures - but the difficulty seems to be the mathematical concepts at play are beyond the reach of people even in this day and age of Einsteinian science. That's that!

    My own personal opinion, not that it matters in any significant sense, is not to make the distinction real vs. illusion. A more helpful way of understanding our world is to simply look at reality like it's multi-tiered with each level being an aspect of reality just as the layer below/above is one, with each such stratum being no real/illusory as any other. In a sense, the people (prisoners?) in the cave are not being denied the truth; rather they're being presented with a different slice of the truth.

    In short, illusion is an illusion. :chin:
  • Fooloso4
    2.6k
    It’s phrased in such a way as to leave it an open question.Wayfarer

    One that only the dead can answer, providing death is not, as Socrates suggests in the Apology, nothingness. An "open question" is very different from:

    the immortal aspect of the humanWayfarer

    According to the later tradition ...Wayfarer

    Looking away from Plato to a later tradition is, in my opinion, to avoid Plato. What Plato seems to be saying is often not what is going on when one looks closely.
  • Fooloso4
    2.6k
    The Stratocaster, with a longer sustain than a Telecaster, seems to have been central to their sound.Banno

    For anyone who might care about such things, Hank Marvin's signature sound was the Strat and lots of reverb. In the video though, all three guitars are made by Burns. Notice the headstock.

    I need something to do in the cave. Bonus, no reverb needed.
  • Thunderballs
    204
    I need something to do in the cave. Bonus, no reverbFooloso4

    The cave makes its own reverb. Rewording the sound. Would be nice to play in a real stalagtite cave.
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