Plato's theories (sophie's world)

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  • 1. Keian Amina and Emily Cossar Sophie’S World preSentationS Plato Myth of the cave When people see a shadow, they automatically think that there is something therecasting the shadow. If they do not recognise the shadow, they will often have a lookaround to see what the shadow could be. Plato thought that everything in life was just ashadow for something bigger. He believes that there is something hidden behind theshadows of all natural aspects of life. The Myth of the Cave is a myth which can illustratethe life of people who do not look beyond the shadows. The myth is about three prisonersthat were chained inside a cave in a way that all they could see was the back wall of thecave. Behind them, was a fire emitting some light and between the prisoners and the fire,there was a walkway. Everyday people would go across this walkway and the prisonerscould only see the shadows and hear the sounds that came with them. They were like thissince they were born, so the shadows were all they knew. In the myth, one of theprisoners is freed and after having adjusted to the light, was able to see the real world. Allhe was used to seeing was blurry colorless outlines of things passing behind him. Now hecould see everything so clearly with color and lots of details. He then runs back to thecave to explain to rest of the prisoners about the real world and they don’t believe him.The prisoners killed him in the end for trying to tell them about the real world becausethey knew the shadows were all there was. Plato tried to use this myth to show a relationbetween the natural word and the world or ideas. He believed that everything in thenatural world was just a blurry image in comparison to the clarity of ideas that lie behind
  • 2. it. He also made a relation between the prisoner that was killed to Socrates who got killedbecause he was going against everyone’s thoughts and beliefs and trying to lead them totrue insight. Tripartite State Plato believed that the human body was formed up of three sections; the head, thechest and the abdomen. He than proposed that each section is associated to an aptitude ofthe soul; reason belongs to the head; will to the chest; and appetite to the abdomen. Inaddition, he further explained that each aptitude of the soul leads to an ideal or otherwiseknown as “virtue”. With reason comes wisdom, with will comes courage, and withappetite comes temperance. When the three parts of the body work in harmony with eachother, we get a virtuous individual. We must first learn to control our appetite, thendevelop some courage to further thrive in life and finally reason leads to wisdom. Platothen related the different parts of the human body to three social classes. The people withthe most reason and wisdom were the rulers (rationalist), those who were courageousbecame auxiliaries or soldiers, and finally the people who had a lot of temperance werethe laborers or workers. According to Plato, a good state is a state that governed byphilosophers because they use their reason as their main source of knowledge which iswhat makes them rationalists. To conclude, Plato supposed that a state governed byphilosophers would be an “ideal state”. It would be an imaginary flawless region with ahappy population. The tripartite state, is very similar to the Hindu caste system in India,(caste: social group limited to persons of the same rank) which is a system of socialstratification, meaning the classification of a group of people into certain groups based on
  • 3. their socioeconomic status. The concept of this system was that each person had aparticular function for the good of the whole group. Men versus women The great philosopher Plato had been known to be a feminist, meaning that headvocated social and political rights for women. He thought that women could governjust as well as men could because of the simple fact that a good ruler governs with theirreason. If women were given the same training and opportunities as men and weren’tforced to stay and work at home they would have the exact same powers of reason andcommon sense as men. The reason for this is that he believed that the body and mindexisted separately and were independent of each other, therefore if one is not affected bythe other the body (whether it’s a women or man) should not determine what the mind islike. He also believed that for a state to be at its best it must educate and support womenas well as men. Plato compared a state that does not train women to a man that only trainshis right arm. Taking into account the time that he lived in, Plato had a very positive viewon women and their rights. In one of his dialogues called Symposium, he talks about awise woman his tutor Socrates meets named Diotima of Mantinea. She was a well knownprostitute in ancient Greece. Socrates came to her seeking sex however she ended upteaching him and opening his eyes up to the concept of love. Works CitedBooks:Gaarder, Jostein. Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy. New York:The Berkeley Publishing Group, March 1996Web Sites:
  • 4. Plato."The Myth of the Cave."The Republic Book 7, Section 7 360 B.C.E<>Plato.1GangRelated2, ed."The Allegory of the Cave." 2 May, 2009<>Plato (c. 427– c. 347 B.C.). “Themes, Arguments, and Ideas” Sparknotes 16 Feb. 2012.<>“Plato’s Tripartite Theory of Soul” Wikipedia 21 Feb. 2012. 15 Feb. 2012.<>Symposium (plato). “Context” Wikipedia 9 Feb. 2012. 16 Feb. 2012.<>Tutor2u Admin. “Plato’s Body/Mind Distinction” tutor2u 27 Jan. 2009. 21 Feb. 2012.<>