PART 6: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the Transcendence of the human brain and what’s left of “the urge to love”  

  Section 1: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and Conceptions of Reality

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     One of my favorite stories which was taught over and over again in my philosophy classes is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. It actually  sets a context in which to evaluate everything we been talking about so far.
     In a cave there are all  these people who are chained by the “puppet handlers” who hold them captive. However, the prisoners’ do no know they are there. In fact,  they do not know that they are captive at all. The prisoner’s can only see the shadows of the objects and of themselves…only the freed man has access to that from which the shadows come from. This man has escaped the cave and has assess to “reality”:

“When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities... He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven.... Last of he will be able to see the sun..."

                                    -Plato’s Republic

Another     Another Platonic idea, which is reflected in Allegory of the Cave, is his conception of the WORLD OF FORMS. Plato introduced a kind of a dichotomy in his work. He divided the universe into the sensible world, which we know through the senses, and the intelligible world, which  we can know through the intellect. The things we come to know through the intellect are these Forms. According to Plato these perfect concept exist eternally.  The things in the sensible world, which we can only come to know through our senses, are imperfect reflections of the ideal forms.

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Triangle Illusion


     So what’s wrong with this picture? 
     Look outside the window, what do you see? Reality as Plato conceived of?

Photo by Rachel Berman

     The way we see “the world” is solely based on the type of machinery we are made of … and that is in the brain! So Plato’s forms are also human conceptions which exist in the brain.
     Now, think back to the affects of damaged brain systems…how does the autistic person see the world? As one in which interpersonal relations no longer makes him “feel good.”  So am I talking  materialism in a sense that all there is is the physical world of the brain and “nothing else”? What about Kramer hypothesis? …how does this fit in the larger context of interpersonal relations?

 Index    Introduction    Part1    Part2    Part3    Part4    Part5    Part6