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A_SPACE_ODYSSEY - Peter O'Dowd Introduction to Philosophy...

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Peter O’Dowd Introduction to Philosophy Film Review April 25 th , 2008 1. The second journey seen in the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey is titled “The Jupiter Mission”. In this division of the movie, the Monolith was discovered on the moon. There was enough human technology to build a base on the moon, and while doing research the men up there were the ones to discover it. It was said to be “the most significant discovery in the history of science”. Later on, scientists were sent up to the moon to study it. The trip was very advanced, with a space station containing a Hilton hotel, where the scientists had to lay over and take another space shuttle to take him to the site. When the scientists finally began to study the Monolith there was an interesting discovery. When the sun finally hits the Monolith (after days of no sunlight), a radio transmission is sent, leading the researchers to go to Jupiter. This initiates the 18 month expedition, in order to find another discovery or further knowledge. When we relate this division of the film to Book 7 of the Republic , we can analyze it through a different philosophical lens. In Book 7 of the Republic, Socrates attempts to illustrate human nature in both states of the educated and the uneducated. He tells the reader to envision prisoners in a cave that has a long entrance with fire burning above—giving them light. Higher up, between the fire and the prisoners, people and animals walk along—allowing only for the prisoners to speculate the shadows of passer-bys, their fellow prisoners and themselves. If the prisoners were to speak with each other, they would believe that what the saw was actually reality. It is a “reality” that any person would have sworn by. Socrates explains
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that “men like that would firmly believe truth to be the shadows of the artificial objects” (Socrates). Of course, if our prisoner were able to lookup and see the light from the fire, he would at first be blinded. Afterwards, however, when the objects passing by were pointed out, the prisoner would be perplexed and believe that the shadows are truer than that reality. Upon returning to the cave and to the things he believed were in reality clearer than the ones pointed out. If forced outside again, the prisoner would be blinded, outraged and unable to see the truth. Gradually and eventually he would adjust and associate his old shadows (his old wisdom) with the objects that they belong to. Upon facing these realizations, Socrates says that the prisoner will think back to his former beliefs and prior “wisdom” and pity his fellow prisoners. More significantly, if he attempted to go back to that cave—darkness would fill his eyes and he would not be able to make out the shadows like he used to. When the scientists were first exposed to the Monolith (or new realm of knowledge) on the moon, it was their duty to follow the radio transmission to Jupiter. This exposure could potentially change the entire belief system that humankind assumed.
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