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Republic Book VII Summary - cave and attain a higher grasp...

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Joe George Philosophy 105 20 February 2008 Republic Book VII Summary In Book VII of Plato’s Republic , he continues to describe the process of enlightenment, and how one might become a philosopher-king. He uses the allegory of the cave as a means of conveying how knowledge of the Forms can successfully be attained. Common society is like the people chained up to the wall of the cave, unaware that there is something beyond the shadows of the cave. One prisoner somehow breaks free and discovers how the shadows are cast and that there exists a much different meaning in those shadows than he had grown up with. Although this is like the first glimpse of knowledge we all see in our lives, there is still a much greater reality beyond the cave. The problem seems to be that not many people ever really move beyond the
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Unformatted text preview: cave and attain a higher grasp of reality. Thus Socrates teaches a program promoting enlightenment in which the philosopher-king should periodically return to the cave and its people in order to rule over them and educate them. Those who are not fit enough for the program are periodically cut and turned into auxiliaries. Only when the cream of the crop has gained enough experience and education in the world are they then ready to take the next step and become philosopher-kings. I think Plato is really stating fairly blatantly that there are only a select few people fit for attaining a high degree of knowledge, and that through their experiences the city as a whole flourishes....
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