Level 3

Metaphysics

  • Metaphysics is the area of philosophy that concerns ontology (nature of being), cosmology (the universe), and sometimes epistemology (ways of knowing): The higher ideas of how we know what we know, from the self to the universe.

Allegory of the Cave

  • You must PASS the Metaphysics paper BEFORE being able to turn in the next papers.
  • If you do not pass, follow the Re-write criteria for redoing a paper.
  • See the rubric for Theory papers
  • See a Writing Consultant for further help.
  • Be careful of Plagiarism; there is NOT ever an excuse for plagiarizing.

What is The Allegory of the Cave

Platos Cave
  1. People are tied up in a cave.
  2. All they can see is the shadows of objects on the wall. (A passing globe would seem to be a circle). So, they perceive reality differently than free people.
  3. A guy breaks free and leaves the cave.
  4. He is briefly blind to the bright sun, but his eyes adjust.
  5. Outside he sees reality for the first time, in all of its color, depth, and dimensions.
  6. He feels pity for those still trapped
  7. He returns to the cave, blinded by the sudden darkness, but his eyes adjust.
  8. He tries to free the other prisoners, telling them what he discovered, but they beat him and call him a liar.

Three Interpretations

  • The Allegory of the Cave is a story that helps us understand the three main concepts in Metaphysics.
    • Does a character in your film gain a better sense of their own self and of his/her place among people through deeper/higher thought and social awareness? If so, skip down to Ontology (Being)
    • Does one of your characters leave their "normal" reality to enter into a more True reality? If so, skip down to Cosmology (The universe)
    • Does one of your characters learn a new ideology or belief that allows them to see the world/life in a new way? If so, skip to Epistemology (Ways of knowing)

    Ontology

    • In this interpretation "leaving the cave and ascending to the surface" is the idea of thinking "higher" abstract thought. Through thought, specifically using concepts and ideas for introspection, we can begin to understand our selves.
    • Often when we learn something new about ourselves, we cannot adequately relay that change to others. This fuzzy, unclear moment happens twice in the allegory( Numbers 4 and 7 above). The inability to see clearly happens first because of the bright sunlight (too much truth/change at once) and a second time when the person returns to thhe "cave". On return, the eyes readjusting to the dark means we cannot fully explain what once we grasped internally as a truth, and what comes out is a mere copy/ watered down version of the new truth.
    • "The allegory of the cave is a symbolic depiction of how man is trapped in his everyday illusionary material existence, and how he can free himself from this trap through the philosophical dispositions of deep personal and social awareness and constant self-examination."(Tamayao)
    Writing about the cave and ontology
    • Does a character in your film gain a better sense of their own self and of his/her place among people through deeper/higher thought and social awareness?
    • If so, you can use the ontological interpretation of the allegory of the cave to show how that character was trapped in their former self (in their "cave") usually because they did not think in a higher/deeper/broader manner; however, the character then breaks free of the old ways and escapes into a new sense of being through a higher/more clear sense of who they truly are.
    • Often when we learn something new about ourselves, we cannot adequately relay that change to others. This fuzzy, unclear moment happens twice in the allegory( Numbers 4 and 7 above). The inability to see clearly happens first because of the bright sunlight (too much truth/change at once) and a second time when the person returns to the "cave". On return, the eyes readjusting to the dark means we cannot fully explain what once we grasped internally as a truth, and what comes out is a mere copy/ watered down version of the new truth.
    • Example: The main character in both the original and remake of Overboard (1987 and 2018) live in their boojie, douchey, spoiled existence (which is their cave), their journey out of the cave is falling off their yachts and waking up in a hospital with amnesia. They each are duped into believing they are actually low to middle class workers, and in this "new world," they find through introspection and social (family) awareness that they are indeed a different, better, person entirely.

    Cosmology

    • Cosmology: studying the origin, composition, and fate of the universe:
    • Various eras in history have had their own concepts of a cosmology, distinctly different from our modern, scientific cosmology.
    • Plato thought the universe was structured according to the FORMS.
    • Forms are ideas (concepts) above and beyond us, which we can only tap into/understand through thinking.
    • All of our reality is merely a collection of Copies of those Forms.
    • The only reason you know what love is, or what a chair is, is because you can think "higher" and understand the true forms of Love and of Chairness, but what you experience as Love or as a chair is merely a cheap copy of the True Forms of Love and Chairness.
    • The allegory of the cave, then, is a representation of someone leaving behind the cheap copies of our reality (the cave in the allegory) and ascending into another reality, a more True reality found in the Higher Forms (the outside world in the allegory)
    • Often when we learn something new about the world, we cannot adequately express that new found concept to others. This fuzzy, unclear moment happens twice in the allegory( Numbers 4 and 7 above). The inability to see clearly happens first because of the bright sunlight (too much truth/change at once) and a second time when the person returns to the "cave". On return, the eyes readjusting to the dark means we cannot fully explain what once we grasped internally as a truth, and what comes out is a mere copy/ watered down version of the new truth.
    Writing about the cave and cosmology
    • Does one of your characters leave their "normal" reality to enter into a more True reality?
    • If so, you can use the cosmological interpretation of the allegory by pointing out how the character lived in a "cave" of a false reality, of a cheap copy or simulation, but then rose up and out to find a higher truth in a "higher" reality.
    • In the Matrix, Neo ascends in such a way, leaving the computer simulation of the Matrix and journeying into the true reality: a desolate wasteland. Even though the Real earth is an apocalyptic wasteland, it is more True than the false simulation he had been "living" in.
    • We don't want to mistake a "higher" reality as being better; rather, that "higher" reality is more True/Real.

    Epistemology

    • In this interpretation, someone learns a new way of knowing, of discerning or interpreting life.
    • This new way could be a religion, a political view, an ideology, that broadens their mind through and helps them analyze and re-see life and reality.
    • There is, however, also a cautionary tale in this interpretation: often the person who has acquired some new wisdom or ideology becomes a fervent proponent of that ideology and attempts to force feed everyone else to accept that same ideology.
    • That friend who turns vegan, or begins working out, or starts college, and, then, thinking they have found some grander truth in how to interpret reality, they constantly pressure friends and family to do the same (diet, workout, education...cults, like keto, or even business schemes like MLM)
    Writing about the cave and epistemology
    • Does one of your characters learn a new ideology or belief that either allows them to see the world/life in a new way?
    • That new way can be for their own and other's betterment or in the aforementioned nagging, cult-like way.
    • "As an epistemological account, it tries to establish the importance of Ideas, which we apprehend only through reason, over mere opinions, which are derived from our fleeting experience of the physical world" (Tamayao)

    Sources

    • Do NOT use the above cited source.
    • Do not use encyclopedias or dictionaries.
    • Find a human named full article that discusses the concept of the Allegory of the Cave.