POL113H5 Lecture Notes - Alexis De Tocqueville, Proletariat, Political Philosophy

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Plato"s cave: (from book 7 of the republic) Perhaps the most powerful and frightening of all metaphors in the history of political philosophy. Insightful allegory about the dangers of domination and oppression, as well as the equally perilous (hazardous) potentials of education and liberation. Plato compares the effect of a certain kind of education, and the lack of it, upon people who only know a life in a cave, shackled at the legs and neck so they remain in place. A fire is lit behind and above them and all they can see are the shadows of the men who lit the fire and all they can hear are the men"s voices. This leads them to believe that life is made up of talking shadows and movement is not necessary. People wonder why anyone would believe that all there is to life is what is in front of them, but plato claims that is the human condition.

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