Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Next Few Days

Seminar Reflection Link

As we continue to explore sense perception, do not forget the implications.

Thus far we have looked at sense perception with respect to the following:

1.  Culture (expert/jigsaw readings)
2.  Seminar:  Poem: "It is not enough..."
3.  Eyewitness Testimony with Cotton Case
4.  Research & Presentation Groups (KQ around SP and an AOK) Presentations 4/27/16

Homework Assignments:
Due by Monday~4/18/16~7am

Response to Photomontage Comments
~Your response should take on the language of sense perception
~Comment on 2 classmates Montages as well

Plato's Allegory of the Cave

~Guiding Questions will be available for support as you read
~Commentary on it using the blog rubric as a guide for what to include
      Discuss~Connect~Synthesize~Analyze what the Cave Allegory has to do to with...
          Sense Perception Chapter
          TOK Assignment
          Personal Experience
          Another IB Class

Homework Assignment:
Due by Friday~4/22/16~7am  11:59 pm
Introductory Paragraph for Scaffold Essay: TOK Prescribed Title


  1. Sabeena
    Plato's allegory of the cave discusses people who mistake sensory knowledge as the truth and people who really see the truth. The cave that holds the prisoners in chains represents people who believe that knowledge comes from what we see and hear in the world. Plato believes that people who only gain knowledge from sense perception are trapped in a cave of misunderstanding and misconceptions, making them ignorant. The Shadows that the prisoners see from behind the wall represent the perceptions of those who believe sense experience ensures knowledge. If you believe that what you see should be taken as truth, then you are limited to only seeing a shadow of the truth. The wall was a limitation and boundary from them to understand the real truth. In the sense perception chapter we learned that Although the sense of sight is valuable to gaining information there are still many things that go unnoticed. We are only able to process information that is within the scope of our attention. Since the prisoners could only see shadows of what was happening and hear noises they were not able to grasp the full scope of what was happening behind that wall because our sense perceptions are limited. For example, one night I heard an unusual noise downstairs and thought it was a robber, so I immediately grabbed the nearest weapon and tried to reach my mom's room. However, when I got downstairs it was my cat playing with the furniture. Just by hearing noise I immediately came up with an entire image of what it was in my head. Instead of using reason, like "how would a robber get in we have an alarm system" I only went by what I could hear. This led me to create a misconception. Another example of this is something we learned in our HOA class. During WWII a lot of propaganda was released directed towards women becoming more independent getting jobs. While people nowadays can see these poster/pamphlets and infer that this was a time for gender equality, this is not completely true. In actuality, women still faced a great deal of discrimination in the workplace and were still expected to conform into the roles society set for them. This is why in order to fully grasp what was happening in that time period, one must fully study and understand the context of these propaganda instead of just looking at it. The escaped prisoner represents the Philosopher, who seeks knowledge outside of the cave and outside of the senses. Instead of just gaining knowledge through sense experience, the escaped prisoner is experiencing knowledge through other ways of knowing such as reason, intuition, emotion, etc. The sun represents philosophical truth and knowledge. After receiving new truths and learning the reality of the world, he comes back and tries to free the other prisoners. However, they don't believe what he has to say and don't want to join him. These prisoners represent people who distrust philosophy and only believe in things which they can use their senses to perceive. Overall, Plato tries to send the message that knowledge gained through the senses is no more than opinion and that in order to have real knowledge, we must gain it through philosophical reasoning. This is because there are many limitations that from gaining knowledge through senses because there will always be differing views of what happened and without actually experiencing and understanding the world around us, we will remain in the dark and be ignorant just like those prisoners. Sensory perception is the world of appearance, which we perceive, with the help of our sensory organs. However the world we live in is the world of illusion. It is the world of shadows so in Plato’s view it is not always the full truth. This is why he calls true education as being philosophy.

  2. Priscilla
    I read this poem about 3 times because it was a bit difficult to understand but then I realized that Plato was talking about humans at least in the light that I saw and understood it. The cave represents the bubble in which we put ourselves in, we are always so involved in our own world that we see what we want to see or what our mind wants us to see. Until we get out of the bubble and try to see the world as it is and not what we think it is, that is when we realize how different the world is. Sometimes we are too focused on something that we forget to pay attention to the other things going on around us; in attentional blindness. An example is given in the book about tricks of the mind, this deals with magic tricks and how our mind works, relating to the tricks. The magician always try to put your attention on something while they do something else, like touching your right pocket while taking your watch of your left hand. That’s what happened to the prisoners, they were so focused on the shadows that they thought was real that they didn’t stop to really look at it. In a way, this poem shows the different stages of life and the lowest is seeing what people expect you to see as a child. Your parents tell you what they think is right and how you should view things but as you grow up and leave their shadows, you realize things on your own, you gain your own knowledge. The prisoners being bound is part of the lowest stage of life, we all start life with less knowledge and imagination but it grows as we grow. This reminds me of the seminar last week when we talked about how the windows were the eyes and unless we open and look through that window, “there is only [going to be] a shut window and the world outside it”. Another example is when we talked about the Japanese during WW2 and how they would rather die than surrender to the Americans because of the misguided notion they had about the Americans. That’s how the prisoners are in the poem, before one got out, everything they knew about the world is what they were showed; the shadows. This poem is an exact example of the sense perception chapter, what we see with our eyes might be as it seem or it might not be the whole picture. When you live in Africa, you put America on a high pedestal at least I did. I watched movies and TV shows about the typical America way of living, how the school system works; the cliques but living here for almost 3 years now made me realize that even though America is a “superpower” on the global scale, on the local scale it still seems almost the same as living in Ghana; there isn’t a big difference. I have the same routine, go to school, come home, do my chores etc. It is easy for people to believe in their illusions because that’s all they know, we accept the things that are familiar to us as our reality because we are scared of the unknown. The unknown is unpredictable and we like predictable things so when we realize that everything we’ve known is a lie, either we refuse to accept it or we are so used to it that it’s hard to change. In French class Ms Brown is always saying I use my “English brain to write French” but it difficult to change that because the English brain is all I’ve known and trusted. Reading this chapter and being exposed to all this, I agree with the allegory there is a big difference between appearances and reality, even though it might not always seem like it. This is because as humans, there is always going to be something that influence our senses and our point of views like in the witness video, and no matter what, the things we want to see is going to be different from the actual things in reality.

  3. Shania

    As I was reading I could see how the Sense Perception Chapter could be easily connected. In the Sense Perception Chapter they discussed how meaning is important when it comes to perception. I feel like through the reading Socrates himself was discussing a scenario with Glaucon to establish meaning behind what he was describing. The sense perception Chapter establishes how we use perception as the search for meaning and if there is lack of meaning or closure it causes a disturbance in the mental equilibrium. Socrates subconsciously contributes to this idea because he continuously questions his perception by always taking it a step further by asking how the prisoner when able to perceive something new might respond. I feel like the Cave Allegory is about breaking bias, you never really know what you can't see until it is revealed to you and this story compares and shows the difference between someone who is stuck in bias, forced out of bias, and able to reflect on their past bias. Personally this story makes me think about my grandma. She wasn't born in America and is extremely religious, when Socrates mentions the prisoners who can't look any other way it makes me think of how my grandma is stuck in her ways there is no way that you can change her mind or her beliefs and I am sure if someone were to introduce her to another religion she would scream and fight and be enraged also. In TOK we were asked to watch TED talk videos, in my video the speaker talked about cultural bias and the main concept that was the cause of people having such strict and stern views. This was the concept that said we as people are negligent to anything that is not "accepted and familiar" to our culture and our beliefs. I strongly agree because my grandma is old what she knows and her culture has been with her for so long, why change now? Socrates in the story basically presents a well-known idea that I learned from TOK which is the fact that knowledge affects perception. So just like Socrates describes now the prisoner knows what he didn't know before and how he may judge his perspectives of the past shows how knowledge can affect your perception. In IB Biology we were presented with a debatable subject, which was whether or not poverty was genetic each side presented scientific info to back up their claim and we found that poverty is in fact not genetic. At first I thought this is absurd how could poverty be genetic ,but after hearing the arguments I could see based on the knowledge I gained from their supporting evidence why one would think that poverty is genetic. So knowledge has a huge impact on perspective whether it is gaining knowledge outside of your bias and then reflecting upon it or simply taking into consideration the knowledge that support a claim and shows why someone perceives something in the way they do.

  4. Mariatu
    The Allegory of the Cave basically explains how prisoners are in a cave and have no knowledge of the outside world. The only see things from shadows and echoes, which is where they perceive their knowledge from. One day a prisoner was brought outside for the first time and he finds out the things that were perceived to be around him were real he couldn’t believe his eyes. He also finds out that the sun is the source of all the things he’s seen in the cave. When the prisoner comes back to the cave he finds himself not used to the darkness and can’t figure out what the shadows are in the cave. This reminds me of the eye witness that we recently watched. The victim couldn’t remember the face of her actually rapist (who was sitting in the court room) because she was so used to see the face of the suspect she chose so she just went with it. This makes people think, are the shadows in the cave anymore real then the things in the outside world? Perceptions play a big part in this. People tend to stick with things that they are already introduced and used to. In the sense perception chapter, they always mentioned how your eyes /memory are not reliable. This goes back to how the prisoner went back to the cave to try to figure out what the shadows were but couldn’t. How can you not recognize something you just saw? From the Doll’s House, Nora was so used to what’s in the “cave” that she didn’t know what to expect from the “outside world”. When she finally left Torvald she had a whole new perception and didn’t even want to imagine being in the “cave” again because she wouldn’t remember how the outside world is just how the prisoner was. This reminds me of a time where I already was so used to seeing a sign on the side of the holocaust museum but it wasn’t what it seemed to be. I never really went towards the sign to actually read it but when I did it was full of facts about the holocaust. In reality, I thought it was a sign to show simple directions.

  5. Ethel
    Plato’s allegory of the cave is symbolic of the world and us humans being trapped in it. Because these people have been shackled for such a long time they are unable to move their necks or legs. This to me represents humanity in the sense that humans have always been “shackled” to certain beliefs and values which make it hard for us to free ourselves and discover what the world has to offer us. In certain cases when we take the initiative to go against tradition, the result either makes us proud of our decision or makes us regret it. It takes courage and persistence for people to make the decision to let go of what they have become accustomed to their whole lives and pursue something different. When we find that something different, just like the free man from the cave, we try to share our experience and discoveries. Because they have not been exposed to these new things, we often have very negative responses. This is evident in the reading because when the free man comes back to share what he had seen outside the cave, the people there cannot believe him and he is ridiculed. This demonstrates how humans always have the fear of what they have little or no knowledge about. I think Plato was trying to portray the idea that we only recognise what we have knowledge about and when we see something that we aren’t used to seeing, it is easy for us to categorize it as bad for ourselves or false. This relates to the sense perception chapter of instant replay because we usually perceive thing that we have been more exposed to than those that we have not been. The people in the cave had been seeing darkness their whole lives and believed that the objects were real even though they weren't because it was the only thing they had been seeing. When they saw the sunlight, they immediately criticized it because all they knew was darkness. Not having knowledge makes us vulnerable to believe in what we see more often. When we truly believe in something and realize it is not what we had believed it to be, we become conflicted with ourselves and we have doubts about everything we have learned.

  6. Ethel
    This also made me think about the socratic seminar and the text which compared people to wine cellars with philosophy and “only a shut window with the world outside it.” Wines are normally kept in basements where everything is stagnant and always dark. This represents how when we have our own philosophies, our minds are very closed minded and imprisoned like the air, the only thing circulating in our mind is what we already know. When the window is opened however, fresh air (new ideas) begins to circulate and there is so much more we can learn from the world outside the basement. We begin to explore the endless array of things out in the world, it becomes very hard to look back at our past and be satisfied we what we used to have. In IB French we are working on our human projects and my project has to deal with pollution in Senegal. When we did our outlines, we had individual discussions with Ms. Brown who asked “why do you care?” and I began to explain that pollution is such a huge issue in Africa. I thought of how if I were to visit Cameroon today I would most definitely not trust the food or water there because just living in the United States, my living standard has increased. This is why I would not be able to do the same things I used to do when I was back in Cameroon like eating the food that I once enjoyed. I think this provides a good example of what education does because the more we learn, the more we realize that what we already knew was bogus and the more dense our personality becomes. Thinking back to the allegory, the caved people were very content with what they had because it was what they had always had and seen however the freed person was very unsatisfied when he returned to the cave. This adds to the idea that despite the fact education allows us to discover many different things, it also exposes us to the many negatives that we never would have learned if we didn’t have knowledge. I agree that there is a distinction between appearances and reality because our sight can be a tricky thing. We can see something and believe it is true or real because we want it to be which doesn't make it real. Take the optical illusions we did in class, I was convinced the stripes were actually slowing down when I moved my fingers but this does not mean they were. There is always more to seeing than the eye meets.

  7. Aakilah
    Plato’s Allegory of the Cave discussed prisoners who've lived in a cave all of their lives. When one prisoner escapes and goes into the real world his perception of things change. This prisoner goes back to tell the others what he saw but they refuse to accept what he is saying. This is because the prisoners don't want to change what they know. In the sense perception chapter it explained how we want to hold on to what we think we know. What we think we know is what we believe to be our knowledge and we don't like what we know to be challenged. The prisoners knew the figures and the sounds of the things that they saw in the cave. But when their friend came back then couldn't fathom anything outside of what was their reality. To them they knew their sounds as what they were not as actual physical things. What the escaped prisoner told them would change their entire perception of their world so they just refused to change their beliefs.They instead told their friend that he was wrong because they didn't believe what they had not seen or experienced. They didn't understand or see what he was telling them so they just rejected what he said.
    The escaped prisoner experiences can be similar to personal experiences. In the story the prisoner left his cave that he had lived in all of his life. He was so used to the cave that it took him awhile to accept the real world. Everything seemed strange to him. This can be related to leaving a small town to go to college in a big city. Sometimes small towns can have “small-minded” perceptions or beliefs. When you leave it you'll meet people with different beliefs as you or you'll see something that will completely challenge what you know. You can accept the new knowledge which will change the way the you see the world. Or you can reject it and never truly have full knowledge. These people may reject it because sometimes people reject what they don't know or haven't seen much like the men in the cave. Growing up in PG county it is very comfortable and everyone mostly has the same beliefs as me. But I know that if I decide to leave for college and go out of town I will meet people who have different perceptions of things as me. People will have different positions on racial or other social issues than me and I have to learn to understand them. These people have the ability to challenge everything that I think I know. But they can also teach me a lot about the world I really live in. Leaving the place that I've lived in for my life can allow me to question what is the reality of the country that I live in. This has already happened in IB History. Whenever we are discussing a historical event we have to look at both sides of it. Recently we discussed whether the US was justified in dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Before we discussed the topic I thought I knew all about it and that the US was justified. In the discussions that I had about it before people also believed the same way and I mostly saw information that supported my view. But in IB History we were shown so much different information on both sides that has caused me to change my position. I had never saw the victims of the bombing or beliefs of top ranking US officials. Once I got knowledge that challenged my own I saw what happened at Hiroshima in a different way and my perceptions on it changed. The Allegory of the Cave allows us to question what we know and if our perceptions are a true representation of the real world.

  8. Jefferson
    The whole concept discussed in The Allegory of the Cave in some way connects to the Korean War recently discussed in our IB History of Americas class. As the author states in his description of the “cave,” the people there have been “dwelling since childhood shackled by the legs and neck.” Restricted by the fire in the back, they have stayed in the same place and they are pretty immobile, they can’t turn back nor can they look sideways. Their only encounters are noises and also reflections on the wall in front of them. Shadows and echo noises being the only thing these people have ever known reminds me of the first time in English class when we discussed Karl Marx’s idea of communism and how that places restrictions on people’s lives and their potential. In connection to the doll’s house, Nora represents the people being obstructed by the sun and the sun itself represents Torvald. Nora is a minion and she has minimal influence in the events that transpires in her life, she is obstructed by her husband who has placed shackles around her leg. In regards to the play, never did we see Nora leave the house and all she did was stay home and do exactly what Torvald wanted. In the section “when the author talks about “what the prisoners see and hear,” the shadows and voices that these prisoners are seeing tend to create misconceptions, the people interpret the noises and the reflections on the wall differently. In regards to the doll’s house the shadows and the noises represents Mrs. Linde, in some form she served as an exemplar for how women should be and she was to Nora what the shadows on the wall were to the prisoners, a sudden glimpse into the outside world. Just like we recently discussed in IB History, the restrictions placed on these people leads me to think of North Koreans and how the communist ideas of the country has led to big implications in the lives of the citizens. The prisoners represent the North Korean citizens, the wall and the shadows exemplifies the internet and social media, North Korean citizen’s only chance of experiencing modern day democratic lifestyle in which the whole freedom of speech concept is confined is through internets and social media. When one of the prisoners left the room I kind of thought of it as “show and tell” meaning in connections to the North Korea when a person gets the chance to leave the country, they come back and tell the people how other countries are living their lives. When one of the prisoners left the room it revealed what the IB TOK book talks about in relation to sense perception and how there can be different interpretations of what we see and sometimes our eyes can deceive us.

  9. Jeff
    While imprisoned the prisoners see shadows of real lives objects but what they do not know, bar the person who had the opportunity to go outside, was that the shadows are reflections of real things. To some extent this relates to how are vision and the things we see often aren’t as reliable as we think but in this context their actions were clouded by the fact that they didn’t have any prior knowledge of what the outside world looked like because they had lived in a cage all their life and had no outside experience. Plato is trying to tell the difference between what’s real and what isn’t, from personal experiences I remember my first time driving and my instructor looked in the mirror and asked me to read the label “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear,” the prisoners in the story believe what exactly they see on the wall. What Plato is trying to depict is that people tend to make conclusions based on incomplete data. During the driving test, when switching lanes, due to the fact that the cars may be closer than they look in the mirror, you are required to do head checks before completing the lane change. In one of our recent TOK assignments, we talked about how we build our knowledge through our encounters since birth and how our families often shape what we know, this is in regards to Plato’s work highlights the prisoners lack of knowledge towards the objects that the other one saw when he went outside. They spent their whole life in that cave, looking at the wall and the shadows so they had no visualization of how certain things looked like. Due to this, when one of them went out and experienced the other side of the world and told them, they had the urge to attack him.

  10. Yared
    The allegory and the cave gave me an insight of a philosopher-- one that is young and new to the field (philosophy). To give a good insight, I will start the story from the beginning. The story starts with prisoners, in a cave, facing a big wall, without the ability to turn or move around (one of them is our philosopher). Of course, they do have a fire behind them giving them some light. They have been in this situation since childhood, which is probably the reason they appear satisfied. We discussed this in class (TOK) when we were talking about culture. Many times, people practicing a certain ritual don't find anything wrong in what they are doing. An outsider probably won't have the same perception, which is probably the reason, I feel, they can’t truly be satisfied with their situation.
    (Continuing with the story) On top of the prisoners, there is a walkway on which people move back and forth. If the walkway were open, that would mean the prisoners would have the chance to look at the shadows of real people. For those of us that read the story, we know this isn't the case. The people on top of the prisoners are actually blocked with a wall. That makes it interesting because how can the prisoners see anything if reality is shut off with a wall. As the poem we read in class puts it, “[in philosophy] there’s only a show window and the world outside it.” We can imagine the wall as a window because it is blocking the prisoners from looking at reality. Philosophy tries to look past the window and that is what one of the prisoners (philosopher) is going to do later in the story.
    The prisoners don’t get to look at reality, but they still get to see different figures. That means they only thing they will get to see is the things that goes above the wall. That makes it hard to understand the world below the wall (the people on the walkway for example) because the prisoners don't get to look at them. As the sense perception chapter shows, perception is dependent on context and culture to make sense of our surrounding. This means, if the prisoners never look at the people on the walkway, they won't be able to make sense of them. Perception is still learnable, so the people can try to get free to understand. One of them eventually will (go free), but it will take him a long time to truly adopt.
    This can also mean the only thing the prisoners are going to be looking at is, the objects projected to them by the people on the walkway. This feels like a movie theater because the projector (in the theather) is behind the people and there is a big screen to watch the action. When I am watching a movie, I am looking at exactly what the director wants me to see. I watched many action movies when I was in Ethiopia. I was young at the time so I imagined the United States as an action, movie set. I don't blame myself for that because I was just looking at the directors projection, the same way the prisoners are looking at the projection of the figures above the wall of the walkway, and those figures could be deceiving.
    While looking at the shadows, the prisoners hear sound from the people in the walkway. As mentioned before, the prisoners are not looking at the people in the hallway, so they must think the sound is coming from the different objects that are raised above the wall. I mentioned before that perception can be learned and the people here are learning the sounds of people and matching it with inanimate objects. That is a misconception, but how would they know that if they can't turn around to see. In class (TOK) we said our eyes are not as reliable as we think, but they are the most important sense at in this situation. If the people can look around, they would never truly understand their surroundings.

  11. Yared
    Regardless of the situation, the prisoners don't know their mistake so they continue to make sense of their surroundings. They haven't been in the outside world so they don't actually know what they are looking at; but that is where law of simplicity (sense perception chapter) comes in. The law of simplicity is the “simplest category of meaning,” so the prisoners are using that ability to make sense of the shadows. If they see a figure of a cake, for example, they might just associate it with something simple like a circle.
    Things changed the moment one prisoner is set free from his chains (he is our philosopher). As a prisoner, the philosopher didn't understand the shadows on the wall, and he probably wondered what they were. When he actually looked at them, however, he found it complex and abstract. I also mentioned that perception can be learned, but this is too much information all at the same time. The law of simplicity isn't useful at this point because the prisoner doesn't have any simple object he can relate his views to. This is an exaggerated version of my arrival in the United States because I was shocked to see the new environment (large buildings, technology, and so on). The philosopher’s experience must have been a lot more dramatic and shocking.
    The fire was too bright for the philosopher so he returned back to his old place, because there, he has something he can understand, shadows. This is similar to my first reaction to calculus in math class because the moment I looked at it, I wanted to return to our previous topic. Like myself, the philosopher, tried to return but it was possible. He was firmly dragged out of the hole and placed outside in the sun. He felt “rage and pain” because he didn’t want to look at things he doesn’t understand. That is understandable because it can be hard to get used to change sometimes. I didn’t automatically adopt to the American tradition and it is going to take some time for the philosopher to get used to his new world. This is also the point when the philosopher actually becomes a philosopher because he was looking at a world outside the limits of the cave (something his friends can’t do).
    In this new place, the philosopher adopts slowly. Fist he starts with something he understand and that is shadows. That is a smart choice because if he looks directly at his surrounding, he would get confused. If he looks directly at the sun, it would be too bright for his so starting with shadow is an intelligent idea. Then the philosopher moves on to looking at reflection in the water. This is a step higher than looking at shadows, but it is still the same idea. Then he moves on to looking at objects, then the stars, then the moon, and finally the source of light, the sun. The sun is the reason for the light and shadow. Without the sun, he wouldn’t see shadow and he wouldn’t have understood any of the shapes. This must have been an interesting discovery for him and as any good philosopher he goes back to share his knowledge with his friends.

  12. Yared
    Before I go too far, I want to connect all the various steps of the philosopher to business. In business, there are a number of steps before becoming successful, and the first step is planning. Every business needs an entrepreneur because they drive the idea of an organization. Then the business needs to get finance from various sources, and so on. It is important to consider the beginning of the business is the entrepreneur and the beginning of this philosopher is the cave he was in. He actually returns (to the cave) and now we will explore his experience with his old friends. Without much surprise, his friends didn’t want the philosopher to set them free from the cave. Those people represent the portion of the population that wants to stay ignorant. The philosopher was trying to enlighten the people but it turned out they would use force to stay ignorant. I mentioned it wasn’t a surprise the people were going to disagree because the philosopher himself was in the same situation. As mentioned before he was in “pain and rage” when he was first taken outside so why does he expect his friends to comply easily. That puts him in an interesting situation because he can choose to leave them or to help them until the end. I am guessing Socrates chose the latter because he died because of similar issues.

    What is the best method to share a philosophical knowledge?
    Can we truly understand our environment without looking at it?

  13. Hannah
    "Plato's Allegory of the Cave" commentary

    “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave” describes a situation which relates to how most philosophers are viewed after bringing forth new, sometimes unbelievable, information to people who refuse to open their mind to the possibility of this information being true; unless seen with their own two eyes. However, in some cases the same people will refuse to even attempt taking a look at this new discovery with their own eyes for the mere fact that they do not want the knowledge they are currently comfortable with to be impaired, just as reflected in the allegory. My interpretation of the allegory includes the idea of one neglecting to step out of their comfort zone in reference to gaining knowledge. Just as mentioned in the Sense Perception chapter in TOK, many times as humans we have the urge to stick with meaning that is familiar to us. The chapter includes how this familiar information is organized by the mind as what is real and what is not. However, I believe that this can depend on the amount of knowledge you actually allow yourself to gain. The prisoners in the allegory only had in their mind that the shadows were real, because this is what they were used to seeing; as they were not exposed to the true versions of these shadows. However, even when the liberated prisoner tried to inform the still blinded prisoner of his discoveries, he did not allow himself to gain this knowledge since he believed it was in no way possible. The chapter also mentions that the mind can sometimes play games with one’s perceptions. An example of this discusses how often, eyewitness testimonies are proven to be fairly inaccurate. This relates to the TOK assignment where we analyzed a story of a false eyewitness prosecution. When the woman in the video chose the person she believed was the one who raped her, she had her mind set on this being true and real. Therefore, when it was proven that the man she chose was the wrong rapist, she refused to believe this. This relates back to the allegory in the sense that since the prisoners were set on the idea of the shadows they had been witnessing their entire life being real things, they refused to believe that anything other than this could be true or real. In the allegory, when the liberated prisoner returned to the cave and shared his discoveries of the outside world, the other prisoners bashed him and grew ignorant thinking that his freedom to the outside world made him dumb and caused chaos in their familiar world. I believe that Plato’s purpose of this was to show how philosophers are viewed by society when they bring forth unfamiliar ideals to people who are already comfortable in their own knowledge. This is similar to what we discussed in literature about Ibsen, the writer of “A Doll’s House”. His ideals and beliefs that his writing was influenced by, were completely against those of society. This caused many people to dislike and criticize his work because of the mere fact that it went against what they were familiar with; and they refused to seek deeper than the knowledge they already had set in their mind. Personally, I am one to enjoy staying within my comfort zone in certain instances.

  14. Hannah
    Part 2

    For example, I had been going to the same church since birth, so when I was about 13 and my family decided to leave and join another church, this was very hard on me. I did not want to join any of the children ministries because I had in my mind that none of them would be like the one at my old church. I refrained from making friends or participating from a lot of the activities I most likely would have participated in if I was at my old church, so my mother forced me to begin attending the youth bible studies on Wednesday evenings. I soon grew comfortable with the church and the people within it as I made a countless number of new friends. I learned so many new things attending these Wednesday night studies, which I never would have learned if I continued to be ignorant and neglect the opportunities in front of me. This is to show that sometimes stepping out of one’s comfort zone can open their eyes to new discoveries they would never think to be real; just how if the prisoner accepted the knowledge the once liberated prisoner was trying to give him, he would have gained a whole new era of knowledge. This is all to say that Plato’s allegory can be a thought of as a representation of the saying, “ignorance is bliss”.

  15. Alexander Part 1
    Plato’s allegory of the cave is one of the most genius writings of all time. Not only does it serve as a basic commentary of our senses, but it also goes into the meaning of philosophy, the tragedy behind Socrates’ death, and even works as a criticism of democracy. In Plato’s style the allegory is written in a Socratic seminar, a style that will mean much later on in the commentary. Socrates, basically asks us, if we were to see the light and try to spread the truth, how would others react? He, also asks us to what extend are the things we see a ‘shadow’ or ‘echo’ of what is really there? In the sense perception chapter, I’ve learned that our sense our faulty, but there is more to that. In the sense chapter we’ve learned that we see what we want to see and language plays a role in our sense. In the allegory, the prisoners give names to the shadows they see, and yet, how accurate are these attachments? Seeing a person, like Jennifer Thompson did, while seemingly characterized, dissolves to nothing when presented with similar options. In this case we also see knowledge suffering from not being exact in nature. So in a way, the language and attachment to the visuals and echoes play a role in the prisoner’s world, much like language in our world. If I told a child that shadows were demons, then he would be afraid because he would always see a demon. If I told him it was a reflection, then perhaps he would be less afraid. When I tutor small kids, I have to be careful of the language I use to describe even the most basic of things, because then, even if I was describing, let’s say a rock, and call it useless, then most likely any rocks would be seen as useless, because rocks are typically ignored, and therefore would either make them ignore rocks or spark an investigation.
    Another fascinating aspect of the allegory, is that the prisoners are 3 dimensional and experience their world in a seemingly 2 dimensional point of view. I remember hearing about a book called Flatland, where a shape that is two dimensional goes into a three dimensional world. With our senses we can only move in three dimensions, the length, width and height of our world, but we cannot move through the fourth, that being time. Therefore, our senses, could not fathom such an experience. According to the TOK chapter, the information we get from our senses is simplified in our head and connoted to what we know. Therefore, if we discover things involving the fourth dimension, how would we be able to even understand we are seeing. It would probably be like the optical illusions we saw in class, where the brain tries to fill in the blanks, and yet cannot fully tell what it is. The prisoners themselves were trying to fill in the blank with the light they could get from the sun and the echoes as well. In history we have the same problems as well. After WWII historians would have trouble writing about Russian battles because in order to get Soviet Information, they would have to go the U.S.S.R or talk to a soviet military member which would extremely hard considering the cold war was going on. This would sometimes lead to closing the gaps with errors and faulty history. It wouldn’t be until the late 80’s where historians could finally get Soviet information. This shows use that in history sometimes we are blind because we see it from our view and not from the other view, either because we are comfortable with our own or we simply cannot.

  16. Alexander Part 2
    Another of philosophy according to Plato, is to break the existing foundations of knowledge and see things in new light. However, this would not always end well, as Socrates, the famous founder of western philosophy was sentenced to death by the government for corrupting minds. Yet his student Plato would not carry Socrates’ legacy, but everything we know about Socrates pretty much comes from Plato. However, doesn’t this mean that our view of Socrates is like the shadows in the cave, because we only have the reflection Plato has given us? Reminds of the time I was doing a research paper for English 10 and I had the topic of Jesus. With ancient history, it was difficult because everything about it was basically translated from copies, that themselves were translated and then those were probably written from memory. For example, a document that I used that would have been the only secular document vouching for the existing of Jesus raised some eyebrows after all the copies today came from a copy in a monastery in the 1400’s. And the original document was written at the time of the Roman Empire! What this means is that history, the farther one is from an event, the more likely one is inaccurate about it. In math class we learned that using the rounded versions of answers that were for part a, in part b, would make the answer in part b incorrect, and make the answers all wrong on the math exam. Only recently due to the internet can we have a database for history that is possible more detailed, but even that may be inaccurate. Therefore, it is important to understand the limitation of assumptions and distanced point of views, and in the same vein, the history exam asks about limitations on documents, which is always an interesting task.

    Finally, Plato, through Socrates, asks us: How will others react if we tell them the truth? The democracy had told Socrates to commit suicide, and that is why sometimes the masses cannot have a complete control of the legal system, because emotion and comfortmality get in the way of rights. Luckily for us, we have certain rights, such as freedom of speech, but what is the is use of freedom of speech if no one is willing to listen? In today’s world, I see the cave as a house. And the shadow and echoes as the TV or computer or what have you. We see the world only through the media which cannot tell us every angle. For example, American involvement in Afghanistan, some people see it as an aggressive move by the United States, and others as a police action. The TV channels are windows through which we see the world, every single one of them biased. In my EE, the conformity plays a huge role into the counter culture movement. As shown in my photomontage, the American public was living pretty much in a ‘cave’ with the white picket fences and apple pies. Yet, the Korean war and the Cold War were at its height. When people told the truth, the government would either brand them as a communist or radical, such as the Hollywood Ten, which were screenwriters that were banned from being involved with communism. In today’s world, perhaps violence won’t be taken against those who tell the truth, but perhaps a more powerful tool is used and that is ostracization.

  17. Camiella,
    My first read-through of the text left me confused and irritated, but upon multiple reads I feel as though I grasped some content on it. I think Plato is addressing human ignorance. We cannot fully see life and all it’s events/organisms so the little things that we do see, in the pretext of making sense of them, our minds connect it to words. It doesn’t necessarily mean that whatever name/meaning we give to something is correct, it just means that is all we know and by categorizing that object we can demystify its existence. It’s like when someone grows up in a small neighborhood their whole life that is all they know, but then for some reason they venture out of that comfort zone, everything is strange and almost unreal. But within time the veil of ignorance is erased as they learn more information and become more diverse. Usually when someone interprets something different from what everyone else around the area base their beliefs on, that person is looked upon as insane, all because the people have not experienced first hand. Previous chapters of TOK taught me one way we learn is through personal experience so the people ‘in the cave’ who did not experience can not reason that way. I’ve seen the scenario explained by Plato occur many times. Back home the English we speak is not like the one here so when my cousins came and they listened to me talk or write they would say America has spoiled my grammar and that I speak/write like a child. I think that it is a matter of their perception and the fact that they had not yet experienced education with American english so the concept was foreign to them. Once they did experience, our ways of writing and speaking became compatible.
    In the text, Plato depicts the ignorant people as those who perceive the world only through their senses. The limitation with our senses is the fact that we perceive how we want to so if there is any preconceived notion of what something might mean based off anything such as how it makes us feel etc, our mind manipulates that image so we perceive it the way it made us feel. We can literally force ourselves to see something. Different emotions and memory of an emotion can bring upon a different sense perception of it. The fact that Plato wrote this is how some people live, shows their primitiveness. In a poem called “ It’s not enough”, I learned how what we see with sight, a form of sense perception is not what is always there so people who acquire knowledge based off sense perception are limiting their ability to gain new knowledge. The person that went free is now able to perceive through reason and sense perception; based off that, it’s clear to see who can grasp a better meaning of life. I believe Plato was alluding that having a balance of sense perception and reason to guide one in their quest to figure out the mysteries of the world is one way to eliminate most bias and make the knowledge acquired pure so that the mind can develop.. In economics, we did something kind of like this except it was whether or not an economy would be better off with just government policies or market based policies to develop it. I chose both because I believe each has equal limitations, but different gains so if combined the benefits are optimized. Same with using sense perception and reason as a way to interpret things; reason alone has it’s limitations and so does sense perception, but combining both gives a whole new field of view. We all have those founder questions “what is the meaning of life?” “What should I do with my life?” or even simple things such as who,what,when, and where questions a mixture of reason and senses can help us answer them in a way that we get as big of a view on a subject as we can.

  18. Jody-Ann

    After reading Plato: The Allegory of the Cave, I felt really confused because I didn't quite grasp the conceptual meaning behind the text. Therefore, I read the text again and this time I tried to decipher each sentence so when I read “shackled by the legs and the neck” I immediately thought of this having something to do with slavery. However, I dismissed this thought because prisoners were later mentioned in the text. So looking at the text in a new light, the line “...because they are shackled they are unable to turn their heads around” made me consider the possibility that this line refers to the prisoners’ inability to change their perspective because they are blinded by the cave. But when the prisoner was freed from his chains he was able to open up his perspective because he had cured his lack of insight. In turn, when it was time for him to face the fire or look at the sun, he couldn't, at least not immediately because he had grown accustomed to being situated in the dark. Usually in math class when the projector is in use the lights are turned off so when Miss. Donaldson is getting ready to turn them back on she always gives us a heads up because when our eyes are suddenly flooded with bright light, it hurts. Similarly, the prisoner’s eyes were suddenly introduced to the sun/ a new perspective and in doing so, he (at first) could not look at anything that was revealed to him in the light.
    Additionally, similar to the seminar reading where (in my opinion) the window was a metaphor for the eyes, in this text I believe that the cave is a metaphor for one’s culture or something that out certain parts of our view. I remember doing an experiment in TOK class where we were given various glasses and the views in each glass were altered, in turn altering the full view. This is the same way that the cave and its darkness prevented the prisoner from seeing clearly or seeing the full image.
    Within the perspective chapter it states that “Our maps, often beautiful and enticing, are images not just of our planet but of the way we think about our planet.” The prisoner’s map was clouded by darkness and limited by the cave but his/her map/knowledge was broadened after being exposed to the outside world, the world outside the cave. He was given the opportunity to take on a new way of thinking about the life he was living within the darkness of the cave and might even consider living a life outside the cave.
    KQ: In what way does the prisoner being exposed to a new line of sight hinder or advance his views on being in the dark versus being in the light?

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  24. Remi

    Recently, I watched a movie called V for Vendetta. The movie was to show how the people shouldn’t fear the government but how the government needs to fear the people. The main character in the movie would cause destruction within the country and handle those who caused the government to end up as a totalitarian government. This movie reminded me of the reading because of the concept ignorance is bliss. The other prisoners are similar to the bad guys in the movie. They are scared and refuse to realize that the knowledge presented is right. People are comfortable in their own ignorance that the even tend to get violent. This was portrayed in the movie and also the reading as well.

    1. Remi

      Optical illusions are visually images or objects that contradict with our reality. As said in the sense perception chapter, they enhance the proof that our perception is an illusion. While reading Plato’s Allegory Cave, it discussed how the prisoners back were faced away from the opening of the cave thus them missing the opportunity from seeing the outside world. Images would be presented on the wall and they’ll be sort of similar to an illusion. However, those images was their reality since they have been like that since they were born. Once that one prisoner got out of the cave, he was able to embrace the actual reality and the images that he was seeing in the cave. Of course when we got out of cave he was only used to seeing shadows and images since his eyes had to get adjusted to the sunlight. This was discussed in the sense perception chapter as well, ambiguous figures reveal our potential to differentiate between what’s real and what’s fake. This ends with the result of having the same perception but leading to a different representation.

      An assignment that we had for TOK involved watching this video about eyewitness testimony. My intake from watching that video is that your mind deceives you all the time. Similar to what an illusion does. Even though our eyes are lying to us, our mind knows it but it still doesn’t come out as to what our mind is telling is but what our eyes are telling us. The prisoners only had the knowledge of what was being casted on the walls as a shadow and by the sounds. They didn’t have any prior knowledge from anything only from those shadows. Therefore, when that one prisoner was freed his mind was telling him something completely different than what his eyes were telling him. That is the process of perception, your eyes control what you see thus leading you to gather information so you can then make sense of it. In order to perceive something we must make sense of it. With the free prisoner we was able to make sense of the world due to the shadows which he then developed to see the actual beings.

      Recently, I watched a movie called V for Vendetta. The movie was to show how the people shouldn’t fear the government but how the government needs to fear the people. The main character in the movie would cause destruction within the country and handle those who caused the government to end up as a totalitarian government. This movie reminded me of the reading because of the concept ignorance is bliss. The other prisoners are similar to the bad guys in the movie. They are scared and refuse to realize that the knowledge presented is right. People are comfortable in their own ignorance that the even tend to get violent. This was portrayed in the movie and also the reading as well.

      In English class we read this play called A Doll’s House. This play was about a woman named Nora who ended up gaining her independence. In the beginning of the play, Nora was very ignorant. She grew up ignorant too because of her father and it got passed on to Torvald, her husband. Nora being ignorant is the beginning of the play reminded me of what I took out of reading Plato’s Allegory Cave. It reminded me of the reading because I believe the concept of it was ignorance is bliss. I believe the concept is ignorance is bliss because the other prisoners didn’t want to retain the information from the one that was freed. Sometimes people who are used to the same routine do not was to go a different route and try something different. This is the persona that I got from the other prisoners. When you are presented with something new you often feel overwhelmed and scared because you haven’t experienced it before which therefore leads to skepticism within the knowledge. The other prisoners didn’t want to accept the fact that the prisoner that was freed was right. Thus, wanting to have nothing to do with the knowledge the prisoner has retained.

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  26. Jenifer Cordon

    Plato's Allegory of Cave discussed about the idea of perception change and its effect on how you view things when raised a type of way. In real life we are all raised within a different household with different parents who have different beliefs than others. These ideas shape our way of thinking because that is how we were raised to think and weren't told against it. No two people think exactly the same because of that. Within my household I was raised by Catholic parents. The idea of God being our savior and the person I can always look to has been embedded within me since a child. However from looking from an outside perspective in I am told to believe something I am not fully aware even exists but I never questioned it because I was raised to believe it true. Plato examines this with those who were born and raised in the cave and have come to believe the shadows of what they see to be something else rather than what they truly are which are just shadows but to them because they were raised to think that type of way those shadows are something more and even created a hierarchy based around that belief. It makes sense to create something based off of your belief because that is what you feel is the truth however how would someone react if they were told what they believed was true was actually a lie? If I were told that I wouldn’t take it well and most likely think they are lying. Although there is no solid evidence that God truly exist I still go about believing in him because that has been the way I was raised to think regardless of no evidence

    The way Plato told the story was also interesting in a way where he provided different scenarios within a situation in order for it to build up to the overall message he was trying to say within the story. Adding on to the same story rather than just saying the message as it is allowed me to visually see what it is he was talking about. I feel as though any other type of way would have been confusing. I order for people to understand what you are trying to say is another aspect of perception as well. Plato understood that in order to get his point across he would have to explain it in a way others would understand so he had to change his perspective to someone else in order to do that. This is like the the TOK book. Every context given within the book was first discovered or thought of by someone else in most likely a complex way. This book was created in a way in which students would be able to understand what it is each chapter discusses. Perception had to be changed within that process in order for those reading the book would be able to format in a way students would be able to understand these complex way of thinking.

  27. Bintou
    In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Socrates and Glaucon analyze the experience of a person being trapped and chained in a cave who have been set free to look outside of the cave for the first time in a long while. They have found out that people would be very curious about what’s going on and go looking around at their surroundings, as well as reflecting what wisdom they have learned from living in the cave. This allegory can be seen as an example of sense perception, because the man senses more than what’s inside the cave and into the outside world.
    In the chapter on sense perception, we learned that there is more to seeing than meets the eye, and this falls into the concepts of change blindness and inattentional blindness, which are changes that go unnoticed by the viewer. Connecting to the story, the freed man was blinded by the change that was happening, and was literally blinded by the light that shines upon him. The observations he made is an example of the search for meaning in perception, by looking back at the people he left behind. I think this means that curiosity affects perception by learning more about our surroundings.
    In the poem “It is not enough…” the author uses the metaphor of a window to explain how we are blinded at what’s really out there by just looking outside, and that we are stuck wondering about it. The man in the cave was like looking at that closed window, and that his window to the world was opened when he was free. The allegory is also similar to the 60 minutes video about the confusion of identifying people in testimonials, and that we are easy to be fooled of images that looks similar. By looking at things in a new view, we can learn from the initial mistakes and evaluate it better, like how he compared enduring everything then staying inside the cave.
    In the play, A Doll’s House, Nora went out to become an independent lady without influences from Torvald, her husband. She realized this after noticing Torvald have been controlling her like a doll. The man’s experience in the cave was like that, being chained together and being controlled by a leader, and when he got freed he was able to endure everything and not be controlled by other people.

  28. The Allegory of the Cave by Plato brings into question human nature towards knowledge and learning. The prisoners that were trapped in this cave looked at shadows of different objects all of their lives. The men also spent their days looking at the objects and trying to name each one that went by. This action of naming the objects is significant because it is the process of identification. The prisoners are engaging themselves in an activity of reason where there trying to process the things that they see. This can be connected to the topic of perception as the search for meaning in our sense perception chapter. The chapter discussed how we as humans have minds that involuntarily create meaning from stimuli which is in spite of our free will. The chapter is saying that humans associate certain things with others when they see something they recognize. The human brain places meaning to objects through past experiences or just what the human has known all of their life. The Allegory of the Cave is speaking on this idea with the prisoners partaking in this activity of naming the objects. The prisoners are placing meaning to what they see just like our brains do with different symbols for example, heart with love, the color black with dark, mysterious, potentially evil and the color yellow with happiness and warmth. The prisoners are trying to make sense of the world around them. With their efforts to name these objects they are revealing their desire to understand, their desire for knowledge. The only problem with this is that what they are seeing is not actually the objects they name but mere replicates and shadows of these objects, the same problem we as humans have with our sense perception. More often than not our senses (more importantly our sight which we tend to rely on the most ) can not be trusted because they are heavily influenced by emotion, stress and the environment around us. Our senses can alter our perception which in turn alters what meaning we find in certain things and how we go about searching for meaning. This relates to the allegory because in turn us as humans and these prisoners are in search for meaning and understanding but are unable to achieve it until we see the light.

    The resistance to the truth that the other prisoners had towards the enlightened prisoner in the allegory reminded me a lot of the TOK assignment we had in class when we read about the Nacirema people. It was a satire piece that depicted the American culture in a negative light making it seem cruel and ritualistic. While we were reading it in class we all jumped to conclusions that this culture was barbaric or uncivilized as soon as we heard the term rituals. We has this type of reaction because of the connotation associated with the word rituals. I took the assignment home and had my brother read it and when I revealed to him that it was the American culture he refused to believe it. He was angry at me and called me a liar and that there was no way that was describing America. This is a type of reaction that was found in the allegory of the cave. When the enlightened prisoner came back to tell his friends about the real world and what they knew as the truth was all a lie they became angry and in denial.

    Jasmine (1/2)

  29. Beltine
    What is reality? what is knowledge? and what is the meaning of life? How are we so sure that what we see is really what it is? In The Allegory of the cave Plato questions humanity and our senses. After reading the story I not only believe that ordinary people are ignorant about the world they live in but so are philosophers. How are they so sure that their testimonies and theories are valid or true. With our senses, we all can all make assumptions and try to piece things together but who are we to say to one another that those assumptions are invalid. In the world we live in today, people are very opinionated and everyone wants to be right. When you aren’t right you start to question if you see things differently from others. Plato uses a scenario of a cave, the sun, the shadow and chained people to portray the world we live in. In this story, the cave symbolizes a world of ignorance, The sun symbolizes truth and knowledge, the shadow represents falsehood and sensory perception. The chained people symbolize ignorant people in this ignorant world. The cave serves as a shield from reality to the chained people, they of course are curious of what is in the sunlight outside of the cave, but to quench their thirst of “reality”, shadows lighted from a fireplaces give these chained people a little insight of what maybe outside. Because they see these shadows, they believe they’ve seen it all and are kind of comfortable being chained up. When some tries to differ, they lash out which is what happened to the man who was unchained and saw “reality” for what it is. Plato uses this scenario to explain to us that most people are comfortable in their ignorance. but hostile to anyone who points it out. I noticed that reasons why these men thought they knew everything about reality was because their senses had led them to, it fooled them. After reading TOK chapter 3:Sense perception, i’ve come to learn that most of the time our senses can’t be trusted. Are senses are built in a way that they seem to perceive the simplest form but also see the best and most correct(The Gestalt principle). This can especially be said about the testimony of the woman who put an innocent man in jail because she thought he was her rapist. On the night she was raped, Jennifer studied the face of her rapist and she thought she could help the police find him. But she ended picking the wrong person as her rapist even though she thought she was 100%. Like the chained men, they thought the shadow was what reality was, the shadows were just false copies of reality. In IB literature we read A Doll's house and the main character Nora, was married to a man who treated her like his child. He called her pet names and gave her everything she wanted. They never had a conversation like adults or argues like normal couples would. Nora thought it was all because of love, she was blinded until really stepped in, Kristine. Kristen opened nora’s eyes and basically told Nora that the way she lived was not ordinary. She opened Nora's eyes to a world of independence and opportunity. Nora set out to to feel reality for herself after Kristen's encouragement.like the chained men, Nora had thought she was already living in a wold of reality, thats until someone stepped in to tell them that the way they’ve been living is the wrong way. It changes their entire perception of what is reality and what is not.
    KQ-Philosophers are said to be the most knowledgeable about life, How do they generate these theories? Bibles, spiritual testimonies?

  30. They refused to believe him much like my brother refused to believe me with the TOK assignment. Both the TOK assignment and the allegory speak to human nature and its need to feel right all the time. As humans we don’t like to be wrong especially about what we have always known. There is a sense of self righteousness that something that you have known your whole life cannot be wrong. People don’t want to be wrong about such large things so they go into denial knowing on the inside that they are wrong. The TOK assignment makes you question your preconceived notions and stereotypes. It makes you see how your culture, something you have known all your life, something that is always painted as the most civilized can be painted as something completely opposite all because of your stereotypes of other cultures and language used.

    Another big theme in the allegory of the cave is intellectual freedom. When the prisoner is taken out of the cave and finally adjusts to the light he sees the true world the true forms of the objects he thought were real. More importantly he looks up into the sun and sees it as the 1st principle of all existing things. The prisoner feels enlightened and happy that he has found true knowledge. This is alluding to the idea of self understanding and acquiring knowledge on your own. It speaks to the process that people go through into understanding the world for themselves and going through self discovery. This reminds me of the process of learning in my own life. As a child in elementary school I was taught to read the chapter and simply regurgitate the information. My level of intelligence was determined on how well I could remember information. In elementary school there was usually only one right answer, no room for interpretation or analysis. And because I grew up in that environment that was what I saw learning as, nothing more. I was never asked how I felt about a certain concept or why I thought an aspect of a class was important. In middle school when I attended a TAG school is was different. In English we learned from the great books and we were engaged in conversations and seminars about what we read. We were given the ability to speak our mind and agree or disagree with the teacher. There was not right or wrong answer and as learners we grew because we were given the ability to learn and discover on our own. This is something Plato is trying stress as important with his allegory. He is trying to suggest that intellectual discovery is something that is independent and cannot be done for you . It is something that an individual has to do for themselves once they step out from under what they are traditionally taught and or told.

    Jasmine (2/3)

  31. The Allegory of the Cave to me speaks volumes about both intellectual freedom and the acquisition of knowledge. Looking at this allegory from a TOK perspective especially the sense perception chapter, there is a lot to discuss through the ways of knowing and having a critical eye in whether or not you actually know what you think you know. TOK makes you question what you have been taught which makes it strongly relatable to the allegory of the cave. However, another slightly obvious IB class that has strong connection to the allegory is philosophy. In philosophy while the allegory is profound in and of itself you must consider the context of the allegory to Plato's entire work as well as his overarching themes throughout the novel. The allegory is a section in book 7 of Plato’s Republic which has themes ranging from education to knowledge to democracy and how society should be run all the way to art and its purpose. In book 9 of the Republic, Plato discusses the tyrannical man and the danger of democracy. The allegory in book 7 helps Plato make his case against democracy. The allegory brings to light the idea that acquisition of knowledge is something that is independent, happens over time and at times can be lonely. Plato speaks to how people who see the light and understand the principles of life might be seen as outcasts because they are challenging ideals of society. Plato also suggests that people who do reach this potential are usually philosophers. The entire allegory can allude to the historical event of Socrates being killed because as a philosopher he tried to challenge the ideas of society. Plato uses this idea in the allegory to speak about the type of government a society should have. He discusses how democracy is bad because the common man doesn't have the knowledge to make the decisions. He also speaks on the idea that the rich should not be in power because they only go after money and greed which is also not good for society. Plato states that society needs philosophers as leaders of their government because they are aware of the truths of the world and they do not seek power or money but only knowledge.

    Jasmine (3/3)

  32. Emonee
    Can we be confident in what we think we know? In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Plato conveyed the meaning of how “ideal forms exist in the minds of a creator”. In the story, the prisoners were only able to see shadows and hear echos of the things that are happening outside of the cave. Once one of them is free and gets use to what he sees in the real world. He then tries to tell the other prisoners, they immediately reject and turn against him because they believe the real world was a lie. In my opinion, the cave was a representation of an origin of knowledge. What the prisoner's eyes allowed them to see in the cave is what they believed. This showed how some people are comfortable with their own ignorance and gets defensive towards whoever points it out. In connection with the sense perception chapter, our perception is just an illusion. Our mind play tricks on what we actually see when it comes to the sensory information we obtain of a representation of the world. Your sense of perception is determined by the representation of what you see. In the story, Plato stated “And then what? If he again recalled his first dwelling, and the "knowing" that passes as the norm there, and the people with whom he once was chained, don't you think he would consider himself lucky because of the transformation that had happened and, by contrast, feel sorry for them?”. When he went back into the cave and told the other prisoners about the real world, they rejected him. Since they were locked in the cave, away from the outside world, their only sense of perception was based off of their senses of seeing shadows and hearing the echoes. They were only revealed to a one sided-perspective compared to the prisoner that was able to see the world in a different light literally. In TOK, we did an activity of examining what you see with goggles that have different objects on them and then you record what you see. When you looked into different goggles you would only be able to see what your eyes allow you too and also you were able to view more aspects in the light compared in the dark. Just like in the story, the prisoners were restricted from actually seeing and hearing the real world in the cave compared to being outside of the cave. So they questioned whether the “outside world” actually was the real world. It reminded me of the play I read in my IB English class called “A Doll's House’. Nora lived a life of dependence on her husband and being a family and believed that's what contributed to her perspective of being a woman. But when Kristine expressed to Nora her hardship of being an independent widow and Nora didn't believe it was an option of being independent. But as Kristine expressed her feelings about how free it made her feel. That conversation changed Nora’s perceptive of a woman and how to live in the world. What you are use to doing and seeing can affect your entire perception of the world. It connects with my personal experience of when I had to look for something in the dark when the power went out, my eyes adjusted to the darkness but I couldn't really see anything expect for what my eyes allowed me too. I didn't know where everything was but I tried to remember from memory. Until the lights came on I was able to see where everything actually was. It showed how your eyes can show you what they want to and how it affects what you perceive as real or not.

  33. Mabel
    Through Plato’s allegory, I think he was trying to convey that what people see is not what it always is in reality. But when someone is trying to tell you otherwise, and bring us out of our ignorance, we react in a violent or hostile way, or simply just reject it because we are comfortable in our ignorance. If someone is told something that changes what they lived by for their whole lives, chances are they will violently deny it and continue believing what they already know. Just as it was in Plato’s allegory; when the freed prisoner returned, and attempted to explain all of what he just discovered to those that were still in captivity and unaware of the outside world, they violently rejected it, and declared his views inadequate and insane. The only way they would be able to understand what the freed prisoner was talking about would be to experience it themselves and realize that what he was saying was in fact true. That’s the sad truth; the only way to make sense of it is to uncover it yourself. True knowledge must be obtained the hard way. Just as it was for Mendel theory. Mendel discovered that our genes are directly from our parents and that there are outcomes that a certain trait will be passed on to each offspring. People did not believe him when he first came out with his idea. But later on people tested it out for themselves, and realized that what he discovered was true. Eventually they adjusted and realized that how they were seeing things were wrong. Like when the freed prisoner finally adjusted to the fact that the things around him are the real and the shadows are just the reflection. Shadows appeared to be more clear to him, but gradually his eyes adjusted until he could look at objects directly. People have an uncontrollable bad habit of always wanting to be right and have confidence in what they think they know. They feel comfortable with familiar meanings and secure in thinking they know what is going on. So when something is proved to be correct that is contrary to what they believed, they have a hard time accepting it. But when they finally see the light, it can poke a hole in what you know. In the book A doll’s house, Nora was blinded from reality as if she was caged from seeing the true situation she was in of being treated a property by her overbearing husband. When Kristina tried to shine a light on this situation, Nora was unaware of, in which she thought it was perfectly normal, she denied what Kristina was trying to show her. But when she had an encounter with a situation that showed what Kristina was trying to show her, she decided to accept it and break free from not only her overbearing husband, but the ideas she used to hold.
    There has been many instances in which I let my ignorance and my tendency to always wanting to be right get the best of me. A situation that I was not too fond of was my mix up on what day my history test was going to be on. I believed that it was going to be on Monday. However, a fellow classmate of mine told me that it was actually going to be on Friday. I did not believe her and decided not to study. But to my surprise, she was correct, and I did not do as well as I could have done on the test. I accepted it and learned to adjust to the idea that i will not always be right and that if there confusion to a certain matter, ask more classmates, or just study just in case.

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  35. Lindsay
    In the story the prisoners are facing a cave wall, and on the wall they can only see the shadows of objects that are in front of the fire. Of course, because they have not seen anything else, they assume that the shadows are the real objects, they have no reason to believe otherwise. Socrates claims that if a prisoner was freed and they turned around and look at the fire and the statues, then when turned back around, they would know that the shadow is no longer the real object. We know from in TOK and we looked at optical illusions that our eyes can deceive us,and many people will probably claim that his eyes are deceiving him but at this moment it appears that the prisoner's eyes are deceiving him as well, but if all he has seen before are the shadows, he doesn't know that there is more to the world, so his eyes are not deceiving him. Then the prisoner leaves the cave and realizes there is so much more to the world than what they knew about. The prisoner seems to seek knowledge beyond what they can sense. In the sense perception chapter, it talks about how our senses can trick us, in my opinion, if our senses can trick us then we cannot depend on them solely for our knowledge. This prisoner is looking for other ways to gain knowledge than by using the senses that have been tricking him this whole time. After the prisoner returns to the other prisoners in order to tell them what all he has seen and how everything they know is false, they call him crazy. In the chapter, it discusses how we search for meaning, and if we cannot find meaning we create excuses. The other prisoners could not imagine what else would be out in the world and therefore they could not find meaning to what he said, it was unrealistic, so to them he had to have been crazy. In IB History, when we learned about the Holocaust, we learned that many German families did not really know what was going on in the concentration camps, they were shown commercials about the concentration camps being like a summer camp or vacation spot and the few that did know that something bad was happening tried to protect the Jews and anyone who found out that they were protecting them would call them crazy or traitors, it wasn't until the war was ending that many people found out what was really happening. This story reminded me of learning this because it seems as though people like to think that they know what is real and what isn't. In both situations people were sheltered from knowing what was happening around them and once they found out, they were opened up to a whole new world.

  36. Claire
    Plato’s Allegory of the cave focuses on the ideal concept that similar to the shadows on the wall, in the physical world are flawed reflections of an ideal world, which is the theory of forms. Considering this can lead to questions concerning the origins of knowledge, the nature of reality, and the difficulties produced from representation. There are various ways that ideal forms exist, such as in the mind of a creator or linguistic concepts. In English, we constantly read novels and or plays that essentially look at the outcomes of an individual who follows an ideal form separate from his or hers peers or an individual who in the end ‘abandons’ their theories for a new one. We were previously reading The Stranger by Albert Camus. In The Stranger, Meursault in many ways represents the individual who is born in a cave, but exits that cave and essentially has a changed reflection of the entire world. However, him being put in jail, executed and viewed by everyone as careless is the representation of how when others do not understand your concepts, not only do they dismiss it but they deem you as crazy and out of touch. The execution of Meursault is done every day. We may not be physically executed by differing concepts and exiting the cave, however, in many instance we can be emotionally and socially executed. I know that even for me, especially in middle school, whenever I would bring up an idea of how we could examine a novel in English everyone would dismiss it completely. I noticed that no one was really looking at the novel the way I was or they hadn’t exited the ‘cave’ yet, so they simply disregarded my ideas as detached from their main focus. Plato’s Allegory of the cave also gave arise to what existence is compared to. Existence can be like a journey down a path, a mountain, or even a book. Our same view of existence can be affected and changed based on our perception. Which can also be “concerned with the nature of perceptual experience and the status of perceptual data, in particular how they relate to beliefs about, or knowledge of, the world.” Formally speaking, our perceptions of existence and what forms prevail in an ideal world can be shaped by experience and perceptual data, such as sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, balance, and movement. Thus leading to how parents can act as a shaper or overseer of the cave that we are in. From a young age parents instill in us what were supposed to do, believe in, and achieve. They alone affect our perception of an ideal world. Their actions can either cause you to view the world in their eyes or develop a completely different concept. Just recently in church, all of the youth were discussing how our parents have effected how we view things. My youth teacher brought up how from a young age our parents condition our thinking. She was telling us about how that can lead to an identity crisis, due to an individual finally realizing that their parents concepts are not their own. I know that even for me, if I feel like the concepts I have grown to learn and accept are open enough and nonjudgmental in comparison to my parents’ views than I will express it to them. Also telling them why I feel that way. Not too long ago, I was researching information on Louise Bourgeois for my comparative study in art. A lot of her pieces especially Maman showed a different concept of thinking that many people in that time were not used to. Instead of creating a simple sculpture to represent her mother, Bourgeois created a huge spider and said that it represented all aspects of her mother’s will and drive. Due to pieces like this one, which in many ways expressed how she exited the cave, a lot of her art was disregarded for its subject matter. Although Plato’s Allegory on the cave gives insight on many forms we may have not observed, this essentially raises the question of who is really out of the cave and do the individuals who have escaped the central cave only enter another cave?

  37. Tamara
    Plato, a famous Greek philosopher wrote the 'Allegory of the Cave'. The ‘Allegory Of The Cave’ is a theory put forward by Plato, concerning human perception. Plato's allegory of the cave is one of the best-known, most insightful attempts to explain the nature of reality. In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato distinguishes between people who mistake sensory knowledge for the truth and people who really do see the truth. Plato’s cave tell us that what we see with our eyes is not always as it seems. From chapter four “Sense Perception” from the Theory of Knowledge book it states, “Because all incoming sensory information is an interpreted representation of the world, our eyes lie to us and our brain knows it.” The prisoners trapped in the cavern believe the shadows of the objects are real but in actuality they are just shadows of the real objects. Certain situations can be taken out of context and can be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses. As a child I used to believe in the tooth fairy. I had never seen the tooth fairy but since money was put under my pillow I assumed that it was from the tooth fairy. Of course now I know the tooth fairy is not real but the use of my senses when I was a child caused me to believe that it was. I think that there is a distinction between appearances and reality. Things are not always what they seem. The shadows of the objects were not what they were portrayed to be and it was all a distortion in appearance. In the Theory of Knowledge book of chapter four “Sense Perception” it discusses change blindness and inattentional blindness. Those are changes which occur in the visual field which go unnoticed by the perceiver. The people in the cave are shackled by the legs and neck which restricts them from moving their legs or necks to take a look around. The only thing they are capable of seeing is whatever they encounter in front of their faces. They could only see the shadows on the wall so if something occurred outside the scope of attention they would not notice. According to the Gestalt Principle, we tend to see things not as they really are but as our minds think they should be. That explains why if the liberated prisoner goes back to the cave and tries to explain to his former fellow prisoners the freed prisoner’s understanding of reality was considered to be wrong by the prisoners in the cave. The cave prisoners could have been prevented to see the truth due to the environment they lived in which hinders them from experiencing the real world. The people live under the earth in a cavelike dwelling where they are cut off from the rest of society. In connection with IB Business and Management class, Maslow states that a hierarchy of needs must be met before the highest point of self can be achieved, self-actualization. Unlike the freed prisoner they have no experience to validate this new truth. The freed prisoner represents the people who seeks knowledge outside of the cave and outside of the senses. The cave prisoners represent people who believe that through sense experience source of knowledge can be acquired. To become free, the prisoners must escape the cave and go experience the light. Morris Bishop stated, “Our knowledge is only a collection of scraps and fragments that we put together into a pleasing design, and often the discovery of one new fragment would cause us to alter utterly the whole design.” Intellectual freedom comes from letting go of all presumptions and open yourself up to new information and be willing to learn.

  38. Efi
    The allegory is about about how people who have been prisoners for years and have been kept shackled in one position for so long that they only know about what’s in front of them. In relation to sense perception, it seems that because the people can only see what is in front of them, which is a wall and their shadows reflected upon that wall. They do get a glimpse of light thought. Their feeling is also limited , as apart from pain, all they feel is their shackles, the ground and maybe the heat of the fire. The sense this text focuses the most on however, is clearly sight. I’m taken back to the sense perception chapter where it was mentioned that our sight is very limited and as we explored in class, our eyes can be very deceiving. We don’t also see what’s in front of us very clearly, and there’s many things that could obstruct our sight. When the prisoner looked into the light of the sun, he rage and that he was blinded by the light and glare. This happens to me when I look at the sun or just step outside when it’s very sunny ,from previously being in a dim lit environment for very long. My eyes hurt instantly and for a while, it’s hard for me to make out anything in that type of position. I can also relate this to the quote from the text saying that “Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light”. When I “step into the light” from a dark environment, (such as going from my room after sleeping in the dark to the bathroom and turning on the lights) I’m left very shocked by this instant surge of brightness. Of more relation to the reading , I feel the quote is expressing how people who have previously been in the dark for so long would be bewildered by what they see and people that are used to being in the light would be puzzled about how to navigate without the light, since they’re not used to it. This also makes me think about the contrast between blind people and seeing people. One is most likely used to the light, while for the other, they must be used to the dark. It’d be hard for both of these people to adapt if the blind man became seeing and the seeing man became blind. They’re not used to this, and so adapting to this huge change would be hard. It seems that the freed prisoner would likely go back to being in the dark and away from the light since there’s so many difficult things he’s experienced with the light. This reminds me of a case where a blind man regained his sight, then committed suicide because of all that he could see now. I can relate all of this to IB art and what the chapter said about abstract art. People view art in different ways what one person sees in one piece of art and how they perceive it is not identical to how another person would. The text said that some people dislike abstract art because they’re not used to it and they might not understand it. In my art class, I’ve learned to really appreciate this type of art; but it can still be related to the allegory because, like abstract art, if a person transitions from darkness to the light relatively fast then they might be too surprised about what they see, have some serious questions about it and even not like it because of how different it is. Some people don’t like abstract art for these same reasons. Connections to this allegory and the short poem “It is not enough to open the window” can also be made. In relation to the window, in class we discussed how a shut window can prevent you from experiencing the other sense and even if you can look outside of a shut window, there could still be things obstructing your view. When the the prisoner looked outside, the sun’s light was obstructing his view, this could also be the case with the window. Both the poem and Plato’s seem to show how our sight has many downsides.

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  40. Brea
    In the allegory of the cave by Plato, exposure to new perceptions causes a shift in the ways of the views and sights of a former prisoner.
    In the sense perception chapter of TOK, we learned that sight can be vulnerable to what we want to believe in seeing, and not focusing on a key detail. In the cave, the prisoners have spent their entire lives in a cave with only shadows being known as real. They were not aware of what shadows were, how they were made, nor how echoes travel. Sight plays a powerful role in what we as people choose to believe in as it is a part of testimony and eyewitnesses. In the Joe cotton trial, we learned that eyewitness testimony can not only be inaccurate, but it can cause a person to be blamed based on one person's failed perception of what really happened. In the allegory, The former prisoner was given sound evidence that there was life outside of the cave that held the answers to all of what he previously had believed in. Similar to Jennifer, he at one point believed that his thinking was sound before being brought new evidence. Both initially reacted to it by getting angry, but it proved to them that there was something behind their thinking that had caused them to believe in what they saw. The difference between the two is that while the prisoner came back to his former prison mates which symbolizes his old thoughts, Jennifer tended to just apologize for her old thoughts and then chose to move on with them. Overall, the misconceptions of sight hinder our true capabilities of understanding all viewpoints, but yet it is the basis of what we believe and think about.

  41. Is knowledge only gained by the exposure to new and different ideas? This question was the foundation of a hypothetical scenario that was created by the Philosopher Socrates. In order to fully understand how knowledge is obtained, Socrates used visual perception to portray the role that one’s eyes play. “Shackled by the legs and neck...thus to stay in the same place..living under the world.”. Before reading the scenario, I interpreted this description as someone that is single-minded and constantly influenced by other people in society, that they allow the ideals to control them and keep them restrained. I thought that the world being on top of them, aided in the idea of being forced to follow or accept a certain set of ideals and beliefs. While continuing to read I realized that Socrates was connecting the lack of understanding to restriction. The prisoners were only accustomed to seeing shadows and hearing echos. They themselves had to create meaning in order for them to find some kind of understanding in what is taking place. But then again, how were the prisoners able to generate meaning, since they’ve been in the cave since birth? The sense perception chapter stated that things are often times grouped under abstract terms, which can be used to understand how the prisoners were able to make meaning since they lacked background knowledge. When one of the prisoners were released and given the opportunity to understand how shadows are formed and to see the objects, he was in total disbelief. All his life he only knew objects as being two dimensional and black, so when he saw that the figures that he has knowledge about are only shadows from another object, he’s eager to share this with the other prisoners in the cave. The other prisoners did not believe the new knowledge that was gained by the other prison through his exposure to the outside world. They continued to deny the idea of there being something other to what they know. Socrates’ goal was to show how it is when philosophers present their ways of thinking to people and how it’s often rejected because people refuse to accept ideas and beliefs that goes against what they already know. People always want to be right and have confidence in what they know. Opening their horizons is not something that is done easily, especially when those new ideals strongly go against their own. Outside influences gives one the opportunity to expand their own understanding of things through being exposed to different circumstances, objects, scenarios, people etc. In World Literature class we read a play that was titled “A Doll’s House” by Ibsen Henrik. The main character was basically being controlled by her husband like a doll (hence the title). He would give her an allowance and tell her what she could and couldn’t eat. While reading I couldn’t believe that she was not able to realize that her husband was controlling. I personally felt that anyone with two eyes would be able to see that his actions towards her, placed her in a state of restrainment. Nora was finally able to see that her husband was controlling her through the help of another character. Someone that had a different view and experience on what a marriage is, and how two people act towards each other, broadened Nora’s knowledge on women’s role in a marriage. This new understanding allowed Nora to see that she wasn’t being treated fairly, causing her to leave. Outside influences can have huge effect on the way that a person thinks and perceive things, not only does it introduce new ideals but it also can go against your own beliefs causing doubt and questions to arise.


Thanks for posting!!