In Book VII of The Republic, Plato paints a dark scene for readers. Imagine prisoners shackled in a cave, their heads chained in such a way they can’t look out into the world itself. They can only see manipulated shadows on walls, and that’s about all. Known as the “allegory of the cave,” this passage lets Plato offer commentary about the nature of reality and human understanding. In an episode of Philosophy Bites, Simon Blackburn (Cambridge University) talks with Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds about what Plato really wants to say here. And, above, some clever artists provide an award-winning animation of the cave scene using nothing other than clay. Big thanks to Eren at FilmAnnex for sending this one our way.
If you’d like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.