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Sean McAleer

Published On


Page Range

pp. 211-228

Print Length

17 pages

11. The Allegory of the Cave

Book VII

  • Sean McAleer (author)
Chapter of: Plato's 'Republic': An Introduction(pp. 211–228)
True to its name, Chapter Eleven, ‘Shedding Light on the Allegory of the Cave’, devotes itself to exploring the famous Allegory of the Cave from Book VII of the Republic, carefully considering its various stages and themes before examining the issue posed by the enlightened philosopher’s return to the Cave. As Socrates describes it, the enlightened philosopher descends back into the Cave not because they want to, but because they recognize that justice requires them to do so. This raises an issue for discussion that Socrates does not seem to notice: the enlightened philosopher would be happier if they ignored the demands of justice and remained in the intelligible world of the Forms, which suggests that, contrary to Socrates’ view, the just life is not happier than the unjust life.


Sean McAleer