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    My teacher has asked us to research the theory of forms and the cave analogy. I don't get them. What influenced the cave analogy what is it trying to suggest?

    I'm not a theology or philosophy student but as I understand it the cave analogy represents how people (the prisoners) can only see imperfect forms of things. The man who breaks free transcends this and can see the perfect forms of things. Everything in the world has a perfect and ideal form but due to the limitations of the world etc most things are imperfect forms?

    Theory of forms (I conclude that this is how you Englishmen call the Theory of Ideas/Concepts):

    -Material objects are organized according to ideal rules (ideas/concepts/forms). Both these ideas and material objects are real, however material objects are made of imperferfect material that causes their degeneration. Also, material objects are organized according to various ideas. For example, there is no idea of tree, but there are ideas which reflected in materia, altogether effect in "existence" (ugh, bad word, the Greeks didn't have any procesual "is" or "existence" of a tree. There is a set of ideas common to all trees which results in the fact, that various kinds of trees can be described as a tree.

    Example of modern interpretation: laws of physics, logic etc.

    The cave analogy suggests-
    Human senses and cognitive abilites are limited, they work on material objects. Therefore they see only a limited spectrum of things, and those are material beings (shadows). This results in various flaws of human perception. If human was free ant went out from the cave to see the world outside (this is the SAME world, only another part of it) at he would be blinded by Sun, same as human is blinded when trying to see ideas, because his senses and mind are set to observe the limited, material objects.

    Example of modern interpretation:

    Humans can't see laws of physics, but they can observe them indirectly, by experience on behaviour of material objects. Process of learning takes time, human cognitive abilities are also limited, so the best of our brains do realize that there is something behind what we can recognized in sensual way, but we have more or less limitations, so we are more or less blinded
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