Free essay on Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Bacon's The Four Idols

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In this paper, I will be relating the claims of the Greek Philosopher Plato in 'The Allegory of the Cave' with those Frances Bacon, 'The Four Idols' with reference to 'A World of Ideas' by Lee A. Jacobus. In this context, the paper explains the fundamentals relating to human thinking versus the reality. The ideas of Plato in the allegory of the cave and those of Bacon in the four idols are related as they hold the same point of view regarding reality versus allegation. The essay tries to find out whether there is any relationship between the real world and what is perceived by the human mind. In 'The Allegory of the Cave,' Plato describes a human beings thinking by using a cave whereby the prisoners are chained facing the wall. The prisoners' heads cannot move and right behind them there is a fire. According to Plato, the prisoners judge an object behind them by the shadow that it casts on the wall in front of them. In such a case, the prisoners mistake the appearance of the shadows cast on the wall with reality. The prisoners think that they are viewing a real object by looking at the shadows. However, the prisoners have no idea how the real object that is casting its shadow on the wall looks like. As a result, the prisoners will base their description or argument on a shadow rather than the real object (Plato 1). For example, if a book a puppet is carried past behind them and casts a shadow on the wall before them, a prisoner will say 'I see a puppet.' According to the prisoner, he thinks that he is talking about a puppet but in the real sense he is talking about a shadow. To see the real puppet means that the prisoner has to turn his head. By so doing, he will be able to base his argument on a real object that he can use as a real reference. According to Bacon's 'The Four Idols,' he talks about the 'Idols of the Cave,' as the second idol among Tribe, Marketplace and Theater idols. Bacon describes the Idols of the Cave as those that arise within an individual mind (Bacon, James and Williams 2).The mind is symbolically represented by a dark cave whereby an individual's thoughts are modified in various ways by accident, temperament, education, environment and habit roaming about in the cave. Bacon compares the idols of the cave with a person who specializes in a specific career who becomes obsessed by his very own peculiar interprets. Consequently, the person makes an interpretation of all the other fields of studies according to his own devotion and its colors. Bacon simplifies the Idols of the cave in four distinct parts; individual who favor ideas that have the support of previous conclusions, individual who favor novelty while others favor antiquity, individuals who favor similarities while others favor differences and individuals who favor the whole with parts excluded while others favor parts with the whole excluded. Bacon goes ahead to describe the Idols of the Marketplaces as a hindrance to the people's understanding based on words. Just like in the description of the prisoner's in a cave by Plato, Bacon believes that people name and imagine things that are not in existence. As a result, words have a wide range of meanings. In the two works of Plato and Bacon, it's evident that people are disillusioned by things that they cannot base their evidence on as compared to the real objects. As a result, most of the people are misled by illusions of things that appear to them as object but in contrast they are only 'shadows' of the real objects (Jacobus 15). Therefore, the real meaning of an object is totally distorted by an illusion hence giving a completely different word for a certain object. In the view of Plato and Bacon there is a big difference between the appearance of an object and what the mind perceives from an illusion if an object; in this case, a shadow. In conclusion, there is a tendency of people to jump into conclusion by merely judging an object from the illusion created by the same. This misjudgment has brought misinterpretation of the real life and many people tend to live in cocoons of illusion. Basically, the fundamentals of truth are based on the appearance real object achieved through experience as opposed to illusions. Bacon supports his argument by saying that "knowledge of causes is the true knowledge" (Bacon, James and Williams 2).

Works Cited

Bacon, Francis, James Spedding, and Williams Rawley. The works of Francis Bacon. 1st ed.,. vol 1. NC: Taggard & Thompson, 2008. Print.

Jacobus, Lee. A World of Ideas. 8th ed.,. vol. 1. London: Bedford, 2005. Print.

Plato. The Allegory of the Cave. 1st ed.,. vol. 1. London: CreateSpace, 2010. Print.