Socrates is the most likely candidate for the allegory, since he is "dialogueing" with Plato's half brothers [Adeimantus and Glaucaon] in The Republic [Ti Politea = The Polity. Republic is a bad translation from the Latin (Rex Publica)]. When you combine the Republic's characters with a couple...
Best answer: Socrates is the most likely candidate for the allegory, since he is "dialogueing" with Plato's half brothers [Adeimantus and Glaucaon] in The Republic [Ti Politea = The Polity. Republic is a bad translation from the Latin (Rex Publica)]. When you combine the Republic's characters with a couple of passages in Plato's letters, it looks like Socrates is very arguably the intellectual progenitor of that allegory. Quote:
PLATO (7th Letter)
Thus much at least, I can say about all writers, past or future, who say they know the things to which I devote myself, whether by hearing the teaching of me or of others, or by their own discoveries --- that according to my view it is not possible for them to have any real skill in the matter.
*** There neither is nor ever will be a treatise of mine on the subject [of philosophy; KB.] For it does not admit of exposition like other branches of knowledge;***
but after much converse about the matter itself and a life lived together, suddenly a light, as it were, is kindled in one soul by a flame that leaps to it from another, and thereafter sustains itself. [Thus the foundation of Plato's Academy for "a philosophical life LIVED TOGETHER" KB]
Yet this much I know --- that if the things were written or put into words, it would be done best by me, and that, if they were written badly, I should be the person most pained. Again, if they had appeared to me to admit adequately of writing and exposition, what task in life could I have performed nobler than this, to write what is of great service to mankind and to bring the nature of things into the light for all to see?
But I do not think it a good thing for men that there should be a disquisition, as it is called, on this topic --- except for some few, who are able with a little teaching to find it out for themselves. As for the rest, it would fill some of them quite illogically with a mistaken feeling of contempt, and others with lofty and vain-glorious expectations, as though they had learnt something high and mighty." [end-quote]
Thus Plato says that he will not write "disquisitions" about Philosophy because in his opinion it has to be done "face to face" in places like the Academy he founded. So, then WHAT ARE THE DIALOGUES, if not disquisitions on philosophy???
The answer is apparently in Plato's 2nd Letter. Quote:
Keep this in mind and take care that you have no occasion in the future to feel remorse for now exposing these doctrines unworthily. The best precaution is NOT TO WRITE THEM DOWN, but to commit them to memory; for it is impossible that things written should not become known to others. This is why I HAVE NEVER WRITTEN on these subjects. [!!! What?!!! KB]
There is NO WRITING of Plato’s, nor will there ever be; those that are now called so COME FROM an IDEALIZED and YOUTHFUL Socrates. Farewell and heed my warning; read this letter again and again, then burn it. [2nd Letter 314 c]
All kinds of "scholars" tend to think and assert that some of these letters are forgeries, as well as many of Plato's Dialogues. But I don't believe such "scholars" because Plato historically DID what he suggests ought to be done in these letters. Make a place for philosophy to be done "face to face" and DO NOT write "philosophy" down BECAUSE it will be either held up to be ridiculed or laughed at as non-sense OR it will be considered so "high" that only "brilliant" people can understand/do it.
So whatever Plato has written is about an "idealized and youthful SOCRATES". [Some translations say "a beautified and rejuvenated Socrates" Others say "a modernized Socrates". Idealized and youthful Socrates is similar; KB] Plato literally says so above. Of course the "scoffers/scholars", as Plato correctly suggests above, really don't think that the REAL PLATO actually WROTE such a thing --- it was a "forgery" (they think). Plato was correct. The written word may always be doubted or corrected or misinterpreted.
3 days ago