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Ashford University The Allegory of the Cave Plato Philosophy Discussion

For this unit, we are exploring these selected readings in order to explore how we can discern truth for ourselves.  Each of these writers has a particular set of insights to share regarding the nature and meaning of truth and reality. There is also an additional writing exercise.

I am including the same definitions from Unit 1 for the following terms which may help you in answering the prompts for each reading:

Ethos: the source’s credibility, the speaker’s/author’s authority

Logos: the logic used to support a claim (induction and deduction); can also be the facts and statistics used to help support the argument.

Pathos: the emotional or motivational appeals; vivid language, emotional language and numerous sensory details.

Anecdote:  a short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.

First Read the Important Guidelines for Discussions

then read

What is a Paragraph

Paragraph Structure and Topic Sentences



Part 1 

Read “The Allegory of the Cave” by Plato in your textbook.

Don’t forget to follow the Important Guidelines for Discussions

You may find this video explanation of the reading helpful:

Here is another link that helps clarify who is speaking to whom in the allegory:

Write a response of at least 150 words, not including the required quotation from the reading.


Examine the ideas in Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” as they connect with how we as humans perceive truth.  Through this allegory, what is Plato saying about what is true, especially as it relates to group consensus?   Are there any real life caves and matrices that keep people imprisoned that you can think of?  In what ways we create our own prisons in our thinking?  Who gains when we allow ourselves to become imprisoned through structured systems or expectations, rigid thinking, compliance, conformity, and many other ways? Are some caves created to purposefully trap humans? This allegory can metaphorically connect in most life situations from mundane daily experiences all the way to societal dynamics; allow your mind to make connections on as many levels as you can.

Part 2 

King – “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

Read Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in your textbook.

“Letter From Birmingham Jail” 

Find examples of MLK, Jr.’s uses of Legos, Pathos, and Ethos in this reading and discuss how each one affects you as a reader.  You may also wish to discuss whether these appeals may have a different effect on the readers of today versus the readers in the time in which this letter was written.

In what way is this letter related to the ideas in “The Allegory of the Cave”? In what way is the premise that encourages us to break the law, if the law is unjust, a radical game changer?

Reread paragraph 15 on page 380-381.  Read out loud the sentence that begins with the word “But.”  Take note, this sentence is 310 words long!  What key phrases does MLK repeat throughout this passage?  Discuss how the sound of language and the use of repetition has the power to influence.


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