Feed on
Posts
Comments

Each soul has the ability to learn, the capacity to see the brightest part of that which is (518c). But man is everywhere in chains, unable to turn from the play of shadows on the cave wall. He is unable to see the relics that pass before the dim flicker of the fire behind him. It is the task of the educators—who managed to (somehow) escape their bonds, see the origins of the shadows, and then crawl from the cave to gaze upon being—to unbind captives. Education, therefore, is the art of most easily (and correctly) turning the body from the shadows of the cave from that which “is coming into being to that which is” (518c).

Calculation, geometry, astronomy, and the study of harmonic movement prepare the mind and steer it towards the things that are. Calculation, for example, moves the soul “powerfully upward” from visible realm to discuss numbers themselves (525d). Similarly, geometry and those arts that build off of it make use of appearances, but always move beyond images to grasping mathematical conceptions. By beginning with the reflections of the visible world and moving to the intelligible, these arts prepare the mind for its assent, for discussing forms with forms and abiding purely in the intelligible realm.

The problem with geometry and the other arts associated with it is that they take assumptions as if they were true, though, they are unable to give an account of their hypotheses. To have knowledge, you must be able to grasp the reason for the being of each thing (534b). And since their studies have not lead them to true knowledge of what they study, they can only dream about what truly is (533b-c).

These arts are useful, however, preparing the soul of understanding what truly is through the dialectic. Unlike the geometer, the dialectician uses his suppositions as “springboards” or points of departure that are abandoned in proceeding “to the beginning itself” (511b)(533c-d). The great dialectician, Socrates, begins to understand the form of justice by first considering the opinions offered by those around him. Moving from Thrasymachus’ definition of justice as the “advantage of the stronger,” Socrates is able through the dialectic to end up with a form of justice that makes Thrasymachus’ first assertion appears ridiculous (445a). In this way, the dialectician is able to reflect on and overcome hypotheses through discussion in ways that the geometer cannot.

With the power of the dialectic, men are able to extricate themselves from convention and false assumptions. The dialectic compels men by question and introspection to turn away from the shadows with which they are accustomed. In doing so, they see that what they had previously taken for reality were merely the projections of other men. Through the dialectic they are able to attain true knowledge of a thing. Through the power of discussion, through an “argument without the use of any of the senses,” but with forms themselves (511c), the dialectic turns their souls around and draws them forth, leading them up out of the cave (533c-d).

Since often it might lead men to unanticipated or seemingly ridiculous conclusions, one must have philosophical courage in following the dialectical discussion. Just as it seemed absurd at first to consider female athletes practicing gymnastics in the nude alongside men, but, in keeping with what is understood about men and women through the dialectic, it turned out that it was possible and it was best for them to do so. Therefore, as Socrates mentions, “we should not be afraid of all the jokes” for insights may at first be conventionally absurd (452b). The man, who is able to escape the cave, if he goes back, is laughed at by the people still in bondage. For to them the shadows are the reality, and that reality clashes absurdly at times with the true forms. That is, what is seen outside of the cave in the light of the sun—being itself. This is why Socrates asks that they ignore the comedians and seriously consider the question, engaging in a dialectical argument (instead of unreflectively and dogmatically sticking with assumptions or conventions)(452c).

The dialectician, escaping from the bonds of the visible, the ephemeral, the conventional, is not only able to enter the realm of the intelligible, but also to go to the furthest limits of that realm (532a-b). It is the power of the dialectic, the conversation between men that frees men and redirects their gaze toward the eternal sun—the good.

19 Responses to “Education and the Dialectic”

  1. Visitor recommendations

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]…

  2. You should check this out

    […] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well […]…

  3. Blogs ou should be reading

    […]Here is a Great Blog You Might Find Interesting that we Encourage You[…]…

  4. Awesome website

    […]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[…]…

  5. Awesome website

    […]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[…]…

  6. BÓL GŁOWY says:

    Links

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]…

  7. Links

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]…

  8. Sites we Like…

    […] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose […]…

  9. Websites you should visit

    […]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[…]…

  10. Websites we think you should visit

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]…

  11. Recent Blogroll Additions…

    […]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[…]…

  12. Recommeneded websites

    […]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[…]…

  13. click here says:

    You should check this out

    […] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well […]…

  14. Awesome website

    […]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[…]…

  15. Visitor recommendations

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]…

  16. Online Article…

    […]The information mentioned in the article are some of the best available […]…

  17. Websites we think you should visit

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]…

  18. Websites you should visit

    […]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[…]…

  19. Links

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]…