In conjunction with his analogy of the cave summarize Plato's distrust of images. To what extent was Plato's position on images similar to Judeo-Christian beliefs?

Essay by sorafloraUniversity, Bachelor's April 2007

download word file, 5 pages 5.0

Downloaded 16 times

Representing Visual Culture: Assignment 1Question 2.

To summarize Plato’s distrust of images, one must delve into the theological aspects of his philosophy, in particular ‘The Analogy of the Cave’. In conjunction with Judeo-Christian beliefs about the veneration or abhorring of images, Plato’s ideas become less an hypothesis and more directly a doctrine to the existence of man’s perception. Plato’s distrust is not of images it is of vision.

Plato’s apparent distrust of representations, together with his analogy of the cave can be traced back to his two main theological ideas: The relationship between what is eternal and immutable; and the flowing nature of everything tangible. Plato’s quest for the ‘truth’ led him to the conclusion that “we can never have true knowledge of anything that is a constant state of change… only of things that can be understood with our reason.”(Plato, ‘Sophie’s World’, Jostein Gaarder, 1995.) It could also be said that Plato’s conflict is not with images themselves, but with man’s vision; the ordinary man’s perception, idolisation and close mindedness when faced with images.

As humanity itself is in a “constant state of change”, how may vision be trusted?Plato’s analogy of the cave verifies this theory, as it is not the images shown in shadow on the wall of the cave that is corrupt, but the cave-dwellers sight and judgement that is not to be trusted as truth. The insolent and ignorant dwellers have bound themselves into one position facing a wall and have grown so stiff that they cannot turn around to see the fire and the real figures behind where they sit, and further on still the light of day. One man, call him philosopher, escapes the confines of the ‘norm’ and proceeds to help the others along the path of enlightenment, or the world of...