A blog dedicated to understanding Hans Blumenberg's Höhlenausgänge.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Allegory of the Cave

You know about it already, I know about it already. (Indeed it has been a central bit of my thoughts about my world ever since my freshman year of college or so.) It is very important to this book, so I will begin this blog with an account of Plato's allegory of the Cave.

I suddenly realize I need to reread that text. My brief, very rough summary: Picture us in the world, as if our only perceptions of the world were of shadows on the back of the Cave; our only interactions with the world were with its shadows. The philosopher (Socrates himself, not the sophists who lay claim to the title "philosopher") has broken away from the shadow-world and seen reality in all its fulness, and returns, and tries to tell his fellow men about it, and is dismissed as a lunatic.

Well. The second bit of that allegory always seems to me a bit self-aggrandizing. But the image at the opening of the allegory, that I'm sitting in the cave looking at flickering pictures and thinking them all there is to know, has always held a powerful attraction for me. It is the central image of Blumenberg's book. (Or anyway that's what I think, at the beginning of the book, is going to be the central image.)

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