Thanks to Alvin for reminding me that I didn’t publish this week’s discussion posts! I was wondering why there were no comment notifications!
One of the texts we’re working with this week is from Plato’s The Republic. It’s called the “Allegory of the Cave.” It’s a difficult text, but one that is broadly applicable to life, to learning, to society, etc. It’s part of that Core Books project I referred to in the syllabus. It’s hard, but something we can work through together. The videos can also help us through the text. What’s important here is that we find something that we can work with, not that we understand every part of the text. We’re coming into it in the middle of things, and we’re using it to help us think about our own educations so that we can write interesting, powerful things. This is not a philosophy class, and I don’t expect you to digest the text as though it were a philosophy course. But if this kind of writing, or these kinds of issues speak to you, please let it take you where you want it to.
CONTENT WARNING: the Plato text and related videos are about people who are prisoners and represent their maltreatment.
Here’s the written text:
- Plato, The Republic, Book VII (“Allegory of the Cave”)
Here are three short videos for Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”:
- start here for a good overview of this section of the text and the philosophy behind it
- and another one that might help us understand it better:
To help us discuss the text, respond to each of the following bullet points in its own paragraph:
- Consider the different roles people are playing in the story. Are there those who could be described as “students” and those who could be described as “teachers”? How so? In general, what traits differentiate students from teachers? Can you make a case for being able to see some of the people in the “Allegory of the Cave” as playing both the role of teacher and student?
- Write a paragraph discussing what you believe the purpose of education to be. In making your case, you may address any or all levels of education. You might also compare or contrast your ideas with those of Plato.
- What metaphors does Plato use to describe education and knowledge? Are these new, or have you already encountered them elsewhere? What do you think about these metaphors for education and knowledge?
- If you read my comment about Paolo Freire’s distinction in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, especially Chapter 2, between the banking model and problem-posing education, reflect on how this relates to Plato for you.
- Come back by Wednesday to respond to classmates’ ideas. I’ll do the same.