Plato on True Learning

Nicholas Weeks

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From the splendid online magazine Imaginative Conservative:

https://theimaginativeconservative....ppiness-liberal-learning-winston-elliott.html

If Plato’s extended metaphor of the mind as depicted by the city is true, every human mind has the capacity to train its Guardians, curb the appetitive part of the soul, and live on the grassy plains in the sun above the cave. It’s a question of true learning.
I like this article. Thanks. I like The Imaginative Conservative too... it's been awhile since I've read it.
It reminds me of something I used to look at which is long gone, but available on the internet archives at least right now:


They called themselves "The Center for Literate Values" or "The Center for Moral Reason"
 
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From the splendid online magazine Imaginative Conservative:

https://theimaginativeconservative....ppiness-liberal-learning-winston-elliott.html

If Plato’s extended metaphor of the mind as depicted by the city is true, every human mind has the capacity to train its Guardians, curb the appetitive part of the soul, and live on the grassy plains in the sun above the cave. It’s a question of true learning.
I have not seriously read Plato, but I was shocked by the suggestion that young people that misuse arguments should remain in the cave for 15 years. :oops: At the same time, it is kinda funny. Might not be so bad of an idea . . . :)
"But in the process of learning how to discuss effectively, some may misuse the power or dialectic. Every Tutor has experienced that, and it is nothing new. Plato writes that “when young people get their first taste of arguments, they misuse it by treating it as a kind of game of contradiction. They imitate those who’ve refuted them by refuting others themselves, and, like puppies, they enjoy dragging and tearing those around them with their arguments” (VII, 539b). This is an egregious offense, in Plato’s eyes. If someone “continuously, strenuously, and exclusively devotes himself to participation in arguments” you must “make them go down into the cave again,” where “they will be tested to see whether they will remain steadfast.” How long must they remain in the cave? The answer is shockingly harsh. “Fifteen years” (VII, 540b). So here we have another marked difference. It would be impossible to enforce a fifteen-year penalty on students who abuse the art of dialectic to turn it into aggressive argumentation (although some would undoubtedly like to!).
 
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remain in the cave for 15 years
If Plato’s extended metaphor of the mind as depicted by the city is true, every human mind has the capacity to train its Guardians, curb the appetitive part of the soul, and live on the grassy plains in the sun above the cave. It’s a question of true learning.

Sounds like end justifies the means?

We are gonna drill it into it till you get it.

Sounds like good Ole time religion to me.

They don't wanna be saved? Beat it into them.
 
Sounds like end justifies the means?

We are gonna drill it into it till you get it.

Sounds like good Ole time religion to me.

They don't wanna be saved? Beat it into them.
I'm not sure what Plato means by going back to the cave as a punishment to be tested. It could simply indicate Plato will stop trying to lead them out. He will let them remain in the cave of ignorance, for the article says: “Education is derived from the Latin ‘continuative’ (duration-indicating) verb educate, ‘to keep on leading out” presumably from the dark cave of ignorance”.
 
I'm not sure what Plato means by going back to the cave as a punishment to be tested. It could simply indicate Plato will stop trying to lead them out. He will let them remain in the cave of ignorance, for the article says: “Education is derived from the Latin ‘continuative’ (duration-indicating) verb educate, ‘to keep on leading out” presumably from the dark cave of ignorance”.
Not a punishment, just a test to see if they fall back into the "puppy" stage of arguing to show off as a kind of game. Why 15 years? Will have to get the Republic out and read the context.

After reading that section it is clear that many years of experience in this ordinary Cave-like world to see if our Sunlit Soulful Mind will not be pulled toward Dimly lit society. To be a Guardian of society a certain maturity of mind and experience is needed. Plato suggests about 50 years old is adequate. Reminds one of Kabbalah study, which should not be done before age 40.

Returning to the cave is to help others get out into the Sunlight, that cannot be done without knowing the sacred nature of dialectic. Bantering with cave-dwellers is not ones duty, nor will it be of benefit to them.
 
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I believe Plato had a concept of reality as people chained in a cave facing the wall and seeing shadows on the wall of the activity behind them, unable to leave the cave or turn around and see the full reality that cast the shadows?
Plato's cave

It is similar to Paul's 'through a glass darkly' in Corinthians 13:12: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

imo
 
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