that the prisoners are happy in their ignorance and they are not even aware of
their ignorance. And they have prejudices, which they don’t know to be
prejudices. And the return of the illuminated prisoner represents philosopher’s
role in Plato’s philosophy. He returns even though he knows that they will hate
him and even kill him, as the Athenian Court killed Socrates. He goes back
because some of the prisoners may listen, look and may be enabled to rise that
happier and sunlit life outside the cave. If we identify the illuminated
prisoner with Socrates, we can say that maybe there can be some Plato(s) thanks
to his return to the cave. So, philosophers owe this form of gratitude and
service to the community. Also, this metaphor shows why philosopher should be
the ruler. He is not ignorant like the prisoners in the cave, he has true
knowledge and direct access to the reality, even though the ordinary people
don’t understand him. Plato thinks that they don’t understand and in order to
understand, we must all proceed through the lower stages in order to higher
stages. We each begin our lives within the cave, with our heads and legs bound.
Education is a struggle to move as far out of the cave as possible. Not
everyone can make it all the way out, which is why some people are producers,
some warriors and some philosopher-kings. And, philosophers are not only the
rulers but also they are the best teachers, who should go to the dark and ignorant
world to enlighten the ignorant people.

      To conclude, philosophy is
literally love of wisdom for Plato. It is a matter of seeking universal,
non-changing, objective truths. Also, philosopher is the one who has the
knowledge of the forms for Plato. In the three images in the Republic: the Sun, the divided line and the
allegory of the cave, he explains the role of philosophy and the philosopher
while working out his epistemology and metaphysics. Moreover, philosophy is a
means for a good life for Plato. It is the basis for a good state, therefore,
good citizens. In this sense, good life can only be achieved with the direct
aid of philosophy. Since philosopher is the one who loves truth more than
anything and who dwells on the realm of intelligible objects, Plato puts him in
the center of the city as a philosopher king. In this sense, we can see that philosophy
is crucial to make the just city possible for Plato. From this point of view,
we can say that the Republic is a
defense of philosophy not in terms of the epistemological, political or
metaphysical realms but it is a defense of philosophy as a way of life.  

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