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Cinematic Spelunking Inside Plato's Cave

Maureen Eckert


Over the years, students in my courses have noted that the Allegory of the Cave describes the experience of seeing movies. The cave and the prisoners inside it remind them of a darkened movie theater. The shadow-play fully engrossing the prisoners’ attention seems like a film. In fact, Plato describes the wall behind which the puppeteers work as being “like the screen in front of puppeteers above which they show their puppets.” Plato very much seems to employ the entertainment technology of his time to construct his allegory. Would Plato object to a little cinematic spelunking in his cave? It is hard to say, but I’d guess he’d approve of thinking through it as carefully as possible...


cinema, perception, philosophy

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