Does the prisoner in the cave in Plato's allegory in The Republic have free will?

  • 2
    Sure, why wouldn't they?
    – Joseph Weissman
    Dec 26, 2014 at 23:55
  • 1
    The question of whether the prisoners have "free will" is not relevant here. Dec 27, 2014 at 7:41
  • 1
    Before we can really give you answer, your need to tell us what you mean by "free will". It's not entirely clear that Plato thinks anyone has the modern definition of this term.
    – virmaior
    Dec 29, 2014 at 6:09

1 Answer 1


The prisoners in the cave are just ordinary human beings; whether or not they have free will is another question in philosophy. The point behind the "allegory of the cave" is the prisoners believe the projection screen in front of them is real, in much the same way a motion picture appears real. One day a prisoner escapes and discovers the world is much larger and more unusual that he had thought. He returns to the cave to share this knowledge with the other prisoners. They just laugh at him and think he has gone mad.

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