I guess everyone knows Plato's allegory of the cave. He assumes people are in caves and then, he suggests that there is a possibility of "going out of the caves", gaining several nice properties with this. Do we have evidence that he noticed that we could "get out of a cave" and still be inside another "cave"? And that there could be an arbitrary number of nested caves?

  • 2
    The thing about allegories and metaphors is that they are selected to express one's conception, not the other way around. The cave only matters to the extent that it visualizes Plato's theory, and no more than that. Infinite regress of caves adds nothing interesting as in the end for Plato One is and all multiplicity ends there.
    – Conifold
    Mar 7 '18 at 4:40
  • 1
    Plotinus has levels of being from the One through the Nous and the Soul and material reality. I understand your question as whether our intelligibility or participation in being can keep taking us deeper without end. Mar 7 '18 at 20:39
  • 1
    Agree with Conifold but you've hit on exactly the problem facing the makers of The Matrix. The plot-line is sound up to a point but fudges the issue in the end. I suspect Plato would have been well aware of this problem.
    – user20253
    Mar 8 '18 at 12:52
  • 1
    @PeterJ Watch this.
    – Red Banana
    Mar 8 '18 at 18:01
  • 2
    On Plato's conception getting out of a cave does not count as getting out unless it takes you all the way to the One, and that can be illustrated with a single cave just as well as with a chain of caves. By the way, Greeks denied the existence of actual infinity so infinite chain was not a possibility anyway, as for dispensing with a finite chain Aristotle does it explicitly when he goes from a chain of movers all the way to his Unmoved Mover. Plato did not bother with such distractions.
    – Conifold
    Mar 12 '18 at 6:08

That is your proposition and not Plato's. But I have to tell you the rule of the cosmos, that is "There is beginning, there is intermediate, and there is the end". One has begun to achieve the end trough intermediates. In fact, there is no continuity just as you want it to be in an infinite process, but this process of getting out of the darkness and reaching the light happens in everything and in every moment, therefore you never get out of the cave to enter another cave, although you may have come out of the cave a thousands of times.

  • There is no guarantee to any of that. Those are just "random" propositions that can be believed or not.
    – Red Banana
    Jan 9 at 5:56
  • @BillyRubina: As is your proposition of considering these caves as nested, as opposed to singular or adjacent.
    – Flater
    May 5 at 15:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.