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American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy

ONLINE FIRST

published on April 14, 2017

Patrick Lee Miller
DOI: 10.5840/aaptstudies201741121

Leaving Plato’s Cave

In Republic, Plato presents a pedagogy whose crucial component is the conversion of the student’s soul. This is clearest in the Allegory of the Cave, where the prisoner (the student) begins her liberation (her education) by turning herself away from the images on the wall. Conversion is not something we professors typically seek to provoke in a philosophy course, even when we teach Plato. But if this were our goal, what could we do to achieve it within the limits of the modern university? I present one such effort, a paper that uses the Allegory to focus on two questions: who are you (your self), and how did you become that way (your education)? After presenting both the prompt and its rationale, I summarize six student submissions and discuss how I evaluated them. I conclude by considering the risks and possibilities of addressing the whole soul and not simply the intellect.