A famous philosopher once said, “all of philosophy is but a series of footnotes to Plato”. Using Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, write a short (600-750 word) essay, in which you explain why that is true of one of the following Moral Theories or Principles that you read about: o The Kantian Categorical Imperative o Mill’s Utilitarianism o Locke’s Social Contract Theory o Rawls’ Justice as Fairness Your essay may be structured as a kind of “Compare and Contrast”, in which you show how the philosophical theory that you chose was influenced by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. You should carefully cite your sources, and make good use of the following three resources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQfRdl3GTw4 http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/platoscave.html https://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/cave.htm Please carefully review the documents called “Paper One Requirements” and “Paper One Criteria”, which are available from the course home page, by clicking the “Essay Topics” link. Paper One Requirements Your paper should include: 1. A short introductory paragraph, with a clear thesis statement (e.g., I shall argue that Rawls’ argument is influenced by … because …). Your thesis should almost always be the last sentence of your introductory paragraph. 2. A short, charitable reconstruction of the argument as presented by the Plato and the second philosopher (you may, but need not, use standard premise / conclusion form). 3. An brief explanation, in your own words, of the position that you’re describing (such as the Categorical Imperative, Justice as Fairness, etc.) 4. An original argument, in which you make the case that the philosophical position under investigation is influenced by Plato’s Allegory. 5. A suitable concluding paragraph. 6. At least two sources, and at least as many non-internet sources as internet sources (Read that sentence again to be sure you understand it). 7. No direct quotations. It is not necessary to directly quote any author. When it is important to do so, simply explain the position which he/she is defending. It is, however, necessary to cite all authors whose ideas you reference. Thus, if you begin a sentence with, e.g., “According to Plato…”, you should end that sentence with a citation. Essays that include “direct quotations” will not receive a grade higher than a D. (Read that sentence again, too, to be sure you understand it). 8. A clear and complete bibliography Paper One Criteria Criteria for Evaluation: Your paper will be evaluated according to the following criteria: Papers must demonstrate an understanding of the arguments being discussed. Papers must demonstrate a mastery of the relevant concepts regarding the philosophical problem. Don’t worry about getting the ‘right’ answer. Rather, concentrate on the quality of reasoning used in your evaluation. Your grade will reflect the degree to which these rules and general requirements have been observed. Papers with frequent grammatical or spelling errors, or which otherwise do not reflect good quality academic writing, will be returned with no grade. If you don’t know the difference between `their’ and `there’, or the correct use of the semicolon, make an appointment with the writing studio before you submit your paper. http://writingstudio.gsu.edu/ All papers should be double spaced, between 600-750 words, and submitted as a doc or docx file. Include the required cover page as the first page of your paper, and your last name as a header or footer on every page. Include a bibliography or references section. Format citations according to APA or MLA citation style. TOPIC: Rawls’ Justice as Fairness

I shall argue that Rawls’ argument of “Justice as Fairness” is influenced by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, specifically in terms of how individuals in society are affected by their social position and how justice can be achieved through fair distribution of resources.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave presents a scenario in which prisoners are chained in a cave and are only able to see shadows projected on the wall in front of them. These prisoners have been in this position for so long that they believe the shadows to be reality. Plato uses this allegory to illustrate how our perceptions of reality are influenced by our social position and the information that is presented to us.

Rawls’ theory of “Justice as Fairness” similarly highlights the importance of social position in shaping an individual’s perception of justice. Rawls argues that individuals in a just society should have equal access to resources and opportunities, regardless of their social position at birth. This includes access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities. By ensuring that everyone has equal access to resources, Rawls believes that society can achieve a state of justice in which everyone is treated fairly.

The connection between Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and Rawls’ theory of Justice as Fairness can be seen in the way that both emphasize the importance of breaking down barriers to social mobility. Plato argues that the prisoners in the cave are limited by their physical restraints and their perception of reality. Similarly, Rawls argues that individuals in society are limited by their social position and the opportunities that are available to them. By breaking down these barriers to social mobility, individuals can achieve greater freedom and have more control over their lives.

Furthermore, both Plato and Rawls emphasize the importance of fairness in achieving a just society. In the Allegory of the Cave, the prisoners are trapped in a world of shadows and illusions that is controlled by those in power. Similarly, Rawls argues that in order to achieve a just society, individuals must have a fair distribution of resources and opportunities. This includes ensuring that individuals have equal access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities, regardless of their social position.

In conclusion, Rawls’ theory of Justice as Fairness is influenced by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave in its emphasis on breaking down barriers to social mobility and achieving a fair distribution of resources. Both Plato and Rawls recognize that social position plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s perception of reality and justice. By striving for fairness and equal access to resources, individuals can achieve greater freedom and control over their lives, and society can move closer towards a state of justice.


Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press, 1971.
Plato. The Republic. Penguin Classics, 2003.
“Plato’s Cave.” The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.iep.utm.edu/plato-cave/.
“Rawls’ Theory of Justice as Fairness.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rawls/.