Robert Sparks: Translation- U2 A2

The reason that Tlonists would find Plato’s “allegory of the cave” to be puzzling is because it presents the same idea but from the outside looking in where the story of the coin is the reverse. Plato presents the situation in which the reader acts as a third party and sees the events in a logical progression of the gaining of simple knowledge and following a narrative. However Tlonists story subjects the reader to a second person view. The reader then has the equivalent of learning that there is a reality different to the one that has been presented to them throughout their life but is unable to grasp why it is in fact important.

Option 3: The reason for the issues in the story of Tlon (the coin and the dialects) and the problem of explaining the outside world to the prisoners is due completely to the limits of language. The purpose of mentioning that one language did not use nouns and the other only used adjectives was not to criticize. it is to show that it is a machine that while serving the same purpose does not use the same parts and it is not practical to consider it with the mindset of other languages. This idea of being of not being comparable is the reason that the prisoners could not understand the individual that had seen the rest of the cave. It was not that the information of the prisoners was not valid it was just incomplete and it not possible to fully understand the “cave” without the ability to describe something as important as fire to those who had never seen it.

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