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According to Plato (ca. 428 to ca. 347 BCE), who gave the term philosophical depth, paideia meant the conversion of the human soul toward the divine source of light, which he identified with the Form of the Good. Through the reception of Platonism by the early church fathers, such as Augustine, paideia was introduced into the Christian theory of education, and exerted great influence on medieval, Renaissance, and modern theories of education. This entry examines the main features as expounded in the Analogy of the Cave and the discussion following it in Book 7 of the Republic.

In the Analogy of the Cave (also known as the Allegory, or Parable, of the Cave), human beings are depicted as prisoners living in an underground cavern. They are ...

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