For millennia, philosophers from Plato to Descartes to Wittgenstein have argued over the nature of reality, its objectivity and apprehendability. Alice in Wonderland explores the nature of reality using logic, philosophy, and mathematics. The device of the rabbit hole, which establishes the entire underground setting of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, replicates the cave in the Allegory of the Cave from Plato's Republic.
[...] (Carroll 165) In fact, many of the bizarre images in Alice in Wonderland are actually literal (or actually figurative since they involve figures) expressions of figurative expressions (which are actually literal because they involve letters and words.) Alice in Wonderland embodies Plato's allegory of the cave in numerous ways. Control, enlightenment, and freedom are all prominent in both allegories. However, the most striking feature in both stories is the idea of reality and appearance in society. What is presented to us may not necessarily be the truth, and we must learn to avoid relying on vision alone, and use logic, experience, and knowledge to back up what we see. [...]
[...] (Holmes 161) As she explores Wonderland, Alice stumbles upon numerous instances of the subjectivity of reality in the form of fairy tales, riddles, puns, and lessons gone awry. Syllogisms are the foundation of Euclidean geometry and geometry is one avenue to the Platonic forms. Syllogisms abound in Alice in Wonderland from the outset. (Therefore, Alice, at least on some levels, is a Platonic allegory.) When Alice considers how to gain entrance to the Garden she does so syllogistically: I'll eat it, and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I'll get into the garden, and I don't care which happens!” Alice's reasoning seems to be: If I eat it, it'll make me grow larger or smaller. [...]
[...] (However, the second conclusion is based on fallacious logic because she has not established preconditions for ‘ought.') Later in the story, a pigeon, protecting his hatched eggs, insists that serpentine-necked Alice is a serpent, not just by her snakelike shape but also in accordance with a syllogism, which the pigeon applies in an upside down manner: All Serpents eat eggs Alice eats eggs Alice is kind of serpent' Carroll, the author of several books on logic, is paying here tribute to Aristotle, the founder of logic as a branch of philosophy, and to Aristotelian syllogistic propositions of two premises and a conclusion like : All Greeks are mortal Socrates is Greek Socrates is mortal. [...]
[...] to this theory, the real world, what might be called Platonic Heaven, is a world of universal characteristics universals which are perfect, unchanging and eternal, known only through intellectual acquaintance after training in mathematics, geometry, and philosophy. The world we see around us is an imperfect, changing evanescent world of particulars perceived by the senses. Particulars are made to be the kinds of thing they are by sharing in the nature of the Forms, or by being imperfect copies or reflections of them. [...]
[...] Once one sees that the world that we perceive through the senses is not the real world but just an image of it, it becomes difficult to determine at what level of description we get in touch with the real objects that make up the world.” (Properties of Forms, 2005) Plato's aim in the Republic is to describe what is necessary for us to achieve this reflective understanding. However, even without it, our ability to think and to speak, to communicate and understand depends on the Forms because the terms of the language we use get their meaning by "naming" the Forms that the objects we perceive participate in and in fact become intermediary objects themselves. [...]
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