The politics of the metaphysical imagination. Critiquing transnational corporate power via Plato’s cave

Paul G. Tyson


Plato’s analogy of the cave evokes a complex picture of the way cultural power is imaginatively constructed in order to maintain prevailing norms and stratifications, via the use of technologies of collective belief manipulation. To Plato, collective imagination is central to the modes of spiritual enslavement which embed us in morally defective structures of power.
This paper will argue, along Plato’s metaphysical trajectory, that without the positing of moral truth, critique is self-defeating and every type of power devolves towards mute violence in support of the interests of the strong at the expense of the weak. Following Plato’s trajectory, this paper will seek to morally critique the post-political advance of transnational corporate power, drawing out both the manipulative and immoral technologies of collective imagination formation which underpins this trend, and the role of metaphysical imagination as a still viable path towards the moral reform of power.


Plato, metaphysics; post-political power; neoliberalism; moral realism; socio-political imagination

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