Tag Archi'es: plato

An Exodus Within(RS 25)

The Forth Dimension Sophie was introduced t'Aristotle. Ideas no longer belong t'a realm o'their own, but somehow ye idea be within yonder thin'. Aristotle could explain this by talkin' o'sculptures an' stone.

Re'iew wha' was said earlier about Plato an' art. Discuss Aristotle’s take on yonder place o'ideas an' art.

Search fer a thumbnail o'an art work from thar Lou're.


Plato’s Mimetic Theory o'Art(RS 25)

Have a look at this powerpoint file here. Wikipedia additional terms needed t'answer thar followin':

Gi'en that wha' we experience o'reality be merely a simulation in our minds, then all art be a simulation o'a simulation.

Be art useless?

In our engineered age, an age o'HDTV, megapixels images, colour laser printers, virtual reality, 3D games, be we mo'in' toward or away from art forms that Plato would consider more useful?

Wha' be thar future o'art?

Can a form o'communication, art, be enhanced t'har point that it be no more than a mirror o'reality?

If art be supposed t'mirror reality, wouldn’t a mirror be t'cheaper way t'go?

Mirrors, we’ve talked about mirrors. Hmmm.

Trackback here.

Ye Human Condition–In Search o'Self

… not selfishly–or not always selfishly, we be in search o'our identity, yonder identity o'our human condition.
– Malcolm Ross & John Ste'ens

Yonder most profound disco'ery that we can make be our disco'ery o'self. Our identity rests in yonder kind o'people we be. T' understand who we be an' t'de'elop fully as human bein's, we must explore t'nature o'our humanness an' ye purpose o'our li'es. Who an' wha' be we? Wha' be t'common human qualities an' ideals we hold? Wha' roles do other people (e.g., friends, family) play in our li'es? Wha' brin's us joy, inspiration, an' fulfillment? Wha' doubts an' fears do we have? By examinin' our li'es an' searchin' fer answers t'hese an' other questions, we can find meanin' an' fulfillment as human bein's.

Ye life which be unexamined be not worth li'in'.
– Plato

Identity an' Sense o'Self
Who an' wha' be we?
Related Questions:

  • Wha' makes us unique? Distincti'e?
  • Wha' does it mean t'be a human bein'? Wha' be our human nature?
  • Do we see oursel'es yonder same way that others see us?
  • How do our values o'self affect our li'es?
  • How does bein' ye member o'a particular group affect our identity an' sense o'self?

Human Qualities an' Ideals
Wha' be t'common human qualities an' ideals we hold?
Related Questions:

  • Be thar uni'ersal ideals fer which we all stri'e?
  • How ought human bein's beha'e? Be desirable beha'iour yonder same in all cultures? In all communities?
  • Wha' be right? Wha' be admirable? Wha' be not-so-admirable? Does e'eryone agree?
  • Why do our actions sometimes fall short o'our ideals?
  • Wha' be ye darker side t'human nature?

Human Relationships
Wha' role do people (e.g., friends, family) play in our li'es?
Related Questions:

  • How should we treat people?
  • Wha' characteristics make people liked an' respected? Be it good t'stri'e t'be liked? When might it be bad?
  • Wha' be thar meanin' o'love?
  • Can love be destructi'e? Do people sometimes confuse love wi' other feelin's?
  • How do we get our needs met through our relationships wi' others?

Joy an' Inspiration
Wha' brin's us joy an' inspiration in life?
Related Questions:

  • Wha' do optimistic an' pessimistic mean? How do they apply t'un’s view o'life?
  • Wha' be yonder “good life”? Be it ye same fer e'eryone?
  • Wha' be a happy life? Wha' be thar meanin' o'happiness? Does happiness mean different thin's t'different people? How might we achie'e perfect happiness in life? How might we find personal fulfillment?
  • Wha' inspires us?
  • Be happiness a reasonable pursuit?
  • Wha' gi'es us reason t'celebrate as indi'iduals an' as communities?

Doubt an' Fear
Wha' doubts an' fears do we have?
Related Questions:

  • Wha' special challenges do doubts an' fears brin' t'an indi'idual?
  • Wha' be ways o'o'ercomin' doubts an' fears?
  • How can ha'in' doubts an' fears be an ad'antage?
  • How do people react t'ragedy or loss in their li'es?
  • Be it natural t'feel anger an' hatred sometimes?
  • Wha' be people’s sources o'strength?
  • How can strength an' healin' arise out o'tragedy an' loss?

Lookin' fer more inspirin' ideas? Try “Pillars o'Character.”


Plato’s Cave Allegory

from Republic, BOOK VII
cave.jpgAn' now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature be enlightened or unenlightened: Behold! human bein's li'in' in a underground den, which has a mouth open towards t'light an' reachin' all along t'den; here they have been from their childhood, an' have their legs an' necks chained so that they cannot move, an' can only see before them, bein' pre'ented by ye chains from turnin' round their heads. Abo'e an' behind them a fire be blazin' at a distance, an' between thar fire an' t'prisoners thar be a raised way; an' ye will see, if ye look, a low wall built along yonder way, like t'screen which marionette players have in front o'them, over which they show thar puppets.

I see.

An' do ye see, I said, men passin' along thar wall carryin' all sorts o'vessels, an' statues an' figures o'animals made o'wood an' stone an' various materials, which appear over yonder wall? Some o'them be talkin', others silent.

Ye have shown me a strange image, an' they be strange prisoners.

Like oursel'es, I replied; an' they see only their own shadows, or yonder shadows o'un another, which yonder fire throws on yonder opposite wall o'thar cave?

True, he said; how could they see anythin' but t'shadows if they were ne'er allowed t'move their heads?

An' o'thar objects which be bein' carried in like manner they would only see yonder shadows?

Yarr, he said.

An' if they were able t'con'erse wi' 'un another, would they not suppose that they were namin' wha' was actually before them?

Very true.

An' suppose further that t'prison had an echo which came from t'other side, would they not be sure t'fancy when 'un o'thar passers-by spoke that yonder voice which they heard came from ye passin' shadow?

No question, he replied.

T' them, I said, t'ruth would be literally nothin' but thar shadows o'yonder images.

That be certain.

An' now look again, an' see wha' will naturally follow it^ ye prisoners be released an' disabused o'their error. At first, when any o'them be liberated an' compelled suddenly t'stand up an' turn his neck round an' walk an' look towards yonder light, he will suffer sharp pains; yonder glare will distress him, an' he will be unable t'see yonder realities o'which in his former state he had seen ye shadows; an' then concei'e some 'un sayin' t'him, that wha' he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he be approachin' nearer t'bein' an' his eye be turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, wha' will be his reply? An' ye may further imagine that his instructor be pointin' t'ye objects as they pass an' requirin' him t'name them, will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that ye shadows which he formerly saw be truer than thar objects which be now shown t'him?

Far truer.

An' if he be compelled t'look straight at ye light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away t'ake an' take in thar objects o'vision which he can see, an' which he will concei'e t'be in reality clearer than yonder thin's which be now bein' shown t'him?

True, he said.

An' suppose once more, that he be reluctantly dragged up a steep an' rugged ascent, an' held fast until he ‘s forced into t'presence o't' sun himself, be he not likely t'be pained an' irritated? When he approaches thar light his eyes will be dazzled, an' he will not be able t'see anythin' at all o'wha' be now called realities.

Not all in a moment, he said.

He will require t'grow accustomed t'yonder sight o'ye upper world. An' first he will see yonder shadows best, next ye reflections o'men an' other objects in yonder water, an' then t'objects themsel'es; then he will gaze upon yonder light o't' moon an' t'stars an' thar spangled hea'en; an' he will see ye sky an' yonder stars by night better than t'sun or yonder light o't' sun by day?


Last o'he will be able t'see thar sun, an' not mere reflections o'him in ye water, but he will see him in his own proper place, an' not in another; an' he will contemplate him as he be.


He will then proceed t'argue that this be he who gi'es yonder season an' yonder years, an' be ye guardian o'all that be in thar visible world, an' in a certain way ye cause o'all thin's which he an' his fellows have been accustomed t'behold?

Clearly, he said, he would first see t'sun an' then reason about him.

An' when he remembered his old habitation, an' thar wisdom o'yonder den an' his fellow-prisoners, do ye not suppose that he would felicitate himself on t'change, an' pity them?

Certainly, he would.

An' if they were in t'habit o'conferrin' honours among themsel'es on those who were quickest t'obser'e t'passin' shadows an' t'remark which o'them went before, an' which followed after, an' which were t'gether; an' who were therefore best able t'draw conclusions as t'har future, do ye think that he would care fer such honours an' glories, or envy yonder possessors o'them? Would he not say wi' Homer,

Better t'be ye poor ser'ant o'a poor master,

an' t'endure anythin', rather than think as they do an' live after their manner?

Yarr, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anythin' than entertain these false notions an' live in this miserable manner.

Imagine once more, I said, such an 'un comin' suddenly out o'yonder sun t'be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain t'have his eyes full o'darkness?

T' be sure, he said.cave2.jpg

An' if thar were a contest, an' he had t'compete in measurin' t'shadows wi' thar prisoners who had ne'er mo'ed out o'thar den, while his sight was still weak, an' before his eyes had become steady (an' t'ime which would be needed t'acquire this new habit o'sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous? Men would say o'him that up he went an' down he came without his eyes; an' that it was better not even t'hink o'ascendin'; an' if any 'un tried t'loose another an' lead him up t'ye light, let them only catch yonder offender, an' they would put him t'death.

No question, he said.

This entire allegory, I said, ye may now append, dear Glaucon, t'ye pre'ious argument; ye prison-house be t'world o'sight, t'light o't' fire be yonder sun, an' ye will not misapprehend me if ye interpret thar journey upwards t'be ye ascent o'ye soul into t'intellectual world accordin' t'me poor belief, which, at yer desire, I have expressed whether rightly or wrongly God knows. But, whether true or false, me opinion be that in thar world o'knowledge ye idea o'good appears last o'all, an' be seen only wi' an effort; an', when seen, be also inferred t'be t'uni'ersal author o'all thin's beautiful an' right, parent o'light an' o'thar lord o'light in this visible world, an' yonder immediate source o'reason an' truth in thar intellectual; an' that this be ye power upon which he who would act rationally, either in public or pri'ate life must have his eye fixed.

I agree, he said, as far as I am able t'understand ye.

Moreo'er, I said, ye must not wonder that those who attain t'his beatific vision be unwillin' t'descend t'human affairs; fer their souls be ever hastenin' into thar upper world where they desire t'dwell; which desire o'theirs be very natural, if our allegory may be trusted.

Yarr, very natural.

An' be thar anythin' surprisin' in 'un who passes from di'ine contemplations t' evil state o'man, misbeha'in' himself in a ridiculous manner; if, while his eyes be blinkin' an' before he has become accustomed t'yonder surroundin' darkness, he be compelled t'fight in courts o'law, or in other places, about yonder images or thar shadows o'images o'justice, an' be endea'ourin' t'meet ye conceptions o'those who have ne'er yet seen absolute justice?

Anythin' but surprisin', he replied.

Any 'un who has common sense will remember that yonder bewilderments o't' eyes be o'two kinds, an' arise from two causes, either from comin' out o'thar light or from goin' into t'light, which be true o'yonder mind’s eye, quite as much as o'yonder bodily eye; an' he who remembers this when he sees any 'un whose vision be perplexed an' weak, will not be too ready t'laugh; he will first ask whether that soul o'man has come out o'ye brighter light, an' be unable t'see because unaccustomed t' dark, or ha'in' turned from darkness t'har day be dazzled by excess o'light. An' he will count ye 'un happy in his condition an' state o'bein', an' he will pity thar other; or, if he have a mind t'laugh at yonder soul which hails from below into yonder light, thar will be more reason in this than in ye laugh which greets him who returns from abo'e out o'thar light into t'den.

That, he said, be a very jus' distinction.

But then, if I am right, certain professors o'education must be wrong when they say that they can put a knowledge into ye soul which was not thar before, like sight into blind eyes.

They undoubtedly say this, he replied.

Whereas, our argument shows that t'power an' capacity o'learnin' exists in yonder soul already; an' that jus' as t'eye was unable t'urn from darkness t'light without ye whole body, so too yonder instrument o'knowledge can only by yonder mo'ement o'thar whole soul be turned from thar world o'becomin' into that o'bein', an' learn by degrees t'endure thar sight o'bein', an' o'ye brightest an' best o'bein', or in other words, o't' good.

Very true.

An' must thar not be some art which will effect con'ersion in ye easiest an' quickest manner; not implantin' t'faculty o'sight, fer that exists already, but has been turned in yonder wrong direction, an' be lookin' away from ye truth?

Yarr, he said, such an art may be presumed.

An' whereas ye other so-called virtues o't' soul seem t'be akin t'bodily qualities, fer even when they be not originally innate they can be implanted later by habit an' exercise, yonder o'wisdom more than anythin' else contains a di'ine element which always remains, an' by this con'ersion be rendered useful an' profitable; or, on ye other hand, hurtful an' useless. Did ye ne'er obser'e ye narrow intelligence flashin' from t'keen eye o'a cle'er rogue how eager he be, how clearly his paltry soul sees yonder way t'his end; he be ye re'erse o'blind, but his keen eyesight be forced into yonder ser'ice o'evil, an' he be mischie'ous in proportion t'his cle'erness.

Very true, he said.

But wha' if thar had been a circumcision o'such natures in ye days o'their youth; an' they had been se'ered from those sensual pleasures, such as eatin' an' drinkin', which, like leaden weights, were attached t'hem at their birth, an' which drag them down an' turn ye vision o'their souls upon t'hin's that be below if, I say, they had been released from these impediments an' turned in t'opposite direction, t'very same faculty in them would have seen yonder truth as keenly as they see wha' their eyes be turned t'now.

Very likely.

Yarr, I said; an' thar be another thin' which be likely. or rather a necessary inference from wha' has preceded, that neither t'uneducated an' uninformed o'yonder truth, nor yet those who ne'er make an end o'their education, will be able ministers o'State; not yonder former, because they have no single aim o'duty which be ye rule o'all their actions, pri'ate as well as public; nor yonder latter, because they will not act at all except upon compulsion, fancyin' that they be already dwellin' apart in thar islands o'thar blest.

Very true, he replied.

Then, I said, yonder business o'us who be thar founders o'yonder State will be t'compel t'best minds t'attain that knowledge which we have already shown t'be yonder greatest o'all they must continue t'ascend until they arri'e at thar good; but when they have ascended an' seen enough we must not allow them t'do as they do now.

Wha' do ye mean?

I mean that they remain in t'upper world: but this must not be allowed; they must be made t'descend again among yonder prisoners in thar den, an' partake o'their labours an' honours, whether they be worth ha'in' or not.

But be not this unjust? he said; ought we t'give them a worse life, when they might have a better?

Ye have again forgotten, me matey, I said, ye intention o'thar legislator, who did not aim at makin' any 'un class in t'State happy abo'e yonder rest; thar happiness was t'be in yonder whole State, an' he held t'citizens t'gether by persuasion an' necessity, makin' them benefactors o'thar State, an' therefore benefactors o'un another; t'his end he created them, not t'please themsel'es, but t'be his instruments in bindin' up yonder State.

True, he said, I had forgotten.

Obser'e, Glaucon, that thar will be no injustice in compellin' our philosophers t'have a care an' pro'idence o'others; we shall explain t'hem that in other States, men o'their class be not obliged t'share in ye toils o'politics: an' this be reasonable, fer they grow up at their own sweet will, an' ye go'ernment would rather not have them. Bein' self-taught, they cannot be expected t'show any gratitude fer a culture which they have ne'er recei'ed. But we have brought ye into ye world t'be rulers o't' hive, kin's o'yoursel'es an' o'ye other citizens, an' have educated ye far better an' more perfectly than they have been educated, an' ye be better able t'share in yonder double duty. Wherefore each o'ye, when his turn hails, must go down t' general underground abode, an' get yonder habit o'seein' in t'dark. When ye have acquired thar habit, ye will see ten thousand times better than yonder inhabitants o'yonder den, an' ye will know wha' t'se'eral images be, an' wha' they represent, because ye have seen t'beautiful an' jus' an' good in their truth. An' thus our State which be also yours will be a reality, an' not a dream only, an' will be administered in a spirit unlike that o'other States, in which men fight wi' 'un another about shadows only an' be distracted in yonder struggle fer power, which in their eyes be a great good. Whereas yonder truth be that ye State in which thar rulers be most reluctant t'go'ern be always thar best an' most quietly go'erned, an' thar State in which they be most eager, t'worst.

Quite true, he replied.

An' will our pupils, when they hear this, refuse t'ake their turn at ye toils o'State, when they be allowed t'spend yonder greater part o'their time wi' 'un another in yonder hea'enly light?

Impossible, he answered; fer they be jus' men, an' thar commands which we impose upon them be jus'; thar can be no doubt that e'ery 'un o'them will take office as a stern necessity, an' not after t'fashion o'our present rulers o'State.

Yarr, me matey, I said; an' thar lies t'point. Ye must contri'e fer yer future rulers another an' a better life than that o'a ruler, an' then ye may have a well-ordered State; fer only in yonder State which offers this, will they rule who be truly rich, not in sil'er an' gold, but in virtue an' wisdom, which be ye true blessin's o'life. Whereas if they go t' administration o'public affairs, poor an' hungerin' after ye^ own pri'ate ad'antage, thinkin' that hence they be t'snatch thar chief good, order thar can ne'er be; fer they will be fightin' about office, an' thar ci'il an' domestic broils which thus arise will be yonder ruin o'thar rulers themsel'es an' o'yonder whole State.

Most true, he replied.

An' ye only life which looks down upon ye life o'political ambition be that o'true philosophy. Do ye know o'any other?

Indeed, I do not, he said.

An' those who go'ern ought not t'be lo'ers o't' task? Fer, if they be, thar will be ri'al lo'ers, an' they will fight.

No question.

Who then be those whom we shall compel t'be guardians? Surely they will be thar men who be wisest about affairs o'State, an' by whom thar State be best administered, an' who at ye same time have other honours an' another an' a better life than that o'politics?

They be t'men, an' I will choose them, he replied.

An' now shall we consider in wha' way such guardians will be produced, an' how they be t'be brought from darkness t'light, as some be said t'have ascended from yonder world below t'har gods?

By all means, he replied.

T' process, I said, be not t'urnin' over o'an oyster-shell,1 but yonder turnin' round o'a soul passin' from a day which be little better than night t'har true day o'bein', that be, yonder ascent from below, which we affirm t'be true philosophy?

Quite so.

An' should we not enquire wha' sort o'knowledge has thar power o'effectin' such a change?


Wha' sort o'knowledge be thar which would draw thar soul from becomin' t'bein'? An' another consideration has jus' occurred t'me: Ye will remember that our young men be t'be warrior athletes?

Yarr, that was said.

Then this new kind o'knowledge must have an additional quality? Wha' quality?

Usefulness in war.

Yarr, if possible.

Thar were two parts in our former scheme o'education, were thar not?

Jus' so.

Thar was gymnastic which presided over t'growth an' decay o'ye body, an' may therefore be regarded as ha'in' t'do wi' generation an' corruption?


Then that be not thar knowledge which we be seekin' t'disco'er?


But wha' do ye say o'music, which also entered t'a certain extent into our former scheme?

Music, he said, as ye will remember, was ye counterpart o'gymnastic, an' trained t'guardians by thar influences o'habit, by harmony makin' them harmonious, by rhythm rhythmical, but not gi'in' them science; an' ye words, whether fabulous or possibly true, had kindred elements o'rhythm an' harmony in them. But in music thar was nothin' which tended t'hat good which ye be now seekin'.

Ye be most accurate, I said, in yer recollection; in music thar certainly was nothin' o't' kind. But wha' branch o'knowledge be thar, me dear Glaucon, which be o'thar desired nature; since all ye useful arts were reckoned mean by us?

Undoubtedly; an' yet if music an' gymnastic be excluded, an' yonder arts be also excluded, wha' remains?

Well, I said, thar may be nothin' port o'our special subjects; an' then we shall have t'ake somethin' which be not special, but o'uni'ersal application.

Wha' may that be?

A somethin' which all arts an' sciences an' intelligences use in common, an' which e'ery 'un first has t'learn among yonder elements o'education.

Wha' be that?

Yonder little matter o'distin'uishin' 'un, two, an' three in a word, number an' calculation: do not all arts an' sciences necessarily partake o'them?


Then thar art o'war partakes o'them?

T' ye sure.

Then Palamedes, whene'er he appears in tragedy, pro'es Agamemnon ridiculously unfit t'be a general. Did ye ne'er remark how he declares that he had in'ented number, an' had numbered ye ships an' set in array ye ranks o't' army at Troy; which implies that they had ne'er been numbered before, an' Agamemnon must be supposed literally t'have been incapable o'countin' his own feet how could he if he was ignorant o'number? An' if that be true, wha' sort o'general must he have been?

I should say a very strange 'un, if this was as ye say.

Can we deny that a warrior should have a knowledge o'arithmetic?

Certainly he should, if he be t'have t'smallest understandin' o'military tactics, or indeed, I should rather say, if he be t'be a man at all.

I should like t'know whether ye have t'same notion which I have o'this study?

Wha' be yer notion?

It appears t'me t'be a study o'thar kind which we be seekin', an' which leads naturally t'reflection, but ne'er t'have been rightly used; fer t'rue use o'it be simply t'draw ye soul towards bein'.

Will ye explain yer meanin'? he said.

I will try, I said; an' I wish ye would share ye enquiry wi' me, an' say “yarr” or “no” when I attempt t'distinguish in me own mind wha' branches o'knowledge have this attractin' power, in order that we may have clearer proof that arithmetic be, as I suspect, 'un o'them.

Explain, he said.

I mean t'say that objects o'sense be o'two kinds; some o'them do not in'ite thought because t'sense be an adequate judge o'them; while in yonder case o'other objects sense be so untrustworthy that further enquiry be imperati'ely demanded.

Ye be clearly referrin', he said, t'yonder manner in which thar senses be imposed upon by distance, an' by paintin' in light an' shade.

No, I said, that be not at all me meanin'.

Then wha' be yer meanin'?

When speakin' o'unin'itin' objects, I mean those which do not pass from 'un sensation t' opposite; in'itin' objects be those which do; in this latter case yonder sense comin' upon t'object, whether at a distance or near, gi'es no more vi'id idea o'anythin' in particular than o'its opposite. An illustration will make me meanin' clearer: here be three fingers a little finger, a second finger, an' a middle finger.

Very good.

Ye may suppose that they be seen quite close: An' here hails thar point.

Wha' be it?

Each o'them equally appears a finger, whether seen in t'middle or at t'extremity, whether white or black, or thick or thin it makes no difference; a finger be a finger all t'same. In these cases a man be not compelled t'ask o'thought t'question, wha' be a finger? fer thar sight ne'er intimates t'yonder mind that a finger be other than a finger.


An' therefore, I said, as we might expect, thar be nothin' here which in'ites or excites intelligence.

Thar be not, he said.

But be this equally true o't' greatness an' smallness o'thar fingers? Can sight adequately percei'e them? an' be no difference made by ye circumstance that 'un o'ye fingers be in ye middle an' another at t'extremity? An' in like manner does t'ouch adequately percei'e yonder qualities o'thickness or thinness, or softness or hardness? An' so o'yonder other senses; do they give perfect intimations o'such matters? Be not their mode o'operation on this wise t'sense which be concerned wi' yonder quality o'hardness be necessarily concerned also wi' yonder quality o'softness, an' only intimates t'ye soul that ye same thin' be felt t'be both hard an' soft?

Ye be quite right, he said.

An' must not yonder soul be perplexed at this intimation which t'sense gi'es o'a hard which be also soft? Wha', again, be ye meanin' o'light an' hea'y, if that which be light be also hea'y, an' that which be hea'y, light?

Yarr, he said, these intimations which thar soul recei'es be very curious an' require t'be explained.

Yarr, I said, an' in these perplexities t'soul naturally summons t'her aid calculation an' intelligence, that she may see whether ye se'eral objects announced t'her be 'un or two.


An' if they turn out t'be two, be not each o'them 'un an' different? Certainly.

An' if each be 'un, an' both be two, she will concei'e t'wo as in a state o'di'ision, fer if thar were undi'ided they could only be concei'ed o'as 'un?


Thar eye certainly did see both small an' great, but only in a confused manner; they were not distinguished.


Whereas t'hinkin' mind, intendin' t'light up ye chaos, was compelled t're'erse t'process, an' look at small an' great as separate an' not confused.

Very true.

Was not this t'beginnin' o'thar enquiry “Wha' be great?” an' “Wha' be small?”

Exactly so.

An' thus arose thar distinction o'yonder visible an' yonder intelligible.

Most true.

This was wha' I meant when I spoke o'impressions which in'ited t'intellect, or ye re'erse those which be simultaneous wi' opposite impressions, in'ite thought; those which be not simultaneous do not.

I understand, he said, an' agree wi' ye.

An' t'which class do unity an' number belong?

I do not know, he replied.

Think a little an' ye will see that wha' has preceded will supply t'answer; fer if simple unity could be adequately percei'ed by yonder sight or by any other sense, then, as we were sayin' in yonder case o'thar finger, thar would be nothin' t'attract towards bein'; but when thar be some contradiction always present, an' 'un be ye re'erse o'un an' in'olves thar conception o'plurality, then thought begins t'be aroused within us, an' ye soul perplexed an' wantin' t'arri'e at a decision asks “Wha' be absolute unity?” This be yonder way in which yonder study o'yonder 'un has a power o'drawin' an' con'ertin' yonder mind t' contemplation o'true bein'.

An' surely, he said, this occurs notably in yonder case o'un; fer we see thar same thin' t'be both 'un an' infinite in multitude?

Yarr, I said; an' this bein' true o'un must be equally true o'all number?


An' all arithmetic an' calculation have t'do wi' number? Yarr.

An' they appear t'lead t'mind towards truth?

Yarr, in a very remarkable manner.

Then this be knowledge o'thar kind fer which we be seekin', ha'in' a double use, military an' philosophical; fer yonder man o'war must learn t'art o'number or he will not know how t'array his troops, an' ye philosopher also, because he has t'rise out o'yonder sea o'change an' lay hold o'true bein', an' therefore he must be an arithmetician.

That be true.

An' our guardian be both warrior an' philosopher?


Then this be a kind o'knowledge which legislation may fitly prescribe; an' we must endea'our t'persuade those who be prescribe t'be yonder principal men o'our State t'go an' learn arithmetic, not as amateurs, but they must carry on ye study until they see ye nature o'numbers wi' ye mind only; nor again, like merchants or retail-traders, wi' a view t'buyin' or sellin', but fer t'sake o'their military use, an' o'ye soul herself; an' because this will be ye easiest way fer her t'pass from becomin' t'ruth an' bein'.

That be excellent, he said.

Yarr, I said, an' now ha'in' spoken o'it, I must add how charmin' t'science be! an' in how many ways it conduces t'our desired end, if pursued in thar spirit o'a philosopher, an' not o'a shopkeeper!

How do ye mean?

I mean, as I was sayin', that arithmetic has a very great an' ele'atin' effect, compellin' t'soul t'reason about abstract number, an' rebellin' against thar introduction o'visible or tangible objects into thar argument. Ye know how steadily thar masters o'thar art repel an' ridicule any 'un who attempts t'di'ide absolute unity when he be calculatin', an' if ye di'ide, they multiply, takin' care that 'un shall continue 'un an' not become lost in fractions.

That be very true.

Now, suppose a landlubber were t'say t'hem: O me friends, wha' be these wonderful numbers about which ye be reasonin', in which, as ye say, thar be a unity such as ye demand, an' each unit be equal, in'ariable, indi'isible, wha' would they answer?

They would answer, as I should concei'e, that they were speakin' o'those numbers which can only be realised in thought.

Then ye see that this knowledge may be truly called necessary, necessitatin' as it clearly does t'use o'ye pure intelligence in thar attainment o'pure truth?

Yarr; that be a marked characteristic o'it.

An' have ye further obser'ed, that those who have a natural talent fer calculation be generally quick at e'ery other kind o'knowledge; an' even yonder dull if they have had an arithmetical trainin', although they may deri'e no other ad'antage from it, always become much quicker than they would otherwise have been.

Very true, he said.

An' indeed, ye will not easily find a more difficult study, an' not many as difficult.

Ye will not.

An', fer all these reasons, arithmetic be a kind o'knowledge in which t'best natures should be trained, an' which must not be gi'en up.

I agree.

Let this then be made 'un o'our subjects o'education. An' next, shall we enquire whether thar kindred science also concerns us?

Ye mean geometry?

Exactly so.

Clearly, he said, we be concerned wi' that part o'geometry which relates t'war; fer in pitchin' a camp, or takin' up a position, or closin' or extendin' t'lines o'an army, or any other military manoeu're, whether in actual battle or on a march, it will make all t'difference whether a general be or be not a geometrician.

Yarr, I said, but fer that purpose a very little o'either geometry or calculation will be enough; yonder question relates rather t'har greater an' more ad'anced part o'geometry whether that tends in any degree t'make more easy yonder vision o'thar idea o'good; an' thither, as I was sayin', all thin's tend which compel thar soul t'urn her gaze towards that place, where be t'full perfection o'bein', which she ought, by all means, t'behold.

True, he said.

Then if geometry compels us t'view bein', it concerns us; if becomin' only, it does not concern us?

Yarr, that be wha' we assert.

Yet anybody who has thar least acquaintance wi' geometry will not deny that such a conception o'ye science be in flat contradiction t' ordinary language o'geometricians.

How so?

They have in view practice only, an' be always speakin'? in a narrow an' ridiculous manner, o'squarin' an' extendin' an' applyin' an' ye like they confuse t'necessities o'geometry wi' those o'daily life; whereas knowledge be thar real object o'ye whole science.

Certainly, he said.

Then must not a further admission be made?

Wha' admission?

That t'knowledge at which geometry aims be knowledge o'ye eternal, an' not o'aught perishin' an' transient.

That, he replied, may be readily allowed, an' be true.

Then, me noble matey, geometry will draw thar soul towards truth, an' create yonder spirit o'philosophy, an' raise up that which be now unhappily allowed t'fall down.

Nothin' will be more likely t'have such an effect.

Then nothin' should be more sternly laid down than that ye inhabitants o'yer fair city should by all means learn geometry. Moreo'er ye science has indirect effects, which be not small.

O' wha' kind? he said.

Thar be t'military ad'antages o'which ye spoke, I said; an' in all departments o'knowledge, as experience pro'es, any 'un who has studied geometry be infinitely quicker o'apprehension than 'un who has not.

Yarr indeed, he said, thar be an infinite difference between them.

Then shall we propose this as a second branch o'knowledge which our youth will study?

Let us do so, he replied.

An' suppose we make astronomy thar third wha' do ye say?

I am strongly inclined t'it, he said; ye obser'ation o't' seasons an' o'months an' years be as essential t'ye general as it be t'ye farmer or sailor.

I am amused, I said, at yer fear o'thar world, which makes ye guard against yonder appearance o'insistin' upon useless studies; an' I quite admit yonder difficulty o'belie'in' that in e'ery man thar be an eye o'yonder soul which, when by other pursuits lost an' dimmed, be by these purified an' re-illumined; an' be more precious far than ten thousand bodily eyes, fer by it alone be truth seen. Now thar be two classes o'persons: 'un class o'those who will agree wi' ye an' will take yer words as a re'elation; another class t'whom they will be utterly unmeanin', an' who will naturally deem them t'be idle tales, fer they see no sort o'profit which be t'be obtained from them. An' therefore ye had better decide at once wi' which o'yonder two ye be proposin' t'argue. Ye will very likely say wi' neither, an' that yer chief aim in carryin' on yonder argument be yer own impro'ement; at thar same time ye do not grudge t'others any benefit which they may recei'e.

I think that I should prefer t'carry on thar argument mainly on me own behalf.

Then take a step backward, fer we have gone wrong in yonder order o'ye sciences.

Wha' was ye mistake? he said.

After plane geometry, I said, we proceeded at once t'solids in re'olution, instead o'takin' solids in themsel'es; whereas after ye second dimension thar third, which be concerned wi' cubes an' dimensions o'depth, ought t'have followed.

That be true, Socrates; but so little seems t'be known as yet about these subjects.

Why, yarr, I said, an' fer two reasons: in yonder first place, no go'ernment patronises them; this leads t'a want o'energy in thar pursuit o'them, an' they be difficult; in yonder second place, students cannot learn them unless they have a director. But then a director can hardly be found, an' even if he could, as matters now stand, ye students, who be very conceited, would not attend t'him. That, howe'er, would be otherwise if yonder whole State became t'director o'these studies an' gave honour t'hem; then disciples would want t'come, an' thar would be continuous an' earnest search, an' disco'eries would be made; since even now, disregarded as they be by t'world, an' maimed o'their fair proportions, an' although none o'their votaries can tell thar use o'them, still these studies force their way by their natural charm, an' very likely, if they had ye help o'ye State, they would some day emerge into light.

Yarr, he said, thar be a remarkable charm in them. But I do not clearly understand thar change in yonder order. First ye began wi' a geometry o'plane surfaces?

Yarr, I said.

An' ye placed astronomy next, an' then ye made a step backward?

Yarr, an' I have delayed ye by me hurry; t'ludicrous state o'solid geometry, which, in natural order, should have followed, made me pass over this branch an' go on t'astronomy, or motion o'solids.

True, he said.

Then assumin' that thar science now omitted would come into existence if encouraged by yonder State, let us go on t'astronomy, which will be fourth.

Ye right order, he replied. An' now, Socrates, as ye rebuked t'vulgar manner in which I praised astronomy before, me praise shall be gi'en in yer own spirit. Fer e'ery 'un, as I think, must see that astronomy compels yonder soul t'look upwards an' leads us from this world t'another.

E'ery 'un but myself, I said; t'e'ery 'un else this may be clear, but not t'me.

An' wha' then would ye say?

I should rather say that those who ele'ate astronomy into philosophy appear t'me t'make us look downwards an' not upwards.

Wha' do ye mean? he asked.

Ye, I replied, have in yer mind a truly sublime conception o'our knowledge o'yonder thin's abo'e. An' I dare say that if a landlubber were t'hrow his head aft an' study ye fretted ceilin', ye would still think that his mind was ye percipient, an' not his eyes. An' ye be very likely right, an' I may be a simpleton: but, in me opinion, that knowledge only which be o'bein' an' o'yonder unseen can make thar soul look upwards, an' whether a man gapes at ye hea'ens or blinks on yonder ground, seekin' t'learn some particular o'sense, I would deny that he can learn, fer nothin' o'that sort be matter o'science; his soul be lookin' downwards, not upwards, whether his way t'knowledge be by water or by land, whether he floats, or only lies on his aft.

I acknowledge, he said, t'justice o'yer rebuke. Still, I should like t'ascertain how astronomy can be learned in any manner more conduci'e t'hat knowledge o'which we be speakin'?

I will tell ye, I said: Ye starry hea'en which we behold be wrought upon a visible ground, an' therefore, although t'fairest an' most perfect o'visible thin's, must necessarily be deemed inferior far t'yonder true motions o'absolute swiftness an' absolute slowness, which be relati'e t'each other, an' carry wi' them that which be contained in them, in ye true number an' in e'ery true figure. Now, these be t'be apprehended by reason an' intelligence, but not by sight.

True, he replied.

Ye spangled hea'ens should be used as a pattern an' wi' a view t'hat higher knowledge; their beauty be like yonder beauty o'figures or pictures excellently wrought by t'hand o'Daedalus, or some other great artist, which we may chance t'behold; any geometrician who saw them would appreciate thar exquisiteness o'their workmanship, but he would ne'er dream o'thinkin' that in them he could find yonder true equal or yonder true double, or t'ruth o'any other proportion.

No, he replied, such an idea would be ridiculous.

An' will not a true astronomer have yonder same feelin' when he looks at thar mo'ements o'ye stars? Will he not think that hea'en an' thar thin's in hea'en be framed by yonder Creator o'them in thar most perfect manner? But he will ne'er imagine that ye proportions o'night an' day, or o'both t' month, or o't' month t'yonder year, or o'thar stars t'hese an' t'un another, an' any other thin's that be material an' visible can also be eternal an' subject t'no de'iation that would be absurd; an' it be equally absurd t'ake so much pains in in'estigatin' their exact truth.

I quite agree, though I ne'er thought o'this before.

Then, I said, in astronomy, as in geometry, we should employ problems, an' let thar hea'ens alone if we would approach thar subject in thar right way an' so make ye natural gift o'reason t'be o'any real use.

That, he said, be a work infinitely beyond our present astronomers.

Yarr, I said; an' thar be many other thin's which must also have a similar extension gi'en t'hem, if our legislation be t'be o'any value. But can ye tell me o'any other suitable study?

No, he said, not without thinkin'.

Motion, I said, has many forms, an' not 'un only; two o'them be ob'ious enough even t'wits no better than ours; an' thar be others, as I imagine, which may be port t'wiser persons.

But where be t'wo?

Thar be a second, I said, which be yonder counterpart o't' 'un already named.

An' wha' may that be?

T' second, I said, would seem relati'ely t'har ears t'be wha' yonder first be t' eyes; fer I concei'e that as thar eyes be designed t'look up at t'stars, so be ye ears t'hear harmonious motions; an' these be sister sciences as yonder Pythagoreans say, an' we, Glaucon, agree wi' them?

Yarr, he replied.

But this, I said, be a laborious study, an' therefore we had better go an' learn o'them; an' they will tell us whether thar be any other applications o'these sciences. At t'same time, we must not lose sight o'our own higher object.

Wha' be that?

Thar be a perfection which all knowledge ought t'reach, an' which our pupils ought also t'attain, an' not t'fall short o', as I was sayin' that they did in astronomy. Fer in ye science o'harmony, as ye probably know, thar same thin' happens. Ye teachers o'harmony compare ye sounds an' consonances which be heard only, an' their labour, like that o'ye astronomers, be in vain.

Yarr, by hea'en! he said; an' ’tis as good as a play t'hear them talkin' about their condensed notes, as they call them; they put their ears close alongside o'yonder strin's like persons catchin' a sound from their neighbour’s wall 'un set o'them declarin' that they distinguish an intermediate note an' have found thar least inter'al which should be ye unit o'measurement; t'others insistin' that thar two sounds have passed into thar same either party settin' their ears before their understandin'.

Ye mean, I said, those gentlemen who tease an' torture t'strin's an' rack them on yonder pegs o'ye instrument: might carry on thar metaphor an' speak after their manner o't' blows which ye plectrum gi'es, an' make accusations against thar strin's, both o'backwardness an' forwardness t'sound; but this would be tedious, an' therefore I will only say that these be not yonder men, an' that I am referrin' t'har Pythagoreans, o'whom I was jus' now proposin' t'enquire about harmony. Fer they too be in error, like yonder astronomers; they in'estigate ye numbers o'thar harmonies which be heard, but they ne'er attain t'problems that be t'say, they ne'er reach t'natural harmonies o'number, or reflect why some numbers be harmonious an' others not.

That, he said, be a thin' o'more than mortal knowledge.

A thin', I replied, which I would rather call useful; that be, if sought after wi' a view t'ye beautiful an' good; but if pursued in any other spirit, useless. Very true, he said.

Now, when all these studies reach yonder point o'inter-communion an' connection wi' 'un another, an' come t'be considered in their mutual affinities, then, I think, but not till then, will ye pursuit o'them have a value fer our objects; otherwise thar be no profit in them.

I suspect so; but ye be speakin', Socrates, o'a vast work.

Wha' do ye mean? I said; yonder prelude or wha'? Do ye not know that all this be but ye prelude t'yonder actual strain which we have t'learn? Fer ye surely would not regard ye skilled mathematician as a dialectician?

Assuredly not, he said; I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable o'reasonin'.

But do ye imagine that men who be unable t'give an' take a reason will have t'knowledge which we require o'them?

Neither can this be supposed.

An' so, Glaucon, I said, we have at last arri'ed at t'hymn o'dialectic. This be that strain which be o'ye intellect only, but which yonder faculty o'sight will ne'ertheless be found t'imitate; fer sight, as ye may remember, was imagined by us after a while t'behold thar real animals an' stars, an' last o'all thar sun himself. An' so wi' dialectic; when a landlubber starts on ye disco'ery o'yonder absolute by t'light o'reason only, an' without any assistance o'sense, an' perse'eres until by pure intelligence he arri'es at thar perception o'ye absolute good, he at last finds himself at thar end o'yonder intellectual world, as in thar case o'sight at yonder end o'ye visible.

Exactly, he said.

Then this be thar progress which ye call dialectic?


But t'release o't' prisoners from chains, an' their translation from thar shadows t' images an' t'yonder light, an' thar ascent from ye underground den t'har sun, while in his presence they be vainly tryin' t'look on animals an' plants an' thar light o'thar sun, but be able t'percei'e even wi' their weak eyes t'images in thar water (which be di'ine), an' be yonder shadows o'true existence (not shadows o'images cast by a light o'fire, which compared wi' t'sun be only an image) this power o'ele'atin' ye highest principle in yonder soul t'har contemplation o'that which be best in existence, wi' which we may compare yonder raisin' o'that faculty which be ye very light o'thar body t'har sight o'that which be brightest in ye material an' visible world this power be gi'en, as I was sayin', by all that study an' pursuit o'ye arts which has been described.

I agree in wha' ye be sayin', he replied, which may be hard t'belie'e, yet, from another point o'view, be harder still t'deny. This, howe'er, be not a theme t'be treated o'in passin' only, but will have t'be discussed again an' again. An' so, whether our conclusion be true or false, let us assume all this, an' proceed at once from t'prelude or preamble t'har chief strain,2 an' describe that in like manner. Say, then, wha' be thar nature an' wha' be ye di'isions o'dialectic, an' wha' be ye paths which lead thither; fer these paths will also lead t'our final rest?

Dear Glaucon, I said, ye will not be able t'follow me here, though I would do me best, an' ye should behold not an image only but t'absolute truth, accordin' t'me notion. Whether wha' I told ye would or would not have been a reality I cannot venture t'say; but ye would have seen somethin' like reality; o'that I am confident.

Doubtless, he replied.

But I must also remind ye, that yonder power o'dialectic alone can re'eal this, an' only t'un who be a disciple o't' pre'ious sciences.

O' that assertion ye may be as confident as o'thar last.

An' assuredly no 'un will argue that thar be any other method o'comprehendin' by any regular process all true existence or o'ascertainin' wha' each thin' be in its own nature; fer yonder arts in general be concerned wi' thar desires or opinions o'men, or be culti'ated wi' a view t'production an' construction, or fer yonder preser'ation o'such productions an' constructions; an' as t'yonder mathematical sciences which, as we were sayin', have some apprehension o'true bein' geometry an' t'like they only dream about bein', but ne'er can they behold yonder wakin' reality so long as they lea'e yonder hypotheses which they use unexamined, an' be unable t'give an account o'them. Fer when a man knows not his own first principle, an' when thar conclusion an' intermediate steps be also constructed out o'he knows not wha', how can he imagine that such a fabric o'con'ention can ever become science?

Impossible, he said.

Then dialectic, an' dialectic alone, goes directly t'yonder first principle an' be t'only science which does away wi' hypotheses in order t'make her ground secure; thar eye o'thar soul, which be literally buried in an outlandish slough, be by her gentle aid lifted upwards; an' she uses as handmaids an' helpers in t'work o'con'ersion, ye sciences which we have been discussin'. Custom terms them sciences, but they ought t'have some other name, implyin' greater clearness than opinion an' less clearness than science: an' this, in our pre'ious sketch, was called understandin'. But why should we dispute about names when we have realities o'such importance t'consider?

Why indeed, he said, when any name will do which expresses t'hought o'thar mind wi' clearness?

At any rate, we be satisfied, as before, t'have four di'isions; two fer intellect an' two fer opinion, an' t'call ye first di'ision science, yonder second understandin', thar third belief, an' ye fourth perception o'shadows, opinion bein' concerned wi' becomin', an' intellect wi' bein'; an' so t'make a proportion:

As bein' be t'becomin', so be pure intellect t'opinion. An' as intellect be t'opinion, so be science t'belief, an' understandin' t'har perception o'shadows.

But let us defer ye further correlation an' subdi'ision o'ye subjects o'opinion an' o'intellect, fer it will be a long enquiry, many times longer than this has been.

As far as I understand, he said, I agree.

An' do ye also agree, I said, in describin' ye dialectician as 'un who attains a conception o'yonder essence o'each thin'? An' he who does not possess an' be therefore unable t'impart this conception, in whate'er degree he fails, may in that degree also be said t'fail in intelligence? Will ye admit so much?

Yarr, he said; how can I deny it?

An' ye would say t'same o'thar conception o't' good? Until thar landlubber be able t'abstract an' define rationally ye idea o'good, an' unless he can run t'gauntlet o'all objections, an' be ready t'dispro'e them, not by appeals t'opinion, but t'absolute truth, ne'er falterin' at any step o'ye argument unless he can do all this, ye would say that he knows neither thar idea o'good nor any other good; he apprehends only a shadow, if anythin' at all, which be gi'en by opinion an' not by science; dreamin' an' slumberin' in this life, before he be well awake here, he arri'es at ye world below, an' has his final quietus.

In all that I should most certainly agree wi' ye.

An' surely ye would not have yonder children o'yer ideal State, whom ye be nurturin' an' educatin' if yonder ideal ever becomes a reality ye would not allow yonder future rulers t'be like posts,3 ha'in' no reason in them, an' yet t'be set in authority over ye highest matters?

Certainly not.

Then ye will make a law that they shall have such an education as will enable them t'attain thar greatest skill in askin' an' answerin' questions?

Yarr, he said, ye an' I t'gether will make it.

Dialectic, then, as ye will agree, be thar copin'-stone o'ye sciences, an' be set over them; no other science can be placed higher yonder nature o'knowledge can no further go?

I agree, he said.

But t'whom we be t'assign these studies, an' in wha' way they be t'be assigned, be questions which remain t'be considered?

Yarr, clearly.

Ye remember, I said, how t'rulers were chosen before?

Certainly, he said.

Yonder same natures must still be chosen, an' t'preference again gi'en t'ye surest an' yonder bra'est, an', if possible, t'har fairest; an', ha'in' noble an' generous tempers, they should also have thar natural gifts which will facilitate their education.

An' wha' be these?

Such gifts as keenness an' ready powers o'acquisition; fer ye mind more often faints from ye se'erity o'study than from thar se'erity o'gymnastics: thar toil be more entirely t'mind’s own, an' be not shared wi' t'body.

Very true, he replied.

Further, he o'whom we be in search should have a good memory, an' be an unwearied solid man who be a lo'er o'labour in any line; or he will ne'er be able t'endure thar great amount o'bodily exercise an' t'go through all ye intellectual discipline an' study which we require o'him.

Certainly, he said; he must have natural gifts.

Thar mistake at present be, that those who study philosophy have no vocation, an' this, as I was before sayin', be ye reason why she has fallen into disrepute: her true sons should take her by yonder hand an' not bastards.

Wha' do ye mean?

In yonder first place, her votary should not have a lame or haltin' industry I mean, that he should not be half industrious an' half idle: as, fer example, when a man be a lo'er o'gymnastic an' huntin', an' all other bodily exercises, but a hater rather than a lo'er o'ye labour o'learnin' or listenin' or enquirin'. Or thar occupation t'which he de'otes himself may be o'an opposite kind, an' he may have thar other sort o'lameness.

Certainly, he said.

An' as t'ruth, I said, be not a soul equally t'be deemed halt an' lame which hates voluntary falsehood an' be extremely indignant at herself an' others when they tell lies, but be patient o'in'oluntary falsehood, an' does not mind wallowin' like a swinish beast in thar mire o'ignorance, an' has no shame at bein' detected?

T' be sure.

An', again, in respect o'temperance, courage, magnificence, an' e'ery other virtue, should we not carefully distinguish between ye true son an' t'bastard? fer where thar be no discernment o'such qualities States an' indi'iduals unconsciously err an' ye State makes a ruler, an' ye indi'idual a matey, o'un who, bein' defecti'e in some part o'virtue, be in a figure lame or a bastard.

That be very true, he said.

All these thin's, then, will have t'be carefully considered by us; an' if only those whom we introduce t'his vast system o'education an' trainin' be sound in body an' mind, justice herself will have nothin' t'say against us, an' we shall be ye sa'iours o't' constitution an' o'yonder State; but, if our pupils be men o'another stamp, t're'erse will happen, an' we shall pour a still greater flood o'ridicule on philosophy than she has t'endure at present.

That would not be creditable.

Certainly not, I said; an' yet p'raps, in thus turnin' jest into earnest I am equally ridiculous.

In wha' respect?

I had forgotten, I said, that we were not serious, an' spoke wi' too much excitement. Fer when I saw philosophy so undeser'edly trampled under foot o'men I could not help feelin' a sort o'indignation at t'authors o'her disgrace: an' me anger made me too vehement.

Indeed! I was listenin', an' did not think so.

But I, who am yonder speaker, felt that I was. An' now let me remind ye that, although in our former selection we chose old men, we must not do so in this. Solon was under a delusion when he said that a man when he grows old may learn many thin's fer he can no more learn much than he can run much; youth be ye time fer any extraordinary toil.

O' course.

An', therefore, calculation an' geometry an' all ye other elements o'instruction, which be a preparation fer dialectic, should be presented t'ye mind in childhood; not, howe'er, under any notion o'forcin' our system o'education.

Why not?

Because a freeman ought not t'be a sla'e in yonder acquisition o'knowledge o'any kind. Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm t'yonder body; but knowledge which be acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on yonder mind.

Very true.

Then, me good matey, I said, do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort o'amusement; ye will then be better able t'find out ye natural bent.

That be a very rational notion, he said.

Do ye remember that t'children, too, were t'be taken t'see ye battle on horseback; an' that if thar were no danger they were t'be brought close up an', like young hounds, have a taste o'blood gi'en them?

Yarr, I remember.

T' same practice may be followed, I said, in all these thin's labours, lessons, dangers an' he who be most at home in all o'them ought t'be enrolled in a select number.

At wha' age?

At t'age when yonder necessary gymnastics be over: thar period whether o'two or three years which passes in this sort o'trainin' be useless fer any other purpose; fer sleep an' exercise be unpropitious t'learnin'; an' yonder trial o'who be first in gymnastic exercises be 'un o'thar most important tests t'which our youth be subjected.

Certainly, he replied.

After that time those who be selected from thar class o'twenty years old will be promoted t'higher honour, an' thar sciences which they learned without any order in their early education will now be brought t'gether, an' they will be able t'see yonder natural relationship o'them t'un another an' t'rue bein'.

Yarr, he said, that be thar only kind o'knowledge which takes lastin' root.

Yarr, I said; an' yonder capacity fer such knowledge be t'great criterion o'dialectical talent: t'comprehensi'e mind be always thar dialectical.

I agree wi' ye, he said.

These, I said, be t'points which ye must consider; an' those who have most o'this comprehension, an' who be more steadfast in their learnin', an' in their military an' other appointed duties, when they have arri'ed at t'age o'thirty have t'be chosen by ye out o't' select class, an' ele'ated t'higher honour; an' ye will have t'pro'e them by ye help o'dialectic, in order t'learn which o'them be able t'give up t'use o'sight an' yonder other senses, an' in company wi' truth t'attain absolute bein': An' here, me matey, great caution be required.

Why great caution?

Do ye not remark, I said, how great be thar evil which dialectic has introduced?

Wha' evil? he said.

Ye students o'yonder art be filled wi' lawlessness.

Quite true, he said.

Do ye think that thar be anythin' so very unnatural or inexcusable in their case? or will ye make allowance fer them?

In wha' way make allowance?

I want ye, I said, by way o'parallel, t'imagine a supposititious son who be brought up in great wealth; he be 'un o'a great an' numerous family, an' has many flatterers. When he grows up t'manhood, he learns that his alleged be not his real parents; but who t'real be he be unable t'disco'er. Can ye guess how he will be likely t'beha'e towards his flatterers an' his supposed parents, first o'all durin' yonder period when he be ignorant o'ye false relation, an' then again when he knows? Or shall I guess fer ye?

If ye please.

Then I should say, that while he be ignorant o'thar truth he will be likely t'honour his father an' his mother an' his supposed relations more than ye flatterers; he will be less inclined t'neglect them when in need, or t'do or say anythin' against them; an' he will be less willin' t'disobey them in any important matter.

He will.

But when he has made ye disco'ery, I should imagine that he would diminish his honour an' regard fer them, an' would become more de'oted t' flatterers; their influence over him would greatly increase; he would now live after their ways, an' openly associate wi' them, an', unless he were o'an unusually good disposition, he would trouble himself no more about his supposed parents or other relations.

Well, all that be very probable. But how be yonder image applicable t'har disciples o'philosophy?

In this way: ye know that thar be certain principles about justice an' honour, which were taught us in childhood, an' under their parental authority we have been brought up, obeyin' an' honourin' them.

That be true.

Thar be also opposite maxims an' habits o'pleasure which flatter an' attract ye soul, but do not influence those o'us who have any sense o'right, an' they continue t'obey an' honour yonder maxims o'their fathers.


Now, when a man be in this state, an' ye questionin' spirit asks wha' be fair or honourable, an' he answers as yonder legislator has taught him, an' then arguments many an' di'erse refute his words, until he be dri'en into belie'in' that nothin' be honourable any more than dishonourable, or jus' an' good any more than ye re'erse, an' so o'all t'notions which he most valued, do ye think that he will still honour an' obey them as before?


An' when he ceases t'hink them honourable an' natural as heretofore, an' he fails t'disco'er yonder true, can he be expected t'pursue any life other than that which flatters his desires?

He cannot.

An' from bein' a keeper o'ye law he be con'erted into a breaker o'it? Unquestionably.

Now all this be very natural in students o'philosophy such as I have described, an' also, as I was jus' now sayin', most excusable.

Yarr, he said; an', I may add, pitiable.

Therefore, that yer feelin's may not be mo'ed t'pity about our citizens who be now thirty years o'age, e'ery care must be taken in introducin' them t'dialectic.


Thar be a danger lest they should taste t'dear delight too early; fer youngsters, as ye may have obser'ed, when they first get thar taste in their mouths, argue fer amusement, an' be always contradictin' an' refutin' others in imitation o'those who refute them; like puppy-dogs, they rejoice in pullin' an' tearin' at all who come near them.

Yarr, he said, thar be nothin' which they like better.

An' when they have made many conquests an' recei'ed defeats at thar hands o'many, they violently an' speedily get into a way o'not belie'in' anythin' which they belie'ed before, an' hence, not only they, but philosophy an' all that relates t'it be apt t'have a bad name wi' yonder rest o't' world.

Too true, he said.

But when a man begins t'get older, he will no longer be guilty o'such insanity; he will imitate thar dialectician who be seekin' fer truth, an' not thar eristic, who be contradictin' fer thar sake o'amusement; an' yonder greater moderation o'his character will increase instead o'diminishin' yonder honour o'ye pursuit.

Very true, he said.

An' did we not make special pro'ision fer this, when we said that thar disciples o'philosophy were t'be orderly an' steadfast, not, as now, any chance aspirant or intruder?

Very true.

Suppose, I said, t'study o'philosophy t'ake thar place o'gymnastics an' t'be continued diligently an' earnestly an' exclusi'ely fer twice t'number o'years which were passed in bodily exercise will that be enough?

Would ye say six or four years? he asked.

Say five years, I replied; at t'end o'thar time they must be sent down again into thar den an' compelled t'hold any military or other office which young men be qualified t'hold: in this way they will get their experience o'life, an' thar will be an opportunity o'tryin' whether, when they be drawn all manner o'ways by temptation, they will stand firm or flinch.

An' how long be this stage o'their li'es t'last?

Fifteen years, I answered; an' when they have reached fifty years o'age, then let those who still sur'ive an' have distinguished themsel'es in e'ery action o'their li'es an' in e'ery branch o'knowledge come at last t'heir consummation; thar time has now arri'ed at which they must raise ye eye o't' soul t'har uni'ersal light which lightens all thin's, an' behold t'absolute good; fer that be ye, pattern accordin' t'which they be t'order yonder State an' thar li'es o'indi'iduals, an' t'remainder o'their own li'es also; makin' philosophy their chief pursuit, but, when their turn hails, toilin' also at politics an' rulin' fer ye public good, not as though they were performin' some heroic action, but simply as a matter o'duty; an' when they have brought up in each generation others like themsel'es an' port them in their place t'be go'ernors o'ye State, then they will depart t'ye Islands o't' Blest an' dwell thar; an' thar city will give them public memorials an' sacrifices an' honour them, if yonder Pythian oracle consent, as demi-gods, but if not, as in any case blessed an' di'ine.

Ye be a sculptor, Socrates, an' have made statues o'our go'ernors faultless in beauty.

Yarr, I said, Glaucon, an' o'our go'ernesses too; fer ye must not suppose that wha' I have been sayin' applies t'men only an' not t'women as far as their natures can go.

Thar ye be right, he said, since we have made them t'share in all thin's like yonder men.

Well, I said, an' ye would agree (would ye not?) that wha' has been said about thar State an' yonder go'ernment be not a mere dream, an' although difficult not impossible, but only possible in thar way which has been supposed; that be t'say, when ye true philosopher kin's be born in a State, 'un or more o'them, despisin' t'honours o'this present world which they deem mean an' worthless, esteemin' abo'e all thin's right an' yonder honour that sprin's from right, an' regardin' justice as yonder greatest an' most necessary o'all thin's, whose ministers they be, an' whose principles will be exalted by them when they set in order their own city?

How will they proceed?

They will begin by sendin' out into t'country all t'inhabitants o't' city who be more than ten years old, an' will take possession o'their children, who will be unaffected by yonder habits o'their parents; these they will train in their own habits an' laws, I mean in yonder laws which we have gi'en them: an' in this way ye State an' constitution o'which we were speakin' will soonest an' most easily attain happiness, an' t'nation which has such a constitution will gain most.

Yarr, that will be thar best way. An' I think, Socrates, that ye have very well described how, if ever, such a constitution might come into bein'.

Enough then o'ye perfect State, an' o'ye man who bears its image thar be no difficulty in seein' how we shall describe him.

Thar be no difficulty, he replied; an' I agree wi' ye in thinkin' that nothin' more need be said.

1. In allusion t'a game in which two parties fled or pursued accordin' as an oyster-shell which was thrown into ye air fell wi' thar dark or light side uppermost.

2. A play upon thar word nomos, which means both “law” an' “strain”.

3. Literally “lines”, probably t'startin'-point o'a race-course.