republic (books 6 - 10)
the philosopher has to be ascertained. We must come to an
understanding about him, and, when we have done so, then,
if I am not mistaken, we shall also acknowledge that such a
union of qualities is possible, and that those in whom they are
united, and those only, should be rulers in the State.
What do you mean?
Let us suppose that philosophical minds always love knowl-
edge of a sort which shows them the eternal nature not varying
from generation and corruption.
And further, I said, let us agree that they are lovers of all
true being; there is no part whether greater or less, or more
or less honorable, which they are willing to renounce; as we
said before of the lover and the man of ambition.
And if they are to be what we were describing, is there not
another quality which they should also possess?
Truthfulness: they will never intentionally receive into their
minds falsehood, which is their detestation, and they will love
Yes, that may be safely affirmed of them.
"May be." my friend, I replied, is not the word; say rather,
"must be affirmed:" for he whose nature is amorous of any-
thing cannot help loving all that belongs or is akin to the object
of his affections.
Right, he said.
And is there anything more akin to wisdom than truth?
How can there be?
Can the same nature be a lover of wisdom and a lover of
The true lover of learning then must from his earliest youth,
as far as in him lies, desire all truth?
But then again, as we know by experience, he whose desires
are strong in one direction will have them weaker in others;
they will be like a stream which has been drawn off into an-
He whose desires are drawn toward knowledge in every form
will be absorbed in the pleasures of the soul, and will hardly
feel bodily pleasure--I mean, if he be a true philosopher and
not a sham one.