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Pages of republic (books 6 - 10)



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republic (books 6 - 10)   


fabulous or possibly true, had kindred elements of rhythm and
harmony in them. But in music there was nothing which tend-
ed to that good which you are now seeking.

You are most accurate, I said, in your recollection; in music
there certainly was nothing of the kind. But what branch of
knowledge is there, my dear Glaucon, which is of the desired
nature; since all the useful arts were reckoned mean by us?

Undoubtedly; and yet if music and gymnastics are excluded,
and the arts are also excluded, what remains?

Well, I said, there may be nothing left of our special sub-
jects; and then we shall have to take something which is not
special, but of the universal application.

What may that be?

A something which all arts and sciences and intelligences
use in common, and which everyone first has to learn among
the elements of education.

What is that?

The little matter of distinguishing one, two, and three--in
a word, number and calculation: do not all arts and sciences
necessarily partake of them?

Yes.

Then the art of war partakes of them?

To be sure.

Then Palamedes, whenever he appears in tragedy, proves
Agamemnon ridiculously unfit to be a general. Did you never
remark how he declares that he had invented number, and had
numbered the ships and set in array the ranks of the army at
Troy; which implies that they had never been numbered before,
and Agamemnon must be supposed literally to have been in-
capable of counting his own fleet--how could he if he was ig-
norant of number? And if that is true, what sort of general
must he have been?

I should say a very strange one, if this was as you say.

Can we deny that a warrior should have a knowledge of
arithmetic?

Certainly he should, if he is to have the smallest understand-
ing of military tactics, or indeed, I should rather say, if he is to
be a man at all.

I should like to know whether you have the same notion
which I have of this study?

What is your notion?

It appears to me to be a study of the kind which we are seek-
ing, and which leads naturally to reflection, but never to have
been rightly used; for the true use of it is simply to draw the
soul toward being.

Will you explain your meaning? he said.

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