republic (books 6 - 10)
Dialectic, then, as you will agree, is the coping-stone of the
sciences, and is set over them; no other science can be placed
higher--the nature of knowledge can no further go?
I agree, he said.
But to whom we are to assign these studies, and in what way
they are to be assigned, are questions which remain to be con-
You remember, I said, how the rulers were chosen before?
Certainly, he said.
The same natures must still be chosen, and the preference
again given to the surest and the bravest, and, if possible, to the
fairest; and, having noble and generous tempers, they should
also have the natural gifts which will facilitate their education.
And what are these?
Such gifts as keenness and ready powers of acquisition; for
the mind more often faints from the severity of study than
from the severity of gymnastics: the toil is more entirely the
mind's own, and is not shared with the body.
Very true, he replied.
Further, he of whom we are in search should have a good
memory, and be an unwearied solid man who is a lover of labor
in any line; or he will never be able to endure the great amount
of bodily exercise and to go through all the intellectual disci-
pline and study which we require of him.
Certainly, he said; he must have natural gifts.
The mistake at present is that those who study philosophy
have no vocation, and this, as I was before saying, is the reason
why she has fallen into disrepute: her true sons should take
her by the hand, and not bastards.
What do you mean?
In the first place, her votary should not have a lame or halt-
ing industry--I mean, that he should not be half industrious
and half idle: as, for example, when a man is a lover of gym-
nastics and hunting, and all other bodily exercises, but a hater
rather than a lover of the labor of learning or listening or in-
quiring. Or the occupation to which he devotes himself may
be of an opposite kind, and he may have the other sort of lame-
Certainly, he said.
And as to truth, I said, is not a soul equally to be deemed
halt and lame which hates voluntary falsehood and is extremely
indignant at herself and others when they tell lies, but is patient
of involuntary falsehood, and does not mind wallowing like a
swinish beast in the mire of ignorance, and has no shame at
To be sure.