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Y. Soc. Very true.
Str. Will not the best and easiest way of bringing them to a
knowledge of what they do not as yet know be-
Y. Soc. Be what?
Str. To refer them first of all to cases in which they judge
correctly about the letters in question, and then to compare these
with the cases in which they do not as yet know, and to show
them that
the letters are the same, and have the same character in both
combination, until all cases in which they are right have been
Placed side by side with all cases in which they are wrong. In this
way they have examples, and are made to learn that each letter in
every combination is always the same and not another, and is always
called by the same name.
Y. Soc. Certainly.
Str. Are not examples formed in this manner? We take a thing and
compare it with another distinct instance of the same thing, of
which we have a right conception, and out of the comparison there
arises one true notion, which includes both of them.
Y. Soc. Exactly.
Str. Can we wonder, then, that the soul has the same uncertainty
about the alphabet of things, and sometimes and in some cases is
firmly fixed by the truth in each particular, and then, again, in
other cases is altogether at sea; having somehow or other a
of combinations; but when the elements are transferred into the long
and difficult language (syllables) of facts, is again ignorant of
Y. Soc. There is nothing wonderful in that.
Str. Could any one, my friend, who began with false opinion ever
expect to arrive even at a small portion of truth and to attain
Y. Soc. Hardly.
Str. Then you and I will not be far wrong in trying to see the
nature of example in general in a small and particular instance;
afterwards from lesser things we intend to pass to the royal class,
which is the highest form of the same nature, and endeavour to
discover by rules of art what the management of cities is; and then
the dream will become a reality to us.
Y. Soc. Very true.
Str. Then, once more, let us resume the previous argument, and as
there were innumerable rivals of the royal race who claim to have
the care of states, let us part them all off, and leave him alone;
and, as I was saying, a model or example of this process has first
to be framed.
Y. Soc. Exactly.
Str. What model is there which is small, and yet has any analogy
with the political occupation? Suppose, Socrates, that if we have no
other example at hand, we choose weaving, or, more precisely,
weaving of wool-this will be quite enough, without taking
the whole of
weaving, to illustrate our meaning?
Y. Soc. Certainly.
Str. Why should we not apply to weaving the same processes of
division and subdivision which we have already applied to other
classes; going once more as rapidly as we can through all the steps
until we come to that which is needed for our purpose?
Y. Soc. How do you mean?
Str. I shall reply by actually performing the process.
Y. Soc. Very good.
Str. All things which we make or acquire are either creative or
preventive; of the preventive class are antidotes, divine and human,
and also defences; and defences are either military weapons or
protections; and protections are veils, and also shields against

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