Key questions raised by this issue include the following: 1 Is Intellect personified by the Craftsman literally an intelligent agent of some sort, an entity that is ontologically distinct from both the model and its copy, or can the Craftsman be identified with some aspect of either the copy or the model—the world soul, for example, or one or other of the forms—and thus be reducible to something else? These questions are at the center of much current discussion of the dialogue. Such a developmental approach to the dialogues has been called into question in recent years, and is currently out of fashion in some circles.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to deny many lines of continuity, and sometimes discontinuity, in the questions that are explored in the dialogues and in the answers—however tentative—suggested by its primary characters. In , G. Owen claimed to see in the Timaeus a reassertion of several metaphysical views familiar from the Republic but on the reading proposed by Owen subsequently exposed for refutation in these two dialogues, both of which on the orthodox view precede the Timaeus. Owen called into question the assumptions and the results of these studies.
Cherniss in defense of the traditional view Cherniss , Over time the orthodox view appears to have held its own. Both a more nuanced examination of the texts and more recent computer-assisted stylometric studies have done much to reinforce it. Fashioned after an unchanging and eternal model—a possible subject of a definitive and exact account—the universe as a thing that becomes is shifting and unstable, and hence any account given of it will be similarly lacking in complete accuracy and consistency 29c4—7.
This may be read as lowering our expectations—the account is no more than likely. The account, then, is presented as reasonable, thus meriting our belief, but neither definitive nor complete cf. A definitive account of these matters eludes humans 29d1 and is available only to a god 53d4—7. This, however, is a mistake; it is not easy to see how the distinction between an exact and definitive versus a reliable but revisable account maps on to the distinction between a literal versus a metaphorical account.
The contrast should rather be seen as one between apodeictic certainty about intelligible matters and plausibility [ 11 ] about empirical matters. To the extent that the subject of the account is a thing that becomes rather than a thing that is, as well as a thing that is perceptible rather than a thing that is intelligible, the account will be no more than likely. To the extent that it is beautiful and ordered, modeled after a perfect reality and fashioned by a most excellent maker, the account will be no less than likely.
Introducing the subject of his discourse, Timaeus posits a distinction between what always is and never becomes and what becomes and never is 27d5—28a1. Although Timaeus does not here name the types of entity that satisfy these descriptions, the reader familiar with the Republic will call to mind the distinction between forms and sensibles c, a. The role of what is as the model after which the Craftsman designs and constructs the universe 29a recalls the role of the forms as models for the philosopher-rulers to imitate in exercising their statecraft Rep.
And the identification of what becomes with sensibles in this case the universe as an object of sense is readily made at 28b7—c2 see 5. For that reason the latter reading should be preferred. The metaphysical being-becoming distinction and its epistemological correlate are put to work in an argument that establishes the framework for the cosmology to follow.
The conclusion of that argument is that the universe is a work of craft, produced by a supremely good Craftsman in imitation of an eternal model. The reasoning may be represented as follows:. Given familiar Platonic doctrines and assumptions, the argument up to the intermediate conclusion that the universe has a cause of its becoming 7 presents no particular difficulties. But 7 by itself gives only partial support to 8. Once the conclusion that the universe is teleologically structured is settled, the explanatory methodology of the discourse changes accordingly.
The question that frames the inquiry henceforth is not the question: What best explains this or that observed feature of the world? It is rather the question: Given that the world as a whole is the best possible one within the constraints of becoming and of Necessity, what sorts of features should we expect the world to have? Furthermore, the answers to these questions are not open to empirical confirmation. But clearly the inquiry is also constrained by features of the universe that are actually observed, and this gives rise, secondly, to questions about the good purposes that are being served by these features for example, the motions of the heavenly bodies, the psychophysical constitutions of human beings, etc.
For the most part there is a happy coincidence between the features that are required in answer to the first question , and the features that are actually observed in answer to the second , and it is part of the genius of the discourse that these are so well woven together. The imitative activity of the Craftsman is unlike that of a builder who replicates a larger- or smaller-scale three-dimensional structure as model, but like that of a builder who follows a set of instructions or schematics.
That set is the intelligible, non-material and non-spatial model that prescribes the features of the structure to be built; it is not a structure itself. As invisible, intangible, and non-spatial entities forms are excluded from possessing properties that only visible, tangible and spatial object may possess. He apologizes for the obscurity of the concept, and attempts to explicate its role by means of a series of analogies: it is variously compared to a lump of gold 50a4—b5 , a mother that together with a father produces offspring 50d2—4, 51a4—5 , a plastic, impressionable stuff 50c2—6, e7—51a1 , and an ointment that serves as a neutral base for various fragrances 50e5—8.
These images suggest that it is devoid of any characteristics in its own right except those formal characteristics necessary to its role, such as malleability. The receptacle is posited as the solution to a problem: none of the observable particulars persists as this or that for example as fire or water over time. We observe the very thing that is fire at one time becoming air, and subsequently becoming water, etc. Thus the thing that appears as fire here and now is not fire in its own right: its fieriness is only a temporary characterization of it.
What, then, is that thing in its own right? In a difficult and controversial passage Timaeus proposes a solution: [ 16 ] In its own right it is part of a totally characterless subject that temporarily in its various parts gets characterized in various ways. This is the receptacle—an enduring substratum, neutral in itself but temporarily taking on the various characterizations. The observed particulars just are parts of that receptacle so characterized 51b4—6. There has been considerable discussion about whether the receptacle is to be thought of as matter, or as space, and whether it is possible to think of it coherently as having both of those roles.
Consider, for example, what it would mean on either view for something to be a receptacle part. On the other hand, spatial parts are fixed; if an observable particular were to travel from one place to another, that particular would be and not just be in a succession of distinct receptacle parts, and thus not strictly the same part throughout. This difficulty can be overcome if we think of the receptacle as filled space. On the other hand, as the filling of that space, it serves as the neutral underlying substratum from which a particular, once characterized in some way, is constituted. An observable particular, then, is a bit of extended, localizable stuff that may be variously characterized at various times and in various places.
It appears that the receptacle is intended to serve both as the matter from which observable particulars are constituted and as the spatial field or medium in which they subsist. It is not clear that these two roles are inconsistent—indeed, they appear to be mutually necessary. There is ongoing disagreement about the nature of the entities that are said to enter into and disappear from the receptacle.
2. An Interpretive Question
They are clearly not forms 52a4. This interpretation is based on a reading of that argument that is controversial see note Bodies are three-dimensional entities, and this makes it likely that it is the emergence and disappearance of the variously characterized observable particulars as such, and not their properties types or tokens , that are mentioned in these passages 49e7—8, 50c4—5, 52a4—6. The receptacle is introduced not as a distinct entity newly superadded to particulars and forms, but as a new and essential component in the analysis of what it is to be a spatio-temporal particular.
Although the receptacle does not appear by name in any other of the later dialogues, it clearly has affinities to the concept of the apeiron indefinite or indeterminate of the metaphysical scheme in the Philebus. It is impossible, however, to determine the chronological relation between these two dialogues with certainty see note 7 , and thus impossible to infer which of the two schemes Plato might have thought to be the more definitive.
Many commentators on the Timaeus have pointed out that the teleological account set out in the Timaeus is the fulfillment of a quest for teleological explanations related in the Phaedo see, e. Socrates expected the use Anaxagoras made of Intellect to provide teleological explanations; instead, Anaxagoras employed the concept to provide the same sort of causal explanation—in terms of physical interactions—that Socrates had found confusing.
Continuing to hope for teleological causal explanations but finding them elusive, Socrates settles for a second best account: offering causal explanations in terms of participation in Forms Phaedo 99c6 ff. It is not entirely clear by what avenue of reasoning Plato found what his character Socrates failed to find in the Phaedo , but it is reasonable to assume that the role of the form of the Good, introduced in the Republic , assisted in the discovery.
Although the character Socrates in that dialogue declines to offer an account of the nature of the Good, it is not unreasonable to connect that form, as some have done, with rational, mathematical order. Sensibles are good in so far as they participate in these forms, though they fail to do so completely. What is left to be explained, then, is how such order is manifested in the visible universe, however imperfectly. The explanation offered in the Timaeus is that order is not inherent in the spatio-material universe; it is imposed by Intellect, as represented by the Craftsman.
While the figure of the Craftsman seems to be an anthropomorphic representation of Intellect, [ 23 ] it remains to ask what the ontological status of Intellect is, in relation to the division between being and becoming—a distinction that appears to be exhaustive. Alternatively, either Intellect is a form, or the distinction between being and becoming is not exhaustive.
Aristotelian final causes in the formation of organisms and the structures of the natural world are said to be immanent in nature i. Moreover, for Aristotle the development of an individual member of a species is determined by the form it has inherited from its male parent: the goal of the developing individual is to fully actualize that form. For Plato the primeval chaotic stuff of the universe has no inherent preexisting form that governs some course of natural development toward the achievement of some goal, and so the explanatory cause of its orderliness must be external to any features that such stuff may possess.
While the receptacle has an obvious metaphysical role in the Timaeus , its primary role after its introduction is in the physical theory of the dialogue. The argument from 47e3 to 52d4 gives Timaeus both the spatial matrix in which to situate, and the material substratum from which to constitute, the universe that he will fashion after its eternal model. In that state, dramatically described at 52d4—53c3, the filled space that is the receptacle undergoes constant, erratic motion: it is subject to forces dunameis , 52e2 that are dissimilar to and out of balance with each other, and thus, as each spastic movement produces its chain of spastic reactions, it is perpetually unstable 52e1—5.
The result is a pre-cosmic inchoate stratification of these traces, which anticipates the perpetually incomplete, 58a2—c4 stratification of the finished universe. Timaeus does not say why each face is composed of six such triangles, when in fact two, joined at the longer of the two sides that contain the right angle, will more simply constitute an equilateral triangle.
The faces of the cube are squares composed of four elemental isosceles right-angled triangles and again, it is not clear why four should be preferred to two. Given that every right-angled triangle is infinitely divisible into two triangles of it own type by dropping a perpendicular from the right-angle vertex to the hypotenuse, the resulting two smaller right triangles are both similar to the original triangle the equilateral or square faces of the solids and thus the stereometric solids themselves have no minimal size.
Possibly, then, the choice of six component triangles for the equilateral and four for the square is intended to prevent the solid particles from becoming vanishingly small. Since each of the first three of the regular solids has equilateral faces, it is possible for any fire, air or water corpuscles to come apart in their interactions—they cut or crush each other—and their faces be reconstituted into corpuscles of one of the two other sorts, depending on the numbers of faces of the basic corpuscles involved.
For example, two fire corpuscles could be transformed into a single air corpuscle, or one air corpuscle into two fire corpuscles, given that the tetrahedron has four faces and the octahedron eight other examples are given at 56d6—e7. In this way Timaeus explains the intertransformation that can occur among fire, air and water. On the other hand, while the faces of the cube particles may also come apart, they can only be reconstituted as cubes, and so earth undergoes no intertransformation with the other three. These various arrangements explain the perceptible properties possessed by the varieties of primary bodies and their compounds.
It is a fair question to ask how the physics of the discourse relates to its metaphysics—for example, how the perceptible properties of observable instances of fire its brightness, lightness and heat, let us say relate to the form of Fire, an intelligible reality that has no perceptible properties at all. Although we are not told what it is about the nature of fire that requires observable instances of it to have just these properties, it is presumably that knowledge that guides the Craftsman to select and assign the four regular solids as he does.
And so with the other three kinds see 55d7—56c7. Cratylus discusses the nature of language. The great masterpiece in ten books, the Republic, concerns righteousness and involves education, equality of the sexes, the structure of society, and abolition of slavery. Of the six so-called dialectical dialogues Euthydemus deals with philosophy; metaphysical Parmenides is about general concepts and absolute being; Theaetetus reasons about the theory of knowledge.
Of its sequels, Sophist deals with not-being; Politicus with good and bad statesmanship and governments; Philebus with what is good. The Timaeus seeks the origin of the visible universe out of abstract geometrical elements. The unfinished Critias treats of lost Atlantis. Unfinished also is Plato's last work of the twelve books of Laws Socrates is absent from it , a critical discussion of principles of law which Plato thought the Greeks might accept.
More Contact Us How to Subscribe. But then again our old doctrine of the division of labour must not be forgotten. The art of war cannot be learned in a day, and there must be a natural aptitude for military duties. There will Jowett be some warlike natures who have this aptitude—dogs keen of scent, swift of foot to pursue, and strong of limb to fight. And Edition: current; Page: [ xxxiv ] as spirit is the foundation of courage, such natures, whether of men or animals, will be full of spirit. But these spirited natures are apt to bite and devour one another; the union of gentleness to friends and fierceness against enemies appears to be an impossibility, and the guardian of a State requires both qualities.
Who then can be a guardian? The image of the dog suggests Jowett an answer. For dogs are gentle to friends and fierce to strangers. Your dog is a philosopher who judges by the rule of knowing or not knowing; and philosophy, whether in man or beast, is the parent of gentleness. The human watchdogs must be philosophers or lovers of learning which will make them gentle. And how are they to be learned without education?
But what shall their education be? Is any better than the old-fashioned sort which is comprehended under the name of music Jowett and gymnastic? Music includes literature, and literature is of two kinds, true and false. I mean that children hear stories before they learn gymnastics, and that the stories are either untrue, or have at most one or two grains of truth in a bushel of falsehood. Now early life is very impressible, and children ought not to learn what they will have to unlearn when they grow up; we must therefore have a censorship of nursery tales, banishing some and keeping others.
Some of them are very improper, as we may see in the great instances of Homer and Hesiod, who not only tell lies but bad lies; stories Jowett about Uranus and Saturn, which are immoral as well as false, and which should never be spoken of to young persons, or indeed at all; or, if at all, then in a mystery, after the sacrifice, not of an Eleusinian pig, but of some unprocurable animal. Shall our youth be encouraged to beat their fathers by the example of Zeus, or our citizens be incited to quarrel by hearing or seeing representations of strife among the gods?
Shall they listen to the narrative of Hephaestus binding his mother, and of Zeus sending him flying for helping her when she was beaten? Such tales may possibly have a mystical interpretation, but the young are incapable of understanding allegory. If any one asks what Jowett tales are to be allowed, we will answer that we are legislators and not book-makers; we only lay down the principles according to which books are to be written; to write them is the duty of others. And our first principle is, that God must be represented as he is; not as the author of all things, but of good only.
We will not suffer the poets to say that he is the steward of good and evil, or that he has two casks full of destinies;—or that Athene and Zeus incited Pandarus to break the treaty; or that God Jowett caused the sufferings of Niobe, or of Pelops, or the Trojan war; or that he makes men sin when he wishes to destroy them. Either these were not the actions of the gods, or God was just, and men were the better for being punished. But that the deed was evil, and God the author, is a wicked, suicidal fiction which we will allow no one, old or young, to utter. This is our first and great principle—God is the author of good only.
And the second principle is like unto it:—With God is no variableness or change of form. Reason teaches us this; for if we suppose a change in God, he must be changed either by another or by himself. By another? By himself? He remains for ever fairest and best in his own image. Therefore we refuse to listen to the poets who tell us of Here begging in the likeness of a priestess or of other deities who prowl about at night in strange disguises; all that blasphemous nonsense with which mothers fool the manhood out of their children must be suppressed.
Jowett But some one will say that God, who is himself unchangeable, may take a form in relation to us. Why should he? For gods as well as men hate the lie in the soul, or principle of falsehood; and as for any other form of lying which is used for a purpose and is regarded as innocent in certain exceptional cases—what need have the gods of this? For they are not ignorant of antiquity like the poets, nor are they afraid of their Jowett enemies, nor is any madman a friend of theirs.
God then is true, he is absolutely true; he changes not, he deceives not, by day or night, by word or sign. This is our second great principle—God is true. Away with the lying dream of Agamemnon in Homer, and the accusation of Thetis against Apollo in Aeschylus.
In order to give clearness to his conception of the State, Plato proceeds to trace the first principles of mutual need and of Edition: current; Page: [ xxxvi ] division of labour in an imaginary community of four or five citizens. Gradually this community increases; the division of labour extends to countries; imports necessitate exports; a medium of exchange is required, and retailers sit in the marketplace to save the time of the producers.
These are the steps by which Plato constructs the first or primitive State, introducing the elements of political economy by the way. As he is going to frame a second or civilized State, the simple naturally comes before the complex. He indulges, like Rousseau, in a picture of primitive life—an idea which has indeed often had a powerful influence on the imagination of mankind, but he does not seriously mean to say that one is better than the other cp.
Politicus, p. We should not interpret a Platonic dialogue any more than a poem or a parable in too literal or matter-of-fact a style. Several interesting remarks which in modern times would have a place in a treatise on Political Economy are scattered up and down the writings of Plato: cp.
The last subject, and also the origin of Retail Trade, is treated with admirable lucidity in the second book of the Republic. But Plato never combined his economic ideas into a system, and never seems to have recognized that Trade is one of the great motive powers of the State and of the world. He would make retail traders only of the inferior sort of citizens Rep. Laws, viii. In speaking of education Plato rather startles us by affirming that a child must be trained in falsehood first and in truth afterwards.
Yet this is not very different from saying that children must be taught through the medium of imagination as well as reason; that their minds can only develope gradually, and that there is much which they must learn without understanding cp. To us, economies or accommodations would not be allowable unless they were required by the human faculties or necessary for the communication of knowledge to the simple and ignorant.
But Plato would limit the use of fictions only by requiring that they should have a good moral effect, and that such a dangerous weapon as falsehood should be employed by the rulers alone and for great objects. A Greek in the age of Plato attached no importance to the question whether his religion was an historical fact. He was just beginning to be conscious that the past had a history; but he could see nothing beyond Homer and Hesiod. Whether their narratives were true or false did not seriously affect the political or social life of Hellas.
Men only began to suspect that they were fictions when they recognised them to be immoral. And so in all religions: the consideration of their morality comes first, afterwards the truth of the documents in which they are recorded, or of the events natural or supernatural which are told of them. But in modern times, and in Protestant countries perhaps more than in Catholic, we have been too much inclined to identify the historical with the moral; and some have refused to believe in religion at all, unless a superhuman accuracy was discernible in every part of the record.
The facts of an ancient Edition: current; Page: [ xxxviii ] or religious history are amongst the most important of all facts; but they are frequently uncertain, and we only learn the true lesson which is to be gathered from them when we place ourselves above them. These reflections tend to show that the difference between Plato and ourselves, though not unimportant, is not so great as might at first sight appear. For we should agree with him in placing the moral before the historical truth of religion; and, generally, in disregarding those errors or misstatements of fact which necessarily occur in the early stages of all religions.
We know also that changes in the traditions of a country cannot be made in a day; and are therefore tolerant of many things which science and criticism would condemn. We note in passing that the allegorical interpretation of mythology, said to have been first introduced as early as the sixth century before Christ by Theagenes of Rhegium, was well established in the age of Plato, and here, as in the Phaedrus , though for a different reason, was rejected by him. That anachronisms whether of religion or law, when men have reached another stage of civilization, should be got rid of by fictions is in accordance with universal experience.
Great is the art of interpretation; and by a natural process, which when once discovered was always going on, what could not be altered was explained away. At length the antagonism between the popular and philosophical religion, never so great among the Greeks as in our own age, disappeared, and was only felt like the difference between the religion of the educated and uneducated among ourselves. These and still more wonderful transformations were readily effected by the ingenuity of Stoics and neo-Platonists in the two or three centuries before and after Christ.
The Greek and Roman religions were gradually permeated by the spirit of philosophy; having lost their Edition: current; Page: [ xxxix ] ancient meaning, they were resolved into poetry and morality; and probably were never purer than at the time of their decay, when their influence over the world was waning. A singular conception which occurs towards the end of the book is the lie in the soul; this is connected with the Platonic and Socratic doctrine that involuntary ignorance is worse than voluntary.
The lie in the soul is a true lie, the corruption of the highest truth, the deception of the highest part of the soul, from which he who is deceived has no power of delivering himself. The greatest unconsciousness of the greatest untruth, e. The lie in the soul may be further compared with the sin against the Holy Ghost Luke xii. To this is opposed the lie in words, which is only such a deception as may occur in a play or poem, or allegory or figure of speech, or in any sort of accommodation,—which though useless to the gods may be useful to men in certain cases.
Socrates is here answering the question which he had himself raised i. For God is Truth, but mankind can only be true by appearing sometimes to be partial, or false. Reserving for another place the greater questions of religion or education, we may note further, 1 the approval of the old traditional education of Greece; 2 the preparation which Plato is making for the attack on Homer and the poets; 3 the preparation which he is also making for the use of economies in the State; 4 the contemptuous and at the same time euphemistic manner in which here as below iii.
Jowett There is another motive in purifying religion, which is to banish fear; for no man can be courageous who is Edition: current; Page: [ xl ] afraid of death, or who believes the tales which are repeated by the poets concerning the world below. They must be gently requested not to abuse hell; they may be reminded that their stories are both untrue and discouraging.
The terrors and horrors of Cocytus and Styx, ghosts and sapless shades, and the rest of their Tartarean nomenclature, must vanish. Such tales may have their use; but they are not the proper food for soldiers. As little can we admit the sorrows and sympathies of the Homeric heroes:—Achilles, the son of Thetis, in tears, throwing ashes on his head, or pacing up and down the sea-shore in distraction; or Priam, the cousin of the gods, crying aloud, rolling in the mire. A good man is not prostrated at the loss of children or fortune.
Neither is death terrible to him; and therefore lamentations over the dead should not be practised by Jowett men of note; they should be the concern of inferior persons only, whether women or men. Such a character of God, if not ridiculed by our young men, is likely to be imitated by them. The description in the Iliad of the gods shaking their sides at the clumsiness of Hephaestus will not be admitted by us.
Truth should have a high place among the virtues, for falsehood, as we were saying, is useless to the gods, and only useful to men as a medicine. But this employment of falsehood must remain a privilege of state; the common man must not in return tell a lie to the ruler; any more than the patient would tell a lie to his physician, or the sailor to his captain. In the next place our youth must be temperate, and temperance consists in self-control and obedience to authority. The same may be said about his praises of eating and drinking and his dread of starvation; also about the verses in which he tells of the rapturous loves of Zeus and Here, or of how Hephaestus once detained Ares and Aphrodite in a net on a similar occasion.
The amatory exploits of Peirithous and Theseus are equally unworthy. Either these so-called sons of gods were not the sons of gods, or they were not such as the poets imagine them, any more than the gods themselves are the authors of evil. The youth who believes that such things are done by those who have the Jowett blood of heaven flowing in their veins will be too ready to imitate their example.
Enough of gods and heroes;—what shall we say about men? Such misrepresentations cannot be allowed by us. But in this we are anticipating the definition of justice, and had therefore better defer the enquiry. The subjects of poetry have been sufficiently treated; next follows style.
Now all poetry is a narrative of events past, present, or to come; and narrative is of three kinds, the simple, the imitative, and a composition of the two. An instance will Edition: current; Page: [ xlii ] Jowett make my meaning clear. The first scene in Homer is of the last or mixed kind, being partly description and partly dialogue. These are the three styles—which of them is to be admitted into our State? Or rather, has not the question been already answered, for we have decided that one man Jowett cannot in his life play many parts, any more than he can act both tragedy and comedy, or be rhapsodist and actor at once?
Human nature is coined into very small pieces, and as our guardians have their own business already, which is the care of freedom, they will have enough to do without imitating. If they imitate they should imitate, not any meanness or baseness, but the good only; for the mask which the actor wears is apt to become his face. We cannot allow men to play the parts of women, quarrelling, weeping, scolding, or boasting against the gods,—least of all when making love or in labour.
They must not represent slaves, or Jowett bullies, or cowards, or drunkards, or madmen, or blacksmiths, or neighing horses, or bellowing bulls, or sounding rivers, or a raging sea. A good or wise man will be willing to perform good and wise actions, but he will be ashamed to play an inferior part which he has never practised; and he will prefer to employ the Jowett descriptive style with as little imitation as possible. The man who has no self-respect, on the contrary, will imitate anybody and anything; sounds of nature and cries of animals alike; his whole performance will be imitation of gesture and voice.
Now in the descriptive style there are few changes, but in the dramatic there are a great many. Poets and musicians use either, or a compound of both, and this compound is very attractive to youth and their teachers as well as to the vulgar. But our State in which one man Jowett plays one part only is not adapted for complexity. And when one of these polyphonous pantomimic gentlemen offers to exhibit Edition: current; Page: [ xliii ] himself and his poetry we will show him every observance of respect, but at the same time tell him that there is no room for his kind in our State; we prefer the rough, honest poet, and will not depart from our original models ii.
Laws, vii. Next as to the music. A song or ode has three parts,—the subject, the harmony, and the rhythm; of which the two last are dependent upon the first. As we banished strains of lamentation, so we may now banish the mixed Lydian harmonies, which are the harmonies of lamentation; and as our citizens are to be temperate, we may also banish convivial harmonies, such as the Jowett Ionian and pure Lydian. Two remain—the Dorian and Phrygian, the first for war, the second for peace; the one expressive of courage, the other of obedience or instruction or religious feeling.
And as we reject varieties of harmony, we shall also reject the many-stringed, variously-shaped instruments which give utterance to them, and in particular the flute, which is more complex than any of them. Thus we have made a purgation of music, and will now make a purgation of metres. Jowett These should be like the harmonies, simple and suitable to the occasion. But about this you and I must ask Damon, the great musician, who speaks, if I remember rightly, of a martial measure as well as of dactylic, trochaic, and iambic rhythms, which he arranges so as to equalize the syllables with one another, assigning to each the proper quantity.
We only venture to affirm the general principle that the style is to conform to the subject and the metre to the style; and that the simplicity and harmony of the soul should be reflected in them all. This principle of simplicity has to be learnt by every one in the days of his youth, and may Jowett be gathered anywhere, from the creative and constructive arts, as well as from the forms of plants and animals.
Legendary Knight Timaeus
Other artists as well as poets should be warned against meanness or unseemliness. Sculpture and painting equally with music must conform to the law of simplicity. He who violates it cannot be allowed to work in our city, and to corrupt the taste of our citizens. For our guardians must grow up, not amid images of Edition: current; Page: [ xliv ] deformity which will gradually poison and corrupt their souls, but in a land of health and beauty where they will drink in from every object sweet and harmonious influences.
And of all these influences the greatest is the education given by music, which Jowett finds a way into the innermost soul and imparts to it the sense of beauty and of deformity. At first the effect is unconscious; but when reason arrives, then he who has been thus trained welcomes her as the friend whom he always knew.
As in learning to read, first we acquire the elements or letters separately, and afterwards their combinations, and cannot recognize reflections of them until we know the letters themselves; in like manner we must first attain the elements or essential forms of the virtues, and then trace their combinations in life and experience. There is a music of the soul which answers to the harmony of the world; and the fairest object of a musical soul is the fair mind in the fair body.
Some defect in the latter may be excused, but not in the former. Jowett True love is the daughter of temperance, and temperance is utterly opposed to the madness of bodily pleasure. Enough has been said of music, which makes a fair ending with love. Next we pass on to gymnastics; about which I would remark, that the soul is related to the body as a cause to an effect, and therefore if we educate the mind we may leave the education of the body in her charge, and need only give a general outline of the course to be pursued.
In the first place the guardians must abstain from strong drink, for they should be the last persons to Jowett lose their wits. Whether the habits of the palaestra are suitable to them is more doubtful, for the ordinary gymnastic is a sleepy sort of thing, and if left off suddenly is apt to endanger health. But our warrior athletes must be wide-awake dogs, and must also be inured to all changes of food and climate. Hence they will require a simpler kind of gymnastic, akin to their simple music; and for their diet a rule may be found in Homer, who feeds his heroes on roast meat only, and gives them no fish although they are living at the sea-side, nor boiled meats which involve an apparatus of pots and pans; and, if I am not mistaken, he nowhere mentions sweet sauces.
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Sicilian cookery and Attic confections and Corinthian courtezans, which are to gymnastic what Lydian and Ionian melodies are to music, must be forbidden. Jowett Where gluttony and intemperance prevail the town quickly fills Edition: current; Page: [ xlv ] with doctors and pleaders; and law and medicine give themselves airs as soon as the freemen of a State take an interest in them.
But what can show a more disgraceful state of education than to have to go abroad for justice because you have none of your own at home? And yet there is a worse stage of the same disease—when men have learned to take a pleasure and pride in the twists and turns of the law; not considering how much better it would be for them so to order their lives as to have no need of a nodding justice. And there is a like disgrace in employing a physician, not for the cure of wounds or epidemic disorders, but because a man has by laziness and luxury contracted diseases which were unknown in the days of Asclepius.
How simple is the Homeric practice of medicine. Eurypylus after he has been wounded Jowett drinks a posset of Pramnian wine, which is of a heating nature; and yet the sons of Asclepius blame neither the damsel who gives him the drink, nor Patroclus who is attending on him. The truth is that this modern system of nursing diseases was introduced by Herodicus the trainer; who, being of a sickly constitution, by a compound of training and medicine tortured first himself and then a good many other people, and lived a great deal longer than he had any right.
But how can excessive care of health be inconsistent with an ordinary occupation, and yet consistent with that practice of virtue which Phocylides inculcates? When a student imagines that philosophy gives him a headache, he never does anything; he is always unwell. This was the reason why Asclepius and his sons practised no such art. They were acting in the interest of the public, and did not wish to preserve useless lives, or raise up a puny offspring to wretched sires.
Honest diseases they honestly Jowett cured; and if a man was wounded, they applied the proper remedies, and then let him eat and drink what he liked.
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But Edition: current; Page: [ xlvi ] they declined to treat intemperate and worthless subjects, even though they might have made large fortunes out of them. As to the story of Pindar, that Asclepius was slain by a thunderbolt for restoring a rich man to life, that is a lie—following our old rule we must say either that he did not take bribes, or that he was not the son of a god.
Glaucon then asks Socrates whether the best physicians and the best judges will not be those who have had severally the greatest experience of diseases and of crimes. Socrates draws a distinction between the two professions. The physician should have had experience of disease in his own body, for he cures with his mind Jowett and not with his body.
But the judge controls mind by mind; and therefore his mind should not be corrupted by crime. Where then is he to gain experience? How is he to be wise and also innocent? When young a good man is apt to be deceived by evil-doers, because he has no pattern of evil in himself; and therefore the judge should be of a certain age; his youth should have been innocent, and he should have acquired insight into evil not by the practice of it, but by the observation of it in others.
This is the ideal of a judge; the criminal turned detective is wonderfully suspicious, but when in company with good men who have experience, he is at fault, for he foolishly imagines that every one is as bad as himself.
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Vice may be known of virtue, but cannot know virtue. This is the sort of medicine and this the sort of law which will prevail in our State; they will be healing Jowett arts to better natures; but the evil body will be left to die by the one, and the evil soul will be put to death by the other. And the need of either will be greatly diminished by good music which will give harmony to the soul, and good gymnastic which will give health to the body. Not that this division of music and gymnastic really corresponds to soul and body; for they are both equally concerned with the soul, which is tamed by the one and aroused and sustained by the other.
The two together supply our guardians with their twofold nature. The passionate disposition when it has too much gymnastic is hardened and brutalized, the gentle or philosophic temper which has too much music becomes enervated. Jowett While a man is allowing music to pour like water through the funnel of his ears, the edge of his soul gradually wears away, and the passionate or spirited element is melted out of him. Too little Edition: current; Page: [ xlvii ] spirit is easily exhausted; too much quickly passes into nervous irritability.
So, again, the athlete by feeding and training has his courage doubled, but he soon grows stupid; he is like a wild beast, ready to do everything by blows and nothing by counsel or policy. There are two principles in man, reason and passion, Jowett and to these, not to the soul and body, the two arts of music and gymnastic correspond.
He who mingles them in harmonious concord is the true musician,—he shall be the presiding genius of our State. The next question is, Who are to be our rulers? First, the elder must rule the younger; and the best of the elders will be the best guardians.
Now they will be the best who love their subjects most, and think that they have a common interest with them in the welfare of the state. These we must select; but they must be watched at every epoch of life to see whether they have retained the same opinions and held out against force Jowett and enchantment. For time and persuasion and the love of pleasure may enchant a man into a change of purpose, and the force of grief and pain may compel him. These shall Jowett receive the highest honours both in life and death. And now for one magnificent lie, in the belief of which, Oh that we could train our rulers!
What I am going to tell is only a another version of the legend of Cadmus; but our unbelieving generation will be slow to accept such a story. The tale must be imparted, first to the rulers, then to the soldiers, lastly to the people. We will inform them that their youth was a dream, and that during the time when they seemed to be undergoing their education they were really being fashioned in the earth, who sent them up when they were ready; and that they must protect and cherish her whose children they are, and regard Edition: current; Page: [ xlviii ] each other as brothers and sisters.
These brothers and sisters have different natures, and some of them God framed to rule, whom he fashioned of gold; others he made of silver, to be auxiliaries; others again to be husbandmen and craftsmen, and these were formed by him of brass and iron. Now let the earthborn men go forth under the command of their rulers, and look about and pitch their camp in a high place, which will be safe against enemies from without, and likewise against insurrections from within.
There let them sacrifice and Jowett set up their tents; for soldiers they are to be and not shopkeepers, the watchdogs and guardians of the sheep; and luxury and avarice will turn them into wolves and tyrants. Their habits and their dwellings should correspond to their education. They should have no property; their pay should only meet their expenses; and they should have common meals.
Gold and silver we will tell them that they have from God, and this divine Jowett gift in their souls they must not alloy with that earthly dross which passes under the name of gold. They only of the citizens may not touch it, or be under the same roof with it, or drink from it; it is the accursed thing. Should they ever acquire houses or lands or money of their own, they will become householders and tradesmen instead of guardians, enemies and tyrants instead of helpers, and the hour of ruin, both to themselves and the rest of the State, will be at hand.
Some lesser points may be more conveniently noticed in this place. The constant appeal to the authority of Homer, whom, with grave irony, Plato, after the manner of his age, summons as a Edition: current; Page: [ xlix ] witness about ethics and psychology, as well as about diet and medicine; attempting to distinguish the better lesson from the worse , sometimes altering the text from design , and, perhaps, ; more than once quoting or alluding to Homer inaccurately , , after the manner of the early logographers turning the Iliad into prose , and delighting to draw farfetched inferences from his words, or to make ludicrous applications of them.
He does not, like Heracleitus, get into a rage with Homer and Archilochus Heracl. Bywater , but uses their words and expressions as vehicles of a higher truth; not on a system like Theagenes of Rhegium or Metrodorus, or in later times the Stoics, but as fancy may dictate. And the conclusions drawn from them are sound, although the premises are fictitious. To us and probably to himself , although they take the form of arguments, they are really figures of speech. They may be compared with modern citations from Scripture, which have often a great rhetorical power even when the original meaning of the words is entirely lost sight of.
The real, like the Platonic Socrates, as we gather from the Memorabilia of Xenophon, was fond of making similar adaptations i. Great in all ages and countries, in religion as well as in law and literature, has been the art of interpretation. Only perhaps in Sophocles is there a perfect harmony of the two; in him alone do we find a grace of language like the beauty of a Greek statue, in which there is nothing to add or to take away; at least this is true of single plays or of large portions of them. The connection in the Tragic Choruses and in the Greek lyric poets is not unfrequently a tangled thread which in an age before logic the poet was unable to draw out.
Many thoughts and feelings mingled in his mind, and he had no power of disengaging or Edition: current; Page: [ l ] arranging them. For there is a subtle influence of logic which requires to be transferred from prose to poetry, just as the music and perfection of language are infused by poetry into prose. In all ages the poet has been a bad judge of his own meaning Apol. As if there could be poetry without beauty, or beauty without ease and clearness.
The obscurities of early Greek poets arose necessarily out of the state of language and logic which existed in their age. They are not examples to be followed by us; for the use of language ought in every generation to become clearer and clearer. Like Shakespere, they were great in spite, not in consequence, of their imperfections of expression. But there is no reason for returning to the necessary obscurity which prevailed in the infancy of literature. The English poets of the last century were certainly not obscure; and we have no excuse for losing what they had gained, or for going back to the earlier or transitional age which preceded them.
In the third book of the Republic a nearer approach is made to a theory of art than anywhere else in Plato. His views may be summed up as follows:—True art is not fanciful and imitative, but simple and ideal,—the expression of the highest moral energy, whether in action or repose. To live among works of plastic art which are of this noble and simple character, or to listen to such strains, is the best of influences,—the true Greek atmosphere, in which youth should be brought up.
That is the way to create in them a natural good taste, which will have a feeling of truth and beauty in all things. For though the poets are to be expelled, still art is recognized as another aspect of Edition: current; Page: [ li ] reason—like love in the Symposium, extending over the same sphere, but confined to the preliminary education, and acting through the power of habit vii.
The Republic of Plato, like the Athens of Pericles, has an artistic as well as a political side. There is hardly any mention in Plato of the creative arts; only in two or three passages does he even allude to them cp. He is not lost in rapture at the great works of Phidias, the Parthenon, the Propylea, the statues of Zeus or Athene.