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Nay, my good sir, that were impossible.Athenian
We must proceed, then, to expound a type of education that is higher than the one previously described. [965b] Clinias
I suppose so.Athenian
Will the type which we hinted at just now1 prove to be that which we require?Clinias
Did we not say2 that he who is a first-class craftsman or warden, in any department, must not only be able to pay regard to the many, but must be able also to press towards the One3 so as to discern it and, on discerning it, to survey and organize all the rest with a single eye to it?Clinias
Quite right. [965c] Athenian
Can any man get an accurate vision and view of any object better than by being able to look from the many and dissimilar to the one unifying form?Clinias
It is certain, my friend, rather than probable, that no man can possibly have a clearer method than this.Clinias
I believe you, Stranger, and I assent; so let us employ this method in our subsequent discourse.Athenian
Naturally we must compel the wardens also of our divine polity to observe accurately, in the first place, what that identical element is which pervades all the four virtues, [965d] and which,—since it exists as a unity in courage, temperance, justice and wisdom,— may justly be called, as we assert, by the single name of “virtue.” This element, my friends, we must now (if we please) hold very tight, and not let go until we have adequately explained the essential nature of the object to be aimed at—whether, that is, it exists by nature as a unity, or as a whole, or as both, or in some other way. Else, if this eludes us, can we possibly suppose that we shall adequately grasp the nature of virtue, when we are unable to state whether it is many or four or one? [965e] Accordingly, if we follow our own counsel, we shall contrive somehow, by hook or by crook, that this knowledge shall exist in our State. Should we decide, however, to pass it over entirely—pass it over we must.Clinias
Nay, Stranger, in the name of the Stranger's God, we must by no means pass over a matter such as this, since what you say seems to us most true. But how is this to be contrived?
3 Cp. Plat. Rep. 537b ff., where the “dialectic” method is described as a kind of induction (συναγωγή) whereby the mind ascends from “the many” particulars to “the one” universal concept or “idea”: a comprehensive view (σύνοψις) of the whole is what marks the dialectician (ὁ συνοπτικὸς διαλεκτικός).
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