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[720a] but declare at once what must be done and what not, and state the penalty which threatens disobedience, and so turn off to another law, without adding to his statutes a single word of encouragement and persuasion? Just as is the way with doctors, one treats us in this fashion, and another in that: they have two different methods, which we may recall, in order that, like children who beg the doctor to treat them by the mildest method, so we may make a like request of the lawgiver. Shall I give an illustration of what I mean? There are men that are doctors, we say, and others that are doctors' assistants; but we call the latter also, to be sure, by the name of “doctors.” [720b]

We do.

These, whether they be free-born or slaves, acquire their art under the direction of their masters, by observation and practice and not by the study of nature—which is the way in which the free-born doctors have learnt the art themselves and in which they instruct their own disciples. Would you assert that we have here two classes of what are called “doctors”?


You are also aware that, as the sick folk in the cities comprise both slaves and free men, [720c] the slaves are usually doctored by slaves, who either run round the town or wait in their surgeries; and not one of these doctors either gives or receives any account of the several ailments of the various domestics, but prescribes for each what he deems right from experience, just as though he had exact knowledge, and with the assurance of an autocrat; then up he jumps and off he rushes to another sick domestic, and thus he relieves his master in his attendance on the sick. [720d] But the free-born doctor is mainly engaged in visiting and treating the ailments of free men, and he does so by investigating them from the commencement and according to the course of nature; he talks with the patient himself and with his friends, and thus both learns himself from the sufferers and imparts instruction to them, so far as possible; and he gives no prescription until he has gained the patient's consent, and only then, while securing the patient's continued docility by means of persuasion, [720e] does he attempt to complete the task of restoring him to health. Which of these two methods of doctoring shows the better doctor, or of training, the better trainer? Should the doctor perform one and the same function in two ways, or do it in one way only1 and that the worse way of the two and the less humane?

The double method, Stranger, is by far the better.

Do you wish us to examine the double method and the single as applied also to actual legislation?

Most certainly I wish it.

Come, tell me then, in Heaven's name,—what would be the first law to be laid down by the lawgiver? Will he not follow the order of nature, and in his ordinances regulate

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