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[529a] For it is obvious to everybody, I think, that this study certainly compels the soul to look upward1 and leads it away from things here to those higher things.” “It may be obvious to everybody except me,” said I, “for I do not think so.” “What do you think?” he said. “As it is now handled by those who are trying to lead us up to philosophy,2 I think that it turns the soul's gaze very much downward.” “What do you mean?” he said. “You seem to me in your thought to put a most liberal3 interpretation on the ‘study of higher things,’”

1 Cf. my review if Warburg, Class. Phil. xxiv. (1929) p. 319. The dramatic misunderstanding forestalls a possible understanding by the reader. Cf. on 523 B. The misapprehension is typical of modern misunderstandings. Glaucon is here the prototype of all sentimental Platonists or anti-Platonists. The meaning of “higher” things in Plato's allegory is obvious. But Glaucon takes it literally. Similarly, modern critics, taking Plato's imagery literally and pressing single expressions apart from the total context, have inferred that Plato would be hostile to all the applications of modern science to experience. They refuse to make allowance for his special and avowed educational purpose, and overlook the fact that he is prophesying the mathematical astronomy and science of the future. The half-serious exaggeration of his rhetoric can easily be matched by similar utterances of modern thinkers of the most various schools, from Rousseau's “écarter tous les faits” to Judd's “Once we acquire the power to neglect all the concrete facts . . . we are free from the incumbrances that come through attention to the concrete facts.” Cf. also on 529 B, 530 B and 534 A.

2 ἀνάγοντες is tinged with the suggestions of 517 A, but the meaning here is those who use astronomy as a part of the higher education. φιλοσοφία is used in the looser sense of Isocrates. Cf. A.J.P. xvi. p. 237.

3 For οὐκ ἀγεννῶςGorg. 462 D, where it is ironical, as here, Phaedr. 264 B, Euthyph. 2 C, Theaet. 184 C. In Charm. 158 C it is not ironical.

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