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[537d] “it will be your task to make a selection of those who manifest them best from the group who are steadfast in their studies and in war and in all lawful requirements, and when they have passed the thirtieth year to promote them, by a second selection from those preferred in the first,1 to still greater honors, and to prove and test them by the power of dialectic2 to see which of them is able to disregard the eyes and other senses3 and go on to being itself in company with truth. And at this point, my friend, the greatest care4 is requisite.” “How so?” he said. “Do you not note,”

1 For the technical meaning of the word προκρίτων Cf. Laws 753 B-D.

2 For this periphrasis Cf. Phaedr. 246 D, Tim. 85 E. Cf. also on 509 A.

3 The reader of Plato ought not to misunderstand this now. Cf. on 532 A, pp. 196 f., note d, and 530 p. 187, note c.

4 Plato returns to an idea suggested in 498 A, and warns against the mental confusion and moral unsettlement that result from premature criticism of life by undisciplined minds. In the terminology of modern education, he would not encourage students to discuss the validity of the Ten commandments and the Constitution of the United States before they could spell, construe, cipher, and had learned to distinguish an undistributed middle term from a petitio principii. Cf. Phaedo 89 D-E. We need not suppose with Grote and others that this involves any “reaction” or violent change of the opinion he held when he wrote the minor dialogues that portray such discussions. In fact, the still later Sophist, 230 B-C-D, is more friendly to youthful dialectics. Whatever the effect of the practice of Socrates or the Sophists, Plato himself anticipates Grote's criticism in the Republic by representing Socrates as discoursing with ingenuous youth in a more simple and edifying style. Cf. Lysis 207 D ff., Euthydem. 278 E-282 C, 288 D-290 D. Yet again the Charmides might be thought an exception. Cf. also Zeller, Phil. d. Griechen, ii. 1, p. 912, who seems to consider the Sophist earlier than the Republic.

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