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472E - 474C I am nevertheless willing, says Socrates, to shew you how our constitution may be realised most nearly. A perfect realisation we cannot expect, for action is everywhere less true than language or theory. One great, yet possible change, and only one, is needed, and it is this. ‘Philosophers’ must become kings or kings ‘philosophers.’ Till this shall come to pass, there will be no respite from trouble, either to cities or to mankind, nor will our hypothetical city ever become (so far as may be) a reality. A paradox, you say, and certain to arouse hostility and scorn; but let us explain what we mean by ‘philosophers.’ With the breaking of the third and greatest wave (473 C note) begins the transition to the third and final stage of Plato's ideal city. See on 449 A. δυνατώτατα κτλ. “Superlativus facultatem, quam relativam dicunt, indicat” Schneider. It is important to observe that Plato does not expect a perfect realisation even when philosophers become kings: cf. 473 E. Why he does not, is explained in 473 A. πάλιν refers to 472 C.
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