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πέντε θές. Krohn thinks five years very short, compared with the time allotted to the προπαιδεία, and suspects that we have here ‘a silent confession that there is not so very much to say about the Ideas after all.’ (Pl. St. p. 187). Five years devoted ἐνδελεχῶς καὶ ξυντόνως to Dialectic exclusively is a good deal; and we may be sure that Plato does not intend his Guardians to neglect the subject between 35 and 50, although practical duties occupy most of their time. Moreover at 50, Dialectic is resumed, and it is not till then that the Idea of Good is fully apprehended, so that the five years from 30 to 35 were certainly not thought by Plato to exhaust the subject. We must also beware of supposing that there is any break of continuity in the education of the Guardians. The study of each propaedeutic ‘art’ by itself prepares us for seeing all the ‘arts’ in their mutual relations and interdependence, and the comparative survey of the ‘arts’ in turn prepares us for Dialectic (537 C), nor need the subjects of the προπαιδεία be finally abandoned after we enter on Dialectic. See Appendices II and III.
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