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[532a] “‘No’ is surely the answer to that too.” “This, then, at last, Glaucon,” I said, “is the very law which dialectics1 recites, the strain which it executes, of which, though it belongs to the intelligible, we may see an imitation in the progress2 of the faculty of vision, as we described3 its endeavor to look at living things themselves and the stars themselves and finally at the very sun. In like manner, when anyone by dialectics attempts through discourse of reason and apart from all perceptions of sense4 to find his way to the very essence of each thing and does not desist [532b] till he apprehends by thought itself the nature of the good in itself, he arrives at the limit of the intelligible, as the other in our parable, came to the goal of the visible.” “By all means,” he said. “What, then, will you not call this progress of thought dialectic?” “Surely.” “And the release from bonds,” I said, “and the conversion from the shadows to the images5 that cast them and to the light and the ascent6 from the subterranean cavern to the world above,7 and there the persisting inability8 to look directly at animals and plants and the light of the sun, [532c] but the ability to see the phantasms created by God9 in water and shadows of objects that are real and not merely, as before, the shadows of images cast through a light which, compared with the sun, is as unreal as they—all this procedure of the arts and sciences that we have described indicates their power to lead the best part of the soul up to the contemplation of what is best among realities, as in our parable the clearest organ in the body was turned to the contemplation of what is brightest [532d] in the corporeal and visible region.” “I accept this,” he said, “as the truth; and yet it appears to me very hard to accept, and again, from another point of view, hard to reject.10 Nevertheless, since we have not to hear it at this time only, but are to repeat it often hereafter, let us assume that these things are as now has been said, and proceed to the melody itself, and go through with it as we have gone through the prelude. Tell me, then, what is the nature of this faculty of dialectic? [532e] Into what divisions does it fall? And what are its ways? For it is these, it seems, that would bring us to the place where we may, so to speak, rest on the road and then come to the end of our journeying.”

1 Cf. Phileb. 58 D, Meno 75 C-D, Charm. 155 A, Cratyl. 390 C, and on 533 B, pp. 200 f., note f.

2 This is not a literal rendering, but gives the meaning.

3 Cf. 516 A-B. Plato interprets his imagery again here and in B infra.

4 Cf. p. 180, note a, and p. 187, note c. Cf. also 537 D, and on 476 A ff. Cf. Bergson, Introduction to Metaphysics, p. 9: “Metaphysics, then, is the science which claims to dispense with symbols”; E. S. Robinson, Readings in General Psych. p. 295: “A habit of suppressing mental imagery must therefore characterize men who deal much with abstract ideas; and as the power of dealing easily and firmly with these ideas is the surest criterion of a high order if intellect . . . “; Pear, Remembering and Forgetting, p. 57: “He (Napoleon) is reported to have said that ‘there are some who, from some physical or moral peculiarity of character, form a picture (tableau) of everything. No matter what knowledge, intellect, courage, or good qualities they may have, these men are unfit to command”; A. Bain, Mind, 1880, p. 570: “Mr. Galton is naturally startled at finding eminent scientific men, by their own account, so very low in the visualizing power. His explanation, I have no doubt, hits the mark; the deficiency is due to the natural antagonism of pictorial aptitude and abstract thought.”; Judd, Psychology of High School Subjects, p.921: “It did not appear on superficial examination of the standings of students that those who can draw best are the best students from the point of view of the teacher of science.”

5 εἴδωλα: cf. my Idea of Good in Plato's Republic, p. 238; also 516 A, Theaet. 150 C, Soph. 240 A, 241 E, 234 C, 266 B with 267 C, and Rep. 517 Dἀγαλμάτων.

6 ἐπάνοδος became almost technical in Neoplatonism. Cf. also 517 A, 529 A, and p. 124, note b.

7 Lit. “sun,” i.e. the world illumined by the sun, not by the fire in the cave.

8 See crit. note. The text of Iamblichus is the only reasonable one. The reading of the manuscripts is impossible. For the adverb modifying a noun cf. 558 Bοὐδ᾽ ὁπωστιοῦν σμικρολογία, Laws 638 Bσφόδρα γυναικῶν, with England's note, Theaet. 183 Eπάνυ πρεσβύτης, Laws 791 Cπαντελῶς παίδων, 698 Cσφόδρα φιλία, Rep. 564 Aἄγαν δουλείαν, with Stallbaum's note.

9 θεῖα because produced by God or nature and not by man with a mirror or a paintbrush. See crit. note and CIass. Review, iv. p. 480. I quoted Sophist 266 B-D, and Adam with rare candor withdrew his emendation in his Appendix XIII. to this book. Apelt still misunderstands and emends, p.296 and note.

10 This sentence is fundamental for the understanding of Plato's metaphysical philosophy generally. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 30, n. 192, What Plato Said, p. 268 and 586 on Parmen. 135 C. So Tennyson says it is hard to believe in God and hard not to believe.

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