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[488b] but who is slightly deaf1 and of similarly impaired vision, and whose knowledge of navigation is on a par with2 his sight and hearing. Conceive the sailors to be wrangling with one another for control of the helm, each claiming that it is his right to steer though he has never learned the art and cannot point out his teacher3 or any time when he studied it. And what is more, they affirm that it cannot be taught at all,4 but they are ready to make mincemeat of anyone5 who says that it can be taught,

1 Cf. Aristoph.Knights 42-44.

2 Cf. 390 C, 426 D, 498 B, Theaetet. 167 B, and Milton's “unknown and like esteemed,” Comus 630.

3 For this and similar checks on pretenders to knowledge Cf. Laches 185 E, 186 A and C, Alc. I. 109 D and Gorg. 514 B-C.

4 Plato of course believed that virtue or the political art can be taught in a reformed state, but practically was not taught at Athens. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 14, on 518 D, What Plato Said, pp. 70 and 511, Newman, Introd. Aristot.Pol. p. 397, Thompson on Meno 70 A.

5 A hint of the fate of Socrates. Cf. 517 A, 494 E and Euthyphro 3 E.

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