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[539e] twice as many years as were allotted to that?” “Do you mean six or four?” he said. “Well,” I said, “set it down as five.1 For after that you will have to send them down into the cave2 again, and compel them to hold commands in war and the other offices suitable to youth, so that they may not fall short of the other type in experience3 either. And in these offices, too, they are to be tested to see whether they will remain steadfast under diverse solicitations

1 It is very naive of modern commentators to cavil at the precise time allotted to dialectic, and still more so to infer that there was not much to say about the ideas. Dialectic was not exclusively or mainly concerned with the metaphysics of the ideas. It was the development of the reasoning powers by rational discussion.

2 Cf. 519 C ff., pp. 139-145.

3 Xen.Cyrop. i. 2. 13 seems to copy this. Cf. on 484 D. Critics of Plato frequently overlook the fact that he insisted on practical experience in the training of his rulers. Newman, Aristot.Pol. i. p. 5 points out that this experience takes the place of special training in political science.

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