Wednesday, November 2, 2016

More on the ‘discrepancy’ between Republic V and X

In Republic X Socrates by his usual method (eiȏthamen) posits (tithesthai) a form (eidos ti) for all things (peri hekasta ta polla) to which we give the same name (hois t’auton onoma epipheromen, 596a6-7). Thus there are many beds and tables (pollai pou eisi klinai kai trapezai), but there are only two forms of these two products (alla ideai ge pou peri tauta ta skeuê duo), one of a bed (mia men klinês) and one of a table (mia de trapezês): ‘And we have used to say (Oukoun kai eiȏthamen legein) that the maker of the one and the other piece of furniture (hoti ho dêmiourgos hekaterou tou skeuous), looking at the form (pros tên idean blepȏn), one makes beds, the other tables (poiei ho men tas klinas, ho de tas trapezas).’ (596b1-8)

In Republic V Socrates points to the Forms, which only very few (spanioi) can see (dunatoi horan, 476b10-11); these few are ‘the philosophers (tous philosophous) concerning which we dare to say (tinas legontes tolmȏmen phanai) that they are to rule in the State (dein archein) … for it befits them by nature to do philosophy (hoti tois men prosêkei phusei haptesthai te philosophias) and to be leaders in the State (hêgemoneuein t’ en polei), while all the others (tois d’ allois) must not even touch philosophy (mête haptesthai) and must follow the leader (akolouthein te tȏi hêgoumenȏi). (474b5-c3)

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