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Socratic dialogue Socratic intellectualism Socratic irony Socratic method Socratic paradox Socratic problem Socratic questioning Socratici viri. Barefoot in Athens film Socrates film. Apology Memorabilia Oeconomicus Symposium. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote Wikisource. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Part of a series on. Length: mm. Weight: grams.

Width: mm. Read full description. See details and exclusions. See all 10 brand new listings. Qty: 1 2 3. Buy it now. Add to basket. Be the first to write a review About this product. All listings for this product Buy it now Buy it now. Any condition Any condition. See all The Eleatic stranger, here, as in the Sophist, has no appropriate character, and appears only as the expositor of a political ideal, in the delineation of which he is frequently interrupted by purely logical illustrations.

The younger Socrates resembles his namesake in nothing but a name. The dramatic character is so completely forgotten, that a special reference is twice made to discussions in the Sophist; and this, perhaps, is the strongest ground which can be urged for doubting the genuineness of the work. But, when we remember that a similar allusion is made in the Laws to the Republic, we see that the entire disregard of dramatic propriety is not always a sufficient reason for doubting the genuineness of a Platonic writing. The search after the Statesman, which is carried on, like that for the Sophist, by the method of dichotomy, gives an opportunity for many humorous and satirical remarks.

Several of the jests are mannered and laboured: for example, the turn of words with which the dialogue opens; or the clumsy joke about man being an animal, who has a power of two-feet — both which are suggested by the presence of Theodorus, the geometrician. Plato glories in this impartiality of the dialectical method, which places birds in juxtaposition with men, and the king side by side with the bird- catcher; king or vermin-destroyer are objects of equal interest to science compare Parmen. Nothing is more bitter in all his writings than his comparison of the contemporary politicians to lions, centaurs, satyrs, and other animals of a feebler sort, who are ever changing their forms and natures.

But, as in the later dialogues generally, the play of humour and the charm of poetry have departed, never to return. The city of which there is a pattern in heaven Republic , is here described as a Paradisiacal state of human society. In the truest sense of all, the ruler is not man but God; and such a government existed in a former cycle of human history, and may again exist when the gods resume their care of mankind.

In a secondary sense, the true form of government is that which has scientific rulers, who are irresponsible to their subjects. Not power but knowledge is the characteristic of a king or royal person. And the rule of a man is better and higher than law, because he is more able to deal with the infinite complexity of human affairs. But mankind, in despair of finding a true ruler, are willing to acquiesce in any law or custom which will save them from the caprice of individuals.

They are ready to accept any of the six forms of government which prevail in the world. To the Greek, nomos was a sacred word, but the political idealism of Plato soars into a region beyond; for the laws he would substitute the intelligent will of the legislator. He treats them more slightly, partly because the dialogue is shorter, and also because the discussion of them is perpetually crossed by the other interest of dialectic, which has begun to absorb him. The plan of the Politicus or Statesman may be briefly sketched as follows: 1 By a process of division and subdivision we discover the true herdsman or king of men.

But before we can rightly distinguish him from his rivals, we must view him, 2 as he is presented to us in a famous ancient tale: the tale will also enable us to distinguish the divine from the human herdsman or shepherd: 3 and besides our fable, we must have an example; for our example we will select the art of weaving, which will have to be distinguished from the kindred arts; and then, following this pattern, we will separate the king from his subordinates or competitors. There is; but before we can apply this measure, we must know what is the aim of discourse: and our discourse only aims at the dialectical improvement of ourselves and others.

Are they not divided by an interval which no geometrical ratio can express?

But before I retaliate on you, I must request the Stranger to finish the argument. The Stranger suggests that Theaetetus shall be allowed to rest, and that Socrates the younger shall respond in his place; Theodorus agrees to the suggestion, and Socrates remarks that the name of the one and the face of the other give him a right to claim relationship with both of them. They propose to take the Statesman after the Sophist; his path they must determine, and part off all other ways, stamping upon them a single negative form compare Soph.

The Stranger begins the enquiry by making a division of the arts and sciences into theoretical and practical — the one kind concerned with knowledge exclusively, and the other with action; arithmetic and the mathematical sciences are examples of the former, and carpentering and handicraft arts of the latter compare Philebus. Under which of the two shall we place the Statesman? Or rather, shall we not first ask, whether the king, statesman, master, householder, practise one art or many?

As the adviser of a physician may be said to have medical science and to be a physician, so the adviser of a king has royal science and is a king. And the master of a large household may be compared to the ruler of a small state. Hence we conclude that the science of the king, statesman, and householder is one and the same.

And this science is akin to knowledge rather than to action. For a king rules with his mind, and not with his hands. But theoretical science may be a science either of judging, like arithmetic, or of ruling and superintending, like that of the architect or master-builder. And the science of the king is of the latter nature; but the power which he exercises is underived and uncontrolled — a characteristic which distinguishes him from heralds, prophets, and other inferior officers.

He is the wholesale dealer in command, and the herald, or other officer, retails his commands to others. Again, a ruler is concerned with the production of some object, and objects may be divided into living and lifeless, and rulers into the rulers of living and lifeless objects. And the king is not like the master-builder, concerned with lifeless matter, but has the task of managing living animals. And the tending of living animals may be either a tending of individuals, or a managing of herds.

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And the Statesman is not a groom, but a herdsman, and his art may be called either the art of managing a herd, or the art of collective management:— Which do you prefer? All divisions which are rightly made should cut through the middle; if you attend to this rule, you will be more likely to arrive at classes. And I should like you to observe further, that though I maintain a class to be a part, there is no similar necessity for a part to be a class.

But to return to your division, you spoke of men and other animals as two classes — the second of which you comprehended under the general name of beasts. This is the sort of division which an intelligent crane would make: he would put cranes into a class by themselves for their special glory, and jumble together all others, including man, in the class of beasts. An error of this kind can only be avoided by a more regular subdivision. Just now we divided the whole class of animals into gregarious and non-gregarious, omitting the previous division into tame and wild.

And now let us begin again at the art of managing herds. You have probably heard of the fish-preserves in the Nile and in the ponds of the Great King, and of the nurseries of geese and cranes in Thessaly. These suggest a new division into the rearing or management of land-herds and of water-herds:— I need not say with which the king is concerned. And land-herds may be divided into walking and flying; and every idiot knows that the political animal is a pedestrian. At this point we may take a longer or a shorter road, and as we are already near the end, I see no harm in taking the longer, which is the way of mesotomy, and accords with the principle which we were laying down.

The tame, walking, herding animal, may be divided into two classes — the horned and the hornless, and the king is concerned with the hornless; and these again may be subdivided into animals having or not having cloven feet, or mixing or not mixing the breed; and the king or statesman has the care of animals which have not cloven feet, and which do not mix the breed. And now, if we omit dogs, who can hardly be said to herd, I think that we have only two species left which remain undivided: and how are we to distinguish them? To geometricians, like you and Theaetetus, I can have no difficulty in explaining that man is a diameter, having a power of two feet; and the power of four-legged creatures, being the double of two feet, is the diameter of our diameter.

There is another excellent jest which I spy in the two remaining species. Men and birds are both bipeds, and human beings are running a race with the airiest and freest of creation, in which they are far behind their competitors; — this is a great joke, and there is a still better in the juxtaposition of the bird-taker and the king, who may be seen scampering after them.

For, as we remarked in discussing the Sophist, the dialectical method is no respecter of persons. But we might have proceeded, as I was saying, by another and a shorter road. Here let us sum up:— The science of pure knowledge had a part which was the science of command, and this had a part which was a science of wholesale command; and this was divided into the management of animals, and was again parted off into the management of herds of animals, and again of land animals, and these into hornless, and these into bipeds; and so at last we arrived at man, and found the political and royal science.

And yet we have not clearly distinguished the political shepherd from his rivals. No one would think of usurping the prerogatives of the ordinary shepherd, who on all hands is admitted to be the trainer, matchmaker, doctor, musician of his flock. But the royal shepherd has numberless competitors, from whom he must be distinguished; there are merchants, husbandmen, physicians, who will all dispute his right to manage the flock. I think that we can best distinguish him by having recourse to a famous old tradition, which may amuse as well as instruct us; the narrative is perfectly true, although the scepticism of mankind is prone to doubt the tales of old.

You have heard what happened in the quarrel of Atreus and Thyestes? The origin of these and the like stories is to be found in the tale which I am about to narrate. There was a time when God directed the revolutions of the world, but at the completion of a certain cycle he let go; and the world, by a necessity of its nature, turned back, and went round the other way. For divine things alone are unchangeable; but the earth and heavens, although endowed with many glories, have a body, and are therefore liable to perturbation.

In the case of the world, the perturbation is very slight, and amounts only to a reversal of motion. For the lord of moving things is alone self-moved; neither can piety allow that he goes at one time in one direction and at another time in another; or that God has given the universe opposite motions; or that there are two gods, one turning it in one direction, another in another.

But the truth is, that there are two cycles of the world, and in one of them it is governed by an immediate Providence, and receives life and immortality, and in the other is let go again, and has a reverse action during infinite ages. This new action is spontaneous, and is due to exquisite perfection of balance, to the vast size of the universe, and to the smallness of the pivot upon which it turns.

All changes in the heaven affect the animal world, and this being the greatest of them, is most destructive to men and animals. At the beginning of the cycle before our own very few of them had survived; and on these a mighty change passed. For their life was reversed like the motion of the world, and first of all coming to a stand then quickly returned to youth and beauty. The white locks of the aged became black; the cheeks of the bearded man were restored to their youth and fineness; the young men grew softer and smaller, and, being reduced to the condition of children in mind as well as body, began to vanish away; and the bodies of those who had died by violence, in a few moments underwent a parallel change and disappeared.

In that cycle of existence there was no such thing as the procreation of animals from one another, but they were born of the earth, and of this our ancestors, who came into being immediately after the end of the last cycle and at the beginning of this, have preserved the recollection. Such traditions are often now unduly discredited, and yet they may be proved by internal evidence. For observe how consistent the narrative is; as the old returned to youth, so the dead returned to life; the wheel of their existence having been reversed, they rose again from the earth: a few only were reserved by God for another destiny.

Such was the origin of the earthborn men.

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They were shepherds of men and animals, each of them sufficing for those of whom he had the care. And there was no violence among them, or war, or devouring of one another.

Their life was spontaneous, because in those days God ruled over man; and he was to man what man is now to the animals. Under his government there were no estates, or private possessions, or families; but the earth produced a sufficiency of all things, and men were born out of the earth, having no traditions of the past; and as the temperature of the seasons was mild, they took no thought for raiment, and had no beds, but lived and dwelt in the open air.

The Statesman (Texts in the History of Political Thought)

Such was the age of Cronos, and the age of Zeus is our own. Tell me, which is the happier of the two? Or rather, shall I tell you that the happiness of these children of Cronos must have depended on how they used their time? If having boundless leisure, and the power of discoursing not only with one another but with the animals, they had employed these advantages with a view to philosophy, gathering from every nature some addition to their store of knowledge; — or again, if they had merely eaten and drunk, and told stories to one another, and to the beasts; — in either case, I say, there would be no difficulty in answering the question.

But as nobody knows which they did, the question must remain unanswered. And here is the point of my tale. In the fulness of time, when the earthborn men had all passed away, the ruler of the universe let go the helm, and became a spectator; and destiny and natural impulse swayed the world. At the same instant all the inferior deities gave up their hold; the whole universe rebounded, and there was a great earthquake, and utter ruin of all manner of animals. After a while the tumult ceased, and the universal creature settled down in his accustomed course, having authority over all other creatures, and following the instructions of his God and Father, at first more precisely, afterwards with less exactness.

And in the beginning of the new cycle all was well enough, but as time went on, discord entered in; at length the good was minimized and the evil everywhere diffused, and there was a danger of universal ruin. Then the Creator, seeing the world in great straits, and fearing that chaos and infinity would come again, in his tender care again placed himself at the helm and restored order, and made the world immortal and imperishable.

Once more the cycle of life and generation was reversed; the infants grew into young men, and the young men became greyheaded; no longer did the animals spring out of the earth; as the whole world was now lord of its own progress, so the parts were to be self-created and self-nourished. At first the case of men was very helpless and pitiable; for they were alone among the wild beasts, and had to carry on the struggle for existence without arts or knowledge, and had no food, and did not know how to get any. That was the time when Prometheus brought them fire, Hephaestus and Athene taught them arts, and other gods gave them seeds and plants.

Out of these human life was framed; for mankind were left to themselves, and ordered their own ways, living, like the universe, in one cycle after one manner, and in another cycle after another manner. Enough of the myth, which may show us two errors of which we were guilty in our account of the king. The first and grand error was in choosing for our king a god, who belongs to the other cycle, instead of a man from our own; there was a lesser error also in our failure to define the nature of the royal functions. The myth gave us only the image of a divine shepherd, whereas the statesmen and kings of our own day very much resemble their subjects in education and breeding.

Having remodelled the name, we may subdivide as before, first separating the human from the divine shepherd or manager. Then we may subdivide the human art of governing into the government of willing and unwilling subjects — royalty and tyranny — which are the extreme opposites of one another, although we in our simplicity have hitherto confounded them. And yet the figure of the king is still defective. We have taken up a lump of fable, and have used more than we needed.

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Like statuaries, we have made some of the features out of proportion, and shall lose time in reducing them. Or our mythus may be compared to a picture, which is well drawn in outline, but is not yet enlivened by colour. And to intelligent persons language is, or ought to be, a better instrument of description than any picture. And the nature of example can only be illustrated by an example. Children are taught to read by being made to compare cases in which they do not know a certain letter with cases in which they know it, until they learn to recognize it in all its combinations.

Example comes into use when we identify something unknown with that which is known, and form a common notion of both of them. Like the child who is learning his letters, the soul recognizes some of the first elements of things; and then again is at fault and unable to recognize them when they are translated into the difficult language of facts. Let us, then, take an example, which will illustrate the nature of example, and will also assist us in characterizing the political science, and in separating the true king from his rivals.

I will select the example of weaving, or, more precisely, weaving of wool. In the first place, all possessions are either productive or preventive; of the preventive sort are spells and antidotes, divine and human, and also defences, and defences are either arms or screens, and screens are veils and also shields against heat and cold, and shields against heat and cold are shelters and coverings, and coverings are blankets or garments, and garments are in one piece or have many parts; and of these latter, some are stitched and others are fastened, and of these again some are made of fibres of plants and some of hair, and of these some are cemented with water and earth, and some are fastened with their own material; the latter are called clothes, and are made by the art of clothing, from which the art of weaving differs only in name, as the political differs from the royal science.

Thus we have drawn several distinctions, but as yet have not distinguished the weaving of garments from the kindred and co-operative arts. For the first process to which the material is subjected is the opposite of weaving — I mean carding. And the art of carding, and the whole art of the fuller and the mender, are concerned with the treatment and production of clothes, as well as the art of weaving.

Let us proceed, then, by regular steps:— There are causal or principal, and co-operative or subordinate arts. To the causal class belong the arts of washing and mending, of carding and spinning the threads, and the other arts of working in wool; these are chiefly of two kinds, falling under the two great categories of composition and division.

Carding is of the latter sort. But our concern is chiefly with that part of the art of wool-working which composes, and of which one kind twists and the other interlaces the threads, whether the firmer texture of the warp or the looser texture of the woof. These are adapted to each other, and the orderly composition of them forms a woollen garment. And the art which presides over these operations is the art of weaving. But why did we go through this circuitous process, instead of saying at once that weaving is the art of entwining the warp and the woof?

In order that our labour may not seem to be lost, I must explain the whole nature of excess and defect. There are two arts of measuring — one is concerned with relative size, and the other has reference to a mean or standard of what is meet. The difference between good and evil is the difference between a mean or measure and excess or defect.

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All things require to be compared, not only with one another, but with the mean, without which there would be no beauty and no art, whether the art of the statesman or the art of weaving or any other; for all the arts guard against excess or defect, which are real evils. This we must endeavour to show, if the arts are to exist; and the proof of this will be a harder piece of work than the demonstration of the existence of not-being which we proved in our discussion about the Sophist. At present I am content with the indirect proof that the existence of such a standard is necessary to the existence of the arts.

The standard or measure, which we are now only applying to the arts, may be some day required with a view to the demonstration of absolute truth. We may now divide this art of measurement into two parts; placing in the one part all the arts which measure the relative size or number of objects, and in the other all those which depend upon a mean or standard. Whereas the right way is to find the differences of classes, and to comprehend the things which have any affinity under the same class. I will make one more observation by the way. When a pupil at a school is asked the letters which make up a particular word, is he not asked with a view to his knowing the same letters in all words?

And our enquiry about the Statesman in like manner is intended not only to improve our knowledge of politics, but our reasoning powers generally. Still less would any one analyze the nature of weaving for its own sake. There is no difficulty in exhibiting sensible images, but the greatest and noblest truths have no outward form adapted to the eye of sense, and are only revealed in thought. And all that we are now saying is said for the sake of them. I make these remarks, because I want you to get rid of any impression that our discussion about weaving and about the reversal of the universe, and the other discussion about the Sophist and not-being, were tedious and irrelevant.

Please to observe that they can only be fairly judged when compared with what is meet; and yet not with what is meet for producing pleasure, nor even meet for making discoveries, but for the great end of developing the dialectical method and sharpening the wits of the auditors. He who censures us, should prove that, if our words had been fewer, they would have been better calculated to make men dialecticians. And now let us return to our king or statesman, and transfer to him the example of weaving. The royal art has been separated from that of other herdsmen, but not from the causal and co-operative arts which exist in states; these do not admit of dichotomy, and therefore they must be carved neatly, like the limbs of a victim, not into more parts than are necessary.

And first 1 we have the large class of instruments, which includes almost everything in the world; from these may be parted off 2 vessels which are framed for the preservation of things, moist or dry, prepared in the fire or out of the fire. The royal or political art has nothing to do with either of these, any more than with the arts of making 3 vehicles, or 4 defences, whether dresses, or arms, or walls, or 5 with the art of making ornaments, whether pictures or other playthings, as they may be fitly called, for they have no serious use.

Then 6 there are the arts which furnish gold, silver, wood, bark, and other materials, which should have been put first; these, again, have no concern with the kingly science; any more than the arts 7 which provide food and nourishment for the human body, and which furnish occupation to the husbandman, huntsman, doctor, cook, and the like, but not to the king or statesman.

Further, there are small things, such as coins, seals, stamps, which may with a little violence be comprehended in one of the above-mentioned classes. Thus they will embrace every species of property with the exception of animals — but these have been already included in the art of tending herds. There remains only the class of slaves or ministers, among whom I expect that the real rivals of the king will be discovered.

I am not speaking of the veritable slave bought with money, nor of the hireling who lets himself out for service, nor of the trader or merchant, who at best can only lay claim to economical and not to royal science. Nor am I referring to government officials, such as heralds and scribes, for these are only the servants of the rulers, and not the rulers themselves. I admit that there may be something strange in any servants pretending to be masters, but I hardly think that I could have been wrong in supposing that the principal claimants to the throne will be of this class.

Let us try once more: There are diviners and priests, who are full of pride and prerogative; these, as the law declares, know how to give acceptable gifts to the gods, and in many parts of Hellas the duty of performing solemn sacrifices is assigned to the chief magistrate, as at Athens to the King Archon.

At last, then, we have found a trace of those whom we were seeking. But still they are only servants and ministers. And who are these who next come into view in various forms of men and animals and other monsters appearing — lions and centaurs and satyrs — who are these? I did not know them at first, for every one looks strange when he is unexpected.

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But now I recognize the politician and his troop, the chief of Sophists, the prince of charlatans, the most accomplished of wizards, who must be carefully distinguished from the true king or statesman. And here I will interpose a question: What are the true forms of government? Are they not three — monarchy, oligarchy, and democracy? Monarchy may be divided into royalty and tyranny; oligarchy into aristocracy and plutocracy; and democracy may observe the law or may not observe it. But are any of these governments worthy of the name? Is not government a science, and are we to suppose that scientific government is secured by the rulers being many or few, rich or poor, or by the rule being compulsory or voluntary?

Can the many attain to science? In no Hellenic city are there fifty good draught players, and certainly there are not as many kings, for by kings we mean all those who are possessed of the political science. A true government must therefore be the government of one, or of a few. And they may govern us either with or without law, and whether they are poor or rich, and however they govern, provided they govern on some scientific principle — it makes no difference.

And as the physician may cure us with our will, or against our will, and by any mode of treatment, burning, bleeding, lowering, fattening, if he only proceeds scientifically: so the true governor may reduce or fatten or bleed the body corporate, while he acts according to the rules of his art, and with a view to the good of the state, whether according to law or without law. I must explain: Law-making certainly is the business of a king; and yet the best thing of all is, not that the law should rule, but that the king should rule, for the varieties of circumstances are endless, and no simple or universal rule can suit them all, or last for ever.

The law is just an ignorant brute of a tyrant, who insists always on his commands being fulfilled under all circumstances. Let me suppose now, that a physician or trainer, having left directions for his patients or pupils, goes into a far country, and comes back sooner than he intended; owing to some unexpected change in the weather, the patient or pupil seems to require a different mode of treatment: Would he persist in his old commands, under the idea that all others are noxious and heterodox? Viewed in the light of science, would not the continuance of such regulations be ridiculous?

And if the legislator, or another like him, comes back from a far country, is he to be prohibited from altering his own laws? The common people say: Let a man persuade the city first, and then let him impose new laws. But is a physician only to cure his patients by persuasion, and not by force?

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Is he a worse physician who uses a little gentle violence in effecting the cure? Or shall we say, that the violence is just, if exercised by a rich man, and unjust, if by a poor man? May not any man, rich or poor, with or without law, and whether the citizens like or not, do what is for their good? The pilot saves the lives of the crew, not by laying down rules, but by making his art a law, and, like him, the true governor has a strength of art which is superior to the law.

This is scientific government, and all others are imitations only. Yet no great number of persons can attain to this science. And hence follows an important result. The true political principle is to assert the inviolability of the law, which, though not the best thing possible, is best for the imperfect condition of man. I will explain my meaning by an illustration:— Suppose that mankind, indignant at the rogueries and caprices of physicians and pilots, call together an assembly, in which all who like may speak, the skilled as well as the unskilled, and that in their assembly they make decrees for regulating the practice of navigation and medicine which are to be binding on these professions for all time.

Suppose that they elect annually by vote or lot those to whom authority in either department is to be delegated. And let us further imagine, that when the term of their magistracy has expired, the magistrates appointed by them are summoned before an ignorant and unprofessional court, and may be condemned and punished for breaking the regulations. They even go a step further, and enact, that he who is found enquiring into the truth of navigation and medicine, and is seeking to be wise above what is written, shall be called not an artist, but a dreamer, a prating Sophist and a corruptor of youth; and if he try to persuade others to investigate those sciences in a manner contrary to the law, he shall be punished with the utmost severity.

And like rules might be extended to any art or science. But what would be the consequence? But suppose, once more, that we were to appoint some one as the guardian of the law, who was both ignorant and interested, and who perverted the law: would not this be a still worse evil than the other? Hence the wiser course is, that they should be observed, although this is not the best thing of all, but only the second best.

And whoever, having skill, should try to improve them, would act in the spirit of the law-giver. But then, as we have seen, no great number of men, whether poor or rich, can be makers of laws.