Friday, July 3, 2009

Language in Context

Upon whether Plato really said that "Youth is the time for extraordinary toil."

From Plato's Republic

Solon was under a delusion when he said that a man when he grows old may learn many things —for he can no more learn much than he can run much; youth is the time for any extraordinary toil.

Of course.

And, therefore, calculation and geometry and all the other elements of instruction, which are a preparation for dialectic, should be presented to the mind in childhood; not, however, under any notion of forcing our system of education.

Why not?

Because a freeman ought not to be a slave in the acquisition of knowledge of any kind. Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.

Very true.

Then, my good friend, I said, do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to find out the natural bent.


  1. :) Ah. Very nicely put, Plato.

  2. Excatly so-I hate it when people take things out of context! Thanks Willa!

  3. Interesting. I followed your link thinking there was some minor controversy or disagreement that you're referring to but I quickly got overwhelmed searching at that site and quit. At any rate, I like what you posted.


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!