Plato Quotes 55 Sourced Quotes

Plato (Πλάτων Plátōn; c. 427 BC – c. 347 BC) was an immensely influential classical Greek philosopher, student of Socrates, teacher of Aristotle, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens.

Here are 55 real Plato quotes ordered by their popularity online. The most quoted quotes on the web appear first. Questionable and fake quotes are excluded. Sources and related information are shown after each quote. We hope you find these quotes useful. If there is anything we can do to improve this article, your feedback is welcome. If you find these quotes helpful, please share them.

1. “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#1

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#1

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, Phaedo 91

2. “The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#2

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book IV 425B

3. “[Aristotle] was the most eminent of all the pupils of Plato.... He seceded from Plato while he was still alive; so that they tell a story that [Plato] said, ‘Aristotle has kicked us off, just as chickens do their mother after they have been hatched.’”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#3

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, In Diogenes Laërtius ’’The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers’’, Book V, "Life of Aristotle" paragraphs II and IV, as translated by C. D. Yonge

4. “When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.”

—Plato

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Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book I 343d

5. “I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#5

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book VII 531e

6. “No human thing is of serious importance.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 15 November 2017, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#6

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#6

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book X 604c

7. “The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#7

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Apology: An account of the death of Socrates Socrates, 42

8. “Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#8

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book VII 536e

9. “When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 15 November 2017, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#9

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#9

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book VIII 566e

10. “Everything that deceives may be said to enchant.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#10

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book III 413c

11. “Democracy passes into despotism.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#11

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book VIII 562a

12. “Mankind censure injustice fearing that they may be the victims of it, and not because they shrink from committing it.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#12

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book I 344c

13. “Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#13

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book IV 422a

14. “Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils — no, nor the human race, as I believe — and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#14

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book V 473c

15. “The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. ...This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#15

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#15

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book VIII 565c

16. “God is not the author of all things, but of good only.”

—Plato

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Source: • Source: Wikiquote: "Plato" (Quotes: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book II)

17. “Can any man be courageous who has the fear of death in him?”

—Plato

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Source: • Source: Wikiquote: "Plato" (Quotes: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book III)

18. “Either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. ...Now if death be of such a nature, I say that to die is to gain; for eternity is then only a single night.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#18

Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Apology: An account of the death of Socrates Socrates, 40

19. “The gods are not magicians who transform themselves; neither do they deceive mankind in any way.”

—Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 55 Sourced Quotes.” Last modified November 15, 2017. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/plato-quotes.html#19

Source: • Source: Wikiquote: "Plato" (Quotes: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book II)

20. “A fit of laughter, which has been indulged to excess, almost always produces a violent reaction.”

—Plato

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Source: • Source: Wikiquote: "Plato" (Quotes: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book III)

21. “Truth should be highly valued; if, as we were saying, a lie is useless to the gods, and useful only as a medicine to men, then the use of such medicines should be restricted to physicians; private individuals have no business with them.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book III)

22. “Democracy, which is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book VIII 558c

23. “Wherefore my counsel is that we hold fast ever to the heavenly way and follow after justice and virtue always, considering that the soul is immortal and able to endure every sort of good and every sort of evil. Thus shall we live dear to one another and to the gods.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book X Last paragraph, translated by Benjamin Jowett (1874)

24. “If on the other hand I tell you that to let no day pass without discussing goodness and all the other subjects about which you hear me talking and examining both myself and others is really the very best thing that a man can do, and that life without this sort of examination is not worth living.”

—Plato

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Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Apology: An account of the death of Socrates Socrates, 38

25. “No evil can happen to a good man, neither in life nor after death.”

—Plato

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, The Apology: An account of the death of Socrates Socrates, 41

26. “Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity — I mean the true simplicity of a rightly and nobly ordered mind and character, not that other simplicity which is only a euphemism for folly.”

—Plato

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Source:  • 400d–e

27. “The judge should not be young; he should have learned to know evil, not from his own soul, but from late and long observation of the nature of evil in others: knowledge should be his guide, not personal experience.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book III 409b

28. “Man is a prisoner who has no right to open the door of his prison and run away... A man should wait, and not take his own life until God summons him.”

—Plato

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, Phaedo 62

29. “Will you not allow that I have as much of the spirit of prophecy in me as the swans? For they, when they perceive that they must die, having sung all their life long, do then sing more lustily than ever, rejoicing in the thought that they are going to the god they serve.”

—Plato

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, Phaedo 85

30. “Then the first thing will be to establish a censorship of the writers of fiction, and let the censors receive any tale of fiction which is good, and reject the bad; and we will desire mothers and nurses to tell their children the authorized ones only.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book II)

31. “When the citizens of a society can see and hear their leaders, then that society should be seen as one.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book III)

32. “Look, ye wretches, take your fill of the fair sight.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book IV Quoting Leontius when he couldn't resist the desire to see some dead corpses. Available at Wikisource.

33. “I shall assume that your silence gives consent”

—Plato

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Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, Cratylus 435b

34. “But tell me, this physician of whom you were just speaking, is he a moneymaker, an earner of fees, or a healer of the sick?”

—Plato

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Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book I 341c

35. “And we must beg Homer and the other poets not to be angry if we strike out these and similar passages, not because they are unpoetical, or unattractive to the popular ear, but because the greater the poetical charm in them, the less are they meant for the ears of boys and men who are meant to be free, and who should fear slavery more than death.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book III)

36. “Attention to health is a great obstacle to the practice of virtue and improvement in [life].”

—Plato

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Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book III 407c

37. “The knowledge at which geometry aims is the knowledge of the eternal.”

—Plato

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Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book VII 527

38. “The ludicrous state of solid geometry made me pass over this branch.”

—Plato

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Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book VII 528

39. “Virtue owns no master: he who honors her shall have more of her, and he who slights her, less. The responsibility lies with the chooser. Heaven is guiltless.”

—Plato

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Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book X 617d–617e

40. “Your pride has been too much for the pride of your admirers; they were numerous and high-spirited, but they have all run away, overpowered by your superior force of character; not one of them remains. And I want you to understand the reason why you have been too much for them. You think that you have no need of them or of any other man, for you have great possessions and lack nothing, beginning with the body, and ending with the soul.”

—Plato

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Source: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, Alcibiades I Socrates speaking to Alcibiades

41. “My love, Alcibiades, which I hardly like to confess, would long ago have passed away, as I flatter myself, if I saw you loving your good things, or thinking that you ought to pass life in the enjoyment of them.”

—Plato

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, Alcibiades I Socrates speaking to Alcibiades

42. “As you hope to prove your own great value to the state, and having proved it, to attain at once to absolute power, so do I indulge a hope that I shall be the supreme power over you, if I am able to prove my own great value to you.”

—Plato

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, Alcibiades I Socrates speaking to Alcibiades

43. “You want to know whether I can make a long speech, such as you are in the habit of hearing; but that is not my way.”

—Plato

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, Alcibiades I Socrates speaking to Alcibiades

44. “Meno: I feel, somehow, that I like what you are saying. Socrates: And I, Meno, like what I am saying. Some things I have said of which I am not altogether confident. But that we shall be better and braver and less helpless if we think that we ought to enquire, than we should have been if we indulged in the idle fancy that there was no knowing and no use in seeking to know what we do not know; — that is a theme upon which I am ready to fight, in word and deed, to the utmost of my power.”

—Plato

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, Meno)

45. “τίς μηχανὴ μὴ οὐχὶ πάντα καταναλωθῆναι εἰς τὸ τεθνάναι;”

—Plato

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Source:  • 72d

46. “τῆς δὲ ζημίας μεγίστη τὸ ὑπὸ πονηροτέρου ἄρχεσθαι, ἐὰν μὴ αὐτὸς ἐθέλῃ ἄρχειν”

—Plato

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Source and Related Info:  • 347c
• Paraphrased by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay "Eloquence," published in Society and Solitude (1870) as "The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men."

47. “οὐκοῦν οἶσθ᾽ ὅτι ἀρχὴ παντὸς ἔργου μέγιστον”

—Plato

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Source:  • 377a

48. “And the shoemaker was not allowed by us to be husbandman, or a weaver, a builder — in order that we might have our shoes well made; but to him and to every other worker was assigned one work for which he was by nature fitted, and at that he was to continue working all his life long and at no other; he was not to let opportunities slip, and then he would become a good workman. Now nothing can be more important than that the work of a soldier should be well done. But is war an art so easily acquired that a man may be a warrior who is also a husbandman, or shoemaker, or other artisan; although no one in the world would be a good dice or draught player who merely took up the game as a recreation, and had not from his earliest years devoted himself to this and nothing else? No tools will make a man a skilled workman, or master of defence, nor be of any use to him who has not learned how to handle them, and has never bestowed any attention upon them. How then will he who takes up a shield or other implement of war become a good fighter all in a day, whether with heavy-armed or any other kind of troops? Yes, he [Glaucon] said, the tools which would teach men their own use would be beyond price.”

—Plato

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Source: • Source: Wikiquote: "Plato" (Quotes: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book II)

49. “If we mean our future guardians to regard the habit of quarrelling among themselves as of all things the basest, should any word be said to them of the wars in heaven, and of the plots and fightings of the gods against one another, for they are not true. No, we shall never mention the battles of the giants, or let them be embroidered on garments; and we shall be silent about the innumerable other quarrels of gods and heroes with their friends and relatives. If they would only believe us we would tell them that quarrelling is unholy, and that never up to this time has there been any quarrel between citizens; this is what old men and old women should being by telling children; and when they grow up, the poets also should be told to compose for them in a similar spirit.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book II)

50. “Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul; on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful; and also because he who has received this education of the inner being will most shrewdly perceive omissions or faults in art and nature, and with a true taste, while he praises and rejoices over and receives into his soul the good, and becomes noble and good, he will justly blame and hate the bad, now in the days of his youth, even before he is able to know the reason why; and when reason comes he will recognise and salute the friend with whom his education has made him long familiar.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book III 401d

51. “Do you know, then, of anything practiced by mankind in which the masculine sex does not surpass the female on all these points? Must we make a long story of it by alleging weaving and the watching of pancakes and the boiling pot, whereon the sex plumes itself and wherein its defeat will expose it to most laughter? … Then there is no pursuit of the administrators of a state that belongs to a woman because she is a woman or to a man because he is a man. But the natural capacities are distributed alike among both creatures, and women naturally share in all pursuits and men in all.... Shall we, then, assign them all to men and nothing to women? We shall rather, I take it, say that one woman has the nature of a physician and another not, and one is by nature musical, and another unmusical? … Can we, then, deny that one woman is naturally athletic and warlike and another unwarlike and averse to gymnastics? … And again, one a lover, another a hater, of wisdom? And one high-spirited, and the other lacking spirit? … Then it is likewise true that one woman has the qualities of a guardian and another not. Were not these the natural qualities of the men also whom we selected for guardians?”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book V 455c–456a

52. “And at first he would most easily discern the shadows and, after that, the likenesses or reflections in water of men and other things, and later, the things themselves, and from these he would go on to contemplate the appearances in the heavens and heaven itself, more easily by night, looking at the light of the stars and the moon, than by day the sun and the sun's light.... And so, finally, I suppose, he would be able to look upon the sun itself and see its true nature, not by reflections in water or phantasms of it in an alien setting, but in and by itself in its own place.... And at this point he would infer and conclude that this it is that provides the seasons and the courses of the year and presides over all things in the visible region, and is in some sort the cause of all these things that they had seen.”

—Plato

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, The Republic, Book VII 516a–516c; This fragment is also translated as:
 And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves, then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven.... Last of all he will be able to see the sun.

53. “We are ready to acknowledge that Homer is the greatest of poets and first of tragedy writers; but we must remain firm in our conviction that hymns to the gods and praises of famous men are the only poetry which ought to be admitted into our State. For if you go beyond this and allow the honeyed muse to enter, either in epic or lyric verse, not law and the reason of mankind, which by common consent have ever been deemed best, but pleasure and pain will be the rulers in our State.... And now since we have reverted to the subject of poetry, let this our defence serve to show the reasonableness of our former judgment in sending away out of our State an art having the tendencies which we have described; for reason constrained us. But that she may impute to us any harshness or want of politeness, let us tell her that there is an ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry; of which there are many proofs, such as the saying of 'the yelping hound howling at her lord,' or of one 'mighty in the vain talk of fools,' and 'the mob of sages circumventing Zeus,' and the 'subtle thinkers who are beggars after all'; and there are innumerable other signs of ancient enmity between them. Notwithstanding this, let us assure our sweet friend and the sister arts of imitation that if she will only prove her title to exist in a well-ordered State we shall be delighted to receive her — we are very conscious of her charms; but we may not on that account betray the truth.”

—Plato

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Source and Related Info: Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, The Republic, Book X 607b
 • This fragment is also translated as:
  • Poetry and philosophy are always hostile to each other.
  • In Our Time: The Artist, BBC Radio 4 (28 March 2002)

54. “μόγις δὲ τριβόμενα πρὸς ἄλληλα αὐτῶν ἕκαστα, ὀνόματα καὶ λόγοι ὄψεις τε καὶ αἰσθήσεις, ἐν εὐμενέσιν ἐλέγχοις ἐλεγχόμενα καὶ ἄνευ φθόνων ἐρωτήσεσιν καὶ ἀποκρίσεσιν χρωμένων, ἐξέλαμψε φρόνησις περὶ ἕκαστον καὶ νοῦς, συντείνων ὅτι μάλιστ᾽ εἰς δύναμιν ἀνθρωπίνην.”

—Plato

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Source:  • Online

55. “SOCRATES: The shoemaker, for example, uses a square tool, and a circular tool, and other tools for cutting? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: But the tool is not the same as the cutter and user of the tool? ALCIBIADES: Of course not. ... SOCRATES: Then what shall we say of the shoemaker? Does he cut with his tools only or with his hands? ALCIBIADES: With his hands as well. SOCRATES: He uses his hands too? ALCIBIADES: Yes. ... SOCRATES: And does not a man use the whole body? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And that which uses is different from that which is used? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: Then a man is not the same as his own body? ALCIBIADES: That is the inference. SOCRATES: What is he, then? ALCIBIADES: I cannot say. SOCRATES: Nay, you can say that he is the user of the body. ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And the user of the body is the soul? ALCIBIADES: Yes, the soul.”

—Plato

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, Alcibiades I)

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