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Vichada Travel on The measures proposed were the logical conclusion of the city-state, and Plato saw that it had no chance of survival unless it were pushed to its logical conclusion and deprived of the individual vagaries which, in the circumstances of the time, only gave room for the operation of the des- tructive forces already at work within it.1 Only if it preserved a homogeneity, or rather a harmony as Plato would put it, based on the acceptance by each citizen of an allocation of function according to character and capacity, could it hope for salvation. The saint of Platonism is Socrates, who sat in prison awaiting death while his friends devised a plan for his escape, and replied to them in words like these: Do you think a city can go on existing, and avoid being turned upside-down, if its judgments are to have no force but are to be made null and void by private individuals?2 How then did Plato deal with the three main movements of thought, natural philosophy, the teaching of the sophists, and mysticism, which threatened the continued existence of the idea of the city-state and its religion? That is the question which I propose as the subject of our necessarily limited discussion. In the work of the natural philosophers, by which I mean here the Milesian school and its successors, his all-embracing mind felt a much keener interest than had his master Socrates. Yet so far as their effect on human conduct was concerned, the objection made by Socrates was valid for Plato also. They had been content to raise the question of matter, and considered that the explanation of the universe lay in finding out what it was made of. The question of a first cause was solved (or as Aristotle not quite fairly put it, lazily shelved) by assuming a power of self-motion in the world-stuff itself. Vichada Travel 2016.

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