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only at raising a laugh and all mankind declare that the
youth who are rightly educated should be brought up and
saturated with them ; they should be constantly hearing
them read at recitations, and some would have them learn
by heart entire poets; while others select choice passages
and long speeches, and make compendiums of them, saying
that these shall be committed to memory, and that in this
way only can a man be made good and wise by experience
and learning. And you want me to say plainly in what
they are right and in what they are wrong.

CLE. Yes, I do.

ATH. But how can I in one word rightly comprehend
all of them? I am of opinion, and, if I am not mistaken,
there is a general agreement, that every one of these poets
has said many things well and many things the reverse of
well; and if this be true, then I do affirm that much learn-
ing brings danger to youth.

CLE. Then how would you advise the guardian of the
law to act?

ATH. In what respect?

CLE. I mean to what pattern should he look as his
guide in permitting the young to learn some things and
forbidding them to learn others? Do not shrink from

ATH. My good Cleinias, I rather think that I am fortu-

CLE. In what?

ATH. I think that I am not wholly in want of a pattern,
for when I consider the words which we have spoken from
early dawn until now, and which, as I believe, have been


inspired by Heaven, they appear to me to be quite like a
poem. When I reflected upon all these words of ours, 1
naturally felt pleasure, for of all the discourses which I have
ever learnt or heard, either in poetry ,or prose, this seemed
to me to be the justest, and most suitable for young men
to hear; I cannot imagine any better pattern than this
which the guardian of the law and the educator can have.
They cannot do better than advise the teachers to teach the
young these and the like words, and if they should happen
to find writings, either in poetry or pros^, or even unwritten
discourses like these of ours, and of the same family, they
should certainly preserve them, and commit them to writ-
ing. And, first of all, they shall constrain the teachers
themselves to learn and approve them, and any of them
who will not, shall not be employed by them, but those
whom they find agreeing in their judgment, they shall make
use of and shall commit to them the instruction and educa-
tion of youth. And here and on this wise let my fanciful
tale about letters and teachers of letters come to an end.


By common consent Aristotle ranks as one of the greatest
thinkers of classical antiquity. His influence in the philo-
sophic world, though far less at the present time than it
was formerly, has been almost unbroken for more than two
thousand years. He was born at Stagira, in Macedonia,
384 B. C, springing from a family in which the practice
of medicine, such as it was in that day, was hereditary.
His father was physician to Amyntas, King of Macedonia,
and grandfather of Alexander the Great. Aristotle him-
self was probably intended for the medical profession, and
to this fact was due no doubt his interest in anatomy. But
in early manhood he gave up medicine for philosophy. He
became a disciple of Plato, and by his penetration of mind
gained the distinction of being called " the intellect of the

In 342 B. C, when his fame as a philosopher had become
established, he was appointed teacher of Alexander the
Great, then a lad of fourteen. The course of instruction
he followed with his illustrious pupil is not known in its
details, but was presumably that which prevailed at Athens.
He enjoyed the highest confidence of both Philip and Alex-
ander, and during his three or four years of service as tutor,
he received many marks of favor at their hands. Among
these may be mentioned the restoration of his native town
Stagira, which had been destroyed by war, and the erection
there of a gymnasium for his philosophical lectures.

PAINTER PED. Ess. 3 33


When Alexander entered upon his great expedition of
conquest into Asia, Aristotle returned to Athens and estab-
lished a school in the Lyceum. He lectured to a circle of
disciples as he walked about the shady avenues; and this
fact has given to his school of philosophy the name Peri-
patetic. His scholarship embraced the whole range of
knowledge. Unlike his great theorizing teacher, Aristotle
was a careful and practical investigator; he invented the
science of logic, and made valuable contributions to many
other departments of learning.

Aristotle has treated of education more or less fully in
several works. His " Rhetoric " and " Poetics " are pro-
found treatises that may still be studied with great profit.
His " Nichomachean Ethics " touches repeatedly but briefly
on education. It is in his " Politics " that he has treated
the subject most fully; but his discussion is unfortunately
incomplete, and it is greatly to be regretted that he never
fulfilled his promise to return to it. The following extract
is taken from the translation in Bohn's Classical Library.
It includes part of Book VII. and the whole of Book VIII.
of the " Politics."



13. It follows then from what has been said that some
things the legislator must find ready to his hand in a state,
others he must provide. And therefore we can only say :
May our state be constituted in such a manner as to be
blessed with the goods of which fortune disposes (for we
acknowledge her power) : whereas virtue and goodness in
the state are not a matter of chance but the result of knowl-
edge and purpose.* A city can be virtuous only when the


citizens who have a share in the government are virtuous,
and in our state all the citizens share in the government;
let us then inquire how a man becomes virtuous. For even
if we could suppose all the citizens to be virtuous, and not
each of them, yet the latter would be better, for in the virtue
of each the virtue of all is involved.

There are three things which make men good and vir-
tuous: these are nature, habit, reason. In the first place,
every one must be born a man and not some other animal;
in the second place, he must have certain character, both
of body and soul. But some qualities there is no use in
having at birth, for they are altered by habit, and there
are some gifts of nature which may be turned by habit to
good or bad. Most animals lead a life of nature, although
in lesser particulars some are influenced by habit as well.
Man has reason, in addition, and man only. Wherefore
nature, habit, reason must be in harmony with one another
(for they do not always agree) ; men do many things against
habit and nature, if reason persuades them that they ought.
We have already determined what natures are likely to be
most easily molded by the hands of the legislator. All
else is the work of education ; we learn some things by
habit and some by instruction.

14. Since every political society is composed of rulers
and subjects, let us consider whether the relations of one
to the other should interchange or be permanent. For the
education of the citizens will necessarily vary with the
answer given to this question. Now, if some men excelled
others in the same degree in which gods and heroes are
supposed to excel mankind in general, having in the first
place a great advantage even in their bodies, and secondly
in their minds, so that the superiority of the governors
over their subjects was patent and undisputed, it would
clearly be better that once for all the one class should rule


and the others serve. But since this is unattainable, and
kings have no marked superiority over their subjects, such
as Scylax affirms to be found among the Indians, it is
obviously necessary on many grounds that all the citizens
alike should take their turn in governing and being gov-
erned. Equality consists in the same treatment of similar
persons, and no government can stand which is not founded
upon justice. For (if the government be unjust) every one
in the country unites with the governed in the desire to have
a revolution, and it is an impossibility that the members of
the government can be so numerous as to be stronger than
all their enemies put together. Yet that governors should
excel their subjects is undeniable. How all this is to be
effected, and in what way they will respectively share in
the government, the legislator has to consider. The sub-
ject has been already mentioned. Nature herself has given
the principle of choice when she made a difference between
old and young (though they are really the same in kind),
of whom she fitted the one to govern and the others to be
governed. No one takes offense at being governed when
he is young, nor does he think himself better than his gov-
ernors, especially if he will enjoy the same privilege when
he reaches the required age.

We conclude that from one point of view governors and
governed are identical, and from another different. And
therefore their education must be the same and also differ-
ent. For he who would learn to command well must, as
men say, first of all learn to obey. As I observed in the
first part of this treatise, there is one rule which is for the
sake of the rulers and another rule which is for the sake
of the ruled; the former is a despotic, the latter a free
government. Some commands differ not in the thing com-
manded, but in the intention with which they are imposed.
Wherefore, many apparently menial offices are an honor to


the free youth by whom they are performed ; for actions do
not differ as honorable or dishonorable in themselves so
much as in the end and intention of them. But since we
say that the virtue of the citizen and ruler is the same as
that of the good man, and that the same person must first
be a subject and then a ruler, the legislator has to see that
they become good men, and by what means this may be
accomplished, and what is the end of the perfect life.

Now the soul of man is divided into two parts, one of
which has reason in itself, and the other, not having rea-
son in itself, is able to obey reason. And we call a man
good because he has the virtues of these two parts. In
which of them the end is more likely to be found is no
matter of doubt to those who adopt our division ; for in
the world both of nature and of art the inferior always
exists for the sake of the better or superior, and the better
or superior is that which has reason. The reason too, in
our ordinary way of speaking, is divided into two parts for
there is a practical and a speculative reason, and there must
be a corresponding division of actions ; the actions of the
naturally better principle are to be preferred by those who
have it in their power to attain to both or to all, for that
is always to every one the most eligible which is the high-
est attainable by him. The whole of life is further divided
into two parts, business and leisure, war and peace, and all
actions into those which are necessary and useful, and
those which are honorable. And the preference given to
one or the other class of actions must necessarily be like
the preference given to one or other part of the soul and
its actions over the other; there must be war for the sake
of peace, business for the sake of leisure, things useful
and necessary for the sake of things honorable. All
these points the statesman should keep in view when he
frames his laws ; he should consider the parts of the soul


and their functions, and above all the better and the end;
he should also remember the diversities of human lives
and actions. For men must engage in business and go to
war, but leisure and peace are better; they must do what
is necessary and useful, but what is honorable is better.
In such principles children and persons of every age which
requires education should be trained. Whereas even the
Hellenes of the present day, who are reputed to be best
governed, and the legislators who gave them their consti-
tutions, do not appear to have framed their governments
with a regard to the best end, or to have given them laws
and education with a view to all the virtues, but in a vul-
gar spirit have fallen back on those which promised to be
more useful and profitable. Many modern writers have
taken a similar view : they commend the Lacedaemonian
constitution, and praise the legislator for making conquest
and war his sole aim, a doctrine which may be refuted by
argument and has long ago been refuted by facts. For
most men desire empire in the hope of accumulating the
goods of fortune; and on this ground Thibron and all
those who have written about the Lacedaemonian constitu-
tion have praised their legislator, because the Lacedae-
monians, by a training in hardships, gained great power.
But surely they are not a happy people now that their
empire has passed away, nor was their legislator right.
How ridiculous is the result, if, while they are continuing
in the observance of his laws and no one interferes with
them, they have lost the better part of life. These writers
further err about the sort of government which the legis-
lator should approve, for the government of freemen is
noble, and implies more virtue than despotic government.
Neither is a city to be deemed happy nor a legislator to be
praised because he trains his citizens to conquer and
obtain dominion over their neighbors, for there is great


evil in this. On a similar principle any citizen who could,
would obviously try to obtain the power in his own state,
the crime which the Lacedaemonians accuse king Pau-
sanias of attempting, although he had so great honor
already. No such principle and no law having this object
is either statesmanlike or useful or right. For the same
things are best both for individuals and for states, and
these are the things which the legislator ought to implant
in the minds of his citizens. Neither should men study
war with a view to the enslavement of those who do not
deserve to be enslaved; but first of all they should provide
against their own enslavement, and in the second place
obtain empire for the good of the governed, and not for the
sake of exercising a general despotism, and in the third
place they should seek to be masters only over those who
deserve to be slaves. Facts, as well as arguments, prove
that the legislator should direct all his military and other
measures to the provision of leisure and the establishment
of peace. For most of these military states are safe only
while they are at war, but fall when they have acquired
their empire; like unused iron they rust in time of peace.
And for this the legislator is to blame, he never having
taught them how to lead the life of peace.

15. Since the end of individuals and of states is the
same, the end of the best man and of the best state must
also be the same ; it is therefore evident that there ought to
exist in both of them the virtues of leisure; for peace, as
has often been repeated, is the end of war, and leisure of
toil. But leisure and cultivation may be promoted, not only
by those virtues which are practiced in leisure, but also by
some of those which are useful to business. For many
necessaries of life have to be supplied before we can have
leisure. Therefore a city must be temperate and brave,
and able to endure ; for truly, as the proverb says, " There


is no leisure for slaves," and those who cannot face danger
like men are the slaves of any invader. Courage and endur-
ance are required for business and philosophy for leisure,
temperance and justice for both, more especially in times
of peace and leisure, for war compels men to be just and
temperate, whereas the enjoyment of good fortune and the
leisure which comes with peace tends to make them inso-
lent. Those then, who seem to be the best off and to be
in the possession of every good, have special need of jus-
tice and temperance, for example, those (if such there
be, as the poets say) who dwell in the Islands of the Blest ;
they above all will need philosophy and temperance and
justice, and all the more the more leisure they have, living in
the midst of abundance. There is no difficulty in seeing
why the state that would be happy and good ought to have
these virtues. If it be disgraceful in men not to be able
to use the goods of life, it is peculiarly disgraceful not to
be able to use them in time of peace, to show excellent
qualities in action and war, and when they have peace and
leisure to be no better than slaves. Wherefore we should
not practice virtue after the manner of the Lacedaemonians.
For they, while agreeing with other men in their concep-
tion of the* highest goods, differ from the rest of mankind
in thinking that they are to be obtained by the practice of
a single virtue. And since these goods and the enjoyment
of them are clearly greater than the enjoyment derived
from the virtues of which they are the end, we must now
consider how and by what means they are to be attained.

We have already determined that nature and habit and
reason are required, and what should be the character of
the citizens has also been defined by us. But we have
still to consider whether the training of early life is to be
that of reason or habit, for these two must accord, and
when in accord they will then form the best of harmonies.


Reason may make mistakes and fail in attaining the high-
est ideal of life, and there may be a like evil influence of
habit. Thus much is clear in the first place, that, as in all
other things, birth implies some antecedent principle, and
that the end of anything has a beginning in some former
end. Now, in men reason and mind are the end towards
which nature strives, so that the birth and moral discipline
of the citizens ought to be ordered with a view to them.
In the second place, as the soul and body are two, we see
also that there are two parts of the soul, the rational and
the irrational, and two corresponding states reason and
appetite. And as the body is prior in order of generation
to the soul, so the irrational is prior to the rational. The
proof is that anger and will and desire are implanted in
children from their very birth, but reason and understand-
ing are developed as they grow older. Wherefore, the
care of the body ought to precede that of the soul, and the
training of the appetitive part should follow : none the less
our care of it must be for the sake of the reason, and our
care of the body for the sake of the soul.

$ 9|C $ $ $

17. After the children have been born, the manner of
rearing them may be supposed to have a great effect on
their bodily strength. It would appear from the example
of animals, and of those nations who desire to create the
military habit, that the food which has most milk in it is
best suited to human beings; but the less wine the better^
if they would escape diseases. Also all the motions to
which children can be subjected at their early age are very
useful. But in order to preserve their tender limbs from
distortion, some nations have had recourse to mechanical
appliances which straighten their bodies. To accustom
children to the cold from their earliest years is also an
excellent practice, which greatly conduces to health, and


hardens them for military service. Hence many barbarians
have a custom of plunging their children at birth into a cold
stream; others, like the Celts, clothe them in a light wrap-

r per only. , For human nature should be early habituated
to endure all which by habit it can be made to endure ;
but the process must be gradual. And children, from their
natural warmth, may be easily trained to bear cold. Such
care should attend them in the first stage of life.

The next period lasts to the age of five; during this no
demand should be made upon the child for study or labor,
lest its growth be impeded; and there should be sufficient
motion to prevent the limbs from being inactive. This
can be secured, among other ways, by amusement, but the
amusement should not be vulgar or tiring or riotous. The
Directors of Education, as they are termed, should be care-
ful what tales or stories the children hear, for the sports
of children are designed to prepare the way for the busi-
ness of later life, and should be for the most part imita-
tions of the occupations which they will hereafter pursue
in earnest. Those are wrong who (like Plato) in the Laws
attempt to check the loud crying and screaming of children,
for these contribute towards their growth, and, in a man-
ner, exercise their bodies. Straining the voice has an
effect similar to that produced by the retention of the

i breath in violent exertions. Besides other duties, the
Directors of Education should have an eye to their bring-
ing up, and should take care that they are left as little as
possible with slaves. For until they are seven years old
they must live at home; and therefore, even at this early
age, all that is mean and low should be banished from
their sight and hearing. Indeed, there is nothing which
the legislator should be more careful to drive away than
indecency of speech ; for the light utterance of shameful
words is akin to shameful actions. The young especially


should never be allowed to repeat or hear anything of the
sort. A freeman who is fond of saying or doing what is
forbidden, if he be too young as yet to have the privilege
of a place at the public tables, should be disgraced and
beaten, and an elder person degraded as his slavish con-
duct deserves. And since we do not allow improper lan-
guage, clearly we should also banish pictures or tales which
are indecent. Let the rulers take care that there be no
image or picture representing unseemly actions, except in
the temples of those Gods at whose festivals the law per-
mits even ribaldry, and whom the law also permits to be
worshiped by persons of mature age on behalf of them-
selves, their children, and their wives. But the legislator
should not allow youth to be hearers of satirical iambic
verses or spectators of comedy until they are of an age to
sit at the public tables and to drink strong wine; by that
time education will have armed them against the evil influ-
ences of such representations.

We have made these remarks in a cursory manner,
they are enough for the present occasion ; but hereafter
we will return to the subject and after a fuller discussion
determine whether such liberty should or should not be
granted, and in what way granted, if at all. Theodorus,
the tragic actor, was quite right in saying that he would
not allow any other actor, not even if he were quite second-
rate, to enter before himself, because the spectators grew
fond of the voices which they first heard. And the same
principle of association applies universally to things as well
as persons, for we always like best whatever comes first.
And therefore youth should be kept strangers to all that
is bad, and especially to things which suggest vice or hate.
When the five years have passed away, during the two fol-
lowing years they must look on at the pursuits which they
are hereafter to learn. There are two periods -of life into


which education has to be divided, from seven to the age
of puberty, and onwards to the age of one and twenty.
The poets, who divide ages by sevens are not always right;
we should rather adhere to the divisions actually made by
nature ; for the deficiencies of nature are what art and edu-
cation seek to fill up.

Let us then first inquire if any regulations are to be laid
down about children, and secondly, whether the care of
them should be the concern of the state or the private indi-
viduals, which latter is in our own day the common custom,
and in the third place, what these regulations should be.


I. No one will doubt that the legislator should direct his
attention above all to the education of youth, or that the
neglect of education does harm to states. The citizen
should be molded to suit the form of government under
which he lives. For each government has a peculiar char-
acter which originally formed and which continues to pre-
serve it. The character of democracy creates democracy,
and the character of oligarchy creates oligarchy; and al-
ways the better the character, the better the government.

Online LibraryF. V. N. (Franklin Verzelius Newton) PainterGreat pedagogical essays; Plato to Spencer → online text (page 3 of 33)