Thursday, 23 February 2012

Plato, Quotations on Education

..for the object of education is to teach us to love beauty. (Plato)

'And once we have given our community a good start,' I pointed out, ' the process will be cumulative. By maintaining a sound system of education you produce citizens of good character, and citizens of sound character, with the advantage of a good education, produce in turn children better than themselves and better able to produce still better children in their turn, as can be seen with animals.'(Plato)

'... It is in education that bad discipline can most easily creep in unobserved,' he replied.

'Yes,' I agreed, ' because people don't treat it seriously there, and think no harm can come of it.'

'It only does harm,' he said, 'because it makes itself at home and gradually undermines morals and manners; from them it invades business dealings generally, and then spreads into the laws and constitution without any restraint, until it has made complete havoc of private and public life.'

'And when men who aren't fit to be educated get an education they don't deserve, are not the thoughts and opinions they produce fairly called sophistry, without a legitimate idea or any trace of true wisdom among them?'


'The first thing our artist must do,' I replied, ' - and it's not easy - is to take human society and human habits and wipe them clean out, to give himself a clean canvas. For our philosophic artist differs from all others in being unwilling to start work on an individual or a city, or draw out laws, until he is given, or has made himself, a clean canvas.'

'Because a free man ought not to learn anything under duress. Compulsory physical exercise does no harm to the body, but compulsory learning never sticks to the mind.'


'Then don't use compulsion,' I said to him, ' but let your children's lessons take the form of play. You will learn more about their natural abilities that way.' (Plato)
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