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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the detailed program for public education (paideia), from birth to age sixteen, set forth by Plato in the Laws, with emphasis on the role of music and dance for both girls and boys. In contrast with the common view that Plato was inspired by Spartan cultural practices, the chapter notes Plato’s criticism of Spartan training of the young and suggests that resemblances between Platonic ideas and later descriptions of Spartan society are rather the result of philosophical influence on the creation of an idealized Spartan mirage, including its educational system or agoge. Finally, the chapter briefly considers the psychological underpinning of Plato’s education program as presented in his image of the human soul as a sort of “puppet on strings.”

Keywords: Paideia, Plato, Laws, Sparta, public education, music and dance, agoge

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