Socrates on the rule of the majority

Socrates: What, Lysimachus? Do you intend to follow whatever course the majority of us recommends?

Lysimachus: Yes, what alternative is there, Socrates?

Socrates: And how about you, Melesias? Would you do the same? Imagine there was some discussion about about the kind of athletic training your son should practise: would you be influenced by the majority of us, or by the man who happened to have trained and exercised under a good coach?

Melesias: By the man who had been trained, I suppose, Socrates.

Socrates: Would he have more influence on you than four of us put together?

Melesias: Probably so.

Socrates: Yes, because I think that if a decision is to be made properly, then it must be made on the basis of knowledge and not numbers.

(From Plato’s dialogue ‘Laches’.)


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