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Laches

Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Socrates, I invite you to teach and confute me as much as ever you like, and also learn of me anything which I know. So high is the opinion which I have entertained of you ever since the day on which you were my companion in danger, and gave proof of your valor such as only the man of merit can give.

This quote by Laches (189b) is important for the connection it draws between words and deeds. He respects the words of Socrates because Socrates has shown innate knowledge of the quality of courage on the battlefield. The reason Laches criticizes men who practice the art of fighting in armor is because, on the battlefield, they behave as cowards and show no skill in fighting. Thus, Laches realizes that although such men may have knowledge of a sort, they have not the useful kind that is actually used in fighting. Laches, Socrates, and Nicias, however, have the sort of knowledge that matters on the battlefield. But they cannot hold on to verbal knowledge of the word courage.