Much is said in the text-books about Plato’s hankering after answers to moral questions which would offer scientific accuracy and absolute truth. It is to dialectic it seems that Plato turns in the hope of finding such accuracy. The Republic values Platonic dialectic rather higher than mathematical procedures, if only because the mathematician fails to explain the ultimate terms through which he conducts his inquiry. But the epistemologica! status of mathematics is at least as high as that of physical inquiry, whereas it is certainly higher than that of all this-worldly images. The images of the imitative artist were criticised for their distance from Platonic reality in Book X of the Republic, and it is not at all clear that they differ in this respect from the stories which Plato believes should be used at the commencement of his city’s education programme in Republic II (376e ff.). If myths are images, and images are low in epistemological status in the Republic and related middle period dialogues, then why does Plato use myths so prominently in precisely these dialogues?