Schur, David. 2015. Plato's Wayward Path: Literary Form and the Republic. Hellenic Studies Series 66. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_SchurD.Platos_Wayward_Path.2015.
3. Literary Practice, Modality, and Distance
A Literary Practice of Interpretation
Modality and the Qualification of Discourse
Local Qualification in Socratic Dialogue
For now, suffice it to observe that this overdetermined sentence may be read as a methodological, conditional, speculative, and rhetorical question. Having the force of a conditional statement, it describes a possible state of affairs: if one should do this, one would do that. At the same time, with the force of a question, the sentence outlines a possible course of action, taking on the guise of a proposal, an exhortation, and a supposition that could be accepted. The hypothesis is a theoretical possibility that could, in turn, be accepted as a practical possibility.
Global Modality in the Republic