PHILEBUS (Annotated) (Dialogues of Plato Book 22)


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2. An Interpretive Question

Even if they were true I should not think that they ought to be thus lightly told to thoughtless young persons. But the best way would be to bury them in silence, and if there were some necessity for relating them, that only a very small audience should be admitted under pledge of secrecy and after sacrificing, not a pig, but some huge and unprocurable victim, to the end that as few as possible should have heard these tales. But if there is any likelihood of our persuading them that no citizen ever quarrelled with his fellow-citizen and that the very idea of it is an impiety, [ d ] that is the sort of thing that ought rather to be said by their elders, men and women, to children from the beginning and as they grow older, and we must compel the poets to keep close to this in their compositions.

But Hera's fetterings by her son and the hurling out of heaven of Hephaestus by his father when he was trying to save his mother from a beating, and the battles of the gods in Homer's verse are things that we must not admit into our city either wrought in allegory or without allegory. For the young are not able to distinguish what is and what is not allegory, but whatever opinions are taken into the mind at that age are wont to prove [ e ] indelible and unalterable.

For which reason, maybe, we should do our utmost that the first stories that they hear should be so composed as to bring the fairest lessons of virtue to their ears. And to founders it pertains to know the patterns on which poets must compose their fables and from which their poems must not be allowed to deviate; but the founders are not required themselves to compose fables.

But that they were miserable who paid the penalty, and that the doer of this was God, is a thing that the poet must not be suffered to say; if on the other hand he should say that for needing chastisement the wicked were miserable and that in paying the penalty they were benefited by God, that we must allow. But as to saying that God, who is good, becomes the cause of evil to anyone, we must contend in every way that neither should anyone assert this in his own city if it is to be well governed, nor anyone hear it, [ c ] neither younger nor older, neither telling a story in meter or without meter; for neither would the saying of such things, if they are said, be holy, nor would they be profitable to us or concordant with themselves.


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Do you think that God is a wizard and capable of manifesting himself by design, now in one aspect, now in another, at one time himself changing and altering his shape in many transformations and at another deceiving us and causing us to believe such things about him; or that he is simple and less likely than anything else to depart from his own form? For we surely will not say that God is deficient in either beauty or excellence. Nor again must mothers under the influence of such poets terrify their children with harmful tales, how that there are certain gods whose apparitions haunt the night in the likeness of many strangers from all manner of lands, lest while they speak evil of the gods they at the same time make cowards of children.

For the falsehood in words is a copy of the affection in the soul, [ c ] an after-rising image of it and not an altogether unmixed falsehood.

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philebus annotated dialogues of plato book 22 Manual

Is not that so? Will it not be against enemies? And when any of those whom we call friends owing to madness or folly attempts to do some wrong, does it not then become useful [ d ] to avert the evil—as a medicine? And also in the fables of which we were just now speaking owing to our ignorance of the truth about antiquity, we liken the false to the true as far as we may and so make it edifying.

Would he because of his ignorance of antiquity make false likenesses of it?

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And I believed that Phoebus' mouth divine, Filled with the breath of prophecy, could not lie. But he himself, the singer, himself who sat At meat with us, himself who promised all, Is now himself the slayer of my son. Hooker, Eccles. Elsewhere Plato distinguishes goods of the soul, of the body, and of possessions Laws B, or as the first Alcibiades puts it the self, the things of the self, and other things. The Unity of Plato's Thought , note Philebus 66 E. Plato affirms that the immoralism of Thrasymachus and Callicles was widespread in Greece.

His statement is more systematic than theirs, but the principle is the same; for, though Callicles does not explicitly speak of a social contract, he implies that conventional justice is an agreement of the weak devised to hold the strong in awe. Gorgias C , and Glaucon here affirms that no relally strong man would enter into any such agreement. The social contract without the immoral application is also suggested in Protagoras B. Herodotus iii. It was misused by ancient as it is by modern radicals. It cannot be done.

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There are many emendations which the curious will find in Adam's first appendix to the book. Herodotus i. On the whole legend cf. Wells' The Invisible Man rests on a similar fancy. The word is a leit-motif anticipating Plato's rebuke of the tragedians for their praises of the tyraant. It does not, as Adam suggests, foreshadow Plato's attack on the popular theology. A greater power of face would accomplish anything and with the rest of the takings take away the bad name.

Is Pleasure the Good (the excellence proper to him) for Man?

Thucydides vii. Euripides Helen The Greeks were sensitive to rude or boastful speech. Cicero De Rep. Writers on Plato and Christianity have often compared the fate of Plato's just man with the crucifixion. Seven Usually a word of ironical connotation on Plato. Euthyphro 12 E ff. The rhythm perhaps indicates a proverb of which the scholiast found the source in Odyssey xvi.

Kern, Orphicorum Fragmenta , iv. The son is possibly Eumolpus. No offence appeared to be taken by the congregation at this doctrine. Jowett's notion that this is a jingle is due to the English pronunciation of Greek. Zeller, Phil. Rich men's doors is proverbial. Bad religions teach that divine vengeance may be bought off by offerings or personal abasement.

Plato Opera Vol. II

Lucan, Phars. John Morley, Lit. Studies , p. Unity of Plato 's Thought , p. To confute the one, to convince the other, became to him the main problem of moral philosophy. Starkie on Aristoph. Gildersleeve on Pindar Pyth. Verres' distribution of his three years' spoliation of Sicily , Cicero In C. Gorgias A. It does not refer to Thrasymachus facetiously as Adam fancies, but is an honorific expression borrowed from the Pythagoreans.

Introduction p.

Part 1: The Dialogues

Some have held that Glaucon and Adeimantus were uncles of Plato, but Zeller decides for the usual view that they wre brothers. So Aristotle Politics i. Laws D and Crito 48 B. In what follows Plato anticipates the advantages of the division of labor as set forth in Adam Smith, with the characteristic exception of its stimulus to new inventions. Introduction xv. We cannot infer that Plato was a vegetarian. Cf Jesus of Sirach xxxviii. By the mouth of the fine gentleman, Glaucon, Plato expresses with humorous exaggeration his own recognition of the inadequacy for ethical and social philosophy of his idyllic ideal.

Symposium E, Aristophanes Ach. Critias A, Aristotle Met. For a list of such Platonic generalizations Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought , note The plural here avoids hiatus. Natural desires are limited. Luxury and unnatural forms of wealth are limitless, as the Greek moralists repeat from Solon down. Phaedo 66 C. The simple life once abandoned, war is inevitable. Similarly that very dissimilar thinker, Mandeville.

And yet he contemplates war as a permanent, unalterable fact to be provided for in the ideal state. There is no pause between perception and pursuit.

Philosophically speaking, no brute is brave.

PHILEBUS (Annotated) (Dialogues of Plato Book 22) PHILEBUS (Annotated) (Dialogues of Plato Book 22)
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PHILEBUS (Annotated) (Dialogues of Plato Book 22) PHILEBUS (Annotated) (Dialogues of Plato Book 22)
PHILEBUS (Annotated) (Dialogues of Plato Book 22) PHILEBUS (Annotated) (Dialogues of Plato Book 22)
PHILEBUS (Annotated) (Dialogues of Plato Book 22) PHILEBUS (Annotated) (Dialogues of Plato Book 22)
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