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Neoptolemus abandons a resolution that he has been persuaded by Odysseus to adopt, because of the pain that it gives him to tell a lie: in this case inconstancy is praiseworthy.2. [8]

Again (a, c) there is the difficulty raised by the argument of the sophists. The sophists wish to show their cleverness by entrapping their adversary into a paradox, and when they are successful, the resultant chain of reasoning ends in a deadlock: the mind is fettered, being unwilling to stand still because it cannot approve the conclusion reached, yet unable to go forward because it cannot untie the knot of the argument. 2. [9] Now one of their arguments proves that Folly combined with Unrestraint is a virtue. It runs as follows: if a man is foolish and also unrestrained, owing to his unrestraint he does the opposite of what he believes that he ought to do; but he believes1 that good things are bad, and that he ought not to do them; therefore he will do good things and not bad ones.2. [10]

Again (b, d) one who does and pursues what is pleasant from conviction and choice,2 might be held to be a better man than one who acts in the same way not from calculation but from unrestraint, because he is more easy to cure, since he may be persuaded to alter his conviction; whereas the unrestrained man comes under the proverb that says ‘when water chokes you, what are you to drink to wash it down?’ Had he been convinced that what he does is right,

1 Sc., because he is foolish.

2 i.e., a profligate. This is another sophistic paradox based on the contradiction between (1) the identification of the unrestrained man with the profligate, and (2) the view (2.6) that the former acts contrary to his deliberate conviction (so Burnet).

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