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Then, Stranger, was not the view we stated long ago the right one? We said1 that all our laws must always aim at one single object, which, as we agreed, is quite rightly named “virtue.”Athenian
And we stated that virtue consists of four things.Athenian
And that the chief of all the four is reason,2 at which the other three, as well as everything else, should aim.Athenian
You follow us admirably, Clinias; and now follow us in what comes next. In the case of the pilot, the doctor, and the general, reason is directed, [963b] as we said, towards the one object of aim which is proper in each case; and now we are at the point of examining reason in the case of a statesman, and, addressing it as a man, we shall question it thus:—“O admirable sir, what is your aim? Medical reason is able to state clearly the one single object at which it aims; so will you be unable to state your one object—you who are superior, as perhaps you will say, to all the wise?” Can you two, Megillus and Clinias, define that object on his behalf, and tell me what you say it is, [963c] just as I, on behalf of many others, defined their objects for you?Clinias
We are totally unable to do so.Athenian
Well then, can you declare that we need zeal in discerning both the object itself as a whole and the forms it assumes?Clinias
Illustrate what you mean by “the forms” you speak of.Athenian
For example, when we said that there are four forms of virtue, obviously, since there are four, we must assert that each is a separate one.Clinias
And yet we call them all by one name: we assert that courage is virtue, and wisdom virtue, [963d] and the other two likewise, as though they were really not a plurality, but solely this one thing—virtue.Clinias
Now it is not hard to explain wherein these two (and the rest) differ from one another, and how they have got two names; but to explain why we have given the one name “virtue” to both of them (and to the rest) is no longer an easy matter.Clinias
How do you mean?Athenian
It is not hard to make clear my meaning. Let one of us adopt the role of questioner, the other of answerer.3Clinias
In what way? [963e] Athenian
Do you ask me this question—why, when calling both the two by the single name of “virtue,” did we again speak of them as two—courage and wisdom? Then I shall tell you the reason,—which is, that the one of them has to do with fear, namely courage,4 in which beasts also share, and the characters of very young children; for a courageous soul comes into existence naturally and without reasoning, but without reasoning there never yet came into existence, and there does not nor ever will exist, a soul that is wise and rational, it being a distinct kind.Clinias
That is true.
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