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[333a] “Yes, it is useful.” “But so is agriculture, isn't it?” “Yes.” “Namely, for the getting of a harvest?” “Yes.” “But likewise the cobbler's art?” “Yes.” “Namely, I presume you would say, for the getting of shoes.” “Certainly.” “Then tell me, for the service and getting of what would you say that justice is useful in time of peace?” “In engagements and dealings, Socrates.” “And by dealings do you mean associations, partnerships, or something else?” “Associations, of course.” “Is it the just man, [333b] then, who is a good and useful associate and partner in the placing of draughts or the draught-player?” “The player.” “And in the placing of bricks and stones is the just man a more useful and better associate than the builder?” “By no means.” “Then what is the association1 in which the just man is a better partner than the harpist as an harpist is better than the just man for striking the chords?” “For money-dealings,2 I think.” “Except, I presume, Polemarchus, for the use of money when there is occasion to buy in common [333c] or sell a horse. Then, I take it, the man who knows horses, isn't it so?” “Apparently.” “And again, if it is a vessel, the shipwright or the pilot.” “It would seem so.” “What then is the use of money in common for which a just man is the better partner?” “When it is to be deposited and kept safe, Socrates.” “You mean when it is to be put to no use but is to lie idle3?” “Quite so.” “Then it is when money is useless that justice is useful in relation to it?” [333d] “It looks that way.” “And similarly when a scythe is to be kept safe, then justice is useful both in public and private. But when it is to be used, the vinedresser's art is useful?” “Apparently.” “And so you will have to say that when a shield and a lyre are to be kept and put to no use, justice is useful, but when they are to be made use of, the military art and music.” “Necessarily.” “And so in all other cases, in the use of each thing, justice is useless but in its uselessness useful?” “It looks that way.” [333e]

“Then, my friend, justice cannot be a thing of much worth4 if it is useful only for things out of use and useless. But let us consider this point. Is not the man who is most skilful to strike or inflict a blow in a fight, whether as a boxer or elsewhere, also the most wary to guard against5 a blow?” “Assuredly.” “Is it not also true that he who best knows how to guard against disease is also most cunning to communicate it and escape detection?” “I think so.” “But again

1 Justice (the political art) must be something as definite as the special arts, yet of universal scope. This twofold requirement no definition of a virtue in the minor dialogues is ever able to satisfy. It is met only by the theory worked out in the Republic. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 14.

2 Justice is more nearly defined as having to do with money or legal obligations—the common-sense view to which Aristotle inclines.

3 Interest is ignored. Aristotle, Eth. Nic. 1120 a 9, splits hairs on this.

4 A virtue is presumably a good. A defintion that makes justice useless is ipso facto refuted. This line of argument is a standardized procedure in the minor dialogues. Cf. my Unity of Plato's Thought, n. 78. The argument continues: The arts are faculties of opposites. The fallacy is intentional, as in Hippias Minor 365, where it is argued that the voluntary lie is better than the involuntary. This impressed Aristotle, who met it with his distinction between habit and faculty (ἕξις and δύναμις). Cf Topics, vi. 12. 6, Eth. Nic. v. 1. 4, vi. 5. 7, Met. 1046 b, Unity of Plato's Thought, n. 38.

5 The shift from the active to the middle here helps Plato to his transition from guarding to guarding against.

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