previous next
[350a] In prescribing food and drink would he want to outdo the medical man or the medical procedure?” “Surely not.” “But he would the unmedical man?” “Yes.” “Consider then with regard to all1 forms of knowledge and ignorance whether you think that anyone who knows would choose to do or say other or more than what another who knows would do or say, and not rather exactly what his like would do in the same action.” “Why, perhaps it must be so,” he said, “in such cases.” “But what of the ignorant man—of him who does not know? Would he not overreach or outdo equally [350b] the knower and the ignorant?” “It may be.” “But the one who knows is wise?” “I'll say so.” “And the wise is good?” “I'll say so.” “Then he who is good and wise will not wish to overreach his like but his unlike and opposite.” “It seems so,” he said. “But the bad man and the ignoramus will overreach both like and unlike?” “So it appears.” “And does not our unjust man, Thrasymachus, overreach both unlike and like? Did you not say that?” “I did,” he replied. [350c] “But the just man will not overreach his like but only his unlike?” “Yes.” “Then the just man is like the wise and good, and the unjust is like the bad and the ignoramus.” “It seems likely.” “But furthermore we agreed that such is each as that to which he is like.” “Yes, we did.” “Then the just man has turned out2 on our hands to be good and wise and the unjust man bad and ignorant.”

Thrasymachus made all these admissions [350d] not as I now lightly narrate them, but with much baulking and reluctance3 and prodigious sweating, it being summer, and it was then I beheld what I had never seen before—Thrasymachus blushing.4 But when we did reach our conclusion that justice is virtue and wisdom and injustice vice and ignorance, “Good,” said I, “let this be taken as established.5 But we were also affirming that injustice is a strong and potent thing. Don't you remember, Thrasymachus?” “I remember,” he said; “but I don't agree with what you are now saying either and I have an answer to it, [350e] but if I were to attempt to state it, I know very well that you would say that I was delivering a harangue.6 Either then allow me to speak at such length as I desire,7 or, if you prefer to ask questions, go on questioning and I, as we do for old wives8 telling their tales, will say 'Very good' and will nod assent and dissent.” “No, no,” said I, “not counter to your own belief.” “Yes, to please you,” he said, “since you don't allow me freedom of speech. And yet what more do you want?” “Nothing, indeed,” said I; “but if this is what you propose to do, do it and I will ask the questions.” “Ask on, then.” “This, then, is the question I ask, the same as before, so that our inquiry may proceed in sequence.

1 Generalizing from the inductive instances.

2 Cf. 334 A.

3 Cf. Protagoras 333 B

4 Cf. the blush of the sophist in Euthydemus 297 A

5 The main paradox of Thrasymachus is refuted. It will be easy to transfer the other laudatory epithets ἰσχυρόν, etc., from injustice back to justice. Thrasymachus at first refuses to share in the discussion but finally nods an ironical assent to everything that Socrates says. So Callicles in Gorgias 510 A.

6 This is really a reminiscence of such passages as Theaetetus 162 D, Protagoras 336 B, Gorgias 482 C, 494 D, 513 A ff., 519 D. The only justification for it in the preceding conversation is 348 A-B.

7 So Polus in Gorgias 527 A.

8 Cf. Gorgias 527 A.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (James Adam)
load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: