previous next
[610a] But the body being one thing and the foods something else, we shall never expect the body to be destroyed by their badness, that is by an alien evil that has not produced in it the evil that belongs to it by nature.” “You are entirely right,” he replied.

“On the same principle,” said I, “if the badness of the body does not produce in the soul the soul's badness we shall never expect the soul to be destroyed by an alien evil apart from its own defect—one thing, that is, by the evil of another.” “That is reasonable,” he said. “Either, then, we must refute this [610b] and show that we are mistaken, or,1 so long as it remains unrefuted, we must never say that by fever or any other disease, or yet by the knife at the throat or the chopping to bits of the entire body, there is any more likelihood of the soul perishing because of these things, until it is proved that owing to these affections of the body the soul itself becomes more unjust and unholy. But when an evil of something else occurs in a different thing and the evil that belongs to the thing is not engendered in it, [610c] we must not suffer it to be said that the soul or anything else is in this way destroyed.” “But you may be sure,” he said, “that nobody will ever prove this, that the souls of the dying are made more unjust by death.” “But if anyone,” said I, “dares to come to grips with the argument2 and say, in order to avoid being forced to admit the soul's immortality, that a dying man does become more wicked and unjust,3 we will postulate that, if what he says is true, injustice must be fatal [610d] to its possessor as if it were a disease, and that those who catch it die because it kills them by its own inherent nature, those who have most of it quickest, and those who have less more slowly, and not, as now in fact happens, that the unjust die owing to this but by the action of others who inflict the penalty.” “Nay, by Zeus,” he said, “injustice will not appear a very terrible thing after all if it is going to be4 fatal to its possessor, for that would be a release from all troubles.5 But I rather think it will prove to be quite the contrary, [610e] something that kills others when it can, but renders its possessor very lively indeed,6 and not only lively but wakeful,7 so far, I ween, does it dwell8 from deadliness.” “You say well,” I replied; “for when the natural vice and the evil proper to it cannot kill and destroy the soul, still less9 will the evil appointed for the destruction of another thing destroy the soul or anything else, except that for which it is appointed.”10 “Still less indeed,” he said, “in all probability.” “Then since it is not destroyed by any evil whatever,

1 For the challenge to refute or accept the argument Cf. Soph. 259 A, 257 A, Gorg. 467 B-C, 482 B, 508 A-B, Phileb. 60 D-E.

2 Or “to take the bull by the horns.” For ὁμόσε ἰέναι see What Plato Said, p. 457, on Euthyph. 3 C. Cf.ἐγγὺς ἰόντεςPhaedo 95 B.

3 Herbert Spencer nearly does this: “Death by starvation from inability to catch prey shows a falling short of conduct from its ideal.” It recalls the argument with which Socrates catches Callicles in Gorg. 498 E, that if all pleasures are alike those who feel pleasure are good and those who feel pain are bad.

4 For the future indicative after εἰ, usually minatory or monitory in tone, cf. Aristoph.Birds 759, Phileb. 25 D.

5 Cf. Phaedo 107 C, 84 B, Blaydes on Aristoph.Acharn. 757.

6 μάλα is humorous, as in 506 D, Euthydem 298 D, Symp. 189 A.

7 Cf. Horace, Epist. i. 2. 32 “ut iugulent hominem surgunt de nocte latrones.”

8 For the metaphor Cf. Proverbs viii. 12σοφία κατεσκήνωσα βουλήν. Plato personifies injustice, as he does justice in 612 D,σκιαγραφία in 602 D, bravery in Laches 194 A,κολαστική in Soph. 229 A,κολακευτικήGorg. 464 C,σμικρότηςParmen. 150 AπονηρίαApol. 39 A-B, and many other abstract conceptions. See further Phileb. 63 A-B, 15 D, 24 A, Rep. 465 A-B, Laws 644 C, Cratyl. 438 D.

9 σχολῇ: cf. 354 C, Phaedo 106 D.

10 Cf. 345 D.

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: