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[442e] “We might,” I said, “completely confirm your reply and our own conviction thus, if anything in our minds still disputes our definition—by applying commonplace and vulgar1 tests to it.” “What are these?” “For example, if an answer were demanded to the question concerning that city and the man whose birth and breeding was in harmony with it, whether we believe that such a man, entrusted with a deposit2 of gold or silver, would withhold it and embezzle it, who do you suppose would think that he would be more likely so to act

1 The transcendental or philosophical definition is confirmed by vulgar tests. The man who is just in Plato's sense will not steal or betray or fail in ordinary duties. Cf. Aristotle Eth. Nic. 1178 b 16 φορτικὸς ἔπαινος. . . to say that the gods are σώφρονες. Similarly Plato feels that there is a certain vulgarity in applying the cheap tests of prudential morality (Cf. Phaedo 68 C-D) to intrinsic virtue. “Be this,” is the highest expression of the moral law. “Do this,” eventually follows. Cf. Leslie Stephen, Science of Ethics, pp. 376 and 385, and Emerson, Self-Reliance: “But I may also neglect the reflex standard, and absolve me to myself . . . If anyone imagines that this law is lax, let him keep its commandment one day.” The Xenophontic Socrates (Xenophon Memorabilia iv. 4. 10-11 and iv. 4. 17) relies on these vulgar tests.

2 Cf. on 332 A and Aristotle Rhet. 1383 b 21.

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