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1 The loose Herodotean-Thucydidean-Isocratean use of ἰδέα. Cf. Laws 689 Dκαὶ τὸ σμικρότατον εἶδος. “Form” over-translates ἰδέᾳ here, which is little more than a synonym for γένος above. Cf. Wilamowitz, Platon, ii. p. 250.
3 Cf. my Idea of good in Plato's Republic pp. 223-225, Reinhardt, Kosmos und Sympathie, pp. 374-384. Mediaeval writers have much to say of Platos mysterious Tagathon. Aristotle, who rejects the idea of good, uses τἀγαθόν in much the same way. It is naive to take the language of Platonic unction too literally. Cf. What Plato Said, pp. 394 ff.
4 Cf. 509 A, Plotinus, Enn. i. 6. 9οὐ γὰρ ἂν πώποτε εἶδεν ὀφθαλμὸς ἥλιον ἡλιοειδὴς μὴ γεγενημένος and vi. 7. 19, Cic.Tusc.. i. 25. 73 in fine “quod si in hoc mundo fieri sine deo non potest, ne in sphaera quidem eosdem motus Archimedes sine divino ingenio potuisset imitare,” Manilius ii. 115: Quis caelum posset nisi caeli munere nosse, Et reperire deum nisi qui pars ipse deorum?
5 i.e. creation was the work of benevolent design. This is one of the few passages in the Republic where the idea of good is considered in relation to the universe, a thesis reserved for poetical or mythical development in the Timaeus. It is idle to construct a systematic metaphysical theology for Plato by identification of τἀγαθόν here either with god or with the ideas as a whole. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, p 512.
7 Plato's rhetoric is not to be pressed. Truth, being the good, are virtual synonyms. Still, for Plato's ethical and political philosophy the light that makes things intelligible is the idea of good, i.e. the “sanction,” and not, as some commentators insist, the truth.
8 No absolute distinction can be drawn between εἶδος and ἰδέα in Plato. But ἰδέα may be used o carry the notion of “apprehended aspect” which I think is more pertinent here than the metaphysical entity of the idea, though of course Plato would affirm that. Cf. 379 A, Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 35, What Plato Said, p. 585, Class. Phil. xx. (1925) p. 347.
9 The meaning is clear. we really understand and know anything only when we apprehend its purpose, the aspect of the good that it reveals. Cf. Introd. pp. xxxv-xxxvi. the position and case of γιγνωσκομένης are difficult. But no change proposed is any improvement.
10 Plato likes to cap a superlative by a further degree of completeness, a climax beyond the climax. Cf. 405 Bαἴσχιστον . . . αἴσχιον, 578 B, Symp. 180 A-B and Bury ad loc. The same characteristic can be observed in his method, e.g. in the Symposium where Agathon's speech, which seems the climax, is surpassed by that of Socrates: similarly in the Gorgias and the tenth book of the Republic, Cf. Friedländer, Platon, i. p. 174, Introd. p. lxi. This and the next half page belong, I think, to rhetoric rather than to systematic metaphysics. Plato the idealist uses transcendental language of his ideal, and is never willing to admit that expression has done justice to it. But Plato the rationalist distinctly draws the line between his religious language thrown out at an object and his definite logical and practical conclusions. Cf. e.g. Meno 81 D-E.
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