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2 There is no article in the Greek. Plato is not scrupulous to distinguish good and the good here. cf. on 505 C, p. 89, note f.
3 ἕξις is not yet in Plato quite the technical Aristotelian “habit.” However Protag. 344 C approaches it. Cf. also Phileb. 11 D, 41 C, Ritter-Preller, p. 285. Plato used many words in periphrasis with the genitive, e.g.ἕξιςLaws 625 C,γένεσιςLaws 691 B, Tim. 73 B, 76 E,μοῖραPhaedr. 255 B, 274 E, Menex. 249 B,φύσιςPhaedo 109 E, Symp. 186 B, Laws 729 C, 845 D, 944 D, etc. He may have chosen ἕξις here to suggest the ethical aspect of the good as a habit or possession of the soul. The introduction of ἡδονή below supports this view. Some interpreters think it=τὸ ἀγαθὸν ὡς ἔχει, which is possible but rather pointless.
5 i.e. not only do we understand a thing when we know its purpose, but a purpose in some mind is the chief cause of its existence, God's mind for the universe, man's mind for political institutions. this, being the only interpretation that makes sense o the passage, is presumably more or less consciously Plato's meaning. Cf. Introd. pp. xxxv-xxxvi. Quite irrelevant are Plato's supposed identification of the ἀγαθόν with the ἕν, one, and Aristotle's statement, Met. 988 a, that the ideas are the cause of other things and the one is the cause of the ideas. the remainder of the paragraph belongs to transcendental rhetoric. It has been endlessly quoted and plays a great part in Neoplatonism, in all philosophies of the unknowable and in all negative and mystic theologies.
6 It is an error to oppose Plato here to the Alexandrians who sometimes said ἐπέκεινα τοῦ ὄντος. Plato's sentence would have made ὄντος very inconvenient here. But εἶναι shows that οὐσίας is not distinguished from τοῦ ὄντος here. ἐπέκεινα became technical and a symbol for the transcendental in Neoplatonism and all similar philosophies. cf. Plotinus xvii. 1, Dionysius Areop.De divinis nominibus, ii. 2, Friedländer, Platon, i. p. 87.
7 He is amused at Socrates' emphasis. Fanciful is Wilamowitz' notion (Platon, i. p. 209)that the laughable thing is Glaucon's losing control of himself, for which he compares Aristoph.Birds 61. Cf. the extraordinary comment of Proclus, p. 265. The dramatic humor of Glaucon's surprise is Plato's way of smiling at himself, as he frequently does in the dialogues. Cf. 536 B, 540 B, Lysis 223 B, Protag. 340 E, Charm. 175 E, Cratyl. 426 B, Theaet. 200 B, 197 D, etc. Cf. Friedländer, Platon, i. p. 172 on the Phaedo.
8 “What a comble!” would be nearer the tone of the Greek. There is no good English equivalent for ὑπερβολῆς. Cf. Sir Thomas Browne's remark that “nothing can be said hyperbolically of God.” The banter here relieves the strain, as is Plato's manner.
10 Cf. the similar etymological pun in Cratyl. 396 B-C. Here, as often, the translator must choose between over-translating for some tastes, or not translating at all.
11 The meaning is given in the text. Too many commentators lose the meaning in their study of the imagery. Cf. the notes of Adam, Jowett, Campbell, and Apelt. See Introd. p. xxi for my interpretation of the passage.
12 Some modern and ancient critics prefer ἀν᾽ ἴσα. It is a little more plausible to make the sections unequal. But again there is doubt which shall be longer, the higher as the more honorable or the lower as the more multitudinous. Cf. Plut.Plat. Quest. 3.
13 Cf. 402 B, Soph. 266 B-C.
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