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[330a] I asked—wisdom and courage?

Most certainly, I should say, he replied and of the parts, wisdom is the greatest.

Each of them, I proceeded, is distinct from any other?

Yes.

Does each also have its particular function? Just as, in the parts of the face, the eye is not like the ears, nor is its function the same; nor is any of the other parts like another, in its function or in any other respect: in the same way, are the parts of virtue unlike each other, [330b] both in themselves and in their functions? Are they not evidently so, if the analogy holds?

Yes, they are so, Socrates, he said.

So then, I went on, among the parts of virtue, no other part is like knowledge, or like justice, or like courage, or like temperance, or like holiness.

He agreed.

Come now, I said, let us consider together what sort of thing is each of these parts. First let us ask, [330c] is justice something, or not a thing at all? I think it is; what do you say?

So do I, he replied.

Well then, suppose someone should ask you and me: Protagoras and Socrates, pray tell me this—the thing you named just now, justice, is that itself just or unjust? I should reply, it is just: what would your verdict be? The same as mine or different?

The same, he said.

Then justice, [330d] I should say in reply to our questioner, is of a kind that is just: would you also?

Yes, he said.

Now suppose he proceeded to ask us: Do you also speak of a “holiness”? We should say we do, I fancy.

Yes, he said.

Then do you call this a thing also? We should say we do, should we not?

He assented again.

Do you say this thing itself is of such nature as to be unholy, or holy? For my part I should be annoyed at this question, I said, and should answer: Hush, my good sir! [330e] It is hard to see how anything could be holy, if holiness itself is not to be holy! And you—would you not make the same reply?

Certainly I would, he said.

Now suppose he went on to ask us: Well, and what of your statement a little while since? Perhaps I did not hear you aright, but I understood you two to say that the parts of virtue are in such a relation to each other that one of them is not like another. Here my answer would be: As to the substance of it, you heard aright, but you made a mistake in thinking that I had any share in that statement.


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