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καὶ τὸ τοῖς βελτίοσιν ὑπάρχον] ‘Animi bona bonis corporis praevalent quia animus est corpore praestantior’. Schrader. Courage and strength is Aristotle's illustration; for the reason assigned by Schrader. ἢ ἁπλῶς] ‘ut viri’ (man as the nobler animal) ‘virtutes praestant muliebribus simpliciter’. Schrader. ἢ ᾗ βελτίους] ‘aut quatenus meliores sunt: viri effeminati actiones deteriores sunt actionibus virilis animi feminae’. Id. I prefer the other explanation, as more direct and natural, ‘either generally, in respect of the entire character and qualities, or in respect of some special excellence’. καὶ ὃ ἕλοιτ᾽ ἂν ὁ βελτίων] The better man will make the better choice in general, ἁπλῶς, by virtue of his whole character; or ‘in so far as he is better, in respect of that particular kind of excellence, as some special virtue, in which his superiority is shewn, ᾗ βελτίων ἐστί. So Victorius; who proceeds (after Alexander) to distinguish between this and the preceding topic, § 21; in that the φρόνιμοι as a class choose between different kinds of good; here the comparison is between two different kinds of choosers, and the one who makes the better selection is the better in moral character. οἷον] (sc. ἑλέσθαι, or εἴ τις ἔλοιτο). The higher and nobler choice is illustrated by the preference of being wronged to doing wrong. This, though cited here as a popular sentiment, was by no means the current and prevailing opinion at Athens. Plato, Rep. II 358 C, makes Glaucon say, speaking of the opposite view, ἀκούων Θρασυμάχου καὶ μυρίων ἄλλων: and again, at the commencement of Glaucon's exposition of the disadvantages of justice and the superiority of injustice successful and unpunished, he uses the word φασί, which seems to imply that this was the general opinion. In fact one of the main objects of the Republic is to prove that the reverse of this is true; and the long and laborious process which he is obliged to go through in the establishment of his position is quite sufficient to shew how strong must have been the prejudices in favour of the adverse doctrine which must be surmounted before he could hope to make his own views acceptable. The Gorgias also is occupied with the solution of this same question, in the comparison namely of doing and receiving injury and wrong, on which side the advantage, when rightly estimated, really lies. The Sophists, as represented by Thrasymachus in the Republic, and Callias in the Gorgias, appear to have held the lower, and as we now hold it to be, immoral doctrine. Ast, in his Comm. on Pl. Rep. p. 391, has collected a number of references to authors who sided on this point with Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
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