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‘The narrative should have an ethical cast: this will be effected when (if) we know what imparts this ethical character. One thing in particular that does so, is any indication of a moral purpose (II 21. 16, III 17. 9, Poet. VI 24): it is by (the quality of) this that a moral quality is given to character: and the quality (good or bad) of the moral purpose is determined by the end’. On προαίρεσις, see Eth. Nic. III cc. 4, 5, VI 2. ‘Consequently Mathematics (mathematical calculations or reasonings, λόγοι) can have no moral character, because they have no moral purpose: for they have no (moral or practical) end in view’. (Their end is the intellectual one, truth.) ‘But the “Socratic dialogues” have (a moral purpose, and an ethical and practical end), for they treat of such (ethical) subjects’. On this class of works, called collectively ‘Socratic dialogues’, see Grote, Plato III 469; also Heitz, Verl. Schrift. Ar., die dial. des Arist. pp. 140—144. By ‘Socratic dialogues’ are meant dialogues on moral philosophy, after the manner of Socrates, and therefore bearing his name, whether (as in Plato and Xenophon) he was an interlocutor, or not; the compositions of Socrates' friends and followers, the Socratic ‘family’, Xenophon, Plato, Aeschines, Antisthenes, Phaedo, (Socraticam domum, Hor. Od. I 19. 14, comp. III 21. 9, Socraticis sermonibus madet. Ars Poet. 310. Socraticae chartae, all meaning moral philosophy). On Socrates' philosophical pursuits and studies see Arist. de part. Anim. I 1. 44, 642 a 28, Cic. Tusc. Disp. V 5. 10, Academ. Post. I 4. 15. Conf. Athen. XI 505 C, Ἀριστοτέλης δὲ ἐν τῷ περὶ ποιητῶν οὕτως γράφει, “Οὐκοῦν οὐδὲ ἐμμέτρους τοὺς καλουμένους Σώφρονος μίμους ...μὴ φῶμεν...ἢ τοὺς Ἀλεξαμενοῦ τοῦ Τηΐου τοὺς πρώτους γραφέντας τῶν Σωκρατικῶν διαλόγων.” ἀντικρὺς φάσκων ὁ πολυμαθέστατος Ἀρ. πρὸ Πλάτωνος διαλόγους γεγραφέναι τὸν Ἀλεξαμενόν. This extract will serve as a corrective to Poet. I 8, from which it might seem that the ‘Socratic dialogues’ were in verse. See Tyrwhitt's note ad loc. p. 110. The meaning of that passage is, that the Socratic dialogues are not to be called poetry or verse, although they have a dramatic character (Gräfenhan).
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