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18. ἐν ὑμῖν: not ‘before your tribunal’, but ‘in you’, i.e. inside you, in your souls. The idea is of a conflict between the good and evil in the soul before you do the evil. ἐν ὑμῖν might have been ἐν αὐτῶ̣, but the ὑβριστής now selects his interlocutors as his examples. The subtle reasoning which follows may be put thus: We do evil, knowing it to be evil, because we are overcome by good. But—since that which we do is evil—the good which overcomes is less worthy than the evil in us which it overcomes. ‘Less worthy’ (to overcome) means that ‘there is less of it’: to be overcome by good is therefore to choose less good than evil. The argument is extraordinarily ingenious but hardly sound— the flaw lies in substituting ‘the evil in us’ for ‘us’; it was not ‘the evil in us’, but ‘we’ who were overcome by good. See also Introduction, p. xxvi. The usual way of taking ἐν ὑμῖν as ‘before your tribunal’ or the like (cf. Gorg. 464D) makes the false step much more serious—since it substitutes not ‘the evil in us’ but simply ‘the evil’ for ‘us’.

21. ἀνάξιά ἐστιν τἀγαθὰ τῶν κακῶν should be translated literally—‘the good is unworthy of the bad’. The expression— in Greek as in English—is somewhat strained in order to correspond to οὐκ ἀξίων above (l. 17); but after all ‘I am unworthy of you’ is much the same as ‘I am less worthy than you’. The Greeks can even use ἀνάξιος in the sense of ‘more worthy than’, ‘too good for’: e.g. Soph. Philoct. 1009.

22. τὰ μὲν μείζω: i.e. when τὰ κακά are μείζω and τὰ ἀγαθὰ σμικρότερα, then τἀγαθά are ἀνάξια τῶν κακῶν: τὰ κακά are ἀνάξια τῶν ἀγαθῶν, when τὰ ἀγαθά are μείζω, and τὰ κακὰ σμικρότερα. Similarly with πλείω and ἐλάττω. It must be borne in mind that ἄξιος does not here denote moral, but rather physical strength or value: good is ἀνάξιον κακοῦ, because it is smaller or less numerous.

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