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Socrates begins to apply the results of the previous discussion to the subject of his dispute with Protagoras.

Pleasure is good and pain evil, and no one willingly encounters what he believes to be evil. But fear is the expectation of evil: therefore no one will willingly encounter what he fears.

3. Ἱππία τε καὶ Πρόδικε. Here and in 358Eand 359A has dropped out in the MSS. after preceding -ω. The effect of its omission would be to render the address unduly abrupt.

3. ὑμῖν. So the MSS. Sauppe's ἡμῖν is not necessary. ὑμῖν means all three sophists: and λόγος is not the discussion as a whole, but the speaking, viz. in answer (cf. δοῦναι καὶ δέξασθαι λόγον). Throughout this chapter all the sophists reply: in the next Socrates makes use of their united admissions to destroy Protagoras alone.

7. διαἰρεσιν τῶν ὀνομάτων: see note on 314C

9. εἴτε ὁπόθεν καὶ ὅπωςὀνομάζων. This mode of address insinuates that Prodicus was a θεῖος ἀνήρ, since a god was addressed in a similar way. See Crat. 400E ὥσπερ ἐν ταῖς εὐχαῖς νόμος ἐστὶν ἡμῖν εὔχεσθαι, οἵτινές τε καὶ ὁρόθεν χαίπουσιν ὀνομαζόμενοι and cf. Euthyd. 288A θαυμάσιά γε λέγετ᾽, ἄνδρες Θούριοι, εἴτε Χῖοι εἴθ᾽ ὁπόθεν καὶ ὅπῃ χαίρετον ὀνομαζόμενοι and Symp. 212C τι καὶ ὅπῃ χαίρεις ὀνομάζων, τοῦτο ὀνόμαζε. A similar effect is produced in Symp. 176C by the words Σωκράτη δ᾽ ἐξαιρῶ λόγου, since there was a proverb τὸ θεῖον ἐξαιρῶ λόγου: cf. Rep. VI. 492E θεῖον μέντοι κατὰ τὴν παροιμίαν ἐξαιρῶμεν λόγου. The multitude of epithets given to gods is best illustrated by such a hymn as the Homeric Hymn to Ares, ll. 1 ff. Ἆρες ὑρεπμενέτα, βπισάπματε, χπυσεορήληξ, ὀβπιμόθυμε, φέπασρι. πολισσόε, χαλκοκορυστὰ κτλ. In the multitude of names the suppliant hopes to include the acceptable one.

11. πρὸς βούλομαι: emphatic, ‘with a view to my meaning’ )( πρὸς ὀνομάζω.

13. ἐπὶ τούτου. This usage can only be on the analogy of ἐπὶ Σάρδεων ὁδός and the like: actions are looked on as ways leading to a goal or destination or τέλος: cf. above 354Cand D. To take the words (with Sauppe) as ‘in the case of this’, ‘in this domain’, would give a wrong meaning; the moral character of an act being determined by its end, it is καλόν only if its end is καλόν. The expression is however very curious, and perhaps unique. I once thought that ἅπασαι might conceal some present participle such as ἄγουσαι—agreeing with πράξεις: but the occurrence of ἁπάσας below in 359Eshows ἅπασαι to be probably genuine here. The reasoning is this. Pleasure, the end, is good, pain evil; consequently all actions aiming at the end are καλαί, and therefore good (as usual ὠφέλιμος is but a synonym for ‘good’); therefore— as no one willingly selects evil rather than good—no one willingly does the worse (i.e. selects evil actions) when he might act better. As it is with πράξεις that bravery and cowardice are concerned, it is necessary for Plato to establish that ‘no one willingly seeks the worse’ is true of individual acts as well as of ultimate ends.

14. ἆρ᾽ οὐ καλαί. The words καὶ ὠφέλιμοι which follow οὐ καλαί in the MSS. are rightly rejected because they anticipate the identification in the next line.

17. ποιεῖ, καὶ δυνατά is Heindorf's emendation of the corrupt ἐποίει καὶ δύναται of the MSS.

18. ἥττω εἶναι αὑτοῦ κτλ. The phrases ἥττων αὑτοῦ and κρείττων ἑαυτοῦ are here substituted for ἥττων τῆς ἡδονῆς and κρείττων τῆς ἡδονῆς. Cf. the discussions in Rep. IV. 430E ff. and Laws, I. 626E ff., where κρείττω and ἥττω εἶναι ἑαυτοῦ are interpreted as the victory of the better part in us over the worse and conversely. As the worse part is the part which seeks ἡδονή, i.e. τὸ ἐπιθυμητικόν, the identification is just.

30. καλεῖτέ τι δέος. Heindorf's emendation for καλεῖτε δέος of the MSS. See note on 330Cabove.

31. προσδοκίαντινὰκακοῦ: a common definition; cf. Lach. 198B δέος γὰρ εἶναι προσδοκίαν μέλλοντος κακοῦ. φόβος in Laws, 1. 644C is defined as ‘expectation before pain’ (πρὸ λύπης ἐλπίς).

46. δέος, φόβος δ᾽ οὔ. Prodicus' distinction is just, though often dropped in practice: in φόβος ‘the physical agitation due to present danger ( παραυτίκα πτόησις, says Ammonius) is the leading idea’, in δέος the apprehension of evil to come (κακοῦ ὑπόνοια). See note on Euthyphr. 12B, where Plato implicitly recognises the difference.

35. ἀλλὰ τόδε: sc. διαφέρει. οὐδὲν διαφέρει does not of course mean ‘there is no difference’, but ‘it doesn't matter’.

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hide References (14 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (14):
    • Plato, Laws, 626e
    • Plato, Republic, 492e
    • Plato, Republic, 430e
    • Plato, Euthyphro, 12b
    • Plato, Cratylus, 400e
    • Plato, Symposium, 176c
    • Plato, Symposium, 212c
    • Plato, Euthydemus, 288a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 314c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 330c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 354c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 358e
    • Plato, Protagoras, 359a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 359e
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