This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
602C - 603B Consider, again, what is the part of our nature to which Imitation appeals. Painting depends for its effect on the optical delusions to which we are subject, and against which the arts of measurement, counting etc., are our only safeguard. The rational part of soul applies these arts, and proves itself the best by accepting their results. The opposing part is therefore one of the baser elements within us; and base will be the brood that springs from its union with imitative art, in Poetry as well as Painting. ff. The reasoning from here to 607 A has been supposed to rest on a psychological theory irreconcileable with that of Book IV, to which the discussion expressly alludes (in 602 E). See for example Krohn Pl. St. p. 255 and Pfleiderer Zur Lösung etc., p. 38. It is true that Plato is here content, in view of his immediate purpose, with a twofold division of soul into (1) a rational and (2) an irrational, ἀλόγιστον (604 D, 605 B), or lower element. But the resemblance between the two theories is greater than the difference, for a the λογιστικόν is common to both, and b on its moral side the irrational element appears sometimes as the ἐπιθυμητικόν (606 D καὶ περὶ ἀφροδισίων — καὶ περὶ πάντων τῶν ἐπιθυμητικῶν κτλ.), sometimes as a degenerate form of the θυμοειδές (604 E, 606 A : cf. θυμοῦ 606 D). What is new is the assignment to the ἀλόγιστον of a certain quasi-intellectual power—viz. the power of forming false opinions (603 A, 605 C); but there was no occasion to raise this point in the earlier psychology, which was intended as a foundation for Plato's theory of the virtues. It becomes necessary to touch upon the question now, because imitative art aims at producing false opinions, and Plato accordingly assigns them to the ἀλόγιστον. πρὸς Διὸς κτλ. The logical sequence is “iam vero haec imitatio non solum futilia efficit, sed etiam futilem animi nostri partem afficit” (Schneider). There is a certain awkwardness in making the transitional sentence interrogative in form, but the extreme animation carries it through. We cannot (with Stephanus) cancel οὐ and print a colon after ἀληθείας, for the interrogation is attested by πρὸς Διός. μέν τί . μέν of course balances δέ in πρὸς δὲ κτλ., and μέντοι (Stallbaum with some deterioris notae MSS) is not so good. καὶ ταὐτὰ καμπύλα τε κτλ. Nettleship (Lect. and Rem. II p. 349 note 2) reminds us that images in water were among Plato's examples of τὰ ἐφ᾽ οἷς εἰκασία ἐστίν in Book VI 510 A: but, as Jackson points out, Plato is here thinking of refraction, and not of reflection. πᾶσά τις -- ψυχῇ . “πᾶσα cum αὕτη coniungendum et per attractionem pro πᾶν τοῦτο dictum videtur. τις nomini praepositum est ut Gorg. p. 522 D αὕτη γάρ τις βοήθεια ἑαυτῷ πολλάκις ἡμῖν ὡμολόγηται κρατίστη εἶναι” Schneider. For other examples of this sort of attraction see Riddell Digest p. 203 § 201. Conjecture is not necessary; but if it were, we could not acquiesce either in αὐτῇ for αὕτη (Richter Fleck. Jb. 1867 p. 147, with one MS), or even, I think, in πᾶσι for πᾶσα (Richards). B. D. Turner in his edition of Book X thinks we may translate “and this weakness (πάθημα, as it is afterwards specified) is manifested in our souls as every species of confusion.” This solution gives an awkward sense, and is grammatically less easy than Schneider's.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.