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ἀλλ᾽ φίλε κτλ. Socrates σοφίζεται περὶ τὸ ὄνομα (509 D)—plays on the etymological sense of μετρίως. In effect he says “Don't say ‘μετρίως’: short measure in such cases is no measure at all: for—if ‘Measure’ be rightly understood—there can be no imperfect measure of anything.” Etymologically, for example, ἀτελὲς μέτρον ὕδατος is a misnomer, for the measure must be exactly commensurate with the water. Hence the μέτρον τῶν ἀκριβεστάτων must itself be ἀκριβέστατον (cf. 504 E). The essential perfection of μέτρον, τὸ μέτριον and the like is expounded in Pol. 284 A ff., Phil. 64 D ff. and 66 A: cf. also Laws 716 C ff., where we read that God, not Man, is the Measure of all things. The translation ‘Nothing imperfect is the measure of anything’ (Jowett and others) suggests, I think, a wrong idea, and is not so well adapted to μέτρονγίγνεται.

τισιν: with reference, perhaps, to Adimantus and the others (J. and C., comparing II 372 E. Cf. also V 465 E). Adimantus betrays no consciousness of the allusion in his reply.

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    • Plato, Philebus, 64d
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