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[860d]

Athenian
That all bad men are in all respects unwillingly bad; and, this being so, our next statement must agree therewith.

Clinias
What statement do you mean?

Athenian
This,—that the unjust man is, indeed, bad, but the bad man is unwillingly bad.1 But it is illogical to suppose that a willing deed is done unwillingly; therefore he that commits an unjust act does so unwillingly in the opinion of him who assumes that injustice is involuntary—a conclusion which I also must now allow; for I agree that all men do unjust acts unwillingly; so, since I hold this view—and do not share the opinion of those who,

1 In what follows, the Athenian, adopting the Socratic dictum that “vice is involuntary” (cp. Plat. Tim. 86e ff.), applies it to the special vice of injustice; but here his view is found to conflict with the popular view which distinguishes between voluntary and involuntary acts of injustice, and assigns to them different legal penalties. If this popular distinction is wrong, the lawgiver must either (a) simply apply the Socratic rule, and enact that all unjust acts are involuntary and deserve therefore equal penalties, or (b) draw a new distinction, which Ath. proceeds to do in 861 E ff. (see note ad loc.).

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Plato, Timaeus, 86e
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