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”1 in the beginning of the elegy which the admirer2 of Glaucon wrote when you distinguished yourselves in the battle of Megara3—'Sons of Ariston,4 whose race from a glorious sire is god-like.' This, my friends, I think, was well said. For there must indeed be a touch of the god-like in your disposition if you are not convinced that injustice is preferable to justice though you can plead its case in such fashion. [368b] And I believe that you are really not convinced. I infer this from your general character since from your words alone I should have distrusted you. But the more I trust you the more I am at a loss what to make of the matter. I do not know how I can come to the rescue. For I doubt my ability by reason that you have not accepted the arguments whereby I thought I proved against Thrasymachus that justice is better than injustice. Nor yet again do I know how I can refuse to come to the rescue. For I fear lest [368c] it be actually impious to stand idly by when justice is reviled and be faint-hearted and not defend her so long as one has breath and can utter his voice. The best thing, then, is to aid her as best I can.” Glaucon, then, and the rest besought me by all means to come to the rescue and not to drop the argument but to pursue to the end the investigation as to the nature of each and the truth about their respective advantages. I said then as I thought: “The inquiry we are undertaking is no easy one but [368d] calls for keen vision, as it seems to me. So, since we are not clever persons, I think we should employ the method of search that we should use if we, with not very keen vision, were bidden to read small letters from a distance, and then someone had observed that these same letters exist elsewhere larger and on a larger surface. We should have accounted it a godsend, I fancy, to be allowed to read those letters first, and examine the smaller, if they are the same.” “Quite so,” said Adeimantus; [368e] “but what analogy to do you detect in the inquiry about justice?” “I will tell you,” I said: “there is a justice of one man, we say, and, I suppose, also of an entire city.” “Assuredly,” said he. “Is not the city larger5 than the man?” “It is larger,” he said. “Then, perhaps, there would be more justice in the larger object and more easy to apprehend. If it please you, then,
2 Possibly Critias.
3 Probably the battle of 409 B.C., reported in Diodor. Sic. xiii. 65. Cf. Introduction p. viii.
4 The implied pun on the name is made explicit in 580 C-D. Some have held that Glaucon and Adeimantus were uncles of Plato, but Zeller decides for the usual view that they wre brothers. Cf. Ph. d. Gr. ii. 1, 4th ed. 1889, p. 392, and Abhandl. d. Berl. Akad., 1873, Hist.-Phil Kl. pp. 86 ff.
5 So Aristotle Eth. Nic. i. 2. 8 (1094 b 10).
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