previous next
[505b] just as no possession either is of any avail1 without the possession of the good. Or do you think there is any profit2 in possessing everything except that which is good, or in understanding all things else apart from the good while understanding and knowing nothing that is fair and good3?” “No, by Zeus, I do not,” he said.

“But, furthermore, you know this too, that the multitude believe pleasure4 to be the good, and the finer5 spirits intelligence or knowledge.6” “Certainly.” “And you are also aware, my friend, that those who hold this latter view are not able to point out what knowledge7 it is but are finally compelled to say that it is the knowledge of the good.” “Most absurdly,” he said. “Is it not absurd,”

1 For the idiom οὐδὲν ὄφελος Cf. Euthyph. 4 E, Lysis 208 E, 365 B, Charm. 155 E, etc.

2 Cf. 427 A, Phaedr. 275 C, Cratyl. 387 A, Euthyd. 288 E, Laws 751 B, 944 C, etc.

3 καλὸν δὲ καὶ ἀγαθόν suggests but does not mean καλοκἀγαθόν in its half-technical sense. The two words fill out the rhythm with Platonic fulness and are virtual synonyms. Cf. Phileb. 65 A and Symp. 210-211 where because of the subject the καλόν is substituted for the ἀγαθόν.

4 So Polus and Callicles in the Gorgias and later the Epicureans and Cyrenaics. Cf. also What Plato Said, p. 131; Eurip.Hippol. 382οἱ δ᾽ ἡδονὴν προθέντες ἀντὶ τοῦ καλοῦ, and on 329 A-B. There is no contradiction here with the Philebus. Plato does not himself say that either pleasure or knowledge is the good.

5 κομψοτέροις is very slightly if at all ironical here. Cf. the American “sophisticated” in recent use. See too Theaet. 156 A, Aristot.Eth. Nic 1905 a 18οἱ χαρίεντες.

6 Plato does not distinguish synonyms in the style of Prodicus (Cf. Protag. 337 A ff.) and Aristotle (Cf. Eth. Nic. 1140-1141) when the distinction is irrelevant to his purpose.

7 Cf. Euthyd. 281 D, Theaet. 288 D f., Laws 961 E περὶ τί νοῦς. See Unity of Plato's Thought, n. 650. The demand for specification is frequent in the dialogues. Cf. Euthyph. 13 D, Laches 192 E, Gorg. 451 A, Charm. 165 C-E, Alc. I. 124 E ff.

Creative Commons License
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.

load focus Notes (James Adam)
load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1905 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: