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An exposition of the Socratic method of discussion, the aim of which was always to arrive at the real essence of things through an accurate analysis of concepts. Xenophon gives his definition of the following: εὐσέβεια (piety), δικαιοσύνη (righteousness), σοφία (wisdom), τὸ ἀγαθόν and τὸ καλόν (the good and the beautiful), ἀνδρεία (manliness), βασιλεία (royalty), τυραννίς (autocracy), ἀριστοκρατία (aristocracy), πλουτοκρατία (plutocracy), δημοκρατία (democracy). In case of contradiction, Socrates knew how to bring the question back to the fundamental conception of the point at issue; and based his discussion on generally recognized truths.
διαλεκτικωτέρους: see on iv.5.12. ὧν ἕνεκα: wherefore. σκοπῶν: supplementary participle with ἔληγε. διωρίζετο: cf. ὁρίσατε i. 2. 35. τὸν τρόπον: his method.
ὧδέ πως, ποῖόν τι: see on τοιάδε τις i. 1. 1. καὶ ὅς: for the rel. as dem., see on i.4.3.
οὐ γὰρ οὖν: see on iv.4.23.
τὰ νόμιμα: “what is required by the law.” ἡμῖν: as in iv. 2. 14.
ἀνθρώποις: placed first, as being the contrast word between this question and the one at the end of 2. ἀλλήλοις χρῆσθαι: “to act towards one another.”—In this and the following section, we see again Socrates's assumption that he who knows the right will do it. See on iv. 2. 20.
οἶδας: cf. οἴδασιν Oec. xx. 14, οἴδαμεν An. ii.4.6, Ionic forms rare in Attic. Cf. εἶπα ii. 2. 8. Xenophon's use of these forms may be explained by his long residence among non-Attic Greeks.—ὀρθῶς κτλ.: cf. the conclusion reached in 4. ποτέ: “finally,” after this long discussion. Cf. μόγις οὖν ποτε ἡμῖν ἅνθρωπος ἀνέῳξε τὴν θύραν Plato Prot. 314 E.
σοφίαν: see on i.2.23. ἃ ἐπίστανται, ταῦτα: in regard to these things which they know. ἢ ᾧ σοφοί εἰσιν: than that by which they (sc. ἄνθρωποι, implied by the previous τὶς) are wise. τὰ ὄντα πάντα ἐπίστασθαι: cf. Lord Bacon's saying that he had ‘taken all knowledge for his province.’ οὐδὲ πολλοστόν: see on iii.1.6.
οὕτω: i.e. so that τὸ ἀγαθόν, like σοφός, will prove to be a term of relative application. τὸ ἄλλῳ ὠφέλιμον (sc. ὂν) κτλ.: “one man's meat is another man's poison.” The ‘good’ of which Socrates here speaks must be understood as practical advantage, not as the highest ideal good.
ἄλλως: otherwise, sc. than as τὸ ἀγαθόν was defined in 8, i.e. relatively. ἤ: “or possibly.” πρὸς τοῦτο ἑκάστῳ καλῶς ἔχει χρῆσθαι: it is well to use each thing to that end (for which it is useful).
ἀνδρείαν: see on i.1.16; iii. 9. 1. Plato discusses the term ἀνδρεία in his Protagoras and Laches, Socrates being the chief speaker, as here, and the line of argument being the same. Cf. ταύτην (τὴν ἀνδρείαν φημὶ εἶναι) ἔγωγε τὴν τῶν δεινῶν καὶ θαρραλέων ἐπιστήμην καὶ ἐν πολέμῳ καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἄλλοις ἅπασιν Laches 195 A, a definition given as by Nicias, but claimed by him to proceed from Socrates. μὲν οὖν: “much rather.” οὐ: belongs to πρὸς τὰ ἐλάχιστα, hence the following νὴ Δία is assuredly. Similarly οὐκ with ἀνδρεῖοι in line 87. οἱ τὰ μὴ δεινὰ δεδοικότες: cf. τοὺς μὲν οὐδὲ τὰ δεινὰ δεδιέναι, τοὺς δὲ καὶ τὰ μὴ φοβερὰ φοβεῖσθαι i. 1. 14. ἔτι ἧττον: sc. ἀνδρεῖοι. κακούς: sc. πρὸς τὰ δεινὰ καὶ ἐπικίνδυνα ὄντας.
ἀλλά: “only.” οἵους χρῆσθαι: equivalent to τοιούτους ὥστε χρῆσθαι. See on i. 4. 6. οὗτοι: as in 6. μόνοι: they only. οἱ μὴ διημαρτηκότες: who have made no failure. οἱ διαμαρτάνοντες τούτου: those who fail utterly of this. For the gen. with verbs of missing, see G. 1099; H. 748.
ἀρχάς: forms of government. ἀνθρώπων, πόλεων: objective gen. with ἀρχήν. κατὰ νόμους: cf. i.2.41 ff.; iv. 4. 13. τῶν τὰ νόμιμα ἐπιτελούντων: those who discharged the obligations imposed by law, a very different meaning from that involved in the modern word ‘aristocracy.’ ἐκ τιμημάτων: on the basis of property valuations.
ἤτοι, ἤ: see on iii.12.2. σοφώτερον (sc. τινὰ) εἶναι ὃν αὐτὸς λέγοι: sc. ἢ ὃν Σωκράτης λέγοι. ἐπὶ τὴν ὑπόθεσιν: “to the fundamental question,” i.e. to the essential meaning of the quality under discussion. ἐπανῆγεν ἄν: for the iterative indic. with ἄν, see on ἔφη ἄν iv. 1. 2. ὧδέ πως: the narrative now passes from general (περί του) to particular cases.
φημὶ γὰρ οὖν: cf. ἔστι γὰρ οὖν iii. 3. 2. τί οὖν οὐκ ἐπεσκεψάμεθα: for the tense, see on iii.11.15. χρημάτων: “finances.” κρατοίη (equivalent to κρείττων εἴη): with reference to ἀγαθοῦ πολίτου. καθυπερτέραν: sc. τὴν πόλιν ποιῶν. ἐπαναγομένων: sc. ἐπὶ τὴν ὑπόθεσιν.
ὁπότε διεξίοι: for the mode, see on διομολογήσαιτο i. 2. 57. διὰ τῶν μάλιστα ὁμολογουμένων ἐπορεύετο: “he proceeded from propositions generally admitted as true.” Cf. ἄρτι γὰρ δὴ καταμανθάνω, ᾗ με ἐπηρώτησας ἕκαστα: ἄγων γάρ με δἰ ὧν ἐγὼ ἐπίσταμαι, ἀναπείθεις Oec. xix. 15. ταύτην τὴν ἀσφάλειαν εἶναι λόγου: that this was the truly safe method of reasoning. τοιγαροῦν: and so it was, that. Cf. the use of this particle in An. i. 9. ὧν ἐγὼ οἶδα: equivalent to τούτων οὓς οἶδα. Ὅμηρον: cf. Hom. θ 171, where Odysseus, apparently describing himself, says ὁ δ᾽ ἀσφαλέως ἀγορεύει. Cf., also, καὶ Ὅμηρος δ᾽ εἶπε: ὁ δ̓ ἀσφαλέως ἀγορεύει: τῇ ἀποδείξει τῶν ὁμολογουμένων ἀμφισβητούμενον λύειν δυνάμενος (being able to solve a vexed problem by his luminous statement of generally admitted propositions). τοῦτο καὶ Ξενοφῶν καὶ Πλάτων λέγουσι περὶ Σωκράτους, ὅτι διὰ τῶν ὁμολογουμένων ἐπορεύετο, ἐπεὶ διδάσκειν ἐβούλετο Dionys. Hal. de Arte Rhet. xi. 8. ἀναθεῖναι τὸ εἶναι: “conferred the title.” ὡς ἱκανὸν ὄντα: we might expect ἱκανῷ ὄντι, to agree with Ὀδυσσεῖ. The acc. is due to the attraction of the nearer ῥήτορα. διὰ τῶν δοκούντων τοῖς ἀνθρώποις: repeats διὰ τῶν ὁμολογουμένων above.
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