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Protagoras now passes to the second part of his reply (323C24D), in which he seeks to prove by two arguments that men believe that virtue can be taught: (1) as we hold men responsible for ἀδικία, it is clear that we conceive of it as capable of being acquired (323C324A; (2) punishment is in point of fact intended to teach well-doing (324A324D.

4. οὐ φύσει ἡγοῦνται εἶναιἀλλὰ διδακτόν. Sauppe (on 322C remarks that the giving of δίκη and αἰδώς to all is inconsistent with the theory that πολιτικὴ ἀρετή can be acquired by teaching. What Protagoras no doubt means is that while all men have a part in δικαιοσύνη (323A, because they possess δίκη and αἰδώς, they may be improved by teaching; but it must be allowed that his words are hardly consistent with themselves. See Introduction, pp. xvii-xviii.

14. τὰ καλὰ καὶ τἀναντία τοὐτοις. This, the MSS. reading, retained by Heindorf, and recently by Kral, is, we think, right. παῦτα in l. 12 does not have its antecedent in the previous sentence, but is explained by τὰ καλὰ καὶ τἀναντία τούτοις. Protagoras in fact divides ‘goods’ into two classes, viz. (1) goods φύσει, (2) goods ἐξ ἐπιμελείας καὶ ἀσκήσεως καὶ διδαχῆς, and calls the former καλά, the implied examples being personal beauty, stature and health. Schanz's rejection of τὰ καλά is therefore needless.

The editors mostly read τὰ κακά, but (in spite of Ficinus' haec mala eorumque contraria) this would seem to be precluded by the μέν and δέ in ταῦτα μὲν γάρ and ὅσα δὲἀγαθά: the contrast requires that one class of goods shall be set over against another, and is much weakened if we put ‘evils’ in the foreground by reading τὰ κακά. Further, ταῦτα is too remote to be easily taken with τὰ κακά in the sense of ‘these evils’, whereas if we take the pronoun merely as anticipating τὰ κακά, then the statement becomes too wide: for not all κακά, not all ἀγαθά (τἀναντία τούτοις, on this view), come to men φύσει, as indeed the next clause states.

19. συλλήβδην πᾶν τὸ ἐναντίονἀρετῆς. We have here the first hint of the unity of the different vices and (by implication) virtues: cf. below, 329C

22. εἰ γὰρ ἐθέλειςδιδάξει. Cf. below, 342D

23. αὐτό σε διδάξει: ‘fact will show you,: Theaet. 200E τὸν ποταμὸν καθηγούμενοςἔφη ἄρα δείξειν αὐτό; the idiom is a frequent one.

25. οὐδεὶς γάρ κολάζει κτλ. Plato's own theory of punishment so far agrees with this, but goes deeper: see Gorg. 525A ff. προσήκει δὲ παντὶ τῷ ἐν τιμωρίᾳ ὄντι, ὑπ᾽ ἄλλου ὀρθῶς τιμωρουμένῳ, βελτίονι γίγνεσθαι καὶ ὀνίνασθαι ραπαδείγματι τοῖς ἄλλοις γίγνεσθαι, ἵνα ἄλλοι ὁρῶντες πάσχοντα ἂν πάσχῃ φοβούμενοι βελτίους γίγνωνται. Vice (being ignorance) is disease of soul, as νόσος is of body: it is the business of the judge to cure the one as of the physician to cure the other: cf. Rep. IX. 591A-B and Gorg. 478D σωφρονίζει γάρ που καὶ δικαιοτέρους ποιεῖ καὶ ἰατρικὴ γίγνεται πονηρίας δίκη: hence (ibid. 480B ff.) the sinner should go before the judge as readily as the patient to a doctor, and should even accuse his friends. In the ideal city the judges are to put to death incurable sinners just as the doctors will allow incurable patients to die: Rep. III. 409E ff. τῶν πολιτῶν σοι τοὺς μὲν εὐφυεῖς τὰ σώματα καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς θεπαρεύσουσι, τοὺς δὲ μή, ὅσοι μὲν κατὰ σῶμα τοιοῦτοι, ἀροθνῄσκειν ἐάσουσι, τοὺς δὲ κατὰ τὴν ψυχὴν κακοφυεῖς καὶ ἀνιάτους αὐτοὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν. The same holds good of punishment after death: for Ardiaeus and the others in Rep. X. 616A, whose punishment is everlasting (οὐχ ἥκειοὐδ᾽ ἂν ἥξει δεῦρο), are incurable—ἀτεχνῶς παραδείγματα ἀνηρτημένους ἐκεῖ ἐν ᾄδου ἐν τῷ δεσμωτηπίῳ, τοῖς ἀεὶ τῶν ἀδίκων ἀφικνουμένοις θεάματα καὶ νουθετήματα—the majority are punished to purge them of the guilt contracted upon earth and teach them to choose more wisely their lot of life next time. The remedial view of punishment is embedded in the genius of the Greek language, as is shown by the punitive sense of σωφρονίζειν, δικαιοῦν, εὐθύνειν. The older and sterner view (δράσαντι παθεῖν) appears more rarely in Plato's time.

27. ἠδίκησεν. See above on 319D

28. τιμωρεῖται. The editors quote Ar. Rhet. A, 10. 1369b. 12 διαφέρει δὲ τιμωρία καὶ κόλασις: μὲν γὰρ κόλασις τοῦ πάσχοντος ἕνεκά ἐστιν, δὲ τιμωρία τοῦ ποιοῦντος, ἵνα ἀποπληρωθῇ. The distinction is not invariably observed in Plato, although he generally uses τιμωρεῖσθαι in passages where the gravity of the sin is more insisted upon.

29. οὐ τοῦ παρεληλυθότοςἀγένητον θείη. Turner (on 324B quotes Laws, XI. 934A οὐχ ἕνεκα τοῦ κακουργῆσαι διδοὺς τὴν δίκην, οὐ γὰρ τὸ γεγονὸς ἀγένητον ἔσται ποτέ κτλ. The phrase οὐ γὰρ ἂν τό γε πραχθὲν ἀγένητον θείη represents a common proverbial saying: cf. Simonides, Frag. 69 τὸ γὰρ γεγενημένον οὐκέτ᾽ ἄρεκτον ἔσται (Sauppe) with Bergk's note, and the impressive application of the saying in Aesch. Ag. 1019-21 τὸ δ᾽ ἐρὶ γᾶν ἅραξ ρεσὸν θανάσιμον ρποράποιθ᾽ ἀνδπὸς μέλαν αἷμα τίς ἂν πάλιν ἀγκαλέσαιτ᾽ ἐπαείδων;

36. κολάζονται: the middle (in the present) is rare: Heindorf quotes Ar. Wasps, 405 νῦν ἐκεῖνο νῦν ἐκεῖνο τοὐξύθυμον κολαζόμεσθα κέντρον ἐντέτατ᾽ ὀξύ.

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hide References (17 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (17):
    • Aristophanes, Wasps, 405
    • Plato, Laws, 934a
    • Plato, Republic, 591a
    • Plato, Republic, 409e
    • Plato, Republic, 616a
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 200e
    • Plato, Gorgias, 478d
    • Plato, Protagoras, 324b
    • Plato, Gorgias, 525a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 319d
    • Plato, Protagoras, 322c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 323a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 323c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 324a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 324d
    • Plato, Protagoras, 329c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 342d
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