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τὰ ὄντα κτλ. τὰ ὄντα =‘the truth.’ The contrast between the act and state in ψεύδεσθαί τε καὶ ἐψεῦσθαι resembles I 351 B: ἐψεῦσθαι, moreover, suitably bridges the distance between ψεύδεσθαι and ἀμαθῆ εἶναι. ἔχειν τὸ ψεῦδος corresponds to ψεύδεσθαι, κεκτῆσθαι τὸ ψεῦδος to ἐψεῦσθαι: the contrast is between ‘holding, ready for use, that which is already possessed,’ and permanent possession: cf. Soph. Ant. 1278 and Jebb ad loc. The words ἐν τῷ τοιούτῳ, ‘in such a case’ (i.e. ἐν τῷ ἐψεῦσθαι τῇ ψυχῇ περὶ τὰ ὄντα), are quite satisfactory (cf. III 393 C), and ought not to have caused Herwerden difficulty.

μίμημά τι -- ψεῦδος . τοῦ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ παθήματος must not be explained (with Bosanquet Companion p. 93) as the state of mind of him who tells a lie: for that is knowledge, and the spoken lie certainly is not an imitation of knowledge. They refer to the ‘true lie,’ which is a certain πάθημα in the soul of the ‘true liar,’ viz. ignorance, and of which the spoken lie is an imitation. It is a tolerably accurate definition of a lie to call it ‘an imitation of ignorance in the soul’: cf. IV 443 C note The spoken lie is ‘not a wholly unmixed lie,’ because it implies that the speaker knows the truth: in a certain sense therefore it is mixed with truth. It is ὕστερον γεγονός, because the spoken lie cannot be uttered until the truth is known. Inasmuch as the spoken lie is mixed with truth, it is better than the ‘veritable lie.’ We have here nothing but a special application of the old Socratic paradox ἑκὼν ἁμαρτάνων ἀμείνων (see on I 334 A). I have placed a comma after γεγονός, to mark the antithesis between εἴδωλον and ἄκρατον ψεῦδος, and because εἴδωλον is not so much to be taken with τοῦ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ παθήματος: rather it stands for εἴδωλον ψεύδους, as οὐ πάνυ ἄκρατον ψεῦδος shews. The distinction between veritable and spoken lies savours, no doubt, of idealism: but it enables Plato to call his ideal archons ideally truthful, even when practically they tell lies, and it is with this object in view that the distinction is introduced. See III 389 B.

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    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1278
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