previous next

πολιτικήν γε -- δίιμεν. In this passage πολιτικὴν ἀνδρείαν means, I think, primarily the virtue of a πόλις as opposed to that of an ἰδιώτης: cf. 442 D πόλεώς τε καὶ ἰδιώτου. Our πόλις is brave because her soldiers are brave (429 B); so that in describing the courage of the soldiers we have really and truly been describing that of our city. But the ἀνδρεία with which we are now concerned is πολιτική in another, and more important sense, being based on ‘correct opinion’ (cf. Phaed. 82 A, B), i.e. in this instance on opinion which is in conformity with the law of the πόλις (cf. Aristotle's πολιτικὴ ἀνδρεία Eth. Nic. III 11. 1116^{a} 16 ff.), and not on ‘knowledge,’ like the scientific or philosophic virtue to which we are introduced in Books VI and VII. In this Platonic connotation of the term, δημοτική or πολιτικὴ ἀνδρεία is inferior both to the courage which rests upon knowledge in the Socratic sense (Lach. 195 A, 196 E ff., Prot. 349 D ff.) and to that which rests on knowledge of the Idea of the Good (cf. VI 506 A), although it is nevertheless on a much higher plane than the so-called courage of slaves and brute beasts, because it is μετὰ παιδείας γεγονυῖα. In αὖθιςδίιμεν Siebeck (Zur Chron. d. Pl. Dial. pp. 126 ff.) finds a promise of the Laches. To this view it seems to me a serious objection that the Laches has nothing to say of the characteristically Platonic distinction between ἐπιστήμη and ὀρθὴ δόξα: for that very reason it is probably earlier than this passage. Courage in the Laches is little more than Socratic courage (cf. Mem. IV 6. 10 ff.), for the knowledge of the good into which it is finally resolved is not knowledge of the Idea. Others have found in αὖθις a reference to the account of Courage in the individual (442 B), or to V 467 A ff., or to VI 486 B. None of these references are in point; and it is simplest to take Plato at his word. He drops the subject because further discussion of it would be irrelevant; he will resume it on another occasion if Adimantus wishes, but Adimantus is content. Cf. VII 532 D note and see also on 1 347 E. The whole of this section of the dialogue is important because it emphatically reaffirms the principle that courage as well as the other virtues enumerated here rests on ὀρθὴ δόξα and not on ἐπιστήμη. We have already seen that Plato's earlier scheme of education aims at implanting only ὀρθὴ δόξα. Cf. II 376 E note

νῦν γὰρ -- ἐζητοῦμεν . νῦν=‘as it is’: so that Cobet's ζητοῦμεν (found also in one or two MSS) is unnecessary.

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.

hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Plato, Phaedo, 82a
    • Plato, Laches, 195a
    • Plato, Protagoras, 349d
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: