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IV 440 B. ταῖς δ᾽ ἐπιθυμίαις αὐτὸν κοινωνήσαντα, αἱροῦντος λόγου μὴ δεῖν ἀντιπράττειν, οἶμαί σε οὐκ ἂν φάναι γενομένου ποτὲ ἐν σαυτῷ τοῦ τοιούτου αἰσθέσθαι, οἶμαι δ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ἐν ἄλλῳ.

The difficulties of this passage have been much canvassed. The only important variant is ἐν ἑαυτῷ (Π and corr. A^{2}, with several other MSS) instead of ἐν σαυτῷ...Π does not, as Bekker asserted, give μηδέν, but μὴ δεῖν like A. The ἄν τι πράττειν for ἀντιπράττειν of q, although adopted by Bekker, is indefensible, as other editors have observed, for ἄν has no meaning or construction.

Against the ordinary interpretation, which I have given in the notes, it has been urged that θυμός does, in point of fact, sometimes join with the Desires against the Reason. Thus in the degenerate phases of character depicted in VIII 553 C ff. and elsewhere, θυμοειδές is the slave and minister of the ἐπιθυμητικόν, and in 441 A ἐπίκουρον ὂν τῷ λογιστικῷ φύσει ἐὰν μὴ ὑπὸ κακῆς τροφῆς διαφθαρῇ, the same implication appears to be involved. Cf. Krohn Pl. St. pp. 52 ff. But in such cases the λογιστικόν would seem also to be corrupted (τὸ δέ γε, οἶμαι, λογιστικόν τε καὶ θυμοειδὲς χαμαὶ ἔνθεν καὶ ἔνθεν παρακαθίσας ὑπ᾽ ἐκείνῳ—sc. τῷ ἐπιθυμητικῷκαὶ καταδουλωσάμενος VIII l.c.), so that there is no conflict between the allied forces of the θυμοειδές and ἐπιθυμητικόν on the one hand and the λογιστικόν on the other. It is true that the language of 441 A, taken in its full force, appears to imply that the θυμοειδές can be corrupted without the λογιστικόν, but Plato would hardly, I think, have held such a view, and the implication is not to be pressed. See Phaedr. 253 D—256 E. There is some difficulty about the construction of ἀντιπράττειν, and Hartman would expunge the word. Schneider's punctuation, which I have adopted, connects it with δεῖν. Others make its subject αὐτόν (‘but that θυμός, having made common cause with the desires, when Reason forbids, should oppose Reason—this’ etc.). The explanation of Hermann (adopted also by Schmelzer) avoids the anacoluthon, but is exceedingly tortuous and unpleasing: ‘I think you would not say that you have perceived θυμός making common cause with the desires and opposing Reason when Reason forbade’ etc. Richter also (Fl. Jahrb. 1867 p. 139) evades the anacoluthon by defending the more than dubious construction αἰσθέσθαι αὐτὸν κοινωνήσαντα. Finally Nitzsch conjectures (Rh. Mus. 1857 p. 472) μὴ δεῖν <τι πράττειν>, ἀντιπράττειν, or μηδ᾽ εἶν<αί τι πράττειν>, ἀντιπράττειν. None of these devices seems to me so probable as Schneider's view.

An entirely different view of this passage is suggested by a Scholiast's note, to which Warren has recently again called attention. The Scholium runs: δὲ νοῦς οὗτος. ταῖς δὲ ἐπιθυμίαις σε κοινωνήσαντα ταῖς εὐλογίστοις, καὶ γινώσκοντά σε τοῦτο ἐκ τῆς πείρας, οὐχ ὑπολαμβάνω σε εἰπεῖν ὅτι ᾔσθημαι ἐν ταῖς τοιαύταις ἀγαθαῖς ἡδοναῖς τὸν θυμὸν ἀντιπράττοντα ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις, ὥσπερ ἐπὶ ταῖς τοῦ Λεοντίου ἀλόγοις ἡδοναῖς ἀντέπραττεν. It is obvious that the Scholiast connected σε with αὐτόν and took the sentence to mean, broadly speaking, that when Reason on the other hand sanctions indulgence (αἱροῦντος λόγου μὴ δεῖν ἀντιπράττειν SC. ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις), we do not find any conflict between θυμός and the desires. The meaning is satisfactory, and furnishes a fair antithesis to the first half of the sentence ὅταν βιάζωνταιτοῦ τοιούτου, but it is difficult to reconcile this view with the Greek as we have it. Warren, who sympathises in general with the Scholiast, translates “but that dealing with desires it”—viz. θυμός—“should, when reason says it ought not, oppose them, this I imagine” etc. κοινωνήσαντα must however be more than ‘dealing with,’ and the aorist (which on the ordinary view means ‘having joined,’ ‘made common cause with’) presents a serious difficulty in this interpretation.

Reading ἐν ἑαντῷ, for which there is good authority (see cr. n.), I formerly construed the passage as follows: ‘but when he’ (αὐτόν with reference not to τὸν θυμόν, but to τινά and τοῦ τοιούτου alone) ‘has joined partnership with his desires, because reason decides that he ought not to oppose them, you will not, I imagine, say that he has observed anything of the sort’ (i.e. such internal στάσις as has just been described) ‘ever happen in his own soul, or in the soul of another? Assuredly not.’ By this solution we get rid of the anacoluthon, while adopting generally the Scholiast's view; but it is an unnecessary and irrelevant elaboration to make Glauco speak of what the hypothetical person has observed in himself or in another: we wish to know what Glauco has himself observed.

On the whole I am now inclined to believe that the traditional interpretation is correct.

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    • Plato, Phaedrus, 253d
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