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491A - 495B The philosophic nature is a rare growth, whose very virtues render it peculiarly liable to corruption, when it is placed in unfavourable surroundings. The clamorous voice of public opinion, expressed in assemblies and other gatherings of the people, inevitably corrupts the youth by moulding them into conformity with itself. Where necessary, force is employed, under the name of punishment. Against these influences, no teacher can possibly contend, although the providence of God may save some. As for the Sophists, they do but make into a system and teach the opinions of the Multitude, which they are wholly unable to justify, but accept without reserve, as their profession requires them to do. Remember too that the Ideas are foolishness to the Many, so that they will never love Wisdom or her followers. Socrates concludes with a vivid and lifelike picture of a philosophic nature in process of corruption. ἀνάξιον=‘too good for’: cf. Prot. 355 D and Soph. Phil. 1009. ἀντάξιον (Benedictus) and ἀνοίκειον (Herwerden) are unhappy conjectures. ἐπὶ πάντας: ‘all the world over.’ Cf. ἐπ᾽ ἀνθρώπους in Tim. 23 B. ἐ -- γενέσθαι. Cobet, who formerly proposed γενήσεσθαι, afterwards rejected the whole clause. The aorist infinitive with μέλλω is rare, but thoroughly established in Plato, if any reliance is placed on the best MSS: see the examples collected by Schanz Vol. V p. vii.
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