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583B - 585A Our third and crowning proof is as follows. All the pleasures except those of the wise (φρόνιμοι) are untrue and impure. We must recognise the existence of three distinct states, viz. Pleasure and Pain, which are positive and opposite, and the Neutral state, which is negative and intermediate. Men frequently identify the intermediate condition with Pleasure; but they are mistaken when they do so, for there are some pleasures, e.g. those of smell, which have a positive character of their own. Now bodily pleasures, so-called, together with the corresponding pleasures of anticipation, are for the most part merely ways of escape from pain, and belong to the neutral state. They are falsely judged pleasant through juxtaposition and contrast with positive Pain.

ff. 9 ταῦτα μὲν κτλ. The political and psychological λόγοι have registered their votes, and it only remains for us to hear the verdict of the metaphysical, to which Plato characteristically assigns the greatest value (καίτοιπτωμάτων below). See on 577 C. Plato's theory of true or pure and false or impure pleasures reappears in the Philebus. Both dialogues teach (1) that Pleasure consists in πλήρωσις, (2) that the majority of bodily pleasures are not pleasures at all, but only λυπῶν ἀπαλλαγαί, and (3) that there are other—true or pure—pleasures (e.g. smell) which are not preceded or followed by pain. The last generation of scholars mostly placed the Republic after the Philebus. I am inclined to agree with more recent critics in thinking it earlier (see on VI 506 B and Jackson in Journal of Philology XXV pp. 65—82), but the greater degree of elaboration which marks the treatment of this subject in the Philebus may be and has been accounted for on either hypothesis. Aristotle also touches on the question of Mixed and Unmixed Pleasures in Eth. Nic. VII 12. 1152^{b} ff., especially 1152^{b} 35—1153^{a} 7, ib. 15. 1154^{a} 22—^{b} 31 and again in X. 2—5, especially 2. 1173^{a} 22—^{b} 20. The present section is further important in the history of ethics for its clear distinction between the μέση κατάστασις and the two extremes; a distinction already noted by the Cyrenaics (RP^{7}. § 208^{b}) and afterwards adopted by Epicurus (ib. § 380 ff.).

δύο and δὶς refer of course to the two preceding proofs 577 B—580 C and 580 C—583 A.

τὸ δὲ τρίτον κτλ. The libations at banquets (according to the Schol. on Phil. 66 D: cf. also Schol. on Charm. 167 A and on Pind. Isthm. 5. 7 with Hesych. s. v. τρίτος κρατήρ and Pollux VI 15, 100) were offered in the following sequence: (1) to Olympian Zeus and the Olympian gods, (2) to the heroes, (3) to Zeus Soter. Hence the proverb τὸ τρίτον τῷ σωτῆρι, with which Plato sometimes introduces the third or culminating stage in an argument, demonstration, or the like (Phil. and Charm. ll. cc., Laws III 692 A, Epp. VII 340 A). In the present instance there is also an allusion to the Olympic games, as appears from Ὀλυμπικῶς (‘Olympic-wise’). Stallbaum conjectures that competitors at Olympia were in the habit of making their third libation “non uni tantum Διὶ σωτῆρι, sed sicuti consentaneum fuit, τῷ σωτῆρί τε καὶ τῷ Ὀλυμπίῳ Διί”: but there is no authority for this idea. Is Plato thinking of the πένταθλον, in which it was necessary to win in three (probably leaping, discusthrowing, javelin-throwing) out of the five events in order to obtain the prize (see P. Gardner in J. of H. Studies I p. 217, where the evidence is quoted)? Schneider takes this view: but the words τῶν πτωμάτων below make it clear that the reference is only to wrestling. The point manifestly is, that as in wrestling the third throw decided the contest between two athletes (Schol. on Aesch. Eum. 592 et al.), so here the δίκαιος wins after he has thrice defeated the ἄδικος (cf. also Euthyd. 277 C). I think Ὀλυμπικῶς is intended to suggest that the contest between justice and injustice is the greatest of all moral, as the Olympic was of all physical, παλαίσματα: the victors ζήσουσι τοῦ μακαριστοῦ βίου δ̀ν οἱ ὀλυμπιονῖκαι ζῶσι μακαριώτερον (V 465 D note). Compare Phaedr. 256 B τῶν τριῶν παλαισμάτων τῶν ὡς ἀληθῶς Ὀλυμπιακῶν ἓν νενικήκασιν. Plato adds the epithet τῷ Ὀλυμπίῳ de suo: in an Olympic contest Zeus Soter is also in the truest sense Olympian too, although in banquets Zeus Olympius received only the first, and not also the third libation. With similar and even greater emphasis on the word Ὀλυμπίῳ Pindar prays for an Olympic victory for Phylacidas in the words εἴη δὲ τρίτον | σωτῆρι πορσαίνοντας Ὀλυμπίῳ Αἴγιναν κάτα | σπένδειν μελιφθόγγοις ἀοιδαῖς (Isthm. l.c.: see Donaldson ad loc.).

οὐδὲ παναληθὴς -- καθαρά. In what sense is pleasure said by Plato to be pure and true? It is pure when unadulterated by pain, whether antecedent, present or consequent; and there is also perhaps in Plato's use of the epithet ‘pure’ a relic or hint of the old half ceremonial, half-religious idea of ‘pure from taint’: see App. III and Rohde Psyche^{2} II pp. 281 ff. al. But in its deepest signification the truth or purity of Pleasure involves the ontological theory that soul and its sustenance (knowledge etc.) have more part in Being and Truth than Body and its food: the spiritual and not the material is the true. See also on 586 E and especially Nettleship Lect. and Rem. II pp. 322—327, where the farther bearings of Plato's theory are admirably traced.

πλὴν τῆς τοῦ φρονίμου. Cf. Phaed. 69 B, C.

ἐσκιαγραφημένη. See on II 365 C. Bodily pleasure is ἐσκιαγραφημένη in the fullest sense of the word, because it depends on contrast and balance of pleasure with pleasure, and pleasure with pain (584 A), just as perspective produces its effect by the contrast of light and shade (586 B). Similarly in Phaed. 69 B Plato hints that the so-called virtue which consists in bartering one bodily pleasure for another is σκιαγραφία τιςκαὶ οὐδὲν ὑγιὲς οὐδ᾽ ἀληθὲς ἔχουσα, and ib. 81 B the soul is said to be γεγοητευμένη ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ (sc. τοῦ σώματος) ὑπό τε τῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν καὶ ἡδονῶν. Cf. also Phil. 44 C αὐτὸ τοῦτο αὐτῆς (sc. τῆς ἡδονῆς) ἐπαγωγὸν γοήτευμα, ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ἡδονὴν εἶναι. In each of these passages there is probably a conscious reminiscence of Orphic doctrines: see next note and App. IV.

τῶν σοφῶν alludes, I believe, to Orphic or Pythagorean ascetics, who preached the doctrine σῶμα σῆμα and regarded bodily pleasure as essentially false and impure: see especially Rohde Psyche^{2} II pp. 121—130, and 161—166. Evidence for this view is given in App. IV, where the other interpretations are also discussed.

καίτοι is hardly ‘et vero’ ‘and surely’ (as Kugler takes it de part. τοί etc. p. 18, comparing Gorg. 452 E, Theaet. 187 C al.), but rather ‘quamquam’ ‘and yet’ (sc. ‘strong as were the other two proofs,’ or the like): “und das wäre doch wohl” Schneider.

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hide References (9 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (9):
    • Aeschylus, Eumenides, 592
    • Plato, Phaedo, 69b
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 187c
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 256b
    • Plato, Philebus, 44c
    • Plato, Philebus, 66d
    • Plato, Charmides, 167a
    • Plato, Euthydemus, 277c
    • Plato, Gorgias, 452e
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