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ff. 15 ὧδε δὲ κρῖνε κτλ. The following sentences are among the most perplexing in the whole of the Republic, or indeed in the whole of Plato's writings. That the reading of the MSS is corrupt has been admitted by the majority of critics, and will be proved in App. VI, to which I must refer for a full discussion on the text and interpretation of this difficult passage. Here it is possible only to set down what seems to me, after a review of all the conditions of the problem, the least unsatisfactory solution. The emendation in the text, which I printed in my Text of the Republic, has been approved by a critic in Hermathena XXIV p. 252. We have to discover whether food, drink etc. participate in pure Being more than true opinion, knowledge etc.; and the answer is arrived at by the following steps. (1) Which is more—that which is connected with the ever-like, the immortal and Truth, and which is itself of this nature, and found in something of this nature; or that which is connected with the never-like and mortal, and which is itself of this nature (never-like etc.) and found in something of this nature? That which is connected with the ever-like, says Glauco, is more. (2) Then does the Being of the never-like (ἀεὶ ἀνομοίου= μηδέποτε ὁμοίου) participate in Being at all more than the Being of Knowledge does? Certainly not (οὖν is strictly illative: if it is true that what is connected with the ever-like is more than what is connected with the never-like, then the Being of the never-like cannot be more than Knowledge is—for Knowledge of course ἔχεται τοῦ ἀεὶ ὁμοίου. Knowledge is in short taken as a type of that which ἔχεται τοῦ ἀεὶ ὁμοίου). (3) Or has the Being of the never-like more part in Truth than Knowledge has? To this also the answer is no: [for that which is connected with the ever-like—and Knowledge is so—is connected also with Truth: see above τὸ τοῦ ἀεὶ ὁμοίου ἐχόμενονκαὶ ἀληθείας]. (4) And if it has less part in truth [as it has], it must also have less part in Being. [This deduces from step (3) the conclusion already implied in (2), and also paves the way for οὐκοῦν ὅλωςμετέχει]. (5) Thus—since what is true of Knowledge is true of all the spiritual γένη, [and since food etc. are of course only particular examples of the ἀεὶ ἀνόμοιον or never-like], universally (ὅλως) those γένη which are concerned with the care of the body have less part in Being and Truth than those which are concerned with the care of the soul. For a further discussion of this passage and other suggested solutions and emendations see App. VI.

τὸ τοῦ ἀεὶ ὁμοίου κτλ. The whole of this passage presupposes, as Grimmelt shews (de reip. Pl. comp. et unit. pp. 74 ff.), the metaphysical theory of V—VII. With τοῦ ἀεὶ ὁμοίου cf. V 479 A and VI 500 C: with ἀθανάτου VI 485 B (ἐκείνης τῆς οὐσίας τῆς ἀεὶ οὔσης): and with καὶ ἀληθείας VI 508 D. The last two words are rejected by Madvig and Baiter on the grounds that (1) we should expect an adjective, (2) καὶ ἀληθείας has no antithesis expressed, whereas ἀεὶ ὁμοίου and ἀθανάτου have: (3) the words unduly anticipate τί δ̓; ἀληθείας; below. As I understand the passage, the mention of Truth is necessary— see above—just in view of τί δ̓; ἀληθείας; and there is little weight in Madvig's first two arguments.

καὶ αὐτὸ κτλ. Is καί here and in καὶ αὐτό again below ‘and’ (Schneider) or ‘both’? The first view is perhaps more likely: for it is more in keeping with the somewhat loose structure of the argument throughout this passage, and καί in D below (καὶ αὐτό) is most probably ‘and.’

16, 18 ἐν τοιούτῳ (bis). The soul is of the nature of τὸ ἀεὶ ὅμοιον: see VI 490 B, 508 D, and especially Phaed. 79 A ff.: the body on the other hand is never constant, for like everything material πλανᾶται ὑπὸ γενέσεως καὶ φθορᾶς (VI 485 B).

οὖν ἀεὶ ἀνομοίου κτλ. These words have already been discussed: but it should here be remarked that the insertion of τοῦ before the adjective (Ast, Madvig etc., both here and in μηδέποτε ὁμοίου above) is not necessary. On the connexion between ἐπιστήμη, οὐσία and ἀλήθεια see especially Theaet. 186 C, D.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Plato, Phaedo, 79a
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 186c
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