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1 Ironically, “I should not have supposed, but for the practice of our politicians.”
2 εἶδος νόμων πέρι is here a mere periphrasis, though the true classification of laws was a topic of the day. Cf. Laws 630 E, Aristotle Politics 1267 b 37. Plato is not always careful to mark the distinction between the legislation which he rejects altogether and that which he leaves to the discretion of the citizens.
4 For the exegete as a special religious functionary at Athens. cf. L. and S. s.v. and Laws 759 C-D. Apollo in a higher sense is the interpreter of religion for all mankind. He is technically πατρῷος at Athens (Euthydemus 302 D) but he is πάτριος for all Greeks and all men. Plato does not, as Thümser says (p. 301), confuse the Dorian and the Ionian Apollo, but rises above the distinction.
7 Not the ἀναγκαιοτάτη πόλις of 369 E, nor the φλεγμαίνουσα πόλις of 372 E, but the purified city of 399 E has now been established and described. The search for justice that follows formulates for the first time the doctrine of the four cardinal virtues and defines each provisionally and sufficiently for the present purpose, and solves the problems dramatically presented in the minor dialogues, Charmides, Laches, etc. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, pp. 15-18, nn. 81-102, and the introduction to the second volume of this translation.
9 See on 369 A. Matter-of-fact critics may object that there is no injustice in the perfectly good state. But we know the bad best by the canon of the good. Cf. on 409 A-B. The knowledge of opposites is the same. Injustice can be defined only in relation to its opposite (444 A-B), and in the final argument the most unjust man and state are set up as the extreme antitypes of the ideal (571-580). By the perfect state Plato does not mean a state in which no individual retains any human imperfections. It is idle then to speak of “difficulties” or “contradictions” or changes of plan in the composition of the Republic.
11 Cf. 331 E. Emphatic as in 449 D-450 A, Phaedo 95 A, and Alc. I. 135 D.
12 Cf. 368 B-C.
13 Cf. 434 E, 449 A. This in a sense begs the original question in controversy with Thrasymachus, by the assumption that justice and the other moral virtues are goods. Cf. Gorgias 507 C. See The Idea of Good in Plato's Republic, p. 205. For the cardinal virtues cf. Schmidt, Ethik der Griechen, i. p. 304, Pearson, Fragments of Zeno and Cleanthes, pp. 173 f., and commentators on Pindar, Nem. iii. 74, which seems to refer to four periods of human life, and Xenophon Memorabilia iii. 9. 1-5, and iv. 6. 1-12. Plato recognizes other virtues even in the Republic(402 Cἐλευθεριότης and μεγαλοπρέπεια. Cf. 536 A), and would have been as ready to admit that the number four was a part of his literary machinery as Ruskin was to confess the arbitrariness of his Seven Lamps of Architecture.
14 It is pedantry to identify this with Mill's method of residues and then comment on the primitive naïveté of such an application of logic to ethics. One might as well speak of Andocides' employment of the method (De myst. 109) or of its use by Gorgias in the disjunctive dilemma of the Palamedes 11 and passim, or say that the dog of the anecdote employs it when he sniffs up one trail and immediately runs up the other. Plato obviously employs it merely as a literary device for the presentation of his material under the figure of a search. He, “in the infancy of philosophy,” is quite as well aware as his censors can be in the senility of criticism that he is not proving anything by this method, but merely setting forth what he has assumed for other reasons.
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