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[491d] “We know it to be universally true of every seed and growth, whether vegetable or animal, that the more vigorous it is the more it falls short of its proper perfection when deprived of the food, the season, the place that suits it. For evil is more opposed to the good than to the not-good.1 “Of course.” “So it is, I take it, natural that the best nature should fare worse2 than the inferior under conditions of nurture unsuited to it.” “It is.” “Then,” said I, “Adeimantus,

1 This is for Plato's purpose a sufficiently clear statement of the distinction between contradictory and contrary opposition. Plato never drew out an Aristotelian or modern logician's table of the opposition of propositions. But it is a misunderstanding of Greek idiom or of his style to say that he never got clear on the matter. He always understood it. Cf. Symp. 202 A-B, and on 437 A-B, What Plato Said, p. 595 on Soph. 257 B, and ibid. p. 563 on Rep. 436 B ff.

2 “Corruptio optimi pessima.” Cf. 495 A-B, Xen.Mem, i. 2. 24, iv. 1. 3-4. Cf. Livy xxxviii. 17 “generosius in sua quidquid sede gignitur: insitum alienae terrae in id quo alitur, natura vertente se, degenerat,” Pausanias vii. 17. 3.

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