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[4] But here too there is a difficulty. For suppose a man to have lived in perfect happiness until old age, and to have come to a correspondingly happy end: he may still have many vicissitudes befall his descendants, some of whom may be good and meet with the fortune they deserve, and others the opposite; and moreover these descendants may clearly stand in every possible degree of remoteness from the ancestors in question. Now it would be a strange thing if the dead man also were to change1 with the fortunes of his family, and were to become a happy man at one time and then miserable at another;

1 i.e., if our estimate of his life as happy or the reverse had to change. There is no idea of the dead being conscious of what happens to their descendants (cf. 10.3 fin.), though this is inconsistently suggested by the wording of 10.5.

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