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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plato Bilingual Anthology : WHO IS A PHILOSOPHER?

from Politeia, * 479d-480a, translated by B. Jowett

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HUS then we seem to have discovered that the many ideas which the multitude entertain about the beautiful and about all other things are tossing about in some region which is halfway between pure being and pure not-being? We have. Yes; and we had before agreed that anything of this kind which we might find was to be described as matter of opinion, and not as matter of knowledge; being the intermediate flux which is caught and detained by the intermediate faculty. Quite true. Then those who see the many beautiful, and who yet neither see absolute beauty, nor can follow any guide who points the way thither; who see the many just, and not absolute justice, and the like, --such persons may be said to have opinion but not knowledge? That is certain. But those who see the absolute and eternal and immutable may be said to know, and not to have opinion only? Neither can that be denied. The one loves and embraces the subjects of knowledge, the other those of opinion? The latter are the same, as I dare say will remember, who listened to sweet sounds and gazed upon fair colours, but would not tolerate the existence of absolute beauty. Yes, I remember. Shall we then be guilty of any impropriety in calling them lovers of opinion rather than lovers of wisdom, and will they be very angry with us for thus describing them? I shall tell them not to be angry; no man should be angry at what is true. But those who love the truth in each thing are to be called lovers of wisdom and not lovers of opinion. Assuredly.


Φιλοσοφία καὶ φιλοδοξία

Ηὑρήκαμεν ἄρα͵ ὡς ἔοικεν͵ ὅτι τὰ τῶν πολλῶν πολλὰ νόμιμα καλοῦ τε πέρι καὶ τῶν ἄλλων μεταξύ που κυλινδεῖται τοῦ τε μὴ ὄντος καὶ τοῦ ὄντος εἰλικρινῶς. Ηὑρήκαμεν. Προωμολογήσαμεν δέ γε͵ εἴ τι τοιοῦτον φανείη͵ δοξαστὸν αὐτὸ ἀλλ΄ οὐ γνωστὸν δεῖν λέγεσθαι͵ τῇ μεταξὺ δυνάμει τὸ μεταξὺ πλανητὸν ἁλισκόμενον. Ὡμολογήκαμεν. Τοὺς ἄρα πολλὰ καλὰ θεωμένους͵ αὐτὸ δὲ τὸ καλὸν μὴ ὁρῶντας μηδ΄ ἄλλῳ ἐπ΄ αὐτὸ ἄγοντι δυναμένους ἕπεσθαι͵ καὶ πολλὰ δίκαια͵ αὐτὸ δὲ τὸ δίκαιον μή͵ καὶ πάντα οὕτω͵ δοξάζειν φήσομεν ἅπαντα͵ γιγνώσκειν δὲ ὧν δοξάζουσιν οὐδέν. Ἀνάγκη͵ ἔφη. Τί δὲ αὖ τοὺς αὐτὰ ἕκαστα θεωμένους καὶ ἀεὶ κατὰ ταὐτὰ ὡσαύτως ὄντα; ἆρ΄ οὐ γιγνώσκειν ἀλλ΄ οὐ δοξάζειν; Ἀνάγκη καὶ ταῦτα. Οὐκοῦν καὶ ἀσπάζεσθαί τε καὶ φιλεῖν τούτους μὲν ταῦτα φήσομεν ἐφ΄ οἷς γνῶσίς ἐστιν͵ ἐκείνους δὲ ἐφ΄ οἷς δόξα; ἢ οὐ μνημονεύομεν ὅτι φωνάς τε καὶ χρόας καλὰς καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτ΄ ἔφαμεν τούτους φιλεῖν τε καὶ θεᾶσθαι͵ αὐτὸ δὲ τὸ καλὸν οὐδ΄ ἀνέχεσθαι ὥς τι ὄν; Μεμνήμεθα. Μὴ οὖν τι πλημμελήσομεν φιλοδόξους καλοῦντες αὐτοὺς μᾶλλον ἢ φιλοσόφους; καὶ ἆρα ἡμῖν σφόδρα χαλεπανοῦσιν ἂν οὕτω λέγωμεν; Οὔκ͵ ἄν γέ μοι πείθωνται͵ ἔφη· τῷ γὰρ ἀληθεῖ χαλεπαίνειν οὐ θέμις. Τοὺς αὐτὸ ἄρα ἕκαστον τὸ ὂν ἀσπαζομένους φιλοσόφους ἀλλ΄ οὐ φιλοδόξους κλητέον; Παντάπασι μὲν οὖν.

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