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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plato : HIPPIAS (minor)

Persons of the dialogue: Eudicus - Socrates - Hippias
Translated by Benjamin Jowett - 19 Pages - Greek fonts
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19 Pages

Page 4

Socr.: And are they wily, and do they deceive by reason of their simplicity and folly, or by reason of their cunning and a certain sort of prudence?

Hipp.: By reason of their cunning and prudence, most certainly.

Socr.: Then they are prudent, I suppose?

Hipp.: So they are—very.

Socr.: And if they are prudent, do they know or do they not know what they do?

Hipp.: Of course, they know very well; and that is why they do mischief to others.

Socr.: And having this knowledge, are they ignorant, or are they wise?

Hipp.: Wise, certainly; at least, in so far as they can deceive.

Socr.: Stop, and let us recall to mind what you are saying; are you not saying that the false are powerful and prudent and knowing and wise in those things about which they are false?

Hipp.: To be sure.

Socr.: And the true differ from the false—the true and the false are the very opposite of each other?

Hipp.: That is my view.

Socr.: Then, according to your view, it would seem that the false are to be ranked in the class of the powerful and wise?

Hipp.: Assuredly.

Socr.: And when you say that the false are powerful and wise in so far as they are false, do you mean that they have or have not the power of uttering their falsehoods if they like?

Hipp.: I mean to say that they have the power.

Socr.: In a word, then, the false are they who are wise and have the power to speak falsely?

Hipp.: Yes.

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