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Plato : PHILEBUS

Persons of the dialogue: Socrates - Protarchus - Philebus
Translated by Benjamin Jowett - 79 Pages - Greek fonts
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Page 3

Pro. Why, Socrates, they are opposed in so far as they spring from opposite sources, but they are not in themselves opposite. For must not pleasure be of all things most absolutely like pleasure - that is, like himself?

Soc. Yes, my good friend, just as colour is like colour; - in so far as colours are colours, there is no difference between them; and yet we all know that black is not only unlike, but even absolutely opposed to white: or again, as figure is like figure, for all figures are comprehended under one class; and yet particular figures may be absolutely opposed to one another, and there is an infinite diversity of them. And we might find similar examples in many other things; therefore do not rely upon this argument, which would go to prove the unity of the most extreme opposites. And I suspect that we shall find a similar opposition among pleasures.

Pro. Very likely; but how will this invalidate the argument?

Soc. Why, I shall reply, that dissimilar as they are, you apply to them a now predicate, for you say that all pleasant things are good; now although no one can argue that pleasure is not pleasure, he may argue, as we are doing, that pleasures are oftener bad than good; but you call them all good, and at the same time are compelled, if you are pressed, to acknowledge that they are unlike. And so you must tell us what is the identical quality existing alike in good and bad pleasures, which makes. you designate all of them as good.

Pro. What do you mean, Socrates? Do you think that any one who asserts pleasure to be the good, will tolerate the notion that some Pleasures are good and others bad?

Soc. And yet you will acknowledge that they are different from one another, and sometimes opposed?

Pro. Not in so far as they are pleasures.

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