in the command of a vessel?-not the private individual, for he is
always overpowered; and as one who is already prostrate cannot be
overthrown, and only he who is standing upright but not he who is
prostrate can be laid prostrate, so the force of circumstances can
only overpower him who, at some time or other, has resources, and
not him who is at all times helpless. The descent of a great storm may
make the pilot helpless, or the severity of the season the
husbandman or the physician; for the good may become bad, as another
The good are sometimes good and sometimes bad.
But the bad does not become bad; he is always bad. So that when the
force of circumstances overpowers the man of resources and skill and
virtue, then he cannot help being bad. And you, Pittacus, are
saying, "Hard is it to be good." Now there is a difficulty in becoming
good; and yet this is possible: but to be good is an impossibility-
For he who does well is the good man, and he who does ill is the
But what sort of doing is good in letters? and what sort of doing
makes a man good in letters? Clearly the knowing of them. And what
sort of well-doing makes a man a good physician? Clearly the knowledge
of the art of healing the sick. "But he who does ill is the bad."
Now who becomes a bad physician? Clearly he who is in the first
place a physician, and in the second place a good physician; for he
may become a bad one also: but none of us unskilled individuals can by
any amount of doing ill become physicians, any more than we can become
carpenters or anything of that sort; and he who by doing ill cannot
become a physician at all, clearly cannot become a bad physician. In
like manner the good may become deteriorated by time, or toil, or
disease, or other accident (the only real doing ill is to be
deprived of knowledge), but the bad man will never become bad, for
he is always bad; and if he were to become bad, he must previously
have been good. Thus the words of the poem tend to show that on the
one hand a man cannot be continuously good, but that he may become
good and may also become bad; and again that
They are the best for the longest time whom the gods love.
All this relates to Pittacus, as is further proved by the sequel.
Therefore I will not throw away my span of life to no purpose in
searching after the impossible, hoping in vain to find a perfectly
faultless man among those who partake of the fruit of the
broad-bosomed earth: if I find him, I will send you word.
(this is the vehement way in which he pursues his attack upon Pittacus
But him who does no evil, voluntarily I praise and love;-not even
All this has a similar drift, for Simonides was not so ignorant as
to say that he praised those who did no evil voluntarily, as though
there were some who did evil voluntarily. For no wise man, as I
believe, will allow that any human being errs voluntarily, or
voluntarily does evil and dishonourable actions; but they are very
well aware that all who do evil and dishonourable things do them
against their will. And Simonides never says that he praises him who
does no evil voluntarily; the word "voluntarily" applies to himself.
For he was under the impression that a good man might often compel
himself to love and praise another, and to be the friend and
approver of another; and that there might be an involuntary love, such
as a man might feel to an unnatural father or mother, or country, or
the like. Now bad men, when their parents or country have any defects,
look on them with malignant joy, and find fault with them and expose
and denounce them to others, under the idea that the rest of mankind
will be less likely to take themselves to task and accuse them of
neglect; and they blame their defects far more than they deserve, in
order that the odium which is necessarily incurred by them may be
increased: but the good man dissembles his feelings, and constrains
himself to praise them; and if they have wronged him and he is
angry, he pacifies his anger and is reconciled, and compels himself to
love and praise his own flesh and blood. And Simonides, as is
probable, considered that he himself had often had to praise and
magnify a tyrant or the like, much against his will, and he also
wishes to imply to Pittacus that he does not censure him because he is
For I am satisfied [he says] when a man is neither bad nor very
stupid; and when he knows justice (which is the health of states), and
is of sound mind, I will find no fault with him, for I am not given to
finding fault, and there are innumerable fools
(implying that if he delighted in censure he might have abundant
All things are good with which evil is unmingled.
In these latter words he does not mean to say that all things are good
which have no evil in them, as you might say "All things are white
which have no black in them," for that would be ridiculous; but he
means to say that he accepts and finds no fault with the moderate or
I do not hope to find a perfectly blameless man among those who
partake of the fruits of the broad-bosomed earth (if I find him, I
will send you word); in this sense I praise no man. But he who is
moderately good, and does no evil, is good enough for me, who love and
(and here observe that he uses a Lesbian word, epainemi [approve],
Who love and approve every one voluntarily, who does no evil:
and that the stop should be put after "voluntarily"); "but there are
some whom I involuntarily praise and love. And you, Pittacus, I
would never have blamed, if you had spoken what was moderately good
and true; but I do blame you because, putting on the appearance of
truth, you are speaking falsely about the highest matters. And this, I
said, Prodicus and Protagoras, I take to be the meaning of Simonides
Hippias said: I think, Socrates, that you have given a very good
explanation of the poem; but I have also an excellent interpretation
of my own which I will propound to you, if you will allow me.
Nay, Hippias, said Alcibiades; not now, but at some other time. At
present we must abide by the compact which was made between Socrates
and Protagoras, to the effect that as long as Protagoras is willing to
ask, Socrates should answer; or that if he would rather answer, then
I said: I wish Protagoras either to ask or answer as he is inclined;
but I would rather have done with poems and odes, if he does not
object, and come back to the question about which I was asking you
at first, Protagoras, and by your help make an end of that. The talk
about the poets seems to me like a commonplace entertainment to
which a vulgar company have recourse; who, because they are not able
to converse or amuse one another, while they are drinking, with the
sound of their own voices and conversation, by reason of their
stupidity, raise the price of flute-girls in the market, hiring for
a great sum the voice of a flute instead of their own breath, to be
the medium of intercourse among them: but where the company are real
gentlemen and men of education, you will see no flute-girls, nor
dancing-girls, nor harp-girls; and they have no nonsense or games, but
are contented with one another's conversation, of which their own
voices are the medium, and which they carry on by turns and in an
orderly manner, even though they are very liberal in their
potations. And a company like this of ours, and men such as we profess
to be, do not require the help of another's voice, or of the poets
whom you cannot interrogate about meaning of what they are saying;
people who cite them declaring, some that the poet has meaning, and
others that he has another, and the point which is in dispute can
never be decided. This sort of entertainment they decline, and
prefer to talk with one another, and put one another to the proof in
conversation. And these are the models which I desire that you and I
should imitate. Leaving the poets, and keeping to ourselves, let us
try the mettle of one another and make proof of the truth in
conversation. If you have a mind to ask, I am ready to answer; or if
you would rather, do you answer, and give me the opportunity of
resuming and completing our unfinished argument.
I made these and some similar observations; but Protagoras would not
distinctly say which he would do. Thereupon Alcibiades turned to
Callias, and said:-Do you think, Callias, that Protagoras is fair in
refusing to say whether he will or will not answer? for I certainly
think that he is unfair; he ought either to proceed with the argument,
or distinctly refuse to proceed, that we may know his intention; and
then Socrates will be able to discourse with some one else, and the
rest of the company will be free to talk with one another.
I think that Protagoras was really made ashamed by these words of
Alcibiades and when the prayers of Callias and the company were
superadded, he was at last induced to argue, and said that I might ask
So I said: Do not imagine, Protagoras, that I have any other
interest in asking questions of you but that of clearing up my own
difficulties. For I think that Homer was very right in saying that
When two go together, one sees before the other,
for all men who have a companion are readier in deed, word, or
he goes about straightway seeking until he finds some one to whom he
may show his discoveries, and who may confirm him in them. And I would
rather hold discourse with you than with any one, because I think that
no man has a better understanding of most things which a good man
may be expected to understand, and in particular of virtue. For who is
there, but you?-who not only claim to be a good man and a gentleman,
for many are this, and yet have not the power of making others good
whereas you are not only good yourself, but also the cause of goodness
in others. Moreover such confidence have you in yourself, that
although other Sophists conceal their profession, you proclaim in
the face of Hellas that you are a Sophist or teacher of virtue and
education, and are the first who demanded pay in return. How then
can I do otherwise than invite you to the examination of these
subjects, and ask questions and consult with you? I must, indeed.
And I should like once more to have my memory refreshed by you about
the questions which I was asking you at first, and also to have your
help in considering them. If I am not mistaken the question was
this: Are wisdom and temperance and courage and justice and holiness
five names of the same thing? or has each of the names a separate
underlying essence and corresponding thing having a peculiar function,
no one of them being like any other of them? And you replied that
the five names were not the names of the same thing, but that each
of them had a separate object, and that all these objects were parts
of virtue, not in the same way that the parts of gold are like each
other and the whole of which they are parts, but as the parts of the
face are unlike the whole of which they are parts and one another, and
have each of them a distinct function. I should like to know whether
this is still your opinion; or if not, I will ask you to define your
meaning, and I shall not take you to task if you now make a
different statement. For I dare say that you may have said what you
did only in order to make trial of me.
I answer, Socrates, he said, that all these qualities are parts of
virtue, and that four out of the five are to some extent similar,
and that the fifth of them, which is courage, is very different from
the other four, as I prove in this way: You may observe that many
men are utterly unrighteous, unholy, intemperate, ignorant, who are
nevertheless remarkable for their courage.
Stop, I said; I should like to think about that. When you speak of
brave men, do you mean the confident, or another sort of nature?
Yes, he said; I mean the impetuous, ready to go at that which others
In the next place, you would affirm virtue to be a good thing, of
which good thing you assert yourself to be a teacher.
Yes, he said; I should say the best of all things, if I am in my
And is it partly good and partly bad, I said, or wholly good?
Wholly good, and in the highest degree.
Tell me then; who are they who have confidence when diving into a
And the reason of this is that they have knowledge?
And who have confidence when fighting on horseback-the skilled
And who when fighting with light shields-the peltasts or the
The peltasts. And that is true of all other things, he said, if that
is your point: those who have knowledge are more confident than
those who have no knowledge, and they are more confident after they
And have you not seen persons utterly ignorant, I said, of these
Yes, he said, I have seen such persons far too confident.
And are not these confident persons also courageous?
In that case, he replied, courage would be a base thing, for the men
of whom we are speaking are surely madmen.
Then who are the courageous? Are they not the confident?
Yes, he said; to that statement I adhere.
And those, I said, who are thus confident without knowledge are
really not courageous, but mad; and in that case the wisest are also
the most confident, and being the most confident are also the bravest,
and upon that view again wisdom will be courage.
Nay, Socrates, he replied, you are mistaken in your remembrance of
what was said by me. When you asked me, I certainly did say that the
courageous are the confident; but I was never asked whether the
confident are the courageous; if you had asked me, I should have
answered "Not all of them": and what I did answer you have not
proved to be false, although you proceeded to show that those who have
knowledge are more courageous than they were before they had
knowledge, and more courageous than others who have no knowledge,
and were then led on to think that courage is the same as wisdom.
But in this way of arguing you might come to imagine that strength
is wisdom. You might begin by asking whether the strong are able,
and I should say "Yes"; and then whether those who know how to wrestle
are not more able to wrestle than those who do not know how to
wrestle, and more able after than before they had learned, and I
should assent. And when I had admitted this, you might use my
admissions in such a way as to prove that upon my view wisdom is
strength; whereas in that case I should not have admitted, any more
than in the other, that the able are strong, although I have
admitted that the strong are able. For there is a difference between
ability and strength; the former is given by knowledge as well as by
madness or rage, but strength comes from nature and a healthy state of
the body. And in like manner I say of confidence and courage, that
they are not the same; and I argue that the courageous are
confident, but not all the confident courageous. For confidence may be
given to men by art, and also, like ability, by madness and rage;
but courage comes to them from nature and the healthy state of the
I said: You would admit, Protagoras, that some men live well and
And do you think that a man lives well who lives in pain and grief?
But if he lives pleasantly to the end of his life, will he not in
Then to live pleasantly is a good, and to live unpleasantly an evil?
Yes, he said, if the pleasure be good and honourable.
And do you, Protagoras, like the rest of the world, call some
pleasant things evil and some painful things good?-for I am rather
disposed to say that things are good in as far as they are pleasant,
if they have no consequences of another sort, and in as far as they
I do not know, Socrates, he said, whether I can venture to assert in
that unqualified manner that the pleasant is the good and the
painful the evil. Having regard not only to my present answer, but
also to the whole of my life, I shall be safer, if I am not
mistaken, in saying that there are some pleasant things which are
not good, and that there are some painful things which are good, and
some which are not good, and that there are some which are neither
And you would call pleasant, I said, the things which participate in
Then my meaning is, that in as far as they are pleasant they are
good; and my question would imply that pleasure is a good in itself.
According to your favourite mode of speech, Socrates, "Let us
reflect about this," he said; and if the reflection is to the point,
and the result proves that pleasure and good are really the same, then
we will agree; but if not, then we will argue.
You ought to take the lead, he said; for you are the author of the
May I employ an illustration? I said. Suppose some one who is
enquiring into the health or some other bodily quality of
another:-he looks at his face and at the tips of his fingers, and then
he says, Uncover your chest and back to me that I may have a better
view:-that is the sort of thing which I desire in this speculation.
Having seen what your opinion is about good and pleasure, I am
minded to say to you: Uncover your mind to me, Protagoras, and
reveal your opinion about knowledge, that I may know whether you agree
with the rest of the world. Now the rest of the world are of opinion
that knowledge is a principle not of strength, or of rule, or of
command: their notion is that a man may have knowledge, and yet that
the knowledge which is in him may be overmastered by anger, or
pleasure, or pain, or love, or perhaps by fear,-just as if knowledge
were a slave, and might be dragged about anyhow. Now is that your
view? or do you think that knowledge is a noble and commanding
thing, which cannot be overcome, and will not allow a man, if he
only knows the difference of good and evil, to do anything which is
contrary to knowledge, but that wisdom will have strength to help him?
I agree with you, Socrates, said Protagoras; and not only so, but I,
above all other men, am bound to say that wisdom and knowledge are the
Good, I said, and true. But are you aware that the majority of the
world are of another mind; and that men are commonly supposed to
know the things which are best, and not to do them when they might?
And most persons whom I have asked the reason of this have said that
when men act contrary to knowledge they are overcome by pain, or
pleasure, or some of those affections which I was just now mentioning.
Yes, Socrates, he replied; and that is not the only point about
Suppose, then, that you and I endeavour to instruct and inform
them what is the nature of this affection which they call "being
overcome by pleasure," and which they affirm to be the reason why they
do not always do what is best. When we say to them: Friends, you are
mistaken, and are saying what is not true, they would probably
reply: Socrates and Protagoras, if this affection of the soul is not
to be called "being overcome by pleasure," pray, what is it, and by
But why, Socrates, should we trouble ourselves about the opinion
of the many, who just say anything that happens to occur to them?
I believe, I said, that they may be of use in helping us to discover
how courage is related to the other parts of virtue. If you are
disposed to abide by our agreement, that I should show the way in
which, as I think, our recent difficulty is most likely to be
cleared up, do you follow; but if not, never mind.
You are quite right, he said; and I would have you proceed as you
Well then, I said, let me suppose that they repeat their question,
What account do you give of that which, in our way of speaking, is
termed being overcome by pleasure? I should answer thus: Listen, and
Protagoras and I will endeavour to show you. When men are overcome
by eating and drinking and other sensual desires which are pleasant,
and they, knowing them to be evil, nevertheless indulge in them, would
you not say that they were overcome by pleasure? They will not deny
this. And suppose that you and I were to go on and ask them again: "In
what way do you say that they are evil-in that they are pleasant and
give pleasure at the moment, or because they cause disease and poverty
and other like evils in the future? Would they still be evil, if
they had no attendant evil consequences, simply because they give
the consciousness of pleasure of whatever nature?"-Would they not
answer that they are not evil on account of the pleasure which is
immediately given by them, but on account of the after
I believe, said Protagoras, that the world in general would answer
And in causing diseases do they not cause pain? and in causing
poverty do they not cause pain;-they would agree to that also, if I am
Then I should say to them, in my name and yours: Do you think them
evil for any other reason, except because they end in pain and rob
us of other pleasures:-there again they would agree?
We both of us thought that they would.
And then I should take the question from the opposite point of view,
and say: "Friends, when you speak of goods being painful, do you not
mean remedial goods, such as gymnastic exercises, and military
service, and the physician's use of burning, cutting, drugging, and
starving? Are these the things which are good but painful?"-they would
"And do you call them good because they occasion the greatest
immediate suffering and pain; or because, afterwards, they bring
health and improvement of the bodily condition and the salvation of
states and power over others and wealth?"-they would agree to the
latter alternative, if I am not mistaken?
"Are these things good for any other reason except that they end
in pleasure, and get rid of and avert pain? Are you looking to any
other standard but pleasure and pain when you call them good?"-they
"And do you not pursue after pleasure as a good, and avoid pain as
"Then you think that pain is an evil and pleasure is a good: and
even pleasure you deem an evil, when it robs you of greater
pleasures than it gives, or causes pains greater than the pleasure.
If, however, you call pleasure an evil in relation to some other end
or standard, you will be able to show us that standard. But you have
I do not think that they have, said Protagoras.
"And have you not a similar way of speaking about pain? You call
pain a good when it takes away greater pains than those which it
has, or gives pleasures greater than the pains: then if you have
some standard other than pleasure and pain to which you refer when you
call actual pain a good, you can show what that is. But you cannot."
Suppose again, I said, that the world says to me: "Why do you
spend many words and speak in many ways on this subject?" Excuse me,
friends, I should reply; but in the first place there is a
difficulty in explaining the meaning of the expression "overcome by
pleasure"; and the whole argument turns upon this. And even now, if
you see any possible way in which evil can be explained as other
than pain, or good as other than pleasure, you may still retract.
Are you satisfied, then, at having a life of pleasure which is without
pain? If you are, and if you are unable to show any good or evil which
does not end in pleasure and pain, hear the consequences:-If what
you say is true, then the argument is absurd which affirms that a
man often does evil knowingly, when he might abstain, because he is
seduced and overpowered by pleasure; or again, when you say that a man
knowingly refuses to do what is good because he is overcome at the
moment by pleasure. And that this is ridiculous will be evident if
only we give up the use of various names, such as pleasant and
painful, and good and evil. As there are two things, let us call
them by two names-first, good and evil, and then pleasant and painful.
Assuming this, let us go on to say that a man does evil knowing that
he does evil. But some one will ask, Why? Because he is overcome, is
the first answer. And by what is he overcome? the enquirer will
proceed to ask. And we shall not be able to reply "By pleasure," for
the name of pleasure has been exchanged for that of good. In our
answer, then, we shall only say that he is overcome. "By what?" he
will reiterate. By the good, we shall have to reply; indeed we
shall. Nay, but our questioner will rejoin with a laugh, if he be
one of the swaggering sort, "That is too ridiculous, that a man should
do what he knows to be evil when he ought not, because he is
overcome by good. Is that, he will ask, because the good was worthy or
not worthy of conquering the evil?" And in answer to that we shall
clearly reply, Because it was not worthy; for if it had been worthy,
then he who, as we say, was overcome by pleasure, would not have
been wrong. "But how," he will reply, "can the good be unworthy of the
evil, or the evil of the good?" Is not the real explanation that
they are out of proportion to one another, either as greater and
smaller, or more and fewer? This we cannot deny. And when you speak of
being overcome-"what do you mean," he will say, "but that you choose
the greater evil in exchange for the lesser good?" Admitted. And now
substitute the names of pleasure and pain for good and evil, and
say, not as before, that a man does what is evil knowingly, but that
he does what is painful knowingly, and because he is overcome by
pleasure, which is unworthy to overcome. What measure is there of
the relations of pleasure to pain other than excess and defect,
which means that they become greater and smaller, and more and
fewer, and differ in degree? For if any one says: "Yes, Socrates,
but immediate pleasure differs widely from future pleasure and
pain"-To that I should reply: And do they differ in anything but in
pleasure and pain? There can be no other measure of them. And do
you, like a skilful weigher, put into the balance the pleasures and
the pains, and their nearness and distance, and weigh them, and then
say which outweighs the other. If you weigh pleasures against
pleasures, you of course take the more and greater; or if you weigh
pains against pains, you take the fewer and the less; or if
pleasures against pains, then you choose that course of action in
which the painful is exceeded by the pleasant, whether the distant
by the near or the near by the distant; and you avoid that course of
action in which the pleasant is exceeded by the painful. Would you not
admit, my friends, that this is true? I am confident that they
Well then, I shall say, if you agree so far, be so good as to answer
me a question: Do not the same magnitudes appear larger to your
sight when near, and smaller when at a distance? They will acknowledge
that. And the same holds of thickness and number; also sounds, which
are in themselves equal, are greater when near, and lesser when at a
distance. They will grant that also. Now suppose happiness to
consist in doing or choosing the greater, and in not doing or in
avoiding the less, what would be the saving principle of human life?
Would not the art of measuring be the saving principle; or would the
power of appearance? Is not the latter that deceiving art which
makes us wander up and down and take the things at one time of which
we repent at another, both in our actions and in our choice of
things great and small? But the art of measurement would do away
with the effect of appearances, and, showing the truth, would fain
teach the soul at last to find rest in the truth, and would thus
save our life. Would not mankind generally acknowledge that the art
which accomplishes this result is the art of measurement?
Yes, he said, the art of measurement.
Suppose, again, the salvation of human life to depend on the
choice of odd and even, and on the knowledge of when a man ought to
choose the greater or less, either in reference to themselves or to
each other, and whether near or at a distance; what would be the
saving principle of our lives? Would not knowledge?-a knowledge of
measuring, when the question is one of excess and defect, and a
knowledge of number, when the question is of odd and even? The world
Protagoras himself thought that they would.
Well then, my friends, I say to them; seeing that the salvation of
human life has been found to consist in the right choice of
pleasures and pains,-in the choice of the more and the fewer, and
the greater and the less, and the nearer and remoter, must not this
measuring be a consideration of their excess and defect and equality
And this, as possessing measure, must undeniably also be an art
The nature of that art or science will be a matter of future
consideration; but the existence of such a science furnishes a
demonstrative answer to the question which you asked of me and
Protagoras. At the time when you asked the question, if you
remember, both of us were agreeing that there was nothing mightier
than knowledge, and that knowledge, in whatever existing, must have
the advantage over pleasure and all other things; and then you said
that pleasure often got the advantage even over a man who has
knowledge; and we refused to allow this, and you rejoined: O
Protagoras and Socrates, what is the meaning of being overcome by
pleasure if not this?-tell us what you call such a state:-if we had
immediately and at the time answered "Ignorance," you would have
laughed at us. But now, in laughing at us, you will be laughing at
yourselves: for you also admitted that men err in their choice of
pleasures and pains; that is, in their choice of good and evil, from
defect of knowledge; and you admitted further, that they err, not only
from defect of knowledge in general, but of that particular
knowledge which is called measuring. And you are also aware that the
erring act which is done without knowledge is done in ignorance. This,
therefore, is the meaning of being overcome by pleasure;-ignorance,
and that the greatest. And our friends Protagoras and Prodicus and
Hippias declare that they are the physicians of ignorance; but you,
who are under the mistaken impression that ignorance is not the cause,
and that the art of which I am speaking cannot be taught, neither go
yourselves, nor send your children, to the Sophists, who are the
teachers of these things-you take care of your money and give them
none; and the result is, that you are the worse off both in public and
private life:-Let us suppose this to be our answer to the world in
general: And now I should like to ask you, Hippias, and you, Prodicus,
as well as Protagoras (for the argument is to be yours as well as
ours), whether you think that I am speaking the truth or not?
They all thought that what I said was entirely true.
Then you agree, I said, that the pleasant is the good, and the
painful evil. And here I would beg my friend Prodicus not to introduce
his distinction of names, whether he is disposed to say pleasurable,
delightful, joyful. However, by whatever name he prefers to call them,
I will ask you, most excellent Prodicus, to answer in my sense of
Prodicus laughed and assented, as did the others.
Then, my friends, what do you say to this? Are not all actions
honourable and useful, of which the tendency is to make life
painless and pleasant? The honourable work is also useful and good?
Then, I said, if the pleasant is the good, nobody does anything
under the idea or conviction that some other thing would be better and
is also attainable, when he might do the better. And this
inferiority of a man to himself is merely ignorance, as the
superiority of a man to himself is wisdom.
And is not ignorance the having a false opinion and being deceived
To this also they unanimously assented.
Then, I said, no man voluntarily pursues evil, or that which he
thinks to be evil. To prefer evil to good is not in human nature;
and when a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will
choose the greater when he may have the less.
All of us agreed to every word of this.
Well, I said, there is a certain thing called fear or terror; and
here, Prodicus, I should particularly like to know whether you would
agree with me in defining this fear or terror as expectation of evil.
Protagoras and Hippias agreed, but Prodicus said that this was
Never mind, Prodicus, I said; but let me ask whether, if our
former assertions are true, a man will pursue that which he fears when
he is not compelled? Would not this be in flat contradiction to the
admission which has been already made, that he thinks the things which
he fears to be evil; and no one will pursue or voluntarily accept that
Then, I said, these, Hippias and Prodicus, are our premisses; and
I would beg Protagoras to explain to us how he can be right in what he
said at first. I do not mean in what he said quite at first, for his
first statement, as you may remember, was that whereas there were five
parts of virtue none of them was like any other of them; each of
them had a separate function. To this, however, I am not referring,
but to the assertion which he afterwards made that of the five virtues
four were nearly akin to each other, but that the fifth, which was
courage, differed greatly from the others. And of this he gave me
the following proof. He said: You will find, Socrates, that some of
the most impious, and unrighteous, and intemperate, and ignorant of
men are among the most courageous; which proves that courage is very
different from the other parts of virtue. I was surprised at his
saying this at the time, and I am still more surprised now that I have
discussed the matter with you. So I asked him whether by the brave
he meant the confident. Yes, he replied, and the impetuous or goers.
(You may remember, Protagoras, that this was your answer.)
Well then, I said, tell us against what are the courageous ready
to go-against the same dangers as the cowards?
Then do cowards go where there is safety, and the courageous where
Very true, I said. But I want to know against what do you say that
the courageous are ready to go-against dangers, believing them to be
No, said he; the former case has been proved by you in the
That, again, I replied, is quite true. And if this has been
rightly proven, then no one goes to meet what he thinks to be dangers,
since the want of self-control, which makes men rush into dangers, has
And yet the courageous man and the coward alike go to meet that
about which they are confident; so that, in this point of view, the
cowardly and the courageous go to meet the same things.
And yet, Socrates, said Protagoras, that to which the coward goes is
the opposite of that to which the courageous goes; the one, for
example, is ready to go to battle, and the other is not ready.
And is going to battle honourable or disgraceful? I said.
And if honourable, then already admitted by us to be good; for all
honourable actions we have admitted to be good.
That is true; and to that opinion I shall always adhere.
True, I said. But which of the two are they who, as you say, are
unwilling to go to war, which is a good and honourable thing?
And what is good and honourable, I said, is also pleasant?
It has certainly been acknowledged to be so, he replied.
And do the cowards knowingly refuse to go to the nobler, and
The admission of that, he replied, would belie our former
But does not the courageous man also go to meet the better, and
And the courageous man has no base fear or base confidence?
But the fear and confidence of the coward or foolhardy or madman, on
And these base fears and confidences originate in ignorance and
Then as to the motive from which the cowards act, do you call it
And have they not been shown to be cowards through their ignorance
And because of that ignorance they are cowards?
And the reason why they are cowards is admitted by you to be
Then the ignorance of what is and is not dangerous is cowardice?
But surely courage, I said, is opposed to cowardice?
Then the wisdom which knows what are and are not dangers is
To that he very reluctantly nodded assent.
And the knowledge of that which is and is not dangerous is
courage, and is opposed to the ignorance of these things?
At this point he would no longer nod assent, but was silent.
And why, I said, do you neither assent nor dissent, Protagoras?
Finish the argument by yourself, he said.
I only want to ask one more question, I said. I want to know whether
you still think that there are men who are most ignorant and yet
You seem to have a great ambition to make me answer, Socrates, and
therefore I will gratify you, and say, that this appears to me to be
impossible consistently with the argument.
My only object, I said, in continuing the discussion, has been the
desire to ascertain the nature and relations of virtue; for if this
were clear, I am very sure that the other controversy which has been
carried on at great length by both of us-you affirming and I denying
that virtue can be taught-would also become clear. The result of our
discussion appears to me to be singular. For if the argument had a
human voice, that voice would be heard laughing at us and saying:
"Protagoras and Socrates, you are strange beings; there are you,
Socrates, who were saying that virtue cannot be taught,
contradicting yourself now by your attempt to prove that all things
are knowledge, including justice, and temperance, and courage,-which
tends to show that virtue can certainly be taught; for if virtue
were other than knowledge, as Protagoras attempted to prove, then
clearly virtue cannot be taught; but if virtue is entirely
knowledge, as you are seeking to show, then I cannot but suppose
that virtue is capable of being taught. Protagoras, on the other hand,
who started by saying that it might be taught, is now eager to prove
it to be anything rather than knowledge; and if this is true, it
must be quite incapable of being taught." Now I, Protagoras,
perceiving this terrible confusion of our ideas, have a great desire
that they should be cleared up. And I should like to carry on the
discussion until we ascertain what virtue is, whether capable of being
taught or not, lest haply Epimetheus should trip us up and deceive
us in the argument, as he forgot us in the story; I prefer your
Prometheus to your Epimetheus, for of him I make use, whenever I am
busy about these questions, in Promethean care of my own life. And
if you have no objection, as I said at first, I should like to have
Protagoras replied: Socrates, I am not of a base nature, and I am
the last man in the world to be envious. I cannot but applaud your
energy and your conduct of an argument. As I have often said, I admire
you above all men whom I know, and far above all men of your age;
and I believe that you will become very eminent in philosophy. Let
us come back to the subject at some future time; at present we had
By all means, I said, if that is your wish; for I too ought long
since to have kept the engagement of which I spoke before, and only
tarried because I could not refuse the request of the noble Callias.
So the conversation ended, and we went our way.
Trends in the Prescribing of Psychotropic Medications to Preschoolers Original Contribution JAMA, Vol. 283 No. 8, February 23, 2000, pp. 1025-1030. Julie Magno Zito, PhD; Daniel J. Safer, MD; Susan dosReis, PhD; James F. Gardner, ScM; Myde Boles, PhD; Frances Lynch, PhDContext:Recent reports on the use of psychotropic medications for preschool-agedchildren with behavioral and emotional