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    title: Gorgias Clarendon Plato Seriesauthor: Plato.; Irwin, Terence.

    publisher: Oxford University Pressisbn10 | asin: 0198720912print isbn13: 9780198720911

    ebook isbn13: 9780585157023language: English

    subject Ethics, Political science--Early works to 1800.publication date: 1979

    lcc: B371.A5I78ebddc: 170

    subject: Ethics, Political science--Early works to 1800.

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    PHAEDO David Gallop

    PROTAGORAS D. C. W. Taylor

    THEAETETUS John McDowell

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    Translated with Notes by

    Terence Irwin Cornell University


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    Disclaimer: This book contains characters with diacritics. When the characters can be represented using the ISO 8859-1 character set (http://www.w3.org/TR/images/latin1.gif), netLibrary will represent them as they appear in the original text, and most computers will be able to show the full characters correctly. In order to keep the text searchable and readable on most computers, characters with diacritics that are not part of the ISO 8859-1 list will be represented without their diacritical marks.

    Oxford University Press, Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6DP Oxford New York Athens Auckland Bangkok Bombay Calcutta Cape Town Dar es Salaam Delhi Florence Hong Kong Istanbul Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madras Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi Paris Singapore Taipei Tokyo Toronto and associated companies in Berlin Ibadan

    Oxford is a trade mark of Oxford University Press

    Published in the United States by Oxford University Press Inc, New York

    Oxford University Press 1979

    First published 1979 Reprinted 1982, 1989, 1995

    All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press Within the UK, exceptions are allowed in respect of any fair dealing for the purpose of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright. Designs and Patents Act. 1988, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms of the licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency Enquiries concerning reproduction outside these terms and in other countries should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above

    This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Plato Gorgias (Clarendon Plato Series) 1 Ethics I Title II Irwin, Terence 170 B371 A5 79 40477 ISBN 0 19 872091 2 (Pbk)

    Printed in Hong Kong

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    The Gorgias discusses questions about the foundation and justification of ethics that deserve the attention of any thoughtful person; its main arguments and claims can be understood and appraised by someone with no previous knowledge of Plato or of philosophy. In my Introduction and Notes I have tried to help such a reader; my main aim has been to explain the philosophical doctrines, arguments, and assumptions found in the dialogue, and to suggest not always to answer some of the questions that a critical reader should ask. But the full understanding of the dialogue requires some knowledge of its place in Plato's development, and of its social, political, historical, and intellectual context; I have said something about all this, and could easily have said more. The Gorgias also deserves literary study for its style, structure, characterization, and dramatic and rhetorical techniques; and it is an important document in the history of Greek rhetoric and its relations to philosophy. On these points I have said little, not because they are uninteresting or unimportant, but because I could not both discuss these and fulfil my main task within the rigid limits of space.

    Some people who have heard that Plato is a great philosopher are surprised and dismayed when they read a dialogue and find apparently bad arguments; others suppose that they cannot really be bad arguments; others believe that since the arguments are bad, Plato cannot mean them seriously. The Gorgias inescapably raises these questions, since it is amply stocked with apparently fallacious arguments. I believe that some bad arguments seem to Plato to be good arguments, and I have tried to say what is wrong with them. But I have tried not to stop there. A fair critic should ask whether the faults in the arguments are relatively superficial, and whether Plato's position can be defended with better Platonic arguments. This is the only fair way to evaluate Plato's views.

    There are already some good English translations of this dialogue; most of them are smoother and more idiomatic than mine. Instead of doing what has already been done, I have tried to stay close to the

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    Greek, even at the expense of idiomatic English. As far as seemed reasonable, I have tried to translate important Greek terms in the same way throughout; where this did not seem reasonable. I have sometimes included the Greek term in brackets in the translation, and usually discussed the term and the translation in the Notes.

    There is an excellent English commentary on the Greek text, by E. R. Dodds. It discusses thoroughly the textual and linguistic points; and it displays an interest in the philosophical content not always found in philological commentaries. I have not hesitated to borrow from Dodds, since I assume that not all my readers will be using his edition too; but naturally, my aim and approach are different from his.

    I have benefited from the acute and careful criticism of translation and Notes by Michael Woods. For help and criticism I am grateful to Richard Kraut, who wrote detailed and helpful comments on my Notes, to Martha Nussbaum, and to my colleagues Gail Fine and Allen Wood. To Gregory Vlastos I am indebted for his criticisms of this book; for his own work, a model and a challenge for students of Plato's ethics; and for his generous help and advice.


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    Abbreviations viii

    Introduction 1

    Translation 13

    Notes 109

    Bibliography 251

    Index 261

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    Ancient Authors

    Abbreviations used for ancient authors and works should be intelligible from the lists in LSJ and OCD. Some frequently used abbreviations:

    Aesch. Aeschylus

    Ap. Plato, Apology

    Ar. Aristotle

    Ch. Plato, Charmides

    Cri. Plato, Crito

    EN Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

    Eu. Plato, Euthyphro

    Eud. Plato, Euthydemus

    HMa. Plato, Hippias Major

    HMi. Plato, Hippias Minor

    Hdt. Herodotus

    La. Plato, Laches

    Lys. Plato, Lysis

    M. Plato, Meno

    Phd. Plato, Phaedo

    Phdr. Plato, Phaedrus

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    Pr. Plato, Protagoras

    R. Plato, Republic

    Thuc. Thucydides

    Xen. Xenophon

    Other Abbreviations

    AJP American Journal of Philology

    CP Classical Philology

    CQ Classical Quarterly

    DK Diels, H., and Kranz, W., Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. 6th edn., Berlin, 1951. Partial trans, in K. Freeman, Ancilla to the Presocratic Philosophers,

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    Oxford, 1948 and in R. K. Sprague, ed., The Older Sophists, Col