Sunday, October 10, 2021



Plato, Gorgias 457c-e (Socrates speaking; tr. Walter Hamilton, rev. Chris Emlyn-Jones):
I suppose, Gorgias, that like me you have had experience of many arguments, and have observed how difficult the parties find it to define exactly the subject which they have taken in hand and to come away from their discussion mutually enlightened; what usually happens is that, as soon as they disagree and one declares the other to be mistaken or obscure in what he says, they lose their tempers and accuse one another of speaking from motives of personal spite and in an endeavour to score a victory rather than to investigate the question at issue; and sometimes they part on the worst possible terms, after such an exchange of abuse that the bystanders feel annoyed on their own account that they ever thought it worth their while to listen to such people.

οἶμαι, ὦ Γοργία, καὶ σὲ ἔμπειρον εἶναι πολλῶν λόγων καὶ καθεωρακέναι ἐν αὐτοῖς τὸ τοιόνδε, ὅτι οὐ ῥᾳδίως δύνανται περὶ ὧν ἂν ἐπιχειρήσωσιν διαλέγεσθαι διορισάμενοι πρὸς ἀλλήλους καὶ μαθόντες καὶ διδάξαντες ἑαυτούς, οὕτω διαλύεσθαι τὰς συνουσίας, ἀλλ᾽ ἐὰν περί του ἀμφισβητήσωσιν καὶ μὴ φῇ ὁ ἕτερος τὸν ἕτερον ὀρθῶς λέγειν ἢ μὴ σαφῶς, χαλεπαίνουσί τε καὶ κατὰ φθόνον οἴονται τὸν ἑαυτῶν λέγειν, φιλονικοῦντας ἀλλ᾽ οὐ ζητοῦντας τὸ προκείμενον ἐν τῷ λόγῳ· καὶ ἔνιοί γε τελευτῶντες αἴσχιστα ἀπαλλάττονται, λοιδορηθέντες τε καὶ εἰπόντες καὶ ἀκούσαντες περὶ σφῶν αὐτῶν τοιαῦτα οἷα καὶ τοὺς παρόντας ἄχθεσθαι ὑπὲρ σφῶν αὐτῶν, ὅτι τοιούτων ἀνθρώπων ἠξίωσαν ἀκροαταὶ γενέσθαι.

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