Excerpt of a “Platonic dialogue” about morality, between Socrates and Polemarchus, from the first Chapter of Plato’s Republic, “Convention Under Attack” [Robin Waterfield, ed. Republic. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.].

‘Morality can’t be a very important thing, then, can it, my friend (Socrates), if it is useful for useless objects. And there’s another point for use to consider. In a fight — a boxing-match or any other kind of fight — isn’t it the person who is expert at hitting who is also expert at protecting himself?’


‘And isn’t is the person who knows how to give protection from a disease who is also the expert at secretly inducing the disease?’

‘I would say so.’

‘Moreover, it’s one and the same person who’s good at protecting an army and at stealing the enemy’s plans and outwitting the rest of his projects, isn’t it?’


‘So anything one is good at protecting, one is also good at stealing.’

‘So it seems.’

‘If a moral person is good at protecting money, therefore, he’s also good at stealing it.’

‘That’s what the argument suggests, anyway,’ he [Socrates] said.



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