A man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong — acting the part of a good man or a bad.

Socrates (c.470-399 BC) Greek philosopher
In Plato, Apology, sec. 28b [tr. Jowett]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

  • "Thou doest wrong to think that a man of any use at all is to weigh the risk of life or death, and not to consider one thing only, whether when he acts he does the right thing or the wrong, performs the deeds of a good man or a bad." ["No Evil Can Happen to a Good Man"]
  • "You are mistaken, my friend, if you think that a man who is worth anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death. He has only one thing to consider in performing any action -- that is, whether he is acting rightly or wrongly, like a good man or a bad one." [tr. Trendennick]

 
Added on 24-Jul-07 | Last updated 2-Jul-21
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6 thoughts on “In Plato, <i>Apology</i>, sec. 28b [tr. Jowett]”

  1. David Newman

    Scholarly citations to Plato’s Socratic dialogs typically use a system of marginal page numbers that appear in most printed editions, and which I believe come from an original Oxford edition of the text. This quotation, which I found in “Plato: The Collected Dialogs”, Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns editors, Princeton University Press 1961, is at 28b. The Huntington and Cairns volume includes the Hugh Trendennick translation, which I’ll copy here:
    “You are mistaken, my friend, if you think that a man who is worth anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death. He has only one thing to consider in performing any action — that is, whether is is acting rightly or wrongly, like a good man or a bad one.”

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