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. B. Jowett)

Full text.

Alt. trans.: "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," Full text)

Alt trans. (H. Trendennick): "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." (E hamilton, H., Cairns, ed., Plato: The Collected Dialogs (1961))

Added on 24-Jul-07 | Last updated 21-Aug-14
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6 Responses to In Plato, Apology, sec. 28b (tr. B. Jowett)

  1. David Newman says:

    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.”

  2. David Newman says:

    Your main entry appears to be from the Benjamin Jowett translation, which can be found here: http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/apology.html

  3. David Newman says:

    Oops. typo: “is is” should be “he is”
    Sorry.

  4. *** Dave says:

    Cool, thanks, Dave! I will update this.

  5. David Newman says:

    Don’t copy my typo!

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