In the Laches we are concerned with valour, the soldier's virtue. Here again we are on the point of defining the virtue as knowledge of what is and what is not really to be dreaded. But this is tanta mount to saying the true knowledge of evil and good, and the resultant definition, "valour is knowledge of good" would identify valour with the whole "goodness of man." That is, the definition is only possible if we can meet the popular objections to the Socratic thesis of the "unity of virtue." The Lysis examines in the same tentative way, friendship, the relation in which self-forgetting devotion most conspicuously displays itself. The crux of the problem is that after many false starts, we seem to have reached a promising result in the view that each friend is really "a part of" the other in "soul or temper or body," and yet it is hard to reconcile this position with the facts which seem to show that "unlikeness" is a potent source of attrac tion. Aristotle has taken up and discussed the issues raised in the dialogue in his own treatment of the same subject (E.N . VIII.–IX.).
freely upon it in his own essay on Fallacies, the de Sophisticis Elenchis.) Its more serious purpose is to contrast this futile con tradiction-mongering with the "protreptic" of Socrates. The lad Clinias is simply bewildered by the questions of the two pro fessors of "eristic"; those of Socrates have the purpose of con vincing him that the happiness we all desire is not guaranteed by the possess-ion of the things the world accounts good, but depends on our making the right use of them. If we would attain happi ness we must "tend" our "souls," and that means that we must acquire the "royal" science which ensures that we shall make the right use of all the gifts of mind, body and fortune, in other words, the knowledge of true and absolute good.
Gorgias holds that "rhetoric" is an "art," the application of knowledge to practice, and the queen of all "arts," since it gives its possessor the object of man's highest ambition, power to enforce his will on society. The statesman, who is the man of men, is just a consummate advocate speaking from a brief. If he is clever enough he will, though a layman, carry the day with an audience of laymen, even against the expert specialist. To his audience he will seem, though he is not, the superior of the real expert. Socrates declares that "rhetoric" is not an "art," a matter of native principles, but a mere "empiric knack" (7,417) of humoring the prejudices and pleasing the tastes of an audience. It is a subspecies of KoXaKei.a, "parasitism." There are two genuine "arts" conducive to the health of the body, those of the trainer and the physician; each has its para sitic counterfeit, the one in the profession of the "beautifier," the other in that of the confectioner. So there are two "arts" con ducive to "health of soul," those of the legislator, who lays down the rule of morally sane life, and of the judge, who corrects moral disorders. The "sophist" counterfeits the first, as the "rhetorician" the second, by taking the "pleasant" instead of the "good" as his standard. The "rhetorician" is thus not the wise physician of the body politic but its "toady" (K6X4). This severe judgment is disputed by Polus, the ardent admirer of Gorgias, on the ground that the successful "rhetorician" is virtually the autocrat of the community; every man's life and property are at his mercy.