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Notes and Discussions THE UNITY OF WISDOM AND TEMPERANCE The attempt of Socrates to establish the unity of the virtues has long been an object of philosophic suspicion. Particular attention has been directed to the argument at Protagoras 332a-333b, in which Socrates seeks to demonstrate the unity of wisdom and temperance, by showing that they must be identified as the contrary of folly. The argument proceeds on the assumption that wisdom and temperance are distinct, and so terminates in a contradiction between 'Whatever admits of a contrary admits of one only' and 'Folly, which is one thing, has two contraries, wisdom and temperance.' Scholars have generally rejected Socrates' proof of the second of the contradictory propositions. However, in a recent paper, Professor David Savan has claimed that the contradiction is derived in a formally valid way from premisses which either need no argument or are accepted by Protagoras} My intent in this paper is to cast doubt on this claim, and so to restore the status quo. According to the critics, the weak point in the argument is Socrates' defence of the statement 'Foolish acts and temperate acts are contraries.' But Saran holds that this statement follows from three conditionals, all stated by Socrates and accepted by Protagoras. These conditionals, referred to by Savan as F G and H, will here be termed P1-3. P1 If an act is right and advantageous, then it is temperate. Symbolically: (r.a) D t P2 If an act is wrong, then it is foolish. w~f P3 If an act is foolish, then it is not temperate. fD -t From these, Saran argues, "it follows that 'An act is right' and 'An act is temperate ' are truth functionallyequivalent, as are 'An act is wrong' and 'An act is foolish'. ... Since right and wrong are either contraries or contradictories, temperate and foolish acts must also be either contraries or contradictories" (p. 24). Savan then argues that Protagoras, on the basis of his remarks earlier in the dialogue, must take right and wrong to be contradictories, so that temperate and foolish actions are also contradictories, rather than contraries. I want first to consider whether the material equivalences alleged to follow from P1-3 do in fact follow. They may be symbolized: Clr~t C2w =f It is immediately clear that neither C1 nor C2 follows from P1-3. But this is not surprising, because some expression of the relation between 'right' and 'wrong' 1D. Saran, "Socrates'Logic and the Unity of Wisdom and Temperance," in R. J. Butler (ed.), AnalyticalPhilosophy,2nd series(Oxford: BasilBlackwell,1965),pp. 20-26. [157] 158 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY must appear among the premises. Since Savan raises the question whether 'right' and 'wrong' are contraries or contradictories only after he claims to establish C1 and C2, we may suppose that the argument should hold whichever relation we assume. If 'right' and 'wrong' are contraries we add the premise: P4A r D --w And ifthey are contradictorieswe add the stronger premise: P4B r -- --w But neither C1 nor C2 follows from PI-3 together with either P4A or P4B. However, it may be urged, the argument fails only because 'advantageous' has been treated as an independent term. P1 should be replaced by: PI* r ~ t We now find that PI*-3 and P4B are sufficientto derive C1 and C2. But PI*-3 and P4A do not suffice.The most we can establish, using only P4A, is the disjunction : C1 vC2r -- t-v-w -- f And this is useless for the purposes of Socrates' argument. One further way of strengthening the premises might be suggested. Instead of dropping 'advantageous' from the argument, one might take it as related both to 'right' and to 'foolish.' That is, one might introduce additional premises from the pairs: P5A r ~ a P5B r - a and: P6A a D -f P6B a ---- -f P5A, added to P1-3 and P4B, will suffice for the derivation of C1 and C2. But no combination of premises not including P4B will do; from P1-3, P4A, P5B and P6B, one can derive C1 but not C2. It is, therefore, necessary to modify Savan's claim in two fairly important...


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