Plato R.2.382 ψεύδεσθαι active/passive

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jeidsath
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Plato R.2.382 ψεύδεσθαι active/passive

Post by jeidsath » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:35 am

I am confused by the use of ψεύδεσθαι in this passage, which seems to be taking active and passive meaning. Also, I don't think that I understand correctly some of its genitive/accusative (with a preposition) objects.

P.R.2.382:

τί δέ; ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ: ψεύδεσθαι θεὸς ἐθέλοι ἂν ἢ λόγῳ ἢ ἔργῳ φάντασμα προτείνων;

But what then, I said. Could a god be willing to decieve with speech or with deed, extending a phantasm?

οὐκ οἶδα, ἦ δ᾽ ὅς.

I don't know, he said.

οὐκ οἶσθα, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, ὅτι τό γε ὡς ἀληθῶς ψεῦδος, εἰ οἷόν τε τοῦτο εἰπεῖν, πάντες θεοί τε καὶ ἄνθρωποι μισοῦσιν;

You do not know, I said, that the true lie, if someone is able to say it, all gods and men hate him?

πῶς, ἔφη, λέγεις;

How do you mean?, he said.

οὕτως, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, ὅτι τῷ κυριωτάτῳ που ἑαυτῶν ψεύδεσθαι καὶ περὶ τὰ κυριώτατα οὐδεὶς ἑκὼν ἐθέλει, ἀλλὰ πάντων μάλιστα φοβεῖται ἐκεῖ αὐτὸ κεκτῆσθαι.

This way, I said. That probably no one is voluntarily willing to be deceived of himself in the chiefest part and about the chiefest things, but fears of all things especially to have it [the lie] there.

οὐδὲ νῦν πω, ἦ δ᾽ ὅς, μανθάνω.

And I still do not understand you, he said.

οἴει γάρ τί με, ἔφην, σεμνὸν λέγειν: ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὅτι τῇ ψυχῇ περὶ τὰ ὄντα ψεύδεσθαί τε καὶ ἐψεῦσθαι καὶ ἀμαθῆ εἶναι καὶ ἐνταῦθα ἔχειν τε καὶ κεκτῆσθαι τὸ ψεῦδος πάντες ἥκιστα ἂν δέξαιντο, καὶ μισοῦσι μάλιστα αὐτὸ ἐν τῷ τοιούτῳ.

For you think me to be saying something mystical, I said. But I say that everyone would least accept being deceived in his soul about what is real and to be deceived [state] and to be ignorant of what is real and to have and acquire the lie there. And they especially hate it in such a place.
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Re: Plato R.2.382 ψεύδεσθαι active/passive

Post by jeidsath » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:32 pm

Emlyn-Jones/Preddy translation from the Loeb:
“But does that mean a god would be willing in word or deed to falsify himself by presenting an apparition to us?”

“I don’t know,” he said.

“Don’t you know,” I asked, “that all gods and men hate the true lie if one may put it like that?”

“What do you mean?”

“This,” I said: “that I don’t think anyone intentionally wants to give a false impression to the most important part of themselves about the most important things, but it is there that he is most of all afraid that he will bring it on himself.”

“I still don’t understand,” he said.

“You think I’m saying something highfalutin,” I said. “But I am saying that to be the victim of deception in the soul about reality and to have been deceived and to be ignorant and to have and keep the false impression there is something everyone would least admit to and in such a case especially will hate it.”
Comparing against mine:

εἰ οἷόν τε τοῦτο εἰπεῖν - I didn't recognize this as an aside
τῷ κυριωτάτῳ που ἑαυτῶν ψεύδεσθαι - active with κυριωτάτῳ as object, not instrument
σεμνὸν - Emlyn-Jones says "highfalutin," so therefore confusing on account of complexity, rather than my "mystical", and confusing on account of otherworldlyness. Sense I vs. III in the LSJ, I guess.
ἥκιστα ἂν δέξαιντο - "would least admit to" rather than my "would least accept". Is he saying this is δείκνυμι?
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

μὴ δ’ οὕτως ἀγαθός περ ἐὼν θεοείκελ’ Ἀχιλλεῦ
κλέπτε νόῳ, ἐπεὶ οὐ παρελεύσεαι οὐδέ με πείσεις.

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Re: Plato R.2.382 ψεύδεσθαι active/passive

Post by Hylander » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:04 am

ἥκιστα ἂν δέξαιντο - "would least admit to" rather than my "would least accept". Is he saying this is δείκνυμι?
'
'No, it's δεχομαι, as you thought, and your "accept" is right, too, and not inconsistent with the Loeb translation, "accept". It's just a matter of a different way of putting it into English.

Really, it's not a bad idea to check yourself against a competent translation when you're in doubt. You can resolve a lot of difficulties this way. And you can keep yourself from going astray even when you think you understand.

If your aim is to read the whole of the Republic, you ought to do this. The first book and the earlier part of the second book may make you think it's easy, but many subsequent parts of the Republic will disabuse you of this misimpression.

Plato was a very subtle thinker, and his arguments are framed in complexities that sometimes make it difficult to follow when you're reading him in a language that's foreign to you. Sometimes it's clear where his fallacies lie, but all too often it's difficult to pinpoint exactly where he has gone wrong, especially when he gets into metaphysics, a branch of philosophical inquiry that he seems to have invented out of whole cloth. Plato's metaphysics, ethics and political thinking are all of a piece and inseparable from one another. I think that interconnectedness explains why he is so compelling as a philosopher.

I read the Republic using Adam's edition. Adam reframes Plato's arguments in terms of 19th century metaphysics, which are apparently based on the tradition that goes back to Aristotle, but, in a form that was elaborated over the course of two millenia and was in full flower in Adam's day (though some 20th-21st century schools of philosophy consider it to be nonsense). I frequently found myself uncomfortable with Adam's reformulations, which seemed to me, ignorant as I am of philosophy, to be quite different from the way Plato expresses himself. I don't know about Jowett, but I wouldn't be surprised if he does something similar.

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Re: Plato R.2.382 ψεύδεσθαι active/passive

Post by jeidsath » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:11 pm

Thank you for the recommendation of Adam. I had considered starting a thread asking for good commentaries.

Jowett's note on ψεύδεσθαί τε καὶ ἐψεῦσθαι "to be and remain deceived", suggesting passive, is what really got me to start this thread. The Loeb translation isn't quite consistent on it either, but he first translates "give a false impression to the most important part", which I think is right and is what opened up my eyes about what's going on. However, to be really consistent, this last part should be "give a false impression to his soul about reality," not "be the a victim of deception" as Emlyn-Jones has.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

μὴ δ’ οὕτως ἀγαθός περ ἐὼν θεοείκελ’ Ἀχιλλεῦ
κλέπτε νόῳ, ἐπεὶ οὐ παρελεύσεαι οὐδέ με πείσεις.

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Re: Plato R.2.382 ψεύδεσθαι active/passive

Post by Hylander » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:40 pm

To my knowledge, no English-language commentary on the Republic has been published since Adam, which dates to about 1900, apart from this: http://www.onplatosrepublic.com/ I have a copy left over from my undergrad days. Adam is very good in many respects, but I think very dated (though I'm not at all knowledgeable), and he's committed to Platonic philosophy. One would like to see a more critical commentary.

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