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“No one is angered by the thoughts which are believed to be due to nature or chance, nor do people rebuke or teach or punish those who exhibit them, in the hope of curing them; they simply pity them.  Who would be so foolish as to treat in that way the ugly or dwarfish or weak?  Everyone knows that it is nature or chance which gives this kind of characteristics to a man, both the good and the bad.  But it is otherwise with the good qualities which are thought to be acquired through care and practice and instruction.  It is the absence of these, surely, and the presence of the corresponding vices, that call forth indignation and punishment and admonition.  Among these faults are to be put injustice and irreligion and in general everything that is contrary to civic virtue.  In this field indignation and admonition are universal, evidently because of a belief that such virtue can be acquired by taking thought or by instruction.” — Plato, Protagoras (trans. Guthrie)

Published inPlatoPolitics & LawThe Ancients

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