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Eryxias
written by "Plato (spurious and doubtful works), 427? BC-347? BC"
...ince medicine frees the sick man from his disease, that art too may sometimes appear useful in the acquisition of virtue, e.g. when hearing is procured by the aid of medicine. CRITIAS: Very likely. SOCRATES: But if, again, we obtain by wealth the aid of medicine, shall we not regard wealth as useful for virtue? CRITIAS: True. SOCRATES: And also the instruments by which wealth is procured? CRITIAS: Certainly. SOCRATES: Then you think that a man may gain wealth by bad and disgraceful means, and, having obtained the aid of medicine which enables him to acquire the power of hearing, may use that very faculty for the acquisition of virtue? CRITIAS: Yes, I do. SOCRATES: But can that which is evil be useful for virtue? CRITIAS: No. SOCRATES: It is not therefore necessary that the means by which we obtain what is useful for a certain object should always be useful for the same object: for it seems that bad actions may sometimes serve good purposes? The matter will be still plainer if we look at it in this way:—If things are useful towards the several ends for which they exist, which ends would not come into existence without them, how would you regard them? Can ignorance, for instance, be useful for knowledge, or disease for health, or vice for virtue? CRITIAS: Never. SOCRATES: And yet we have already agreed—have we not?—that there can be no knowledge where there has not previously been ignorance, nor health where there has not been disease, nor virtue where there has not been vice? CRITIAS: I think that we have. SOCRATES: But then it would seem that the antecedents without which a thing cannot exist are not necessarily useful to it. Otherwise ignorance would appear useful for knowledge, disease for health, and vice for virtue. Critias still showed great reluctance to accept any argument which went to prove that all these things were useless. I saw that it was as...

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