Ancient History & Civilisation


To judge by the Greek dialect this anonymous treatise uses, it was perhaps written in southern Italy round about 400 BCE (though it is impossible to date with any certainty), by someone of wide reading who was familiar with Athenian culture. This second-rate treatise shows more clearly than anything else why Plato and Aristotle thought that one aspect of Sophistry was bad argumentation. I call it ‘second-rate’ because it is demonstrably an amalgam of the work of other Sophists, and because of its intellectual poverty. Most of the other Sophists whose work survives in sufficient quantity for us to attempt a reconstruction all made genuine and interesting contributions to ancient philosophy, but the main, if not the entire interest of Double Arguments is historical. However, its interest in this respect is considerable, since it is a sustained piece of genuine fifth-century Sophistic writing. Moreover, the writing is generally clear, if unpolished.

As far as concerns its derivative nature, it is often connected only with the rhetorical work of Protagoras. That there is Protagorean influence is undeniable, but Protagoras is not alone. Protagoras taught his pupils to be able to argue both sides of any case,1 and this is essentially what much of Double Arguments does; indeed, an alternative translation of its title, Dissoi Logoi, would be Contrasting Arguments. So, for instance, in the first section, ‘On Good and Bad’, we find arguments like: ‘Illness is bad for the sick, but good for doctors’, or ‘Death is bad for those who die but good for undertakers and grave-diggers.’ By a whole string of such arguments, if they are worthy of the name, the author seeks to show that the good and the bad are the same. He then goes on to argue, to the contrary, that the good and the bad are different, by taking the obvious tack that if they were the same any case of goodness could be called a case of badness, which is absurd. And in the following sections he performs the same antilogical trick for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, right and wrong, and truth and falsity—in each case presenting antinomies about their identity and difference.2

In these first four sections, the form of the argumentation is Protagorean, but this is not to say very much. Are the ideas also Protagorean? In part, they are. For instance, our anonymous author is often concerned with the important Protagorean suffixes: A is good for X, but bad for Y. But if this pattern of the arguments by which he claims to prove that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are identical is Protagorean, it follows that the antithetical replies, where he demonstrates that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are different, cannot be Protagorean. This is particularly clear in the fourth section, about truth and falsehood. Having argued that they are identical,3 the author goes on to give substantially the same objection to the Protagorean denial of falsehood that Plato brought against Protagoras (T5 and T8 in the section on Protagoras, pp. 213 and 215). Double Arguments probably predates Plato, but he is still not being original: we know that Democritus too, brought the same argument to bear against his fellow Abderite (Plutarch, Against Colotes 1108f–1109a).

Properly speaking, we should not call the ideas of these first four sections ‘relativist’: they are too banal to deserve a philosophical title. A true relativist (such as Protagoras) denies the possibility of reaching objective judgements about things. For Protagoras in Plato’s Theaetetus, it is impossible to decide whether the wind in itself is warm or cold. The author of Double Arguments, however, is merely insisting that in different circumstances different judgements are possible, which falls short of denying that there may be objective standards.

Another thinker whose influence may be traced in these early sections of Double Arguments is Socrates: if the dialogue form is peculiarly Socratic, then the inclusion of a short dialogue in the first section is significant. But although the Sophists were generally known for their long speeches, they did engage in question-and-answer sessions as well, so this may not be conclusive evidence of Socratic influence. And apart from Protagoras and Socrates, we can sometimes recognize other influences, some of which are annotated below.

With the fifth (untitled) section, the author adopts a new approach. First, it is no longer the identity of values that is in question; second, instead of the antilogical structure of the previous section, we find little more than an argument against one of a possible antilogical pair.4 He mentions some opposites that could be identified, such as ‘sane’ and ‘insane’, but shows that he comes down firmly on the side of the partisans of physis, with the claim that everything has its own nature, its own separate existence. The straightforward structure of this section is blurred, however, by the fact that he raises a powerful argument against the identity of sane and insane people (that even if they say the same things, only sane people say them at the appropriate time), only to dismiss this argument. As elsewhere in the tract, our author sides with the wrong argument.

Sections 6–9 of the work are again different: the sixth section argues that virtue is teachable, the seventh that public officers should not be elected by lot; the eighth that a good speaker knows everything; and the ninth breaks off in the middle of describing a mnemonic technique. In none of these sections is there more than the faintest hint of any antilogical structure (e.g. at the very end of section 6). There is less Protagorean influence here, then, but more of others. It is worth mentioning Gorgias on the importance of the window of opportunity to an orator (see Gorgias T6), and Hippias on the possibility of omniscience and on memory techniques. The question whether or not virtue was teachable was a debating point in the fifth century,5 with most of the Sophists naturally coming down in favour of its teachability, since that was what they professed to do. And so this sixth section explicitly becomes a (brief) defence of the Sophistic movement in general. The seventh section is relevant to the theme of the treatise because if Sophists like Protagoras claimed to teach political skill, that would tend to undermine the Athenian system of election by lot. The eighth section consists of a thumbnail sketch of an ideal Sophist-politician. The ninth section is relevant to the Sophistic movement because mnemonic techniques were an important part of rhetorical training.

F1 (DK 90)

1. On Good and Bad

In Greece, thanks to the intellectuals, there are double arguments about the good and the bad. Some say that the good and the bad are different,* others that the same thing can be either good or bad, in the sense that it may be good for some people but bad for others, or good for the same person at one time and bad for him at another time.*

I myself side with the latter group. I will base my investigation of the matter on human life, with its concern with food, drink, and sex, since these things are bad for someone who is sick, but good for someone who is healthy and who needs them. Moreover, overindulgence in these things is bad for those who over-indulge, but good for those who sell these products and make money from them. Illness is bad for the sick, but good for doctors. Death is bad for those who die, but good for undertakers and grave-diggers. When farming produces good crops it is good for the farmers, but bad for shopkeepers. If merchant ships are broken up and wrecked, that is bad for the owner, but good for ship-builders. Furthermore, if a tool gets corroded or blunted or broken, that is bad for everyone else, but good for the smith. And if a pot is smashed, that is bad for everyone else, but good for potters. If shoes are worn out and fall apart, that is bad for everyone else, but good for the cobbler. Then consider athletic contests, musical competitions, and warfare: for instance, in an athletic competition—a foot-race, say—victory is good for the winner, but bad for the losers. The same goes for wrestlers, boxers, and all musicians too: for instance, victory at playing the lyre is good for the winner, but bad for the losers. In warfare (and taking the most recent cases first), the Spartan victory over the Athenians and their allies was good for the Spartans, but bad for the Athenians and their allies;* and the Greek victory over the Persians* was good for the Greeks, but bad for the invaders. The capture of Troy was good for the Achaeans,* but bad for the Trojans. The same goes for what happened to the Thebans and the Argives.* And the battle of the Centaurs and Lapiths was good for the Lapiths, but bad for the Centaurs. And in the legendary battle between the gods and the giants victory was good for the gods, but bad for the giants.

But there is an alternative argument which claims that the good and the bad are different, and that the difference in words points to a difference in actual fact. I myself also distinguish them in this way, because I think we would not be able to tell good and bad apart if it were somehow the case, extraordinarily, that they were the same and not different. And I doubt that anyone who holds that they are identical would be able to respond to someone who said: ‘Tell me, have your parents in the past ever done you any good?’ ‘Yes,’ he would answer, ‘they have often done me a great deal of good.’ ‘So, if the good and the bad are the same, you ought to repay them often with a great deal of bad. Also, did you ever do good to your relatives? Then you were doing them bad. And have you ever in the past done bad to your enemies? Then you often did them a very great deal of good. But tell me this too: if the same thing is good and bad, don’t you simultaneously feel sorry for paupers because of all the bad things they suffer, and count them happy because of all their great good fortune?’ The king of Persia must be in the same condition as paupers, since all his great goods are so many great evils, if the same thing is both good and bad. Let’s assume that I have covered every instance; nevertheless, I shall go through particular instances too, beginning with food, drink, and sex. For if the same thing is good and bad, then these things are not only bad for sick people, but are also good for them. And illness is both bad and good for people who are ill, if the good and the bad are the same thing. The same goes for all the other topics that I brought up earlier.* I am not here defining the good, but I am trying to explain that the bad and the good are not the same, but different.

2. On Acceptable and Unacceptable

There are also double arguments about the acceptable and the unacceptable. Some say that the acceptable and the unacceptable are two separate things, and that the difference in words points to a substantial difference, others say that the same thing is both acceptable and unacceptable. I will attempt an exposition too, along the following lines. For instance, for a good-looking boy to gratify a lover is acceptable, but for him to gratify someone who is not his lover is unacceptable.* And whereas it is acceptable for women to bathe indoors, it is unacceptable for them to bathe in the wrestling-school (although it is acceptable for men to bathe in the wrestling-school or the gymnasium). And whereas it is acceptable for a woman to have sex with her husband unobtrusively, in the privacy of their own home, it is unacceptable to do so in public, where people will see them. And whereas it is acceptable for a woman to have sex with her husband, it is totally unacceptable for her to have sex with someone else’s husband. And, of course, whereas it is acceptable for a man to have sex with his own wife, it is unacceptable for him to have sex with someone else’s wife. And whereas beautifying oneself, putting on make-up, and wearing golden jewellery is unacceptable for a man, it is acceptable for a woman. It is acceptable to do good to one’s friends, but unacceptable to do good to one’s enemies. It is unacceptable to run away from one’s enemies, but acceptable to run away from one’s rivals in a foot-race. It is unacceptable to kill one’s friends and fellow citizens, but acceptable to do so to one’s enemies. And so on and so forth. I go on to what states and peoples have come to regard as unacceptable. For instance, Spartans find it acceptable for young women to exercise and walk about with bare arms and no outer garment, whereas Ionians* find it unacceptable. And although they find it unacceptable for their sons to learn music, reading, and writing, Ionians find it unacceptable for their children not to learn all these things. Thessalians find it acceptable for someone to take horses and mules from their herds and break them in himself, or to take a cow and slaughter it, skin it, and chop it up himself, but in Sicily this is unacceptable, and these jobs are given to slaves. Macedonians find it acceptable for young women to have love affairs and sex before marriage, but unacceptable for them to do so after marriage, whereas Greeks find both unacceptable. Thracians think that tattooing enhances a girl’s beauty, whereas for everyone else tattooing is a punishment for a crime. Scythians regard it as acceptable for someone who has killed an enemy to skin his skull and carry the scalp on his horse’s forelock, and to drink and pour libations to the gods from the skull, which is covered in gold or silver; but no Greek would willingly even find himself in the same house as someone who had done that. The Massagetae chop up their parents and eat them, and think that being buried in their children’s insides is the most acceptable form of burial, but if anyone did this in Greece he would be expelled from the country and would die an ignominious death, as one who had committed unacceptable crimes. The Persians regard it as acceptable for men to beautify themselves just as much as women, and also for them to have sex with their daughters, mothers, and sisters, but the Greeks regard this behaviour as unacceptable and aberrant. The Lydians find it acceptable for their daughters to work as prostitutes to raise money for getting married, but no one in Greece would be prepared to marry such a girl. Egyptian views about what is acceptable differ from everyone else’s:* for instance, while it is acceptable here for women to weave and work in the fields, there it is acceptable for the men to do that, and for the women to do what men do here. It is acceptable for them to knead clay with their hands and dough with their feet, but for us it is the other way round. I think that if one were to get all the people in the world to gather together the things they found unacceptable, and then to take from this pile the things they found acceptable, not a single custom would remain, but in the end they would all have been distributed among the peoples of the world. The point here is that people have different customs. Here is a relevant piece of verse too:*

If you discern things in this way, you will find the other law That holds for mortal men: there is nothing that is universally Either acceptable or unacceptable, but circumstances take hold of things And make them unacceptable or, conversely, acceptable.

In brief, then, anything may be acceptable under the right circumstances and unacceptable under the wrong circumstances. What have I achieved? I said I would show that the same things are unacceptable and acceptable, and I have shown that this is so in all these cases.

But the other position that is held on the unacceptable and the acceptable is that they are different. After all, if one were to ask those who claim that the same thing is both unacceptable and acceptable whether they have ever performed an acceptable action, they will have to admit that they have also performed an unacceptable action, if the unacceptable and the acceptable are identical. And if they know an acceptable man, he is also unacceptable to them—which is to say that if they know a pale man, he is also swarthy! Now, it is of course acceptable behaviour to worship the gods—and also unacceptable to do so, if the same thing is both unacceptable and acceptable. Let’s assume that I have covered every instance; now I shall turn to the particular points made by the proponents of this view. If it is acceptable for a woman to beautify herself, it is unacceptable for a woman to beautify herself, if the same thing is unacceptable and acceptable; and the same goes for all other cases. In Sparta it is acceptable for girls to exercise, in Sparta it is unacceptable for girls to exercise; and so on. And they say that if one were to gather from all the peoples of the world everything that is unacceptable, and then convene all the peoples and get them to take what they regarded as acceptable, everything would be taken away, as falling into the category of the acceptable. As for me, though, I would be astonished if things introduced as unacceptable were to turn out to be acceptable, rather than remaining what they were when they came. At any rate, if they had brought horses or cows or sheep or people, that is exactly what they would have taken away as well. After all, if they had brought gold, they wouldn’t have taken bronze away, and if they had brought silver, they wouldn’t have taken lead away. So do they take away acceptable things instead of unacceptable ones? Well, then, if they had brought an unacceptable man, would they have taken away an acceptable man? They adduce poets to testify to the validity of their position, but poets write for pleasure, not for truth.

3. On Right and Wrong

There are also double arguments about right and wrong. Some say that they are two different things, others that the same thing is both right and wrong. For my part, I will try to support the latter view. My first claim will be that it is right to tell lies and deceive others. It might be objected that it is unacceptable and bad to do these things to one’s enemies, but not to one’s nearest and dearest, such as one’s parents. For instance, if your father or mother is supposed to drink or eat some medicine, but doesn’t want to, isn’t it right to give them the medicine in their food or drink, without telling them that it is in there? So under these conditions it is right to lie and to deceive one’s parents. Moreover, it is right to steal from one’s friends and treat one’s nearest and dearest with violence. For instance, if a member of your household is so miserable or upset that he is planning to kill himself with a sword or a rope or something, isn’t it right to steal these things from him, if possible, or to snatch them violently from him if you are late and come upon him with the object in his hand? And how could it not be right to enslave one’s enemies and, if possible, conquer their state and sell the population into slavery? It is also obviously right to break into the public buildings of one’s community: if your father is in prison, awaiting execution after having lost out in a feud with his political rivals, isn’t it right to dig through the walls and smuggle your father safely away? It is also right to break a solemn promise: if a man has been taken prisoner by his enemies and promises under oath that if he is set free he will betray his state, does this man do right to keep his promise? I don’t think so. It is more likely to be right for him to break his promise and save his state, his friends, and his ancestral shrines. Under these circumstances, then, it is right even to break a solemn promise. And to rob temples too.* Never mind the temples belonging to particular states, but consider just the panhellenic temples at Delphi and Olympia: suppose the invader is on the point of conquering Greece and Greece’s preservation depends on money, is it not right to take the money and use it for the war effort? And it is right to murder one’s nearest and dearest—after all, that’s what both Orestes and Alcmaeon did,* and the god pronounced through his oracle that they acted rightly. Now I will turn to the arts and crafts, and especially to poetry, for in drama and painting the best craftsman is the one who deceives his audience the most by making his composition resemble the real thing. I’d also like to introduce the testimony of some lines written quite a long time ago by Cleoboulina:

I saw a man of violence, a thief and a cheat,

And his violence was perfectly right.*

Those lines were written long ago, but these are from Aeschylus:

The god does not withhold himself from rightful deceit.


There are times when the god accepts that it is time for lies.

But there is also the contrary position, that right and wrong are distinct, and that just as there are different words for them, so they are different things. After all, if one were to ask those who claim that the same thing is right and wrong whether in the past they have ever done right by their parents, they would say yes, and so they have wronged their parents, because they maintain that the same thing is wrong and right. Here is another example: if you know that a man habitually does right, you also know that the same man habitually does wrong (and by the same token that he is both tall and short). And yet if a man has done wrong let him die for what he has done! But that is enough on this topic. I shall go on to address the arguments adduced by those who want to show that the same thing is both right and wrong. The very fact that stealing enemy property is right proves that it is also wrong, if their argument is true, and the same goes for all the other cases. And they introduce arts and crafts which have nothing to do with right and wrong. And poets’ compose their poems for pleasure, not for truth.

4. On True and False

There are also double arguments about true and false. One position is that a false statement is different from a true statement, while others say that there is no difference.* For my part, I am one of those who take the latter position. My reasons are, first, that both true and false statements use the same words, and, second, that when a statement is made, if the facts are as the statement says, the statement is true, whereas if they are not, the same statement is false.* Let’s say, for instance, that a statement accuses someone of temple-robbery. If the deed actually took place, the statement is true; if it didn’t, it is false. Moreover, the defendant uses the same argument. And, of course, the law courts judge the same statement to be both false and true. Then again, suppose we are sitting in a row and we each say, ‘I am an initiate’:* we will all be saying the same thing, but I am the only one telling the truth, because I am an initiate. It is evident, then, that one and the same statement is false when falsehood attaches to it, and true when truth attaches to it, just as a man is the same when he is young, youthful, mature, and old.

But there is also the argument that a false statement is different from a true statement, because there are two different words involved. For if one were to ask those who claim that the same statement is both false and true whether this statement of theirs is false or true, then if it is false, it obviously follows that a false statement and a true statement are two separate things, and if it is true, it follows that their statement is simultaneously false.* And if anyone ever made a true statement or deposition in court, his statement and deposition were also false. And if anyone knows that a man is truthful, he also knows that he is a liar. From this they deduce that a statement is true if it corresponds to the facts and false if it doesn’t. This is what makes it important to ask the members of the jury, in their turn, to make an assessment—an assessment only, because they were not eyewitnesses to the events. Even the proponents of the view in question agree that a statement is false when it is bound up with falsehood and true when it is bound up with truth. But it makes all the difference in the world < … > [some words or sentences are missing]

5. [Untitled]

‘Whether they are insane or sane, clever or stupid, people say and do the same things. In the first place, they use the same words: “earth”, “man”, “horse”, “fire”, and so on and so forth. Also, they do the same things: they sit, eat, drink, lie down, and so on. Moreover, the same thing is both larger and smaller, more and less, heavier and lighter. And so all things are the same. A talent is heavier than a mina and lighter than two talents.* So the same thing is both lighter and heavier. And the same person is both alive and dead, and the same things both are and are not:* for the things which are here are not in Africa, and the things that are in Africa are not in Cyprus. And the same goes for everything else. Therefore, things both are and are not.’ This view, that the insane and the sane, the clever and the stupid, do and say the same things, is incorrect both in itself and in its consequences. After all, if one asks its proponents whether insanity differs from sanity, and cleverness from stupidity, they say yes. For the actions of either group make it clear that they have to say yes. So if their actions were the same, clever people would be insane and insane people would be clever, and everything would be in a total muddle. It is also worth asking whether it is sane or insane people who speak at the appropriate time. For when one asks this question, the proponents of this view admit that although the two groups say the same things, clever people do so at the appropriate time, while insane people do so at an inappropriate time. And when they say this, it rather looks as though they have added the suffixes ‘at the appropriate time’ and ‘at an inappropriate time’, which destroys the identity they were arguing for. * Actually, I don’t think that things are altered by the addition of such qualifications, though they are by a change of accent [There follow a number of examples where a change of accent on a Greek word gives it a different meaning: for instance, sákos (shield) is different from sakós (enclosure)], and others are by a change of lettering [e.g. onos (ass) and noos (mind)]. So since considerable differences can occur when nothing is subtracted, what about cases where some addition or subtraction does occur? I will go on to show what I mean, as follows: if one is subtracted from ten, there would no longer be ten or even one, and so on and so forth.* As for the assertion that the same person both is and is not, I ask the following question: ‘Does this person have being in some respect, or in all respects?’—the point being that the denial that the person has being is false, because it implies that a person has to be in all respects. So all these things exist in some respect.

6. On Whether Knowledge and Virtue are Teachable

There is an argument, which is neither true nor new, that wisdom and virtue cannot be taught or learnt. The evidence offered to support this claim is as follows. First, that if you pass something on to someone else, you cannot still have it yourself. Second, that if they were teachable there would be recognized teachers of them, as there are for music. Third, that the wise men of Greece would have taught their children and their friends. Fourth, that people have in the past gone to the Sophists without being helped at all. Fifth, that plenty of people have become remarkable without having associated with the Sophists. I think this position is extremely naive. For instance, I know that schoolteachers teach literacy, which is their branch of expertise, and that music-teachers teach music. As for the second piece of evidence, that there are no recognized teachers, what do the Sophists teach, if not wisdom and virtue? And what about the fact that there are followers of Anaxagoras and Pythagoras? As for the third point, Polyclitus taught his son to sculpt.* It is irrelevant that a given person has not been a teacher, but as long as any one individual has been a teacher, that is evidence that teaching is possible. Fourthly, if some people have failed to acquire wisdom from skilled Sophists—well, plenty of people have failed to become literate too, in spite of taking lessons. There is in fact a certain natural ability, thanks to which a person may become good enough (at any rate, if he has natural talent), without having studied with Sophists, to grasp most things easily once he has learnt a little from those who teach us the language—at least some of which we learn from our fathers or mothers. If someone doesn’t believe that we learn the language, but thinks we are born knowing it, he can come to know the truth by considering the following: if a new-born child were sent to Persia and raised there, without ever hearing Greek, he would speak Persian; and if a new-born child were brought here from there, he would speak Greek.* So we do learn language, and we don’t know who teaches us it. So much for my argument; you have its beginning, middle, and end. But note that I am not saying that virtue is teachable, only that I am satisfied with these pieces of evidence.

7. [Untitled]

Some public speakers claim that political positions should be filled by lot, but this view of theirs is rubbish. After all, suppose one were to ask such a person, ‘Why, then, do you not use a lottery to give your slaves jobs, so that if the lot chose your muleteer to be the cook, he would cook, and if it chose your cook to drive your mules, he would drive your mules, and so on and so forth? And why don’t we convene the smiths, cobblers, builders, and jewellers, and assign them their jobs by lot, having them work at whatever craft each obtained in the lottery rather than the one he knows?’ Likewise, in musical competitions, we could have the contestants draw lots and take part in whichever competition each of them was assigned by the lottery: the pipe-player will play the lyre, perhaps, and the lyre-player the pipes. And in battle an archer or a hoplite will be a cavalryman, while a cavalryman will be an archer. And the upshot will be that everyone will be doing what they are not experts or competent at. They say that election by lot is not only good but also democratic. For my part, I think that democratic is the last thing it is, since every state contains people who are anti-democratic, and if the lottery chooses them, they will destroy the democracy. No, the people themselves should elect those whom they have observed to be well disposed towards democracy, and they should choose suitable men as their military commanders, and other suitable men to serve on the law and-order committee, and so on. *

8. [Untitled]

I think it is the job of the same man and the same skill to be able to talk succinctly,* to know the truth about things, to know how to judge cases correctly, to be able to deliver public speeches, to have mastered the various skills relevant to the spoken word, and to be able to explain the nature and origin of all things.* In the first place, if someone knows the nature of everything, how could he fail to be able also to act correctly in every case? Secondly, someone who has mastered the various skills relevant to the spoken word will also know how to speak correctly on any matter, since in order for anyone to speak correctly, he must speak about what he knows. He will therefore know about everything.* For he knows the skills relevant to all words, and the totality of all things is covered by the totality of all words. And if someone is going to speak correctly he must, whatever his topic, know <…> [There is a gap of a few lines in the text] and how to give sound advice to his community on how to act well, and how to avoid doing wrong. If he knows these things, he will also know other things, things which are different from the things he knows, because these different things are likewise among all things, and the exigency of the situation will, if needs be, provide him with them to the same end of knowledge. And if he is capable of playing the pipes, he knows how to play the pipes whenever he has to. Someone who knows how to judge legal cases has to have correct knowledge of justice, since that is what legal cases are concerned with. Because he knows what is just, he will also know the opposite of justice, and things which are different from justice and injustice. He must also know all the laws, but if he doesn’t know the facts, he doesn’t know the laws either. After all, it is the man who knows music who also knows the laws of music, and anyone who doesn’t know music doesn’t know its laws either. Now, if someone knows the truth about things, it is easy to argue that he knows everything. And anyone who is capable of speaking succinctly must when questioned give answers, whatever the topic. So he has to know everything.


No discovery is more important or admirable than memory; it is universally useful for intellectual pursuits and for skill. This is what it consists in: first, if you pay attention, your mind advances by these means until it perceives what it has learnt in a more holistic fashion. Second, you must study whatever you hear, because if you hear and repeat the same things over and over again, they reach your memory. Third, relate everything you hear to something you already know: for instance, if you have to remember ‘Chrysippus’, relate it to ‘gold’ (chrysos) and ‘horse’ (hippos); or relate ‘Pyrilampes’ to ‘fire’ (pyr) and ‘shining’ (lampein). These are examples to do with names, but this is what you do for things: relate ‘courage’ to Ares and Achilles, metal-working to Hephaestus, cowardice to Epeius <…> *

T. M. Conley, ‘Dating the So-called Dissoi Logoi: A Cautionary Note’, Ancient Philosophy, 5 (1985), 59–65.

A. Levi, ‘On Twofold Statements’, American Journal of Philology, 61 (1940), 292–306.

T. M. Robinson, Contrasting Arguments: An Edition of the Dissoi Logoi (New York: Arno Press, 1979).

A. E. Taylor, ‘Socrates and the Dissoi Logoi’, in id., Varia Socratica (Oxford: Parker, 1911), 91–128.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!