unpublished shard (Harvard Classics Dept. Library collection)


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A note on charmides 168e9-169a1

(see Greek above)

The sentence reproduced above, which commences with the naming of the chief senses, is immediatedly preceded by Socrates' categorical denial that any of the megethe kai plethe2 can apply its dunamis to itself. This sequence leads us to anticipate that Socrates will refer here also the human affects as he must if he is to dispose of all three of the classes introduced and examined in the course of the present discussion. Instead, we find "self-motion" and "hotness burning" which are mentioned nowhere else in the Charmides and whose literal meaning as isolated terms contributes nothing to the progress of the argument. Consequently, they are usually taken to name additional classes, the former foreshadowing the doctrine enunciated in Phaedrus 245c-e and Laws X 896a that self-motion is the logos of the soul.3 As an alternative explanation of the text, I wish to advance the hypothesis that a drmatic event described earlier in the dialogue, in providing an example of heat combined with self-motion, points the way toward understanding the words kai eti ge . . . toiauta as referring to the human affects after all.4 At 155d Socrates reports that, after Charmides sat down next to him on the crowded bench, (see Greek above)

ephlegomen unequivocally denotes the burning sensation of erotic excitement.6 Its sequel ("and I was no longer within myself . . .") represents the philosopher's soul as momentarily leaving his body, for the subjects of emautou and en can be no other than he tou Sokratous psyche and to tou Sokratous soma respectively. Socrates' transport of soul at the sight of Charmides' exposed body seems to be an unmistakable example of self-motion.

The presentation of somatic inflammation and psychic self-motion is association with Socrates' erotic excitement at 155c constitutes an arresting parallel to the listing of "self-motion" and "hotness burning" at 168e. If the latter terms are read as generic descriptions of the phenomena described in the former passage, in other words, as a kind of hendiadys for eros,7 a specific content for kai panta au ta toiauta, which the phrase otherwise lacks,8 thereby comes to light, namely epithymia, boulesis, phobos and doxa which are "like" eros in being the other human affects examined earlier in the discussion.

Austin, Texas

Michael Eisenstadt

1Supplied by L.F.Heindorf.

2This phrase describes the comparatives meizon, diplasion, pleon, baruteron and presbuteron which Socrates has just examined.

for notes 3-8, see above.