Volume 3, 1977
Richard A. Hogan
The Technē Analogy in the Charmides
This paper discusses the interpretation of Charmides 164Dff. given by John Gould in The Development of Plato's Ethics. Gould claims that in this passage Plato wishes to indicate that he wants to delimit or qualify Socrates' analogy between morality or virtue on the one hand and art or craft (technē) on the other. Plato does this, supposedly, by showing us the unacceptable consequences which follow from assuming a complete analogy between morality and technē. I argue that this interpretation conflicts with the text, which seems to indicate that the root of whatever problems occur in the dialectic is not the technē analogy, but rather that the analogy is not being applied strictly enough. In particular, I try to show that the failure of Critias' definition of temperance is due, in large measure, to his failure to specify an object for the knowledge which he asserts is equivalent to temperance.