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So what is said in the Theaetetus (176A) is wrong, that evil exists because there must be something contrary to the good. Chapter 3 If the Good is beyond being, and absolute non-being is the contrary of being, and evil that of the good, evil must be beneath absolute non-being. People indeed prefer non-being (death) over evil (a miserable life). If the demiurge wants everything to be good, how could there be evil? Introduction 33 The opposite point of view: evil exists Chapter 4 Vices show the reality of evil.

Socrates in the Theaetetus (176A) rightly calls evil a ‘subcontrary’ (hupenantion) of the good. It does indeed not have a relation of complete contrariety, since this would put it on the same level with the good. Neither is evil a pure privation, because a privation has no power to produce anything. It is a privation that coexists with its contrary disposition and through sharing in its power and activity Introduction 43 establishes itself as an active contrary. Therefore, it is called a subcontrary, and it is clear that parupostasis is really meant.

This happens either when the rational principles they receive from universal nature are too weak and become subdued by the contraries that surround them, or when the internal order of their nature is dissolved (because individual bodies are particular beings, several equally partial reason-principles coexist in them and may conflict). Contrary to the particular souls, that can be affected in their powers and activities only, particular bodies can be corrupted even in their essence. At the beginning of ch.

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A commentary on Plato's Timaeus, by A.E. Taylor


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