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Pseudo-Plutarch-A Mid-Platonist Textbook On Fate

The three Fates spinning the web of human destiny, sculpture by Gottfried Schadow, 1790, part of the tombstone for Count Alexander von der Mark; in the Old National Gallery, Berlin. Picture by Andreas Praefcke.


Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA is a small treatise previously thought to be by Plutarch of Chaeroneia but whose authorship is now generally attributed to an anonymous mid-Platonist of the early second century (hence the ‘pseudo’-Plutarch). It has this didactic clarity that makes us feel like we are back sitting in some ancient school somewhere in the Roman Empire, in Antioch, Ephesus or Rome, listening to the teacher skillfully developing late Hellenistic philosophy, and here, the concept of Fate. This treatise’s English translation, by Phillip H. De Lacy and Benedict Einarson, was published in Vol. VII of the Loeb Classical Library edition in 1959. The text is in the public domain.

Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC – when Antiochus of Ascalon rejected the skepticism of the new Academy – until the development of Neoplatonism under Plotinus in the 3rd century. Middle Platonism absorbed many doctrines from the rival Peripatetic and Stoic schools. The pre-eminent philosopher in this period, Plutarch (c. 45–120), defended the freedom of the will and the immortality of the soul. He sought to show that God, in creating the world, had transformed matter, as the receptacle of evil, into the divine soul of the world, where it continued to operate as the source of all evil. God is a transcendent being, who operates through divine intermediaries, which are the gods and daemons of popular religion. Numenius of Apamea (c. 160) combined Platonism with neopythagoreanism and other eastern philosophies, in a move which would prefigure the development of Neoplatonism. (Wiki).


Foreword from the 1959 Loeb Edition

It has long been recognized that the manuscripts are mistaken in ascribing the treatise ‘On Fate’ to Plutarch.​ There is no need to repeat here all the arguments that have been adduced against its authenticity; it is enough to point out that incidence of hiatus is far greater than in passages of comparable length in the works admittedly genuine.

The writer, evidently a Platonist, is apparently either a teacher or fellow student of the unknown Piso to whom the treatise is addressed.​ Doctrine very similar to his own, and doubtless derived from a common source, is found in Nemesius and in the commentary of Chalcidius on the Timaeus;​ echoes of this doctrine appear in Albinus​ and Apuleius.​ Nemesius​ alludes to the work of a certain Philopator ‘On Fate’ and couples him with Chrysippus. The formulation of the doctrine presented in Nemesius can, then, be traced with some probability to the time of Philopator, and as the doctrine in Chalcidius and in the treatise ‘On Fate’ is of the same origin as that of Nemesius’ Platonists, we may conjecture that it was formulated in the early part of the second century A.D.,​ possibly by Gaius, the teacher of Albinus and the most celebrated Platonist of the day. Our treatise, then, was probably not written before the first decades of the second century

Our author’s aim is to construct a theory of fate compatible with providence in god and free will in man. His view is opposed to the Stoic view that “everything conforms to fate,” and a polemic against Stoicism is implicit in the treatise. Yet in several respects the argument reveals the influence of Stoic doctrines.

Chrysippus and the Stoics maintained that the universe is governed by an immanent divine power, variously called God, providence, fate, or nature. They explained the continual change that occurs in the universe as a “chain” of causes, a series of situations in which an antecedent leads to a consequent, the consequent in its turn becoming the antecedent of the next consequent. In such a series, however, different kinds of causes were distinguished. In the sphere of human conduct, for example, the impression that a person receives from an external object often initiates a course of action, but the exact character of that action is in large part determined by the nature of the person, as revealed in his assent and impulse. A cause which initiates a sequence but does not determine its course is called by the Stoics a procatarctic (“initiatory“) cause,​ whereas causes that determine completely the character of their effects are called autotelê (“complete in themselves“).​ In such an analysis the continuity of fate is provided by the procatarctic causes, whereas the determination of particular events depends on the nature of the objects involved. It is in some such way as this that the Stoics reconciled fate and free will.

The Stoics used the relation of antecedent to consequent to refute the “indolent” argument, which maintained that what is fated to occur cannot be altered by any acts of ours. To this the Stoics replied that a consequent is “co‑fated” with its antecedent, and that the one will not occur without the other.​ It is not fated simply that the patient shall recover whether he calls a physician or no; rather, his calling a physician is co‑fated with his recovery.

Our author accepts the Stoic formulation of fate as a relation of antecedent to consequent, but rejects the view that the antecedent is in conformity with fate. He considers fate to be a law which states that a certain consequent will follow upon a certain antecedent, but which does not thereby determine the antecedent. He says further that fate, like human law, is hypothetical​ and universal, the particular being co‑fated​ with the universal in the sense that it is an instance of the universal law.

The antecedents, which are free, include “what is in our power,” chance, the possible and the contingent. Our author proceeds to define them and describe their relations to one and to the spontaneous (which is not expressly mentioned here, but dealt with later). As human law “includes” our acts, but legislates their consequences only, the acts themselves not being “lawful” or “in conformity with law,” so fate “includes” the possible, the contingent, what is in our power, chance, and the spontaneous, and is in its turn included in providence.

Providence is defined as the intellection or will or both of the primary God; fate is the rule or law proclaimed by him to the gods who are his offspring. These gods in turn have their own intellection and will, which singly or in combination constitute secondary providence; while the intellection and will of daemons, who are guardians of the acts of men, constitute, singly or in combination, a third kind of providence. While primary providence includes fate, tertiary providence is included in fate, and secondary providence and fate exist side by side, neither including the other. The author, however, does not insist upon this view of the relation of secondary providence to fate, but countenances another view, that secondary providence is contained in fate.15

The author’s distinction between fate and providence, his interruption of the “chain” of causes by the introduction of antecedents that are not fated, and his assertion that fate is primarily universal serve to differentiate his view from that of the Stoics. In the final chapter he makes this difference explicit by contrasting the Stoic view with his own and listing the arguments for each in their proper order.

He nevertheless shares with the Stoics the doctrine that the universe passes through recurrent cycles, the events of each cycle being repeated in all the rest; he concedes that the argument of the “chain” may correctly apply to celestial phenomena; and he uses in his discussion a number of Stoic terms (though often with altered meanings). He agrees with the Stoics that fate is “not transgressed” (aparabatos) and that it “determines the course” (diexagetai) of everything that comes to be. Yet he gives alternate interpretations to the Stoic view that “everything conforms to fate,” and in calling fate a logos he is using the term in a sense quite different from that intended by the Stoics. The latter meant by logos the “reason” of the supreme God, whom they identified with providence, nature, necessity, and the rationale of the universe; our author, to judge by the passages he cites from Plato, takes logos to mean “statement,” “formula,” or “proposition.”

This recasting of Stoic language and doctrine into a form acceptable to a Platonist is one of the many causes of the notorious obscurity of the treatise. Others are the condensations and omissions inevitable in an epitome, our imperfect knowledge of the views which the author is attacking, modifying, or defending, the abstruse nature of the subject, and the corruptions and lacunas in the text.


I shall endeavour to send you my views on fate in as clear and concise a form as possible,
dear Piso, since you have asked this of me although not unaware of my scruple about writing.

The two senses of fate
You must know, then, to begin with, that the term “fate” is used and understood in two senses: one fate is an activity, the other, a substance.

Active fate: its substance
In the first place, Plato has roughly indicated an activity in the Phaedrus​ with these words: “This is the ordinance of Adrasteia: if a soul have accompanied a god . . .” and in the Timaeus,​ when he speaks of the “laws,” applying to the nature of the universe, which God proclaimed to the immortal soul; while in the ‘Republic’ he calls fate the “word​ of Lachesis, maiden daughter of Necessity“, expressing his view not in high tragic style, but in the language of theology.​ Should one wish to recast these descriptions and phrase them in more ordinary language, fate as described in the Phaedrus might be called “a divine formula​ which, owing to a cause from which there is no escape, is not transgressed“; as described in the Timaeus it would be a “law conforming to the nature of the universe, determining the course of everything that comes to pass“; while as described in the Republic it is a “divine law determining the linking of future events to events past and present.“​ For this is what Lachesis, in very truth​ the “daughter of Necessity,” performs, as we learned before, and as later, in the lectures in the school, we shall know yet better. This, then, is fate in the sense of activity.

Substantial fate
Fate as a substance appears to be the entire soul of the universe in all three of its subdivisions, the fixed portion,​ the portion supposed to wander, and third, the portion below the heavens in the region of the earth;​ of these the highest is called Clotho, the next Atropos, and the lowest Lachesis, who is receptive to the celestial activities of her sisters,​ and combines and transmits them to the terrestrial regions subject to her authority.

What needs to be said, then, about substantial fate has been implicitly stated, as an abridged account has been given of its substance, quantity, quality, order, and relation both to itself and to us; ​the full account of these matters is well presented in the imagery of the second myth, that of the Republic,​ and I have done my best to give you an exposition of that account.

Active fate
But let us once more turn our attention to active fate, as the greater number of problems — physical, ethical, and dialectical — are concerned with it.​ Its substance has been adequately defined;​ we must next tell its quality, strange though it may appear to many.

Its quality
Although events are infinite, extending infinitely into the past and future,​ fate, which encloses them all in a cycle, is nevertheless not infinite but finite, as neither a law nor a formula​ nor anything divine can be infinite.​ Further, you would understand what is meant if you should apprehend the entire revolution and the complete sum of time, “when,” as Timaeus says, “the speeds of the eight revolutions, completing their courses relatively to one another, are measured by the circuit of the Same and Uniformly moving and come to a head.”​ For in this time, which is definite and knowable,​ everything in the heavens and everything on earth whose production is necessary and due to celestial influences, will once again be restored to the same state and once more be produced anew in the same way and manner.​ Then the arrangement of the heavenly bodies, the only one in all respects ordered both in relation to itself and to the earth and all things terrestrial, will eventually return, at intervals composed of long revolutions; and those arrangements that come after it in a series and are contiguous to one another, will occur in contiguous fashion, each bringing with itself of necessity its own set of events.​ (Be it noted, however, to make our present situation clear, that my writing these words at this moment as I write them, and your doing what you happen to be doing as you happen to be doing it are not events brought about by the agency of the heavenly bodies alone as causes of everything.)​ And so, when the same cause returns again, we shall, once more becoming the same persons, do the same things and in the same way, and so will all men besides; and what comes next in order will come into existence and be done in accordance with the cause that comes next in order, and everything that is found in a single entire revolution will be repeated in a similar fashion in each of the entire revolutions as well.​ And so it is now plain what we meant by our statement that fate, although in a way infinite, is not infinite; and our remark​ that it is a sort of cycle has, I take it, been adequately understood; for just as the movement of a cycle and the time which measures that movement of a cycle and the time which measures that movement are cycles, so too the formula​of cyclical events would be considered a cycle.

Even this treatment, then, I venture to say, shows the quality of fate, except that it does not tell of that fate which is particular or individual. What, then, is the quality of this fate, considered in turn as this kind of formula? It is, we may conjecture, of the quality of the law of a state, which in the first place promulgates most, if not all, of its commands as consequents of hypotheses,​ and secondly, so far as it can, embraces all the concerns of a state in the form of universal statements.

Let us go on to examine in turn the meaning of these two points.

The universality of fate
The law of a state uses the form of a supposition and its conclusion​ to speak of a “soldier distinguishing himself in action” and of a “deserter,” and so with the rest; it does not lay down the law for this or that individual, but speaks primarily of the general case, and only secondarily of what comes under it.​ Thus we should say that it is lawful to honour this particular man who has distinguished himself in action, and to punish this other who has deserted the post, on the ground that the law has potentially provided for them, just as the “law” (if one may use the expression) of medicine and of gymnastics​ embraces the particular cases potentially in its general provisions; so also the law of nature, while dealing with universals primarily, deals secondarily with particulars. The latter too are all fated after a fashion, since they are co‑fated with the former. Perhaps a stickler for precision in such matters might insist that on the contrary it is the particulars that have priority,​ and that the universal exists for their sake — the end being prior to what serves it. But these questions have their place elsewhere, whereas the statement that fate does not contain everything plainly or expressly, but only universals, when made at this point, is properly placed both in respect of the point made shortly before​ and of the one that is now to be made: 0the determinate, which is appropriate to divine wisdom, is seen rather in the universal — and the divine law and the political are of this description — while the unlimited is seen in the particular.

The hypothetical character of fate
Let us next determine the character of what is “consequent of an hypothesis,” and show that fate is of that character.

We meant by “consequent of an hypothesis” that which is not laid down independently, but in some fashion is really “subjoined“​ to something else, wherever there is an expression implying that if one thing is true, another follows: “this is the ordinance of Adrasteia: if a soul have accompanied a god and beheld aught of reality, it shall suffer nought until the next revolution, and if able to do so ever, it shall ever go unscathed.”​ What is both consequent upon an hypothesis and universal is, then, of the description given above. That fate is actually of this description is evident from its substance alone and from its name: it is called fate (heimarmenê) as being a thing concatenated (eiromenê);​ and it is an ordinance and a law because it has laid down the consequences which follow upon occurrences, as in the legislation of a state.

The relations of active fate
We must next examine what comes under the heading of relation — how fate stands in relation to providence on the one hand, and on the other to chance, to what is in our power and the contingent, and to the like; we must moreover distinguish in what way the dictum “everything conforms to fate” is true, and in what way false.

Examination of the dictum “Everything conforms to fate”
Now  if the statement means that everything is contained in fate, we must grant that it is true (whether it is in all human events, or all terrestrial or all celestial events one wishes to place in fate, let us for the present​ grant these points too); but  if the expression “conforming to fate“, as would rather seem to be its implication, designates not everything,  but only the consequences of fate, we must not say that everything conforms to fate, even if “everything conforms to fate.”​ For neither is everything included in law “lawful” or “in conformity with law“; for law includes treason, desertion, adultery, and a good many other things of the sort, none of which one would term lawful; indeed I should not even call an act of valour, the slaying of a tyrant, or the performance of any other right action lawful. For the lawful is what the law enjoins; but if the law enjoins such conduct, how then can we deny that persons who display no valour, slay no tyrant, and perform no such right action, disobey and violate it? Or how, if such persons are lawbreakers, is it not right to punish them? If, however, all this is unreasonable, we must call “lawful” and “in conformity with law” only what the law determines as applicable to any action performed, whatever its character; and we must call “fated” and “in conformity with fate” only the consequents of antecedents in the divine appointment of things.​ Fate, then, includes everything that occurs, but much of what is thus included, and I might say all antecedents, could not rightly be said to be in conformity with fate.

Such being the case with these matters, we must next discuss how it is that what is in our power and chance, the possible and the contingent, and what is akin to these, by being classed among antecedents, might find a place themselves and leave a place in turn for fate. For fate contains them all, as indeed it is held to do; yet these things will not occur necessarily, but each will follow its own nature in its manner of occurrence.

The possible
It is the nature of the possible, as genus, to be prior in reality​ to the contingent;​ of the contingent, as matter, to be prior as substrate to the things which are in our power; of what lies in our power, as sovereign, to make use of the contingent; and chance is incidental to what is in our power because of the variation of the contingent in either direction.​ You will apprehend my meaning clearly if you reflect that everything that comes to pass, as well as the process itself of coming to pass, is always accompanied with potency,​ and potency with a substance.

For example, what comes about through the agency of man, whether we take the process or the thing which has been brought to pass, is never found without the potency which produces it; this is found in man; and man is a substance. It is owing to the potency, which is intermediate,​ that the substance is potent, and the process of coming to pass and the thing which comes to pass are both possible. Of these three, then, potency, the potent, and the possible, the potent, in its quality of substance,​ is prior as substrate to potency, while potency is prior in reality to the possible. It is plain, then, even from this statement, what the possible is; it might, however, be roughly defined in two ways: in a looser fashion as that whose nature it is to occur in conformity with potency,​ while we might define it more strictly by adding the clause “when there is nothing outside it interfering with its occurrence.

The contingent
Of things possible some can never be prevented, as celestial phenomena — risings and settings and the like — whereas others are preventible, as for example much of what pertains to man and many meteorological phenomena​ as well. The former sort, as occurring necessarily, are termed necessary; while those things which in addition allow (epidechetai) their contrary are contingent (endechomena).​ They might also be defined as follows: the necessary is the possible whose opposite is impossible; whereas the contingent is the possible whose opposite is also possible. Thus, that the sun should set is necessary as well as possible — it has an opposite, its not setting, which is impossible; whereas the falling and not falling of rain after sunset are both of them possible and contingent.

What is in our power
Again, in the case of the contingent, one form occurs usually, another is unusual, and another is as usual as its opposite and an “even chance.”​ This last is evidently opposed to itself, whereas the usual and the unusual are for the most part determined by nature, while the form which is as usual as its opposite is in our power.​ Thus, that during the dog days there should be hot weather or cold weather,​ the former of which is usual, the latter, unusual, is in both cases under the control of nature; whereas walking and not walking and the like, either of which is as usual as its opposite, are under the control of human impulse, and what is under its control is said to lie in our power and be a matter of choice.​ Of these what is in our power is the more general, as it has two species, the one comprising actions proceeding from passion — anger or desire, the other, actions that proceed from calculation or thought, in which last case we may now speak of “a matter of choice.” It is reasonable that the form of the “possible and contingent” which has been said to conform to our impulse and lie in our power should, in a different connexion, be spoken of under a different name; for in connexion with the future it is called “possible and contingent,” in connexion with the present, “in our power” and “in conformity with our impulse.“​ They might be defined as follows: the contingent is that which is both possible itself and has a possible opposite, whereas what is in our power is one of the two parts of the contingent, namely, the one that is already occurring in conformity with our impulse.

Our discussion of the natural priority​ of the possible to the contingent, of the real priority​ of the contingent to what is in our power, of their respective characters, of the sources of their names, and of related matters, is now, I trust, complete.

We must now speak of chance and the spontaneous and matters the theory of which depends on these.

Chance is a kind of cause.​ Of causes some are essential,​ some accidental; thus skill in housebuilding and skill in shipbuilding are essential causes of a house or of a ship, whereas skill in music or in geometry, and everything accidental, whether in the body, in the soul, or in externals, to the housebuilding or shipbuilding form,​ is an accidental cause.​ Hence it is evident that the essential is determinate and one, whereas the accidental is not one and is indeterminate; for a single thing has a multiplicity, indeed an infinity, of attributes that are quite different from one another.​ The accidental, however, when found not simply in things directed toward an end, but further in those among them in which choice is found, is then called “by chance” as well; examples are: discovering a sum of gold when one is digging for the purpose of planting,​ or doing or undergoing something unusual when one is pursuing or being pursued​ or proceeding on foot​ in some other way, or merely turning around with some other end in view than the actual result. Hence some of the ancients described chance as a cause unforeseen and not evident to human calculation.​ But according to the Platonists, who formulate it yet more closely, chance is defined as follows: “chance is an accidental cause found in the class of things directed toward an end which take place in conformity with choice“​, and only then do they add “unforeseen” and “not evident to human calculation.” (For that matter, “rare” and “unexpected” are also similarly implied in the term “accidental.“)​ What sort of thing chance is, if not evident from the preceding remarks, is to be seen very clearly in the words of the Phaedo.​ The passage runs as follows: “— And did you not hear of the course of the trial either? — Yes; a report came to us about that; and we were astonished that he was evidently put to death long after the trial had taken place. What was the reason, Phaedo? — There was a certain chance coincidence,​ Echecrates; the stern of the ship which the Athenians send to Delos chanced to have been garlanded on the day before the trial.” In this passage we are not to take “coincidence” as equivalent to “occurrence“; the meaning is rather that the outcome resulted from a concourse of causes,​ each of them having a different end. Thus the priest placed a garland on the ship for some other purpose, and not for Socrates’ sake; and the court condemned him with a different end in view; while the actual outcome was unexpected and fell out as if it had occurred as a result of forethought,​ whether human or that of some still higher power. So much, then, will suffice for our discussion of chance.

The spontaneous
We must next speak of the things with which it necessarily co-exists. The contingent, we said,​ is the pre-existent substrate of what, by an expression derived from “chance,” is said to be “by chance“, and of what is in our power, whereas the spontaneous has a greater extension than chance,​ since it comprises both the latter and moreover many of the things whose nature it is to fall out differently at different times. What is meant by the term “spontaneous” (automaton), as the very name shows,​ is that which has a certain natural end when it does not accomplish that natural end.​ An example is held to be cold weather during the dog days;​ for at some times cold weather is not purposeless (matên), and does not occur in isolation (auto) from its end.​ To put the matter generally, as what is in our power is a part of the contingent, so chance is a part of the spontaneous. Taken two by two, the one set is identical to the other, the spontaneous to the contingent, and chance to what is in our power — not to all of the latter, but to that part of it which is also a matter of choice, as has been previously stated.​ Hence the spontaneous is common both to living things and things without life, whereas chance is peculiar to a man who has reached the stage of being able to act.​ A sign of this is the belief that enjoying good fortune​ and enjoying happiness are the same; now happiness is a kind of doing well, and doing well is found in man alone when he has reached his full development.

What is included in fate — the contingent and the possible, choice and what is in our power, chance and the spontaneous, as well as matters associated with these, such as what is designated by the words “perhaps” and “peradventure“​— is of the description we have given above; and fate contains them all, although none of them conforms to fate. It remains to speak of providence, as it in turn includes fate.

Primary providence
The highest and primary providence is the intellection or will, beneficent to all things, of the primary God;​ and in conformity with it all things divine are primordially arranged throughout, each as is best and most excellent. Secondary providence belongs to secondary gods, who move in heaven, and in conformity with it all mortal things come into being in orderly fashion, together with all that is requisite to the survival and preservation of the several genera. The providence and forethought which belongs to the daemons stationed in the terrestrial regions as watchers and overseers of the actions of man would reasonably be called tertiary.​ As providence, then, is seen to be threefold, and as primary providence is providence in the strictest sense and to the highest degree,​ I should not hesitate to say, even at the cost of appearing to contradict certain philosophers, that while all that conforms to fate  conforms to providence (though not to nature as well),​ yet some things conform to providence (some to one, some to another), some to fate. And whereas fate most certainly conforms to providence,​ providence most certainly does not conform to fate (here it is to be understood that we are speaking of the primary and highest providence): for what is said to “conform to” a thing is posterior to that, whatever it may be, to which it is said to conform (for example, “what conforms to law” is posterior to law and “what conforms to nature” to nature); thus “what conforms to fate” is younger than fate, while the highest providence is eldest of all, save the one whose will or intellection or both it is, and it is that, as has been previously stated,​of the Father and Artisan of all things. Timaeus says: “Let us state for what reason the realm of events and this universe were framed by him who framed them. He was good; and in the good no grudging ever arises about aught; and being exempt from this, he wished all things to become as similar as might be to himself. To accept from men of wisdom this, rather than any other, as the foremost principle of Coming into being and of Order, is to accept most rightly. For God, wishing that all things should be good, and naught, so far as possible, evil, took over all that was visible, which was in no state of rest, but in discordant and disordered motion, and brought it into order out of its disorder, deeming the former in all ways better than the latter. It neither was nor is right for him who is best to do aught save that which is most excellent.​” These matters and what is mentioned after them, as far as and including the souls of men, we must take to have been framed in conformity with providence — primary providence; but the words that follow (“and when he had compounded the whole, he divided it into souls equal in number to the stars and assigned to every star a soul, and mounting them thereon as on a vehicle, showed them the nature of the universe and proclaimed to them the laws of fate“),​ who would not suppose to indicate fate, explicitly and in the plainest of terms, as a sort of foundation​ and political legislation appropriate to the souls of men, the very legislation for which he next proceeds to state the reason?

Secondary providence
He indicates secondary providence in the following words: “Having prescribed all these ordinances to them, to the end that he might not be chargeable for the future wickedness of which they would be severally guilty, he sowed some on the earth, some on the moon, and others on the remaining instruments of time. After the sowing he delegated to the new-made gods the task of modelling mortal bodies, and, when they had completed all the rest of the human soul that it was necessary to add and all that this involved, of ruling and guiding the mortal animal, so far as lay within their powers, in the fairest and best fashion possible, except for those evils which it should incur from its own guilt.”​ In this passage the phrase “to the end that he might not be chargeable for the future wickedness of which they would be severally guilty” indicates in the plainest language the reason for fate, while the government and creation which is in the hands of the new-made gods refers to secondary providence.

Tertiary providence
He appears, moreover, to allude to a third providence as well, inasmuch as the enactment of ordinances is “to the end that he might not be chargeable for the future wickedness of which they would be severally guilty”; a god, having no part in evil, can stand in no need of either laws or fate, but each of them​ fulfils his own office​as the providence of his begetter draws him along in its train.​The words of the Lawgiver in the Laws​ are, I think, clear testimony that this is true and the doctrine held by Plato. They are to this effect: “Since if ever any man, gifted by nature, born under a divine dispensation, should be capable of apprehending this, he would need no laws to govern him, for no law or ordinance is mightier than understanding, nor is it permitted that intelligence should be subject or slave to aught; it must rather be ruler in all things, if it be genuine and really free in conformity with its nature.”

The three providences and fate
Now I take Plato’s meaning to be as described or very near it: Bas providence is threefold, the first, since it has begotten fate, includes it in a sense; the second, having been begotten together with fate, is most certainly included together with it;​ and the third, since it is begotten later than fate, is contained in it in the same way as what is in our power and chance were said​ to be contained in fate.​ For, “those persons with whom the daemonic power encourages me to associate,” as Socrates says in recounting to Theages what is all but an ordinance, although not that of Adrasteia, “are the ones you have remarked; for their progress is immediate and rapid.“​ In this passage we must posit that the encouragement given to association with certain persons by the daemonic power conforms to tertiary providence, while their immediate and rapid progress conforms to fate; and the whole complex is plainly enough none other than a form of fate.

On this view, however, it might appear much more credible that secondary providence also, and indeed all things, without any limitation, that come to pass, are contained in fate, if we were right​ in dividing substantial fate into the three portions and if the argument of the “chain“​ brings the revolutions in heaven​ into the class of consequences of an hypothesis. Yet with regard to this question I for one would not pursue the quarrel further whether these matters are to be termed consequences of an hypothesis, the initiatory cause of fate itself being fated,​ or, as I rather take to be the case, they exist side by side with fate.

The order of points in the present argument
Our argument, then, presented under its main heads, would be as described; the contrary argument,​ on the other hand, posits that everything is not only in fate but also conforms to it. But everything is consistent with the former contention, and what is consistent with the latter is evidently consistent with the former as well.

In our argument the contingent is placed first; what is in our power, second; third come chance and the spontaneous and all that conforms to them; fourth, praise and blame and whatever is related to them;​ while the fifth and final place must be given to prayers to the gods and worship of them. But the “indolent argument,”​that of the “reaper,”​ and that termed “contrary to fate“​ turn out on this view to be sophisms indeed.

The order of points in the Stoic argument
According to the opposing argument the chief and first point would appear to be that nothing occurs without cause, and that instead everything occurs in conformity with antecedent causes;​ the second, that this universe, at one with itself in spirit and in affections,​ is governed by nature; and in the third place comes what would rather seem to be evidence added to these points in contention: the good repute in which the art of divination is held by all mankind, in the belief that its existence and that of God are in fact involved in one another;​ the acquiescence of the wise​ in whatever befalls, in the belief that everything that occurs is in order,​ in the second place; and third, that oft repeated dictum, that every proposition is either true or false.

I have dealt with these matters thus briefly in order to present the main headings of the topic of fate in a compendious form; these we must investigate when we subject the two arguments to exact scrutiny. The details that come under these headings we shall enter into at some later time.


Greek Original


[568b] Τὰ περὶ τῆς εἱμαρμένης δοκοῦνθ´ ἡμῖν ὡς οἷόν τε σαφῶς [568c] καὶ συντόμως πειράσομαι ἐπιστεῖλαί σοι, φίλτατε Πείσων, ἐπειδὴ σὺ τοῦτ´ ἠξίωσας οὐκ ἀγνοῶν ἣν ἔχω πρὸς τὸ γράφειν εὐλάβειαν.

[1] Πρῶτον τοίνυν ἴσθι, ὅτι εἱμαρμένη διχῶς καὶ λέγεται καὶ νοεῖται· ἡ μὲν γάρ ἐστιν ἐνέργεια ἡ δ´ οὐσία. Πρῶτον μὲν οὖν ἐνέργειαν τύπῳ ὑπέγραψεν ὁ Πλάτων ἔν τε τῷ Φαίδρῳ λέγων

« Θεσμός τε Ἀδραστείας ὅδε, ἥτις ἂν {ψυχὴ} θεῷ ξυνοπαδὸς γενομένη – – – »

ἔν τε τῷ Τιμαίῳ « νόμους » οὓς ἐπὶ τῇ τοῦ παντὸς φύσει ὁ θεὸς εἶπε ταῖς ἀθανάτοις ψυχαῖς· ἐν δὲ τῇ Πολιτείᾳ

[568d] « Ἀνάγκης θυγατρὸς κόρης Λαχέσεως λόγον »

φησὶν εἶναι τὴν εἱμαρμένην, οὐ τραγικῶς ἀλλὰ θεολογικῶς τὸ ἀρέσκον αὑτῷ ἀποφαινόμενος.

Εἰ δὲ κοινότερον ἐθέλοι τις ταῦτα μεταλαβὼν ὑπογράψαι, ὡς μὲν ἐν Φαίδρῳ, λέγοιτ´ ἂν ἡ εἱμαρμένη λόγος θεῖος ἀπαράβατος δι´ αἰτίαν ἀνεμπόδιστον, ὡς δ´ ἐν τῷ Τιμαίῳ, νόμος ἀκόλουθος τῇ τοῦ παντὸς φύσει, καθ´ ὃν διεξάγεται τὰ γινόμενα. Τοῦτο γὰρ ἡ Λάχεσις ἐργάζεται, ἡ τῆς Ἀνάγκης ἀληθῶς θυγάτηρ, ὡς καὶ πρότερον παρελάβομεν καὶ ὕστερον ἔτι μᾶλλον εἰσόμεθ´ ἐν τοῖς κατὰ σχολὴν λόγοις. [568e] Ἥδε μὲν οὖν ἡ κατ´ ἐνέργειαν εἱμαρμένη.

[2] Ἡ {δὲ} κατ´ οὐσίαν ἔοικεν εἶναι σύμπας´ ἡ τοῦ κόσμου ψυχὴ τριχῇ διανεμηθεῖσα, εἴς τε τὴν ἀπλανῆ μοῖραν καὶ εἰς τὴν πλανᾶσθαι νομιζομένην καὶ τρίτην εἰς τὴν ὑπουράνιον τὴν περὶ γῆν ὑπάρχουσαν· ὧν ἡ μὲν ἀνωτάτω Κλωθὼ προσαγορεύεται, ἡ δὲ μετ´ αὐτὴν Ἄτροπος, ἡ κατωτάτω δ´ αὖ Λάχεσις, δεχομένη μὲν τὰς οὐρανίας τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἐνεργείας, συμπλέκουσα δὲ καὶ διαδιδοῦσα ταύτας εἰς τὰ ὑπ´ αὐτῇ τεταγμένα τὰ ἐπίγεια.

Δυνάμει μὲν οὖν εἴρηται, ὁποῖα χρὴ λέγεσθαι περὶ τῆς κατ´ οὐσίαν εἱμαρμένης· [568f] καὶ γὰρ ἥτις ἐστὶ καὶ πόση τις καὶ ὁποία καὶ ὅπως τέτακται καὶ ὅπως ἔχει αὐτή τε πρὸς ἑαυτὴν καὶ δὴ καὶ πρὸς ἡμᾶς, ὡς ἐν ἐπιτομῇ εἴρηται· τὰ δὲ καθ´ ἕκαστα περὶ τούτων ὁ ἕτερος μῦθος ὁ ἐν τῇ Πολιτείᾳ μετρίως αἰνίττεται, καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς δύναμίν σοι ταῦτ´ ἐπειράθημεν ἐξηγήσασθαι.

[3] Πάλιν γε μὴν τὴν κατ´ ἐνέργειαν εἱμαρμένην ἀναλαβόντες λέγωμεν· περὶ γὰρ ταύτην τὰ πολλὰ ζητήματα φυσικά τε καὶ ἠθικὰ καὶ διαλεκτικὰ τυγχάνει ὄντα. Τίς μὲν οὖν ἐστιν, ἐπιεικῶς ἀφώρισται· ὁποία δ´ ἐστίν, ἑξῆς ῥητέον, εἰ καὶ πολλοῖς ἄτοπον φαίνεται. [569a] Ἀπείρων γὰρ ἐξ ἀπείρου καὶ εἰς ἄπειρον 〈ὄντων〉 τῶν γινομένων τὰ πάντα περιβαλοῦς´ ἐν κύκλῳ ἡ εἱμαρμένη οὐκ ἄπειρος ἀλλὰ πεπερασμένη ἐστίν· οὔτε γὰρ νόμος οὔτε λόγος οὔτε τι θεῖον ἄπειρον ἂν εἴη. Ἔτι δ´ ἂν μάθοις τὸ λεγόμενον νοήσας τήν τε ὅλην περίοδον καὶ τὸν σύμπαντα χρόνον,

« Ὅταν τῶν ὀκτὼ περιόδων » ὥς φησιν ὁ Τίμαιος « τὰ πρὸς ἄλληλα συμπερανθέντα τάχη σχῇ κεφαλήν, τῷ 〈τοῦ〉 ταὐτοῦ καὶ ὁμοίως ἰόντος ἀναμετρηθέντα κύκλῳ. »

Ἐν γὰρ τούτῳ τῷ χρόνῳ ὡρισμένῳ τ´ ὄντι καὶ θεωρουμένῳ πάνθ´ ὅσα [569b] τε κατ´ οὐρανὸν ἅ τ´ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἄνωθεν συνίσταται, πάλιν μὲν εἰς τὸ αὐτὸ καταστήσεται, πάλιν δ´ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὅλα κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ ὡσαύτως ἀποδοθήσεται. Μόνη γοῦν ἡ κατ´ οὐρανὸν σχέσις αὐτή τε πρὸς ἑαυτὴν κατὰ πάντα τεταγμένη πρός τε τὴν γῆν καὶ πρὸς τὰ ἐπίγεια πάντα διὰ μακρῶν περιόδων πάλιν ἐπανήξει ποτέ· αἵ τε μετ´ αὐτὴν ἐφεξῆς καὶ ἐχόμεναι ἀλλήλαις ἐχομένως παρέσονται, ἑκάστη τὰ αὑτῆς ἐξ ἀνάγκης φέρουσαι.

Ἔστω δὲ πρὸς τὸ σαφὲς τῶν περὶ ἡμᾶς νῦν ὄντων, ὅτι οὐ συμβαίνει ἀπὸ τῶν οὐρανίων ὡς πάντων αἰτιῶν ὄντων καὶ τὸ ἐμὲ γράφειν νυνὶ τάδε [569c] καὶ ὡδὶ σέ τε πράττειν ἅπερ καὶ ὅπως τυγχάνεις πράττων· πάλιν τοίνυν ἐπειδὰν ἡ αὐτὴ ἀφίκηται αἰτία, τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ ὡσαύτως οἱ αὐτοὶ γενόμενοι πράξομεν, οὕτω δὲ καὶ πάντες ἄνθρωποι· καὶ τά θ´ ἑξῆς κατὰ τὴν ἑξῆς αἰτίαν γενήσεται καὶ πραχθήσεται, καὶ πάνθ´ ὅσα {καὶ} κατὰ μίαν τὴν ὅλην περίοδον καὶ καθ´ ἑκάστην τῶν ὅλων, ὡσαύτως ἀποδοθήσεται. Φανερὸν τοίνυν ἤδη ὅ τι ἔφαμεν, τὴν εἱμαρμένην ἄπειρον τρόπον τινὰ οὖσαν μὴ ἄπειρον εἶναι, καὶ τό γε ῥηθέν, ὅτι κύκλος τίς ἐστι, μετρίως που κατῶπται· ὡς γὰρ καὶ ἡ τοῦ κύκλου κίνησις ὅ τε ταύτην παραμετρῶν χρόνος κύκλος τίς ἐστιν, οὕτω καὶ τῶν κατὰ κύκλον γινομένων ὁ λόγος κύκλος ἂν νομισθείη.

[569d] [4] Σχεδὸν μὲν οὖν καὶ τοῦτο δηλοῖ, ὁποῖόν τι τυγχάνει ἡ εἱμαρμένη, πλὴν οὐχ ἥ γε κατὰ μέρος οὐδ´ ἡ καθ´ ἕκαστα. Ποία τις οὖν καὶ ἥδε κατ´ αὐτὸ δὴ τὸ εἶδος τοῦ λόγου; Ἔστι τοίνυν, ὡς ἄν τις εἰκάσαι, οἷος ὁ πολιτικὸς νόμος, {ὃς} πρῶτον μὲν τὰ πλεῖστα, εἰ καὶ μὴ πάντα, ἐξ ὑποθέσεως προστάττει, ἔπειτα μὴν καθόλου τὰ πόλει προσήκοντα εἰς δύναμιν περιλαμβάνει. Πάλιν δὴ τούτων ἑκάτερον ὁποῖόν τί ἐστι, σκεπτέον. Ἀκολούθως τοίνυν ὁ πολιτικὸς νόμος περί τ´ ἀριστέως καὶ λιποτάκτου διαλέγεται καὶ περὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὡσαύτως, ἀλλ´ οὐ περὶ τοῦδ´ ἢ τοῦδ´ {ᾗ} νόμιμόν ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ τὰ μὲν καθόλου προηγουμένως, [569e] τὰ δ´ ὑποπίπτοντα τούτοις ἑπομένως. Καὶ γὰρ τὸ τιμῆσαι τόνδε τινὰ ἠριστευκότα καὶ τὸ κολάσαι τόνδε τινὰ λιποτακτήσαντα νόμιμον ἂν φήσαιμεν, ὡς δυνάμει καὶ περὶ τούτων διατεταγμένου τοῦ νόμου, ὃν τρόπον ὁ ἰατρικὸς καὶ ὁ γυμναστικὸς ὡς εἰπεῖν νόμος δυνάμει τὰ καθ´ ἕκαστα τοῖς ὅλοις συμπεριλαμβάνει· οὕτω δὲ καὶ ὁ τῆς φύσεως νόμος τὰ μὲν καθόλου προηγουμένως, τὰ δὲ καθ´ ἕκαστα ἑπομένως. [569f] Ἔστι θ´ εἱμαρμένα τρόπον τινὰ καὶ ταῦτα, ὄντ´ ἐκείνοις συνειμαρμένα.

Τάχα δ´ ἄν τις τῶν ἄγαν ἀκριβολογουμένων τὰ τοιαῦτα καὶ τοὐναντίον φαίη προηγούμενα συντετάχθαι τὰ καθ´ ἕκαστα, εἶναί τε τούτων ἕνεκα καὶ τὸ καθόλου, προηγεῖσθαι δὲ τῶν ἕνεκά του τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα. Ἀλλὰ περὶ μὲν τούτων ἐν ἄλλοις σκεπτέον· ὅτι δ´ οὐ πάντα καθαρῶς οὐδὲ διαρρήδην ἡ εἱμαρμένη περιέχει ἀλλ´ ὅσα καθόλου, τοῦτο δὴ ἐν τῷ παρόντι ῥηθὲν πρός τε τὸν ἑξῆς λόγον καὶ τὸν ὀλίγον ἔμπροσθεν χώραν ἔχει. [570a] Τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὡρισμένον οἰκεῖον τῇ θείᾳ φρονήσει ἐν τῷ καθόλου μᾶλλον θεωρεῖται (τοιοῦτος μέντοι γε ὁ θεῖος νόμος καὶ ὁ πολιτικός), τὸ δ´ ἄπειρον ἐν τῷ καθ´ ἕκαστα. Μετὰ δὴ ταῦτα, οἷον μέν ἐστι 〈τὸ〉 ἐξ ὑποθέσεως, ὅτι δὲ τοιοῦτον καὶ ἡ εἱμαρμένη, ὁριζέσθω. Ἐξ ὑποθέσεως δὴ ἔφαμεν τὸ μὴ καθ´ ἑαυτὸ τιθέμενον, ἀλλά πως ἑτέρῳ τινὶ ὡς ἀληθῶς ὑποτεθέν, ὁπόσα ἀκολουθίαν σημαίνει.

« Θεσμός τε Ἀδραστείας ὅδε· ἥτις ἂν ψυχὴ συνοπαδὸς γενομένη κατίδῃ τι τῶν ἀληθῶν, μέχρι τῆς ἑτέρας περιόδου εἶναι ἀπήμονα· κἂν ἀεὶ δύνηται τοῦτο ποιεῖν, 〈ἀεὶ〉 ἀβλαβῆ εἶναι » .

[570b] Τοιοῦτον μὲν δὴ τὸ ἐξ ὑποθέσεως ἅμα καὶ καθόλου. Ὅτι δὲ καὶ ἡ εἱμαρμένη τοιοῦτον τυγχάνει ὄν, ἔκ τε τῆς οὐσίας αὐτῆς καὶ ἐκ τῆς προσηγορίας δῆλον. Εἱμαρμένη τε γὰρ προσαγορεύεται ὡς ἂν εἰρομένη τις· θεσμὸς δὲ καὶ νόμος ὑπάρχει τῷ τὰ ἀκόλουθα τοῖς γινομένοις πολιτικῶς διατετάχθαι.

[5] Ἑξῆς δὲ σκεπτέον καὶ τὰ κατὰ τὸ πρός τι, πῶς μὲν πρὸς τὴν πρόνοιαν ἡ εἱμαρμένη ἔχει, πῶς δὲ πρὸς τὴν τύχην καὶ τό γ´ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν καὶ τὸ ἐνδεχόμενον καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα· [570c] πρὸς δὲ τούτῳ διωρίσθω, πῆ μὲν ἀληθὲς πῆ δὲ ψεῦδος τό « πάντα καθ´ εἱμαρμένην. » Εἰ μὲν οὖν τὸ ἐν τῇ εἱμαρμένῃ πάντα περιέχεσθαι δηλοῖ, συγχωρητέον εἶναι ἀληθές· εἴ θ´ ὅσα περὶ ἀνθρώπους εἴτε κατὰ γῆν ἅπαντα εἴτε κατ´ οὐρανὸν γινόμενα βούλεταί τις ἐν τῇ εἱμαρμένῃ τίθεσθαι, καὶ ταῦθ´ ὡς πρὸς τὸ παρὸν συγκεχωρήσθω· εἰ δ´, ὅπερ καὶ μᾶλλον ἐμφαίνει, τὸ καθ´ εἱμαρμένην οὐχ ἅπαντα, ἀλλ´ αὐτὸ μόνον τὸ ἑπόμενον αὐτῇ σημαίνει, οὐ πάντα ῥητέον καθ´ εἱμαρμένην, οὐδ´ εἰ καθ´ εἱμαρμένην πάντα. Οὐδὲ γὰρ νόμιμα οὐδὲ κατὰ νόμον πάνθ´ ὁπόσα περιείληφεν ὁ νόμος· καὶ γὰρ προδοσίαν καὶ λιποταξίαν καὶ μοιχείαν [570d] καὶ πολλὰ ἕτερα τοιαῦτα περιλαμβάνει, ὧν οὐδὲν ἄν τις εἴποι νόμιμον, ὁπότ´ οὐδὲ τὸ ἀριστεῦσαι ἢ τυραννοκτονῆσαι ἤ τι ἄλλο κατορθῶσαι φαίην ἂν ἔγωγε νόμιμον. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ δὴ νόμιμον πρόσταγμα νόμου ἐστί· τὰ δ´ εἴπερ ὁ νόμος προστάττει, πῶς οὐκ ἂν ἀπειθοῖεν καὶ παρανομοῖεν οἵ γε μὴ ἀριστεύοντες καὶ τυραννοκτονοῦντες καὶ ὅσοι τὰ τοιαῦτα μὴ κατορθοῦσιν; Ἢ πῶς, εἰ παράνομοι οἵδε, οὐ δίκαιον κολάζειν τοὺς τοιούτους; Εἴ γε μὴν ταῦτα λόγον οὐκ ἔχει, μόνα ῥητέον νόμιμά τε καὶ κατὰ νόμον τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ νόμου ὁρισθέντ´ ἐπὶ τοῖς ὁπωσοῦν πραττομένοις· [570e] μόνα δ´ εἱμαρμένα καὶ καθ´ εἱμαρμένην τὰ ἀκόλουθα τοῖς ἐν τῇ θείᾳ διατάξει προηγησαμένοις.

Ὥστε πάντα μὲν τὰ γινόμεν´ ἡ εἱμαρμένη περιλαμβάνει, πολλὰ δὲ τῶν ἐν αὐτῇ καὶ σχεδὸν ὅσα προηγεῖται οὐκ ὀρθὸν λέγειν καθ´ εἱμαρμένην.

[6] Τούτων δ´ οὕτως ἐχόντων ἑξῆς ῥητέον, ὡς τό γ´ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν καὶ ἡ τύχη τό τε δυνατὸν καὶ τὸ ἐνδεχόμενον καὶ τὰ τούτων συγγενῆ ταχθέντα ἐν τοῖς προηγουμένοις αὐτά τε σῴζοιτ´ ἂν καὶ τὴν εἱμαρμένην σῴζοι. Ἡ μὲν γὰρ εἱμαρμένη πάντα περιέχει καθάπερ καὶ δοκεῖ· τὰ δ´ οὐκ ἐξ ἀνάγκης γενήσεται, [570f] ἀλλ´ ἕκαστον αὐτῶν οἷον καὶ πέφυκεν εἶναι. Πέφυκε δὲ τὸ δυνατὸν ὡς γένος προϋφεστάναι τοῦ ἐνδεχομένου, τὸ 〈δ´〉 ἐνδεχόμενον ὡς ὕλη τῶν ἐφ´ ἡμῖν προϋποκεῖσθαι, τὸ δ´ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν ὡς κύριον χρῆσθαι τῷ ἐνδεχομένῳ· ἡ δὲ τύχη παρεμπίπτει τῷ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν διὰ τὴν ἐφ´ ἑκάτερα ῥοπὴν τοῦ ἐνδεχομένου. Μάθοις δ´ ἂν τὸ λεγόμενον σαφῶς ἐννοήσας, ὡς τὸ γινόμενον ἅπαν καὶ ἡ γένεσις [571a] αὐτὴ οὐ δίχα δυνάμεως, ἡ δὲ δύναμις οὐκ ἄνευ οὐσίας. Οἷον 〈ἀνθρώπου〉 εἴτε γένεσις εἴτε γενητὸν οὐκ ἄνευ τῆς δυνάμεως, αὕτη δὲ περὶ ἄνθρωπον, οὐσία δ´ ὁ ἄνθρωπος. Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς δυνάμεως μεταξὺ οὔσης ἡ μὲν οὐσία δυνάμενον, ἡ δὲ γένεσις καὶ τὸ γινόμενον ἄμφω δυνατά. Τριῶν τοίνυν τούτων, δυνάμεως καὶ δυναμένου καὶ δυνατοῦ, δυνάμεως μὲν ὡς τὸ εἶναι προϋπόκειται τὸ δυνάμενον, δυνατοῦ δ´ ἡ δύναμις προϋφίσταται.

Σαφὲς μὲν οὖν καὶ οὕτως τὸ δυνατόν· τύπῳ δ´ ἂν ἀφορισθείη κοινότερον μὲν τὸ κατὰ δύναμιν πεφυκὸς γίνεσθαι, κυριώτερον δὲ ταὐτὸ τοῦτο, ὁπόταν μηδὲν ἔξωθεν ἔχῃ πρὸς τὸ γίνεσθαι ἐμποδών. [571b] Τῶν δὲ δυνατῶν τὰ μὲν οὐκ ἂν κωλυθείη ποτέ, ὥσπερ τὰ κατ´ οὐρανόν, ἀνατολαὶ καὶ δύσεις καὶ τὰ τούτοις παραπλήσια· τὰ δ´ οἷά τε κωλυθῆναί ἐστιν, ὡς πολλὰ μὲν τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων πολλὰ δὲ καὶ τῶν μεταρσίων. Τὰ μὲν οὖν πρότερ´ ὡς ἐξ ἀνάγκης γινόμεν´ ἀναγκαῖα προσαγορεύεται, ἃ δέ πως τοὐναντίον ἐπιδέχεται ἐνδεχόμενα. Ἀφορίζοιτο δ´ ἂν κατὰ ταῦτα· τὸ μὲν ἀναγκαῖον δυνατὸν τὸ ἀντικείμενον ἀδυνάτῳ, τὸ δ´ ἐνδεχόμενον δυνατόν, οὗ καὶ τὸ ἀντικείμενον δυνατόν. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ καταδῦναι τὸν ἥλιον [571c] ἀναγκαῖόν θ´ ἅμα καὶ δυνατόν, ἀντίκειται 〈γὰρ〉 ἀδύνατον τὸ μὴ καταδῦναι· τὸ δὲ καταδύντος ἡλίου ὄμβρον γενέσθαι 〈καὶ μὴ γενέσθαι〉, ἀμφότερα δυνατὰ καὶ ἐνδεχόμενα. Πάλιν δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ ἐνδεχομένου, τὸ μὲν ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολύ, τὸ δ´ ὡς ἐπ´ ἔλαττον, τὸ δ´ ὡς ἐπίσης καὶ ὁπότερον ἔτυχε· τοῦτο μὲν φανερὸν ὡς αὐτὸ αὑτῷ ἀντιτέτακται, τὸ δὲ ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολὺ καὶ ἐπ´ ἔλαττον ἀλλήλοις· καὶ ταῦτα μὲν ἐπὶ τῇ φύσει τὸ πλεῖστον, ἐφ´ ἡμῖν δὲ τὸ ἐπίσης. Τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὑπὸ κύνα καῦμ´ ἢ ψῦχος, {ὧν τὸ μὲν} ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολὺ τὸ δ´ ὡς ἐπ´ ἔλαττον, τῇ φύσει ἄμφω ὑποτέτακται· τὸ δὲ περιπατεῖν καὶ μὴ [571d] καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα, ὧν ἑκάτερον ἐπί〈σης〉, τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ ὁρμῇ ὑποτέτακται, ὃ δὴ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν καὶ κατὰ προαίρεσιν λέγεται. Γενικώτερον δὲ μᾶλλον τὸ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν· δύο γὰρ ἔχει εἴδη, τό τ´ ἐκ πάθους καὶ θυμοῦ ἢ ἐπιθυμίας τό τ´ ἐξ ἐπιλογισμοῦ ἢ διανοίας, ὅπερ ἤδη κατὰ προαίρεσιν 〈ἄν〉 τις εἴποι.

Ἔχει δὲ λόγον μὴ τὸ δυνατὸν καὶ ἐνδεχόμενον τοῦτο, ὅπερ καθ´ ὁρμὴν καὶ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν εἴρηται, μὴ τὸ αὐτὸ κατ´ ἄλλο λέγεται· κατὰ μὲν γὰρ τὸ μέλλον δυνατόν τε καὶ ἐνδεχόμενον, κατὰ δὲ τὸ παρὸν ἐφ´ ἡμῖν τε καὶ καθ´ ὁρμήν. Ἀφορίζοιτο δ´ ἂν ὧδε· τὸ μὲν ἐνδεχόμενον ὅπερ αὐτό τε καὶ τὸ ἀντικείμενον, τὸ δ´ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν θάτερον [571e] μέρος τοῦ ἐνδεχομένου τὸ κατὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν ὁρμὴν ἤδη γινόμενον. Ὅτι μὲν οὖν τὸ δυνατὸν τοῦ ἐνδεχομένου πρότερον τῇ φύσει τὸ δ´ ἐνδεχόμενον τοῦ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν προϋφίσταται, καὶ οἷον αὐτῶν τυγχάνει ὂν ἕκαστον καὶ πόθεν ὀνομάζεται καὶ τά γε παρακείμενα αὐτοῖς, σχεδὸν εἴρηται.

[7] Περὶ δὲ τῆς τύχης καὶ τοῦ αὐτομάτου καὶ εἴ τι παρὰ ταῦτα θεωρεῖται, νῦν ἡμῖν λεκτέον. Αἴτιον μὲν δή τι ἡ τύχη. Τῶν δ´ αἰτίων τὰ μὲν καθ´ αὑτά, τὰ δὲ κατὰ συμβεβηκός· οἷον οἰκίας ἢ νεὼς καθ´ αὑτὸ μὲν αἴτιον τὸ οἰκοδομικὸν καὶ τὸ ναυπηγικόν, κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς δὲ τὸ μουσικὸν ἢ γεωμετρικόν, [571f] καὶ πᾶν ὅ τι ἂν τῷ οἰκοδομικῷ ἢ ναυπηγικῷ εἴδει συμβεβήκῃ, εἴτε κατὰ σῶμα εἴτε κατὰ ψυχὴν εἴτε κατὰ τὰ ἐκτός. Ὅθεν καὶ δῆλον, ὡς τὸ καθ´ αὑτὸ ὡρισμένον καὶ ἕν, τὸ δὲ κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς οὐχ ἕν τε καὶ ἀόριστον· [572a] πολλὰ γὰρ καὶ ἄπειρα τῷ ἑνὶ ὑπάρχει παντάπασιν ἀλλήλων διαφέροντα. Τὸ μέντοι κατὰ συμβεβηκός, ὅταν μὴ μόνον ἐν τοῖς ἕνεκά του γίγνηται, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν οἷς ἡ προαίρεσις, τότε δὴ καὶ [τὸ] ἀπὸ τύχης προσαγορεύεται· οἷον τὸ εὑρεῖν χρυσίον σκάπτονθ´ ἵνα φυτεύσῃ, ἢ παθεῖν τι ἢ δρᾶσαι τῶν παρὰ τὸ ἔθος φεύγοντ´ ἢ διώκοντ´ ἢ ἄλλως βαδίζοντ´ ἢ αὐτὸ μόνον ἐπιστραφέντ´ οὐ τούτου ἕνεκα, ὅπερ συνέπεσεν, ἀλλ´ ἑτέρου τινὸς χάριν. Διὸ καὶ ἀπρονόητον αἰτίαν καὶ ἄδηλον ἀνθρωπίνῳ λογισμῷ τὴν τύχην ἀπέδοσαν τῶν παλαιῶν ἔνιοι. Κατὰ δὲ τοὺς ἀπὸ Πλάτωνος [572b] ἔγγιον ἔτι προσιόντας αὐτῆς τῷ λόγῳ οὕτως ἀφώρισται ἡ τύχη, αἰτία κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς τῶν ἕνεκά του ἐν τοῖς κατὰ προαίρεσιν· ἔπειτ´ ἤδη καὶ τὸ ἀπρονόητον καὶ τὸ ἄδηλον ἀνθρωπίνῳ λογισμῷ προστιθέασιν. Καίτοι γε κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ τὸ σπάνιον καὶ παράλογον ἐμφαίνεται τῷ κατὰ συμβεβηκός· οἷον δ´ ἐστὶ τοῦτο, εἰ καὶ μὴ ἐκ τῶν ἄρτι ῥηθέντων, ἀλλ´ ἔκ γε τῶν ἐν τῷ Φαίδωνι γεγραμμένων σαφέστατα προσπίπτει. Γέγραπται δ´ ὧδε·

« Οὐδὲ τὰ περὶ τῆς δίκης ἆρα ἐπύθοντο ὃν τρόπον ἐγένετο; Ναί· ταῦτα μὲν ἡμῖν ἤγγειλέ τις· καὶ ἐθαυμάζομέν γε, ὅτι πάλαι αὐτῆς γενομένης ὕστερον φαίνεται ἀποθανών· [572c] τί ἦν τοῦτο, ὦ Φαίδων; Τύχη τις αὐτῷ, ὦ Ἐχέκρατες, συνέβη· ἔτυχε γὰρ τῇ προτεραίᾳ τῆς δίκης ἡ πρύμνα ἐστεμμένη τοῦ πλοίου, ὃ εἰς Δῆλον Ἀθηναῖοι πέμπουσιν. »

Ἐν γὰρ τούτοις τό « συνέβη » οὐκ ἀντὶ τοῦ « γέγονεν » ἀκουστέον, ἀλλὰ πολὺ μᾶλλον ἐκ συνδρομῆς τινος αἰτίων ἀπέβη ἄλλου πρὸς ἄλλο γεγονότος. Ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἱερεὺς ἔστεφε τὸ πλοῖον ἄλλου χάριν ἀλλ´ οὐ Σωκράτους· οἱ δὲ δι´ ἕτερον κατεψηφίσαντ´ αὐτοῦ· αὐτὸ δὲ τὸ ἀποβὰν παράλογον καὶ τοιοῦτο ἀπέβη, οἷον κἂν ἐκ προνοίας ἐγεγόνει ἤτοι ἀνθρωπίνου τινὸς ἢ τῶν ἔτι κρειττόνων. [572d] Καὶ περὶ μὲν τῆς τύχης ταῦθ´ ἱκανά· ὡς συνυφίστασθαι ἀνάγκη.

Τὸ μὲν ἀπ´ αὐτοῦ παρωνύμως καὶ τοῦ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν προϋποκεῖσθαι ἐλέχθη, τὸ δ´ αὐτόματον ἐπὶ πλεῖον τῆς τύχης· εἰ γὰρ καὶ αὐτὴν περιλαβὸν ἔχει καὶ πολλὰ τῶν ἄλλοτ´ ἄλλως συμπίπτειν πεφυκότων. Ἔστι δὲ κατ´ ὄνομα, ὅπερ αὐτόματον λέγεται, τὸ πεφυκὸς ἄλλου ἕνεκα, ὅταν μὴ ἐκεῖνο παρ – – – ἐπεφύκει· οἷον δοκεῖ τὸ ὑπὸ κύνα ψῦχος. Ποτὲ γὰρ ψῦχος οὐ μάτην, οὐδὲ – – – τὸ δ´ ὅλον, ὡς τὸ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν μέρος τοῦ ἐνδεχομένου, οὕτως ἡ τύχη τοῦ αὐτομάτου. [572e] Ἔστι δ´ ἑκατέρου ἑκάτερον σύμπτωμα, τὸ μὲν αὐτόματον τοῦ ἐνδεχομένου, ἡ δὲ τύχη τοῦ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν, καὶ τούτου οὐχ ἅπαντος, ἀλλ´ ὅπερ ἂν καὶ κατὰ προαίρεσιν ᾖ, ὡς προείρηται . Διὸ καὶ τὸ μὲν αὐτόματον κοινὸν ἐμψύχων τε καὶ ἀψύχων, ἡ δὲ τύχη ἀνθρώπου ἴδιον ἤδη πράττειν δυναμένου. Τεκμήριον δέ, ὅτι τὸ εὐτυχεῖν καὶ εὐδαιμονεῖν ταὐτὰ εἶναι δοξάζεται· ἡ δὲ εὐδαιμονία εὐπραξία τις ἡ δ´ εὐπραξία περὶ μόνον καὶ τέλειον ἄνθρωπον.

[8] Καὶ τὰ μὲν ἐντὸς τῆς εἱμαρμένης τοιαῦτα, τό τ´ ἐνδεχόμενον καὶ δυνατόν, ἥ τε προαίρεσις καὶ τὸ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν, ἥ τε τύχη καὶ τὸ αὐτόματον, τά τε παρακείμεν´ αὐτοῖς ὧν καὶ τὸ τάχα καὶ τὸ ἴσως· [572f] ἃ δὴ πάντα περιέχει μὲν ἡ εἱμαρμένη, οὐδὲν δ´ αὐτῶν ἐστι καθ´ εἱμαρμένην.

Λοιπὸν δ´ ἂν εἴη καὶ περὶ προνοίας εἰπεῖν, ὡς αὐτή γε περιείληφε τὴν εἱμαρμένην.

[9] Ἔστιν οὖν πρόνοια ἡ μὲν ἀνωτάτω καὶ πρώτη τοῦ πρώτου θεοῦ νόησις εἴτε καὶ βούλησις οὖσα εὐεργέτις ἁπάντων, καθ´ ἣν πρώτως ἕκαστα τῶν θείων διὰ παντὸς ἄριστά τε καὶ κάλλιστα κεκόσμηται, ἡ δὲ δευτέρα δευτέρων θεῶν τῶν κατ´ οὐρανὸν ἰόντων, [573a] καθ´ ἣν τά τε θνητὰ γίνεται τεταγμένως καὶ ὅσα πρὸς διαμονὴν καὶ σωτηρίαν ἑκάστων τῶν γενῶν, τρίτη δ´ ἂν εἰκότως ῥηθείη πρόνοιά τε καὶ προμήθεια τῶν ὅσοι περὶ γῆν δαίμονες τεταγμένοι τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων πράξεων φύλακές τε καὶ ἐπίσκοποί εἰσι. Τριττῆς τοίνυν τῆς προνοίας θεωρουμένης, κυριώτατα δὲ καὶ μάλιστα τῆς πρώτης λεγομένης, οὐκ ἂν ὀκνήσαιμεν εἰπεῖν, εἰ καὶ φιλοσόφοις ἀνδράσι τἀναντία λέγειν δόξαιμεν, ὡς πάντα μὲν καθ´ εἱμαρμένην καὶ κατὰ πρόνοιαν, οὐ μὴν καὶ κατὰ φύσιν· ἀλλ´ ἔνια μὲν κατὰ πρόνοιαν καὶ ἄλλα γε κατ´ ἄλλην, [573b] ἔνια δὲ καθ´ εἱμαρμένην. Καὶ ἡ μὲν εἱμαρμένη πάντως κατὰ πρόνοιαν, ἡ δὲ πρόνοια οὐδαμῶς καθ´ εἱμαρμένην (ἔστω δ´ ὁ λόγος τὰ νῦν περὶ τῆς πρώτης καὶ ἀνωτάτω)· τὸ μὲν κατά τι ὕστερον ἐκείνου, καθ´ ὅ τι ἂν καὶ λέγηται, οἷον τὸ κατὰ νόμον τοῦ νόμου καὶ τὸ κατὰ φύσιν τῆς φύσεως· οὕτω δὲ καὶ τὸ καθ´ εἱμαρμένην τῆς εἱμαρμένης νεώτερον ἂν εἴη· ἡ δ´ ἀνωτάτω πρόνοια πρεσβύτατον ἁπάντων, πλὴν οὗπέρ ἐστιν εἴτε βούλησις εἴτε νόησις εἴτε καὶ ἑκάτερον. Ἔστι δ´ ὡς πρότερον εἴρηται τοῦ πάντων πατρός τε καὶ δημιουργοῦ.

« Λέγωμεν γὰρ δή » φησὶν ὁ Τίμαιος « [573c] δι´ ἥντινα αἰτίαν γένεσιν καὶ τὸ πᾶν τόδε ὁ ξυνιστὰς συνέστησεν. Ἀγαθὸς ἦν· ἀγαθῷ δὲ οὐδεὶς οὐδέποτε περὶ οὐδενὸς ἐγγίγνεται φθόνος· τούτου δ´ ἐκτὸς ὢν πάντα ὅτι μάλιστα ἐβουλήθη γενέσθαι παραπλήσια ἑαυτῷ. Ταύτην δὴ γενέσεως καὶ κόσμου μάλιστ´ ἄν τις ἀρχὴν κυριωτάτην παρ´ ἀνδρῶν φρονίμων ἀποδεχόμενος ὀρθότατ´ ἀποδέχοιτ´ ἄν. Βουληθεὶς γὰρ ὁ θεὸς ἀγαθὰ μὲν πάντα, φαῦλον δὲ μηδὲν εἶναι κατὰ δύναμιν, οὕτω δὴ πᾶν ὅσον ἦν ὁρατὸν παραλαβών, οὐχ ἡσυχίαν ἄγον ἀλλὰ κινούμενον πλημμελῶς καὶ ἀτάκτως, εἰς τάξιν αὐτὸ ἦγεν ἐκ τῆς ἀταξίας, ἡγησάμενος ἐκεῖνο τοῦδε πάντως ἄμεινον. Θέμις δὲ οὔτ´ ἦν οὔτ´ ἔστι τῷ ἀρίστῳ δρᾶν ἄλλο πλὴν τὸ κάλλιστον. »

[573d] Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν καὶ τὰ τούτων ἐχόμενα μέχρι ψυχῶν ἀνθρωπίνων κατὰ πρόνοιαν νομιστέον τήν γε πρώτην συνεστηκέναι· τὰ δ´ ἐντεῦθεν οὕτω λεγόμενα

« Συστήσας δὲ τὸ πᾶν ἰσαρίθμους τοῖς ἄστροις ἔταξεν – – – διεῖλέ τε ψυχὰς ἑκάστην πρὸς ἕκαστον, καὶ ἐμβιβάσας ὡς εἰς ὄχημα τὴν τοῦ παντὸς φύσιν ἔδειξε νόμους τε τοὺς εἱμαρμένους {εἶπεν αὐταῖς}· »

ταῦτα δὲ τίς οὐκ ἂν διαρρήδην καὶ σαφέστατ´ οἰηθείη τὴν εἱμαρμένην δηλοῦν, ὥσπερ τινὰ βάσιν καὶ πολιτικὴν νομοθεσίαν ταῖς ἀνθρωπίναις ψυχαῖς προσήκουσαν, ἧς δὴ καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν ἑξῆς ἐπιφέρει; Τὴν δὲ δευτέραν πρόνοιαν ὧδέ πως ἐπισημαίνεται λέγων

[573e] « Διαθεσμοθετήσας πάντα αὐτοῖς, ἵνα τοῖς ἔπειτα εἴη κακίας ἑκάστων ἀναίτιος, ἔσπειρε τοὺς μὲν εἰς τὴν γῆν, τοὺς δ´ εἰς τὴν σελήνην, τοὺς δ´ εἰς τὰ ἄλλα 〈ὅσα〉 ὄργανα χρόνου. Τὸ δὲ μετὰ τὸν σπόρον τοῖς νέοις παρέδωκε θεοῖς σώματα πλάττειν θνητά, τό τ´ ἐπίλοιπον, ὅσον ἐστὶ ψυχῆς ἀνθρωπίνης δέον προσγενέσθαι, τοῦτο καὶ πάνθ´ ὅσα ἀκόλουθα ἐκείνοις ἀπεργασαμένους ἄρχειν καὶ κατὰ δύναμιν [573f] ὅτι κάλλιστα καὶ ἄριστα τὸ θνητὸν διακυβερνᾶν ζῷον, ὅ τι μὴ κακῶν αὐτὸ αὑτῷ γίνοιτο αἴτιον. »

Ἐν γὰρ τούτοις τὸ μέν

«Ἵἵνα τοῖς ἔπειτα εἴη κακίας ἀναίτιος ἑκάστῳ »

σαφεστάτην αἰτίαν σημαίνει τῆς εἱμαρμένης, ἡ δὲ τῶν νέων θεῶν τάξις καὶ δημιουργία τὴν δευτέραν πρόνοιαν δηλοῖ· καί πως καὶ τρίτης παρεφάπτεσθαι ἔοικεν, εἴ γε δὴ τούτου χάριν ἡ θεσμοθεσία,

« Ἵνα τῆς ἔπειτα εἴη κακίας ἑκάστῳ ἀναίτιος· »

θεὸς δὲ κακίας ἄμοιρος οὔτε νόμων οὔθ´ εἱμαρμένης ἐπιδέοιτ´ ἄν, ἀλλὰ τῇ προνοίᾳ τοῦ γεννήσαντος συνεπισπώμενος ἕκαστος αὐτῶν πράττει τὰ αὑτοῦ·

[574a] ταῦτα δ´ ἀληθῆ καὶ ἀρέσκοντα τῷ Πλάτωνι εἶναι φανερά μοι δοκεῖ μαρτύρια τὰ πρὸς τοῦ νομοθέτου ἐν τοῖς Νόμοις οὕτω λεγόμενα · « ἐπεὶ ταῦτα εἴ ποτέ τις ἀνθρώπων φύσει ἱκανός, θείᾳ μοίρᾳ γεννηθείς, παραλαβεῖν δυνατὸς εἴη, νόμων οὐδὲν ἂν δέοιτο αὑτοῦ ἀρξόντων· ἐπιστήμης γὰρ οὔτε νόμος οὔτε τάξις οὐδεμία κρείττων, οὐδὲ θέμις ἐστὶ 〈νοῦν〉 οὐδενὸς ὑπήκοον οὐδὲ δοῦλον ἀλλὰ πάντων ἄρχοντα εἶναι, ἐάνπερ ἀληθινὸς ἐλεύθερός τε ὄντως ᾖ κατὰ φύσιν.

[10] Ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν τὰ πρὸς τοῦ Πλάτωνος ταύτῃ τῇ παροιμίᾳ λαμβάνω. [574b] Τριττῆς γὰρ οὔσης τῆς προνοίας ἡ μὲν ἅτε γεννήσασα τὴν εἱμαρμένην τρόπον τινὰ αὐτὴν περιλαμβάνει, ἡ δὲ συγγεννηθεῖσα τῇ εἱμαρμένῃ πάντως αὐτῇ συμπεριλαμβάνεται, ἡ δ´ ὡς ὕστερον τῆς εἱμαρμένης γενομένη κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ δὴ ἐμπεριέχεται ὑπ´ αὐτῆς, καθ´ ἃ καὶ τὸ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν καὶ ἡ τύχη εἴρηται.

« Οἷς γὰρ ἂν συλλάβηται τῆς συνουσίας ἡ τοῦ δαιμονίου δύναμις »,

ὥς φησι Σωκράτης μονονουχὶ θεσμόν τινα καίτοι οὐ τὸν Ἀδραστείας διεξιὼν πρὸς τὸν Θεάγην,

« Οὗτοί εἰσιν, ὧν καὶ σὺ ᾔσθησαι· ταχὺ γὰρ παραχρῆμα ἐπιδιδόασιν. »

Οὐκοῦν ἐν τούτῳ τὸ μέν

« Συλλαμβάνειν τισὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον »

[574c] κατὰ τὴν τρίτην πρόνοιαν [ἀνα]θετέον, τὸ δέ « ταχὺ παραχρῆμα ἐπιδιδόναι » καθ´ εἱμαρμένην, τὸ δ´ ὅλον οὐκ ἄδηλον, ὡς αὐτὸ τοῦθ´ εἱμαρμένη τίς ἐστιν. Τάχα δ´ ἂν αὖ τῳ πολὺ πιθανώτερον δόξειε καὶ τὴν δευτέραν πρόνοιαν ὑπὸ τῆς εἱμαρμένης περιέχεσθαι καὶ πάνθ´ ἁπλῶς τὰ γινόμενα, εἴ γε καὶ ἡ κατ´ οὐσίαν εἱμαρμένη ὀρθῶς ἡμῖν εἰς τὰς τρεῖς μοίρας διανενέμηται καὶ ὁ τῆς ἁλύσεως λόγος τὰς περὶ οὐρανὸν περιόδους τοῖς ἐξ ὑποθέσεως ἀποβαίνουσι συγκαταλέγει. Ἀλλὰ περὶ μὲν τούτων οὐκ 〈ἂν〉 ἔγωγ´ [574d] ἐπὶ πλέον διενεχθείην πότερον ἐξ ὑποθέσεως λεγόμενα ἢ ὡς μᾶλλον σὺν εἱμαρμένῃ προκατάρχοντος αὐτῆς τῆς εἱμαρμένης εἱμαρμένου.

[11] Ὁ μὲν οὖν ἡμέτερος λόγος ἐπὶ κεφαλαίων εἰπεῖν τοιοῦτός τις ἂν εἴη, ὁ δὲ τούτων ἐναντίος οὐ μόνον ἐν εἱμαρμένῃ ἀλλὰ καὶ καθ´ εἱμαρμένην πάντα τίθεται, πάντα δὲ θατέρῳ συνᾴδει· τὰ δὲ τῷ ἑτέρῳ συνῳδὰ δῆλον ὅτι καὶ θατέρῳ. Κατὰ μὲν οὖν τόνδε τὸν λόγον τὸ ἐνδεχόμενον εἴρηται καὶ τό γ´ ἐφ´ ἡμῖν δεύτερον καὶ τρίτον ἥ τε τύχη καὶ τὸ αὐτόματον καὶ ὅσα κατ´ αὐτά· ἔπαινος δὲ καὶ ψόγος [574e] καὶ τὰ τούτων συγγενῆ τέταρτα, πέμπτον δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν εὐχαὶ θεῶν καὶ θεραπεῖαι λεγέσθω·

ἀργοὶ δὲ καὶ θερίζοντες λόγοι καὶ ὁ παρὰ τὴν εἱμαρμένην ὀνομαζόμενος σοφίσμαθ´ ὡς ἀληθῶς κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον τυγχάνει ὄντα. Κατὰ δὲ τὸν ἐναντίον μάλιστα μὲν καὶ πρῶτον εἶναι δόξειε τὸ μηδὲν ἀναιτίως γίγνεσθαι ἀλλὰ κατὰ προηγουμένας αἰτίας, δεύτερον δὲ τὸ φύσει διοικεῖσθαι τόνδε τὸν κόσμον σύμπνουν καὶ συμπαθῆ αὐτὸν αὑτῷ ὄντα, τρίτον δέ, ἃ πρὸς τούτοις μαρτύρια μᾶλλον ἔοικεν εἶναι· μαντικὴ μὲν ἅπασιν ἀνθρώποις εὐδόκιμος ὡς ἀληθῶς θεῷ 〈συν〉υπάρχουσα, ἡ δὲ τῶν σοφῶν [574f] πρὸς τὰ συμβαίνοντα εὐαρέστησις, ὡς πάντα κατὰ μοῖραν γιγνόμενα, δευτέρα, τρίτον δὲ τὸ πολυθρύλητον τοῦτο, ὅτι πᾶν ἀξίωμα ἢ ἀληθές ἐστιν ἢ ψευδές. Τούτων γε μὴν ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον ἐμνήσθημεν, ἵνα ὡς ἐπὶ βραχὺ τὰ τῆς εἱμαρμένης {κεφάλαια δηλωθείη}· ἃ χρὴ διερευνήσασθαι κατὰ τὴν ἀκριβῆ βάσανον ἑκατέρου τῶν λόγων, τὰ δὲ καθ´ ἕκαστα τούτων ἐσαῦθις μέτιμεν.


English Text Source:*.html🌿 Original Greek text Source: 🌿 About Plutarch of Chaeronea: 🌿 About the Mid-Platonists:
Pseudo-Plutarch-A Mid-Platonist Textbook On Fate

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