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The requisite knowledge Print E-mail
By Plato, Charmides   
Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Yet I think, he replied, that if you discard knowledge, you will hardly find the crown of happiness in anything else. 


But of what is this knowledge? I said. Just answer me that small question. Do you mean a knowledge of shoemaking? 

God forbid. 
Or of working in brass? 
Certainly not. 
Or in wool, or wood, or anything of that sort? 
No, I do not. 
Then, I said, we are giving up the doctrine that he who lives according to knowledge is happy, for these live according to knowledge, and yet they are not allowed by you to be happy; but I think that you mean to confine happiness to particular individuals who live according to knowledge, such for example as the prophet, who, as I was saying, knows the future. Is it of him you are speaking or of some one else? 

Yes, I mean him, but there are others as well. 
Yes, I said, some one who knows the past and present as well as the future, and is ignorant of nothing. Let us suppose that there is such a person, and if there is, you will allow that he is the most knowing of all living men. 

Certainly he is. 
Yet I should like to know one thing more: which of the different kinds of knowledge makes him happy? or do all equally make him happy? 

Not all equally, he replied. 
But which most tends to make him happy? the knowledge of what past, present, or future thing? May I infer this to be the knowledge of the game of draughts? 

Nonsense about the game of draughts. 
Or of computation? 
No. 
Or of health? 
That is nearer the truth, he said. 
And that knowledge which is nearest of all, I said, is the knowledge of what? 

The knowledge with which he discerns good and evil. 
 
 
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