The science of the good

Yet I should like to know one thing more: which of the different kinds of knowledge makes [man] 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? 


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. 

Monster! I said; you have been carrying me round in a circle, and all this time hiding from me the fact that the life according to knowledge is not that which makes men act rightly and be happy, not even if knowledge include all the sciences, but one science only, that of good and evil. For, let me ask you, Critias, whether, if you take away this, medicine will not equally give health, and shoemaking equally produce shoes, and the art of the weaver clothes?-whether the art of the pilot will not equally save our lives at sea, and the art of the general in war? 

Quite so. 

And yet, my dear Critias, none of these things will be well or beneficially done, if the science of the good be wanting.