1.) The temperate man does what is just and holy.
2.) The temperate man, since he does just and holy things, is necessarily just and holy.
3.) The temperate man is completely a good man.
This argument is stated by Socrates from 507a-c in the Gorgias. Below is the direct text from the Gorgias translated by R. E. Allen.
“Then I say that, if the temperate soul is good, then the soul affected by the opposite of temperance is evil, and that soul is both foolish and intemperate. Of course. Moreover he who is temperate does what is fitting concerning both gods and men, for not to do what is fitting would not be temperate. Necessarily so. Furthermore in doing what is fitting concerning men he does what is just, and concerning gods, what is holy; and he who does just and holy things necessarily is just and holy? True. Furthermore, he is necessarily courageous, for it is surely not the part of a temperate man either to pursue or flee when he should not; rather, it is his part to pursue and flee what he ought, whether things or people, pleasure or pains, and with stout heart to stand fast where he ought. So it is quite necessary, Callicles, that the temperate man, because he is also, as we’ve explained, just and courageous and holy, should be completely a good man; and the good man does what he does well and nobly, and by doing and faring well is blessed and happy, while the bad man does and fares ill and is wretched. This man, who is opposite to the temperate man, is the intemperate man whom you praised.
Now, I hold these things so and I sa that they are true. But if true, then he who wishes to be happy must, it seems, pursue and practice temperance…”
After much reading, it is hard to to discern what Plato truly means. I find the issue to lie within the controversial second premise and hereby try to deduce what is meant by Plato.
1.There is the possibility of perfect men in the material world. Plato considers all actions of men to be aimed at the Good. Yet many of the actions of men instead pursue the Apparent Good. This is due to their ignorance of what the Good is (Plato, Gorgias [R. E. Allen] 468a-b p.252-253). So this statement sounds as if Plato does believe that one day man could completely overcome his ignorance and therefore become perfect. Yet if this were the case, wouldn’t that mean mean that whoever accomplishes this feat, would have fully grasped the Good, and if they have fully grasped the Good, then how could the Good transcend humankind and still be the thing which “perfect people” desire for?
2.Man is only temperate as long as he only does what is just and holy. This meaning could make more sense yet it is also questionable. It could make sense in the idea that maybe, in Plato’s mind, we should never actually call a person just or temperate unless they always act in accordance with justice and temperance. So then, we should only describe people with comments like, “He acts like a just man”, or, “She has a soul as one who is temperate”, and never actually describe a man or woman as temperate or just. Conversely, Socrates mentions a contradictory statement a few lines down. “he who wishes to be happy must, it seems, pursue and practice temperance…” (Plato, Gorgias [R. E. Allen] 507d p. 296). Wouldn’t that mean that the men and women who pursue and practice temperance would do just and holy things, and if they do just and holy things, they would then necessarily be just and holy? If the answer to this question is no, then does anyone actually practice temperance?
So my question is: Is Plato actually making a claim for perfect people and contradicting himself or am I missing something?
Thank you community so much for any help!