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Charmides (dialogue)

The Charmides is a dialogue of Plato, discussing the nature and utility of temperance.


Charmides, the young and beautiful Athenian who is the namesake of the dialogue, talking to Socrates, initially suggests that temperance is doing everything quietly. This is refuted, for it is admitted by Charmides that temperance is all good, and in no way bad, and since quickness in some actions is better than quietness and slowness in the same actions, temperance cannot be quietness.

Charmides then puts forward the definition of temperance as modesty. Socrates refutes this as well, citing Homer's statement in The Odyssey that "modesty is not good for a needy man," and since temperance is an ultimate good, it cannot be modesty.

At this point Charmides tells Socrates of a definition of temperance he had heard from another: Doing one's own business. (needs to be continued)