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Chapter 4.—Man—What?

6.  Let us then see what is better than man.  This must necessarily be hard to find, unless 43we first ask and examine what man is.  I am not now called upon to give a definition of man.  The question here seems to me to be,—since almost all agree, or at least, which is enough, those I have now to do with are of the same opinion with me, that we are made up of soul and body,—What is man?  Is he both of these? or is he the body only, or the soul only?  For although the things are two, soul and body, and although neither without the other could be called man (for the body would not be man without the soul, nor again would the soul be man if there were not a body animated by it), still it is possible that one of these may be held to be man, and may be called so.  What then do we call man?  Is he soul and body, as in a double harness, or like a centaur?  Or do we mean the body only, as being in the service of the soul which rules it, as the word lamp denotes not the light and the case together, but only the case, yet it is on account of the light that it is so called?  Or do we mean only the mind, and that on account of the body which it rules, as horseman means not the man and the horse, but the man only, and that as employed in ruling the horse?  This dispute is not easy to settle; or, if the proof is plain, the statement requires time.  This is an expenditure of time and strength which we need not incur.  For whether the name man belongs to both, or only to the soul, the chief good of man is not the chief good of the body; but what is the chief good either of both soul and body, or of the soul only, that is man’s chief good.

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