Laches

by: Plato

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

I was asking about courage and cowardice in general. And I will begin with courage, and once more ask what is that common quality, which is the same in all these cases, and which is called courage?

This quote from Socrates (191e) is relevant for the fact that Socrates is asking for something more than just a description, which partially defines courage. He is asking for a definition of courage that includes all cases in which the word courage could ever be used or conceived. Socrates here seems to be searching for the essence of courage disembodied from any particular context. It is this task of defining courage in isolation at which Nicias and Laches fail. One may also see in Socrates's propensity to search for the meaning of a disembodied abstract form of courage the very beginning of Plato's interest in the disembodied world of "forms" so prominent in his later philosophy.