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Laches

Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

He dresses himself out in words, while seeking to deprive of the honor of courage those whom all the world acknowledges to be courageous.

This point made by Laches (197c) is an apt criticism of several of Nicias's proposed definitions of courage. Although Nicias does not run into a straight contradiction in the way Laches does, he makes his definition more and more abstract in an effort to defeat the arguments of Socrates and Laches. However, in making his definition overly abstract he has departed from the everyday meaning of courage. He has invented an abstract quality but since it does not apply to many people who are considered courageous, his definition no longer refers to the actual quality of courage and therefore has no practical use.