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In both the Platonic dialogues and the Xenophonic accounts of Socrates, self-control is portrayed both as a distinguishing characteristic of Socrates himself and as an important aspect of the ethical system he advocates. First, self-control is seen by Socrates as the link between knowing the good and doing the good. It is part of the function of the will that enables the rationale to control the irrational part of the soul. Second, self-control is essential to the philosophical life, because it is a foundation for indifference to external circumstances and allows the soul and rational intellect to focus on the eternal ideas rather than being subject to the passions.
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