Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Plato
Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)



Previous | Next
                  

laws (books 7 - 12)   


Ath. I mean this: when one thing changes another, and that
another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a
thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change?
Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again
other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set
in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change
of the self-moving principle?
Cle. Very true, and I quite agree.
Ath. Or, to put the question in another way, making answer to
ourselves:-If, as most of these philosophers have the audacity to
affirm, all things were at rest in one mass, which of the
above-mentioned principles of motion would first spring up among them?
Cle. Clearly the self-moving; for there could be no change in them
arising out of any external cause; the change must first take place in
themselves.
Ath. Then we must say that self-motion being the origin of all
motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as
among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of
change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is
second.
Cle. Quite true.
Ath. At this stage of the argument let us put a question.
Cle. What question?
Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or
fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?
Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power
life?
Ath. I do.
Cle. Certainly we should.
Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the
same-must we not admit that this is life?
Cle. We must.
Ath. And now, I beseech you, reflect;-you would admit that we have a
threefold knowledge of things?
Cle. What do you mean?
Ath. I mean that we know the essence, and that we know the
definition of the essence, and the name,-these are the three; and
there are two questions which may be raised about anything.
Cle. How two?
Ath. Sometimes a person may give the name and ask the definition; or
he may give the definition and ask the name. I may illustrate what I
mean in this way.
Cle. How?
Ath. Number like some other things is capable of being divided
into equal parts; when thus divided, number is named "even," and the
definition of the name "even" is "number divisible into two equal
parts"?
Cle. True.
Ath. I mean, that when we are asked about the definition and give
the name, or when we are asked about the name and give the
definition-in either case, whether we give name or definition, we
speak of the same thing, calling "even" the number which is divided
into two equal parts.
Cle. Quite true.
Ath. And what is the definition of that which is named "soul"? Can
we conceive of any other than that which has been already given-the
motion which can move itself?
Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the
self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?
Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is
anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and
moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their
contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change
and motion in all things?

Previous | Next
Site Search