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parmenides   


poems, say The All is one, and of this you adduce excellent proofs;

and he on the other hand says There is no many; and on behalf of

this he offers overwhelming evidence. You affirm unity, he denies

plurality. And so you deceive the world into believing that you are

saying different things when really you are saying much the same. This

is a strain of art beyond the reach of most of us.

Yes, Socrates, said Zeno. But although you are as keen as a

Spartan hound in pursuing the track, you do not fully apprehend the

true motive of the composition, which is not really such an artificial

work as you imagine; for what you speak of was an accident; there

was no pretence of a great purpose; nor any serious intention of

deceiving the world. The truth is, that these writings of mine were

meant to protect the arguments of Parmenides against those who make

fun of him and seek to show the many ridiculous and contradictory

results which they suppose to follow from the affirmation of the

one. My answer is addressed to the partisans of the many, whose attack

I return with interest by retorting upon them that their hypothesis of

the being of many, if carried out, appears to be still more ridiculous

than the hypothesis of the being of one. Zeal for my master led me

to write the book in the days of my youth, but some one stole the

copy; and therefore I had no choice whether it should be published

or not; the motive, however, of writing, was not the ambition of an

elder man, but the pugnacity of a young one. This you do not seem to

see, Socrates; though in other respects, as I was saying, your

notion is a very just one.

I understand, said Socrates, and quite accept your account. But tell

me, Zeno, do you not further think that there is an idea of likeness

in itself, and another idea of unlikeness, which is the opposite of

likeness, and that in these two, you and I and all other things to

which we apply the term many, participate-things which participate

in likeness become in that degree and manner like; and so far as

they participate in unlikeness become in that degree unlike, or both

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