And if you go on and allow your mind in like manner to embrace in
one view the idea of greatness and of great things which are not the
idea, and -to compare them, will not another greatness arise, which
will appear to be the source of all these?
It would seem so.
Then another idea of greatness now comes into view over and above
absolute greatness, and the individuals which partake of it; and
then another, over and above all these, by virtue of which they will
all be great, and so each idea instead of being one will be infinitely
But may not the ideas, asked Socrates, be thoughts only, and have no
proper existence except in our minds, Parmenides? For in that case
each idea may still be one, and not experience this infinite
And can there be individual thoughts which are thoughts of nothing?
Impossible, he said.
The thought must be of something?
Of something which is or which is not?
Of something which is.
Must it not be of a single something, which the thought recognizes
as attaching to all, being a single form or nature?
And will not the something which is apprehended as one and the
same in all, be an idea?
From that, again, there is no escape.
Then, said Parmenides, if you say that everything else
participates in the ideas, must you not say either that everything
is made up of thoughts, and that all things think; or that they are
thoughts but have no thought?
The latter view, Parmenides, is no more rational than the previous
one. In my opinion, the ideas are, as it were, patterns fixed in