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nature, and other things are like them, and resemblances of

them-what is meant by the participation of other things in the

ideas, is really assimilation to them.

But if, said he, the individual is like the idea, must not the

idea also be like the individual, in so far as the individual is a

resemblance of the idea? That which is like, cannot be conceived of as

other than the like of like.


And when two things are alike, must they not partake of the same


They must.

And will not that of which the two partake, and which makes them

alike, be the idea itself?


Then the idea cannot be like the individual, or the individual

like the idea; for if they are alike, some further idea of likeness

will always be coming to light, and if that be like anything else,

another; and new ideas will be always arising, if the idea resembles

that which partakes of it?

Quite true.

The theory, then that other things participate in the ideas by

resemblance, has to be given up, and some other mode of

participation devised?

It would seem so.

Do you see then, Socrates, how great is the difficulty of

affirming the ideas to be absolute?

Yes, indeed.

And, further, let me say that as yet you only understand a small

part of the difficulty which is involved if you make of each thing a

single idea, parting it off from other things.

What difficulty? he said.

There are many, but the greatest of all is this:-If an opponent

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