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
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?
The theory, then that other things participate in the ideas by
resemblance, has to be given up, and some other mode of
It would seem so.
Do you see then, Socrates, how great is the difficulty of
affirming the ideas to be absolute?
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