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parmenides   


Why not?

Because, Socrates, said Parmenides, we have admitted that the

ideas are not valid in relation to human things; nor human things in

relation to them; the relations of either are limited to their

respective spheres.

Yes, that has been admitted.

And if God has this perfect authority, and perfect knowledge, his

authority cannot rule us, nor his knowledge know us, or any human

thing; just as our authority does not extend to the gods, nor our

knowledge know anything which is divine, so by parity of reason

they, being gods, are not our masters, neither do they know the things

of men.

Yet, surely, said Socrates, to deprive God of knowledge is

monstrous.

These, Socrates, said Parmenides, are a few, and only a few of the

difficulties in which we are involved if ideas really are and we

determine each one of them to be an absolute unity. He who hears

what may be said against them will deny the very existence of them-and

even if they do exist, he will say that they must of necessity be

unknown to man; and he will seem to have reason on his side, and as we

were remarking just now, will be very difficult to convince; a man

must be gifted with very considerable ability before he can learn that

everything has a class and an absolute essence; and still more

remarkable will he be who discovers all these things for himself,

and having thoroughly investigated them is able to teach them to

others.

I agree with you, Parmenides, said Socrates; and what you say is

very much to my mind.

And yet, Socrates, said Parmenides, if a man, fixing his attention

on these and the like difficulties, does away with ideas of things and

will not admit that every individual thing has its own determinate

idea which is always one and the same, he will have nothing on which

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