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phaedo   


I wish that they could, Socrates, but I greatly fear that

to-morrow at this time there will be no one able to give a reason

worth having.

Then you are not of opinion, Simmias, that all men know these

things?

Certainly not.

Then they are in process of recollecting that which they learned

before.

Certainly.

But when did our souls acquire this knowledge?-not since we were

born as men?

Certainly not.

And therefore previously?

Yes.

Then, Simmias, our souls must have existed before they were in the

form of man-without bodies, and must have had intelligence.

Unless indeed you suppose, Socrates, that these notions were given

us at the moment of birth; for this is the only time that remains.

Yes, my friend, but when did we lose them? for they are not in us

when we are born-that is admitted. Did we lose them at the moment of

receiving them, or at some other time?

No, Socrates, I perceive that I was unconsciously talking nonsense.

Then may we not say, Simmias, that if, as we are always repeating,

there is an absolute beauty, and goodness, and essence in general, and

to this, which is now discovered to be a previous condition of our

being, we refer all our sensations, and with this compare

them-assuming this to have a prior existence, then our souls must have

had a prior existence, but if not, there would be no force in the

argument? There can be no doubt that if these absolute ideas existed

before we were born, then our souls must have existed before we were

born, and if not the ideas, then not the souls.

Yes, Socrates; I am convinced that there is precisely the same

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