concluded that I was wholly incapable of these inquiries, as I will
satisfactorily prove to you. For I was fascinated by them to such a
degree that my eyes grew blind to things that I had seemed to
myself, and also to others, to know quite well; and I forgot what I
had before thought to be self-evident, that the growth of man is the
result of eating and drinking; for when by the digestion of food flesh
is added to flesh and bone to bone, and whenever there is an
aggregation of congenial elements, the lesser bulk becomes larger
and the small man greater. Was not that a reasonable notion?
Yes, said Cebes, I think so.
Well; but let me tell you something more. There was a time when I
thought that I understood the meaning of greater and less pretty well;
and when I saw a great man standing by a little one I fancied that one
was taller than the other by a head; or one horse would appear to be
greater than another horse: and still more clearly did I seem to
perceive that ten is two more than eight, and that two cubits are more
than one, because two is twice one.
And what is now your notion of such matters? said Cebes.
I should be far enough from imagining, he replied, that I knew the
cause of any of them, indeed I should, for I cannot satisfy myself
that when one is added to one, the one to which the addition is made
becomes two, or that the two units added together make two by reason
of the addition. For I cannot understand how, when separated from
the other, each of them was one and not two, and now, when they are
brought together, the mere juxtaposition of them can be the cause of
their becoming two: nor can I understand how the division of one is
the way to make two; for then a different cause would produce the same
effect-as in the former instance the addition and juxtaposition of one
to one was the cause of two, in this the separation and subtraction of
one from the other would be the cause. Nor am I any longer satisfied
that I understand the reason why one or anything else either is
generated or destroyed or is at all, but I have in my mind some