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phaedo   


proceeded, I found my philosopher altogether forsaking mind or any

other principle of order, but having recourse to air, and ether, and

water, and other eccentricities. I might compare him to a person who

began by maintaining generally that mind is the cause of the actions

of Socrates, but who, when he endeavored to explain the causes of my

several actions in detail, went on to show that I sit here because

my body is made up of bones and muscles; and the bones, as he would

say, are hard and have ligaments which divide them, and the muscles

are elastic, and they cover the bones, which have also a covering or

environment of flesh and skin which contains them; and as the bones

are lifted at their joints by the contraction or relaxation of the

muscles, I am able to bend my limbs, and this is why I am sitting here

in a curved posture: that is what he would say, and he would have a

similar explanation of my talking to you, which he would attribute

to sound, and air, and hearing, and he would assign ten thousand other

causes of the same sort, forgetting to mention the true cause, which

is that the Athenians have thought fit to condemn me, and

accordingly I have thought it better and more right to remain here and

undergo my sentence; for I am inclined to think that these muscles and

bones of mine would have gone off to Megara or Boeotia-by the dog of

Egypt they would, if they had been guided only by their own idea of

what was best, and if I had not chosen as the better and nobler

part, instead of playing truant and running away, to undergo any

punishment which the State inflicts. There is surely a strange

confusion of causes and conditions in all this. It may be said,

indeed, that without bones and muscles and the other parts of the body

I cannot execute my purposes. But to say that I do as I do because

of them, and that this is the way in which mind acts, and not from the

choice of the best, is a very careless and idle mode of speaking. I

wonder that they cannot distinguish the cause from the condition,

which the many, feeling about in the dark, are always mistaking and

misnaming. And thus one man makes a vortex all round and steadies

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