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phaedo   


No, indeed, replied Cebes, not very well.

There is nothing new, he said, in what I am about to tell you; but

only what I have been always and everywhere repeating in the

previous discussion and on other occasions: I want to show you the

nature of that cause which has occupied my thoughts, and I shall

have to go back to those familiar words which are in the mouth of

everyone, and first of all assume that there is an absolute beauty and

goodness and greatness, and the like; grant me this, and I hope to

be able to show you the nature of the cause, and to prove the

immortality of the soul.

Cebes said: You may proceed at once with the proof, as I readily

grant you this.

Well, he said, then I should like to know whether you agree with

me in the next step; for I cannot help thinking that if there be

anything beautiful other than absolute beauty, that can only be

beautiful in as far as it partakes of absolute beauty-and this I

should say of everything. Do you agree in this notion of the cause?

Yes, he said, I agree.

He proceeded: I know nothing and can understand nothing of any other

of those wise causes which are alleged; and if a person says to me

that the bloom of color, or form, or anything else of that sort is a

source of beauty, I leave all that, which is only confusing to me, and

simply and singly, and perhaps foolishly, hold and am assured in my

own mind that nothing makes a thing beautiful but the presence and

participation of beauty in whatever way or manner obtained; for as

to the manner I am uncertain, but I stoutly contend that by beauty all

beautiful things become beautiful. That appears to me to be the only

safe answer that I can give, either to myself or to any other, and

to that I cling, in the persuasion that I shall never be overthrown,

and that I may safely answer to myself or any other that by beauty

beautiful things become beautiful. Do you not agree to that?

Yes, I agree.

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