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phaedo   


And that by greatness only great things become great and greater

greater, and by smallness the less becomes less.

True.

Then if a person remarks that A is taller by a head than B, and B

less by a head than A, you would refuse to admit this, and would

stoutly contend that what you mean is only that the greater is greater

by, and by reason of, greatness, and the less is less only by, or by

reason of, smallness; and thus you would avoid the danger of saying

that the greater is greater and the less by the measure of the head,

which is the same in both, and would also avoid the monstrous

absurdity of supposing that the greater man is greater by reason of

the head, which is small. Would you not be afraid of that?

Indeed, I should, said Cebes, laughing.

In like manner you would be afraid to say that ten exceeded eight

by, and by reason of, two; but would say by, and by reason of, number;

or that two cubits exceed one cubit not by a half, but by

magnitude?-that is what you would say, for there is the same danger in

both cases.

Very true, he said.

Again, would you not be cautious of affirming that the addition of

one to one, or the division of one, is the cause of two? And you would

loudly asseverate that you know of no way in which anything comes into

existence except by participation in its own proper essence, and

consequently, as far as you know, the only cause of two is the

participation in duality; that is the way to make two, and the

participation in one is the way to make one. You would say: I will let

alone puzzles of division and addition-wiser heads than mine may

answer them; inexperienced as I am, and ready to start, as the proverb

says, at my own shadow, I cannot afford to give up the sure ground

of a principle. And if anyone assails you there, you would not mind

him, or answer him until you had seen whether the consequences which

follow agree with one another or not, and when you are further

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