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Pages of phaedo

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required to give an explanation of this principle, you would go on

to assume a higher principle, and the best of the higher ones, until

you found a resting-place; but you would not refuse the principle

and the consequences in your reasoning like the Eristics-at least if

you wanted to discover real existence. Not that this confusion

signifies to them who never care or think about the matter at all, for

they have the wit to be well pleased with themselves, however great

may be the turmoil of their ideas. But you, if you are a

philosopher, will, I believe, do as I say.

What you say is most true, said Simmias and Cebes, both speaking

at once.

Ech. Yes, Phaedo; and I don't wonder at their assenting. Anyone

who has the least sense will acknowledge the wonderful clear. of

Socrates' reasoning.

Phaed. Certainly, Echecrates; and that was the feeling of the

whole company at the time.

Ech. Yes, and equally of ourselves, who were not of the company, and

are now listening to your recital. But what followed?

Phaedo. After all this was admitted, and they had agreed about the

existence of ideas and the participation in them of the other things

which derive their names from them, Socrates, if I remember rightly,


This is your way of speaking; and yet when you say that Simmias is

greater than Socrates and less than Phaedo, do you not predicate of

Simmias both greatness and smallness?

Yes, I do.

But still you allow that Simmias does not really exceed Socrates, as

the words may seem to imply, because he is Simmias, but by reason of

the size which he has; just as Simmias does not exceed Socrates

because he is Simmias, any more than because Socrates is Socrates, but

because he has smallness when compared with the greatness of Simmias?


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