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
Ech. Yes, Phaedo; and I don't wonder at their assenting. Anyone
who has the least sense will acknowledge the wonderful clear. of
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?