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And in some cases the name of the idea is not confined to the

idea; but anything else which, not being the idea, exists only in

the form of the idea, may also lay claim to it. I will try to make

this clearer by an example: The odd number is always called by the

name of odd?

Very true.

But is this the only thing which is called odd? Are there not

other things which have their own name, and yet are called odd,

because, although not the same as oddness, they are never without

oddness?-that is what I mean to ask-whether numbers such as the number

three are not of the class of odd. And there are many other

examples: would you not say, for example, that three may be called

by its proper name, and also be called odd, which is not the same with

three? and this may be said not only of three but also of five, and

every alternate number-each of them without being oddness is odd,

and in the same way two and four, and the whole series of alternate

numbers, has every number even, without being evenness. Do you admit


Yes, he said, how can I deny that?

Then now mark the point at which I am aiming: not only do

essential opposites exclude one another, but also concrete things,

which, although not in themselves opposed, contain opposites; these, I

say, also reject the idea which is opposed to that which is

contained in them, and at the advance of that they either perish or

withdraw. There is the number three for example; will not that

endure annihilation or anything sooner than be converted into an

even number, remaining three?

Very true, said Cebes.

And yet, he said, the number two is certainly not opposed to the

number three?

It is not.

Then not only do opposite ideas repel the advance of one another,

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