republic (books 6 - 10)
And do you wish to behold what is blind and crooked and
base, when others will tell you of brightness and beauty?
Still, I must implore you, Socrates, said Glaucon, not to turn
away just as you are reaching the goal; if you will only give
such an explanation of the good as you have already given of
justice and temperance and the other virtues, we shall be sat-
Yes, my friend, and I shall be at least equally satisfied, but
I cannot help fearing that I shall fail, and that my indiscreet
zeal will bring ridicule upon me. No, sweet sirs, let us not
at present ask what is the actual nature of the good, for to reach
what is now in my thoughts would be an effort too great for
me. But of the child of the good who is likest him, I would
fain speak, if I could be sure that you wished to hear--other-
By all means, he said, tell us about the child, and you shall
remain in our debt for the account of the parent.
I do indeed wish, I replied, that I could pay, and you receive,
the account of the parent, and not, as now, of the offspring
only; take, however, this latter by way of interest, and at the
same time have a care that I do not render a false account, al-
though I have no intention of deceiving you.
Yes, we will take all the care that we can: proceed.
Yes, I said, but I must first come to an understanding with
you, and remind you of what I have mentioned in the course
of this discussion, and at many other times.
The old story, that there is many a beautiful and many a
good, and so of other things which we describe and define;
to all of them the term "many" is implied.
True, he said.
And there is an absolute beauty and an absolute good, and
of other things to which the term "many" is applied there is
an absolute; for they may be brought under a single idea, which
is called the essence of each.
The many, as we say, are seen but not known, and the ideas
are known but not seen.
And what is the organ with which we see the visible things?
The sight, he said.
And with the hearing, I said, we hear, and with the other
senses perceive the other objects of sense?