Theaet. Very true, Socrates.
Soc. Then now is the time, my dear Theaetetus, for me to examine,
and for you to exhibit; since although Theodorus has praised many a
citizen and stranger in my hearing, never did I hear him praise any
one as he has been praising you.
Theaet. I am glad to hear it, Socrates; but what if he was only in
Soc. Nay, Theodorus is not given to jesting; and I cannot allow
you to retract your consent on any such pretence as that. If you do,
he will have to swear to his words; and we are perfectly sure that
no one will be found to impugn him. Do not be shy then, but stand to
Theaet. I suppose I must, if you wish it.
Soc. In the first place, I should like to ask what you learn of
Theodorus: something of geometry, perhaps?
Soc. And astronomy and harmony and calculation?
Theaet. I do my best.
Soc. Yes, my boy, and so do I: and my desire is to learn of him,
or of anybody who seems to understand these things. And I get on
pretty well in general; but there is a little difficulty which I
want you and the company to aid me in investigating. Will you answer
me a question: "Is not learning growing wiser about that which you
Theaet. Of course.
Soc. And by wisdom the wise are wise?
Soc. And is that different in any way from knowledge?
Soc. Wisdom; are not men wise in that which they know?
Theaet. Certainly they are.
Soc. Then wisdom and knowledge are the same?
Soc. Herein lies the difficulty which I can never solve to my
satisfaction-What is knowledge? Can we answer that question? What
say you? which of us will speak first? whoever misses shall sit
down, as at a game of ball, and shall be donkey, as the boys say; he
who lasts out his competitors in the game without missing, shall be
our king, and shall have the right of putting to us any questions
which he pleases. .. Why is there no reply? I hope, Theodorus, that
I am not betrayed into rudeness by my love of conversation? I only
want to make us talk and be friendly and sociable.
Theod. The reverse of rudeness, Socrates: but I would rather that
you would ask one of the young fellows; for the truth is, that I am
unused to your game of question and answer, and I am too old to learn;
the young will be more suitable, and they will improve more than I
shall, for youth is always able to improve. And so having made a
beginning with Theaetetus, I would advise you to go on with him and
not let him off.
Soc. Do you hear, Theaetetus, what Theodorus says? The
philosopher, whom you would not like to disobey, and whose word
ought to be a command to a young man, bids me interrogate you. Take
courage, then, and nobly say what you think that knowledge is.
Theaet. Well, Socrates, I will answer as you and he bid me; and if
make a mistake, you will doubtless correct me.
Soc. We will, if we can.
Theaet. Then, I think that the sciences which I learn from
Theodorus-geometry, and those which you just now mentioned-are
knowledge; and I would include the art of the cobbler and other
craftsmen; these, each and all of, them, are knowledge.
Soc. Too much, Theaetetus, too much; the nobility and liberality
of your nature make you give many and diverse things, when I am asking
for one simple thing.
Theaet. What do you mean, Socrates?