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theaetetus   


husbandmen also take away the evil and disordered sensations of
plants, and infuse into them good and healthy sensations-aye and
true ones; and the wise and good rhetoricians make the good instead of
the evil to seem just to states; for whatever appears to a state to be
just and fair, so long as it is regarded as such, is just and fair
to it; but the teacher of wisdom causes the good to take the place
of the evil, both in appearance and in reality. And in like manner the
Sophist who is able to train his pupils in this spirit is a wise
man, and deserves to be well paid by them. And so one man is wiser
than another; and no one thinks falsely, and you, whether you will
or not, must endure to be a measure. On these foundations the argument
stands firm, which you, Socrates, may, if you please, overthrow by
an opposite argument, or if you like you may put questions to me-a
method to which no intelligent person will object, quite the
reverse. But I must beg you to put fair questions: for there is
great inconsistency in saying that you have a zeal for virtue, and
then always behaving unfairly in argument. The unfairness of which I
complain is that you do not distinguish between mere disputation and
dialectic: the disputer may trip up his opponent as often as he likes,
and make fun; but the dialectician will be in earnest, and only
correct his adversary when necessary, telling him the errors into
which he has fallen through his own fault, or that of the company
which he has previously kept. If you do so, your adversary will lay
the blame of his own confusion and perplexity on himself, and not on
you; will follow and love you, and will hate himself, and escape
from himself into philosophy, in order that he may become different
from what he was. But the other mode of arguing, which is practised by
the many, will have just the opposite effect upon him; and as he grows
older, instead of turning philosopher, he will come to hate
philosophy. I would recommend you, therefore, as I said before, not to
encourage yourself in this polemical and controversial temper, but
to find out, in a friendly and congenial spirit, what we really mean
when we say that all things are in motion, and that to every
individual and state what appears, is. In this manner you will
consider whether knowledge and sensation are the same or different,
but you will not argue, as you were just now doing, from the customary
use of names and words, which the vulgar pervert in all sorts of ways,
causing infinite perplexity to one another. Such, Theodorus, is the
very slight help which I am able to offer to your old friend; had he
been living, he would have helped himself in a far more gloriose
style.
Theod. You are jesting, Socrates; indeed, your defence of him has
been most valorous.
Soc. Thank you, friend; and I hope that you observed Protagoras
bidding us be serious, as the text, "Man is the measure of all
things," was a solemn one; and he reproached us with making a boy
the medium of discourse, and said that the boy's timidity was made
to tell against his argument; he also declared that we made a joke
of him.
Theod. How could I fail to observe all that, Socrates?
Soc. Well, and shall we do as he says?
Theod. By all means.
Soc. But if his wishes are to be regarded, you and I must take up
the argument, and in all seriousness, and ask and answer one
another, for you see that the rest of us are nothing but boys. In no
other way can we escape the imputation, that in our fresh analysis
of his thesis we are making fun with boys.
Theod. Well, but is not Theaetetus better able to follow a
philosophical enquiry than a great many men who have long beards?
Soc. Yes, Theodorus, but not better than you; and therefore please
not to imagine that I am to defend by every means in my power your
departed friend; and that you are to defend nothing and nobody. At any
rate, my good man, do not sheer off until we know whether you are a
true measure of diagrams, or whether all men are equally measures

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