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theaetetus   


Theaet. Very well; do so if you will.
Soc. Then now, Theaetetus, take another view of the subject: you
answered that knowledge is perception?
Theaet. I did.
Soc. And if any one were to ask you: With what does a man see
black and white colours? and with what does he hear high and low
sounds?-you would say, if I am not mistaken, "With the eyes and with
the ears."
Theaet. I should.
Soc. The free use of words and phrases, rather than minute
precision, is generally characteristic of a liberal education, and the
opposite is pedantic; but sometimes precision. is necessary, and I
believe that the answer which you have just given is open to the
charge of incorrectness; for which is more correct, to say that we see
or hear with the eyes and with the ears, or through the eyes and
through the ears.
Theaet. I should say "through," Socrates, rather than "with."
Soc. Yes, my boy, for no one can suppose that in each of us, as in a
sort of Trojan horse, there are perched a number of unconnected
senses, which do not all meet in some one nature, the mind, or
whatever we please to call it, of which they are the instruments,
and with which through them we perceive objects of sense.
Theaet. I agree with you in that opinion.
Soc. The reason why I am thus precise is, because I want to know
whether, when we perceive black and white through the eyes, and again,
other qualities through other organs, we do not perceive them with one
and the same part of ourselves, and, if you were asked, you might
refer all such perceptions to the body. Perhaps, however, I had better
allow you to answer for yourself and not interfere; Tell me, then, are
not the organs through which you perceive warm and hard and light
and sweet, organs of the body?
Theaet. Of the body, certainly.
Soc. And you would admit that what you perceive through one
faculty you cannot perceive through another; the objects of hearing,
for example, cannot be perceived through sight, or the objects of
sight through hearing?
Theaet. Of course not.
Soc. If you have any thought about both of them, this common
perception cannot come to you, either through the one or the other
organ?
Theaet. It cannot.
Soc. How about sounds and colours: in the first place you would
admit that they both exist?
Theaet. Yes.
Soc. And that either of them is different from the other, and the
same with itself?
Theaet. Certainly.
Soc. And that both are two and each of them one?
Theaet. Yes.
Soc. You can further observe whether they are like or unlike one
another?
Theaet. I dare say.
Soc. But through what do you perceive all this about them? for
neither through hearing nor yet through seeing can you apprehend
that which they have in common. Let me give you an illustration of the
point at issue:-If there were any meaning in asking whether sounds and
colours are saline or not, you would be able to tell me what faculty
would consider the question. It would not be sight or hearing, but
some other.
Theaet. Certainly; the faculty of taste.
Soc. Very good; and now tell me what is the power which discerns,
not only in sensible objects, but in all things, universal notions,
such as those which are called being and not-being, and those others
about which we were just asking-what organs will you assign for the

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