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perception of these notions?
Theaet. You are thinking of being and not being, likeness and
unlikeness, sameness and difference, and also of unity and other
numbers which are applied to objects of sense; and you mean to ask,
through what bodily organ the soul perceives odd and even numbers
and other arithmetical conceptions.
Soc. You follow me excellently, Theaetetus; that is precisely what I
am asking.
Theaet. Indeed, Socrates, I cannot answer; my only notion is, that
these, unlike objects of sense, have no separate organ, but that the
mind, by a power of her own, contemplates the universals in all
Soc. You are a beauty, Theaetetus, and not ugly, as Theodorus was
saying; for he who utters the beautiful is himself beautiful and good.
And besides being beautiful, you have done me a kindness in
releasing me from a very long discussion, if you are clear that the
soul views some things by herself and others through the bodily
organs. For that was my own opinion, and I wanted you to agree with
Theaet. I am quite clear.
Soc. And to which class would you refer being or essence; for
this, of all our notions, is the most universal?
Theaet. I should say, to that class which the soul aspires to know
of herself.
Soc. And would you say this also of like and unlike, same and other?
Theaet. Yes.
Soc. And would you say the same of the noble and base, and of good
and evil?
Theaet. These I conceive to be notions which are essentially
relative, and which the soul also perceives by comparing in herself
things past and present with the future.
Soc. And does she not perceive the hardness of that which is hard by
the touch, and the softness of that which is soft equally by the
Theaet. Yes.
Soc. But their essence and what they are, and their opposition to
one another, and the essential nature of this opposition, the soul
herself endeavours to decide for us by the review and comparison of
Theaet. Certainly.
Soc. The simple sensations which reach the soul through the body are
given at birth to men and animals by nature, but their reflections
on the being and use of them are slowly and hardly gained, if they are
ever gained, by education and long experience.
Theaet. Assuredly.
Soc. And can a man attain truth who fails of attaining being?
Theaet. Impossible.
Soc. And can he who misses the truth of anything, have a knowledge
of that thing?
Theaet. He cannot.
Soc. Then knowledge does not consist in impressions of sense, but in
reasoning about them; in that only, and not in the mere impression,
truth and being can be attained?
Theaet. Clearly.
Soc. And would you call the two processes by the same name, when
there is so great difference between them?
Theaet. That would certainly not be right.
Soc. And what name would you give to seeing, hearing, smelling,
being cold and being hot?
Theaet. I should call all of them perceiving-what other name could
be given to them?
Soc. Perception would be the collective name of them?
Theaet. Certainly.
Soc. Which, as we say, has no part in the attainment of truth any

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