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theaetetus   


more of being?
Theaet. Certainly not.
Soc. And therefore not in. science or knowledge?
Theaet. No.
Soc. Then perception, Theaetetus, can never be the same as knowledge
or science?
Theaet. Clearly not, Socrates; and knowledge has now been most
distinctly proved to be different from perception.
Soc. But the original aim of our discussion was to find out rather
what knowledge is than what it is not; at the same time we have made
some progress, for we no longer seek for knowledge, in perception at
all, but in that other process, however called, in which the mind is
alone and engaged with being.
Theaet. You mean, Socrates, if I am not mistaken, what is called
thinking or opining.
Soc. You conceive truly. And now, my friend, Please to begin again
at this point; and having wiped out of your memory all that has
preceded, see if you have arrived at any clearer view, and once more
say what is knowledge.
Theaet. I cannot say, Socrates, that all opinion is knowledge,
because there may be a false opinion; but I will venture to assert,
that knowledge is true opinion: let this then be my reply; and if this
is hereafter disproved, I must try to find another.
Soc. That is the way in which you ought to answer, Theaetetus, and
not in your former hesitating strain, for if we are bold we shall gain
one of two advantages; either we shall find what we seek, or we
shall be less likely to think that we know what we do not know-in
either case we shall be richly rewarded. And now, what are you
saying?-Are there two sorts of opinion, one true and the other
false; and do you define knowledge to be the true?
Theaet. Yes, according to my present view.
Soc. Is it still worth our while to resume the discussion touching
opinion?
Theaet. To what are you alluding?
Soc. There is a point which often troubles me, and is a great
perplexity to me, both in regard to myself and others. I cannot make
out the nature or origin of the mental experience to which I refer.
Theaet. Pray what is it?
Soc. How there can be-false opinion-that difficulty still troubles
the eye of my mind; and I am uncertain whether I shall leave the
question, or over again in a new way.
Theaet. Begin again, Socrates,-at least if you think that there is
the slightest necessity for doing so. Were not you and Theodorus
just now remarking very truly, that in discussions of this kind we may
take our own time?
Soc. You are quite right, and perhaps there will be no harm in
retracing our steps and beginning again. Better a little which is well
done, than a great deal imperfectly.
Theaet. Certainly.
Soc. Well, and what is the difficulty? Do we not speak of false
opinion, and say that one man holds a false and another a true
opinion, as though there were some natural distinction between them?
Theaet. We certainly say so.
Soc. All things and everything are either known or not known. I
leave out of view the intermediate conceptions of learning and
forgetting, because they have nothing to do with our present question.
Theaet. There can be no doubt, Socrates, if you exclude these,
that there is no other alternative but knowing or not knowing a thing.
Soc. That point being now determined, must we not say that he who
has an opinion, must have an opinion about something which he knows or
does not know?
Theaet. He must.
Soc. He who knows, cannot but know; and he who does not know, cannot
know?

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