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theaetetus   


Soc. But may not the following be the description of what we express
by this name?
Theaet. What?
Soc. May we not suppose that false opinion or thought is a sort of
heterodoxy; a person may make an exchange in his mind, and say that
one real object is another real object. For thus he always thinks that
which is, but he puts one thing in place of another; and missing the
aim of his thoughts, he may be truly said to have false opinion.
Theaet. Now you appear to me to have spoken the exact truth: when
a man puts the base in the place of the noble, or the noble in the
place of the base, then he has truly false opinion.
Soc. I see, Theaetetus, that your fear has disappeared, and that you
are beginning to despise me.
Theaet. What makes you say so?
Soc. You think, if I am not mistaken, that your "truly false" is
safe from censure, and that I shall never ask whether there can be a
swift which is slow, or a heavy which is light, or any other
self-contradictory thing, which works, not according to its own
nature, but according to that of its opposite. But I will not insist
upon this, for I do not wish needlessly to discourage you. And so
you are satisfied that false opinion is heterodoxy, or the thought
of something else?
Theaet. I am.
Soc. It is possible then upon your view for the mind to conceive
of one thing as another?
Theaet. True.
Soc. But must not the mind, or thinking power, which misplaces them,
have a conception either of both objects or of one of them?
Theaet. Certainly.
Soc. Either together or in succession?
Theaet. Very good.
Soc. And do you mean by conceiving, the same which I mean?
Theaet. What is that?
Soc. I mean the conversation which the soul holds with herself in
considering of anything. I speak of what I scarcely understand; but
the soul when thinking appears to me to be just talking-asking
questions of herself and answering them, affirming and denying. And
when she has arrived at a decision, either gradually or by a sudden
impulse, and has at last agreed, and does not doubt, this is called
her opinion. I say, then, that to form an opinion is to speak, and
opinion is a word spoken,-I mean, to oneself and in silence, not aloud
or to another: What think you?
Theaet. I agree.
Soc. Then when any one thinks of one thing as another, he is
saying to himself that one thing is another?
Theaet. Yes.
Soc. But do you ever remember saying to yourself that the noble is
certainly base, or the unjust just; or, best of all-have you ever
attempted to convince yourself that one thing is another? Nay, not
even in sleep, did you ever venture to say to yourself that odd is
even, or anything of the kind?
Theaet. Never.
Soc. And do you suppose that any other man, either in his senses
or out of them, ever seriously tried to persuade himself that an ox is
a horse, or that two are one?
Theaet. Certainly not.
Soc. But if thinking is talking to oneself, no one speaking and
thinking of two objects, and apprehending them both in his soul,
will say and think that the one is the other of them, and I must
add, that even you, lover of dispute as you are, had better let the
word "other" alone [i.e., not insist that "one" and "other" are the
same]. I mean to say, that no one thinks the noble to be base, or
anything of the kind.
Theaet. I will give up the word "other," Socrates; and I agree to

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