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theaetetus   


and sometimes to be what he does not know. We were wrong before in
denying the possibility of this.
Theaet. And how would you amend the former statement?
Soc. I should begin by making a list of the impossible cases which
must be excluded. (1) No one can think one thing to be another when he
does not perceive either of them, but has the memorial or seal of both
of them in his mind; nor can any mistaking of one thing for another
occur, when he only knows one, and does not know, and has no
impression of the other; nor can he think that one thing which he does
not know is another thing which he does not know, or that what he does
not know is what he knows; nor (2) that one thing which he perceives
is another thing which he perceives, or that something which he
perceives is something which he does not perceive; or that something
which he does not perceive is something else which he does not
perceive; or that something which he does not perceive is something
which he perceives; nor again (3) can he think that something which he
knows and perceives, and of which he has the impression coinciding
with sense, is something else which he knows and perceives, and of
which he has the impression coinciding with sense;-this last case,
if possible, is still more inconceivable than the others; nor (4)
can he think that something which he knows and perceives, and of which
he has the memorial coinciding with sense, is something else which
he knows; nor so long as these agree, can he think that a thing
which he knows and perceives is another thing which he perceives; or
that a thing which he does not know and does not perceive, is the same
as another thing which he does not know and does not perceive;-nor
again, can he suppose that a thing which he does not know and does not
perceive is the same as another thing which he does not know; or
that a thing which he does not know and does not perceive is another
thing which he does not perceive:-All these utterly and absolutely
exclude the possibility of false opinion. The only cases, if any,
which remain, are the following.
Theaet. What are they? If you tell me, I may perhaps understand
you better; but at present I am unable to follow you.
Soc. A person may think that some things which he knows, or which he
perceives and does not know, are some other things which he knows
and perceives; or that some things which he knows and perceives, are
other things which he knows and perceives.
Theaet. I understand you less than ever now.
Soc. Hear me once more, then:-I, knowing Theodorus, and
remembering in my own mind what sort of person he is, and also what
sort of person Theaetetus is, at one time see them, and at another
time do not see them, and sometimes I touch them, and at another
time not, or at one time I may hear them or perceive them in some
other way, and at another time not perceive them, but still I remember
them, and know them in my own mind.
Theaet. Very true.
Soc. Then, first of all, I want you to understand that a man may
or may not perceive sensibly that which he knows.
Theaet. True.
Soc. And that which he does not know will sometimes not be perceived
by him and sometimes will be perceived and only perceived?
Theaet. That is also true.
Soc. See whether you can follow me better now: Socrates can
recognize Theodorus and Theaetetus, but he sees neither of them, nor
does he perceive them in any other way; he cannot then by any
possibility imagine in his own mind that Theaetetus is Theodorus. Am I
not right?
Theaet. You are quite right.
Soc. Then that was the first case of which I spoke.
Theaet. Yes.
Soc. The second case was, that I, knowing one of you and not knowing
the other, and perceiving neither, can never think him whom I know
to be him whom I do not know.

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