Parmenides by Plato

Parmenides Parmenides

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[2]        PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Cephalus, Adeimantus, Glaucon, Antiphon,
[3]        Pythodorus, Socrates, Zeno, Parmenides, Aristoteles.
[5]        Cephalus rehearses a dialogue which is supposed to have been narrated in
[6]        his presence by Antiphon, the half-brother of Adeimantus and Glaucon, to
[7]        certain Clazomenians.
[10]       We had come from our home at Clazomenae to Athens, and met Adeimantus and
[11]       Glaucon in the Agora. Welcome, Cephalus, said Adeimantus, taking me by the
[12]       hand; is there anything which we can do for you in Athens?
[14]       Yes; that is why I am here; I wish to ask a favour of you.
[16]       What may that be? he said.
[18]       I want you to tell me the name of your half brother, which I have
[19]       forgotten; he was a mere child when I last came hither from Clazomenae, but
[20]       that was a long time ago; his father's name, if I remember rightly, was
[21]       Pyrilampes?
[23]       Yes, he said, and the name of our brother, Antiphon; but why do you ask?
[25]       Let me introduce some countrymen of mine, I said; they are lovers of
[26]       philosophy, and have heard that Antiphon was intimate with a certain
[27]       Pythodorus, a friend of Zeno, and remembers a conversation which took place
[28]       between Socrates, Zeno, and Parmenides many years ago, Pythodorus having
[29]       often recited it to him.
[31]       Quite true.
[33]       And could we hear it? I asked.
[35]       Nothing easier, he replied; when he was a youth he made a careful study of
[36]       the piece; at present his thoughts run in another direction; like his
[37]       grandfather Antiphon he is devoted to horses. But, if that is what you
[38]       want, let us go and look for him; he dwells at Melita, which is quite near,
[39]       and he has only just left us to go home.
[41]       Accordingly we went to look for him; he was at home, and in the act of
[42]       giving a bridle to a smith to be fitted. When he had done with the smith,
[43]       his brothers told him the purpose of our visit; and he saluted me as an
[44]       acquaintance whom he remembered from my former visit, and we asked him to
[45]       repeat the dialogue. At first he was not very willing, and complained of
[46]       the trouble, but at length he consented. He told us that Pythodorus had
[47]       described to him the appearance of Parmenides and Zeno; they came to
[48]       Athens, as he said, at the great Panathenaea; the former was, at the time
[49]       of his visit, about 65 years old, very white with age, but well favoured.
[50]       Zeno was nearly 40 years of age, tall and fair to look upon; in the days of
[51]       his youth he was reported to have been beloved by Parmenides. He said that
[52]       they lodged with Pythodorus in the Ceramicus, outside the wall, whither
[53]       Socrates, then a very young man, came to see them, and many others with
[54]       him; they wanted to hear the writings of Zeno, which had been brought to
[55]       Athens for the first time on the occasion of their visit. These Zeno
[56]       himself read to them in the absence of Parmenides, and had very nearly
[57]       finished when Pythodorus entered, and with him Parmenides and Aristoteles
[58]       who was afterwards one of the Thirty, and heard the little that remained of
[59]       the dialogue. Pythodorus had heard Zeno repeat them before.
[61]       When the recitation was completed, Socrates requested that the first thesis
[62]       of the first argument might be read over again, and this having been done,
[63]       he said: What is your meaning, Zeno? Do you maintain that if being is
[64]       many, it must be both like and unlike, and that this is impossible, for
[65]       neither can the like be unlike, nor the unlike like--is that your position?
[67]       Just so, said Zeno.
[69]       And if the unlike cannot be like, or the like unlike, then according to
[70]       you, being could not be many; for this would involve an impossibility. In
[71]       all that you say have you any other purpose except to disprove the being of
[72]       the many? and is not each division of your treatise intended to furnish a
[73]       separate proof of this, there being in all as many proofs of the not-being
[74]       of the many as you have composed arguments? Is that your meaning, or have
[75]       I misunderstood you?
[77]       No, said Zeno; you have correctly understood my general purpose.
[79]       I see, Parmenides, said Socrates, that Zeno would like to be not only one
[80]       with you in friendship but your second self in his writings too; he puts
[81]       what you say in another way, and would fain make believe that he is telling
[82]       us something which is new. For you, in your poems, say The All is one, and
[83]       of this you adduce excellent proofs; and he on the other hand says There is
[84]       no many; and on behalf of this he offers overwhelming evidence. You affirm
[85]       unity, he denies plurality. And so you deceive the world into believing
[86]       that you are saying different things when really you are saying much the
[87]       same. This is a strain of art beyond the reach of most of us.
[89]       Yes, Socrates, said Zeno. But although you are as keen as a Spartan hound
[90]       in pursuing the track, you do not fully apprehend the true motive of the
[91]       composition, which is not really such an artificial work as you imagine;
[92]       for what you speak of was an accident; there was no pretence of a great
[93]       purpose; nor any serious intention of deceiving the world. The truth is,
[94]       that these writings of mine were meant to protect the arguments of
[95]       Parmenides against those who make fun of him and seek to show the many
[96]       ridiculous and contradictory results which they suppose to follow from the
[97]       affirmation of the one. My answer is addressed to the partisans of the
[98]       many, whose attack I return with interest by retorting upon them that their
[99]       hypothesis of the being of many, if carried out, appears to be still more
[100]      ridiculous than the hypothesis of the being of one. Zeal for my master led
[101]      me to write the book in the days of my youth, but some one stole the copy;
[102]      and therefore I had no choice whether it should be published or not; the
[103]      motive, however, of writing, was not the ambition of an elder man, but the
[104]      pugnacity of a young one. This you do not seem to see, Socrates; though in
[105]      other respects, as I was saying, your notion is a very just one.
[107]      I understand, said Socrates, and quite accept your account. But tell me,
[108]      Zeno, do you not further think that there is an idea of likeness in itself,
[109]      and another idea of unlikeness, which is the opposite of likeness, and that
[110]      in these two, you and I and all other things to which we apply the term
[111]      many, participate--things which participate in likeness become in that
[112]      degree and manner like; and so far as they participate in unlikeness become
[113]      in that degree unlike, or both like and unlike in the degree in which they
[114]      participate in both? And may not all things partake of both opposites, and
[115]      be both like and unlike, by reason of this participation?--Where is the
[116]      wonder? Now if a person could prove the absolute like to become unlike, or
[117]      the absolute unlike to become like, that, in my opinion, would indeed be a
[118]      wonder; but there is nothing extraordinary, Zeno, in showing that the
[119]      things which only partake of likeness and unlikeness experience both. Nor,
[120]      again, if a person were to show that all is one by partaking of one, and at
[121]      the same time many by partaking of many, would that be very astonishing.
[122]      But if he were to show me that the absolute one was many, or the absolute
[123]      many one, I should be truly amazed. And so of all the rest: I should be
[124]      surprised to hear that the natures or ideas themselves had these opposite
[125]      qualities; but not if a person wanted to prove of me that I was many and
[126]      also one. When he wanted to show that I was many he would say that I have
[127]      a right and a left side, and a front and a back, and an upper and a lower
[128]      half, for I cannot deny that I partake of multitude; when, on the other
[129]      hand, he wants to prove that I am one, he will say, that we who are here
[130]      assembled are seven, and that I am one and partake of the one. In both
[131]      instances he proves his case. So again, if a person shows that such things
[132]      as wood, stones, and the like, being many are also one, we admit that he
[133]      shows the coexistence of the one and many, but he does not show that the
[134]      many are one or the one many; he is uttering not a paradox but a truism.
[135]      If however, as I just now suggested, some one were to abstract simple
[136]      notions of like, unlike, one, many, rest, motion, and similar ideas, and
[137]      then to show that these admit of admixture and separation in themselves, I
[138]      should be very much astonished. This part of the argument appears to be
[139]      treated by you, Zeno, in a very spirited manner; but, as I was saying, I
[140]      should be far more amazed if any one found in the ideas themselves which
[141]      are apprehended by reason, the same puzzle and entanglement which you have
[142]      shown to exist in visible objects.
[144]      While Socrates was speaking, Pythodorus thought that Parmenides and Zeno
[145]      were not altogether pleased at the successive steps of the argument; but
[146]      still they gave the closest attention, and often looked at one another, and
[147]      smiled as if in admiration of him. When he had finished, Parmenides
[148]      expressed their feelings in the following words:--
[150]      Socrates, he said, I admire the bent of your mind towards philosophy; tell
[151]      me now, was this your own distinction between ideas in themselves and the
[152]      things which partake of them? and do you think that there is an idea of
[153]      likeness apart from the likeness which we possess, and of the one and many,
[154]      and of the other things which Zeno mentioned?
[156]      I think that there are such ideas, said Socrates.
[158]      Parmenides proceeded: And would you also make absolute ideas of the just
[159]      and the beautiful and the good, and of all that class?
[161]      Yes, he said, I should.
[163]      And would you make an idea of man apart from us and from all other human
[164]      creatures, or of fire and water?
[166]      I am often undecided, Parmenides, as to whether I ought to include them or
[167]      not.
[169]      And would you feel equally undecided, Socrates, about things of which the
[170]      mention may provoke a smile?--I mean such things as hair, mud, dirt, or
[171]      anything else which is vile and paltry; would you suppose that each of
[172]      these has an idea distinct from the actual objects with which we come into
[173]      contact, or not?
[175]      Certainly not, said Socrates; visible things like these are such as they
[176]      appear to us, and I am afraid that there would be an absurdity in assuming
[177]      any idea of them, although I sometimes get disturbed, and begin to think
[178]      that there is nothing without an idea; but then again, when I have taken up
[179]      this position, I run away, because I am afraid that I may fall into a
[180]      bottomless pit of nonsense, and perish; and so I return to the ideas of
[181]      which I was just now speaking, and occupy myself with them.
[183]      Yes, Socrates, said Parmenides; that is because you are still young; the
[184]      time will come, if I am not mistaken, when philosophy will have a firmer
[185]      grasp of you, and then you will not despise even the meanest things; at
[186]      your age, you are too much disposed to regard the opinions of men. But I
[187]      should like to know whether you mean that there are certain ideas of which
[188]      all other things partake, and from which they derive their names; that
[189]      similars, for example, become similar, because they partake of similarity;
[190]      and great things become great, because they partake of greatness; and that
[191]      just and beautiful things become just and beautiful, because they partake
[192]      of justice and beauty?
[194]      Yes, certainly, said Socrates that is my meaning.
[196]      Then each individual partakes either of the whole of the idea or else of a
[197]      part of the idea? Can there be any other mode of participation?
[199]      There cannot be, he said.
[201]      Then do you think that the whole idea is one, and yet, being one, is in
[202]      each one of the many?
[204]      Why not, Parmenides? said Socrates.
[206]      Because one and the same thing will exist as a whole at the same time in
[207]      many separate individuals, and will therefore be in a state of separation
[208]      from itself.
[210]      Nay, but the idea may be like the day which is one and the same in many
[211]      places at once, and yet continuous with itself; in this way each idea may
[212]      be one and the same in all at the same time.
[214]      I like your way, Socrates, of making one in many places at once. You mean
[215]      to say, that if I were to spread out a sail and cover a number of men,
[216]      there would be one whole including many--is not that your meaning?
[218]      I think so.
[220]      And would you say that the whole sail includes each man, or a part of it
[221]      only, and different parts different men?
[223]      The latter.
[225]      Then, Socrates, the ideas themselves will be divisible, and things which
[226]      participate in them will have a part of them only and not the whole idea
[227]      existing in each of them?
[229]      That seems to follow.
[231]      Then would you like to say, Socrates, that the one idea is really divisible
[232]      and yet remains one?
[234]      Certainly not, he said.
[236]      Suppose that you divide absolute greatness, and that of the many great
[237]      things, each one is great in virtue of a portion of greatness less than
[238]      absolute greatness--is that conceivable?
[240]      No.
[242]      Or will each equal thing, if possessing some small portion of equality less
[243]      than absolute equality, be equal to some other thing by virtue of that
[244]      portion only?
[246]      Impossible.
[248]      Or suppose one of us to have a portion of smallness; this is but a part of
[249]      the small, and therefore the absolutely small is greater; if the absolutely
[250]      small be greater, that to which the part of the small is added will be
[251]      smaller and not greater than before.
[253]      How absurd!
[255]      Then in what way, Socrates, will all things participate in the ideas, if
[256]      they are unable to participate in them either as parts or wholes?
[258]      Indeed, he said, you have asked a question which is not easily answered.
[260]      Well, said Parmenides, and what do you say of another question?
[262]      What question?
[264]      I imagine that the way in which you are led to assume one idea of each kind
[265]      is as follows:--You see a number of great objects, and when you look at
[266]      them there seems to you to be one and the same idea (or nature) in them
[267]      all; hence you conceive of greatness as one.
[269]      Very true, said Socrates.
[271]      And if you go on and allow your mind in like manner to embrace in one view
[272]      the idea of greatness and of great things which are not the idea, and to
[273]      compare them, will not another greatness arise, which will appear to be the
[274]      source of all these?
[276]      It would seem so.
[278]      Then another idea of greatness now comes into view over and above absolute
[279]      greatness, and the individuals which partake of it; and then another, over
[280]      and above all these, by virtue of which they will all be great, and so each
[281]      idea instead of being one will be infinitely multiplied.
[283]      But may not the ideas, asked Socrates, be thoughts only, and have no proper
[284]      existence except in our minds, Parmenides? For in that case each idea may
[285]      still be one, and not experience this infinite multiplication.
[287]      And can there be individual thoughts which are thoughts of nothing?
[289]      Impossible, he said.
[291]      The thought must be of something?
[293]      Yes.
[295]      Of something which is or which is not?
[297]      Of something which is.
[299]      Must it not be of a single something, which the thought recognizes as
[300]      attaching to all, being a single form or nature?
[302]      Yes.
[304]      And will not the something which is apprehended as one and the same in all,
[305]      be an idea?
[307]      From that, again, there is no escape.
[309]      Then, said Parmenides, if you say that everything else participates in the
[310]      ideas, must you not say either that everything is made up of thoughts, and
[311]      that all things think; or that they are thoughts but have no thought?
[313]      The latter view, Parmenides, is no more rational than the previous one. In
[314]      my opinion, the ideas are, as it were, patterns fixed in nature, and other
[315]      things are like them, and resemblances of them--what is meant by the
[316]      participation of other things in the ideas, is really assimilation to them.
[318]      But if, said he, the individual is like the idea, must not the idea also be
[319]      like the individual, in so far as the individual is a resemblance of the
[320]      idea? That which is like, cannot be conceived of as other than the like of
[321]      like.
[323]      Impossible.
[325]      And when two things are alike, must they not partake of the same idea?
[327]      They must.
[329]      And will not that of which the two partake, and which makes them alike, be
[330]      the idea itself?
[332]      Certainly.
[334]      Then the idea cannot be like the individual, or the individual like the
[335]      idea; for if they are alike, some further idea of likeness will always be
[336]      coming to light, and if that be like anything else, another; and new ideas
[337]      will be always arising, if the idea resembles that which partakes of it?
[339]      Quite true.
[341]      The theory, then, that other things participate in the ideas by
[342]      resemblance, has to be given up, and some other mode of participation
[343]      devised?
[345]      It would seem so.
[347]      Do you see then, Socrates, how great is the difficulty of affirming the
[348]      ideas to be absolute?
[350]      Yes, indeed.
[352]      And, further, let me say that as yet you only understand a small part of
[353]      the difficulty which is involved if you make of each thing a single idea,
[354]      parting it off from other things.
[356]      What difficulty? he said.
[358]      There are many, but the greatest of all is this:--If an opponent argues
[359]      that these ideas, being such as we say they ought to be, must remain
[360]      unknown, no one can prove to him that he is wrong, unless he who denies
[361]      their existence be a man of great ability and knowledge, and is willing to
[362]      follow a long and laborious demonstration; he will remain unconvinced, and
[363]      still insist that they cannot be known.
[365]      What do you mean, Parmenides? said Socrates.
[367]      In the first place, I think, Socrates, that you, or any one who maintains
[368]      the existence of absolute essences, will admit that they cannot exist in
[369]      us.
[371]      No, said Socrates; for then they would be no longer absolute.
[373]      True, he said; and therefore when ideas are what they are in relation to
[374]      one another, their essence is determined by a relation among themselves,
[375]      and has nothing to do with the resemblances, or whatever they are to be
[376]      termed, which are in our sphere, and from which we receive this or that
[377]      name when we partake of them. And the things which are within our sphere
[378]      and have the same names with them, are likewise only relative to one
[379]      another, and not to the ideas which have the same names with them, but
[380]      belong to themselves and not to them.
[382]      What do you mean? said Socrates.
[384]      I may illustrate my meaning in this way, said Parmenides:--A master has a
[385]      slave; now there is nothing absolute in the relation between them, which is
[386]      simply a relation of one man to another. But there is also an idea of
[387]      mastership in the abstract, which is relative to the idea of slavery in the
[388]      abstract. These natures have nothing to do with us, nor we with them; they
[389]      are concerned with themselves only, and we with ourselves. Do you see my
[390]      meaning?
[392]      Yes, said Socrates, I quite see your meaning.
[394]      And will not knowledge--I mean absolute knowledge--answer to absolute
[395]      truth?
[397]      Certainly.
[399]      And each kind of absolute knowledge will answer to each kind of absolute
[400]      being?
[402]      Yes.
[404]      But the knowledge which we have, will answer to the truth which we have;
[405]      and again, each kind of knowledge which we have, will be a knowledge of
[406]      each kind of being which we have?
[408]      Certainly.
[410]      But the ideas themselves, as you admit, we have not, and cannot have?
[412]      No, we cannot.
[414]      And the absolute natures or kinds are known severally by the absolute idea
[415]      of knowledge?
[417]      Yes.
[419]      And we have not got the idea of knowledge?
[421]      No.
[423]      Then none of the ideas are known to us, because we have no share in
[424]      absolute knowledge?
[426]      I suppose not.
[428]      Then the nature of the beautiful in itself, and of the good in itself, and
[429]      all other ideas which we suppose to exist absolutely, are unknown to us?
[431]      It would seem so.
[433]      I think that there is a stranger consequence still.
[435]      What is it?
[437]      Would you, or would you not say, that absolute knowledge, if there is such
[438]      a thing, must be a far more exact knowledge than our knowledge; and the
[439]      same of beauty and of the rest?
[441]      Yes.
[443]      And if there be such a thing as participation in absolute knowledge, no one
[444]      is more likely than God to have this most exact knowledge?
[446]      Certainly.
[448]      But then, will God, having absolute knowledge, have a knowledge of human
[449]      things?
[451]      Why not?
[453]      Because, Socrates, said Parmenides, we have admitted that the ideas are not
[454]      valid in relation to human things; nor human things in relation to them;
[455]      the relations of either are limited to their respective spheres.
[457]      Yes, that has been admitted.
[459]      And if God has this perfect authority, and perfect knowledge, his authority
[460]      cannot rule us, nor his knowledge know us, or any human thing; just as our
[461]      authority does not extend to the gods, nor our knowledge know anything
[462]      which is divine, so by parity of reason they, being gods, are not our
[463]      masters, neither do they know the things of men.
[465]      Yet, surely, said Socrates, to deprive God of knowledge is monstrous.
[467]      These, Socrates, said Parmenides, are a few, and only a few of the
[468]      difficulties in which we are involved if ideas really are and we determine
[469]      each one of them to be an absolute unity. He who hears what may be said
[470]      against them will deny the very existence of them--and even if they do
[471]      exist, he will say that they must of necessity be unknown to man; and he
[472]      will seem to have reason on his side, and as we were remarking just now,
[473]      will be very difficult to convince; a man must be gifted with very
[474]      considerable ability before he can learn that everything has a class and an
[475]      absolute essence; and still more remarkable will he be who discovers all
[476]      these things for himself, and having thoroughly investigated them is able
[477]      to teach them to others.
[479]      I agree with you, Parmenides, said Socrates; and what you say is very much
[480]      to my mind.
[482]      And yet, Socrates, said Parmenides, if a man, fixing his attention on these
[483]      and the like difficulties, does away with ideas of things and will not
[484]      admit that every individual thing has its own determinate idea which is
[485]      always one and the same, he will have nothing on which his mind can rest;
[486]      and so he will utterly destroy the power of reasoning, as you seem to me to
[487]      have particularly noted.
[489]      Very true, he said.
[491]      But, then, what is to become of philosophy? Whither shall we turn, if the
[492]      ideas are unknown?
[494]      I certainly do not see my way at present.
[496]      Yes, said Parmenides; and I think that this arises, Socrates, out of your
[497]      attempting to define the beautiful, the just, the good, and the ideas
[498]      generally, without sufficient previous training. I noticed your
[499]      deficiency, when I heard you talking here with your friend Aristoteles, the
[500]      day before yesterday. The impulse that carries you towards philosophy is
[501]      assuredly noble and divine; but there is an art which is called by the
[502]      vulgar idle talking, and which is often imagined to be useless; in that you
[503]      must train and exercise yourself, now that you are young, or truth will
[504]      elude your grasp.
[506]      And what is the nature of this exercise, Parmenides, which you would
[507]      recommend?
[509]      That which you heard Zeno practising; at the same time, I give you credit
[510]      for saying to him that you did not care to examine the perplexity in
[511]      reference to visible things, or to consider the question that way; but only
[512]      in reference to objects of thought, and to what may be called ideas.
[514]      Why, yes, he said, there appears to me to be no difficulty in showing by
[515]      this method that visible things are like and unlike and may experience
[516]      anything.
[518]      Quite true, said Parmenides; but I think that you should go a step further,
[519]      and consider not only the consequences which flow from a given hypothesis,
[520]      but also the consequences which flow from denying the hypothesis; and that
[521]      will be still better training for you.
[523]      What do you mean? he said.
[525]      I mean, for example, that in the case of this very hypothesis of Zeno's
[526]      about the many, you should inquire not only what will be the consequences
[527]      to the many in relation to themselves and to the one, and to the one in
[528]      relation to itself and the many, on the hypothesis of the being of the
[529]      many, but also what will be the consequences to the one and the many in
[530]      their relation to themselves and to each other, on the opposite hypothesis.
[531]      Or, again, if likeness is or is not, what will be the consequences in
[532]      either of these cases to the subjects of the hypothesis, and to other
[533]      things, in relation both to themselves and to one another, and so of
[534]      unlikeness; and the same holds good of motion and rest, of generation and
[535]      destruction, and even of being and not-being. In a word, when you suppose
[536]      anything to be or not to be, or to be in any way affected, you must look at
[537]      the consequences in relation to the thing itself, and to any other things
[538]      which you choose,--to each of them singly, to more than one, and to all;
[539]      and so of other things, you must look at them in relation to themselves and
[540]      to anything else which you suppose either to be or not to be, if you would
[541]      train yourself perfectly and see the real truth.
[543]      That, Parmenides, is a tremendous business of which you speak, and I do not
[544]      quite understand you; will you take some hypothesis and go through the
[545]      steps?--then I shall apprehend you better.
[547]      That, Socrates, is a serious task to impose on a man of my years.
[549]      Then will you, Zeno? said Socrates.
[551]      Zeno answered with a smile:--Let us make our petition to Parmenides
[552]      himself, who is quite right in saying that you are hardly aware of the
[553]      extent of the task which you are imposing on him; and if there were more of
[554]      us I should not ask him, for these are not subjects which any one,
[555]      especially at his age, can well speak of before a large audience; most
[556]      people are not aware that this roundabout progress through all things is
[557]      the only way in which the mind can attain truth and wisdom. And therefore,
[558]      Parmenides, I join in the request of Socrates, that I may hear the process
[559]      again which I have not heard for a long time.
[561]      When Zeno had thus spoken, Pythodorus, according to Antiphon's report of
[562]      him, said, that he himself and Aristoteles and the whole company entreated
[563]      Parmenides to give an example of the process. I cannot refuse, said
[564]      Parmenides; and yet I feel rather like Ibycus, who, when in his old age,
[565]      against his will, he fell in love, compared himself to an old racehorse,
[566]      who was about to run in a chariot race, shaking with fear at the course he
[567]      knew so well--this was his simile of himself. And I also experience a
[568]      trembling when I remember through what an ocean of words I have to wade at
[569]      my time of life. But I must indulge you, as Zeno says that I ought, and we
[570]      are alone. Where shall I begin? And what shall be our first hypothesis,
[571]      if I am to attempt this laborious pastime? Shall I begin with myself, and
[572]      take my own hypothesis the one? and consider the consequences which follow
[573]      on the supposition either of the being or of the not-being of one?
[575]      By all means, said Zeno.
[577]      And who will answer me? he said. Shall I propose the youngest? He will
[578]      not make difficulties and will be the most likely to say what he thinks;
[579]      and his answers will give me time to breathe.
[581]      I am the one whom you mean, Parmenides, said Aristoteles; for I am the
[582]      youngest and at your service. Ask, and I will answer.
[584]      Parmenides proceeded: 1.a. If one is, he said, the one cannot be many?
[586]      Impossible.
[588]      Then the one cannot have parts, and cannot be a whole?
[590]      Why not?
[592]      Because every part is part of a whole; is it not?
[594]      Yes.
[596]      And what is a whole? would not that of which no part is wanting be a whole?
[598]      Certainly.
[600]      Then, in either case, the one would be made up of parts; both as being a
[601]      whole, and also as having parts?
[603]      To be sure.
[605]      And in either case, the one would be many, and not one?
[607]      True.
[609]      But, surely, it ought to be one and not many?
[611]      It ought.
[613]      Then, if the one is to remain one, it will not be a whole, and will not
[614]      have parts?
[616]      No.
[618]      But if it has no parts, it will have neither beginning, middle, nor end;
[619]      for these would of course be parts of it.
[621]      Right.
[623]      But then, again, a beginning and an end are the limits of everything?
[625]      Certainly.
[627]      Then the one, having neither beginning nor end, is unlimited?
[629]      Yes, unlimited.
[631]      And therefore formless; for it cannot partake either of round or straight.
[633]      But why?
[635]      Why, because the round is that of which all the extreme points are
[636]      equidistant from the centre?
[638]      Yes.
[640]      And the straight is that of which the centre intercepts the view of the
[641]      extremes?
[643]      True.
[645]      Then the one would have parts and would be many, if it partook either of a
[646]      straight or of a circular form?
[648]      Assuredly.
[650]      But having no parts, it will be neither straight nor round?
[652]      Right.
[654]      And, being of such a nature, it cannot be in any place, for it cannot be
[655]      either in another or in itself.
[657]      How so?
[659]      Because if it were in another, it would be encircled by that in which it
[660]      was, and would touch it at many places and with many parts; but that which
[661]      is one and indivisible, and does not partake of a circular nature, cannot
[662]      be touched all round in many places.
[664]      Certainly not.
[666]      But if, on the other hand, one were in itself, it would also be contained
[667]      by nothing else but itself; that is to say, if it were really in itself;
[668]      for nothing can be in anything which does not contain it.
[670]      Impossible.
[672]      But then, that which contains must be other than that which is contained?
[673]      for the same whole cannot do and suffer both at once; and if so, one will
[674]      be no longer one, but two?
[676]      True.
[678]      Then one cannot be anywhere, either in itself or in another?
[680]      No.
[682]      Further consider, whether that which is of such a nature can have either
[683]      rest or motion.
[685]      Why not?
[687]      Why, because the one, if it were moved, would be either moved in place or
[688]      changed in nature; for these are the only kinds of motion.
[690]      Yes.
[692]      And the one, when it changes and ceases to be itself, cannot be any longer
[693]      one.
[695]      It cannot.
[697]      It cannot therefore experience the sort of motion which is change of
[698]      nature?
[700]      Clearly not.
[702]      Then can the motion of the one be in place?
[704]      Perhaps.
[706]      But if the one moved in place, must it not either move round and round in
[707]      the same place, or from one place to another?
[709]      It must.
[711]      And that which moves in a circle must rest upon a centre; and that which
[712]      goes round upon a centre must have parts which are different from the
[713]      centre; but that which has no centre and no parts cannot possibly be
[714]      carried round upon a centre?
[716]      Impossible.
[718]      But perhaps the motion of the one consists in change of place?
[720]      Perhaps so, if it moves at all.
[722]      And have we not already shown that it cannot be in anything?
[724]      Yes.
[726]      Then its coming into being in anything is still more impossible; is it not?
[728]      I do not see why.
[730]      Why, because anything which comes into being in anything, can neither as
[731]      yet be in that other thing while still coming into being, nor be altogether
[732]      out of it, if already coming into being in it.
[734]      Certainly not.
[736]      And therefore whatever comes into being in another must have parts, and
[737]      then one part may be in, and another part out of that other; but that which
[738]      has no parts can never be at one and the same time neither wholly within
[739]      nor wholly without anything.
[741]      True.
[743]      And is there not a still greater impossibility in that which has no parts,
[744]      and is not a whole, coming into being anywhere, since it cannot come into
[745]      being either as a part or as a whole?
[747]      Clearly.
[749]      Then it does not change place by revolving in the same spot, nor by going
[750]      somewhere and coming into being in something; nor again, by change in
[751]      itself?
[753]      Very true.
[755]      Then in respect of any kind of motion the one is immoveable?
[757]      Immoveable.
[759]      But neither can the one be in anything, as we affirm?
[761]      Yes, we said so.
[763]      Then it is never in the same?
[765]      Why not?
[767]      Because if it were in the same it would be in something.
[769]      Certainly.
[771]      And we said that it could not be in itself, and could not be in other?
[773]      True.
[775]      Then one is never in the same place?
[777]      It would seem not.
[779]      But that which is never in the same place is never quiet or at rest?
[781]      Never.
[783]      One then, as would seem, is neither at rest nor in motion?
[785]      It certainly appears so.
[787]      Neither will it be the same with itself or other; nor again, other than
[788]      itself or other.
[790]      How is that?
[792]      If other than itself it would be other than one, and would not be one.
[794]      True.
[796]      And if the same with other, it would be that other, and not itself; so that
[797]      upon this supposition too, it would not have the nature of one, but would
[798]      be other than one?
[800]      It would.
[802]      Then it will not be the same with other, or other than itself?
[804]      It will not.
[806]      Neither will it be other than other, while it remains one; for not one, but
[807]      only other, can be other than other, and nothing else.
[809]      True.
[811]      Then not by virtue of being one will it be other?
[813]      Certainly not.
[815]      But if not by virtue of being one, not by virtue of itself; and if not by
[816]      virtue of itself, not itself, and itself not being other at all, will not
[817]      be other than anything?
[819]      Right.
[821]      Neither will one be the same with itself.
[823]      How not?
[825]      Surely the nature of the one is not the nature of the same.
[827]      Why not?
[829]      It is not when anything becomes the same with anything that it becomes one.
[831]      What of that?
[833]      Anything which becomes the same with the many, necessarily becomes many and
[834]      not one.
[836]      True.
[838]      But, if there were no difference between the one and the same, when a thing
[839]      became the same, it would always become one; and when it became one, the
[840]      same?
[842]      Certainly.
[844]      And, therefore, if one be the same with itself, it is not one with itself,
[845]      and will therefore be one and also not one.
[847]      Surely that is impossible.
[849]      And therefore the one can neither be other than other, nor the same with
[850]      itself.
[852]      Impossible.
[854]      And thus the one can neither be the same, nor other, either in relation to
[855]      itself or other?
[857]      No.
[859]      Neither will the one be like anything or unlike itself or other.
[861]      Why not?
[863]      Because likeness is sameness of affections.
[865]      Yes.
[867]      And sameness has been shown to be of a nature distinct from oneness?
[869]      That has been shown.
[871]      But if the one had any other affection than that of being one, it would be
[872]      affected in such a way as to be more than one; which is impossible.
[874]      True.
[876]      Then the one can never be so affected as to be the same either with another
[877]      or with itself?
[879]      Clearly not.
[881]      Then it cannot be like another, or like itself?
[883]      No.
[885]      Nor can it be affected so as to be other, for then it would be affected in
[886]      such a way as to be more than one.
[888]      It would.
[890]      That which is affected otherwise than itself or another, will be unlike
[891]      itself or another, for sameness of affections is likeness.
[893]      True.
[895]      But the one, as appears, never being affected otherwise, is never unlike
[896]      itself or other?
[898]      Never.
[900]      Then the one will never be either like or unlike itself or other?
[902]      Plainly not.
[904]      Again, being of this nature, it can neither be equal nor unequal either to
[905]      itself or to other.
[907]      How is that?
[909]      Why, because the one if equal must be of the same measures as that to which
[910]      it is equal.
[912]      True.
[914]      And if greater or less than things which are commensurable with it, the one
[915]      will have more measures than that which is less, and fewer than that which
[916]      is greater?
[918]      Yes.
[920]      And so of things which are not commensurate with it, the one will have
[921]      greater measures than that which is less and smaller than that which is
[922]      greater.
[924]      Certainly.
[926]      But how can that which does not partake of sameness, have either the same
[927]      measures or have anything else the same?
[929]      Impossible.
[931]      And not having the same measures, the one cannot be equal either with
[932]      itself or with another?
[934]      It appears so.
[936]      But again, whether it have fewer or more measures, it will have as many
[937]      parts as it has measures; and thus again the one will be no longer one but
[938]      will have as many parts as measures.
[940]      Right.
[942]      And if it were of one measure, it would be equal to that measure; yet it
[943]      has been shown to be incapable of equality.
[945]      It has.
[947]      Then it will neither partake of one measure, nor of many, nor of few, nor
[948]      of the same at all, nor be equal to itself or another; nor be greater or
[949]      less than itself, or other?
[951]      Certainly.
[953]      Well, and do we suppose that one can be older, or younger than anything, or
[954]      of the same age with it?
[956]      Why not?
[958]      Why, because that which is of the same age with itself or other, must
[959]      partake of equality or likeness of time; and we said that the one did not
[960]      partake either of equality or of likeness?
[962]      We did say so.
[964]      And we also said, that it did not partake of inequality or unlikeness.
[966]      Very true.
[968]      How then can one, being of this nature, be either older or younger than
[969]      anything, or have the same age with it?
[971]      In no way.
[973]      Then one cannot be older or younger, or of the same age, either with itself
[974]      or with another?
[976]      Clearly not.
[978]      Then the one, being of this nature, cannot be in time at all; for must not
[979]      that which is in time, be always growing older than itself?
[981]      Certainly.
[983]      And that which is older, must always be older than something which is
[984]      younger?
[986]      True.
[988]      Then, that which becomes older than itself, also becomes at the same time
[989]      younger than itself, if it is to have something to become older than.
[991]      What do you mean?
[993]      I mean this:--A thing does not need to become different from another thing
[994]      which is already different; it IS different, and if its different has
[995]      become, it has become different; if its different will be, it will be
[996]      different; but of that which is becoming different, there cannot have been,
[997]      or be about to be, or yet be, a different--the only different possible is
[998]      one which is becoming.
[1000]     That is inevitable.
[1002]     But, surely, the elder is a difference relative to the younger, and to
[1003]     nothing else.
[1005]     True.
[1007]     Then that which becomes older than itself must also, at the same time,
[1008]     become younger than itself?
[1010]     Yes.
[1012]     But again, it is true that it cannot become for a longer or for a shorter
[1013]     time than itself, but it must become, and be, and have become, and be about
[1014]     to be, for the same time with itself?
[1016]     That again is inevitable.
[1018]     Then things which are in time, and partake of time, must in every case, I
[1019]     suppose, be of the same age with themselves; and must also become at once
[1020]     older and younger than themselves?
[1022]     Yes.
[1024]     But the one did not partake of those affections?
[1026]     Not at all.
[1028]     Then it does not partake of time, and is not in any time?
[1030]     So the argument shows.
[1032]     Well, but do not the expressions 'was,' and 'has become,' and 'was
[1033]     becoming,' signify a participation of past time?
[1035]     Certainly.
[1037]     And do not 'will be,' 'will become,' 'will have become,' signify a
[1038]     participation of future time?
[1040]     Yes.
[1042]     And 'is,' or 'becomes,' signifies a participation of present time?
[1044]     Certainly.
[1046]     And if the one is absolutely without participation in time, it never had
[1047]     become, or was becoming, or was at any time, or is now become or is
[1048]     becoming, or is, or will become, or will have become, or will be,
[1049]     hereafter.
[1051]     Most true.
[1053]     But are there any modes of partaking of being other than these?
[1055]     There are none.
[1057]     Then the one cannot possibly partake of being?
[1059]     That is the inference.
[1061]     Then the one is not at all?
[1063]     Clearly not.
[1065]     Then the one does not exist in such way as to be one; for if it were and
[1066]     partook of being, it would already be; but if the argument is to be
[1067]     trusted, the one neither is nor is one?
[1069]     True.
[1071]     But that which is not admits of no attribute or relation?
[1073]     Of course not.
[1075]     Then there is no name, nor expression, nor perception, nor opinion, nor
[1076]     knowledge of it?
[1078]     Clearly not.
[1080]     Then it is neither named, nor expressed, nor opined, nor known, nor does
[1081]     anything that is perceive it.
[1083]     So we must infer.
[1085]     But can all this be true about the one?
[1087]     I think not.
[1089]     1.b. Suppose, now, that we return once more to the original hypothesis;
[1090]     let us see whether, on a further review, any new aspect of the question
[1091]     appears.
[1093]     I shall be very happy to do so.
[1095]     We say that we have to work out together all the consequences, whatever
[1096]     they may be, which follow, if the one is?
[1098]     Yes.
[1100]     Then we will begin at the beginning:--If one is, can one be, and not
[1101]     partake of being?
[1103]     Impossible.
[1105]     Then the one will have being, but its being will not be the same with the
[1106]     one; for if the same, it would not be the being of the one; nor would the
[1107]     one have participated in being, for the proposition that one is would have
[1108]     been identical with the proposition that one is one; but our hypothesis is
[1109]     not if one is one, what will follow, but if one is:--am I not right?
[1111]     Quite right.
[1113]     We mean to say, that being has not the same significance as one?
[1115]     Of course.
[1117]     And when we put them together shortly, and say 'One is,' that is equivalent
[1118]     to saying, 'partakes of being'?
[1120]     Quite true.
[1122]     Once more then let us ask, if one is what will follow. Does not this
[1123]     hypothesis necessarily imply that one is of such a nature as to have parts?
[1125]     How so?
[1127]     In this way:--If being is predicated of the one, if the one is, and one of
[1128]     being, if being is one; and if being and one are not the same; and since
[1129]     the one, which we have assumed, is, must not the whole, if it is one,
[1130]     itself be, and have for its parts, one and being?
[1132]     Certainly.
[1134]     And is each of these parts--one and being--to be simply called a part, or
[1135]     must the word 'part' be relative to the word 'whole'?
[1137]     The latter.
[1139]     Then that which is one is both a whole and has a part?
[1141]     Certainly.
[1143]     Again, of the parts of the one, if it is--I mean being and one--does either
[1144]     fail to imply the other? is the one wanting to being, or being to the one?
[1146]     Impossible.
[1148]     Thus, each of the parts also has in turn both one and being, and is at the
[1149]     least made up of two parts; and the same principle goes on for ever, and
[1150]     every part whatever has always these two parts; for being always involves
[1151]     one, and one being; so that one is always disappearing, and becoming two.
[1153]     Certainly.
[1155]     And so the one, if it is, must be infinite in multiplicity?
[1157]     Clearly.
[1159]     Let us take another direction.
[1161]     What direction?
[1163]     We say that the one partakes of being and therefore it is?
[1165]     Yes.
[1167]     And in this way, the one, if it has being, has turned out to be many?
[1169]     True.
[1171]     But now, let us abstract the one which, as we say, partakes of being, and
[1172]     try to imagine it apart from that of which, as we say, it partakes--will
[1173]     this abstract one be one only or many?
[1175]     One, I think.
[1177]     Let us see:--Must not the being of one be other than one? for the one is
[1178]     not being, but, considered as one, only partook of being?
[1180]     Certainly.
[1182]     If being and the one be two different things, it is not because the one is
[1183]     one that it is other than being; nor because being is being that it is
[1184]     other than the one; but they differ from one another in virtue of otherness
[1185]     and difference.
[1187]     Certainly.
[1189]     So that the other is not the same--either with the one or with being?
[1191]     Certainly not.
[1193]     And therefore whether we take being and the other, or being and the one, or
[1194]     the one and the other, in every such case we take two things, which may be
[1195]     rightly called both.
[1197]     How so.
[1199]     In this way--you may speak of being?
[1201]     Yes.
[1203]     And also of one?
[1205]     Yes.
[1207]     Then now we have spoken of either of them?
[1209]     Yes.
[1211]     Well, and when I speak of being and one, I speak of them both?
[1213]     Certainly.
[1215]     And if I speak of being and the other, or of the one and the other,--in any
[1216]     such case do I not speak of both?
[1218]     Yes.
[1220]     And must not that which is correctly called both, be also two?
[1222]     Undoubtedly.
[1224]     And of two things how can either by any possibility not be one?
[1226]     It cannot.
[1228]     Then, if the individuals of the pair are together two, they must be
[1229]     severally one?
[1231]     Clearly.
[1233]     And if each of them is one, then by the addition of any one to any pair,
[1234]     the whole becomes three?
[1236]     Yes.
[1238]     And three are odd, and two are even?
[1240]     Of course.
[1242]     And if there are two there must also be twice, and if there are three there
[1243]     must be thrice; that is, if twice one makes two, and thrice one three?
[1245]     Certainly.
[1247]     There are two, and twice, and therefore there must be twice two; and there
[1248]     are three, and there is thrice, and therefore there must be thrice three?
[1250]     Of course.
[1252]     If there are three and twice, there is twice three; and if there are
[1253]     two and thrice, there is thrice two?
[1255]     Undoubtedly.
[1257]     Here, then, we have even taken even times, and odd taken odd times, and
[1258]     even taken odd times, and odd taken even times.
[1260]     True.
[1262]     And if this is so, does any number remain which has no necessity to be?
[1264]     None whatever.
[1266]     Then if one is, number must also be?
[1268]     It must.
[1270]     But if there is number, there must also be many, and infinite multiplicity
[1271]     of being; for number is infinite in multiplicity, and partakes also of
[1272]     being: am I not right?
[1274]     Certainly.
[1276]     And if all number participates in being, every part of number will also
[1277]     participate?
[1279]     Yes.
[1281]     Then being is distributed over the whole multitude of things, and nothing
[1282]     that is, however small or however great, is devoid of it? And, indeed, the
[1283]     very supposition of this is absurd, for how can that which is, be devoid of
[1284]     being?
[1286]     In no way.
[1288]     And it is divided into the greatest and into the smallest, and into being
[1289]     of all sizes, and is broken up more than all things; the divisions of it
[1290]     have no limit.
[1292]     True.
[1294]     Then it has the greatest number of parts?
[1296]     Yes, the greatest number.
[1298]     Is there any of these which is a part of being, and yet no part?
[1300]     Impossible.
[1302]     But if it is at all and so long as it is, it must be one, and cannot be
[1303]     none?
[1305]     Certainly.
[1307]     Then the one attaches to every single part of being, and does not fail in
[1308]     any part, whether great or small, or whatever may be the size of it?
[1310]     True.
[1312]     But reflect:--Can one, in its entirety, be in many places at the same time?
[1314]     No; I see the impossibility of that.
[1316]     And if not in its entirety, then it is divided; for it cannot be present
[1317]     with all the parts of being, unless divided.
[1319]     True.
[1321]     And that which has parts will be as many as the parts are?
[1323]     Certainly.
[1325]     Then we were wrong in saying just now, that being was distributed into the
[1326]     greatest number of parts. For it is not distributed into parts more than
[1327]     the one, into parts equal to the one; the one is never wanting to being, or
[1328]     being to the one, but being two they are co-equal and co-extensive.
[1330]     Certainly that is true.
[1332]     The one itself, then, having been broken up into parts by being, is many
[1333]     and infinite?
[1335]     True.
[1337]     Then not only the one which has being is many, but the one itself
[1338]     distributed by being, must also be many?
[1340]     Certainly.
[1342]     Further, inasmuch as the parts are parts of a whole, the one, as a whole,
[1343]     will be limited; for are not the parts contained by the whole?
[1345]     Certainly.
[1347]     And that which contains, is a limit?
[1349]     Of course.
[1351]     Then the one if it has being is one and many, whole and parts, having
[1352]     limits and yet unlimited in number?
[1354]     Clearly.
[1356]     And because having limits, also having extremes?
[1358]     Certainly.
[1360]     And if a whole, having beginning and middle and end. For can anything be a
[1361]     whole without these three? And if any one of them is wanting to anything,
[1362]     will that any longer be a whole?
[1364]     No.
[1366]     Then the one, as appears, will have beginning, middle, and end.
[1368]     It will.
[1370]     But, again, the middle will be equidistant from the extremes; or it would
[1371]     not be in the middle?
[1373]     Yes.
[1375]     Then the one will partake of figure, either rectilinear or round, or a
[1376]     union of the two?
[1378]     True.
[1380]     And if this is the case, it will be both in itself and in another too.
[1382]     How?
[1384]     Every part is in the whole, and none is outside the whole.
[1386]     True.
[1388]     And all the parts are contained by the whole?
[1390]     Yes.
[1392]     And the one is all its parts, and neither more nor less than all?
[1394]     No.
[1396]     And the one is the whole?
[1398]     Of course.
[1400]     But if all the parts are in the whole, and the one is all of them and the
[1401]     whole, and they are all contained by the whole, the one will be contained
[1402]     by the one; and thus the one will be in itself.
[1404]     That is true.
[1406]     But then, again, the whole is not in the parts--neither in all the parts,
[1407]     nor in some one of them. For if it is in all, it must be in one; for if
[1408]     there were any one in which it was not, it could not be in all the parts;
[1409]     for the part in which it is wanting is one of all, and if the whole is not
[1410]     in this, how can it be in them all?
[1412]     It cannot.
[1414]     Nor can the whole be in some of the parts; for if the whole were in some of
[1415]     the parts, the greater would be in the less, which is impossible.
[1417]     Yes, impossible.
[1419]     But if the whole is neither in one, nor in more than one, nor in all of the
[1420]     parts, it must be in something else, or cease to be anywhere at all?
[1422]     Certainly.
[1424]     If it were nowhere, it would be nothing; but being a whole, and not being
[1425]     in itself, it must be in another.
[1427]     Very true.
[1429]     The one then, regarded as a whole, is in another, but regarded as being all
[1430]     its parts, is in itself; and therefore the one must be itself in itself and
[1431]     also in another.
[1433]     Certainly.
[1435]     The one then, being of this nature, is of necessity both at rest and in
[1436]     motion?
[1438]     How?
[1440]     The one is at rest since it is in itself, for being in one, and not passing
[1441]     out of this, it is in the same, which is itself.
[1443]     True.
[1445]     And that which is ever in the