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Plato. (427?–347 B.C.).  The Apology, Phædo and Crito.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Phædo
 
Paras. 500–599
 
 
True.  500
  And if Phædo exceeds him in size, that is not because Phædo is Phædo, but because Phædo has greatness relatively to Simmias, who is comparatively smaller?  501
  That is true.  502
  And therefore Simmias is said to be great, and is also said to be small, because he is in a mean between them, exceeding the smallness of the one by his greatness, and allowing the greatness of the other to exceed his smallness. He added, laughing, I am speaking like a book, but I believe that what I am now saying is true.  503
  Simmias assented to this.  504
  The reason why I say this is that I want you to agree with me in thinking, not only that absolute greatness will never be great and also small, but that greatness in us or in the concrete will never admit the small or admit of being exceeded: instead of this, one of two things will happen—either the greater will fly or retire before the opposite, which is the less, or at the advance of the less will cease to exist; but will not, if allowing or admitting smallness, be changed by that; even as I, having received and admitted smallness when compared with Simmias, remain just as I was, and am the same small person. And as the idea of greatness cannot condescend ever to be or become small, in like manner the smallness in us cannot be or become great; nor can any other opposite which remains the same ever be or become its own opposite, but either passes away or perishes in the change.  505
  That, replied Cebes, is quite my notion.  506
  One of the company, though I do not exactly remember which of them, on hearing this, said: By Heaven, is not this the direct contrary of what was admitted before—that out of the greater came the less and out of the less the greater, and that opposites are simply generated from opposites; whereas now this seems to be utterly denied.  507
  Socrates inclined his head to the speaker and listened. I like your courage, he said, in reminding us of this. But you do not observe that there is a difference in the two cases. For then we were speaking of opposites in the concrete, and now of the essential opposite which, as is affirmed, neither in us nor in nature can ever be at variance with itself: then, my friend, we were speaking of things in which opposites are inherent and which are called after them, but now about the opposites which are inherent in them and which give their name to them; these essential opposites will never, as we maintain, admit of generation into or out of one another. At the same time, turning to Cebes, he said: Were you at all disconcerted, Cebes, at our friend’s objection?  508
  That was not my feeling, said Cebes; and yet I cannot deny that I am apt to be disconcerted.  509
  Then we are agreed after all, said Socrates, that the opposite will never in any case be opposed to itself?  510
  To that we are quite agreed, he replied.  511
  Yet once more let me ask you to consider the question from another point of view, and see whether you agree with me: There is a thing which you term heat, and another thing which you term cold?  512
  Certainly.  513
  But are they the same as fire and snow?  514
  Most assuredly not.  515
  Heat is not the same as fire, nor is cold the same as snow?  516
  No.  517
  And yet you will surely admit that when snow, as before said, is under the influence of heat, they will not remain snow and heat; but at the advance of the heat the snow will either retire or perish?  518
  Very true, he replied.  519
  And the fire too at the advance of the cold will either retire or perish; and when the fire is under the influence of the cold, they will not remain, as before, fire and cold.  520
  That is true, he said.  521
  And in some cases the name of the idea is not confined to the idea; but anything else which, not being the idea, exists only in the form of the idea, may also lay claim to it. I will try to make this clearer by an example: The odd number is always called by the name of odd?  522
  Very true.  523
  But is this the only thing which is called odd? Are there not other things which have their own name, and yet are called odd, because, although not the same as oddness, they are never without oddness?—that is what I mean to ask—whether numbers such as the number three are not of the class of odd. And there are many other examples: would you not say, for example, that three may be called by its proper name, and also be called odd, which is not the same with three? and this may be said not only of three but also of five, and every alternate number—each of them without being oddness is odd, and in the same way two and four, and the whole series of alternate numbers, has every number even, without being evenness. Do you admit that?  524
  Yes, he said, how can I deny that?  525
  Then now mark the point at which I am aiming: not only do essential opposites exclude one another, but also concrete things, which, although not in themselves opposed, contain opposites; these, I say, also reject the idea which is opposed to that which is contained in them, and at the advance of that they either perish or withdraw. There is the number three for example; will not that endure annihilation or anything sooner than be converted into an even number, remaining three?  526
  Very true, said Cebes.  527
  And yet, he said, the number two is certainly not opposed to the number three?  528
  It is not.  529
  Then not only do opposite ideas repel the advance of one another, but also there are other things which repel the approach of opposites.  530
  That is quite true, he said.  531
  Suppose, he said, that we endeavor, if possible, to determine what these are.  532
  By all means.  533
  Are they not, Cebes, such as compel the things of which they have possession, not only to take their own form, but also the form of some opposite?  534
  What do you mean?  535
  I mean, as I was just now saying, and have no need to repeat to you, that those things which are possessed by the number three must not only be three in number, but must also be odd.  536
  Quite true.  537
  And on this oddness, of which the number three has the impress, the opposite idea will never intrude?  538
  No.  539
  And this impress was given by the odd principle?  540
  Yes.  541
  And to the odd is opposed the even?  542
  True.  543
  Then the idea of the even number will never arrive at three?  544
  No.  545
  Then three has no part in the even?  546
  None.  547
  Then the triad or number three is uneven?  548
  Very true.  549
  To return then to my distinction of natures which are not opposites, and yet do not admit opposites: as in this instance, three although not opposed to the even, does not any the more admit of the even, but always brings the opposite into play on the other side; or as two does not receive the odd, or fire the cold—from these examples (and there are many more of them) perhaps you may be able to arrive at the general conclusion that not only opposites will not receive opposites, but also that nothing which brings the opposite will admit the opposite of that which it brings in that to which it is brought. And here let me recapitulate—for there is no harm in repetition. The number five will not admit the nature of the even, any more than ten, which is the double of five, will admit the nature of the odd—the double, though not strictly opposed to the odd, rejects the odd altogether. Nor again will parts in the ratio of 3:2, nor any fraction in which there is a half, nor again in which there is a third, admit the notion of the whole, although they are not opposed to the whole. You will agree to that?  550
  Yes, he said, I entirely agree and go along with you in that.  551
  And now, he said, I think that I may begin again; and to the question which I am about to ask I will beg you to give not the old safe answer, but another, of which I will offer you an example; and I hope that you will find in what has been just said another foundation which is as safe. I mean that if anyone asks you, “What that is, the inherence of which makes the body hot?” you will reply not heat (this is what I call the safe and stupid answer), but fire, a far better answer, which we are now in a condition to give. Or if anyone asks you, “Why a body is diseased,” you will not say from disease, but from fever; and instead of saying that oddness is the cause of odd numbers, you will say that the monad is the cause of them: and so of things in general, as I dare say that you will understand sufficiently without my adducing any further examples.  552
  Yes, he said, I quite understand you.  553
  Tell me, then, what is that the inherence of which will render the body alive?  554
  The soul, he replied.  555
  And is this always the case?  556
  Yes, he said, of course.  557
  Then whatever the soul possesses, to that she comes bearing life?  558
  Yes, certainly.  559
  And is there any opposite to life?  560
  There is, he said.  561
  And what is that?  562
  Death.  563
  Then the soul, as has been acknowledged, will never receive the opposite of what she brings. And now, he said, what did we call that principle which repels the even?  564
  The odd.  565
  And that principle which repels the musical, or the just?  566
  The unmusical, he said, and the unjust.  567
  And what do we call the principle which does not admit of death?  568
  The immortal, he said.  569
  And does the soul admit of death?  570
  No.  571
  Then the soul is immortal?  572
  Yes, he said.  573
  And may we say that this is proven?  574
  Yes, abundantly proven, Socrates, he replied.  575
  And supposing that the odd were imperishable, must not three be imperishable?  576
  Of course.  577
  And if that which is cold were imperishable, when the warm principle came attacking the snow, must not the snow have retired whole and unmelted—for it could never have perished, nor could it have remained and admitted the heat?  578
  True, he said.  579
  Again, if the uncooling or warm principle were imperishable, the fire when assailed by cold would not have perished or have been extinguished, but would have gone away unaffected?  580
  Certainly, he said.  581
  And the same may be said of the immortal: if the immortal is also imperishable, the soul when attacked by death cannot perish; for the preceding argument shows that the soul will not admit of death, or ever be dead, any more than three or the odd number will admit of the even, or fire or the heat in the fire, of the cold. Yet a person may say: “But although the odd will not become even at the approach of the even, why may not the odd perish and the even take the place of the odd?” Now to him who makes this objection, we cannot answer that the odd principle is imperishable; for this has not been acknowledged, but if this had been acknowledged, there would have been no difficulty in contending that at the approach of the even the odd principle and the number three took up their departure; and the same argument would have held good of fire and heat and any other thing.  582
  Very true.  583
  And the same may be said of the immortal: if the immortal is also imperishable, then the soul will be imperishable as well as immortal; but if not, some other proof of her imperishableness will have to be given.  584
  No other proof is needed, he said; for if the immortal, being eternal, is liable to perish, then nothing is imperishable.  585
  Yes, replied Socrates, all men will agree that God, and the essential form of life, and the immortal in general will never perish.  586
  Yes, all men, he said—that is true; and what is more, gods, if I am not mistaken, as well as men.  587
  Seeing then that the immortal is indestructible, must not the soul, if she is immortal, be also imperishable?  588
  Most certainly.  589
  Then when death attacks a man, the mortal portion of him may be supposed to die, but the immortal goes out of the way of death and is preserved safe and sound?  590
  True.  591
  Then, Cebes, beyond question the soul is immortal and imperishable, and our souls will truly exist in another world!  592
  I am convinced, Socrates, said Cebes, and have nothing more to object; but if my friend Simmias, or anyone else, has any further objection, he had better speak out, and not keep silence, since I do not know how there can ever be a more fitting time to which he can defer the discussion, if there is anything which he wants to say or have said.  593
  But I have nothing more to say, replied Simmias; nor do I see any room for uncertainty, except that which arises necessarily out of the greatness of the subject and the feebleness of man, and which I cannot help feeling.  594
  Yes, Simmias, replied Socrates, that is well said: and more than that, first principles, even if they appear certain, should be carefully considered; and when they are satisfactorily ascertained, then, with a sort of hesitating confidence in human reason, you may, I think, follow the course of the argument; and if this is clear, there will be no need for any further inquiry.  595
  That, he said, is true.  596
  But then, O my friends, he said, if the soul is really immortal, what care should be taken of her, not only in respect of the portion of time which is called life, but of eternity! And the danger of neglecting her from this point of view does indeed appear to be awful. If death had only been the end of all, the wicked would have had a good bargain in dying, for they would have been happily quit not only of their body, but of their own evil together with their souls. But now, as the soul plainly appears to be immortal, there is no release or salvation from evil except the attainment of the highest virtue and wisdom. For the soul when on her progress to the world below takes nothing with her but nurture and education; which are indeed said greatly to benefit or greatly to injure the departed, at the very beginning of its pilgrimage in the other world.  597
  For after death, as they say, the genius of each individual, to whom he belonged in life, leads him to a certain place in which the dead are gathered together for judgment, whence they go into the world below, following the guide who is appointed to conduct them from this world to the other: and when they have there received their due and remained their time, another guide brings them back again after many revolutions of ages. Now this journey to the other world is not, as Æschylus says in the “Telephus,” a single and straight path—no guide would be wanted for that, and no one could miss a single path; but there are many partings of the road, and windings, as I must infer from the rites and sacrifices which are offered to the gods below in places where three ways meet on earth. The wise and orderly soul is conscious of her situation and follows in the path; but the soul which desires the body, and which, as I was relating before, has long been fluttering about the lifeless frame and the world of sight, is after many struggles and many sufferings hardly and with violence carried away by her attendant genius, and when she arrives at the place where the other souls are gathered, if she be impure and have done impure deeds, or been concerned in foul murders or other crimes which are the brothers of these, and the works of brothers in crime—from that soul every one flees and turns away; no one will be her companion, no one her guide, but alone she wanders in extremity of evil until certain times are fulfilled, and when they are fulfilled, she is borne irresistibly to her own fitting habitation; as every pure and just soul which has passed through life in the company and under the guidance of the gods has also her own proper home.  598
  Now the earth has divers wonderful regions, and is indeed in nature and extent very unlike the notions of geographers, as I believe on the authority of one who shall be nameless.  599
 

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