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[1009b] [1] And (2.) similarly the theory that there is truth in appearances has come to some people from an observation of sensible things.They think that the truth should not be judged by the number or fewness of its upholders; and they say that the same thing seems sweet to some who taste it, and bitter to others; so that if all men were diseased or all insane, except two or three who were healthy or sane, the latter would seem to be diseased or insane, and not the others.And further they say that many of the animals as well get from the same things impressions which are contrary to ours, and that the individual himself does not always think the same in matters of sense-perception. Thus it is uncertain which of these impressions are true or false; for one kind is no more true than another, but equally so. And hence Democritus says1 that either there is no truth or we cannot discover it.

And in general it is because they suppose that thought is sense-perception, and sense-perception physical alteration, that they say that the impression given through sense-perception is necessarily true; for it is on these grounds that both Empedocles and Democritus and practically all the rest have become obsessed by such opinions as these.For Empedocles says that those who change their bodily condition change their thought:

For according to that which is present to them doth thought increase in men.2

And in another passage he says: [20]

And as they change into a different nature, so it ever comes to them to think differently.3

And Parmenides too declares in the same way:

For as each at any time hath the temperament of his many-jointed limbs, so thought comes to men. For for each and every man the substance of his limbs is that very thing which thinks; for thought is that which preponderates.4

There is also recorded a saying of Anaxagoras to some of his disciples, that things would be for them as they judged them to be.And they say that in Homer too clearly held this view, because he made Hector,5 when he was stunned by the blow, lie with thoughts deranged—thus implying that even those who are "out of their minds" still think, although not the same thoughts. Clearly then, if both are kinds of thought, reality also will be "both so and not so."It is along this path that the consequences are most difficult; for if those who have the clearest vision of such truth as is possible (and these are they who seek and love it most) hold such opinions and make these pronouncements about the truth, surely those who are trying to be philosophers may well despair; for the pursuit of truth will be "chasing birds in the air."6

1 Cf. Ritter and Preller, 204.

2 Empedocles Fr. 106.

3 Empedocles Fr. 108.

4 Empedocles Fr. 16; quoted also (in a slightly different form; see critical notes) by Theophrastus, De Sensu 3.

5 The only passage in our text of Homer to which this reference could apply isHom. Il. 23.698; but there the subject is Euryalus, not Hector.

6 Cf. Leutsch and Schneidewin, Paroemiographi Graeci, 2.677.

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