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[611a] either its own or alien, it is evident that it must necessarily exist always, and that if it always exists it is immortal.” “Necessarily,” he said.

“Let this, then,” I said, “be assumed to be so. But if it is so, you will observe that these souls must always be the same. For if none perishes they could not, I suppose, become fewer nor yet more numerous.1 For if any class of immortal things increased you are aware that its increase would come from the mortal and all things would end by becoming immortal.2” “You say truly.” “But,” said I, “we must not suppose this,

1 Cf. Carveth Read, Man and His Superstitions p. 104: “Plato thought that by a sort of law of psychic conservation there must always be the same number of souls in world. There must therefore be reincarnation. . . . ”

2 Cf. Phaedo 72 C-D.

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