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[437a] to suffer, be,1 or do opposites.” “They will not me, I am sure,” said he. “All the same, said I, “that we may not be forced to examine at tedious length the entire list of such contentions2 and convince ourselves that they are false, let us proceed on the hypothesis3 that this is so, with the understanding that, if it ever appear otherwise, everything that results from the assumption shall be invalidated.” “That is what we must do,” he said. [437b]

“Will you not then,” said I, “set down as opposed to one another assent and dissent, and the endeavor after a thing to the rejection of it, and embracing to repelling—do not these and all things like these belong to the class of opposite actions or passions; it will make no difference which?4” “None,” said he, “but they are opposites.” “What then,” said I, “of thirst and hunger and the appetites generally, and again consenting5 and willing, would you not put them all somewhere in the classes [437c] just described? Will you not say, for example, that the soul of one who desires either strives for that which he desires or draws towards its embrace what it wishes to accrue to it; or again, in so far as it wills that anything be presented to it, nods assent to itself thereon as if someone put the question,6 striving towards its attainment?” “I would say so,” he said. “But what of not-willing7 and not consenting nor yet desiring, shall we not put these under the soul's rejection8 and repulsion from itself and [437d] generally into the opposite class from all the former?” “Of course.” “This being so, shall we say that the desires constitute a class9 and that the most conspicuous members of that class10 are what we call thirst and hunger?” “We shall,” said he. “Is not the one desire of drink, the other of food?” “Yes.” “Then in so far as it is thirst, would it be of anything more than that of which we say it is a desire in the soul?11 I mean is thirst thirst for hot drink or cold or much or little or in a word for a draught of any particular quality, or is it the fact that if heat12 [437e] is attached13 to the thirst it would further render the desire—a desire of cold, and if cold of hot? But if owing to the presence of muchness the thirst is much it would render it a thirst for much and if little for little. But mere thirst will never be desire of anything else than that of which it is its nature to be, mere drink,14 and so hunger of food.” “That is so,” he said; “each desire in itself is of that thing only of which it is its nature to be. The epithets belong to the quality—such or such.15

1 εἴη, the reading of most Mss., should stand. It covers the case of contradictory predicates, especially of relation, that do not readily fall under the dichotomy ποιεῖν πάσχειν. So Phaedo 97 C εἶναι ἄλλο ὁτιοῦν πάσχειν ποιεῖν.

2 ἀμφισβητήσεις is slightly contemptuous. Cf. Aristotle , ἐνοχλήσεις, and Theaetetus 158 Cτό γε ἀμφισβητῆσαι οὐ χαλεπόν.

3 It is almost a Platonic method thus to emphasize the dependence of one conclusion on another already accepted. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, n. 471, Politicus 284 D, Phaedo 77 A, 92 D, Timaeus 51 D, Parmenides 149 A. It may be used to cut short discussion (Unity of Plato's Thought, n. 471) or divert it into another channel. Here, however, he is aware, as Aristotle is, that the maximum of contradiction can be proved only controversially against an adversary who says something. (cf. my De Platonis Idearum Doctrina, pp. 7-9, Aristotle Met. 1012 b 1-10); and so, having sufficiently guarded his meaning, he dismisses the subject with the ironical observation that, if the maxim is ever proved false, he will give up all that he bases on the hypothesis of its truth. Cf. Sophist 247 E.

4 Cf. Gorgias 496 E, and on 435 D.

5 ἐθέλειν in Plato normally means to be willing, and βούλεσθαι to wish or desire. But unlike Prodicus, Plato emphasizes distinctions of synonyms only when relevant to his purpose. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 47 and n. 339, Philebus 60 D.προσάγεσθαι below relates to ἐπιθυμία and ἐπινεύειν to ἐθέλειν . . . βούλεσθαι.

6 Cf. Aristotle De anima 434 a 9. The Platonic doctrine that opinion,δόξα, is discussion of the soul with herself, or the judgement in which such discussion terminates (Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 47) is here applied to the specific case of the practical reason issuing in an affirmation of the will.

7 ἀβουλεῖν recalls the French coinage “nolonté,” and the southern mule's “won't-power.” Cf. Epistle vii. 347 A, Demosthenes Epistle ii. 17.

8 Cf. Aristotle's ἀνθέλκειν, De anima 433 b 8. “All willing is either pushing or pulling,” Jastrow, Fact and Fable in Psychology, p. 336. Cf. the argument in Spencer's First Principles 80, that the phrase “impelled by desires” is not a metaphor but a physical fact. Plato's generalization of the concepts “attraction” and “repulsion” brings about a curious coincidence with the language of a materialistic, physiological psychology (cf. Lange, History of Materialism, passim), just as his rejection in the Timaeus of attraction and actio in distans allies his physics with that of the most consistent materialists.

9 Cf. on 349 E.

10 Cf. 412 B and Class. Phil. vii. (1912) pp. 485-486.

11 The argument might proceed with 439 Aτοῦ διψῶντος ἄρα ψυχή. All that intervenes is a digression on logic, a caveat against possible misunderstandings of the proposition that thirst qua thirst is a desire for drink only and unqualifiedly. We are especially warned (438 A) against the misconception that since all men desire the good, thirst must be a desire not for mere drink but for good drink. Cf. the dramatic correction of a misconception, Phaedo 79 B, 529 A-B.

12 In the terminology of the doctrine of ideas the “presence” of cold is the cause of cool, and that of heat, of hot. Cf. “The Origin of the Syllogism,”Class. Phil. vol. xix. p. 10. But in the concrete instance heat causes the desire of cool and vice versa. Cf. Philebus 35 Aἐπιθυμεῖ τῶν ἐναντίων πάσχει. If we assume that Plato is here speaking from the point of view of common sense (Cf. Lysis 215 Eτὸ δὲ ψυχρὸν θερμοῦ), there is no need of Hermann's transposition of ψυχροῦ and θερμοῦ, even though we do thereby get a more exact symmetry with πλήθους παρουσίαν . . . τοῦ πολλοῦ below.

13 προσῇ denotes that the “presence” is an addition. Cf.προσείη in Parmenides 149 E.

14 Philebus 35 A adds a refinement not needed here, that thirst is, strictly speaking, a desire for repletion by drink.

15 Cf. 429 B. But (the desires) of such or such a (specific) drink are (due to) that added qualification (of the thirst).

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