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[477b] for that which lies between we must seek for something between nescience and science, if such a thing there be.” “By all means.” “Is there a thing which we call opinion?” “Surely.” “Is it a different faculty from science or the same?” “A different.” “Then opinion is set over one thing and science over another, each by virtue of its own distinctive power or faculty.” “That is so.” “May we say, then, that science is naturally related to that which is,1 to know that and how that which is is? But rather, before we proceed, I think we must draw the following distinctions.” “What ones?”

1 Apart from the metaphysical question of the relativity of all knowledge, the word ἐπιστήμη in Greek usage connotes certainty, and so Plato and Aristotle always take it. But more specifically that which (always) is, for Plato, is the “idea” which is not subject to change and therefore always is what it is, while a particular material thing subject to change and relativity both is and is not any and every predicate that can be applied to it. And since knowledge in the highest sense is for Plato knowledge of abstract and general ideas, both in his and in our sense of the word idea, knowledge is said to be of that which is. It is uncritical to ignore Plato's terminology and purpose and to talk condescendingly of his confusing subjective with objective certainty in what follows.

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