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[508b] “Why, no.” “But it is, I think, the most sunlike1 of all the instruments of sense.” “By far the most.” “And does it not receive the power which it possesses as an influx, as it were, dispensed from the sun?” “Certainly.” “Is it not also true that the sun is not vision, yet as being the cause thereof is beheld by vision itself?” “That is so,” he said. “This, then, you must understand that I meant by the offspring of the good2 which the good

1 Cf. 509 A, Plotinus, Enn. i. 6. 9οὐ γὰρ ἂν πώποτε εἶδεν ὀφθαλμὸς ἥλιον ἡλιοειδὴς μὴ γεγενημένος and vi. 7. 19, Cic.Tusc.. i. 25. 73 in fine “quod si in hoc mundo fieri sine deo non potest, ne in sphaera quidem eosdem motus Archimedes sine divino ingenio potuisset imitare,” Manilius ii. 115: Quis caelum posset nisi caeli munere nosse, Et reperire deum nisi qui pars ipse deorum?

2 i.e. creation was the work of benevolent design. This is one of the few passages in the Republic where the idea of good is considered in relation to the universe, a thesis reserved for poetical or mythical development in the Timaeus. It is idle to construct a systematic metaphysical theology for Plato by identification of τἀγαθόν here either with god or with the ideas as a whole. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, p 512.

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