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[529b] I said, “for apparently if anyone with back-thrown head should learn something by staring at decorations on a ceiling, you would regard him as contemplating them with the higher reason and not with the eyes.1 Perhaps you are right and I am a simpleton. For I, for my part, am unable to suppose that any other study turns the soul's gaze upward2 than that which deals with being and the invisible. But if anyone tries to learn about the things of sense, whether gaping up3 or blinking down,4 I would never say that he really learns—for nothing of the kind admits of true knowledge—nor would I say that his soul looks up, but down,

1 The humorous exaggeration of the language reflects Plato's exasperation at the sentimentalists who prefer star-gazing to mathematical science. Cf. Tim. 91 D on the evolution of birds from innocents who supposed that sight furnished the surest proof in such matters. Yet such is the irony of misinterpretation that this and the following pages are the chief support of the charge that Plato is hostile to science. Cf. on 530 B, p. 187, note c.

2 Cf. Theaet. 174 Aἄνω βλέποντα.

3 Cf. Aristoph.Clouds 172.

4 συμμύω probably refers to the eyes. But cf. Adam ad loc.

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