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[529d] most exact of material things but we must recognize that they fall far short of the truth,1 the movements, namely, of real speed and real slowness in true number and in all true figures both in relation to one another and as vehicles of the things they carry and contain. These can be apprehended only by reason and thought, but not by sight; or do you think otherwise?” “By no means,” he said. “Then,” said I, “we must use the blazonry of the heavens as patterns to aid in the study of those realities, just as

1 The meaning of this sentence is certain, but the expression will no more bear a matter-of-fact logical analysis than that of Phaedo 69 A-B, or Rep. 365 C, or many other subtle passages in Plato. No material object perfectly embodies the ideal and abstract mathematical relation. These mathematical ideas are designated as the true,ἀληθινῶν, and the real,ὄν. As in the Timaeus(38 C, 40 A-B, 36 D-E) the abstract and ideal has the primacy and by a reversal of the ordinary point of view is said to contain or convey the concrete. The visible stars are in and are carried by their invisible mathematical orbits. By this way of speaking Plato, it is true, disregards the apparent difficulty that the movement of the visible stars then ought to be mathematically perfect. But this interpretation is, I think, more probable for Plato than Adam's attempt to secure rigid consistency by taking τὸ ὂν τάχος etc., to represent invisible and ideal planets, and τὰ ἐνόντα to be the perfect mathematical realities, which are in them. ἐνόντα would hardly retain the metaphysical meaning of ὄντα. For the interpretation of 529 D cf. also my “Platonism and the History of Science,”Am. Philos. Soc, Proc. lxvi. p. 172.

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