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[79a] “And you can see these and touch them and perceive them by the other senses, whereas the things which are always the same can be grasped only by the reason, and are invisible and not to be seen?”

“Certainly,” said he, “that is true.”

“Now,” said he, “shall we assume two kinds of existences, one visible, the other invisible?”

“Let us assume them,” said Cebes.

“And that the invisible is always the same and the visible constantly changing?”

“Let us assume that also,” said he. [79b] “Well then,” said Socrates, “are we not made up of two parts, body and soul?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“Now to which class should we say the body is more similar and more closely akin?”

“To the visible,” said he; “that is clear to everyone.”

“And the soul? Is it visible or invisible?”

“Invisible, to man, at least, Socrates.”

“But we call things visible and invisible with reference to human vision, do we not?”

“Yes, we do.”

“Then what do we say about the soul? Can it be seen or not?”

“It cannot be seen.”

“Then it is invisible?”


“Then the soul is more like the invisible than the body is, [79c] and the body more like the visible.”

“Necessarily, Socrates.”

“Now we have also been saying for a long time, have we not, that, when the soul makes use of the body for any inquiry, either through seeing or hearing or any of the other senses—for inquiry through the body means inquiry through the senses,—then it is dragged by the body to things which never remain the same, and it wanders about and is confused and dizzy like a drunken man because it lays hold upon such things?”


“But when the soul [79d] inquires alone by itself, it departs into the realm of the pure, the everlasting, the immortal and the changeless, and being akin to these it dwells always with them whenever it is by itself and is not hindered, and it has rest from its wanderings and remains always the same and unchanging with the changeless, since it is in communion therewith. And this state of the soul is called wisdom. Is it not so?”

“Socrates,” said he, “what you say is perfectly right and true.”

“And now again, in view of what we said before and of what has just been said, to which class do you think [79e] the soul has greater likeness and kinship?”

“I think, Socrates,” said he, “that anyone, even the dullest, would agree, after this argument that the soul is infinitely more like that which is always the same than that which is not.”

“And the body?”

“Is more like the other.”

“Consider, then, the matter in another way. When the soul

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