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[411a]

Hermogenes
Now after the class of words you, have explained, I should like to examine the correctness of the noble words that relate to virtue, such as wisdom, intelligence, justice, and all the others of that sort.

Socrates
You are stirring up a mighty tribe of words, my friend; however, since I have put on the lion helmet, I must not play the coward, but must, it seems, examine wisdom, intelligence, thought, knowledge, [411b] and all the other noble words of which you speak.

Hermogenes
Certainly we must not stop until that is done.

Socrates
By dog, I believe I have a fine intuition which has just come to me, that the very ancient men who invented names were quite like most of the present philosophers who always get dizzy as they turn round and round in their search for the nature of things, and then the things seem to them to turn round and round and be in motion. [411c] They think the cause of this belief is not an affection within themselves, but that the nature of things really is such that nothing is at rest or stable, but everything is flowing and moving and always full of constant motion and generation. I say this because I thought of it with reference to all these words we are now considering.

Hermogenes
How is that, Socrates?

Socrates
Perhaps you did not observe that the names we just mentioned are given under the assumption that the things named are moving and flowing and being generated.

Hermogenes
No, I did not notice that at all. [411d]

Socrates
Surely the first one we mentioned is subject to such assumptions.

Hermogenes
What is the word ?

Socrates
Wisdom (φρόνησις); for it is perception (νόησις) of motion (φορᾶς) and flowing (ῥοῦ); or it might be understood as benefit (ὄνησις) of motion (φορᾶς); in either case it has to do with motion. And γνώμη (thought), if you please, certainly denotes contemplation and consideration of generation (γονῆς νώμησις); for to consider is the same as to contemplate. Or, if you please, νόησις (intelligence) is merely ἕσις (desire) τοῦ νεοῦ (of the new); but that things are new shows that they are always being generated; [411e] therefore the soul's desire for generation is declared by the giver of the name νεόεσις; for in antiquity the name was not νόησις, but two epsilons had to be spoken instead of the eta. Σωφροσύνη (self-restraint) is σωτηρία (salvation) of φρόνησις (wisdom), which we have just been discussing.


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