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[224a]

Stranger
Take, therefore, the liberal arts1 in general that constantly go about from city to city, bought in one place and carried to another and sold—painting, and conjuring, and the many other things that affect the soul, which are imported and sold partly for its entertainment and partly for its serious needs; we cannot deny that he who carries these about and sells them constitutes a merchant properly so called, no less than he whose business is the sale of food and drink.

Theaetetus
Very true. [224b]

Stranger
Then will you give the same name to him who buys up knowledge and goes about from city to city exchanging his wares for money?

Theaetetus
Certainly.

Stranger
One part of this soul-merchandising might very properly be called the art of display, might it not? But since the other part, though no less ridiculous than the first, is nevertheless a traffic in knowledge, must we not call it by some name akin to its business?

Theaetetus
Certainly.

Stranger
Now of this merchandising in knowledge [224c] the part which has to do with the knowledge of the other arts should be called by one name, and that which has to do with virtue by another.

Theaetetus
Of course.

Stranger
The name of art-merchant would fit the one who trades in the other arts, and now do you be so good as to tell the name of him who trades in virtue.

Theaetetus
And what other name could one give, without making a mistake, than that which is the object of our present investigation—the sophist?

Stranger
No other. Come then, let us now summarize the matter by saying that sophistry has appeared a second time as that part of acquisitive art, art of exchange, [224d] of trafficking, of merchandising, of soul-merchandising which deals in words and knowledge, and trades in virtue.

Theaetetus
Very well.

Stranger
But there is a third case: If a man settled down here in town and proposed to make his living by selling these same wares of knowledge, buying some of them and making others himself, you would, I fancy, not call him by any other name than that which you used a moment ago.

Theaetetus
Certainly not.

Stranger
Then also that part of acquisitive art which proceeds by exchange, [224e] and by sale, whether as mere retail trade or the sale of one's own productions, no matter which, so long as it is of the class of merchandising in knowledge, you will always, apparently, call sophistry.

Theaetetus
I must do so, for I have to follow where the argument leads.

Stranger
Let us examine further and see if the class we are now pursuing has still another aspect, of similar nature.


1 The word μουσική, here rendered “liberal arts,” is much more inclusive than the English word “music,” designating, as it does, nearly all education and culture except the purely physical. In the Athens of Socrates' day many, possibly most, of the teachers of music in this larger sense were foreigners, Greeks, of course, but not Athenians.

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