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[258a]

Stranger
Hence the not-great must be said to be no less truly than the great?

Theaetetus
No less truly.

Stranger
And so we must recognize the same relation between the just and the not-just, in so far as neither has any more being than the other?

Theaetetus
Of course.

Stranger
And we shall, then, say the same of other things, since the nature of the other is proved to possess real being; and if it has being, we must necessarily ascribe being in no less degree to its parts also.

Theaetetus
Of course. [258b]

Stranger
Then, as it seems, the opposition of the nature of a part of the other, and of the nature of being, when they are opposed to one another, is no less truly existence than is being itself, if it is not wrong for me to say so, for it signifies not the opposite of being, but only the other of being, and nothing more.

Theaetetus
That is perfectly clear.

Stranger
Then what shall we call this?

Theaetetus
Evidently this is precisely not-being, which we were looking for because of the sophist.

Stranger
And is this, as you were saying, as fully endowed with being as anything else, and shall we henceforth say with confidence that not-being has an assured existence and a nature of its own? [258c] Just as we found that the great was great and the beautiful was beautiful, the not-great was not-great and the not-beautiful was not-beautiful, shall we in the same way say that not-being was and is not-being, to be counted as one class among the many classes of being? Or have we, Theaetetus, any remaining distrust about the matter?

Theaetetus
None whatever.

Stranger
Do you observe, then, that we have gone farther in our distrust of Parmenides than the limit set by his prohibition?

Theaetetus
What do you mean?

Stranger
We have proceeded farther in our investigation and have shown him more than that which he forbade us to examine.

Theaetetus
How so? [258d]

Stranger
Because he says somewhere:“Never shall this thought prevail, that not-being is;
Nay, keep your mind from this path of investigation,
Parmenides Fr. 7.1

Theaetetus
Yes, that is what he says.

Stranger
But we have not only pointed out that things which are not exist, but we have even shown what the form or class of not-being is; for we have pointed out that the nature of the other exists and is distributed in small bits [258e] throughout all existing things in their relations to one another, and we have ventured to say that each part of the other which is contrasted with being, really is exactly not-being.

Theaetetus
And certainly, Stranger, I think that what we have said is perfectly true.

Stranger
Then let not anyone assert that we declare that not-being is the opposite of being, and hence are so rash as to say that not-being exists. For we long ago gave up speaking of any opposite of being, whether it exists or not and is capable


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