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[366a]

Hippias
Wise, surely, in just this, deception.

Socrates
Stop. Let us recall what you say. You say that the false are powerful and intelligent, and knowing and wise in those things in which they are false?

Hippias
Yes, I do.

Socrates
And that the true and the false are different and complete opposites of one another?

Hippias
I do.

Socrates
Well, then, the false are among the powerful and the wise, according to your statement.

Hippias
Certainly. [366b]

Socrates
And when you say that the false are powerful and wise for falsehood, do you mean that they have power to utter falsehoods if they like, or that they are powerless in respect to the falsehoods which they utter?

Hippias
That they have power.

Socrates
In short, then, the false are those who are wise and powerful in uttering falsehoods.

Hippias
Yes.

Socrates
A man, then, who has not the power to utter falsehoods and is ignorant would not be false.

Hippias
That is true.

Socrates
Well, but every man has power who does what he wishes at the time when he wishes; [366c] I am not speaking of one who is prevented by disease or that sort of thing, but as I might say of you that you have power to write my name when you wish or do you not say that a man has power who is in such a condition?

Hippias
Yes, I do.

Socrates
Tell me, then, Hippias, are you not skillful in arithmetical calculations?

Hippias
Most assuredly, Socrates.

Socrates
Then if some one were to ask you what the product of three times seven hundred is, you could, if you wished, [366d] tell him the truth about that more quickly and better than anyone else?

Hippias
Certainly.

Socrates
Because you are the most powerful and wisest of men in these matters?

Hippias
Yes.

Socrates
Are you, then, merely wisest and most powerful, or are you also best in those matters in which you are most powerful and wisest, namely calculations?

Hippias
Best also, to be sure, Socrates.

Socrates
Then you would have the greatest power to tell the truth about these things, would you not?

Hippias
I think so. [366e]

Socrates
But what of falsehoods about these same things? And please answer this with the same splendid frankness as my previous questions, Hippias. If some one were to ask you how much three times seven hundred is, would you have the most power to tell falsehoods and always uniformly to say false things about these matters, if you wished to tell falsehoods and never to reply truly;


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