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[168b] You are right.

Well now, this science is a science of something, that is, it has a certain faculty whereby it can be a science of something, has it not?


For, you know, we say the greater has a certain faculty whereby it can be greater than something?1

Quite so.

That is, than something smaller, if it is to be greater.


So if we could find a greater which is greater than other greater things, and than itself, but not greater than the things

1 At this point Socrates adduces the relation of greater to smaller (τινὸς εἶναι μεῖζον) to suggest a difficulty in conceiving a science to be a science of itself: in so doing he draws a false analogy between two quite different uses of the genitive in Greek, represented in English by the comparative “than” and the objective “of.”

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    • James Adam, The Republic of Plato, 4.438B
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