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[515b] to hold their heads unmoved through life?” “And again, would not the same be true of the objects carried past them?” “Surely.” “If then they were able to talk to one another, do you not think that they would suppose that in naming the things that they saw1 they were naming the passing objects?” “Necessarily.” “And if their prison had an echo2 from the wall opposite them, when one of the passersby uttered a sound, do you think that they would suppose anything else than the passing shadow to be the speaker?” “By Zeus, I do not,” said he. “Then in every way

1 Cf. Parmen. 130 c, Tim. 51 B, 52 A, and my De Platonis Idearum doctrina, pp. 24-25; also E. Hoffmann in Wochenschrift f. klass. Phil. xxxvi. (1919) pp. 196-197. As we use the word tree of the trees we see, though the reality (αὐτὸ ἔστι) is the idea of a tree, so they would speak of the shadows as the world, though the real reference unknown to them would be to the objects that cause the shadows, and back of the objects to the things of the “real” world of which they are copies. The general meaning, which is quite certain, is that they wold suppose the shadows to be the realities. The text and the precise turn of expression are doubtful. See crit. note.παριόντα is intentionally ambiguous in its application to the shadows or to the objects which cast them. They suppose that the names refer to the passing shadows, but (as we know) they really apply to the objects. Ideas and particulars are homonymous. Assuming a slight illogicality we can get somewhat the same meaning from the text ταὐτά. “Do you not think that they would identify the passing objects (which strictly speaking they do not know) with what they saw?” Cf. also P. Corssen, Philologische Wochenschrift, 1913, p. 286. He prefers οὐκ αὐτά and renders: “Sie würden in dem, was sie sähen, das Vorübergehende selbst zu benennen glauben.”

2 The echo and the voices (515 A) merely complete the picture.

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