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[102a] but if you are a philosopher, I think you will do as I have said.”

“That is true,” said Simmias and Cebes together.

By Zeus, Phaedo, they were right. It seems to me that he made those matters astonishingly clear, to anyone with even a little sense.

Certainly, Echecrates, and all who were there thought so, too.

And so do we who were not there, and are hearing about it now. But what was said after that?

As I remember it, after all this had been admitted, and they had agreed that [102b] each of the abstract qualities exists and that other things which participate in these get their names from them, then Socrates asked: “Now if you assent to this, do you not, when you say that Simmias is greater than Socrates and smaller than Phaedo, say that there is in Simmias greatness and smallness?”


“But,” said Socrates, “you agree that the statement that Simmias is greater than Socrates is not true as stated in those words. For Simmias is not greater than Socrates [102c] by reason of being Simmias, but by reason of the greatness he happens to have; nor is he greater than Socrates because Socrates is Socrates, but because Socrates has smallness relatively to his greatness.”


“And again, he is not smaller than Phaedo because Phaedo is Phaedo, but because Phaedo has greatness relatively to Simmias's smallness.”

“That is true.”

“Then Simmias is called small and great, when he is between the two, [102d] surpassing the smallness of the one by exceeding him in height, and granting to the other the greatness that exceeds his own smallness.” And he laughed and said, “I seem to he speaking like a legal document, but it really is very much as I say.”

Simmias agreed.

“I am speaking so because I want you to agree with me. I think it is evident not only that greatness itself will never be great and also small, but that the greatness in us will never admit the small or allow itself to be exceeded. One of two things must take place: either it flees or withdraws when [102e] its opposite, smallness, advances toward it, or it has already ceased to exist by the time smallness comes near it. But it will not receive and admit smallness, thereby becoming other than it was. So I have received and admitted smallness and am still the same small person I was; but the greatness in me, being great, has not suffered itself to become small. In the same way the smallness in us will never become or be great, nor will any other opposite which is still what it was, ever become or be also its own opposite.

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