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[436b] and generation and their kind, or whether it is with the entire soul1 that we function in each case when we once begin. That is what is really hard to determine properly.” “I think so too,” he said. “Let us then attempt to define the boundary and decide whether they are identical with one another in this way.” “How?” “It is obvious that the same thing will never do or suffer opposites2 in the same respect3 in relation to the same thing and at the same time. So that if ever we find4 these contradictions in the functions of the mind

1 The questions debated by psychologists from Aristotle (Eth. Nic. 1102 a 31) to the present day is still a matter of rhetoric, poetry, and point of view rather than of strict science. For some purposes we must treat the “faculties” of the mind as distinct entities, for others we must revert to the essential unity of the soul. Cf. Arnold's “Lines on Butler's Sermons” and my remarks in The Assault on Humanism. Plato himself is well aware of this, and in different dialogues emphasizes the aspect that suits his purpose. There is no contradiction between this passage and Phaedo 68 C, 82 C, and Republic x. 611-12. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, pp. 42-43.

2 The first formulation of the law of contradiction. Cf. Phaedo 102 E, Theaetetus 188 A, Soph. 220 B, 602 E. Sophistical objections are anticipated here and below (436 E) by attaching to it nearly all the qualifying distinctions of the categories which Aristotle wearily observes are necessary πρὸς τὰς σοφιστικὰς ἐνοχλήσειςDe interp. 17 a 36-37). Cf. Met. 1005 b 22πρὸς τὰς λογικὰς δυσχερείας, and Rhet. ii. 24. Plato invokes the principle against Heraclitism and other philosophies of relativity and the sophistries that grew out of them or played with their formulas. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, pp. 50 ff., 53, 58, 68. Aristotle follows Plato in this, pronouncing it πασῶν βεβαιοτάτη ἀρχή.

3 κατὰ ταὐτόν=in the same part or aspect of itself;πρὸς ταὐτόν=in relation to the same (other) thing. Cf. Sophist 230 Bἅμα περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν πρὸς τὰ αὐτὰ κατὰ ταὐτὰ ἐναντίας.

4 For this method of reasoning cf. 478 D, 609 B, Laws 896 C, Charmides 168 B-C, Gorgias 496 C, Philebus 11 D-E.

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