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[508a] visibility and the faculty of sight is more precious by no slight form1 that which unites the other pairs, if light is not without honor.” “It surely is far from being so,” he said.

“Which one can you name of the divinities in heaven2 as the author and cause of this, whose light makes our vision see best and visible things to be seen?” “Why, the one that you too and other people mean,” he said; “for your question evidently refers to the sun.3” “Is not this, then, the relation of vision to that divinity?” “What?” “Neither vision itself nor its vehicle, which we call the eye, is identical with the sun.”

1 The loose Herodotean-Thucydidean-Isocratean use of ἰδέα. Cf. Laws 689 Dκαὶ τὸ σμικρότατον εἶδος. “Form” over-translates ἰδέᾳ here, which is little more than a synonym for γένος above. Cf. Wilamowitz, Platon, ii. p. 250.

2 Plato was willing to call the stars gods as the barbarians did (Cratyl. 397 D, Aristoph.Peace 406 ff., Herod. iv. 188). Cf. Laws 821 B, 899 B, 950 D, Apol. 26 D, Epinomis 985 B, 988 B.

3 Cf. my Idea of good in Plato's Republic pp. 223-225, Reinhardt, Kosmos und Sympathie, pp. 374-384. Mediaeval writers have much to say of Platos mysterious Tagathon. Aristotle, who rejects the idea of good, uses τἀγαθόν in much the same way. It is naive to take the language of Platonic unction too literally. Cf. What Plato Said, pp. 394 ff.

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