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[524a] In the first place, the sensation that is set over the hard is of necessity related also to the soft,1 and it reports to the soul that the same thing is both hard and soft to its perception.” “It is so,” he said. “Then,” said I, “is not this again a case where the soul must be at a loss2 as to what significance for it the sensation of hardness has, if the sense reports the same thing as also soft? And, similarly, as to what the sensation of light and heavy means by light and heavy, if it reports the heavy as light, and the light as heavy?”

1 Cf. Theaet. 186 ff., Tim. 62 B, Taylor, Timaeus, p. 233 on 63 D-E, Unity of Plato's Thought, nn. 222 and 225, Diels, Dialex. 5 (ii.3 p. 341). Protag. 331 D anticipates this thought, but Protagoras cannot follow it out. Cf. also Phileb. 13 A-B. Stallbaum also compares Phileb. 57 D and 56 C f.

2 Plato gives a very modern psychological explanation. Thought is provoked by the contradictions in perceptions that suggest problems. The very notion of unity is contradictory of uninterpreted experience. This use of ἀπορεῖν(Cf. 515 D) anticipates much modern psychology supposed to be new. Cf. e.g. Herbert Spencer, passim, and Dewey, How We Think, p. 12 “we may recapitulate by saying that the origin of thinking is some perplexity, confusion, or doubt”; also ibid, p. 62. Meyerson, Déduction relativiste p. 142, says “Mais Platon . . . n'avait-il pas dit qu'il était impossible de raisonner si ce n'est en partant d'une perception?” citing Rep. 523-524, and Rodier, Aristot. De anima, i. p. 191. But that is not Plato's point here. Zeller, Aristot. i. p. 166 (Eng.), also misses the point when he says “Even as to the passage from the former to the latter he had only the negative doctrine that the contradictions of opinion and fancy ought to lead us to go further and to pass to the pure treatment of ideas.”

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