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not to flee like cowards, at last, my good sir, they are strangely dissatisfied with their own reasoning; and that rhetoric of theirs dies out, somehow or other, so that they seem no better than children. As to these people, however, since the topic is a mere digression, let us drop the conversation: or else further considerations will continue to stream in and stifle our original argument. us return to the previous question, with your leave.


Theo. For my own part, Socrates, I lend an ear to such digressions with quite as much pleasure, as they are easier for a man of my age to follow. But, if you prefer it, let us return to our subject.

[Returning to his subject, Socrates says that the laws of a state have 26 expediency (rò wpéλiμov) for their end; but they often fail to attain it. Expediency is tested by the future. Does Protagoras pretend to be a measure of this? Will not a medical man judge better than he of the probability of a fever, a vine-grower of the expected quality of a wine, and so on, even as Protagoras himself could judge better than they of the arguments likely to prevail in a court of law? This was his forte and profession. He got a fortune by it. Would he have done so if he had told those who consulted him that they could judge as well as he? No: and it is hence evident that the more intelligent man is a measure, the unintelligent has no claim to be so called. True, says Theodorus; and my friend's doctrine is overthrown by this argument as well as by the former which showed that, while he admitted the opinions of all men to be true, most men denied this opinion of his to be true: which leaves him self-confuted. Yes, says Socrates, and many other confuting reasons might be added. But the momentary affections, from which arise sensation and opinion, are not so easily shown to be untrue. There is great disputation on this subject.]

So. We had, I think, reached this point in our argument. Speaking of those who teach the notion of moving

essence, and who aver that what at any time seems to each is for him to whom it seems, we said that—while on other points, and specially with respect to justice, such men would insist strongly, that what a state enacts as its pleasure, is just for the enacting state as long as it remains enacted-yet with respect to good, none are so bold as to contend that what a state enacts considering it useful, is useful so long as it remains enacted, unless one choose to lay stress on the mere term; and that would be quibbling as to our real question. Would it not?

Theo. Certainly.

So. He should not dwell on the term, but on the thing which under that term is considered.

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So. Whatever term the state give to it, that which the state aims at in its legislation is, I suppose, this: all its laws, so far as its opinion and power extend, are framed in order to be as useful to itself as possible. Does it legislate with any other view?

Theo. None.

So. Does it always succeed? or do all states crr in many cases?

Theo. I think they sometimes err.

So. Ay, and one may be led to this same admission more readily, by putting the question as to the whole class, of which the useful is a part. I suppose it relates to future time as well as to present. When we legislate, we enact our laws as intended to be useful for the time that is to follow. This we should rightly term 'future'?

Theo. Certainly.

So. Well then let us ask Protagoras, or any of those who adopt his doctrine, this question. Man is the measure of all things, as ye say, O Protagoras; of things white, heavy,

light, all such-like. For, having the test in himself, thinking what he feels, he thinks what is, and what is to himself true. Is it not so?

Theo. It is.

So. And of things which are hereafter to be, we shall say, O Protagoras, has he the test in himself, and do they turn out to him such as he thinks they will be? Heat, for instance: when an unskilled person thinks that he will be seized with fever, and that this state of heat will occur, and another, who is a medical man, has an opposite opinion, shall we say that the future will turn out according to the opinion of one of the two, or according to that of both, and that to the medical man he will not be hot or feverish, but to himself both these?

Theo. This would be absurd.


And, I suppose, with respect to the future sweetness or harshness of wine, the vine-grower's opinion, not that of the harp-player, will prevail?

Theo. Of course.

So. Again, as to good and bad music, a gymnast cannot judge beforehand so well as a musician, even of that which, after he has heard it, the gymnast himself will deem to be good music.

Theo. Certainly not.

So. The judgment also of one who, without culinary skill, is preparing to feast, will, while the banquet is in preparation, be less valid concerning the future pleasure than the judgment of the cook. We must not in our present argument inquire as to that which now is or which has been pleasant to each, but as to that which is about to seem and to be pleasant,-whether each individual is the best judge for himself. For example, would not you, Protagoras, form beforehand a better opinion


than an untutored person of the arguments which each of us would find persuasive in a court of law?

Theo. The very point, Socrates, in which he used to declare strongly that he had no rival.

So. To be sure he did, my dear friend; and nobody would have paid large sums of money to converse with him, if he had tried to persuade his pupils that no person, prophet, or other, is a better judge of what in the future will be, and seem to be, than a man's own self'.

Theo. Very true.

So. Are not legislation and expediency concerned with the future, and will not every one confess that a state, when legislating, must of necessity often fail to attain that which is most useful?

Theo. Certainly.

So. Then it will be a fair thing to say to your master,— he must perforce confess that one man is wiser than another, and that such a man is indeed a measure; while for me, who am unknowing, there is no kind of necessity to become a measure, compelled though I was just now to be one, whether I would or not, by my argument in his defence.

Theo. In my judgment, Socrates, that is the best way of confuting his doctrine, though it is also confuted by this consideration, that it makes other people's opinions valid, and by these opinions (as was shown) his statements are deemed to be anything but true.

So. In many other ways, also, Theodorus, a doctrine such as this, that every opinion of every person is true, can be confuted. But, in respect to momentary affections, from which arise perception and correspondent opinion, it is more difficult to convict these of untruth. I am very likely wrong, however: possibly they are irrefragable; 1 See Notes appended.

and those who assert them to be clear, and to be cognitions, may perhaps tell the truth, and our friend Theaetetus may not have missed the mark in laying down that perception and knowledge are the same. We must come closer then and examine this moving essence, by tapping it to see whether it sounds whole or cracked. No slight war is waged about this between combatants not a few.

[Theodorus gives a half serious, half jocular, character of the Heracleitean 27 champions of the Flux. Socrates supports it by citing Homer's words as a veiled philosophy, openly professed by Heracleitus. He then refers to the antagonistic School (Eleatic), of which are Melissus and Parmenides, who teach the doctrine of Rest and Oneness of Being. Between the two, he says, we may find ourselves perplexed like outsiders between the two contending parties in the game called dia ypaμμîs.]

Theo. Far indeed from being a slight one; in Ionia the doctrine makes great strides. The followers of Heracleitus support it very vigorously.

So. On that account, dear Theodorus, we must examine it more fundamentally, as they suggest.

Theo. Decidedly. For indeed, Socrates, as to these followers of Heracleitus, or, as you say, of Homer, and of others still more ancient, if we take their leading men about Ephesus, who pretend to be learned in the doctrines, there is no possibility of holding an argument with them any more than with lunatics. They are always in motion after the manner of their writings, and as to pausing on one subject, and inquiring and answering quietly in turn, their power of doing this is below zero. An infinite minus quantity goes nearer to expressing that these men have not in them the least particle of quietness. If you ask them any question, they pluck as it were out of their quiver

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