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PARMENIDES by Plato, Part 05


True.
But now, let us abstract the one which, as we say, partakes of being, and try to imagine it apart from that of which, as we say, it partakes-will this abstract one be one only or many?

One, I think.
Let us see:-Must not the being of one be other than one? for the one is not being, but, considered as one, only partook of being?

Certainly.
If being and the one be two different things, it is not because the one is one that it is other than being; nor because being is being that it is other than the one; but they differ from one another in virtue of otherness and difference.

Certainly.
So that the other is not the same either with the one or with being?
Certainly not.
And therefore whether we take being and the other, or being and the one, or the one and the other, in every such case we take two things, which may be rightly called both.

How so.
In this way-you may speak of being?
Yes.
And also of one?
Yes.
Then now we have spoken of either of them?
Yes.
Well, and when I speak of being and one, I speak of them both?
Certainly.
And if I speak of being and the other, or of the one and the other-in any such case do I not speak of both?

Yes.
And must not that which is correctly called both, be also two?
Undoubtedly.
And of two things how can either by any possibility not be one?
It cannot.
Then, if the individuals of the pair are together two, they must be severally one?

Clearly.
And if each of them is one, then by the addition of any one to any pair, the whole becomes three?

Yes.
And three are odd, and two are even?
Of course.
And if there are two there must also be twice, and if there are three there must be thrice; that is, if twice one makes two, and thrice one three?

Certainly.
There are two, and twice, and therefore there must be twice two; and there are three, and there is thrice, and therefore there must be thrice three?

Of course.
If there are three and twice, there is twice three; and if there are two and thrice, there is thrice two?

Undoubtedly.
Here, then, we have even taken even times, and odd taken odd times, and even taken odd times, and odd taken even times.

True.
And if this is so, does any number remain which has no necessity to be?

None whatever.
Then if one is, number must also be?
It must.
But if there is number, there must also be many, and infinite multiplicity of being; for number is infinite in multiplicity, and partakes also of being: am I not right?

Certainly.
And if all number participates in being, every part of number will also participate?

Yes.
Then being is distributed over the whole multitude of things, and nothing that is, however small or however great, is devoid of it? And, indeed, the very supposition of this is absurd, for how can that which is, be devoid of being?

In no way.
And it is divided into the greatest and into the smallest, and into being of all sizes, and is broken up more than all things; the divisions of it have no limit.

True.
Then it has the greatest number of parts?
Yes, the greatest number.
Is there any of these which is a part of being, and yet no part?
Impossible.
But if it is at all and so long as it is, it must be one, and cannot be none?

Certainly.
Then the one attaches to every single part of being, and does not fail in any part, whether great or small, or whatever may be the size of it?

True.
But reflect:-an one in its entirety, be in many places at the same time?

No; I see the impossibility of that.
And if not in its entirety, then it is divided; for it cannot be present with all the parts of being, unless divided.

True.
And that which has parts will be as many as the parts are?
Certainly.
Then we were wrong in saying just now, that being was distributed into the greatest number of parts. For it is not distributed into parts more than the one, into parts equal to the one; the one is never wanting to being, or being to the one, but being two they are co-equal and coextensive.

Certainly that is true.
The one itself, then, having been broken up into parts by being, is many and infinite?

True.
Then not only the one which has being is many, but the one itself distributed by being, must also be many?

Certainly.
Further, inasmuch as the parts are parts of a whole, the one, as a whole, will be limited; for are not the parts contained the whole?

Certainly.
And that which contains, is a limit?
Of course.
Then the one if it has being is one and many, whole and parts, having limits and yet unlimited in number?

Clearly.
And because having limits, also having extremes?
Certainly.
And if a whole, having beginning and middle and end. For can anything be a whole without these three? And if any one of them is wanting to anything, will that any longer be a whole?

No.
Then the one, as appears, will have beginning, middle, and end.
It will.
But, again, the middle will be equidistant from the extremes; or it would not be in the middle?

Yes.
Then the one will partake of figure, either rectilinear or round, or a union of the two?

True.
And if this is the case, it will be both in itself and in another too.

How?
Every part is in the whole, and none is outside the whole.
True.
And all the parts are contained by the whole?
Yes.
And the one is all its parts, and neither more nor less than all?
No.
And the one is the whole?
Of course.
But if all the parts are in the whole, and the one is all of them and the whole, and they are all contained by the whole, the one will be contained by the one; and thus the one will be in itself.

That is true.
But then, again, the whole is not in the parts-neither in all the parts, nor in some one of them. For if it is in all, it must be in one; for if there were any one in which it was not, it could not be in all the parts; for the part in which it is wanting is one of all, and if the whole is not in this, how can it be in them all?

 

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