The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

Phenomenological History of the World

 	"Are you also puzzled, Socrates, about cases that might be thought
absurd, such as hair or mud or dirt or any other trivial and undignified
objects? Are you doubtful whether or not to assert that each of these has
a separate form distinct from things like those we handle?
 	"Not at all, said Socrates, In these cases the things are just the
things we see; it would surely be too absurd to suppose that they have a
form. All the same, I have sometimes been troubled by a doubt whether what
is true in one case may not be true in all. Then, when I have reached that
point, I am driven to retreat, for fear of tumbling into a bottomless pit
of nonsense. Anyhow, I get back to the things which we were just now
speaking of as having forms, and occupy my time with thinking about them.
 	"That, replied Parmenides, is because you are still young,
Socrates, and philosophy has not yet taken hold of you so firmly as I
believe it will someday. You will not despise any of these objects then,
but at present your youth makes you still pay attention to what the world
will think." ...

Plato, Parmenides, 130 c-e, trans. Cornford.

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