Persons in the dialogue: Cephalus, Adeimantus, Glaucon, Antiphon, Pythadorus, Socrates, Zeno, Parmenides, Aristotle
126A When we arrived in Athens from Clazomenae, our hometown, we came across Adeimantus and Glaucon in the agora. Adeimantus took me by the hand and said:
Greetings Cephalus, if there is anything you want here, anything we can do for you, just ask
In fact, said I, that’s the very reason I’m here; To ask you for something.
Tell us what you want
126B Your half-brother, I replied, on your mother’s side, what was his name? I have forgotten it. He was just a child when I came to Athens previously from Clazomenae, and that was a long time ago now. I think his father’s name was Pyrilampes.
Indeed, so he replied.
And his name was?
Antiphon. But why are you asking?
These men here, said I, are fellow citizens of mine, serious philosophers who have heard that this man Antiphon had numerous meetings with a certain Pythodorus, a companion 127C of Zeno’s, and that he had heard the discussions that took place between Socrates and Zeno, so often from Pythodorus that he could recite them from memory.
That’s true he replied
Well, said I, we want to hear an account of these discussions.
That is no problem said he. Indeed as a young man he practiced these well and truly, although nowadays he takes after his grandfather of the same name and busies himself, for the most part, with horses. But if you want we can go to visit him. He left here a while ago to go home, but he lives nearby in Melite
127A With that we set off on foot and we came across Antiphon, at home, giving a bit of some sort to a smith to work on. When he had finished with the smith the brothers told him why we were there. He recognized me from my previous visit and greeted me. When we asked him to recount the discussions he was reluctant at first, saying that it involved a lot of work, but he eventually gave us a detailed account. Antiphon explained that, according to Pythodorus, Zeno 127B and Parmenides had come to Athens once for the Great Panathenaea. Parmenides was, by then, well advanced in years, a grey haired sixty-five-year-old man of noble and handsome appearance. Zeno was almost forty at the time, tall and good looking and it was said that he had once been a favorite of Parmenides’. They were staying he said with Pythodorus 127C outside the walls in the Karameikos. Socrates arrived with a number of others accompanying him, wishing to hear a reading of Zeno’s writings which had been brought to Athens for the first time by these two visitors. Socrates was quite young at the time. While Zeno himself was reading to them Parmenides happened to be outside. Pythodorus said that when he himself 127D came in along with Parmenides and Aristotle, who later became one of the Thirty, very few of the arguments still remained to be read and they listened to a small number of writings although he himself had actually heard them before from Zeno.
Having listened, Socrates asked that the first hypothesis of the first argument be read again and once it had been read 127E he said:
What do you mean by this Zeno? If things that are, are many, they must actually be both like and unlike, but this is an impossibility, since what’s unlike cannot be like, nor can what’s like be unlike. Is that what you are saying?
It is said Zeno.
So if it is impossible for what’s unlike to be like and for what’s like to be unlike then isn’t it also impossible for them to be many? For if they were many, they would experience the impossible outcomes. So isn’t this the intention of your arguments; solely to contend, contrary to everything that is said, that things that are, are not many? You think, don’t you, that each of your arguments is a proof of this very claim, and so you believe that you have provided as many proofs as written arguments, to the effect that things that are, are 128A not many? Is this what you mean, or have I misunderstood you?
No, said Zeno, On the contrary you have well understood the intent of the book as a whole.
Well, said Socrates, I am discovering that Zeno here wishes to be close to you not only in general friendship but also in his book. For he has, in a way, written the same thing as yourself, but by making some changes he tries to fool us into thinking that he is saying something different. For you say in your poems that “all is one” 128B and you provide excellent, elegant proofs of this assertion, while this man, for his part, says that it is not many and he too provides lots of extensive proofs. So with one of you saying that it is one, and the other that it is not many, and each speaking as if you had seemingly not said the same things, while saying more or less the same things, what you have said appears to have been spoken over the heads of the rest of us.
Yes Socrates, said Zeno, but you have not fully appreciated the truth about the book, although like 128C the hounds of Sparta, you hunt down the arguments and follow their trail quite well. In the first place you are unaware of the fact that the book is not really so serious as to have been written with the intention you are describing while concealing it from people as if that was some significant achievement. No, you are referring to something incidental while, in truth, this is a support to Parmenides’ argument, against those who try to make fun of it 128D on the grounds that if all is one many absurdities and self-contradictions follow from that proposition. This book then opposes those who speak for the many and pays them back with the same and more, intending to demonstrate that this hypothesis of theirs, whereby the all is many, incurs even greater ridicule, if someone sufficiently presses the point, than the hypothesis that all is one. I wrote the book in this sort of combative spirit in my early years but once it had been written someone plagiarized it so I was not allowed to decide whether it should be made 128E public or not. So, this is the point you have missed, Socrates; you think it was written out of an older man’s ambition rather than a young man’s combative spirit. Although as I said you captured its essence quite well.
I accept that said Socrates and I believe that the circumstances were as you say. But tell me this: don’t you think that there is a form, just by itself, 129A of likeness and again another form, opposite to this, what unlike is? Don’t you and I, and whatever else we call many, get a share of these two? Don’t those that get a share of likeness become like in the way that, and to the extent that they get a share, while those that get a share of unlikeness become unlike, and those that get a share of both become both? And even if all things get a share of both, although they are opposites, and by partaking of both become like as well as unlike themselves, 129B is that a surprise? Indeed if someone were to show the likes themselves becoming unlike or the unlikes becoming like, that I think would be a marvel, but if he shows that whatever partakes of both of these is characterized in both ways, that does not seem at all unusual to me, nor indeed if he shows that all things are one by partaking of the one and these same things are again many by partaking of the multiple. But if someone can prove that this itself, what one is, is many or, in turn that the many are indeed one, 129C at this I will be surprised. And the same holds for all of the others; if someone could show the kinds and forms themselves, in themselves, being characterized by these opposite characteristics that would be a cause for surprise. But why be surprised if someone can show that I am one and many by saying, when he wants to show that I am many, that my right side is different, my left side is different, my front is different, my back is different, and the same goes for my upper and lower parts, since I presumably partake of multiplicity? And when he wants to show that I am one he will say that I am one person of the seven 129D of us here, since I also partake of the one. And so he shows that both assertions are true. So if, in the case of stones and sticks and the like, someone were to show that such objects are many and also the same one, we shall maintain that he has shown that something is one and many not that the one is many or that the many is one, and he is not saying anything surprising, but something we would all accept. But if someone were first to distinguish the forms, just by themselves, separately, of the things I just mentioned such as likeness, unlikeness, multiplicity, the one, 129E rest and motion and the like, and then show that these are capable of being combined and separated among themselves, I for one Zeno, would admire him, said he. And although I believe you have dealt with these issues very thoroughly, I would, as I say, have much more admiration for someone who could demonstrate that this very same difficulty that you and Parmenides described among visible objects, is involved in all sorts of ways 130A in the forms themselves, in things that are grasped by reasoning.
Pythodorus said that while Socrates was saying all this, he himself thought that, at any moment, Parmenides and Zeno might get annoyed, but on the contrary they paid close attention to him and occasionally glanced at one another and smiled as if they admired Socrates. Parmenides confirmed this when Socrates stopped speaking, by saying; Socrates you deserve to be admired 130B for your urge towards arguments, but tell me this: do you, as you say, distinguish, as separate, certain forms by themselves, and as separate too, whatever partakes of the forms? And do you think that likeness itself is something separate from the likeness that we have, and indeed one and many and everything else you heard of just now from Zeno?
I do indeed said Socrates.
And what about things like the just, beautiful and good and everything of this sort? Is there a form just by itself in each case?
Yes he said
130C And what about a form of human being separate from us and from all those who are like us? Is there a form itself of human being or fire or water?
I have often, he said, been in perplexity about these, as to whether I should speak of them just as I spoke of the others or speak of them differently.
What about the following examples Socrates which may seem ridiculous, such as hair, mud, and dirt or anything else contemptible or commonplace? Are you perplexed as to whether or not you should say there is also a separate form of each of these 130D which in turn is different from anything we handle?
Not at all said Socrates, No, these are just what we see them to be. Surely it would be most strange to think that there is a form belonging to these. Still, I am troubled sometimes less there might be something that is the same about all these. Then, whenever I end up in that predicament I take flight, afraid that I might sink into some pit of nonsense and be undone. Finally, getting back to those things which we have just said have forms, I spend my time dealing with these.
130E You are still young Socrates, said Parmenides and philosophy has not yet taken hold of you as, in my opinion, it will in the future when you will hold none of these things in contempt. For the moment however, because of your youth, you still look to the opinions of other people. In any case tell me this: does it seem to you, as you say, that there are certain forms of which these other things get a share and adopt their names. For example when they get a share of likeness 131A do they become like, and getting a share of largeness of beauty and of justice do they become large just and beautiful?
Indeed so said Socrates.
Doesn’t whatever gets a share in each case get a share either of the whole form or of a part? Or could there be some other way of getting a share besides these two?
How could there be? said he.
Do you think that the whole form, being one, is in each of the many. Or what do you think?
What’s to prevent this Parmenides? said Socrates.
131B So being one and the same it will be present simultaneously as a whole in things that are many and separate, and would thus be separate from itself.
No Parmenides, said he, not if it is like day, which being one and the same, is in many places simultaneously and is, nevertheless, not separate from itself. If this were the case each of the forms could simultaneously be in all things as one and the same.
Socrates, he said, how nicely you make the one and the same be in many places simultaneously, as if you were to throw a sail over many people and maintain that one, as a whole, is over many. Don’t you think something like this is what you are saying?
131C Perhaps said he.
Would the sail as a whole be on each person or just a part of this, and another part on another person?
So forms themselves are divisible Socrates, said he, and things that partake of them would partake of a part, and the whole would no longer be in each, but a part of each form would be in each.
Well then Socrates, said he, do you wish to maintain that our one form is in truth divided and will still be one?
Not at all he replied.
Indeed, said he, look at it this way: if you are going to divide largeness itself and each of the many 131D large things is to be large by a part of largeness, smaller than largeness itself, won’t that appear unreasonable?
Very much so, he replied.
What about this? Will each thing that has received a small part of the equal be equal to anything else by possessing a part that is less than the equal itself?
But some of us will have a part of the small, and the small will be greater than this part since this is a part of itself, and the small itself will, in this way, be larger, while whatever the subtracted part 131E is added to, will be smaller not larger than before.
Well that couldn’t happen, he said.
In that case Socrates he asked in what way will the others get a share of your forms when they are unable to get a share either on the basis of parts or on the basis of wholes?
No by Zeus he responded, I don’t think it is at all easy to decide such a question.
What about this then? Where do you stand on the following question?
132A I presume that you think that each form is one for some such reason as this: whenever many things seem to you to be large, perhaps there seems to be one characteristic that is the same, as you survey them all; hence you think that the large is one.
That’s true, said he.
What about the large itself and the other larges? If you survey all these in the same way with the soul, won’t some one large appear, in turn, by which all these appear large?
So it seems.
So another form of largeness will make an appearance alongside the largeness itself that has come into being and whatever partakes of this, and another, in turn, over all these, 132B by which all these will be large, and each of your forms will be one no longer but unlimited in multiplicity.
Parmenides, said Socrates, couldn’t each of the forms be a thought of these, and it would not be appropriate for this to arise anywhere else besides our souls. For, in this way, each form could be one and would no longer be affected by everything that has just been described.
Then, he replied, is each of the thoughts one, but a thought of nothing?
No that’s impossible he said.
So it is a thought of something?
132C Of something that is or is not?
Something that is.
Isn’t it of some one which that thought thinks is set over all of them, as one characteristic?
That something, that is thought to be one, being always the same over all of them, won’t that be a form?
Again this appears necessary.
What about this then? asked Parmenides. By the necessity by which you maintain that the others partake of the forms, do you think either that each is from thoughts and everything thinks or, although they are thoughts, they are devoid of thinking?
No this is not reasonable either he said. But Parmenides, what appears most obvious 132D to me is that these forms stand like patterns in nature, while the others resemble these and are likenesses and, for the others, this partaking of forms turns out to be nothing else but resembling them.
Now he replied, if something resembles the form can that form fail to be like whatever resembles it, insofar as that has been made like the form? Or is there some means whereby the like is unlike it’s like?
There is not.
And isn’t there a strong necessity that the like partakes of one and the same 132E thing as what it is like?
It is necessary.
But what do the likes partake of so as to be like? Won’t that be the form itself?
So nothing can be like the form nor can the form be like anything else, otherwise alongside the form another form will always make an appearance and 133A if that form is like something, yet another form will appear and the continual generation of a new form will never cease if the form turns out to be like whatever partakes of it.
Since it not by likeness that the others get a share of the forms and we must, rather, look for something else, by which they get a share.
So it seems.
Do you see then, Socrates, said he, the extent of the difficulty once someone distinguishes forms as being just by themselves?
Very much so.
Mark my words said he you have not yet, so to speak, grasped the extent of the difficulty that arises if you propose one form of things that are, in each case, by continually 133B separating something off.
How so? he asked.
Though there are various other reasons, the main one is as follows: if someone were to maintain that if forms are such as we say they must be, it is not in their nature even to be known, no one would be able to show someone who says so that he is wrong, unless the objector happened to be naturally gifted and have lots of experience and a willingness to follow a very extensive and far reaching demonstration dealing with the issue. Otherwise, the person who insists that the forms are unknowable would remain 133C unconvinced.
Why is that Parmenides? Socrates asked.
Because, Socrates, I would imagine that you and anyone else who proposes that there is, for each, some being just by itself, would agree in the first place that none of these are among ourselves.
Indeed not said Socrates how could it still be just by itself?
Well said, he replied. Therefore those characteristics that are what they are in relation to one another have their being in relation to themselves, and not in relation to whatever is with ourselves, 133D whether someone posits likeness or whatever else he suggests we partake of and are named after in each case. While those that are with us, although they have the same names as the forms, are in turn what they are in relation to themselves and not in relation to the forms. And whatever things are named in this way refer to themselves and not to those forms.
What do you mean? asked Socrates.
For instance, said Parmenides, if one of us is the master or slave of someone, he is not, of course, the slave 133E of master itself, what master is, nor is a master, master of slave itself, what slave is. Rather, as human beings, we are master or slave of a fellow human. Mastery itself, on the other hand, is what it is of slavery itself, while slavery itself, in like manner, is slavery of mastery itself. But the things among ourselves do not have their power towards those, nor do those have their power towards us. Rather, as I say, these are what they are, of themselves, and in relation to themselves while things with 134A us are, in like manner, relative to themselves. Or do you not understand what I am saying?
I understand, said Socrates, very much so.
And is it also the case he asked that knowledge itself, what knowledge is, would be knowledge of that truth itself, what truth is?
Then again each of the instances of knowledge, what each is, would be knowledge of particular things that are. Isn’t this so?
Knowledge with us would be knowledge of the truth with us and, furthermore, particular knowledge with us would turn out to be knowledge of particular things that are 134B with us?
But the forms themselves, as you agree, we neither possess nor can they be with us.
No, indeed not.
And presumably each of the kinds themselves is known by the form of knowledge itself?
Which we do not possess?
We do not.
So none of the forms is known by us since we do not partake of knowledge itself.
So what beauty itself is, and the good 134C and indeed everything we understand as being characters themselves, are unknown to us.
Then consider something even more daunting.
You would say, I presume, that if there is indeed a kind, just by itself, of knowledge, it is much more precise than the knowledge with us, and the same holds for beauty and all the others.
Now if anything else partakes of knowledge itself wouldn’t you say that God more so than anyone possesses the most precise knowledge.
134D In that case, will God be able to have knowledge of things with ourselves by possessing knowledge itself?
Because, Socrates, said Parmenides, we have agreed that those forms do not have the power that they have, in relation to the things that are with us, nor do the things with us have their power in relation to those forms. The power in each case is in relation to themselves.
Yes, we agreed on that.
Well then, if this most precise mastery is with God and this most precise knowledge too, the gods’ mastery would never exercise mastery over us nor would their knowledge 134E know us nor anything else that is with us. Rather, just as we neither rule over them with our rule nor do we know anything of the divine with our knowledge, they in turn by the same argument are not the masters of us nor do they have knowledge of human affairs, although they are gods.
But surely, he said, if someone were to deprive God of knowledge the argument would be most surprising.
Indeed, Socrates, said Parmenides, the forms inevitably possess these difficulties and many others 135A besides these, if there are these characteristics of things that are, and someone marks off each form as something by itself. And the person who hears about them gets perplexed and contends that these forms do not exist and even if they do it is highly necessary that they be unknowable to human nature and in saying all this he seems to be making sense and, as we said before, it is extraordinarily difficult to persuade him otherwise. Indeed this will require a highly gifted man who will have the ability to understand that there is, for each, some kind, a being just by itself, 135B and someone even more extraordinary who will make this discovery and be capable of teaching someone else who has scrutinized all these issues thoroughly enough for himself.
Yet on the other hand Socrates, said Parmenides, if someone, in the light of our present considerations and others like them will not allow that there are forms of things that are, and won’t mark off a form for each one, he will not even have anywhere to turn his thinking since he does not allow that a characteristic 135C of each of the things that are is always the same, and in this way, he will utterly destroy the power of discourse. However, I think you are quite well aware of such an issue.
That’s true, he said.
Well then, what will you do about philosophy? In what direction will you turn while these are unknown?
Well at the moment I don’t think I can see an answer.
Socrates, said he, that is because you are trying to make mark off something beautiful, just, and good, and each 135D one of the forms, too soon, before you have been trained. Indeed I noticed this earlier as I listened to you in discussion here with this man Aristoteles. Now mark my words, although the impulse you bring to arguments is noble and divine, you must bestir yourself while you are still young and get more training in something that seems useless and which most people call idle talk, or else the truth will escape you.
What is the manner of the training Parmenides? he asked.
The same as what you heard from Zeno, he replied, with the following exception: I was indeed delighted when you 135E said that you would not allow the inquiry to be about visible things or to consider their wandering. It was, rather, to consider things that one apprehends mainly by reason and might think to be forms.
That, said he, is because by the other approach I think it is all too easy to show things that are, being characterized as both like and unlike or as anything else at all.
And you are right to say so he said. But it is also necessary to do something else in addition: it is not enough to consider the consequences 136A that follow from hypothesising that each is, but you must also hypothesize that this same thing is not, If you wish to be better trained.
How do you mean? He asked.
Take for instance, if you like, said he, this hypothesis that Zeno proposed, “if many are”. What are the consequences for the many themselves in relation to themselves and in relation to the one, and for the one in relation to itself and in relation to the many. And furthermore if many are not, you need to consider what the consequences will be both for the one and for the many in relation to themselves 136B and one another. And again if you hypothesise “if likeness is” or “if likeness is not”, what will follow from either hypothesis both for the things hypothesised, themselves, and for the others, both in relation to themselves and one another. And the same argument applies when dealing with unlikeness, with movement, with rest, with generation, with destruction, with being itself, and with non being. And, in a word, whatever you may ever hypothesise as being or as not being or as characterised by any other characteristic whatsoever, you should consider the consequences 136C both in relation to itself and in relation to each of the others, whichever you choose, and in relation to a number of them, and in relation to them all together, in the same way, and the others too, for their part, both in relation to themselves and in relation to anything else you may ever choose, whether you hypothesise it as being or as not being, if you are to be perfectly trained to have a supreme vision of the truth.
Parmenides, said he, you are describing an enormous undertaking which I do not really understand. Why don’t you go through the process yourself for me by hypothesising something, so that I may better understand this.
136D For a man of my age Socrates, he replied, you are assigning a huge task.
Well Zeno, said Socrates, why don’t you go through a hypothesis for us?
And Antiphon said that Zeno laughed and replied: we should ask Parmenides himself, for he is describing something that is far from commonplace. Don’t you see the extent of the task you are assigning him? Now if there were more of us here it wouldn’t be right to ask him, for it is not appropriate to speak of such matters in front of lots of people, especially at his age. 136E Indeed most people are unaware that without this detailed and extensive exploration it is impossible to encounter the truth and acquire reason. And so, Parmenides, I join Socrates in his request, so that I too may hear you out to the very end after all these years.
When Zeno had said all this, Antiphon told us that Pythodorus said that he himself along with Aristoteles and the others implored Parmenides to demonstrate what he was speaking of: nothing else would do. So, Parmenides said; I must comply although I feel as if I am in the same predicament 137A as the horse in Ibycus’ poem, the aged competitor who is about to compete in a chariot race and because of past experience trembles at the prospect. The poet comparing himself to this animal said that he himself, an old man, was being compelled, against his will, to embark upon amorous pursuits. And as I think back I too, it seems, am fearful as to how, at my age, I am to swim across such a vast sea of arguments. Nevertheles I should oblige you since indeed, as Zeno says, we are by ourselves. So where shall we begin and what shall we hypothesize first? Or since it seems I am to play this serious game, would you like me to begin 137B with myself and my own hypothesis by hypothesizing about the one itself and what the consequences must be if it is one or not one?
Yes certainly said Zeno.
Who, he asked, will respond to me? Perhaps the youngest? Yes he will make least trouble and will be most inclined to answer based upon what he thinks, and at the same time his answering would give me a rest.
137C I’m ready for that Parmenides, said Aristoteles, since you are referring to myself when you refer to the youngest. So, ask your questions, and I will answer you.
Very well, said he, if it is one the one would not be many, would it?
No, how could it be?
So, of this there is no part, neither could it be a whole.
Why is that?
The part is presumably part of a whole.
And what about the whole? Wouldn’t that from which no part is missing be a whole?
So in both cases the one would consist of parts both by constituting a whole and by having parts.
So in both cases the one would thus 137D be many, but not one.
But it should not be many but just one.
So if the one is to be one it will neither be a whole nor will it have parts.
Now if it does not have a part it would not have a beginning an end or a middle for these would already be parts of it.
And indeed, a beginning and an end are a limit of each thing.
So the one is limitless if it has neither a beginning nor an end.
So, it is without shape for it partakes neither of round 137E nor straight.
Well, whatever has its extremities everywhere the same distance from the middle is presumably round.
And indeed, something is straight if the middle intercepts both extremities.
Then the one would have parts and would be many if it were to partake of straight or round shape.
So it is neither straight nor round 138A since in fact it does not have parts.
And indeed being like this, it would be nowhere, for it would neither be in another nor in itself.
Being in another it would presumably be encompassed, in a circle, by whatever it was contained in and would touch this in many places with many parts. However, since it is one, and devoid of parts, and does not partake of circularity, it is impossible for it to touch in many places in a circle.
Then again, being in itself it would, by itself, encompass nothing other than itself, if it were actually in itself, 138B for it is impossible for anything to be in something and not be encompassed by it.
In that case whatever encompasses would be one thing and whatever is encompassed would be another, for the same thing will not simultaneously, as a whole, be both active and passive, and thus the one would no longer be one but two.
So the one is not anywhere, neither in itself nor in another.
It is not.
This being the case consider whether it can be at rest or in motion.
Why could it not be?
Because being in motion it would either be transported or altered, 138C for these are the only motions.
But it is impossible for the one still to be one while being altered from itself.
So it does not move on the basis of alteration at least.
In that case is it transported?
And yet if the one were transported it would either be borne around in a circle in the same place or change location from one place to another.
Now being borne around in a circle it must stand upon a centre and have all that is borne around that centre as other parts of itself. But in what way is that to which neither 138D centre nor parts belong, ever to be borne in a circle upon a center?
There is no way.
Well then, does it come to be in different places at different times by changing place? Is that how it moves?
If it actually moves.
Didn’t it appear impossible for it to be somewhere, in something?
So isn’t it even more impossible for it to come to be somewhere in something ?
I don’t understand how.
If it is coming to be in something isn’t it necessary that it not yet be in that something while it is still coming to be in that? Nor can it still be entirely outside that if indeed it is already coming to be in it.
Now if this is to happen to anything 138E it could only happen to something that has parts, for some of it could already be in that thing while, at the same time, some is outside. But that which has no parts will presumably not be able, in any way, to be neither wholly inside something nor wholly outside, at the same time.
But isn’t it even more impossible for that which has no parts and is not a whole, to come to be in something, somewhere, since it cannot come to be in something else either part by part or as a whole?
So it does not change place by going somewhere or coming to be in something 139A nor is it borne about in the same place, nor is it altered.
It seems not.
So on the basis of every movement, the one is unmoving.
And yet we also say that it cannot be in something.
Yes, so we say.
So it is never in the same.
Because it would then be in that, in the same that it is in.
But it was unable to be either in itself or in another
it was indeed.
So the one is never in the same.
It seems not.
139B But that which is never in the same is neither still nor at rest.
Indeed, it cannot be.
So the one, it seems, is neither at rest nor in motion.
Yes, so it appears anyway.
Then it will neither be the same as another or itself nor would it be different from itself or from another.
Why is that?
Being somehow different from itself it would be different from one and would not be one.
And indeed being the same as another it would be that and not itself 139C and so in this way it would not be just what it is namely one, it would, rather, be different from one.
So it will not be the same as another or different from itself.
It will not.
Yes, and it will not be different from another as long as it is one for it does not belong to the one to be different from anything. It belongs rather to different alone and to nothing else to be different from another.
So it will not be different by being one. Or do you think it could?
Of course not.
And yet if it will not be different by this it will not be so by itself, and if not by itself it will not, itself, be different, and being in no way different itself it will be different from 139D nothing.
Nor indeed will it be the same as itself,
The nature of the one is surely, itself, not the nature of the same.
Why is that?
Because once something has become the same as something it does not become one.
Having become the same as many it must become many and not one.
But if the one and the same did not differ at all, whenever something became the same it would always come to be one, and whenever it became one it would always come to be the same.
So, if the one is to be the same as itself it will not be one with itself, and although it is one, it will not be one. But this is indeed impossible. So it is impossible for the one either to be different from another or the same as itself.
In this way then the one would neither be different from nor the same as itself or another.
It would not.
Nor indeed will it be like or unlike anything, either itself or another.
Why is that?
Because whatever has a characteristic the same is presumably like.
But the same 140A appeared to be separate in nature from the one.
So it appeared.
And yet if the one had any characteristic apart from being one it would be characterised as being more than one and that is impossible.
So the one is not characterised as being like either another or itself.
So it cannot be like either another or itself.
It seems not.
Nor indeed is the one characterised as being different, for in this way too it would be characterized as being more than one.
And yet whatever has a characteristic different from itself or another would be unlike itself or another 140B since whatever has a characteristic the same is like.
Then the one it seems is not characterized as being in any way different or in any way unlike either itself or another.
It is not.
So the one would neither be like nor unlike either itself or another.
And indeed, being like this, it will be neither equal nor unequal to itself or another.
Why is that?
Being equal it will be of the same measures as that to which it is equal.
And presumably if it is greater or less 140C it will have more measures than whatever is less than it and less measures than whatever it is greater, in cases where it is commensurable.
But in cases where it is not commensurable its measures will be either smaller or greater.
Now isn’t it impossible for that which does not partake of the same, to be of the same measures or the same anything else at all?
In that case, since it is not of the same measures it would not be equal either to itself or to another.
Well it certainly appears not.
Furthermore, being of more measures or of less it would have as many parts as it has measures and thus 140D the one would again be one no longer but as many as its measures.
But if it was of one measure it would become equal to that measure, but this appeared impossible; It was impossible for the one to be equal to anything.
It appeared so indeed.
So since the one neither partakes of one measure, nor many, nor few, and does not at all partake of the same, it will never, it seems, be equal to itself or to another, nor again will it be greater or less than itself or another.
140E What about this? Does the one seem capable of being older or younger or the same age as anything?
Why could it not be?
Because being the same age as itself or another it would partake of equality of time, and of likeness, and we said that the one does not partake either of likeness or of equality.
We said so indeed.
And indeed we also said that it does not partake of unlikeness and inequality.
Well then since it is like this, in what way can it be 141A older or younger or the same age as anything?
There is no way.
So the one could not be younger or older or the same age either as itself or another.
It appears not.
Well then, if it were like this, would the one actually be able to be in time at all? Or if something is in time must it not necessarily be constantly getting older than itself.
Isn’t the older always older than the younger?
141B So whatever is becoming older than itself is also becoming younger than itself at the same time if indeed it is going to have something to become older than.
How do you mean?
As follows: there is no need for something to become different from something else that is already different. Rather it must already be different from that which is different already, it must have become different from that which has become so, and be about to be different from that which is about to be so. But it must not have become, nor be about to become, nor be different yet, from that which is becoming different. It must be becoming so, and 141C nothing else.
Furthermore, older is difference from younger and not from anything else.
It is indeed.
So that which is becoming older than itself is also, necessarily, becoming younger than itself at the same time.
So it seems.
Then again it is not becoming so for more or less time than itself. It is rather for a time equal to Itself that it becomes and is and has become and is about to be.
This too is necessarily so.
So, it is necessary, it seems, at least for everything that is in time and partakes 141D of such, that each of them is the same age as itself, and is becoming older than itself and younger than itself as the same time.
But of course the one did not share in any of these characteristics.
It did not.
Neither then does it have a share of time nor is it in any time.
It certainly is not, as the argument proves.
What about this then? Don’t “was” and “has become” and “was becoming” seem to indicate participation in time that has passed?
They certainly do.
141E And what about “will be” and “will become” and “will have become”? Don’t these indicate participation in time to come?
And “is” and “becomes” refer to time that is present now, don’t they?
So if the one does not partake of time in any respect, it has never come into being, nor was it coming into being, and is never was, nor has it now come into being, nor is it coming into being, and it is not. Nor will it come into being in the future nor will it have come into being, nor will it be.
Now is there any way that anything can partake of being besides one of these ways?
There is not.
So the one does not partake of being at all.
It seems not.
So the one is not, at all.
So the one is not; not in such a way as to be one, for if it were it would already be, and be partaking of being. But it seems that the one is not one, and is not, if we should be persuaded by this sort 142A of argument.
What about anything that is not? Would anything be to that, or of that?
No, how could it be?
So no name belongs to it nor any account nor any knowledge nor perception nor opinion.
It appears not.
So it is neither named nor described nor is it subject to opinion, nor is it known, nor is it perceived by any of the things that are.
It seems not.
Now in relation to the one, is it possible that all this is the case?
Well I don’t think so anyway.
142B Do you wish to go back to the hypothesis once more from the beginning in case something different occurs to us as we go back over it?
I certainly do.
In that case, if one is, we are saying that the consequences relating to it, whatever they happen to be, must be agreed upon. Isn’t this so?
Then consider, from the beginning; If one is can it be, but not partake of being?
Then there would also be the being of the one, and this is not the same as the one, or else it could not be the being of the one, nor could 142C that, the one, partake of that being, and saying “one is” would be just like saying “one is one”. But the present hypothesis is not what must the consequences be “if one is one” but “if one is”. Isn’t this so?
It certainly is.
Does not the “is” indicate something other than the “one”.
So whenever someone makes the succinct statement that “that one is”, this simply means that the one partakes of being.
Now consider this hypothesis; doesn’t it indicate that the one, being like this, has parts?
As follows: if we speak of the “is” of the one that is and the “one” of that which is one, but being and one are not the same, although both belong to what we hypothesised, namely the one that is, isn’t it necessary that the one that is, itself, be a whole, and that the one and the being become parts of this?
Now shall we merely refer to each of these two parts as a part, or should the part be referred to as a part of the whole?
Of the whole.
So whatever would be one is a whole and has a part.
What about each of these parts 142E of the one that is, the one part and the being part? Is the one ever absent from the being part or the being from the one part?
It could not be.
So once again each of the two parts possesses the one and the being, and the least part, in turn, consists of two parts, and according to the same argument it is always the case that whatever has become a part always possesses these two parts. And so the one always possesses being and being always possesses the one. And so, of necessity, since it is always becoming two, it is never one.
Consequently the one that is would be unlimited in multiplicity, would it not?
So it seems.
Let’s take the matter even further.
In what way?
Do we maintain that because the one is, it partakes of being?
And for these reasons the one that is appeared to be many.
What about the one itself then, which we maintain partakes of being? If we grasp this with the mind, on its own, just by itself, without that of which we say it partakes, will it appear to be just one or will the very same thing again appear to be many ?
One; that is what I think anyway.
143B Let’s see; if indeed that one is not being but, as one, partakes of being, then its being must necessarily be one thing, and itself something different.
In that case, if the being is one thing and the one is something different, it is not by being one that the one is different from the being or by being being that the being is other than the one. Rather they are different from one another by the different and other.
So the different is not the same as the one or the being.
No, how could it be?
143C Well then, if, from these, we were to select say, the being and the different, or the being and the one, or the one and the different, would we not be choosing, with each selection, some pair that is properly referred to as both?
In what way?
As follows; is it possible to mention being?
And also, in turn, to mention one?
In that case have each of them been mentioned?
And whenever I mention being and one don’t I mention both?
And whenever I mention being and different, or different and one, and so on for each possible case, don’t I speak of both?
143D Could things that are correctly referred to as both be both without being two?
They could not.
And if they are two is there any way that each of them can avoid being one?
None at all.
So although each turns out to be a twofold combination of these, each constituent would be one.
So it appears.
And if each of them is one, by combining any one whatsoever with any pair whatsoever won’t they all become three?
Isn’t three odd and two even?
What about this? If there are two is it not necessary 143E that there is also twice, and if there are three, thrice, if indeed two happens to be twice one and three thrice one?
And since there are two and twice isn’t it necessary that there be twice two? And since there are three and thrice isn’t it necessary, again, that there be thrice three?
What about this; If there are three and they are twice, and if there are two and they are thrice, is it not necessary that there be twice three and thrice two?
Very much so.
So there would be even times even and 144A odd times odd, and even times odd and odd times even.
This is so.
And if this is how matters stand, do you think there is any remaining number which must not necessarily be?
Not at all.
So if one is, there must necessarily also be number.
And yet if there is number there would also be many, and a limitless multiplicity of things that are. Or does not number, while also being many, become limitless in multiplicity?
In that case if all number partakes of being, would not each part of number also partake of this?
144B So has being been distributed to all things, which are multiple, and is it absent from none of the things that are, neither from the smallest nor from the largest, or is this question unreasonable? For how could being be absent from any of the things that are?
In no way at all.
So being is chopped up into all sorts of things that are, from the very smallest to the very largest, and is the most divided of all things, and there are parts 144C without limit, of being.
This is so.
So the parts of being are as many as can be.
As many as can be, indeed.
Well then; of these parts, is there any that is a part of being without being one part?
No, how could that ever happen?
Rather, I presume, if it actually is, it is necessarily, so long as it is, always one thing, it cannot be no thing.
So the one is present to every part of being and is not absent from the smaller or larger part or from anything else.
Well then, being one, 144D is it, as a whole, in many places at the same time? Consider this carefully.
I am considering this, and I see that it is impossible.
Then if it is not so as a whole it is so as divided, for the one will not, I presume, be present at the same time to all the parts of being in any other way besides being divided.
And indeed whatever is divided must necessarily be as numerous as its parts.
So we were not speaking the truth just now when we said that being has been divided more than anything. For it has not been divided more than the one, but, it seems, equally 144E with the one, since being is not absent from the one, nor the one from being; they are always equal throughout everything.
It certainly appears so.
So the one having been, itself, chopped up by being, is many, and unlimited in multiplicity.
So it appears.
So not alone is the one that is, many, but the one itself having been distributed by being must also, of necessity, be many.
Furthermore, because the parts are parts of the whole, the one, on the basis of the whole, would be limited. Or are the parts 145A not contained by the whole?
They must be.
And yet whatever contains would be a limit.
So the one, being one, is presumably also many and a whole and parts and is limited and limitless in multiplicity.
So it appears.
In which case, since it is limited, doesn’t it also have extremities?
What about this? If it is a whole would it not also have a beginning middle and end? Or can anything be a whole without these three? And if any one of these is missing from anything will it still, of itself, be a whole?
Not of itself, no.
Then the one, it seems, would also have a beginning an end 145B and a middle?
Now the middle stands equally between the extremities, for it would not otherwise be a middle.
It would not.
Then being like this the one would also partake of some shape, either straight or round or some mixture of both.
Yes it would partake of this.
Now since this is so won’t it also be in itself and in another?
Each of the parts is presumably in the whole, and none are outside the whole.
Are all the parts contained 145C by the whole?
And indeed, the one is all the parts of itself and neither more nor less than all.
It is also the whole, is it not?
How could it not be?
So if all the parts happen to be in the whole and the one is all the parts and the whole itself, and all the parts are contained by the whole, the one would be contained by the one, and the one would, itself, in this way, already be in itself.
So it appears.
Then again the whole, in turn, would not be in any 145D of the parts nor in them all. For if it were in them all it would have to be in one, since without being in any one it could not, presumably, be in them all, and if this one is one of them all, and the whole is not present in this, how will it still be present in them all?
In no way at all.
Nor again is it in some of the parts, for if the whole were in some, more would be in less, which is impossible.
But if the whole is not in more, or in one, or in all of the parts, must it not necessarily be in the different or no longer 146E be anywhere at all?
Now, being nowhere it would be nothing, but being a whole, since it is not in itself, it is necessarily in another.
Insofar then as the one is a whole, it is in another, whereas insofar as it happens to be all the parts, it is in itself, and thus the one must, itself, be in itself and in another.
So if this is the nature of the one must it not necessarily be in motion and at rest?
In what way?
If it is 146A indeed in itself it is presumably at rest, for being in one and not changing from that, it would be in the same, in itself.
And that which is always in the same must, surely, always be at rest.
What about this? Is it not necessarily the case, in contrast, that whatever is always in the different must never be in the same, and never being in the same must never be at rest and never being at rest must be moving?
So is it necessary that the one, because it is always in itself and in something different is always in motion and at rest?
So it appears.
And indeed if it is actually characterised as just indicated, it must be the same as itself and different from itself 146B and, in like manner, be both the same as and different from the others.
Everything is presumably related to everything else as follows: it is either the same or different and if it were neither the same nor different it would be related to this either as part to whole or as whole in relation to part.
So it appears.
Now is the one itself part of itself?
Not at all.
So it would not be related, as a whole, to itself as part of itself.
No, it could not be.
146C But, is the one different from one?
Of course not.
So it would not be different from itself.
Now if it is neither related to itself as different, nor as part, nor whole, must it not then, necessarily, be the same as itself?
What about this? Is it not necessary that whatever is in something different from itself, itself being in the same as itself, must be different from itself, if indeed it is also to be in something different?
Well, I think so.
And this appeared to be the case with the one; being both in itself and in another at the same time.
It appeared so indeed.
So the one, it seems, would, in this way, be 146D different from itself.
So it seems.
Well now, if anything is different from something, will it not be different from something that is different?
So won’t everything that is not one be different from the one and the one from whatever is not one?
So the one would be different from the others ?
Now look at this; are not the same itself and the different opposite to one another?
In that case will the same ever, of itself, be in the different, or the different be in the same?
Not of itself, no.
So if the different will never be in the same there is no one of the things that are in which the different will be present for any time, for if 146E the different were in anything for any time the different would, for that time, be in the same. Is this not so?
It is so.
And since the different would never be in the same it would never be in any of the things that are.
So the different would not be in things not one nor in the one.
So not by the different is the one be different from things not one nor things not one from the one.
Nor by themselves could they be different from one another since they do not partake of 147A the different.
No, how could they?
And if they are not different by themselves, nor by the different, wouldn’t they totally avoid being different from one another?
Furthermore, things not one do not partake of the one, or else they would not be not one but would somehow be one.
Neither would things not one be number, for in this way they would not be not one in every respect, because they would at least have number.
What about this? Are things not one parts of the one, or in that case too would things not one partake of the one?
They would partake of it.
So if, in every respect, the one is one, and they are not one, 147B the one would neither be a part of things not one nor a whole with them as its parts; nor again would things not one be parts of the one nor wholes with the one as a part.
And indeed we said that things that are neither parts nor wholes nor different from one another will be the same as one another.
Yes, we said so.
Then, should we also say that the one, being related in this way to things not one, is the same as them?
We should say so.
So the one, it seems, is different both from the others and from itself, and also the same as them, and itself.
It certainly appears so from this argument.
147C Now is it also like and unlike itself and the others?
Well since it appeared to be different from the others, the others too will presumably be different from it.
Wouldn’t it then be just as different from the others as the others are from it; neither more nor less?
Yes, it would.
So if it is neither more so nor less so it is so in like manner.
Now being characterised as different from the others, and the others as different from the one in like manner, the one would, in this respect, be characterized as the same as the others and the others as the same as the one.
147D How do you mean?
As follows: don’t you apply each of the names you use to something?
Yes and can you speak the same name once or many times?
Now is it the case that when you say the name one you refer to that of which it is the name, whereas you don’t refer to that when you say it many times? Or is there a strong necessity that you always speak of the same thing whether you say the same name once or many times?
Now “different” is a name given to something, is it not?
147E So whenever you utter it, whether once or many times, you are not referring to something else or naming anything else apart from that of which it is the name.
Then whenever we say that the others are different from the one and that the one is different from the others we say “different” twice, but we are not applying the word to another nature. We are always referring to that nature of which it is the name.
So, insofar as the one is different from the others 148A and the others from the one, on the basis of being characterised as different, the one would have a characteristic that is not other than the others but is the same. And whatever somehow has a characteristic the same is like, is it not?
Insofar then as the one is characterised as different from the others it would, on that basis, be entirely like them all since it is entirely different from them all.
So it seems.
And yet the like is opposite to the unlike.
And the different too is opposite to the same.
Then again it appeared to be the case that the one is the same as 148B the others.
Yes it appeared so.
And yet being the same as the others is the opposite characteristic to being different from the others.
But, at least insofar as it was different, it appeared to be like.
So insofar as it is the same it will be unlike, based upon the characteristic opposite to the one by which it was characterised as like. And the different made it like, I presume?
So, the same will make it unlike or else it will not be opposite to the different.
148C So it seems.
So, the one will be like and unlike the others, being like insofar as it is different and unlike insofar as it is the same.
Yes, it seems that such an argument as this also holds.
And indeed the following argument holds too.
Insofar as it has a characteristic that is the same, it has a characteristic that is not of another kind, and having a characteristic that is not of another kind, it is not unlike, and not being unlike, it is like. Whereas insofar as it has another characteristic it is of another kind and, being of another kind, is unlike. So the one, being the same as the others, and because it is different, on both grounds and on either ground would be 148D both like and unlike the others.
In relation to itself too, in like manner, since it appeared to be different from itself and the same as itself, on both grounds and on either, it will prove to be both like and unlike itself.
And what about the question of the one touching and not touching itself and the others? Consider this.
Indeed, the one somehow appeared to be in itself as a whole.
Now won’t the one also be in the others?
Then in so far as it is in the others it would touch 148E the others while insofar as it is in itself it would be prevented from touching the others and, being in itself, would touch itself.
So it appears.
Thus, the one, then, would touch both itself and the others.
What about this then? Mustn’t everything that is going to touch something lie next to whatever it is going to touch, occupying the position that lies alongside the position occupied by whatever is touches?
So the one, then, if it is going to touch itself must lie right next to itself, occupying a place adjacent to the place that itself is in.
Yes, it must do this.
Now the one could do this 149A by being two. It could, then, be in two places at the same time. But as long as it is one how could it do so, of itself?
It could not.
So by the same necessity whereby the one is not two, it must not touch itself either.
Nor indeed will it touch the others.
Why is that?
Because, according to us, whatever is going to touch must be separate from and next to whatever it will touch, without any third thing in between them.
So if there is to be contact there must be at least two things.
And if, to the two the two distinct things, a third is added next to them, they will be three, 149B and the contacts two.
And in this way then, by continually adding one thing, one contact is also added, and it follows that the contacts are less by one than the quantity of numbers. For by whatever the first two exceed the contacts, in being more in a number than the contacts, any succeeding number also exceeds all the contacts by an amount equal to this. For with every remaining 149C addition one is added to the number and one contact is added to the contacts at the same time.
So whatever the number of things that are, the contacts are always one less than them.
And yet if there is only one, and there is no two, there could be no contact.
No, how could there be?
Now according to us, things other than one are neither one nor do they partake of it if they are indeed other.
So number is not in the others since one is not in them.
So the others are neither one nor two nor do they possess the name of any other 149D number.
They do not.
So the one alone is one and there could not be two.
And in the absence of two there is no contact.
There is not.
So the one does not touch the others nor the others the one, since there is no contact.
Accordingly on the basis of all this, the one both touches and does not touch itself and the others.
So it seems.
Well then is the one also equal and unequal both to itself and to the others?
In what way?
If the one were greater or less than the others or the others, for their part, 149E were greater or less than the one, they could not be greater or less than one another by their own being; by the one being one and the others being other than one, could they? But if, in addition to being like this, each were to possess equality they would be equal to one another. But if the others had greatness while the one had smallness or the one had greatness while the others had smallness, whatever form had greatness added to it would be greater, while that to which smallness was added would be less.
So there are these two forms, largeness and smallness, are there not? For if, somehow, there were not, they could not be opposite to one another nor could they occur in things 150A that are.
No, how could they?
Now if smallness occurs in the one it would be present either in the whole or in part of it.
What if it were to occur in the whole? Wouldn’t it either be stretched equally throughout the whole of the one or else encompass it?
Now smallness, by being equally with the one would be equal to it, while by encompassing the one, smallness would be greater than it.
Now can smallness be equal to or greater than something and do what belongs to equality or to greatness rather than 150B what belongs to itself?
So smallness could not be in the one as a whole, but in part, if so at all.
But not in the entire part, otherwise it would act in the same way as it did towards the whole; It would either be equal to or greater than ever part it is ever in.
So smallness will never be in any of the things that are, since it occurs neither in a part nor in the whole nor will anything be small except smallness itself.
It seems not.
So largeness will not be in the one either, for in that case something else, whatever largeness was in, would be larger, besides 150C largeness itself, and that would happen in the absence of the small, which the larger must exceed if it is actually to be large. But this is impossible since smallness is not in anything anywhere.
Furthermore, largeness itself is not larger than anything except smallness itself, nor is smallness less than anything but largeness itself.
So the others are neither greater nor less than the one since they possess neither greatness nor smallness. Nor do these 150D two, themselves, possess the power of exceeding and being exceeded in relation to the one, but only in relation to one another. Nor again would the one be greater or less than these two or the others, since it possesses neither greatness nor smallness.
It certainly appears not.
Now if the one is neither greater nor less than the others must it, necessarily, neither exceed them nor be exceeded by them?
Now that which neither exceeds nor is exceeded must necessarily be equally so, and being equally so, must be equal.
150E And indeed the one itself would also be related in this way to itself; having neither largeness nor smallness in itself it would neither exceed nor be exceeded by itself, but being equally so, it would be equal to itself.
So the one would be equal to itself and the others?
So it appears.
And indeed the one, because it is in itself, would surround itself from outside, and by encompassing itself would be greater 151A than itself while, by being encompassed, it would be less than itself and thus the one would be greater than and less than itself.
It would indeed.
Is it necessary then that, outside of the one and the others there is nothing?
And yet what is must always be somewhere.
Won’t whatever is in something be so as a lesser in a greater? For in no other way could one thing be in another.
But since there is nothing else apart from the others and the one, and since they must be in something, mustn’t they necessarily, then, be in one another, the others in the one and the one in the others, or else 151B be nowhere at all?
So, because the one is in the others, the others would be greater than the one since they encompass it, while the one, since it is encompassed, would be less than the others. But because the others are in the one, the one would, by the same argument be greater than the others and the others less than the one.
So it seems.
So the one is both equal to and greater and less than itself and the others.
And indeed if it is actually greater and less and equal, it would be of equal measures with itself 151C and the others and of more and less measures too, and since of measures also of parts.
Then being of equal measures and more and less, it would also be less and more in number, than itself and the others, and equal both to itself and the others on the same basis.
In what way?
It would presumably be of more measures and parts than whatever it is greater than and of as many parts as of measures, and likewise for whatever it is less than, and the same holds for whatever is it equal to.
Then, being greater and less than and equal to itself, wouldn’t it be of equal and more and less measures 151D to itself and since of measures also of parts?
Well then, being of equal parts with itself it would be equal to itself in multiplicity, and being more than itself and less than itself it would be more or less in number than itself.
So it appears.
Wouldn’t the one also relate to the others in the same way? Because it appears greater than them it is necessarily more than them in number and, on the other hand, because it is smaller it is less in number and because it appears equal in magnitude it must be equal in multiplicity to the others.
Accordingly, it seems 151E that the one will in turn will be equal to and more and less in number than itself and the others
Now does the one partake of time, and partaking of time, is it and does it come to be younger and older than itself and the others and neither younger nor older than itself and the others?
If one actually is then being belongs to it.
And is “to be” anything other than participation in being along with present time, just as was 152A is communion with being along with past time and “will be” is communion along with future time.
It is indeed.
So the one partakes of time if it does partake of being.
Of time that is advancing?
So the one continually becomes older than itself if it actually advances according to time.
Now do we remember that whatever becomes older becomes older than something that becomes younger?
Therefore since the one becomes older 152B that itself wouldn’t it become older than itself as itself becomes younger?
In this way then it becomes younger and older than itself.
But it is actually older, is it not, whenever, in coming to be, it is at the present moment, in between what was and what will be? For as it proceeds from what was to what will be, it will not, I presume, step over the present.
Well won’t it then cease from becoming older whenever 152D it encounters the present? Then it is not becoming older as it is already older. For a while advancing it would never be grasped by the present. For that which is advancing is in a situation whereby it is in touch with both the present and what will be, letting go of the present while grasping what will be, as it is becoming in between both what will be and the present.
But if anything that is becoming must, necessarily, not evade the present, then whenever it is at this it ceases 152D from its becoming and then actually is whatever it happened to be becoming.
And so the one, as it is becoming older, ceases becoming older and is actually older whenever, as it is becoming older, it encounters the present.
Now it is actually older than whatever it was becoming older than, and wasn’t it becoming older than itself?
Is the older, older than the younger.
And so the one is then younger than itself whenever, as it is becoming older, it encounters the present.
And yet the present 152E is always present to the one throughout its entire being for whenever the one is, it always is in the present.
So the one always is, and always becomes, older and younger than itself.
So it seems.
Now is it or is it becoming for a longer time than itself or for an equal time?
But whatever is always be coming for an equal time is the same age.
And whatever is the same age is neither younger nor older.
Then the one, since it is and is becoming for a time that is equal to itself, neither is nor is becoming younger or older than itself.
It seems not.
Well then what about the others?
I can’t say.
153A Well you can say that things other than the one, if they are indeed things that are different, rather than a thing that is different, are more than one. For a different thing would be one while different things are more than one and would be possessed of multiplicity.
Yes they would.
And being multiple they would have a share of number greater than the one.
What about this: shall we maintain, about number, that the more numerous or the less numerous come into being, and have come into being earlier?
The less numerous.
So the least of all is first of all and this is the one. Isn’t this so?
So of everything that possesses number the one has come into being first, and the others all possess number if they are indeed others and not just an other.
They possess it indeed.
But the one, I think, having come into being first, has come into being earlier, while the others have come into being later and thus the others would be younger than the one and the one older than the others.
They would indeed.
What about this, has the one come into being 153C contrary to its own nature or is that an impossibility?
And yet the one was shown to have parts and, having parts, to have a beginning an end and a middle.
Now of all the parts of the one itself, and of each of the others, doesn’t the beginning come into being first and, after the beginning, all the other parts until the end?
And shall we also say that all these others are parts of the one whole and that this has, itself, come to be one and whole, simultaneously with the end?
So it appears.
So the one is younger than the others and things other than the one are older than the one.
Again that’s how it appears to me.
What about the beginning then, or any other part whatsoever of the one or of anything else at all? If it is a part rather than parts must it not, of necessity, be one, at least insofar as it is a part?
In that case the one would come into being at the same time as the first part that comes into being, and at the same time 153E as the second, and is not left out of any of the other parts that come into being, whatever is added to anything, until, with the arrival of the last part, one whole has come into being, missing neither the middle part, nor the first, nor the last nor any other part, in its generation.
Therefore, the one is the same age as all the others, and so, if the one itself is not by nature opposed to its own nature, it would not have come into being either before or after the others, but at the same time. 154A And, according to this account the one would be neither older nor younger than the others, nor the others than the one. But according to the previous argument the one is both older and younger than the others and the others are, in like manner, both older and younger than the one.
So the one is and has come into being in this way. But what about the one becoming both older and younger than the others and the others than the one? Is whatever is the case in relation to being also the case in relation to becoming, or is it different?
154B I cannot say.
Well I can say this much at least. If one thing is indeed older than another it would not be able to become even older by an age difference greater than the age difference when it first came into being, nor for its part could the younger become even younger by an increased amount. For equal amounts added to unequal amounts of time or anything else at all always make them differ by an amount equal to the initial difference.
So that which is older or younger could never become 154C older or younger if it does indeed always differ in age by an equal amount. It is and has come to be older in one case and younger in the other, but it is not becoming older or younger.
Then the one does not ever become either older or younger than the others that are older or younger than it.
But let’s see if they become older or younger in the following way.
In the way that the one appeared to be older than the others and the others than the one.
What of it?
Whenever the one is older than the others it has been becoming for a longer period of time than 154D the others.
Consider this then: if we add an equal amount of time to the greater and to the lesser time periods will the greater differ from the lesser by an equal portion of time or by a smaller portion?
By a smaller portion.
So whatever was the initial age difference between the one and the others, this will not be the same thereafter. Rather, having taken a time increment that is equal to the others, the one will always differ from them by a lesser portion than before. Isn’t this so?
Now wouldn’t that which is less in age 154E than it was before in relation to something else become younger than before in relation to whatever it was previously older than?
And if that becomes younger won’t those others, in turn, become older than before in relation to the one?
So that which has come to be younger, becomes younger in relation to that which had previously come to be and still is older, yet although it is always becoming older than that, it never actually is older. For that advances towards the younger while the younger advances towards the older. 155A And the older, for its part, becomes younger than the younger in the very same way. For as they are both proceeding towards their opposites they are becoming opposite to one another: the younger becoming older than the older while the older is becoming younger than the younger. But they could not actually become so. For if they had become so they would no longer be becoming so but would actually be so. But as matters stand they are becoming older and younger than one another; the one is becoming younger than the others because it proved to be older and to have come into being 155B earlier, while the others are becoming older than the one because they came into being later. And by the same argument the others are also related in the same way to the one, since they proved to be older than the one and to have come into being earlier.
Yes, this appears to be the case.
Isn’t it the case then that in so far as nothing becomes younger or older than anything else on the basis of always differing by an equal number, the one would not become older or younger than the others nor the others than the one; while in so far as things that have come into being earlier 155C necessarily differ from things that have come into being later, and the later from the earlier, by a portion that is never the same, things must, in this way, be becoming both older and younger than one another; the others than the one and the one than the others?
On all these bases then, the one is, itself, both older and younger than the others, and is becoming so, and neither is nor is becoming either older or younger than itself or the others.
Yes, entirely so.
And since the one partakes of time and of becoming older 155D and younger, mustn’t it necessarily partake of was, will be, and of now, if it does indeed partake of time?
So the one was, and is, and will be, and has become, and is becoming, and will become.
And something could be to that and of that, and was and is and will be.
And there could then be knowledge of this and opinion and awareness if we are in fact even now engaging in all these in relation to this.
And a name and an account belong to it and it is named 155E and described and anything of this sort that happens to apply to the others applies also to the one.
Yes, this is how matters stand; entirely so.
Then let’s say for yet a third time: if the one is, as we have described it, being both one and many, and neither one nor many, and partaking of time, must it not, of necessity, sometimes partake of being, because one is, and indeed sometimes not partake of being because one is not?
Now when it is partaking will it then be able not to partake, or not to partake whilst partaking?
It will not be able.
So it partakes at one time and does not partake at another, for only in this way could it partake and not partake of the same thing.
Isn’t there also a certain time when it gets a share of being and departs from this? Or how will it be able to have something at one time and not have the same thing at another if it does not ever take hold of this and let it go.
In no way at all.
Well don’t you refer to getting a share of being as coming to be?
And to departing from being as ceasing to be?
Then the one, it seems, in grasping and letting go of being, is coming into being 156B and ceasing to be.
And being both one and many, and coming into being and ceasing to be, isn’t it the case that whenever it becomes one its being many ceases to be and whenever it becomes many its being one ceases to be.
And in becoming one and many mustn’t it necessarily be separated and combined.
Very much so.
And indeed whenever it becomes unlike and like mustn’t it, necessarily, be unlikened and likened?
And whenever it becomes greater or less or equal isn’t it increased diminished or equalised?
156C And whenever, being in motion, it comes to rest and whenever, being at rest it changes to moving, it must not, itself, be in any time at all.
Being previously at rest and afterwards in motion, or previously in motion and subsequently at rest, cannot happen to it without it changing.
And yet there is no time in which it can, simultaneously, be neither in motion nor at rest.
But it cannot undergo change without changing.
So when does it undergo change? For it does not change whilst at rest or whilst in motion or whilst in 156D in time.
It does not.
Well, in that case, is there this strange thing in which it would then be when it changes?
What sort of thing?
The moment. Indeed the moment seems to indicate something of this sort, such that there is change from the moment to either state. For a thing does not change from resting while still being at rest, nor does it change from moving while still being in motion. But the moment is this strange nature, inserted between motion and rest, being in no time 156E at all, and indeed to this, and from this, the moving changes to being at rest and the resting to being in motion.
And the one then, if indeed it is both at rest and in motion, would change to both states, for only in this way could it do both, but in changing is changes in a moment and when it changes it would be in no time at all, nor would it then be in motion, nor would it be at rest.
Is this also the case in relation to the other changes? Whenever it changes 157A from being to ceasing to be or from not being to coming into being, is it then coming to be in between certain motions and rests, and is it then the case that it neither is, nor is not, and is neither coming to be, nor ceasing to be?
So it seems at any rate.
And by the same argument too, when going from one to many and from many to one, it is neither one nor many, neither separated nor combined. And when going from like to unlike and from unlike to like it is neither like nor unlike neither likened nor unlikened. When going from small 157B to large, and to equal, and to their opposites, it is neither small nor large nor equal and it would be neither increasing nor diminishing nor becoming equal.
It seems not.
So if the one is, it would undergo all these affections.
Well shouldn’t we also consider what it would be appropriate for the others to undergo if one is?
We should consider this.
In that case should we state what things other than the one must undergo, if one is?
Now since they are indeed other than the one, the others are not the one, or else 157C they would not be other than the one.
But the others are not entirely deprived of the one either but partake of it in some way.
In what way?
Things other than the one are presumably other because they have parts. Indeed if they were not to have parts they would be entirely one.
But parts, we say, are parts of this, this whole.
So we say.
And yet the whole is necessarily one composed of many, of which the parts will be parts, for each of the parts must be a part not of many things but of a whole.
Why is that?
If something were to be a part of many, among which 157D it is itself included, it would presumably be part of itself which is impossible. And it would be a part of each of the others too if it were actually part of them all. Indeed, not being part of this one it will be a part of the others except for this one and thus will not be part of each one, but not being part of each it will be part of none of the many. But it is not possible for something that is not a part of all of them to be a part or anything else at all of those things of which it is not a part of any one.
So a part is not a part of many or of all; it is rather a part of some one 157E form that we call a whole; a complete one that has arisen from them all. A part would be part of this.
So if the others have parts they would also have a share of the one and of the whole.
So things other than one must necessarily be one complete whole possessing parts.
And indeed the same argument applies to each part. For these too must necessarily have a share of the one. 158A For if each of them is a part, being each presumably indicates being distinct from the others and being by itself if indeed it is to be each.
And yet it would of course have a share of the one while being other than one or else it would not have a share of the one but would itself be one. But it is presumably impossible now for anything except the one itself to be one.
So both the whole and the part necessarily share in the one. For the whole will be one and the parts will be parts of that. While each part, in turn, that is part 158B of the whole, would be one part of the whole.
Won’t whatever shares in the one have a share while being different from the one.
Things that are different from the one would presumably be many. Indeed if things other than the one were neither one nor more than one they would be nothing.
But since whatever gets a share of one part, or one whole, is more than one it is necessary, is it not, that those things themselves that partake of the one must already be unlimited in multiplicity?
158C Then they partake, don’t they, while being multiplicities in which the one is not present?
What about this? If we wished, in thought, to take away as little as we possibly could from such multiplicities, wouldn’t the part that has been taken away necessarily be a multiplicity, and not one, if it does not actually partake of the one?
Now continuing to consider the nature, just by itself, different from the form, in this way, won’t as much of it as we can ever discern be unlimited in multiplicity?
And indeed, whenever each part has become one 158D part, the parts then have limit in relation to one another and in relation to the whole, and so too does the whole in relation to the parts.
In that case, the consequence for things other than the one from the communion of themselves and the one is, it seems, that something different arises among themselves which provides limit in relation to one another while, by themselves, their own nature provides limitlessness.
So it appears.
In this way then, things other than the one, both as wholes, or based upon parts, are limitless and have a share of limit.
158E Are they not also both like and unlike one another and themselves?
In what way?
Insofar as they are all, presumably, unlimited based upon their own nature, they would, in this way be characterized as the same.
And indeed insofar as they all have a share of limit they would all, in this way, also be characterized as the same.
And yet insofar as they have been characterized as both limited and limitless, they have been characterized by characteristics 159A that are opposite to one another.
And the opposites are as unlike as possible.
So on the basis of either characteristic they would be like themselves and one another, while on the basis of both characteristics they would be as unlike as possible, and as opposite as possible, in both ways.
In this way then the others themselves would be both like and unlike themselves and one another.
So they would.
And since they actually proved to have these 158B characteristics, we shall find, with no further difficulty, that things other than the one are the same as and different from one another, are in motion and at rest, and are characterized by all the opposite characteristics.
Well then if at this stage we accept these outcomes as obvious should we consider, once more, if one is, are things other than the one not so or just so?
Then let us say from the beginning how things other than the one must be characterized if one is.
Let’s say so.
Now must not the one be separate from the others and the others from the one?
Why is that?
Because there is not, I presume, something else besides these, that is other than the one and other than the others, for once the one and the others have been mentioned everything 159C has been spoken of.
So there is nothing further that is different from these, in which both the one and the others could be in the same thing.
So the one and the others are never in the same thing.
It seems not.
So, are they separate?
Now according to us that which is truly one does not have parts.
So the one as a whole would not be in the others nor would parts of it, if it is separate from the others and does not have parts.
159D Of course.
So the others would not partake of the one in any way as they partake neither of a part of it nor of the whole.
It seems not.
So the others are not one in any way nor do they have any one in themselves.
So the others are not many either, for each of them would be part of the whole if they were many. But, as matters stand, things other than one are neither one nor many, neither a whole nor parts, since they do not partake of the one in any way.
So the others, themselves, are neither two nor three nor are these in them 159E if they are indeed entirely deprived of the one.
So the others are, themselves, neither like and unlike the one nor are likeness and unlikeness in them. For if they were like and unlike or had likeness and unlikeness in themselves, things other than the one would presumably possess two forms in themselves that are opposite to one another.
But things that do not even partake of one could not possibly have a share of any two.
So the others are neither like nor unlike nor both. For if they were like 160A or unlike they would partake of one form that is different and if they were both like and unlike, they would partake of two opposite forms, but these outcomes have proved to be impossible.
Nor are they the same or different, nor are they in motion or at rest, nor are they coming into being nor ceasing to be, nor are they greater or less or equal. Nor do they have any other characteristics of this sort. For if the others submit to being characterized by anything of this sort, they will also share in one and two and three and odd and even. But it turned out 160B to be impossible for them to partake of these since they are entirely deprived of the one in every way.
In which case if one is, the one is everything and not even one, both in relation to itself and in relation to the others in like manner.
So be it. Next should we not consider what the consequences must be if one is not?
Yes, we should.
Well what would this hypothesis, “if one is not”, be? Does it differ at all from the hypothesis, “if not one is not”?
It differs indeed.
Does it just differ or is saying “if not one is not” the complete opposite to saying, “if one is not”?
It is the complete opposite.
What if someone were to say “if largeness is not” or “if smallness is not”, or anything else of that sort, would it be obvious in each case that he is saying that a different thing is that which is not?
Is it not obvious then that whenever someone says “if one is not” he is saying that what is not, is different from the others and we know what he is referring to?
Yes, we know.
So, whenever he speaks of one, is it obvious, firstly, that he is referring to something knowable and secondly to something different from the others, whether being or not being 160D is added. For we still know, nevertheless, what is said not to be, and we know that it is different from the others. Isn’t this so?
So we should say, from the beginning, as follows, what must be the case if one is not. Now the first thing that must pertain to it is, it seems, that there be knowledge of it, otherwise we would not know what is being said when someone says, “if one is not”.
Also, must not the others be different from it, otherwise it could not be said to be different from the others?
And difference belongs to it in addition to the knowledge. For 160E whenever the one is said to be different from the others, the difference of that one is referred to, and not the difference of the others.
And indeed the one that is not would share in that, in something, and in by-this, and in to-this, and in these, and in everything of this sort. For the one could not be spoken of, nor could things different from the one, nor could anything be to that or of that, nor could it be referred to as anything, if it did not have a share either in something or in these others.
In that case although the one cannot partake of to be since it is not, there is nothing to prevent 161A it from partaking of many things and this is actually necessary if indeed that one and not another is not. In fact if neither the one nor that are not to be, but the argument concerns something else, then nothing should even be uttered. But if that one and no other is hypothesized not to be, it must have a share in that, and in many others.
So the one has unlikeness in relation to the others. For things other than the one, being different, would also be different in kind.
And are not things that are different in kind other in kind?
And things that are other in kind are unlike, 161B are they not?
Now if they are indeed unlike the one it is obvious that unlike things would be unlike something that is unlike them.
It is obvious.
In that case the one would also have unlikeness in respect of which the others are unlike it.
So it seems.
But if it actually has unlikeness to the others must it not necessarily have likeness to itself?
In what way?
If the one has unlikeness to the one the argument would not, presumably, be about something of this sort, something like the one, nor would the hypothesis be about one but about something other than one.
161C But it should not be about that.
So the one must have likeness to itself.
And furthermore the one is not equal to the others either. For if it were to be equal it would already be, and it would also be like them based on the inequality. But both these outcomes are impossible if indeed one is not.
And since the one is not equal to the others the others are necessarily not equal to the one, isn’t this so?
Are not things that are not equal unequal?
And unequals are unequal to an unequal, are they not?
And in that case does the one partake of inequality in respect of which 161D the others are unequal to it?
But inequality involves largeness and smallness.
So does a one of this sort have largeness and smallness?
But largeness and smallness always stand as far apart as possible from one another.
So there is always something in between them?
Now can you say that there is anything in between them except equality?
Nothing except this.
So whatever has largeness and smallness also has a equality which is in between these two.
Then the one that is not would, it seems, also have a share of equality and largeness and smallness.
So it seems.
And indeed it should also, in a way, have a share of being.
In what way?
It must be such as we describe it, for if it were not such as we describe it, we would not be speaking the truth when we say that the one is not. But if we are speaking the truth it is obvious that we are stating what actually is. Is this not so?
It is so indeed.
And since we maintain that we are speaking the truth, we 162A must also maintain that we are stating what is.
So the one is, it seems, if it is not. For if it were not to be what is not but were somehow to let go of its being in relation to not-being it would immediately be what is.
So if it is not to be it must have being what is not as a bond of not being, in just the same way that what is must have not being what is not, so that it, in turn, may be in every respect. For in this way, most of all, what is would be, and what is not would not be; by what is partaking of the being of being what is, and the being of not being what is not, 162B if it is to be in every respect, and, on the other, hand by what is not partaking of the being of not being what is, and of the being of being what is not, if it too is, in turn, to be in every respect.
Now since what is, also shares in non-being, and what is not shares in being, the one, must necessarily share in being in respect of its non-being, since it is not.
In fact, then, it appears that the one has being, if it is not.
So it appears.
And also to have non-being if in fact it is not.
Now can something that is in a certain state, not be in that state without changing from that state?
So, everything of this sort, which is both so and not so, indicates 162C change.
And change is motion, or what shall we maintain?
It is motion.
Didn’t the one turn out to be and not to be?
And so it appears, in this way, to be both so and not so.
So it seems.
And so the one that is not, turns out to be in motion, since it has turned out to be changing from being to not being.
Then again, if it is not included anywhere among things that are, which it is not, since it is not, it would not relocate from one place to another.
So it would not move by 162D changing place.
It would not.
Nor indeed would it revolve in the same place since it has no contact with the same anywhere. For the same is something that is, and what is not cannot be in any of the things that are.
No, it cannot.
So the one that is not would not be able to revolve in that in which it is not.
Nor could the one, whether it is or is not, be altered from itself. For in that case the argument would no longer be about the one, if it were actually altered from itself, but about something else.
But if it is not altered, nor does it revolve in the same place, nor does it change place, 162E could it still move in any way?
No, how could it?
But that which is not moving must necessarily be still and that which is still must be at rest.
So the one, it seems, although it is not, is both at rest and in motion.
So it seems.
And indeed, if in fact the one is moved there is a strong necessity that it be altered. 163A For, according to the manner in which something is moved it is, to that extent, no longer just as it was, but is different.
So the one, since it is being moved, is also being altered.
Then again since it is not being moved in any way it would not be altered in any way.
So, insofar as the one that is not is moved, it is altered, but insofar as it is not moved it is not altered.
So the one that is not is both altered and not altered.
Now must not that which is altered come to be different than before and cease to be in its former 163B state; while that which is not altered must neither come to be nor cease to be.
And so the one that is not, because it is being altered, is both coming to be and ceasing to be; and because it is not being altered it is neither coming to be nor ceasing to be, and accordingly the one that is not is both coming to be and ceasing to be and neither coming to be nor ceasing to be.
Indeed it is not.
Then let us go back once again to the beginning and see if different outcomes or the same outcomes will appear to us as appeared just now.
We should do so.
In that case are we to state what the consequences for the one must be 163C if the one is not?
Whenever we say “is not” isn’t this simply indicating the absence of being in that which we maintain is not?
Now whenever we maintain that something is not, are we maintaining that in a way it is not, and in a way it is? Or is the phrase “is not” simply indicating that whatever is not, is not at all, in any way, and does not partake of being in any way?
Yes, simply that.
So what is not could not be, nor could it partake of being 163D in any other way at all.
But coming to be at ceasing to be are nothing but the acquisition of being and the loss of being.
But that which has no share of being could neither have acquired it nor lost it.
So, since the one is not, in any way, it could not possess or lose or acquire being in any way at all.
So the one that is not neither ceases to be, nor comes to be since, in fact it does not partake of being in any way.
So the one that is not is not altered, 163E in any way, for if this happened it would already be both coming into being and ceasing to be.
But if it is not altered then, necessarily, it is not moved either.
Nor indeed shall we maintain that what in no way is, is at rest. For that which is at rest must always be in something the same.
In the same, yes of course.
Accordingly we should also say that what is not is never either at rest or in motion.
Indeed it is not.
But in that case, none of the things that are belong to it. For it would then partake of being by partaking 164A of this.
So neither largeness nor smallness nor equality belong to it.
Nor would likeness nor difference belong to it, either with respect to itself or with respect to the others.
What about this? If it can have nothing is there any way that it can have others?
There is not.
So the others are neither like nor unlike nor the same as it, nor different from it.
What about this? Will there be, of that, or to that, or something, or this, or of this, or of another, or to another, or once, or was, or now, or knowledge, or opinion, or perception, or an account, or a name, or will any of the other things that are be related to what is not?
They will not.
Accordingly then, the one, if it is not, is not characterised in any way at all.
Well it certainly seems not.
In that case we should go on to say how the others must be characterised if one is not.
Yes we should.
Now they must somehow be others for if they are not even others we would not be talking about the others.
But if the argument is about the others the others are different or don’t you refer to the same thing as both other and different.
164C I do.
And we maintain, I presume, that what is different is different from something different and what is other is other than something other?
And the others, if they are to be others, will have something to be other than.
Now what would that actually be? Indeed, they will not be other than the one since the one is not.
So they are other than one another; indeed this option still remains for them or, alternatively, to be other than nothing.
So they are other than one another, in each case, as multiplicities, for they could not be so as ones, since one is not. But in each case, it seems, 164D the mass of them is unlimited in multiplicity, and if someone takes what seems to be the smallest part, suddenly, just as in a dream while sleeping, it appears to be many instead of seeming to be one, and instead of seeming miniscule it appears enormous in comparison with any parts that are cut from it.
In which case the others would be other than each other as masses of this sort if the others are, although one is not.
Won’t there be many masses, each appearing to be one without being so, if in fact one is not to be?
And if in fact each seems to be one there will seem 164E to be a number of them since they are many.
And some among them appear to be even, others odd, without in truth being so, if in fact one is not to be.
And furthermore, according to us, a smallest will seem to be among them but this appears to be many and large relative to each of the many 165A which are themselves small.
And each mass will be imagined to be equal to what is many and small, for it could not give the appearance of changing from greater to lesser before seeming to arrive at whatever is in between and this would be apparent inequality
Would it not have limit relative to another mass, while having, itself, neither a beginning limit, nor middle, relative to itself.
Why is that?
Because whenever anyone, in thought, grasps any of these as if it were one of them, then another beginning always appears 165B before that beginning, and after the end another end still remains, and in the middle others more in the middle, but smaller due to the impossibility of grasping each of them as one since one is not.
So it must be the case, I believe, for anything that is, that whatever one grasps with the mind must crumble apart and be broken in pieces. For it would always be grasped somehow, as a mass, devoid of the one.
Now isn’t it necessary that something of this sort must appear to be one to anyone who views it dimly 165C from afar, while to someone who considers it keenly from close up each one must appear unlimited in multiplicity if it is actually deprived of the one because the one is not?
Yes, absolutely necessary.
In that case then the others must each appear limitless and possessed of limit, and one and many, if one is not and there are things other than one.
They must indeed.
Won’t they also seem to be both like and unlike?
In what way?
In the way that shadow drawings all appear one to a person standing away from them, and appear to have a characteristic the same, and to be like.
165D But to someone who has approached them they appear many and different and by the appearance of difference they appear to be different in character and unlike themselves.
So they do.
And so the masses themselves necessarily appear like and unlike themselves and one another.
Therefore if one is not and there are many, these must appear both the same as and different from one another, both in contact with and apart from themselves, both moving with every motion and at rest in every respect, both coming to be an ceasing to be and neither, and everything else of this sort, I presume, which we could easily set out at this stage.
165E Very true.
Then let us go back once again to the beginning and let us say what must be the case if one is not and there are things other than one.
Yes, let us do so.
In that case the others will not be one.
Nor indeed will they be many since one would then be present in things that are many. For if no one of them is one, they are all nothing, and so they could not be many.
But without the one being present in the others the others are neither many nor one.
Nor do they even appear 166A to be one or many.
Why is that?
Because the others do not have any communion whatsoever in any way at all with any of the things that are not, nor does anything from the others belong to things that are not, since there is no part of things that are not.
Nor is there any opinion of what is not, with the others, nor any appearance either, nor is what is not thought of in any way at all by the others.
So if one is not none of the others 166B is thought to be either one or many, for it is impossible to think of many in the absence of one.
So if one is not the others neither are, nor are thought to be, one or many.
It seems not.
Nor are they like, nor are they unlike.
Nor are they the same, nor different, nor in contact nor apart, nor are they anything else that they appeared to be in our earlier description; they neither are, nor appear to be any of these, if one is not.
In that case if we were to maintain, in short, that if one is not then nothing is, would we be right 166C to say so?
So, let us say this, and also that, as it seems, whether one is or is not, both itself and the others, in relation to themselves and to one another, both are and are not, and appear and do not appear to be all things in all ways.
 Scolnicov translates this as “the many are not” [οὐ πολλά (φησιν) εἶναι,] The phrase could also be rendered as “there is no multiplicity” or as “multiplicity does not exist”. See first footnote to 128D
 Allen footnote page 5: εἰ ἕν ἐστι, Or “if the All is one” (128b 1); alternatively, “if one is” or “if unity is” or “if there is (only) one” (128d 6). The accents are an Alexandrian afterthought, and the expression is syntactically amphibolous: “one” may be taken as predicate with “is” copulative, or as subject with “is” existential; in the latter case, it may have the force of an abstract noun, “unity.”
 Allen footnote page 6. εἰ πολλά ἐστιν Or “if it is many” or “if things which are are many” (127e 1-2), or “if the All is many” (128b I); alternately, “if many is” or “if plurality is” or “if there are many (things).” Syntactical amphiboly as in preceding note. Allen himself translates the phrase as “if it is one”.
 Gill and Ryan footnote here reads: See note x above on “hypothesis”. The meaning of the Greek phrase ei polla esti is underdetermined. We have rendered it as “if many are”, with “many” as subject. But “many” could instead be the predicate with a subject understood (“if [things] are many”).
 Gill and Ryan footnote: The Greek is eite hen estin eite mê hen. Some scholars have proposed emending the text so they can translate: “if one is or if it is not.”Allen translates as: if one is or one is not. Scolnicov’s note (page 78) reads: 137b4, ‘if the one . . . is not’] Reading εἴτε ἕν ἐστιν εἴτε μὴ [ἕν] as Wundt proposed. For a defense of Wundt’s emendation, see Cornford (1939), 108; and now Meinwald (1991), 39–45.Scolnicov translates as per Allen. For a full discussion see Allen pages 208/9.
 Allen, footnote, page 37: “Numbers” here means pluralities of units, that is, things numerable. The units are the terms in contact.