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By Plato

Translated by Benjamin Jowett

Persons of the Dialogue

Socrates. Observe, Protarchus, the nature of the position which you
are now going to take from Philebus, and what the other position is
which I maintain, and which, if you do not approve of it, is to be
controverted by you. Shall you and I sum up the two sides?

Protarchus. By all means. 

Soc. Philebus was saying that enjoyment and pleasure and delight,
and the class of feelings akin to them, are a good to every living
being, whereas I contend, that not these, but wisdom and intelligence
and memory, and their kindred, right opinion and true reasoning, are
better and more desirable than pleasure for all who are able to partake
of them, and that to all such who are or ever will be they are the
most advantageous of all things. Have I not given, Philebus, a fair
statement of the two sides of the argument? 

Philebus Nothing could be fairer, Socrates. 

Soc. And do you, the position which is assigned to you? 

Pro. I cannot do otherwise, since our excellent Philebus has left
the field. 

Soc. Surely the truth about these matters ought, by all means, to
be ascertained. 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Shall we further agree- 

Pro. To what? 

Soc. That you and I must now try to indicate some state and disposition
of the soul, which has the property of making all men happy.

Pro. Yes, by all means. 

Soc. And you say that pleasure and I say that wisdom, is such a state?

Pro. True. 

Soc. And what if there be a third state, which is better than either?
Then both of us are vanquished-are we not? But if this life, which
really has the power of making men happy, turn out to be more akin
to pleasure than to wisdom, the life of pleasure may still have the
advantage over the life of wisdom. 

Pro. True. 

Soc. Or suppose that the better life is more nearly allied to wisdom,
then wisdom conquers, and pleasure is defeated;-do you agree?

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And what do you say, Philebus? 

Phi. I say; and shall always say, that pleasure is easily the conqueror;
but you must decide for yourself, Protarchus. 

Pro. You, Philebus, have handed over the argument to me, and have
no longer a voice in the matter? 

Phi. True enough. Nevertheless I would dear myself and deliver my
soul of you; and I call the goddess herself to witness that I now
do so. 

Pro. You may appeal to us; we too be the witnesses of your words.
And now, Socrates, whether Philebus is pleased or displeased, we will
proceed with the argument. 

Soc. Then let us begin with the goddess herself, of whom Philebus
says that she is called Aphrodite, but that her real name is Pleasure.

Pro. Very good. 

Soc. The awe which I always feel, Protarchus, about the names of the
gods is more than human-it exceeds all other fears. And now I would
not sin against Aphrodite by naming her amiss; let her be called what
she pleases. But Pleasure I know to be manifold, and with her, as
I was just now saying, we must begin, and consider what her nature
is. She has one name, and therefore you would imagine that she is
one; and yet surely she takes the most varied and even unlike forms.
For do we not say that the intemperate has pleasure, and that the
temperate has pleasure in his very temperance-that the fool is pleased
when he is full of foolish fancies and hopes, and that the wise man
has pleasure in his wisdom? and how foolish would any one be who affirmed
that all these opposite pleasures are severally alike! 

Pro. Why, Socrates, they are opposed in so far as they spring from
opposite sources, but they are not in themselves opposite. For must
not pleasure be of all things most absolutely like pleasure-that is,
like himself? 

Soc. Yes, my good friend, just as colour is like colour;-in so far
as colours are colours, there is no difference between them; and yet
we all know that black is not only unlike, but even absolutely opposed
to white: or again, as figure is like figure, for all figures are
comprehended under one class; and yet particular figures may be absolutely
opposed to one another, and there is an infinite diversity of them.
And we might find similar examples in many other things; therefore
do not rely upon this argument, which would go to prove the unity
of the most extreme opposites. And I suspect that we shall find a
similar opposition among pleasures. 

Pro. Very likely; but how will this invalidate the argument?

Soc. Why, I shall reply, that dissimilar as they are, you apply to
them a now predicate, for you say that all pleasant things are good;
now although no one can argue that pleasure is not pleasure, he may
argue, as we are doing, that pleasures are oftener bad than good;
but you call them all good, and at the same time are compelled, if
you are pressed, to acknowledge that they are unlike. And so you must
tell us what is the identical quality existing alike in good and bad
pleasures, which makes. you designate all of them as good.

Pro. What do you mean, Socrates? Do you think that any one who asserts
pleasure to be the good, will tolerate the notion that some Pleasures
are good and others bad? 

Soc. And yet you will acknowledge that they are different from one
another, and sometimes opposed? 

Pro. Not in so far as they are pleasures. 

Soc. That is a return to the old position, Protarchus, and so we are
to say (are we?) that there is no difference in pleasures, but that
they are all alike; and the examples which have just been cited do
not pierce our dull minds, but we go on arguing all the same, like
the weakest and most inexperienced reasoners? 

Pro. What do you mean? 

Soc. Why, I mean to say, that in self-defence I may, if I like, follow
your example, and assert boldly that the two things most unlike are
most absolutely alike; and the result will be that you and I will
prove ourselves to be very tyros in the art of disputing; and the
argument will be blown away and lost. Suppose that we put back, and
return to the old position; then perhaps we may come to an understanding
with one another. 

Pro. How do you mean? 

Soc. Shall I, Protarchus, have my own question asked of me by you?

Pro. What question? 

Soc. Ask me whether wisdom and science and mind, and those other qualities
which I, when asked by you at first what is the nature of the good,
affirmed to be good, are not in the same case with the pleasures of
which you spoke. 

Pro. What do you mean? 

Soc. The sciences are a numerous class, and will be found to present
great differences. But even admitting that, like the pleasures, they
are opposite as well as different, should I be worthy of the name
of dialectician if, in order to avoid this difficulty, I were to say
(as you are saying of pleasure) that there is no difference between
one science and another;-would not the argument founder and disappear
like an idle tale, although we might ourselves escape drowning by
clinging to a fallacy? 

Pro. May none of this befall us, except the deliverance! Yet I like
the even-handed justice which is applied to both our arguments. Let
us assume, then, that there are many and diverse pleasures, and many
and different sciences. 

Soc. And let us have no concealment, Protarchus, of the differences
between my good and yours; but let us bring them to the light in the
hope that, in the process of testing them, they may show whether pleasure
is to be called the good, or wisdom, or some third quality; for surely
we are not now simply contending in order that my view or that yours
may prevail, but I presume that we ought both of us to be fighting
for the truth. 

Pro. Certainly we ought. 

Soc. Then let us have a more definite understanding and establish
the principle on which the argument rests. 

Pro. What principle? 

Soc. A principle about which all men are always in a difficulty, and
some men sometimes against their will. 

Pro. Speak plainer. 

Soc. The principle which has just turned up, which is a marvel of
nature; for that one should be many or many one, are wonderful propositions;
and he who affirms either is very open to attack. 

Pro. Do you mean, when a person says that I, Protarchus, am by nature
one and also many, dividing the single "me" into many "mens," and
even opposing them as great and small, light and heavy, and in ten
thousand other ways? 

Soc. Those, Protarchus, are the common and acknowledged paradoxes
about the one and many, which I may say that everybody has by this
time agreed to dismiss as childish and obvious and detrimental to
the true course of thought; and no more favour is shown to that other
puzzle, in which a person proves the members and parts of anything
to be divided, and then confessing that they are all one, says laughingly
in disproof of his own words: Why, here is a miracle, the one is many
and infinite, and the many are only one. 

Pro. But what, Socrates, are those other marvels connected with this
subject which, as you imply, have not yet become common and acknowledged?

Soc. When, my boy, the one does not belong to the class of things
that are born and perish, as in the instances which we were giving,
for in those cases, and when unity is of this concrete nature, there
is, as I was saying, a universal consent that no refutation is needed;
but when the assertion is made that man is one, or ox is one, or beauty
one, or the good one, then the interest which attaches to these and
similar unities and the attempt which is made to divide them gives
birth to a controversy. 

Pro. Of what nature? 

Soc. In the first place, as to whether these unities have a real existence;
and then how each individual unity, being always the same, and incapable
either of generation of destruction, but retaining a permanent individuality,
can be conceived either as dispersed and multiplied in the infinity
of the world of generation, or as still entire and yet divided from
itself, which latter would seem to be the greatest impossibility of
all, for how can one and the same thing be at the same time in one
and in many things? These, Protarchus, are the real difficulties,
and this is the one and many to which they relate; they are the source
of great perplexity if ill decided, and the right determination of
them is very helpful. 

Pro. Then, Socrates, let us begin by clearing up these questions.

Soc. That is what I should wish. 

Pro. And I am sure that all my other friends will be glad to hear
them discussed; Philebus, fortunately for us, is not disposed to move,
and we had better not stir him up with questions. 

Soc. Good; and where shall we begin this great and multifarious battle,
in which such various points are at issue? Shall begin thus?

Pro. How? 

Soc. We say that the one and many become identified by thought, and
that now, as in time past, they run about together, in and out of
every word which is uttered, and that this union of them will never
cease, and is not now beginning, but is, as I believe, an everlasting
quality of thought itself, which never grows old. Any young man, when
he first tastes these subtleties, is delighted, and fancies that he
has found a treasure of wisdom; in the first enthusiasm of his joy
he leaves no stone, or rather no thought unturned, now rolling up
the many into the one, and kneading them together, now unfolding and
dividing them; he puzzles himself first and above all, and then he
proceeds to puzzle his neighbours, whether they are older or younger,
or of his own age-that makes no difference; neither father nor mother
does he spare; no human being who has ears is safe from him, hardly
even his dog, and a barbarian would have no chance of escaping him,
if an interpreter could only be found. 

Pro. Considering, Socrates, how many we are, and that all of us are
young men, is there not a danger that we and Philebus may all set
upon you, if you abuse us? We understand what you mean; but is there
no charm by which we may dispel all this confusion, no more excellent
way of arriving at the truth? If there is, we hope that you will guide
us into that way, and we will do our best to follow, for the enquiry
in which we are engaged, Socrates, is not unimportant. 

Soc. The reverse of unimportant, my boys, as Philebus calls you, and
there neither is nor ever will be a better than my own favourite way,
which has nevertheless already often deserted me and left me helpless
in the hour of need. 

Pro. Tell us what that is. 

Soc. One which may be easily pointed out, but is by no means easy
of application; it is the parent of all the discoveries in the arts.

Pro. Tell us what it is. 

Soc. A gift of heaven, which, as I conceive, the gods tossed among
men by the hands of a new Prometheus, and therewith a blaze of light;
and the ancients, who were our betters and nearer the gods than we
are, handed down the tradition, that whatever things are said to be
are composed of one and many, and have the finite, and infinite implanted
in them: seeing, then, that such is the order of the world, we too
ought in every enquiry to begin by laying down one idea of that which
is the subject of enquiry; this unity we shall find in everything.
Having found it, we may next proceed to look for two, if there be
two, or, if not, then for three or some other number, subdividing
each of these units, until at last the unity with which we began is
seen not only to be one and many and infinite, but also a definite
number; the infinite must not be suffered to approach the many until
the entire number of the species intermediate between unity and infinity
has been discovered-then, and not till then, we may, rest from division,
and without further troubling ourselves about the endless individuals
may allow them to drop into infinity. This, as I was saying, is the
way of considering and learning and teaching one another, which the
gods have handed down to us. But the wise men of our time are either
too quick or too slow, in conceiving plurality in unity. Having no
method, they make their one and many anyhow, and from unity pass at
once to infinity; the intermediate steps never occur to them. And
this, I repeat, is what makes the difference between the mere art
of disputation and true dialectic. 

Pro. I think that I partly understand you Socrates, but I should like
to have a clearer notion of what you are saying. 

Soc. I may illustrate my meaning by the letters of the alphabet, Protarchus,
which you were made to learn as a child. 

Pro. How do they afford an illustration? 

Soc. The sound which passes through the lips whether of an individual
or of all men is one and yet infinite. 

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. And yet not by knowing either that sound is one or that sound
is infinite are we perfect in the art of speech, but the knowledge
of the number and nature of sounds is what makes a man a grammarian.

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. And the knowledge which makes a man a musician is of the same

Pro. How so? 

Soc. Sound is one in music as well as in grammar? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And there is a higher note and a lower note, and a note of equal
pitch:-may we affirm so much? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. But you would not be a real musician if this was all that you
knew; though if you did not know this you would know almost nothing
of music. 

Pro. Nothing. 

Soc. But when you have learned what sounds are high and what low,
and the number and nature of the intervals and their limits or proportions,
and the systems compounded out of them, which our fathers discovered,
and have handed down to us who are their descendants under the name
of harmonies; and the affections corresponding to them in the movements
of the human body, which when measured by numbers ought, as they say,
to be called rhythms and measures; and they tell us that the same
principle should be applied to every one and many;-when, I say, you
have learned all this, then, my dear friend, you are perfect; and
you may be said to understand any other subject, when you have a similar
grasp of it. But the, infinity of kinds and the infinity of individuals
which there is in each of them, when not classified, creates in every
one of us a state of infinite ignorance; and he who never looks for
number in anything, will not himself be looked for in the number of
famous men. 

Pro. I think that what Socrates is now saying is excellent, Philebus.

Phi. I think so too, but how do his words bear upon us and upon the

Soc. Philebus is right in asking that question of us, Protarchus.

Pro. Indeed he is, and you must answer him. 

Soc. I will; but you must let me make one little remark first about
these matters; I was saying, that he who begins with any individual
unity, should proceed from that, not to infinity, but to a definite
number, and now I say conversely, that he who has to begin with infinity
should not jump to unity, but he should look about for some number,
representing a certain quantity, and thus out of all end in one. And
now let us return for an illustration of our principle to the case
of letters. 

Pro. What do you mean? 

Soc. Some god or divine man, who in the Egyptian legend is said to
have been Theuth, observing that the human voice was infinite, first
distinguished in this infinity a certain number of vowels, and then
other letters which had sound, but were not pure vowels (i.e., the
semivowels); these too exist in a definite number; and lastly, he
distinguished a third class of letters which we now call mutes, without
voice and without sound, and divided these, and likewise the two other
classes of vowels and semivowels, into the individual sounds, told
the number of them, and gave to each and all of them the name of letters;
and observing that none of us could learn any one of them and not
learn them all, and in consideration of this common bond which in
a manner united them, he assigned to them all a single art, and this
he called the art of grammar or letters. 

Phi. The illustration, Protarchus, has assisted me in understanding
the original statement, but I still feel the defect of which I just
now complained. 

Soc. Are you going to ask, Philebus, what this has to do with the

Phi. Yes, that is a question which Protarchus and I have been long

Soc. Assuredly you have already arrived at the answer to the question
which, as you say, you have been so long asking? 

Phi. How so? 

Soc. Did we not begin by enquiring into the comparative eligibility
of pleasure and wisdom? 

Phi. Certainly. 

Soc. And we maintain that they are each of them one? 

Phi. True. 

Soc. And the precise question to which the previous discussion desires
an answer is, how they are one and also many [i.e., how they have
one genus and many species], and are not at once infinite, and what
number of species is to be assigned to either of them before they
pass into infinity. 

Pro. That is a very serious question, Philebus, to which Socrates
has ingeniously brought us round, and please to consider which of
us shall answer him; there may be something ridiculous in my being
unable to answer, and therefore imposing the task upon you, when I
have undertaken the whole charge of the argument, but if neither of
us were able to answer, the result methinks would be still more ridiculous.
Let us consider, then, what we are to do:-Socrates, if I understood
him rightly, is asking whether there are not kinds of pleasure, and
what is the number and nature of them, and the same of wisdom.

Soc. Most true, O son of Callias; and the previous argument showed
that if we are not able to tell the kinds of everything that has unity,
likeness, sameness, or their opposites, none of us will be of the
smallest use in any enquiry. 

Pro. That seems to be very near the truth, Socrates. Happy would the
wise man be if he knew all things, and the next best thing for him
is that he should know himself. Why do I say so at this moment? I
will tell you. You, Socrates, have granted us this opportunity of
conversing with you, and are ready to assist us in determining what
is the best of human goods. For when Philebus said that pleasure and
delight and enjoyment and the like were the chief good, you answered-No,
not those, but another class of goods; and we are constantly reminding
ourselves of what you said, and very properly, in order that we may
not forget to examine and compare the two. And these goods, which
in your opinion are to be designated as superior to pleasure, and
are the true objects of pursuit, are mind and knowledge and understanding
and art and the like. There was a dispute about which were the best,
and we playfully threatened that you should not be allowed to go home
until the question was settled; and you agreed, and placed yourself
at our disposal. And now, as children say, what has been fairly given
cannot be taken back; cease then to fight against us in this way.

Soc. In what way? 

Phi. Do not perplex us, and keep asking questions of us to which we
have not as yet any sufficient answer to give; let us not imagine
that a general puzzling of us all is to be the end of our discussion,
but if we are unable to answer, do you answer, as you have promised.
Consider, then, whether you will divide pleasure and knowledge according
to their kinds; or you may let the matter drop, if you are able and
willing to find some other mode of clearing up our controversy.

Soc. If you say that, I have nothing to apprehend, for the words "if
you are willing" dispel all my fear; and, moreover, a god seems to
have recalled something to my mind. 

Phi. What is that? 

Soc. I remember to have heard long ago certain discussions about pleasure
and wisdom, whether awake or in a dream I cannot tell; they were to
the effect that neither the one nor the other of them was the good,
but some third thing, which was different from them, and better than
either. If this be clearly established, then pleasure will lose the
victory, for the good will cease to be identified with her:-Am I not

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And there will cease to be any need of distinguishing the kinds
of pleasures, as I am inclined to think, but this will appear more
clearly as we proceed. 

Pro. Capital, Socrates; pray go on as you propose. 

Soc. But, let us first agree on some little points. 

Pro. What are they? 

Soc. Is the good perfect or imperfect? 

Pro. The most perfect, Socrates, of all things. 

Soc. And is the good sufficient? 

Pro. Yes, certainly, and in a degree surpassing all other things.

Soc. And no one can deny that all percipient beings desire and hunt
after good, and are eager to catch and have the good about them, and
care not for the attainment of anything which its not accompanied
by good. 

Pro. That is undeniable. 

Soc. Now let us part off the life of pleasure from the life of wisdom,
and pass them in review. 

Pro. How do you mean? 

Soc. Let there be no wisdom in the life of pleasure, nor any pleasure
in the life of wisdom, for if either of them is the chief good, it
cannot be supposed to want anything, but if either is shown to want
anything, then it cannot really be the chief good. 

Pro. Impossible. 

Soc. And will you help us to test these two lives? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Then answer. 

Pro. Ask. 

Soc. Would you choose, Protarchus, to live all your life long in the
enjoyment of the greatest pleasures? 

Pro. Certainly I should. 

Soc. Would you consider that there was still anything wanting to you
if you had perfect pleasure? 

Pro. Certainly not. 

Soc. Reflect; would you not want wisdom and intelligence and forethought,
and similar qualities? would you not at any rate want sight?

Pro. Why should I? Having pleasure I should have all things.

Soc. Living thus, you would always throughout your life enjoy the
greatest pleasures? 

Pro. I should. 

Soc. But if you had neither mind, nor memory, nor knowledge, nor true
opinion, you would in the first place be utterly ignorant of whether
you were pleased or not, because you would be entirely devoid of intelligence.

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And similarly, if you had no memory you would not recollect that
you had ever been pleased, nor would the slightest recollection of
the pleasure which you feel at any moment remain with you; and if
you had no true opinion you would not think that you were pleased
when you were; and if you had no power of calculation you would not
be able to calculate on future pleasure, and your life would be the
life, not of a man, but of an oyster or pulmo marinus. Could this
be otherwise? 

Pro. No. 

Soc. But is such a life eligible? 

Pro. I cannot answer you, Socrates; the argument has taken away from
me the power of speech. 

Soc. We must keep up our spirits;-let us now take the life of mind
and examine it in turn. 

Pro. And what is this life of mind? 

Soc. I want to know whether any one of us would consent to live, having
wisdom and mind and knowledge and memory of all things, but having
no sense of pleasure or pain, and wholly unaffected by these and the
like feelings? 

Pro. Neither life, Socrates, appears eligible to me, or is likely,
as I should imagine, to be chosen by any one else. 

Soc. What would you say, Protarchus, to both of these in one, or to
one that was made out of the union of the two? 

Pro. Out of the union, that is, of pleasure with mind and wisdom?

Soc. Yes, that is the life which I mean. 

Pro. There can be no difference of opinion; not some but all would
surely choose this third rather than either of the other two, and
in addition to them. 

Soc. But do you see the consequence? 

Pro. To be sure I do. The consequence is, that two out of the three
lives which have been proposed are neither sufficient nor eligible
for man or for animal. 

Soc. Then now there can be no doubt that neither of them has the good,
for the one which had would certainly have been sufficient and perfect
and eligible for every living creature or thing that was able to live
such a life; and if any of us had chosen any other, he would have
chosen contrary to the nature of the truly eligible, and not of his
own free will, but either through ignorance or from some unhappy necessity.

Pro. Certainly that seems to be true. 

Soc. And now have I not sufficiently shown that Philebus, goddess
is not to be regarded as identical with the good? 

Phi. Neither is your "mind" the good, Socrates, for that will be open
to the same objections. 

Soc. Perhaps, Philebus, you may be right in saying so of my "mind";
but of the true, which is also the divine mind, far otherwise. However,
I will not at present claim the first place for mind as against the
mixed life; but we must come to some understanding about the second
place. For you might affirm pleasure and I mind to be the cause of
the mixed life; and in that case although neither of them would be
the good, one of them might be imagined to be the cause of the good.
And I might proceed further to argue in opposition to Phoebus, that
the element which makes this mixed life eligible and good, is more
akin and more similar to mind than to pleasure. And if this is true,
pleasure cannot be truly said to share either in the first or second
place, and does not, if I may trust my own mind, attain even to the

Pro. Truly, Socrates, pleasure appears to me to have had a fall; in
fighting for the palm, she has been smitten by the argument, and is
laid low. I must say that mind would have fallen too, and may therefore
be thought to show discretion in not putting forward a similar claim.
And if pleasure were deprived not only of the first but of the second
place, she would be terribly damaged in the eyes of her admirers,
for not even to them would she still appear as fair as before.

Soc. Well, but had we not better leave her now, and not pain her by
applying the crucial test, and finally detecting her? 

Pro. Nonsense, Socrates. 

Soc. Why? because I said that we had better not pain pleasure, which
is an impossibility? 

Pro. Yes, and more than that, because you do not seem to be aware
that none of us will let you go home until you have finished the argument.

Soc. Heavens! Protarchus, that will be a tedious business, and just
at present not at all an easy one. For in going to war in the cause
of mind, who is aspiring to the second prize, I ought to have weapons
of another make from those which I used before; some, however, of
the old ones may do again. And must I then finish the argument?

Pro. Of course you must. 

Soc. Let us be very careful in laying the foundation. 

Pro. What do you mean? 

Soc. Let us divide all existing things into two, or rather, if you
do not object, into three classes. 

Pro. Upon what principle would you make the division? 

Soc. Let us take some of our newly-found notions. 

Pro. Which of them? 

Soc. Were we not saying that God revealed a finite element of existence,
and also an infinite? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Let us assume these two principles, and also a third, which is
compounded out of them; but I fear that am ridiculously clumsy at
these processes of division and enumeration. 

Pro. What do you mean, my good friend? 

Soc. I say that a fourth class is still wanted. 

Pro. What will that be? 

Soc. Find the cause of the third or compound, and add this as a fourth
class to the three others. 

Pro. And would you like to have a fifth dass or cause of resolution
as well as a cause of composition? 

Soc. Not, I think, at present; but if I want a fifth at some future
time you shall allow me to have it. 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Let us begin with the first three; and as we find two out of
the three greatly divided and dispersed, let us endeavour to reunite
them, and see how in each of them there is a one and many.

Pro. If you would explain to me a little more about them, perhaps
I might be able to follow you. 

Soc. Well, the two classes are the same which I mentioned before,
one the finite, and the other the infinite; I will first show that
the infinite is in a certain sense many, and the finite may be hereafter

Pro. I agree. 

Soc. And now consider well; for the question to which I invite your
attention is difficult and controverted. When you speak of hotter
and colder, can you conceive any limit in those qualities? Does not
the more and less, which dwells in their very nature, prevent their
having any end? for if they had an end, the more and less would themselves
have an end. 

Pro. That is most true. 

Soc. Ever, as we say, into the hotter and the colder there enters
a more and a less. 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. Then, says the argument, there is never any end of them, and
being endless they must also be infinite. 

Pro. Yes, Socrates, that is exceedingly true. 

Soc. Yes, my dear Protarchus, and your answer reminds me that such
an expression as "exceedingly," which you have just uttered, and also
the term "gently," have the same significance as more or less; for
whenever they occur they do not allow of the existence of quantity-they
are always introducing degrees into actions, instituting a comparison
of a more or a less excessive or a more or a less gentle, and at each
creation of more or less, quantity disappears. For, as I was just
now saying, if quantity and measure did not disappear, but were allowed
to intrude in the sphere of more and less and the other comparatives,
these last would be driven out of their own domain. When definite
quantity is once admitted, there can be no longer a "hotter" or a
"colder" (for these are always progressing, and are never in one stay);
but definite quantity is at rest, and has ceased to progress. Which
proves that comparatives, such as the hotter, and the colder, are
to be ranked in the class of the infinite. 

Pro. Your remark certainly, has the look of truth, Socrates; but these
subjects, as you were saying, are difficult to follow at first. I
think however, that if I could hear the argument repeated by you once
or twice, there would be a substantial agreement between us.

Soc. Yes, and I will try to meet your wish; but, as I would rather
not waste time in the enumeration of endless particulars, let me know
whether I may not assume as a note of the infinite- 

Pro. What? 

Soc. I want to know whether such things as appear to us to admit of
more or less, or are denoted by the words "exceedingly," "gently,"
"extremely," and the like, may not be referred to the class of the
infinite, which is their unity, for, as was asserted in the previous
argument, all things that were divided and dispersed should be brought
together, and have the mark or seal of some one nature, if possible,
set upon them-do you remember? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And all things which do not admit of more or less, but admit
their opposites, that is to say, first of all, equality, and the equal,
or again, the double, or any other ratio of number and measure-all
these may, I think, be rightly reckoned by us in the class of the
limited or finite; what do you say? 

Pro. Excellent, Socrates. 

Soc. And now what nature shall we ascribe to the third or compound

Pro. You, I think, will have to tell me that. 

Soc. Rather God will tell you, if there be any God who will listen
to my prayers. 

Pro. Offer up a prayer, then, and think. 

Soc. I am thinking, Protarchus, and I believe that some God has befriended

Pro. What do you mean, and what proof have you to offer of what you
are saying? 

Soc. I will tell you, and do you listen to my words. 

Pro. Proceed. 

Soc. Were we not speaking just now of hotter and colder?

Pro. True. 

Soc. Add to them drier, wetter, more, less, swifter, slower, greater,
smaller, and all that in the preceding argument we placed under the
unity of more and less. 

Pro. In the class of the infinite, you mean? 

Soc. Yes; and now mingle this with the other. 

Pro. What is the other. 

Soc. The class of the finite which we ought to have brought together
as we did the infinite; but, perhaps, it will come to the same thing
if we do so now;-when the two are combined, a third will appear.

Pro. What do you mean by the class of the finite? 

Soc. The class of the equal and the double, and any class which puts
an end to difference and opposition, and by introducing number creates
harmony and proportion among the different elements. 

Pro. I understand; you seem to me to mean that the various opposites,
when you mingle with them the class of the finite, takes certain forms.

Soc. Yes, that is my meaning. 

Pro. Proceed. 

Soc. Does not the right participation in the finite give health-in
disease, for instance? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And whereas the high and low, the swift and the slow are infinite
or unlimited, does not the addition of the principles aforesaid introduce
a limit, and perfect the whole frame of music? 

Pro. Yes, certainly. 

Soc. Or, again, when cold and heat prevail, does not the introduction
of them take away excess and indefiniteness, and infuse moderation
and harmony? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And from a like admixture of the finite and infinite come the
seasons, and all the delights of life? 

Pro. Most true. 

Soc. I omit ten thousand other things, such as beauty and health and
strength, and the many beauties and high perfections of the soul:
O my beautiful Philebus, the goddess, methinks, seeing the universal
wantonness and wickedness of all things, and that there was in them
no limit to pleasures and self-indulgence, devised the limit of law
and order, whereby, as you say, Philebus, she torments, or as I maintain,
delivers the soul-What think you, Protarchus? 

Pro. Her ways are much to my mind, Socrates. 

Soc. You will observe that I have spoken of three classes?

Pro. Yes, I think that I understand you: you mean to say that the
infinite is one class, and that the finite is a second class of existences;
but what you would make the third I am not so certain. 

Soc. That is because the amazing variety of the third class is too
much for you, my dear friend; but there was not this difficulty with
the infinite, which also comprehended many classes, for all of them
were sealed with the note of more and less, and therefore appeared

Pro. True. 

Soc. And the finite or limit had not many divisions, and we ready
acknowledged it to be by nature one? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. Yes, indeed; and when I speak of the third class, understand
me to mean any offspring of these, being a birth into true being,
effected by the measure which the limit introduces. 

Pro. I understand. 

Soc. Still there was, as we said, a fourth class to be investigated,
and you must assist in the investigation; for does not everything
which comes into being, of necessity come into being through a cause?

Pro. Yes, certainly; for how can there be anything which has no cause?

Soc. And is not the agent the same as the cause in all except name;
the agent and the cause may be rightly called one? 

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. And the same may be said of the patient, or effect; we shall
find that they too differ, as I was saying, only in name-shall we

Pro. We shall. 

Soc. The agent or cause always naturally leads, and the patient or
effect naturally follows it? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Then the cause and what is subordinate to it in generation are
not the same, but different? 

Pro. True. 

Soc. Did not the things which were generated, and the things out of
which they were generated, furnish all the three classes?

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And the creator or cause of them has been satisfactorily proven
to be distinct from them-and may therefore be called a fourth principle?

Pro. So let us call it. 

Soc. Quite right; but now, having distinguished the four, I think
that we had better refresh our memories by recapitulating each of
them in order. 

Pro. By all means. 

Soc. Then the first I will call the infinite or unlimited, and the
second the finite or limited; then follows the third, an essence compound
and generated; and I do not think that I shall be far wrong in speaking
of the cause of mixture and generation as the fourth. 

Pro. Certainly not. 

Soc. And now what is the next question, and how came we hither? Were
we not enquiring whether the second place belonged to pleasure or

Pro. We were. 

Soc. And now, having determined these points, shall we not be better
able to decide about the first and second place, which was the original
subject of dispute? 

Pro. I dare say. 

Soc. We said, if you remember, that the mixed life of pleasure and
wisdom was the conqueror-did we not? 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And we see what is the place and nature of this life and to what
class it is to be assigned? 

Pro. Beyond a doubt. 

Soc. This is evidently comprehended in the third or mixed class; which
is not composed of any two particular ingredients, but of all the
elements of infinity, bound down by the finite, and may therefore
be truly said to comprehend the conqueror life. 

Pro. Most true. 

Soc. And what shall we say, Philebus, of your life which is all sweetness;
and in which of the aforesaid classes is that to be placed? Perhaps
you will allow me to ask you a question before you answer?

Phi. Let me hear. 

Soc. Have pleasure and pain a limit, or do they belong to the class
which admits of more and less? 

Phi. They belong to the class which admits of more, Socrates; for
pleasure would not be perfectly good if she were not infinite in quantity
and degree. 

Soc. Nor would pain, Philebus, be perfectly evil. And therefore the
infinite cannot be that element which imparts to pleasure some degree
of good. But now-admitting, if you like, that pleasure is of the nature
of the infinite-in which of the aforesaid classes, O Protarchus and
Philebus, can we without irreverence place wisdom and knowledge and
mind? And let us be careful, for I think that the danger will be very
serious if we err on this point. 

Phi. You magnify, Socrates, the importance of your favourite god.

Soc. And you, my friend, are also magnifying your favourite goddess;
but still I must beg you to answer the question. 

Pro. Socrates is quite right, Philebus, and we must submit to him.

Phi. And did not you, Protarchus, propose to answer in my place?

Pro. Certainly I did; but I am now in a great strait, and I must entreat
you, Socrates, to be our spokesman, and then we shall not say anything
wrong or disrespectful of your favourite. 

Soc. I must obey you, Protarchus; nor is the task which you impose
a difficult one; but did I really, as Philebus implies, disconcert
you with my playful solemnity, when I asked the question to what class
mind and knowledge belong? 

Pro. You did, indeed, Socrates. 

Soc. Yet the answer is easy, since all philosophers assert with one
voice that mind is the king of heaven and earth-in reality they are
magnifying themselves. And perhaps they are right. But still I should
like to consider the class of mind, if you do not object, a little
more fully. 

Phi. Take your own course, Socrates, and never mind length; we shall
not tire of you. 

Soc. Very good; let us begin then, Protarchus, by asking a question.

Pro. What question? 

Soc. Whether all this which they call the universe is left to the
guidance of unreason and chance medley, or, on the contrary, as our
fathers have declared, ordered and governed by a marvellous intelligence
and wisdom. 

Pro. Wide asunder are the two assertions, illustrious Socrates, for
that which you were just now saying to me appears to be blasphemy;
but the other assertion, that mind orders all things, is worthy of
the aspect of the world, and of the sun, and of the moon, and of the
stars and of the whole circle of the heavens; and never will I say
or think otherwise. 

Soc. Shall we then agree with them of old time in maintaining this
doctrine-not merely reasserting the notions of others, without risk
to ourselves,-but shall we share in the danger, and take our part
of the reproach which will await us, when an ingenious individual
declares that all is disorder? 

Pro. That would certainly be my wish. 

Soc. Then now please to consider the next stage of the argument.

Pro. Let me hear. 

Soc. We see that the elements which enter into the nature of the bodies
of all animals, fire, water, air, and, as the storm-tossed sailor
cries, "land" [i.e., earth], reappear in the constitution of the world.

Pro. The proverb may be applied to us; for truly the storm gathers
over us, and we are at our wit's end. 

Soc. There is something to be remarked about each of these elements.

Pro. What is it? 

Soc. Only a small fraction of any one of them exists in us, and that
of a mean sort, and not in any way pure, or having any power worthy
of its nature. One instance will prove this of all of them; there
is fire within us, and in the universe. 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And is not our fire small and weak and mean? But the fire in
the universe is wonderful in quantity and beauty, and in every power
that fire has. 

Pro. Most true. 

Soc. And is the fire in the universe nourished and generated and ruled
by the fire in us, or is the fire in you and me, and in other animals,
dependent on the universal fire? 

Pro. That is a question which does not deserve an answer.

Soc. Right; and you would say the same, if I am not mistaken, of the
earth which is in animals and the earth which is in the universe,
and you would give a similar reply about all the other elements?

Pro. Why, how could any man who gave any other be deemed in his senses?

Soc. I do not think that he could-but now go on to the next step.
When we saw those elements of which we have been speaking gathered
up in one, did we not call them a body? 

Pro. We did. 

Soc. And the same may be said of the cosmos, which for the same reason
may be considered to be a body, because made up of the same elements.

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. But is our body nourished wholly by this body, or is this body
nourished by our body, thence deriving and having the qualities of
which we were just now speaking? 

Pro. That again, Socrates, is a question which does not deserve to
be asked. 

Soc. Well, tell me, is this question worth asking? 

Pro. What question? 

Soc. May our body be said to have a soul? 

Pro. Clearly. 

Soc. And whence comes that soul, my dear Protarchus, unless the body
of the universe, which contains elements like those in our bodies
but in every way fairer, had also a soul? Can there be another source?

Pro. Clearly, Socrates, that is the only source. 

Soc. Why, yes, Protarchus; for surely we cannot imagine that of the
four classes, the finite, the infinite, the composition of the two,
and the cause, the fourth, which enters into all things, giving to
our bodies souls, and the art of self-management, and of healing disease,
and operating in other ways to heal and organize, having too all the
attributes of wisdom;-we cannot, I say, imagine that whereas the self-same
elements exist, both in the entire heaven and in great provinces of
the heaven, only fairer and purer, this last should not also in that
higher sphere have designed the noblest and fairest things?

Pro. Such a supposition is quite unreasonable. 

Soc. Then if this be denied, should we not be wise in adopting the
other view and maintaining that there is in the universe a mighty
infinite and an adequate limit, of which we have often spoken, as
well as a presiding cause of no mean power, which orders and arranges
years and seasons and months, and may be justly called wisdom and

Pro. Most justly. 

Soc. And wisdom and mind cannot exist without soul? 

Pro. Certainly not. 

Soc. And in the divine nature of Zeus would you not say that there
is the soul and mind of a king, because there is in him the power
of the cause? And other gods have other attributes, by which they
are pleased to be called. 

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. Do not then suppose that these words are rashly spoken by us,
O Protarchus, for they are in harmony with the testimony of those
who said of old time that mind rules the universe. 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And they furnish an answer to my enquiry; for they imply that
mind is the parent of that class of the four which we called the cause
of all; and I think that you now have my answer. 

Pro. I have indeed, and yet I did not observe that you had answered.

Soc. A jest is sometimes refreshing, Protarchus, when it interrupts

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. I think, friend, that we have now pretty clearly set forth the
class to which mind belongs and what is the power of mind.

Pro. True. 

Soc. And the class to which pleasure belongs has also been long ago

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And let us remember, too, of both of them, (1) that mind was
akin to the cause and of this family; and (2) that pleasure is infinite
and belongs to the class which neither has, nor ever will have in
itself, a beginning, middle, or end of its own. 

Pro. I shall be sure to remember. 

Soc. We must next examine what is their place and under what conditions
they are generated. And we will begin with pleasure, since her class
was first examined; and yet pleasure cannot be rightly tested apart
from pain ever 

Pro. If this is the road, let us take it. 

Soc. I wonder whether you would agree with me about the origin of
pleasure and pain. 

Pro. What do you mean? 

Soc. I mean to say that their natural seat is in the mixed class.

Pro. And would you tell me again, sweet Socrates, which of the aforesaid
classes is the mixed one? 

Soc. I will my fine fellow, to the best of my ability. 

Pro. Very good. 

Soc. Let us then understand the mixed class to be that which we placed
third in the list of four. 

Pro. That which followed the infinite and the finite; and in which
you ranked health, and, if I am not mistaken, harmony. 

Soc. Capital; and now will you please to give me your best attention?

Pro. Proceed; I am attending. 

Soc. I say that when the harmony in animals is dissolved, there is
also a dissolution of nature and a generation of pain. 

Pro. That is very probable. 

Soc. And the restoration of harmony and return to nature is the source
of pleasure, if I may be allowed to speak in the fewest and shortest
words about matters of the greatest moment. 

Pro. I believe that you are right, Socrates; but will you try to be
a little plainer? 

Soc. Do not obvious and every-day phenomena furnish the simplest illustration?

Pro. What phenomena do you mean? 

Soc. Hunger, for example, is a dissolution and a pain. 

Pro. True. 

Soc. Whereas eating is a replenishment and a pleasure? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. Thirst again is a destruction and a pain, but the effect of moisture
replenishing the dry Place is a pleasure: once more, the unnatural
separation and dissolution caused by heat is painful, and the natural
restoration and refrigeration is pleasant. 

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. And the unnatural freezing of the moisture in an animal is pain,
and the natural process of resolution and return of the elements to
their original state is pleasure. And would not the general proposition
seem to you to hold, that the destroying of the natural union of the
finite and infinite, which, as I was observing before, make up the
class of living beings, is pain, and that the process of return of
all things to their own nature is pleasure? 

Pro. Granted; what you say has a general truth. 

Soc. Here then is one kind of pleasures and pains originating severally
in the two processes which we have described? 

Pro. Good. 

Soc. Let us next assume that in the soul herself there is an antecedent
hope of pleasure which is sweet and refreshing, and an expectation
of pain, fearful and anxious. 

Pro. Yes; this is another class of pleasures and pains, which is of
the soul only, apart from the body, and is produced by expectation.

Soc. Right; for in the analysis of these, pure, as I suppose them
to be, the pleasures being unalloyed with pain and the pains with
pleasure, methinks that we shall see clearly whether the whole class
of pleasure is to be desired, or whether this quality of entire desirableness
is not rather to be attributed to another of the classes which have
been mentioned; and whether pleasure and pain, like heat and cold,
and other things of the same kind, are not sometimes to be desired
and sometimes not to be desired, as being not in themselves good,
but only sometimes and in some instances admitting of the nature of

Pro. You say most truly that this is the track which the investigation
should pursue. 

Soc. Well, then, assuming that pain ensues on the dissolution, and
pleasure on the restoration of the harmony, let us now ask what will
be the condition of animated beings who are neither in process of
restoration nor of dissolution. And mind what you say: I ask whether
any animal who is in that condition can possibly have any feeling
of pleasure or pain, great or small? 

Pro. Certainly not. 

Soc. Then here we have a third state, over and above that of pleasure
and of pain? 

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. And do not forget that there is such a state; it will make a
great difference in our judgment of pleasure, whether we remember
this or not. And I should like to say a few words about it.

Pro. What have you to say? 

Soc. Why, you know that if a man chooses the life of wisdom, there
is no reason why he should not live in this neutral state.

Pro. You mean that he may live neither rejoicing nor sorrowing?

Soc. Yes; and if I remember rightly, when the lives were compared,
no degree of pleasure, whether great or small, was thought to be necessary
to him who chose the life of thought and wisdom. 

Pro. Yes, certainly, we said so. 

Soc. Then he will live without pleasure; and who knows whether this
may not be the most divine of all lives? 

Pro. If so, the gods, at any rate, cannot be supposed to have either
joy or sorrow. 

Soc. Certainly not-there would be a great impropriety in the assumption
of either alternative. But whether the gods are or are not indifferent
to pleasure is a point which may be considered hereafter if in any
way relevant to the argument, and whatever is the conclusion we will
place it to the account of mind in her contest for the second place,
should she have to resign the first. 

Pro. Just so. 

Soc. The other class of pleasures, which as we were saying is purely
mental, is entirely derived from memory. 

Pro. What do you mean? 

Soc. I must first of all analyse memory, or rather perception which
is prior to, memory, if the subject of our discussion is ever to be
properly cleared up. 

Pro. How will you proceed? 

Soc. Let us imagine affections of the body which are extinguished
before they reach the soul, and leave her unaffected; and again, other
affections which vibrate through both soul and body, and impart a
shock to both and to each of them. 

Pro. Granted. 

Soc. And the soul may be truly said to be oblivious of the first but
not of the second? 

Pro. Quite true. 

Soc. When I say oblivious, do not suppose that I mean forgetfulness
in a literal sense; for forgetfulness is the exit of memory, which
in this case has not yet entered; and to speak of the loss of that
which is not yet in existence, and never has been, is a contradiction;
do you see? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. Then just be so good as to change the terms. 

Pro. How shall I change them? 

Soc. Instead of the oblivion of the soul, when you are describing
the state in which she is unaffected by the shocks of the body, say

Pro. I see. 

Soc. And the union or communion of soul and body in one feeling and
motion would be properly called consciousness? 

Pro. Most true. 

Soc. Then now we know the meaning of the word? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And memory may, I think, be rightly described as the preservation
of consciousness? 

Pro. Right. 

Soc. But do we not distinguish memory from recollection?

Pro. I think so. 

Soc. And do we not mean by recollection the power which the soul has
of recovering, when by herself, some feeling which she experienced
when in company with the body? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And when she recovers of herself the lost recollection of some
consciousness or knowledge, the recovery is termed recollection and

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. There is a reason why I say all this. 

Pro. What is it? 

Soc. I want to attain the plainest possible notion of pleasure and
desire, as they exist in the mind only, apart from the body; and the
previous analysis helps to show the nature of both. 

Pro. Then now, Socrates, let us proceed to the next point.

Soc. There are certainly many things to be considered in discussing
the generation and whole complexion of pleasure. At the outset we
must determine the nature and seat of desire. 

Pro. Ay; let us enquire into that, for we shall lose nothing.

Soc. Nay, Protarchus, we shall surely lose the puzzle if we find the

Pro. A fair retort; but let us proceed. 

Soc. Did we not place hunger, thirst, and the like, in the class of

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And yet they are very different; what common nature have we in
view when we call them by a single name? 

Pro. By heavens, Socrates, that is a question which is, not easily
answered; but it must be answered. 

Soc. Then let us go back to our examples. 

Pro. Where shall we begin? 

Soc. Do we mean anything when we say "a man thirsts"? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. We mean to say that he "is empty"? 

Pro. Of course. 

Soc. And is not thirst desire? 

Pro. Yes, of drink. 

Soc. Would you say of drink, or of replenishment with drink?

Pro. I should say, of replenishment with drink. 

Soc. Then he who is empty desires, as would appear, the opposite of
what he experiences; for he is empty and desires to be full?

Pro. Clearly so. 

Soc. But how can a man who is empty for the first time, attain either
by perception or memory to any apprehension of replenishment, of which
he has no present or past experience? 

Pro. Impossible. 

Soc. And yet he who desires, surely desires something? 

Pro. Of course. 

Soc. He does not desire that which he experiences, for he experiences
thirst, and thirst is emptiness; but he desires replenishment?

Pro. True. 

Soc. Then there must be something in the thirsty man which in some
way apprehends replenishment? 

Pro. There must. 

Soc. And that cannot be the body, for the body is supposed to be emptied?

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. The only remaining alternative is that the soul apprehends the
replenishment by the help of memory; as is obvious, for what other
way can there be? 

Pro. I cannot imagine any other. 

Soc. But do you see the consequence? 

Pro. What is it? 

Soc. That there is no such thing as desire of the body. 

Pro. Why so? 

Soc. Why, because the argument shows that the endeavour of every animal
is to the reverse of his bodily state. 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And the impulse which leads him to the opposite of what he is
experiencing proves that he has a memory of the opposite state.

Pro. True. 

Soc. And the argument, having proved that memory attracts us towards
the objects of desire, proves also that the impulses and the desires
and the moving principle in every living being have their origin in
the soul. 

Pro. Most true. 

Soc. The argument will not allow that our body either hungers or thirsts
or has any similar experience. 

Pro. Quite right. 

Soc. Let me make a further observation; the argument appears to me
to imply that there is a kind of life which consists in these affections.

Pro. Of what affections, and of what kind of life, are you speaking?

Soc. I am speaking of being emptied and replenished, and of all that
relates to the preservation and destruction of living beings, as well
as of the pain which is felt in one of these states and of the pleasure
which succeeds to it. 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And what would you say of the intermediate state? 

Pro. What do you mean by "intermediate"? 

Soc. I mean when a person is in actual suffering and yet remembers
past pleasures which, if they would only return, would relieve him;
but as yet he has them not. May we not say of him, that he is in an
intermediate state? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Would you say that he was wholly pained or wholly pleased?

Pro. Nay, I should say that he has two pains; in his body there is
the actual experience of pain, and in his soul longing and expectation.

Soc. What do you mean, Protarchus, by the two pains? May not a man
who is empty have at one time a sure hope of being filled, and at
other times be quite in despair? 

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. And has he not the pleasure of memory when he is hoping to be
filled, and yet in that he is empty is he not at the same time in

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Then man and the other animals have at the same time both pleasure
and pain? 

Pro. I suppose so. 

Soc. But when a man is empty and has no hope of being filled, there
will be the double experience of pain. You observed this and inferred
that the double experience was the single case possible.

Pro. Quite true, Socrates. 

Soc. Shall the enquiry into these states of feeling be made the occasion
of raising a question? 

Pro. What question? 

Soc. Whether we ought to say that the pleasures and pains of which
we are speaking are true or false? or some true and some false?

Pro. But how, Socrates, can there be false pleasures and pains?

Soc. And how, Protarchus, can there be true and false fears, or true
and false expectations, or true and false opinions? 

Pro. I grant that opinions may be true or false, but not pleasures.

Soc. What do you mean? I am afraid that we are raising a very serious

Pro. There I agree. 

Soc. And yet, my boy, for you are one of Philebus' boys, the point
to be considered, is, whether the enquiry is relevant to the argument.

Pro. Surely. 

Soc. No tedious and irrelevant discussion can be allowed; what is
said should be pertinent. 

Pro. Right. 

Soc. I am always wondering at the question which has now been raised.

Pro. How so? 

Soc. Do you deny that some pleasures are false, and others true?

Pro. To be sure I do. 

Soc. Would you say that no one ever seemed to rejoice and yet did
not rejoice, or seemed to feel pain and yet did not feel pain, sleeping
or waking, mad or lunatic? 

Pro. So we have always held, Socrates. 

Soc. But were you right? Shall we enquire into the truth of your opinion?

Pro. I think that we should. 

Soc. Let us then put into more precise terms the question which has
arisen about pleasure and opinion. Is there such a thing as opinion?

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And such a thing as pleasure? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And an opinion must of something? 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And a man must be pleased by something? 

Pro. Quite correct. 

Soc. And whether the opinion be right or wrong, makes no difference;
it will still be an opinion? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And he who is pleased, whether he is rightly pleased or not will
always have a real feeling of pleasure? 

Pro. Yes; that is also quite true. 

Soc. Then, how can opinion be both true and false, and pleasure true
only, although pleasure and opinion are both equally real?

Pro. Yes; that is the question. 

Soc. You mean that opinion admits of truth and falsehood, and hence
becomes not merely opinion, but opinion of a certain quality; and
this is what you think should be examined? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And further, even if we admit the existence of qualities in other
objects, may not pleasure and pain be simple and devoid of quality?

Pro. Clearly. 

Soc. But there is no difficulty in seeing that Pleasure and pain as
well as opinion have qualities, for they are great or small, and have
various degrees of intensity; as was indeed said long ago by us.

Pro. Quite true. 

Soc. And if badness attaches to any of them, Protarchus, then we should
speak of a bad opinion or of a bad pleasure? 

Pro. Quite true, Socrates. 

Soc. And if rightness attaches to any of them, should we not speak
of a right opinion or right pleasure; and in like manner of the reverse
of rightness? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And if the thing opined be erroneous, might we not say that opinion,
being erroneous, is not right or rightly opined? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And if we see a pleasure or pain which errs in respect of its
object, shall we call that right or good, or by any honourable name?

Pro. Not if the pleasure is mistaken; how could we? 

Soc. And surely pleasure often appears to accompany an opinion which
is not true, but false? 

Pro. Certainly it does; and in that case, Socrates, as we were saying,
the opinion is false, but no one could call the actual pleasure false.

Soc. How eagerly, Protarchus, do you rush to the defence of pleasure!

Pro. Nay, Socrates, I only repeat what I hear. 

Soc. And is there no difference, my friend, between that pleasure
which is associated with right opinion and knowledge, and that which
is often found in all of us associated with falsehood and ignorance?

Pro. There must be a very great difference, between them.

Soc. Then, now let us proceed to contemplate this difference.

Pro. Lead, and I will follow. 

Soc. Well, then, my view is- 

Pro. What is it? 

Soc. We agree-do we not?-that there is such a thing as false, and
also such a thing as true opinion? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And pleasure and pain, as I was just now saying, are often consequent
upon these upon true and false opinion, I mean. 

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. And do not opinion and the endeavour to form an opinion always
spring from memory and perception? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Might we imagine the process to be something of this nature?

Pro. Of what nature? 

Soc. An object may be often seen at a distance not very clearly, and
the seer may want to determine what it is which he sees.

Pro. Very likely. 

Soc. Soon he begins to interrogate himself. 

Pro. In what manner? 

Soc. He asks himself-"What is that which appears to be standing by
the rock under the tree?" This is the question which he may be supposed
to put to himself when he sees such an appearance. 

Pro. True. 

Soc. To which he may guess the right answer, saying as if in a whisper
to himself-"It is a man." 

Pro. Very good. 

Soc. Or again, he may be misled, and then he will say-"No, it is a
figure made by the shepherds." 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And if he has a companion, he repeats his thought to him in articulate
sounds, and what was before an opinion, has now become a proposition.

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. But if he be walking alone when these thoughts occur to him,
he may not unfrequently keep them in his mind for a considerable time.

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. Well, now, I wonder whether, you would agree in my explanation
of this phenomenon. 

Pro. What is your explanation? 

Soc. I think that the soul at such times is like a book.

Pro. How so? 

Soc. Memory and perception meet, and they and their attendant feelings
seem to almost to write down words in the soul, and when the inscribing
feeling writes truly, then true opinion and true propositions which
are the expressions of opinion come into our souls-but when the scribe
within us writes falsely, the result is false. 

Pro. I quite assent and agree to your statement their 

Soc. I must bespeak your favour also for another artist, who is busy
at the same time in the chambers of the soul. 

Pro. Who is he? 

Soc. The painter, who, after the scribe has done his work, draws images
in the soul of the things which he has described. 

Pro. But when and how does he do this? 

Soc. When a man, besides receiving from sight or some other sense
certain opinions or statements, sees in his mind the images of the
subjects of them;-is not this a very common mental phenomenom?

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And the images answering to true opinions and words are true,
and to false opinions and words false; are they not? 

Pro. They are. 

Soc. If we are right so far, there arises a further question.

Pro. What is it? 

Soc. Whether we experience the feeling of which I am speaking only
in relation to the present and the past, or in relation to the future

Pro. I should say in relation to all times alike. 

Soc. Have not purely mental pleasures and pains been described already
as in some cases anticipations of the bodily ones; from which we may
infer that anticipatory pleasures and pains have to do with the future?

Pro. Most true. 

Soc. And do all those writings and paintings which, as we were saying
a little while ago, are produced in us, relate to the past and present
only, and not to the future? 

Pro. To the future, very much. 

Soc. When you say, "Very much," you mean to imply that all these representations
are hopes about the future, and that mankind are filled with, hopes
in every stage of existence? 

Pro. Exactly. 

Soc. Answer me another question. 

Pro. What question? 

Soc. A just and pious and good man is the friend of the gods; is he

Pro. Certainly he is. 

Soc. And the unjust and utterly bad man is the reverse? 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And all men, as we were saying just now, are always filled with

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And these hopes, as they are termed, are propositions which exist
in the minds of each of us? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And the fancies of hope are also pictured in us; a man may often
have a vision of a heap of gold, and pleasures ensuing, and in the
picture there may be a likeness of himself mightily rejoicing over
his good fortune. 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And may we not say that the good, being friends of the gods,
have generally true pictures presented to them, and the bad false

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. The bad, too, have pleasures painted in their fancy as well as
the good; but I presume that they are false pleasures. 

Pro. They are. 

Soc. The bad then commonly delight in false pleasures, and the good
in true pleasures? 

Pro. Doubtless. 

Soc. Then upon this view there are false pleasures in the souls of
men which are a ludicrous imitation of the true, and there are pains
of a similar character? 

Pro. There are. 

Soc. And did we not allow that a man who had an opinion at all had
a real opinion, but often about things which had no existence either
in the past, present, or future? 

Pro. Quite true. 

Soc. And this was the source of false opinion and opining; am I not

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And must we not attribute to pleasure and pain a similar real
but illusory character? 

Pro. How do you mean? 

Soc. I mean to say that a man must be admitted to have real pleasure;
who is pleased with anything or anyhow; and he may be pleased about
things which neither have nor have ever had any real existence, and,
more often than not, are never likely to exist. 

Pro. Yes, Socrates, that again is undeniable. 

Soc. And may not the same be said about fear and anger and the like;
are they not often false? 

Pro. Quite so. 

Soc. And can opinions be good or bad except in as far as they are
true or false? 

Pro. In no other way. 

Soc. Nor can pleasures be conceived to be bad except in so far as
they are false. 

Pro. Nay, Socrates, that is the very opposite of truth; for no one
would call pleasures and pains bad because they are false, but by
reason of some other great corruption to which they are liable.

Soc. Well, of pleasures which are and caused by corruption we will
hereafter speak, if we care to continue the enquiry; for the present
I would rather show by another argument that there are many false
pleasures existing or coming into existence in us, because this may
assist our final decision. 

Pro. Very true; that is to say, if there are such pleasures.

Soc. I think that there are, Protarchus; but this is an opinion which
should be well assured, and not rest upon a mere assertion.

Pro. Very good. 

Soc. Then now, like wrestlers, let us approach and grasp this new

Pro. Proceed. 

Soc. We were maintaining a little while since, that when desires,
as they are termed, exist in us, then the body has separate feelings
apart from the soul-do you remember? 

Pro. Yes, I remember that you said so. 

Soc. And the soul was supposed to desire the opposite of the bodily
state, while the body was the source of any pleasure or pain which
was experienced. 

Pro. True. 

Soc. Then now you may infer what happens in such cases. 

Pro. What am I to infer? 

Soc. That in such cases pleasure and pains come simultaneously; and
there is a juxtaposition of the opposite sensations which correspond
to them, as has been already shown. 

Pro. Clearly. 

Soc. And there is another point to which we have agreed.

Pro. What is it? 

Soc. That pleasure and pain both admit of more and less, and that
they are of the class of infinites. 

Pro. Certainly, we said so. 

Soc. But how can we rightly judge of them? 

Pro. How can we? 

Soc. It is our intention to judge of their comparative importance
and intensity, measuring pleasure against pain, and pain against pain,
and pleasure against pleasure? 

Pro. Yes, such is our intention, and we shall judge of them accordingly.

Soc. Well, take the case of sight. Does not the nearness or distance
of magnitudes obscure their true proportions, and make us opine falsely;
and do we not find the same illusion happening in the case of pleasures
and pains? 

Pro. Yes, Socrates, and in a degree far greater. 

Soc. Then what we are now saying is the opposite of what we were saying

Pro. What was that? 

Soc. Then the opinions were true and false, and infected the pleasures
and pains with their own falsity. 

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. But now it is the pleasures which are said to be true and false
because they are seen at various distances, and subjected to comparison;
the pleasures appear to be greater and more vehement when placed side
by side with the pains, and the pains when placed side by side with
the pleasures. 

Pro. Certainly, and for the reason which you mention. 

Soc. And suppose you part off from pleasures and pains the element
which makes them appear to be greater or less than they really are:
you will acknowledge that this element is illusory, and you will never
say that the corresponding excess or defect of pleasure or pain is
real or true. 

Pro. Certainly not. 

Soc. Next let us see whether in another direction we may not find
pleasures and pains existing and appearing in living beings, which
are still more false than these. 

Pro. What are they, and how shall we find them? 

Soc. If I am not mistaken, I have often repeated that pains and aches
and suffering and uneasiness of all sorts arise out of a corruption
of nature caused by concretions, and dissolutions, and repletions,
and evacuations, and also by growth and decay? 

Pro. Yes, that has been often said. 

Soc. And we have also agreed that the restoration of the natural state
is pleasure? 

Pro. Right. 

Soc. But now let us suppose an interval of time at which the body
experiences none of these changes. 

Pro. When can that be, Socrates? 

Soc. Your question, Protarchus, does not help the argument.

Pro. Why not, Socrates? 

Soc. Because it does not prevent me from repeating mine.

Pro. And what was that? 

Soc. Why, Protarchus, admitting that there is no such interval, I
may ask what would be the necessary consequence if there were?

Pro. You mean, what would happen if the body were not changed either
for good or bad? 

Soc. Yes. 

Pro. Why then, Socrates, I should suppose that there would be neither
pleasure nor pain. 

Soc. Very good; but still, if I am not mistaken, you do assert that
we must always be experiencing one of them; that is what the wise
tell us; for, say they, all things are ever flowing up and down.

Pro. Yes, and their words are of no mean authority. 

Soc. Of course, for they are no mean authorities themselves; and I
should like to avoid the brunt of their argument. Shall I tell you
how I mean to escape from them? And you shall be the partner of my

Pro. How? 

Soc. To them we will say: "Good; but are we, or living things in general,
always conscious of what happens to us-for example, of our growth,
or the like? Are we not, on the contrary, almost wholly unconscious
of this and similar phenomena?" You must answer for them.

Pro. The latter alternative is the true one. 

Soc. Then we were not right in saying, just now, that motions going
up and down cause pleasures and pains? 

Pro. True. 

Soc. A better and more unexceptionable way of speaking will be-

Pro. What? 

Soc. If we say that the great changes produce pleasures and pains,
but that the moderate and lesser ones do neither. 

Pro. That, Socrates, is the more correct mode of speaking.

Soc. But if this be true, the life to which I was just now referring
again appears. 

Pro. What life? 

Soc. The life which we affirmed to be devoid either of pain or of

Pro. Very true. 

Soc. We may assume then that there are three lives, one pleasant,
one painful, and the third which is neither; what say you?

Pro. I should say as you do that there are three of them.

Soc. But if so, the negation of pain will not be the same with pleasure.

Pro. Certainly not. 

Soc. Then when you hear a person saying, that always to live without
pain is the pleasantest of all things, what would you understand him
to mean by that statement? 

Pro. I think that by pleasure he must mean the negative of pain.

Soc. Let us take any three things; or suppose that we embellish a
little and call the first gold, the second silver, and there shall
be a third which is neither. 

Pro. Very good. 

Soc. Now, can that which is neither be either gold or silver?

Pro. Impossible. 

Soc. No more can that neutral or middle life be rightly or reasonably
spoken or thought of as pleasant or painful. 

Pro. Certainly not. 

Soc. And yet, my friend, there are, as we know, persons who say and
think so. 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And do they think that they have pleasure when they are free
from pain? 

Pro. They say so. 

Soc. And they must think or they would not say that they have pleasure.

Pro. I suppose not. 

Soc. And yet if pleasure and the negation of pain are of distinct
natures, they are wrong. 

Pro. But they are undoubtedly of distinct natures. 

Soc. Then shall we take the view that they are three, as we were just
now saying, or that they are two only-the one being a state of pain,
which is an evil, and the other a cessation of pain, which is of itself
a good, and is called pleasant? 

Pro. But why, Socrates, do we ask the question at all? I do not see
the reason. 

Soc. You, Protarchus, have clearly never heard of certain enemies
of our friend Philebus. 

Pro. And who may they be? 

Soc. Certain persons who are reputed to be masters in natural philosophy,
who deny the very existence of pleasure. 

Pro. Indeed. 

Soc. They say that what the school of Philebus calls pleasures are
all of them only avoidances of pain. 

Pro. And would you, Socrates, have us agree with them? 

Soc. Why, no, I would rather use them as a sort of diviners, who divine
the truth, not by rules of art, but by an instinctive repugnance and
extreme detestation which a noble nature has of the power of pleasure,
in which they think that there is nothing sound, and her seductive
influence is declared by them to be witchcraft, and not pleasure.
This is the use which you may make of them. And when you have considered
the various grounds of their dislike, you shall hear from me what
I deem to be true pleasures. Having thus examined the nature of pleasure
from both points of view, we will bring her up for judgment.

Pro. Well said. 

Soc. Then let us enter into an alliance with these philosophers and
follow in the track of their dislike. I imagine that they would say
something of this sort; they would begin at the beginning, and ask
whether, if we wanted to know the nature of any quality, such as hardness,
we should be more likely to discover it by looking at the hardest
things, rather than at the least hard? You, Protarchus, shall answer
these severe gentlemen as you answer me. 

Pro. By all means, and I reply to them, that you should look at the
greatest instances. 

Soc. Then if we want to see the true nature of pleasures as a class,
we should not look at the most diluted pleasures, but at the most
extreme and most vehement? 

Pro. In that every one will agree. 

Soc. And the obvious instances of the greatest pleasures, as we have
often said, are the pleasures of the body? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And are they felt by us to be or become greater, when we are
sick or when we are in health? And here we must be careful in our
answer, or we shall come to grief. 

Pro. How will that be? 

Soc. Why, because we might be tempted to answer, "When we are in health."

Pro. Yes, that is the natural answer. 

Soc. Well, but are not those pleasures the greatest of which mankind
have the greatest desires? 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And do not people who are in a fever, or any similar illness,
feel cold or thirst or other bodily affections more intensely? Am
I not right in saying that they have a deeper want and greater pleasure
in the satisfaction of their want? 

Pro. That is obvious as soon as it is said. 

Soc. Well, then, shall we not be right in saying, that if a person
would wish to see the greatest pleasures he ought to go and look,
not at health, but at discase? And here you must distinguish:-do not
imagine that I mean to ask whether those who are very ill have more
pleasures than those who are well, but understand that I am speaking
of the magnitude of pleasure; I want to know where pleasures are found
to be most intense. For, as I say, we have to discover what is pleasure,
and what they mean by pleasure who deny her very existence.

Pro. I think I follow you. 

Soc. You will soon have a better opportunity of showing whether you
do or not, Protarchus. Answer now, and tell me whether you see, I
will not say more, but more intense and excessive pleasures in wantonness
than in temperance? Reflect before you speak. 

Pro. I understand you, and see that there is a great difference between
them; the temperate are restrained by the wise man's aphorism of "Never
too much," which is their rule, but excess of pleasure possessing
the minds of fools and wantons becomes madness and makes them shout
with delight. 

Soc. Very good, and if this be true, then the greatest pleasures and
pains will clearly be found in some vicious state of soul and body,
and not in a virtuous state. 

Pro. Certainly. Soc. And ought we not to select some of these for
examination, and see what makes them the greatest? 

Pro. To be sure we ought. 

Soc. Take the case of the pleasures which arise out of certain disorders.

Pro. What disorders? 

Soc. The pleasures of unseemly disorders, which our severe friends
utterly detest. 

Pro. What pleasures? 

Soc. Such, for example, as the relief of itching and other ailments
by scratching, which is the only remedy required. For what in Heaven's
name is the feeling to be called which is thus produced in us?-Pleasure
or pain? 

Pro. A villainous mixture of some kind, Socrates, I should say.

Soc. I did not introduce the argument, O Protarchus, with any personal
reference to Philebus, but because, without the consideration of these
and similar pleasures, we shall not be able to determine the point
at issue. 

Pro. Then we had better proceed to analyze this family of pleasures.

Soe. You mean the pleasures which are mingled with pain?

Pro. Exactly. 

Soc. There are some mixtures which are of the body, and only in the
body, and others which are of the soul, and only in the soul; while
there are other mixtures of pleasures with pains, common both to soul
and body, which in their composite state are called sometimes pleasures
and sometimes pains. 

Pro. How is that? 

Soc. Whenever, in the restoration or in the derangement of nature,
a man experiences two opposite feelings; for example, when he is cold
and is growing warm, or again; when he is hot and is becoming cool,
and he wants to have the one and be rid of the other;-the sweet has
a bitter, as the common saying is, and both together fasten upon him
and create irritation and in time drive him to distraction.

Pro. That description is very true to nature. 

Soc. And in these sorts of mixtures the pleasures and pains are sometimes
equal, and sometimes one or other of them predominates? 

Pro. True. 

Soc. Of cases in which the pain exceeds the pleasure, an example is
afforded by itching, of which we were just now speaking, and by the
tingling which we feel when the boiling and fiery element is within,
and the rubbing and motion only relieves the surface, and does not
reach the parts affected; then if you put them to the fire, and as
a last resort apply cold to them, you may often produce the most intense
pleasure or pain in the inner parts, which contrasts and mingles with
the pain or pleasure, as the case may be, of the outer parts; and
this is due to the forcible separation of what is united, or to the
union of what is separated, and to the juxtaposition of pleasure and

Pro. Quite so. 

Soc. Sometimes the element of pleasure prevails in a man, and the
slight undercurrent of pain makes him tingle, and causes a gentle
irritation; or again, the excessive infusion of pleasure creates an
excitement in him,-he even leaps for joy, he assumes all sorts of
attitudes, he changes all manner of colours, he gasps for breath,
and is quite amazed, and utters the most irrational exclamations.

Pro. Yes, indeed. 

Soc. He will say of himself, and others will of him, that he is dying
with these delights; and the more dissipated and good-for-nothing
he is, the more vehemently he pursues them in every way; of all pleasures
he declares them to be the greatest; and he reckons him who lives
in the most constant enjoyment of them to be the happiest of mankind.

Pro. That, Socrates, is a very true description of the opinions of
the majority about pleasures. 

Soc. Yes, Protarchus, quite true of the mixed pleasures, which arise
out of the communion of external and internal sensations in the body;
there are also cases in which the mind contributes an, opposite element
to the body, whether of pleasure or pain, and the two unite and form
one mixture. Concerning these I have already remarked, that when a
man is empty he desires to be full, and has pleasure in hope and pain
in vacuity. But now I must further add what I omitted before, that
in all these and similar emotions in which body and mind are opposed
(and they are innumerable), pleasure and pain coalesce in one.

Pro. I believe that to be quite true. 

Soc. There still remains one other sort of admixture of pleasures
and pains. 

Pro. What is that? 

Soc. The union which, as we were saying, the mind often experiences
of purely mental feelings. 

Pro. What do you mean? 

Soc. Why, do we not speak of anger, fear, desire, sorrow, love, emulation,
envy, and the like, as pains which belong to the soul only?

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. And shall we not find them also full of the most wonderful pleasures?
need I remind you of the anger 

Which stirs even a wise man to violence, 
And is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb? And you remember how
pleasures mingle with pains in lamentation and bereavement?

Pro. Yes, there is a natural connection between them. 

Soc. And you remember also how at the sight of tragedies the spectators
smile through their tear? 

Pro. Certainly I do. 

Soc. And are you aware that even at a comedy the soul experiences
a mixed feeling of pain and pleasure? 

Pro. I do not quite understand you. 

Soc. I admit, Protarchus, that there is some difficulty in recognizing
this mixture of feelings at a comedy. 

Pro. There is, I think. 

Soc. And the greater the obscurity of the case the more desirable
the examination of it because the difficulty in detecting other cases
of mixed pleasures and pains will be less. 

Pro. Proceed. 

Soc. I have just mentioned envy; would you not call that a pain of
the soul? 

Pro. Yes 

Soc. And yet the envious man finds something in the misfortunes of
his neighbours at which he is pleased? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And ignorance, and what is termed clownishness, are surely an

Pro. To be sure. 

Soc. From these considerations learn to know the nature of the ridiculous.

Pro. Explain. 

Soc. The ridiculous is in short the specific name which is used to
describe the vicious form of a certain habit; and of vice in general
it is that kind which is most at variance with the inscription at

Pro. You mean, Socrates, "Know thyself." 

Soc. I do; and the opposite would be, "Know not thyself."

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And now, O Protarchus, try to divide this into three.

Pro. Indeed I am afraid that I cannot. 

Soc. Do you mean to say that I must make the division for you?

Pro. Yes, and what is more, I beg that you will. 

Soc. Are there not three ways in which ignorance of self may be shown?

Pro. What are they? 

Soc. In the first place, about money; the ignorant may fancy himself
richer than he is. 

Pro. Yes, that is a very common error. 

Soc. And still more often he will fancy that he is taller or fairer
than he is, or that he has some other advantage of person which he
really has not. 

Pro. Of course. 

Soc. And yet surely by far the greatest number err about the goods
of the mind; they imagine themselves to be much better men than they

Pro. Yes, that is by far the commonest delusion. 

Soc. And of all the virtues, is not wisdom the one which the mass
of mankind are always claiming, and which most arouses in them a spirit
of contention and lying conceit of wisdom? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And may not all this be truly called an evil condition?

Pro. Very evil. 
Soc But we must pursue the division a step further, Protarchus, if
we would see in envy of the childish sort a singular mixture of pleasure
and pain. 

Pro. How can we make the further division which you suggest?

Soc. All who are silly enough to entertain this lying conceit of themselves
may of course be divided, like the rest of mankind, into two classes-one
having power and might; and the other the reverse. 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Let this, then, be the principle of division; those of them who
are weak and unable to revenge themselves, when they are laughed at,
may be truly called ridiculous, but those who can defend themselves
may be more truly described as strong and formidable; for ignorance
in the powerul is hateful and horrible, because hurtful to others
both in reality and in fiction, but powerless ignorance may be reckoned,
and in truth is, ridiculous. 

Pro. That is very true, but I do not as yet see where is the admixture
of pleasures and pains. 

Soc. Well, then, let us examine the nature of envy. 

Pro. Proceed. 

Soc. Is not envy an unrighteous pleasure, and also an unrighteous

Pro. Most true. 

Soc. There is nothing envious or wrong in rejoicing at the misfortunes
of enemies? 

Pro. Certainly not. 

Soc. But to feel joy instead of sorrow at the sight of our friends'
misfortunes-is not that wrong? 

Pro. Undoubtedly. 

Soc. Did we not say that ignorance was always an evil? 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And the three kinds of vain conceit in our friends which we enumerated-the
vain conceit of beauty, of wisdom, and of wealth, are ridiculous if
they are weak, and detestable when they are powerful: May we not say,
as I was saying before, that our friends who are in this state of
mind, when harmless to others, are simply ridiculous? 

Pro. They are ridiculous. 

Soc. And do we not acknowledge this ignorance of theirs to be a misfortune?

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And do we feel pain or pleasure in laughing at it? 

Pro. Clearly we feel pleasure. 

Soc. And was not envy the source of this pleasure which we feel at
the misfortunes of friends? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Then the argument shows that when we laugh at the folly of our
friends, pleasure, in mingling with envy, mingles with pain, for envy
has been acknowledged by us to be mental pain, and laughter is pleasant;
and so we envy and laugh at the same instant. 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And the argument implies that there are combinations of pleasure
and pain in lamentations, and in tragedy and comedy, not only on the
stage, but on the greater stage of human life; and so in endless other

Pro. I do not see how any one can deny what you say, Socrates, however
eager he may be to assert the opposite opinion. 

Soc. I mentioned anger, desire, sorrow, fear, love, emulation, envy,
and similar emotions, as examples in which we should find a mixture
of the two elements so often named; did I not? 

Pro. Yes. 

Soc. We may observe that our conclusions hitherto have had reference
only to sorrow and envy and anger. 

Pro. I see. 

Soc. Then many other cases still remain? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. And why do you suppose me to have pointed out to you the admixture
which takes place in comedy? Why but to convince you that there was
no difficulty in showing the mixed nature of fear and love and similar
affections; and I thought that when I had given you the illustration,
you would have let me off, and have acknowledged as a general truth
that the body without the soul, and the soul without the body, as
well as the two united, are susceptible of all sorts of admixtures
of pleasures and pains; and so further discussion would have been
unnecessary. And now I want to know whether I may depart; or will
you keep me here until midnight? I fancy that I may obtain my release
without many words;-if I promise that to-morrow I will give you an
account of all these cases. But at present I would rather sail in
another direction, and go to other matters which remain to be settled,
before the judgment can be given which Philebus demands.

Pro. Very good, Socrates; in what remains take your own course.

Soc. Then after the mixed pleasures the unmixed should have their
turn; this is the natural and necessary order. 

Pro. Excellent. 

Soc. These, in turn, then, I will now endeavour to indicate; for with
the maintainers of the opinion that all pleasures are a cessation
of pain, I do not agree, but, as I was saying, I use them as witnesses,
that there are pleasures which seem only and are not, and there are
others again which have great power and appear in many forms, yet
are intermingled with pains, and are partly alleviations of agony
and distress, both of body and mind. 

Pro. Then what pleasures, Socrates, should we be right in conceiving
to be true? 

Soc. True pleasures are those which are given by beauty of colour
and form, and most of of those which arise from smells; those of sound,
again, and in general those of which the want is painless and unconscious,
and of which the fruition is palpable to sense and pleasant and unalloyed
with pain. 

Pro. Once more, Socrates, I must ask what you mean. 

Soc. My meaning is certainly not obvious, and I will endeavour to
be plainer. I do not mean by beauty of form such beauty as that of
animals or pictures, which the many would suppose to be my meaning;
but, says the argument, understand me to mean straight lines and circles,
and the plane solid figures which are formed out of them by turning-lathes
and rulers and measurers of angles; for these I affirm to be not only
relatively beautiful, like other things, but they are eternally and
absolutely beautiful, and they have peculiar pleasures, quite unlike
the pleasures of scratching. And there are colours which are of the
same character, and have similar pleasures; now do you understand
my meaning? 

Pro. I am trying to understand, Socrates, and I hope that you will
try to make your meaning dearer. 

Soc. When sounds are smooth and clear, and have a single pure tone,
then I mean to say that they are not relatively but absolutely beautiful,
and have natural pleasures associated with them. 

Pro. Yes, there are such pleasures. 

Soc. The pleasures of smell are of a less ethereal sort, but they
have no necessary admixture of pain; and all pleasures, however and
wherever experienced, which are unattended by pains, I assign to an
analogous class. Here then are two kinds of pleasures. 

Pro. I understand. 

Soc. To these may be added the pleasures of knowledge, if no hunger
of knowledge and no pain caused by such hunger precede them.

Pro. And this is the case. 

Soc. Well, but if a man who is full of knowledge loses his knowledge,
are there not pains of forgetting? 

Pro. Not necessarily, but there may be times of reflection, when he
feels grief at the loss of his knowledge. 

Soc. Yes, my friend, but at present we are enumerating only the natural
perceptions, and have nothing to do with reflection. 

Pro. In that case you are right in saying that the loss of knowledge
is not attended with pain. 

Soc. These pleasures of knowledge, then, are unmixed with pain; and
they are not the pleasures of the many but of a very few.

Pro. Quite true. 

Soc. And now, having fairly separated the pure pleasures and those
which may be rightly termed impure, let us further add to our description
of them, that the pleasures which are in excess have no measure, but
that those which are not in excess have measure; the great, the excessive,
whether more or less frequent, we shall be right in referring to the
class of the infinite, and of the more and less, which pours through
body and soul alike; and the others we shall refer to the class which
has measure. 

Pro. Quite right, Socrates. 

Soc. Still there is something more to be considered about pleasures.

Pro. What is it? 

Soc. When you speak of purity and clearness, or of excess, abundance,
greatness and sufficiency, in what relation do these terms stand to

Pro. Why do you ask, Socrates? 

Soc. Because, Protarchus, I should wish to test pleasure and knowledge
in every possible way, in order that if there be a pure and impure
element in either of them, I may present the pure element for judgment,
and then they will be more easily judged of by you and by me and by
all of us. 

Pro. Most true. 

Soc. Let us investigate all the pure kinds; first selecting for consideration
a single instance. 

Pro. What instance shall we select? 

Soc. Suppose that we first of all take whiteness. 

Pro. Very good. 

Soc. How can there be purity in whiteness, and what purity? Is that
purest which is greatest or most in quantity, or that which is most
unadulterated and freest from any admixture of other colours?

Pro. Clearly that which is most unadulterated. 

Soc. True, Protarchus; and so the purest white, and not the greatest
or largest in quantity, is to be deemed truest and most beautiful?

Pro. Right. 

Soc. And we shall be quite right in saying that a little pure white
is whiter and fairer and truer than a great deal that is mixed.

Pro. Perfectly right. 

Soc. There is no need of adducing many similar examples in illustration
of the argument about pleasures; one such is sufficient to prove to
us that a small pleasure or a small amount of pleasure, if pure or
unalloyed with pain. is always pleasanter and truer and fairer than
a great pleasure or a great amount of pleasure of another kind.

Pro. Assuredly; and the instance you have given is quite sufficient.

Soc. But what do you say of another question:-have we not heard that
pleasure is always a generation, and has no true being? Do not certain
ingenious philosophers teach this doctrine, and ought not we to be
grateful to them? 

Pro. What do they mean? 

Soc. I will explain to you, my dear Protarchus, what they mean, by
putting a question. 

Pro. Ask, and I will answer. 

Soc. I assume that there are two natures, one self-existent, and the
other ever in want of something. 

Pro. What manner of natures are they? 

Soc. The one majestic ever, the other inferior. 

Pro. You speak riddles. 

Soc. You have seen loves good and fair, and also brave lovers of them.

Pro. I should think so. 

Soc. Search the universe for two terms which are like these two and
are present everywhere. 

Pro. Yet a third time I must say, Be a little plainer, Socrates.

Soc. There is no difficulty, Protarchus; the argument is only in play,
and insinuates that some things are for the sake of something else
(relatives), and that other things are the ends to which the former
class subserve (absolutes). 

Pro. Your many repetitions make me slow to understand. 

Soc. As the argument proceeds, my boy, I dare say that the meaning
will become clearer. 

Pro. Very likely. 

Soc. Here are two new principles. 

Pro. What are they? 

Soc. One is the generation of all things, and the other is essence.

Pro. I readily accept from you both generation and essence.

Soc. Very right; and would you say that generation is for the sake
of essence, or essence for the sake of generation? 

Pro. You want to know whether that which is called essence is, properly
speaking, for the sake of generation? 

Soc. Yes. 

Pro. By the gods, I wish that you would repeat your question.

Soc. I mean, O my Protarchus, to ask whether you would tell me that
ship-building is for the sake of ships, or ships for the sake of ship-building?
and in all similar cases I should ask the same question.

Pro. Why do you not answer yourself, Socrates? 

Soc. I have no objection, but you must take your part. 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. My answer is, that all things instrumental, remedial, material,
are given to us with a view to generation, and that each generation
is relative to, or for the sake of, some being or essence, and that
the whole of generation is relative to the whole of essence.

Pro. Assuredly. 

Soc. Then pleasure, being a generation, must surely be for the sake
of some essence? 

Pro. True. 

Soc. And that for the sake of which something else is done must be
placed in the class of good, and that which is done for the sake of
something else, in some other class, my good friend. 

Pro. Most certainly. 

Soc. Then pleasure, being a generation, will be rightly placed in
some other class than that of good? 

Pro. Quite right. 

Soc. Then, as I said at first, we ought to be very grateful to him
who first pointed out that pleasure was a generation only, and had
no true being at all; for he is clearly one who laughs at the notion
of pleasure being a good. 

Pro. Assuredly. 

Soc. And he would surely laugh also at those who make generation their
highest end. 

Pro. Of whom are you speaking, and what do they mean? 

Soc. I am speaking of those who when they are cured of hunger or thirst
or any other defect by some process of generation are delighted at
the process as if it were pleasure; and they say that they would not
wish to live without these and other feelings of a like kind which
might be mentioned. 

Pro. That is certainly what they appear to think. 

Soc. And is not destruction universally admitted to be the opposite
of generation? 

Pro. Certainly. 

Soc. Then he who chooses thus, would choose generation and destruction
rather than that third sort of life, in which, as we were saying,
was neither pleasure nor pain, but only the purest possible thought.

Pro. He who would make us believe pleasure to be a good is involved
in great absurdities, Socrates. 

Soc. Great, indeed; and there is yet another of them. 

Pro. What is it? 

Soc. Is there not an absurdity in arguing that there is nothing good
or noble in the body, or in anything else, but that good is in the
soul only, and that the only good of the soul is pleasure; and that
courage or temperance or understanding, or any other good of the soul,
is not really a good?-and is there not yet a further absurdity in
our being compelled to say that he who has a feeling of pain and not
of pleasure is bad at the time when he is suffering pain, even though
he be the best of men; and again, that he who has a feeling of pleasure,
in so far as he is pleased at the time when he is pleased, in that
degree excels in virtue? 

Pro. Nothing, Socrates, can be more irrational than all this.

Soc. And now, having subjected pleasure to every sort of test, let
us not appear to be too sparing of mind and knowledge: let us ring
their metal bravely, and see if there be unsoundness in any part,
until we have found out what in them is of the purest nature; and
then the truest elements both of pleasure and knowledge may be brought
up for judgment. 

Pro. Right. 

Soc. Knowledge has two parts-the one productive, and the other educational?

Pro. True. 

Soc. And in the productive or handicraft arts, is not one part more
akin to knowledge,