« Prev Chapter XXIV. Next »

24. Why, O Plato, do you in the Meno35613561    In this dialogue (st. p. 81) Socrates brings forward the doctrine of reminiscence as giving a reasonable ground for the pursuit of knowledge, and then proceeds to give a practical illustration of it by leading an uneducated slave to solve a mathematical problem by means of question and answer. put to a young slave certain questions relating to the doctrines of number, and strive to prove by his answers that what we learn we do not learn, but that we merely call back to memory those things which we knew in former times? Now, if he answers you correctly,—for it would not be becoming that we should refuse credit to what you say,—he is led to do so not by his real knowledge,35623562    Lit., “his knowledge of things.” but by his intelligence; and it results from his having some acquaintance with numbers, through using them every day, that when questioned he follows your meaning, and that the very process of multiplication always prompts him. But if you are really assured that the souls of men are immortal and endowed with knowledge when they fly hither, cease to question that youth whom you see to be ignorant35633563    So the ms. and edd., reading i-gnarum rerum, except LB., which by merely omitting the i gives the more natural meaning, “acquainted with the things,” etc. and accustomed to the ways of men;35643564    Lit., “established in the limits of humanity.” call to you that man of forty years, and ask of him, not anything out of the way or obscure about triangles, about squares, not what a cube is, or a second power,35653565    i.e., a square numerically or algebraically. The ms., both Roman edd., and Canterus read di-bus aut dynam-us, the former word being defended by Meursius as equivalent to binio, “a doubling,”—a sense, however, in which it does not occur. In the other edd., cubus aut dynamis has been received from the margin of Ursinus. the ratio of nine to eight, or finally, of four to three; but ask him that with which all are acquainted—what twice two are, or twice three. We wish to see, we wish to know, what answer he gives when questioned—whether he solves the desired problem. In such a case will he perceive, although his ears are open, whether you are saying anything, or asking anything, or requiring some answer from him? and will he not stand like a stock, or the Marpesian rock,35663566    Æneid, vi. 472. as the saying is, dumb and speechless, not understanding or knowing even this—whether you are talking with him or with another, conversing with another or with him;35673567    This clause is with reason rejected by Meursius as a gloss. whether that is intelligible speech which you utter, or merely a cry having no meaning, but drawn out and protracted to no purpose?


« Prev Chapter XXIV. Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |