Contra as falácias dialéticas dos sofistas.
No Eutidemo, em que Sócrates denuncia também a vaidade do saber enciclopédico dos sofistas, é-nos dito que, mesmo que existisse uma ciência capaz de tornar imortal, de nada serviria se não soubéssemos usar essa imortalidade. Precisamos, então, de um saber que ao mesmo tempo produza e saiba usar aquilo que produz (289 b).
Such was the discussion, Crito ; and after a few more words had passed between us we went away. I hope that you will come to them with me, since they say that they are able to teach any one who will give them money ; no age or want of capacity is an impediment. And I must repeat one thing which they said, for your especial benefit, — that the learning of their art did not at all interfere with the business of money-making.
Why do you laugh, Cleinias, I said, at such solemn and beautiful things ?
Why, Socrates, said Dionysodorus, did you ever see a beautiful thing ?
Yes, Dionysodorus, I replied, I have seen many. Were they other than the beautiful, or the same as the beautiful ?
Now I was in a great quandary at having to answer this question, and I thought that I was rightly served for having opened my mouth at all : I said however, They are not the same as absolute beauty, but they have beauty present with each of them.
Ctesippus, here taking up the argument, said : And is not your father in the same case, for he is other than my father ?
Assuredly not, said Euthydemus.
Then he is the same ?
He is the same.
I cannot say that I like the connection ; but is he only my father, Euthydemus, or is he the father of all other men ?
Of all other men, he replied. Do you suppose the same person to be a father and not a father ?
Certainly, I did so imagine, said Ctesippus.
And do you suppose that gold is not gold, or that a man is not a man ?
By gr. Zeus. O mundo, de que falam as Musas, mostra, em todos os sentidos, o sentido de Zeus, que se revela como uma unidade complexa com suas quatro fases e quatro zonas, constituídas por quatro diversas linhagens divinas, cujos seres são bem e sabiamente definidos por Zeus mediante quatro combates. [Torrano]
Would you rather, Socrates, said he, that I should show you this knowledge about which you have been doubting, or shall I prove that you already have it ?
What, I said, are you blessed with such a power as this ?
Indeed I am.
Then I would much rather that you should prove me to have such a knowledge ; at my time of life that will be more agreeable than having to learn.
Then tell me, he said, do you know anything ?
Yes, I said, I know many things, but not anything of much importance.
Soc. Thereupon, Crito, seeing that I was on the point of shipwreck, I lifted up my voice, and earnestly entreated and called upon the strangers to save me and the youth from the whirlpool of the argument ; they were our Castor and Pollux, I said, and they should be serious, and show us in sober earnest what that knowledge was which would enable us to pass the rest of our lives in happiness.
Cri. And did Euthydemus show you this knowledge ?
Soc. Yes, indeed ; he proceeded in a lofty strain to the following effect :
Cri. And do you mean, Socrates, that the youngster said all this ?
Soc. Are you incredulous, Crito ?
Cri. Indeed, I am ; for if he did say so, then in my opinion he needs neither Euthydemus nor any one else to be his instructor.
Soc. Perhaps I may have forgotten, and Ctesippus was the real answerer.
Cri. Ctesippus ! nonsense.
Soc. All I know is that I heard these words, and that they were not spoken either by Euthydemus or Dionysodorus. I dare say, my good Crito, that they may have been spoken by some superior person : that I heard them I am certain.
You, Cleinias, I said, shall remind me at what point we left off. Did we not agree that philosophy should be studied ? and was not that our conclusion ?
Yes, he replied.
And philosophy is the acquisition of knowledge ?
Yes, he said.
And what knowledge ought we to acquire ? May we not answer with absolute truth — A knowledge which will do us good ?
Certainly, he said.
And should we be any the better if we went about having a knowledge of the places where most gold was hidden in the earth ?
Perhaps we should, he said.
Fearing that there would be high words, I again endeavoured to soothe Ctesippus, and said to him : To you, Ctesippus, I must repeat what I said before to Cleinias — that you do not understand the ways of these philosophers from abroad. They are not serious, but, like the Egyptian wizard, Proteus, they take different forms and deceive us by their enchantments : and let us, like Menelaus, refuse to let them go until they show themselves to us in earnest. When they begin to be in earnest their full beauty will appear : let us then beg and entreat and beseech them to shine forth.