Jowett: Euthydemus 293b-294b — Sofistas x Sócrates

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.

That will do, he said : And would you admit that anything is what it is, and at the same time is not what it is ?

Certainly not.

And did you not say that you knew something ?

I did.

If you know, you are knowing.

Certainly, of the knowledge which I have.

That makes no difference ; — and must you not, if you are knowing, know all things ?

Certainly not, I said, for there are many other things which I do not know.

And if you do not know, you are not knowing.

Yes, friend, of that which I do not know.

Still you are not knowing, and you said just now that you were knowing ; and therefore you are and are not at the same time, and in reference to the same things.

A pretty clatter, as men say, Euthydemus, this of yours ! and will you explain how I possess that knowledge for which we were seeking ? Do you mean to say that the same thing cannot be and also not be ; and therefore, since I know one thing, that I know all, for I cannot be knowing and not knowing at the same time, and if I know all things, then I must have the knowledge for which we are seeking — May I assume this to be your ingenious notion ?

Out of your own mouth, Socrates, you are convicted, he said.

Well, but, Euthydemus, I said, has that never happened to you ? for if I am only in the same case with you and our beloved Dionysodorus, I cannot complain. Tell me, then, you two, do you not know some things, and not know others ?

Certainly not, Socrates, said Dionysodorus.

What do you mean, I said ; do you know nothing ?

Nay, he replied, we do know something.

Then, I said, you know all things, if you know anything ?

Yes, all things, he said ; and that is as true of you as of us.

O, indeed, I said, what a wonderful thing, and what a great blessing ! And do all other men know all things or nothing ?

Certainly, he replied ; they cannot know some things, and not know others, and be at the same time knowing and not knowing.

Then what is the inference ? I said.

They all know all things, he replied, if they know one thing.

O heavens, Dionysodorus, I said, I see now that you are in earnest ; hardly have I got you to that point. And do you really and truly know all things, including carpentering and leather cutting ?

Certainly, he said.

And do you know stitching ?

Yes, by the gods, we do, and cobbling, too.

And do you know things such as the numbers of the stars and of the sand ?

Certainly ; did you think we should say no to that ?