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Friday: September 30, 2005

Dueling Quotations

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:56 PM UTC

Aristotle’s is well-known, the first sentence of the Metaphysics:

pántes hoi ánthropoi toû eidénai orégontai phúsei.

All humans by nature desire knowledge.

Plato’s is less well-known, being tucked away in a complex argument in Book VII of the Republic (535e), where Socrates describes

anáperon psukhén . . . hè àn tò mèn hekoúsion pseûdos misêi kaì khalepôs phérei auté te kaì hetéron pseudoménon huperaganaktêi, tò d’ akoúsion eukólos prosdékhetai kaì amathaínousá pou haliskoméne mè aganaktêi, all’ eukherôs hósper theríon húeion en amathíai molúnetai.

. . . the lame soul which hates the voluntary falsehood and not only cannot bear to lie itself but is greatly angered when others lie, yet cheerfully accepts the involuntary falsehood and is not distressed when caught in ignorance of something, but wallows in ignorance like a brutal hog.

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