Quotable: Plato, contra the misologue

You know how those in particular who spend their time studying contradiction in the end believe themselves to have become very wise and that they alone have understood that there is no soundness or reliability in any object or in any argument, but that all exists simply fluctuates up and down as if it were in the Euripus1 and does not remain in the same place for any time at all.

What you say, I said, is certainly true.

It would be pitiable, Phaedo, he said, when there is a true and reliable argument and one that can be understood, if a man who has dealt with such arguments as appear at one time true, at another time untrue, should not blame himself or his own lack of skill but, because of his distress, in the end gladly shift the blame away from himself to the arguments and spend the rest of his life hating and reviling reasonable discussion and so be deprived of truth and knowledge of reality.

Plato, Phaedo

1 The Euripus was the name of the straits between Euboea and Boeotia; its currents were both violent and variable.

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