Οὐδὲν ἄρα ἐπιστήμην μᾶλλον ἢ μὴ ἐπιστήμην ἀπεκρινάμεθα ἐρωτώμενοι ὅ τί ἐστιν ἐπιστήμη.
Καλὸν ἂν ἡμῖν συμβαίνοι τὸ ἐπανόρθωμα τῆς ἀποκρίσεως, προθυμηθεῖσιν ἀποδεῖξαι ὅτι πάντα κινεῖται, ἵνα δὴ ἐκείνη ἡ ἀπόκρισις ὀρθὴ φανῇ. τὸ δ᾿, ὡς ἔοικεν, ἐφάνη, εἰ πάντα κινεῖται, πᾶσα ἀπόκρισις, περὶ ὅτου ἄν τις ἀποκρίνηται, ὁμοίως ὀρθὴ εἶναι, οὕτω τ᾿ ἔχειν φάναι καὶ μὴ οὕτω, εἰ δὲ βούλει, γίγνεσθαι, ἵνα μὴ στήσωμεν αὐτοὺς τῷ λόγῳ.
Πλήν γε, ὦ Θεόδωρε, ὅτι “οὕτω” τε εἶπον καὶ “οὐχ οὕτω.” δεῖ δὲ οὐδὲ τοῦτο “οὕτω” Bλέγειν· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἂν ἔτι κινοῖτο “οὕτω”· οὐδ᾿ αὖ “μὴ οὕτω”· οὐδὲ γὰρ “τοῦτο” κινησις· ἀλλά τιν᾿ ἄλλην φωνὴν θετέον τοῖς τὸν λόγον τοῦτον λέγουσιν, ὡς νῦν γε πρὸς τὴν αὑτῶν ὑπόθεσιν οὐκ ἔχουσι ῥήματα, εἰ μὴ ἄρα τὸ “οὐδ᾿ ὅπως.1” μάλιστα δ᾿ οὕτως2 ἂν αὐτοῖς ἁρμόττοι, ἄπειρον λεγόμενον.
Οἰκειοτάτη γοῦν διάλεκτος αὕτη αὐτοῖς.
Οὐκοῦν, ὦ Θεόδωρε, τοῦ τε σοῦ ἑταίρου ἀπηλλάγμεθα, καὶ οὔπω συγχωροῦμεν αὐτῷ πάντ᾿ ἄνδρα πάντων χρημάτων μέτρον εἶναι, ἂν μὴ Cφρόνιμός τις ᾖ· ἐπιστήμην τε αἴσθησιν οὐ συγχωρησόμεθα κατά γε τὴν τοῦ πάντα κινεῖσθαι μέθοδον, εἰ μή3 τί πως ἄλλως Θεαίτητος ὅδε λέγει.
Ἄριστ᾿ εἴρηκας, ὦ Σώκρατες· τούτων γὰρ περανθέντων καὶ ἐμὲ δεῖ ἀπηλλάχθαι σοι
Then when we were asked “what is knowledge?” we answered no more what knowledge is than what not-knowledge is.
So it seems.
This would be a fine result of the correction of our answer, when we were so eager to show that all things are in motion, just for the purpose of making that answer prove to be correct. But this, I think, did prove to be true, that if all things are in motion, every answer to any question whatsoever is equally correct, and we may say it is thus or not thus—or, if you prefer, “becomes thus,” to avoid giving them fixity by using the word “is.”
You are right.
Except, Theodorus, that I said “thus,” and “not thus”; but we ought not even to say “thus”; for “thus” would no longer be in motion; nor, again, “not thus.” For there is no motion in “this” either; but some other expression must be supplied for those who maintain this doctrine, since now they have, according to their own hypothesis, no words, unless it be perhaps the word “nohow.” That might be most fitting for them, since it is indefinite.
At any rate that is the most appropriate form of speech for them.
So, Theodorus, we have got rid of your friend, and we do not yet concede to him that every man is a measure of all things, unless he be a sensible man; and we are not going to concede that knowledge is perception, at least not by the theory of universal motion, unless Theaetetus here has something different to say.
An excellent idea, Socrates; for now that this matter is settled, I too should be rid of the duty