“Charmides” by Plato

Wisdom vs. Relation to Self

The wise man “will know himself, and be able to examine what he knows or does not know, and to see what others know and think that they know and do really know; and what they do not know, and fancy that they know, when they do not. No other person will be able to do this. And this is wisdom and temperance and self-knowledge–for a man to know what he knows, and what he does not know.”

“There must be a single science which is wholly a science of itself and of other sciences, and that the same is also the science of the absence of science?”

“Suppose that there is a kind of vision which is not like ordinary vision, but a vision of itself and of other sorts of vision, and of the defect of them, which in seeing sees no colour, but only itself and other sorts of vision: Do you think that there is such a kind of vision? … Or take all the senses: can you imagine that there is any sense of itself and of other senses, but which is incapable of perceiving the objects of the senses?”

“And that which is greater than itself will also be less, and that which is heavier will also be lighter, and that which is older will also be younger: and the same of other things; that which has a nature relative to self will retain also the nature of its object: I mean to say, for example, that hearing is, as we say, of sound or voice.”

“The notion of a relation to self is altogether inadmissible, and in other cases hardly credible–inadmissible, for example, in the case of magnitudes, numbers, and the like. But in the case of hearing and sight, or in the power of self-motion, and the power of heat to burn, this relation to self will be regarded as incredible by some, but perhaps not by others.”

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