Plato, "The Republic", Book VI
The Republic of Plato, translated with introduction and notes by Francis Macdonald Cornford, Oxford University Press, 19451
p. 225 (Book VI, pages 510c-511a):
Socrates: You know, of course, how students of subjects like geometry and arithmetic begin by postulating odd and even numbers, or the various figures and the three kinds of angle, and other such data in each subject. These data they take as known; and, having adopted them as assumptions, they do not feel called upon to give any account of them to themselves or to anyone else, but treat them as self-evident. Then, starting from these assumptions, they go on until they arrive, by a series of consistent steps, at all the conclusions they set out to investigate.
Glaucon: Yes, I know that
Socrates: You also know how they make use of visible figures and discourse about them, though what they really have in mind is the originals of which these figures are images: they are not reasoning, for instance, about this particular square and diagonal which they have drawn, but about the Square and the Diagonal; and so in all cases. The diagrams they draw and the models they make are actual things, which may have their shadows or images in water; but now they serve in their turn as images, while the student is seeking to behold those realities which only thought can apprehend.
Book VI, pages 510c-511a:2 3 4 5
οἶμαι γάρ σε εἰδέναι ὅτι οἱ περὶ τὰς γεωμετρίας τε καὶ λογισμοὺς καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα πραγματευόμενοι, ὑποθέμενοι τό τε περιττὸν καὶ τὸ ἄρτιον καὶ τὰ σχήματα καὶ γωνιῶν τριττὰ εἴδη καὶ ἄλλα τούτων ἀδελφὰ καθ’ ἑκάστην μέθοδον, ταῦτα μὲν ὡς εἰδότες, ποιησάμενοι ὑποθέσεις αὐτά, οὐδένα λόγον οὔτε αὑτοῖς οὔτε ἄλλοις ἔτι ἀξιοῦσι περὶ αὐτῶν διδόναι ὡς παντὶ φανερῶν, ἐκ τούτων δ’ ἀρχόμενοι τὰ λοιπὰ ἤδη διεξιόντες τελευτῶσιν ὁμολογουμένως ἐπὶ τοῦτο οὗ ἂν ἐπὶ σκέψιν ὁρμήσωσι.
Πάνυ μὲν οὖν, ἔφη, τοῦτό γε οἶδα.
Οὐκοῦν καὶ ὅτι τοῖς ὁρωμένοις εἴδεσι προσχρῶνται καὶ τοὺς λόγους περὶ αὐτῶν ποιοῦνται, οὐ περὶ τούτων διανοούμενοι, ἀλλ’ ἐκείνων πέρι οἷς ταῦτα ἔοικε, τοῦ τετραγώνου αὐτοῦ ἕνεκα τοὺς λόγους ποιούμενοι καὶ διαμέτρου αὐτῆς, ἀλλ’ οὐ ταύτης ἣν γράφουσιν, καὶ τἆλλα οὕτως, αὐτὰ μὲν ταῦτα ἃ πλάττουσίν τε καὶ γράφουσιν, ὧν καὶ σκιαὶ καὶ ἐν ὕδασιν εἰκόνες εἰσίν, τούτοις μὲν ὡς εἰκόσιν αὖ χρώμενοι, ζητοῦντες δὲ αὐτὰ ἐκεῖνα ἰδεῖν ἃ οὐκ ἂν ἄλλως ἴδοι τις ἢ τῇ διανοίᾳ.
Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG), University of California, Irvine ↩
J. Burnet, Platonis opera, vol. 4, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902 (repr. 1968): St II.327a-621d. Retrieved from: http://stephanus.tlg.uci.edu/Iris/Cite?0059:030:423132 ↩
John Burnet (ed.), Platonis Opera, Vol. IV: Tetralogia VIII continens, Oxford Classical Texts, Clarendon Press, 1905. Archive.org ↩