things, and how one hears high and low tones, you would say, I suppose, with one's eyes and ears?'


In agreement with Theaetetus, Socrates gives clear decisive expression to an obvious and everyday observation. It should be noted that the kind of perceiving here in question is not perception in general, i.e. perception by any kind of being, e.g. by animals, but the perception by man as human comportment (that from VJ/OXTI and X6yo; to the 6v). This accords with the leading question of what knowledge is, namely that over which we human beings are empowered. We 'see' ; 'how' do we see? Who sees? What is it that sees when we see? Who are 'we' ? It is clear that in human perception, thus in seeing, hearing etc., the eyes and ears etc. come into play. It is they 'with which' (d> ) we perceive; literally, that which is thereby at work, that which so to speak 'performs' the perception. Wherever perception and perceivedness are found, nose, tongue, eyes and ears are at work. What comes into play with perception, what 'therefore' undertakes and carries out the perceiving, is 'therefore' in all logic that which takes up a relationship with the perceived and perceivable, i.e. with smells, colours, sounds etc. Accordingly, what is now inquired into is that which as such takes up the relationship in perceiving comportment. Can this be the body? How do we perceive warm and cold, light and sweet things? Certainly through the body! However, it is agreed that each faculty only makes accessible what is given to it, and nothing else.

For example, with perception as 'seeing' the eye is at work. But can we say that therefore the eye is what carries out the perception? Can we, without further ado, equate being-at-work in a perception with carrying out the perception? If we express both by the word d> and say that perception occurs 'through' the eyes, this 'through' is ambiguous. Therefore a more rigorous and exact use of words is required. To be sure, Plato also emphasizes that it would be pedantic and small-minded to fixate on individual words and always to insist on definitions. 'Seeing through the eyes' and 'seeing with the eyes': this is initially an irrelevant distinction. But here we are concerned to clarify something essential: what constitutes (or better, takes up) the 'relationship' in perceiving 'comportment'. It was said that this (in the case of seeing) is the eyes. What therefore are 'the eyes'? Socrates asks Theaetetus (184 c 5):

σκόπει γάρ· ἀπόκρισις ποτέρα ὀρθοτέρα, ᾧ ὁρῶμεν τοῦτο εἶναι ὀφθαλμούς, ἢ δι᾽ οὗ ὁρῶμεν, καὶ ᾧ ἀκούομεν ὦτα, ἢ δι᾽ οὗ ἀκούομεν;

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