THE ESSENCE OF TRUTH
If one surveys the foregoing discussion (and what follows), one might wonder at the laborious and repetitious way in which the problem is unfolded. One is tempted to pass over the inner course of the dialogue seeking eagerly for results. But in this case one would miss what is essential, one would never achieve the proper philosophical stance which alone allows the decisive content to be appropriated. In all genuine works of philosophy the decisive content does not stand there in so many words, but is what brings into motion the totality of a living interpretation. So I shall refer, under four points, to what must be kept in mind concerning this whole question.
1. For the first time in the history of philosophy, the excess in perception (over and above what is given in sense) is systematically demonstrated and treated as a fundamental problem.
2. This excess and its presence within the sphere of perception is initially so strange that everything depends on being sufficiently unprejudiced to simply accept and register it, even if there is no obvious way of grasping it more precisely or explaining its possibility.
3. On the contrary, the investigation must (therefore the seemingly constant repetitions) ever again confirm this excess, in order then to properly inquire into its origin.
4. Plato has intentionally brought the discussion and development of the question to a head, so that we are struck by the surprising turn which its solution involves.
Only if we pay attention to all this we can obtain some insight into the inner sureness of the dialogue, and into the unprecedented conscientiousness and sobriety of its individual steps. We begin to have some intimation of the model of actual working philosophizing that is presented to us.
By resolute immersion in the entire content of the question Theaetetus becomes capable of giving the decisive answer himself, albeit rather cautiously. It appears to him that (185 d 8 ff.):
πλήν γ᾽ ὅτι μοι δοκεῖ τὴν ἀρχὴν οὐδ᾽ εἶναι τοιοῦτον οὐδὲν τούτοις ὄργανον ἴδιον ὥσπερ ἐκείνοις, ἀλλ᾽ αὐτὴ δι᾽ αὑτῆς ἡ ψυχὴ τὰ κοινά μοι φαίνεται περὶ πάντων ἐπισκοπεῖν.