something self-evident and again aims at presenting the characteristic features of this phenomenon. But what is taken as self-evident is now no longer a universally acknowledged statement, but the commonplace and supposedly clear meaning of a word, namely the word ψευδής (ψεῦδος).

The ψευδὴς δόξα is to be investigated; so what does ψευδής mean? You will remember the explanation given earlier: ψεῦδος is distortion, the distorted, the twisted; something that looks like . . . , but behind which there is nothing, therefore the null [das Nichtige]; ψεύδειν, to annul, to thwart or foil.3 It is this ordinary meaning of ψευδής (void, vain) that Socrates now takes up. A ψευδὴς δόξα is then itself a view that is null [nichtige Ansicht], a view wherein something null is assumed and intended; ψευδῆ δοξάζειν is to intend something null. But the null is what is not. To intend something null is to intend something non-existing. So we now see how the difference between being and non-being can and must be a guideline for investigating the vψευδὴς δόξα, i.e. that this second perspective is not at all artificial but has its valid grounding in the phenomenon of the δόξα.

The question must now be answered: what then is the ψευδὴς δόξα, if the ψευδῆ δοξάζειν is nothing else but τὸ μὴ ὂν δοξάζειν (to intend something null)? Socrates asks: is it at all possible for someone περὶ τῶν ὄντων του (188 d 9), in respect of some being or other, to have a view of something that is not? Indeed, can anyone at all intend the non-existing in itself? Certainly, we will say: this happens whenever someone accepts something that is not true; not true, i.e. not manifest, not present, non-existing. Thus, we will say, the intending of what is not, does indeed exist. Socrates asks whether anything of this sort occurs elsewhere. That someone intends something, thereby intending something non-existing? That in representing we represent the non-existing, so perhaps that in seeing something one sees nothing? To mean the non-existing: is there such a thing? How then! If I intend something that is distorted, I nevertheless intend something, thus something that is, ὄν τι. Then I cannot intend some non-being. An intention cannot relate to something non-existing, for in that case it would have no object. Therefore it is not possible for a ψευδὴς δόξα itself to be. Socrates reinforces Theaetetus' view that such a thing is quite impossible. For whoever sees something, τῶν ὄντων τι ὁρᾷ (188 e 7), sees an existing something. Whoever hears something, hears a something and thus an existing thing. (Cf. earlier: οὐσία πρῶτον μάλιστα ἐπὶ πάντων παρέπεται, 186 a 2 f.) Therefore does not whoever intends something intend a something, thus an existing thing?

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