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Title: Plato and the Other Companions of Sokrates, 3rd ed. Volume II (of 4)
Author: Grote, George, 1794-1871
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Plato and the Other Companions of Sokrates, 3rd ed. Volume II (of 4)" ***

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PLATO, AND THE OTHER COMPANIONS OF SOKRATES.



PLATO,

AND THE

OTHER COMPANIONS OF SOKRATES.



BY

GEORGE GROTE,

AUTHOR OF THE 'HISTORY OF GREECE'.



_A NEW EDITION._

IN FOUR VOLUMES.

VOL. II.



LONDON:

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.

1888.

_The right of Translation is reserved._



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XII.

ALKIBIADES I. AND II.


Situation supposed in the dialogue. Persons--Sokrates and
Alkibiades   1

Exorbitant hopes and political ambition of Alkibiades   2

Questions put by Sokrates, in reference to Alkibiades in
his intended function as adviser of the Athenians. What does he
intend to advise them upon? What has he learnt, and what does he
know?   _ib._

Alkibiades intends to advise the Athenians on questions of
war and peace. Questions of Sokrates thereupon. We must fight those
whom it is better to fight--to what standard does better refer? To
just and unjust   3

How, or from whom, has Alkibiades learnt to discern or
distinguish Just and Unjust? He never learnt it from any one; he
always knew it, even as a boy   4

Answer amended. Alkibiades learnt it from the multitude, as
he learnt to speak Greek.--The multitude cannot teach just and
unjust, for they are at variance among themselves about it.
Alkibiades is going to advise the Athenians about what he does not
know himself   5

Answer farther amended. The Athenians do not generally
debate about just or unjust--which they consider plain to every
one--but about expedient and inexpedient, which are not coincident with
just and unjust. But neither does Alkibiades know the expedient. He
asks Sokrates to explain. Sokrates declines: he can do nothing but
question   6

Comment on the preceding--Sokratic method--the respondent
makes the discoveries for himself   _ib._

Alkibiades is brought to admit that whatever is just, is
good, honourable, expedient: and that whoever acts honourably, both
does well, and procures for himself happiness thereby. Equivocal
reasoning of Sokrates   7

Humiliation of Alkibiades. Other Athenian statesmen are
equally ignorant. But the real opponents, against whom Alkibiades is
to measure himself, are, the kings of Sparta and Persia. Eulogistic
description of those kings. To match them, Alkibiades must make
himself as good as possible   8

But good--for what end, and under what circumstances?
Abundant illustrative examples   9

Alkibiades, puzzled and humiliated, confesses his
ignorance. Encouragement given by Sokrates. It is an advantage to
make such discovery in youth   10

Platonic Dialectic--its actual effect--its anticipated
effect--applicable to the season of youth   11

Know Thyself--Delphian maxim--its urgent importance--What
is myself? My mind is myself   _ib._

I cannot know myself, except by looking into another
mind. Self-knowledge is temperance. Temperance and Justice are the
conditions both of happiness and of freedom   11

Alkibiades feels himself unworthy to be free, and declares
that he will never quit Sokrates   12

Second Alkibiades--situation supposed   _ib._

Danger of mistake in praying to the Gods for gifts which
may prove mischievous. Most men are unwise. Unwise is the generic
word: madmen, a particular variety under it   _ib._

Relation between a generic term, and the specific terms
comprehended under it, was not then familiar   13

Frequent cases, in which men pray for supposed benefits,
and find that when obtained, they are misfortunes. Every one fancies
that he knows what is beneficial: mischiefs of ignorance   14

Mistake in predications about ignorance generally. We must
discriminate. Ignorance of _what?_ Ignorance of good, is always
mischievous: ignorance of other things, not always   _ib._

Wise public counsellors are few. Upon what ground do we
call these few wise? Not because they possess merely special arts or
accomplishments, but because they know besides, upon what occasions
and under what limits each of these accomplishments ought to be used   15

Special accomplishments, without the knowledge of the good
or profitable, are oftener hurtful than beneficial   16

It is unsafe for Alkibiades to proceed with his sacrifice,
until he has learnt what is the proper language to address to the
Gods. He renounces his sacrifice, and throws himself upon the counsel
of Sokrates   _ib._

Different critical opinions respecting these two dialogues   17

Grounds for disallowing them--less strong against the
Second than against the First   18

The supposed grounds for disallowance are in reality only
marks of inferiority   _ib._

The two dialogues may probably be among Plato's earlier
compositions   20

Analogy with various dialogues in the Xenophontic
Memorabilia--Purpose of Sokrates to humble presumptuous young men   21

Fitness of the name and character of Alkibiades for
idealising this feature in Sokrates   _ib._

Plato's manner of replying to the accusers of Sokrates.
Magical influence ascribed to the conversation of Sokrates   22

The purpose proclaimed by Sokrates in the Apology is
followed out in Alkibiades I. Warfare against the false persuasion of
knowledge   24

Difficulties multiplied for the purpose of bringing
Alkibiades to a conviction of his own ignorance   25

Sokrates furnishes no means of solving these difficulties.
He exhorts to Justice and Virtue--but these are acknowledged
Incognita   26

Prolixity of Alkibiadês I.--Extreme multiplication of
illustrative examples--How explained   _ib._

Alkibiadês II. leaves its problem avowedly undetermined   27

Sokrates commends the practice of praying to the Gods for
favours undefined--his views about the semi-regular, semi-irregular
agency of the Gods--he prays to them for premonitory warnings   28

Comparison of Alkibiadês II. with the Xenophontic
Memorabilia, especially the conversation of Sokrates with Euthydemus.
Sokrates not always consistent with himself   29

Remarkable doctrine of Alkibiadês II.--that knowledge is
not always Good. The knowledge of Good itself is indispensable:
without that, the knowledge of other things is more hurtful than
beneficial   _ib._

Knowledge of Good--appears postulated and divined, in many
of the Platonic dialogues, under different titles   31

The Good--the Profitable--what is it?--How are we to know
it? Plato leaves this undetermined   _ib._


CHAPTER XIII.

HIPPIAS MAJOR--HIPPIAS MINOR.

Hippias Major--situation supposed--character of the
dialogue. Sarcasm and mockery against Hippias   33

Real debate between the historical Sokrates and Hippias in
the Xenophontic Memorabilia--subject of that debate   34

Opening of the Hippias Major**--Hippias describes the
successful circuit which he had made through Greece, and the renown
as well as the gain acquired by his lectures   35

Hippias had met with no success at Sparta. Why the Spartans
did not admit his instructions--their law forbids   _ib._

Question, What is law? The law-makers always aim at the
Profitable, but sometimes fail to attain it. When they fail, they
fail to attain law. The lawful is the Profitable: the Unprofitable is
also unlawful   36

Comparison of the argument of the Platonic Sokrates with
that of the Xenophontic Sokrates   37

The Just or Good is the beneficial or profitable. This is
the only explanation which Plato ever gives and to this he does not
always adhere   38

Lectures of Hippias at Sparta not upon geometry, or
astronomy, &c., but upon the question--What pursuits are
beautiful, fine, and honourable for youth?   39

Question put by Sokrates, in the name of a friend in the
background, who has just been puzzling him with it--What is the
Beautiful?   _ib._

Hippias thinks the question easy to answer   40

Justice, Wisdom, Beauty must each be something. What is
Beauty, or the Beautiful?   _ib._

Hippias does not understand the question. He answers by
indicating one particularly beautiful object   _ib._

Cross-questioning by Sokrates--Other things also are
beautiful; but each thing is beautiful only by comparison, or under
some particular circumstances--it is sometimes beautiful, sometimes
not beautiful   41

Second answer of Hippias--_ Gold_, is that by the
presence of which all things become beautiful--scrutiny applied to
the answer. Complaint by Hippias about vulgar analogies   _ib._

Third answer of Hippias--questions upon it--proof given
that it fails of universal application   42

Farther answers, suggested by Sokrates himself--1. The
Suitable or Becoming--objections thereunto--it is rejected   43

2. The useful or profitable--objections--it will not hold   44

3. The Beautiful is a variety of the Pleasurable--that
which is received through the eye and the ear   45

Objections to this last--What property is there common to
both sight and hearing, which confers upon the pleasures of these two
senses the exclusive privilege of being beautiful?   _ib._

Answer--There is, belonging to each and to both in common,
the property of being innocuous and profitable pleasures--upon this
ground they are called beautiful   46

This will not hold--the Profitable is the cause of Good,
and is therefore different from Good--to say that the beautiful is
the Profitable, is to say that it is different from Good but this has
been already declared inadmissible   _ib._

Remarks upon the Dialogue--the explanations ascribed to
Hippias are special conspicuous examples: those ascribed to Sokrates
are attempts to assign some general concept   47

Analogy between the explanations here ascribed to
Sokrates, and those given by the Xenophontic Sokrates in the
Memorabilia   49

Concluding thrust exchanged between Hippias and Sokrates   51

Rhetoric against Dialectic   52

Men who dealt with real life, contrasted with the
speculative and analytical philosophers   _ib._

Concrete Aggregates--abstract or logical Aggregates.
Distinct aptitudes required by Aristotle for the Dialectician   53

Antithesis of Absolute and Relative, here brought into
debate by Plato, in regard to the Idea of Beauty   54

Hippias Minor--characters and situation supposed   55

Hippias has just delivered a lecture, in which he extols
Achilles as better than Odysseus--the veracious and straightforward
hero better than the mendacious and crafty   56

This is contested by Sokrates. The veracious man and the
mendacious man are one and the same--the only man who can answer
truly if he chooses, is he who can also answer falsely if he chooses,
_i. e._ the knowing man--the ignorant man cannot make sure of
doing either the one or the other   57

Analogy of special arts--it is only the arithmetician who
can speak falsely on a question of arithmetic when he chooses
  _ib._

View of Sokrates respecting Achilles in the Iliad. He
thinks that Achilles speaks falsehood cleverly. Hippias maintains
that if Achilles ever speaks falsehood, it is with an innocent
purpose, whereas Odysseus does the like with fraudulent purpose   58

Issue here taken--Sokrates contends that those who hurt,
or cheat, or lie wilfully, are better than those who do the like
unwillingly--he entreats Hippias to enlighten him and answer his
questions   _ib._

Questions of Sokrates--multiplied analogies of the special
arts. The unskilful artist, who runs, wrestles, or sings badly,
whether he will or not, is worse than the skilful, who can sing well
when he chooses, but can also sing badly when he chooses   59

It is better to have the mind of a bowman who misses his
mark only by design, than that of one who misses even when he intends
to hit   60

Dissent and repugnance of Hippias   _ib._

Conclusion--That none but the good man can do evil
wilfully: the bad man does evil unwillingly. Hippias cannot resist
the reasoning, but will not accept the conclusion--Sokrates confesses
his perplexity   61

Remarks on the dialogue. If the parts had been inverted,
the dialogue would have been cited by critics as a specimen of the
sophistry and corruption of the Sophists   62

Polemical purpose of the dialogue--Hippias humiliated by
Sokrates   63

Philosophical purpose of the dialogue--theory of the
Dialogues of Search generally, and of Knowledge as understood by
Plato   _ib._

The Hippias is an exemplification of this theory--Sokrates
sets forth a case of confusion, and avows his inability to clear it
up. Confusion shown up in the Lesser Hippias--Error in the Greater   64

The thesis maintained here by Sokrates, is also affirmed
by the historical Sokrates in the Xenophontic Memorabilia   66

Aristotle combats the thesis. Arguments against it   67

Mistake of Sokrates and Plato in dwelling too exclusively
on the intellectual conditions of human conduct   _ib._

They rely too much on the analogy of the special arts--they
take no note of the tacit assumptions underlying the epithets of
praise and blame   68

Value of a Dialogue of Search, that it shall be
suggestive, and that it shall bring before us different aspects of
the question under review   69

Antithesis between Rhetoric and Dialectic   70


CHAPTER XIV.

HIPPARCHUS--MINOS.

Hipparchus--Question--What is the definition of Lover of
Gain? He is one who thinks it right to gain from things worth
nothing. Sokrates cross-examines upon this explanation. No man
expects to gain from things which he knows to be worth nothing:
in this sense, no man is a lover of gain   71

Gain is good. Every man loves good: therefore all men are
lovers of gain   72

Apparent contradiction. Sokrates accuses the companion of
trying to deceive him--accusation is retorted upon Sokrates   73

Precept inscribed formerly by Hipparchus the
Peisistratid--never deceive a friend. Eulogy of Hipparchus by
Sokrates   _ib._

Sokrates allows the companion to retract some of his answers.
The companion affirms that some gain is good, other gain is evil   74

Questions by Sokrates--bad gain is _gain_, as much as
good gain. What is the common property, in virtue of which both are
called Gain? Every acquisition, made with no outlay, or with a
smaller outlay, is gain. Objections--the acquisition may be
evil--embarrassment confessed   _ib._

It is essential to gain, that the acquisition made shall be
greater not merely in quantity, but also in value, than the outlay.
The valuable is the profitable--the profitable is the good.
Conclusion comes back. That Gain is Good   75

Recapitulation. The debate has shown that all gain is good,
and that there is no evil gain--all men are lovers of gain--no man
ought to be reproached for being so the companion is compelled to
admit this, though he declares that he is not persuaded   _ib._

Minos. Question put by Sokrates to the companion. What is
Law, or The Law? All law is the same, _quatenus_ law: what is
the common constituent attribute?   76

Answer--Law is,   1. The consecrated and binding customs.   2.
The decree of the city.   3. Social or civic opinion   _ib._

Cross-examination by Sokrates--just and lawfully-behaving
men are so through law; unjust and lawless men are so through the
absence of law. Law is highly honourable and useful: lawlessness is
ruinous. Accordingly, bad decrees of the city--or bad social
opinion--cannot be law   77

Suggestion by Sokrates--Law is the _good_ opinion of
the city--but good opinion is true opinion, or the finding out of
reality. Law therefore wishes (tends) to be the finding out of
reality, though it does not always succeed in doing so   77

Objection taken by the Companion--That there is great
discordance of laws in different places--he specifies several cases
of such discordance at some length. Sokrates reproves his prolixity,
and requests him to confine himself to question or answer   78

Farther questions by Sokrates--Things heavy and light, just and
unjust, honourable and dishonourable, &c., are so, and are accounted
so everywhere. Real things are always accounted real. Whoever
fails in attaining the real, fails in attaining the lawful   _ib._

There are laws of health and of cure, composed by the few
physicians wise upon those subjects, and unanimously declared by
them. So also there are laws of farming, gardening, cookery, declared
by the few wise in those respective pursuits. In like manner, the
laws of a city are the judgments declared by the few wise men who
know how to rule   79

That which is right is the regal law, the only true and
real law--that which is not right, is not law, but only seems to be
law in the eyes of the ignorant   80

Minos, King of Krete--his laws were divine and excellent,
and have remained unchanged from time immemorial   _ib._

Question about the character of Minos--Homer and Hesiod
declare him to have been admirable, the Attic tragedians defame him
as a tyrant, because he was an enemy of Athens   81

That Minos was really admirable--and that he has found out truth and
reality respecting the administration of the city--we may be sure
from the fact that his laws have remained so long unaltered   _ib._

The question is made more determinate--What is it that the
good lawgiver prescribes and measures out for the health of the
mind, as the physician measures out food and exercise for the body?
Sokrates cannot tell. Close   81

The Hipparchus and Minos are analogous to each other, and
both of them inferior works of Plato, perhaps unfinished   82

Hipparchus--double meaning of [Greek: philokerdê\s] and
[Greek: ke/rdos]   _ib._

State or mind of the agent, as to knowledge, frequent
inquiry in Plato. No tenable definition found   83

Admitting that there is bad gain, as well as good gain,
what is the meaning of the word _gain_**? None is found   _ib._

Purpose of Plato in the dialogue--to lay bare the
confusion, and to force the mind of the respondent into efforts for
clearing it up   84

Historical narrative and comments given in the dialogue
respecting Hipparchus--afford no ground for declaring the dialogue to
be spurious   _ib._

Minos. Question--What is the characteristic property
connoted by the word [Greek: No/mos] or law?   86

This question was discussed by the historical Sokrates,
Memorabilia of Xenophon   _ib._

Definitions of law--suggested and refuted. Law includes,
as a portion of its meaning, justice, goodness, usefulness, &c.
Bad decrees are not laws   86

Sokrates affirms that law is everywhere the same--it is the declared
judgment and command of the Wise man upon the subject to which it
refers--it is truth and reality, found out and certified by him   87

Reasoning of Sokrates in the Minos is unsound, but
Platonic. The Good, True, and Real, coalesce in the mind of Plato--he
acknowledges nothing to be Law, except what he thinks ought to
_be_ Law   88

Plato worships the Ideal of his own mind--the work of
systematic constructive theory by the Wise Man   89

Different applications of this general Platonic view, in
the Minos, Politikus, Kratylus, &c. _Natural_ Rectitude of
Law, Government, Names, &c    _ib._

Eulogy on Minos, as having established laws on this divine
type or natural rectitude   90

The Minos was arranged by Aristophanes at first in a
Trilogy along with the Leges   91

Explanations of the word Law--confusion in its meaning   _ib._


CHAPTER XV.

THEAGES.

Theagês--has been declared spurious by some modern
critics--grounds for such opinion not sufficient   98

Persons of the dialogue--Sokrates, with Demodokus and
Theagês, father and son. Theagês (the son), eager to acquire
knowledge, desires to be placed under the teaching of a Sophist   99

Sokrates questions Theagês, inviting him to specify what he
wants   _ib._

Theagês desires to acquire that wisdom by which he can
govern freemen with their own consent   100

Incompetence of the best practical statesmen to teach any one else.
Theagês requests that Sokrates will himself teach him   _ib._

Sokrates declares that he is not competent to teach--that
he knows nothing except about matters of love. Theagês maintains that
many of his young friends have profited largely by the conversation
of Sokrates   101

Sokrates explains how this has sometimes happened--he
recites his experience of the divine sign or Dæmon   _ib._

The Dæmon is favourable to some persons, adverse to others.
Upon this circumstance it depends how far any companion profits by
the society of Sokrates. Aristeides has not learnt anything from
Sokrates, yet has improved much by being near to him   102

Theagês expresses his anxiety to be received as the
companion of Sokrates   103

Remarks on the Theagês--analogy with the Lachês   104

Chief peculiarity of the Theagês--stress laid upon the
divine sign or Dæmon   _ib._

Plato employs this divine sign here to render some
explanation of the singularity and eccentricity of Sokrates, and of
his unequal influence upon different companions   _ib._

Sokrates, while continually finding fault with other
teachers, refused to teach himself--difficulty of finding an excuse
for his refusal. The Theagês furnishes an excuse   106

Plato does not always, nor in other dialogues, allude to
the divine sign in the same way. Its character and working
essentially impenetrable. Sokrates a privileged person   _ib._


CHAPTER XVI.

ERASTÆ OR ANTERASTÆ--RIVALES.


Erastæ--subject and persons of the dialogue--dramatic
introduction--interesting youths in the palæstra   111

Two rival Erastæ--one of them literary, devoted to
philosophy--the other gymnastic, hating philosophy   _ib._

Question put by Sokrates--What is philosophy? It is the
perpetual accumulation of knowledge, so as to make the largest sum
total   112

In the case of the body, it is not the maximum of exercise
which does good, but the proper, measured quantity. For the mind
also, it is not the maximum of knowledge, but the measured quantity
which is good. Who is the judge to determine this measure?   _ib._

No answer given. What is the best conjecture? Answer of the
literary Erastes. A man must learn that which will yield to him the
greatest reputation as a philosopher--as much as will enable him to
talk like an intelligent critic, though not to practise   113

The philosopher is one who is second-best in several
different arts--a Pentathlus--who talks well upon each   _ib._

On what occasions can such second-best men be useful? There
are always regular practitioners at hand, and no one will call in the
second-best man when he can have the regular practitioner   114

Philosophy cannot consist in multiplication of learned
acquirements   _ib._

Sokrates changes his course of examination--questions put
to show that there is one special art, regal and political, of
administering and discriminating the bad from the good   115

In this art the philosopher must not only be second-best,
competent to talk--but he must be a fully qualified practitioner,
competent to act   _ib._

Close of the dialogue--humiliation of the literary Erastes   116

Remarks--animated manner of the dialogue   _ib._

Definition of philosophy--here sought for the first
time--Platonic conception of measure--referee not discovered   117

View taken of the second-best critical talking man, as
compared with the special proficient and practitioner   118

Plato's view--that the philosopher has a province special
to himself, distinct from other specialties--dimly indicated--regal
or political art   119

Philosopher--the supreme artist controlling other artists   120


CHAPTER XVII.

ION.

Ion. Persons of the dialogue. Difference of opinion among
modern critics as to its genuineness   124

Rhapsodes as a class in Greece. They competed for prizes at
the festivals. Ion has been triumphant   124

Functions of the Rhapsodes. Recitation--exposition of the
poets--arbitrary exposition of the poets was then frequent   125

The popularity of the Rhapsodes was chiefly derived from
their recitation--powerful effect which they produced   _ib._

Ion both reciter and expositor--Homer was considered more
as an instructor than as a poet   126

Plato disregards and disapproves the poetic or emotional
working   _ib._

Ion devoted himself to Homer exclusively. Questions of
Sokrates to him--How happens it that you cannot talk equally upon
other poets? The poetic art is one   127

Explanation given by Sokrates--both the Rhapsode and the
Poet work, not by art and system, but by divine inspiration--fine
poets are bereft of their reason, and possessed by inspiration from
some God   _ib._

Analogy of the Magnet, which holds up by attraction
successive stages of iron rings. The Gods first inspire Homer, then
act through him and through Ion upon the auditors   128

This comparison forms the central point of the dialogue. It is an
expansion of a judgment delivered by Sokrates in the Apology   129

Platonic Antithesis: systematic procedure distinguished
from unsystematic: which latter was either blind routine, or madness
inspired by the Gods. Varieties of madness, good and bad   129

Special inspiration from the Gods was a familiar fact in
Grecian life--privileged communications from the Gods to
Sokrates--his firm belief in them   130

Condition of the inspired person--his reason is for the
time withdrawn   131

Ion does not admit himself to be inspired and out of his mind   132

Homer talks upon all subjects--Is Ion competent to explain
what Homer says upon all of them? Rhapsodic art. What is its
province?   _ib._

The Rhapsode does not know special matters, such as the
craft of the pilot, physician, farmer, &c., but he knows the
business of the general, and is competent to command soldiers, having
learnt it from Homer   133

Conclusion. Ion expounds Homer, not with any knowledge of
what he says, but by divine inspiration   134

The generals in Greece usually possessed no professional
experience--Homer and the poets were talked of as the great
teachers--Plato's view of the poet, as pretending to know
everything, but really knowing nothing   _ib._

Knowledge, opposed to divine inspiration without knowledge   136

Illustration of Plato's opinion respecting the uselessness
of written geometrical treatises   _ib._


CHAPTER XVIII.

LACHES.

Lachês. Subject and persons of the dialogue--whether it is
useful that two young men should receive lessons from a master of
arms. Nikias and Lachês differ in opinion   138

Sokrates is invited to declare his opinion--he replies that the point
cannot be decided without a competent professional judge   139

Those who deliver an opinion must begin by proving their
competence to judge--Sokrates avows his own incompetence   140

Nikias and Lachês submit to be cross-examined by Sokrates   141

Both of them give opinions offhand, according to their
feelings on the special case--Sokrates requires that the question
shall be generalised, and examined as a branch of education   141

Appeal of Sokrates to the judgment of the One Wise Man--this
man is never seen or identified   142

We must know what virtue is, before we give an opinion on
education--virtue, as a whole, is too large a question--we will
enquire about one branch of virtue--courage   _ib._

Question--what is courage? Laches answers by citing
one particularly manifest case of courage--mistake of not giving a
general explanation   143

Second answer. Courage is a sort of endurance of the
mind--Sokrates points out that the answer is vague and
incorrect--endurance is not always courage: even intelligent
endurance is not always courage   _ib._

Confusion. New answer given by Nikias. Courage is a sort
of Intelligence--the intelligence of things terrible and not
terrible. Objections of Lachês   144

Questions of Sokrates to Nikias. It is only future events,
not past or present, which are terrible; but intelligence of future
events cannot be had without intelligence of past or present   145

Courage therefore must be intelligence of good and evil
generally. But this definition would include the whole of virtue, and
we declared that courage was only a part thereof--it will not hold
therefore as a definition of courage   146

Remarks. Warfare of Sokrates against the false persuasion
of knowledge. Brave generals deliver opinions confidently about
courage without knowing what it is   _ib._

No solution given by Plato--apparent tendency of his mind,
in looking for a solution. Intelligence--cannot be understood without
reference to some object or end   147

Object--is supplied in the answer of Nikias. Intelligence--of
things terrible and not terrible. Such intelligence is not
possessed by professional artists   148

Postulate of a Science of Ends, or Teleology, dimly
indicated by Plato. The Unknown Wise Man--correlates with the
undiscovered Science of Ends   _ib._

Perfect condition of the intelligence--is the one
sufficient condition of virtue   149

Dramatic contrast between Lachês and Sokrates, as cross-examiners   150


CHAPTER XIX.

CHARMIDES.

Scene and personages of the dialogue. Crowded palæstra.
Emotions of Sokrates   153

Question, What is Temperance? addressed by Sokrates to the temperate
Charmides. Answer, It is a kind of sedateness or slowness   154

But Temperance is a fine or honourable thing, and slowness
is, in many or most cases, not fine or honourable, but the contrary.
Temperance cannot be slowness   _ib._

Second answer. Temperance is a variety of the feeling of
shame. Refuted by Sokrates   _ib._

Third answer. Temperance consists in doing one's own
business. Defended by Kritias. Sokrates pronounces it a riddle, and
refutes it. Distinction between making and doing   155

Fourth answer, by Kritias. Temperance consists in self-knowledge.   _ib._

Questions of Sokrates thereupon. What good does
self-knowledge procure for us? What is the object known, in this case?
Answer: There is no object of knowledge, distinct from the knowledge
itself   156

Sokrates doubts the possibility of any knowledge, without a
given _cognitum_ as its object. Analogies to prove that
knowledge of knowledge is impossible   156

All knowledge must be relative to some object   157

All properties are relative--every thing in nature has its
characteristic property with reference to something else   _ib._

Even if cognition of cognition were possible, cognition of
non-cognition would be impossible. A man may know what he knows, but
he cannot know what he is ignorant of. He knows the fact _that_
he knows: but he does not know how much he knows, and how much he
does not know   158

Temperance, therefore, as thus defined, would be of
little or no value   159

But even granting the possibility of that which has just
been denied, still Temperance would be of little value. Suppose that
all separate work were well performed, by special practitioners, we
should not attain our end--Happiness   _ib._

Which of the varieties of knowledge contributes most to
well-doing or happiness? That by which we know good and evil   160

Without the science of good and evil, the other special
science will be of little or of no service. Temperance is not the
science of good and evil, and is of little service   161

Sokrates confesses to entire failure in his research. He
cannot find out what temperance is: although several concessions have
been made which cannot be justified   _ib._

Temperance is and must be a good thing: but Charmides
cannot tell whether he is temperate or not; since what temperance is
remains unknown   162

Expressions both from Charmides and Kritias of praise and
devotion to Sokrates, at the close of the dialogue. Dramatic ornament
throughout   _ib._

The Charmides is an excellent specimen of Dialogues of
Search. Abundance of guesses and tentatives, all ultimately
disallowed   163

Trial and Error, the natural process of the human mind.
Plato stands alone in bringing to view and dramatising this part of
the mental process. Sokrates accepts for himself the condition of
conscious ignorance   164

Familiar words--constantly used, with much earnest
feeling, but never understood nor defined--ordinary phenomenon in
human society   165

Different ethical points of view in different Platonic
dialogues   167

Self-knowledge is here declared to be impossible   _ib._

In other dialogues, Sokrates declares self-knowledge to be
essential and inestimable. Necessity for the student to have
presented to him dissentient points of view   _ib._

Courage and Temperance are shown to have no distinct meaning,
except as founded on the general cognizance of good and evil   168

Distinction made between the special sciences and the
science of Good and Evil. Without this last, the special sciences are
of no use   _ib._

Knowledge, always relative to some object known. Postulate
or divination of a Science of Teleology   169

Courage and Temperance, handled both by Plato and by
Aristotle. Comparison between the two   170


CHAPTER XX.

LYSIS.

Analogy between Lysis and Charmides. Richness of dramatic
incident in both. Youthful beauty   172

Scenery and personages of the Lysis   _ib._

Origin of the conversation. Sokrates promises to give an example
of the proper way of talking to a youth, for his benefit   173

Conversation of Sokrates with Lysis   _ib._

Lysis is humiliated. Distress of Hippothalês   177

Lysis entreats Sokrates to talk in the like strain to
Menexenus   _ib._

Value of the first conversation between Sokrates and Lysis,
as an illustration of the Platonico-Sokratic manner   177

Sokrates begins to examine Menexenus respecting friendship.
Who is to be called a friend? Halt in the dialogue   178

Questions addressed to Lysis. Appeal to the maxims of the
poets. Like is the friend of like. Canvassed and rejected   _ib._

Other poets declare that likeness is a cause of aversion;
unlikeness, of friendship. Reasons _pro_ and _con_.
Rejected   179

Confusion of Sokrates. He suggests, That the Indifferent
(neither good nor evil) is friend to the Good   180

Suggestion canvassed. If the Indifferent is friend to the
Good, it is determined to become so by the contact of felt evil, from
which it is anxious to escape   180

Principle illustrated by the philosopher. His intermediate
condition--not wise, yet painfully feeling his own ignorance   181

Sokrates dissatisfied. He originates a new suggestion. The
Primum Amabile, or object originally dear to us, _per se_: by
relation or resemblance to which other objects become dear   _ib._

The cause of love is desire. We desire that which is akin
to us or our own   182

Good is of a nature akin to every one, evil is alien to every one.
Inconsistency with what has been previously laid down   183

Failure of the enquiry. Close of the dialogue   184

Remarks. No positive result. Sokratic purpose in analysing the familiar
words--to expose the false persuasion of knowledge   _ib._

Subject of Lysis. Suited for a Dialogue of Search. Manner
of Sokrates, multiplying defective explanations, and showing reasons
why each is defective   185

The process of trial and error is better illustrated by a
search without result than with result. Usefulness of the dialogue
for self-working minds   186

Subject of friendship, handled both by the Xenophontic
Sokrates, and by Aristotle   _ib._

Debate in the Lysis partly verbal, partly real.
Assumptions made by the Platonic Sokrates, questionable, such as the
real Sokrates would have found reason for challenging   188

Peculiar theory about friendship broached by Sokrates.
Persons neither good nor evil by nature, yet having a superficial
tinge of evil, and desiring good to escape from it   189

This general theory illustrated by the case of the
philosopher or lover of wisdom. Painful consciousness of ignorance
the attribute of the philosopher. Value set by Sokrates and Plato
upon this attribute   190

Another theory of Sokrates. The Primum Amabile, or
original and primary object of Love. Particular objects are loved
through association with this. The object is Good   191

Statement by Plato of the general law of mental association   _ib._

Theory of the Primum Amabile, here introduced by Sokrates,
with numerous derivative objects of love. Platonic Idea. Generic
communion of Aristotle, distinguished by him from the feebler
analogical communion   192

Primum Amabile of Plato, compared with the Prima Amicitia
of Aristotle. Each of them is head of an analogical aggregate, not
member of a generic family   194

The Good and Beautiful, considered as objects of attachment   _ib._


CHAPTER XXI.

EUTHYDEMUS.

Dramatic and comic exuberance of the Euthydêmus. Judgments
of various critics   195

Scenery and personages   _ib._

The two Sophists, Euthydemus and Dionysodorus: manner in
which they are here presented   196

Conversation carried on with Kleinias, first by Sokrates,
next by the two Sophists   _ib._

Contrast between the two different modes of interrogation   197

Wherein this contrast does not consist   198

Wherein it does consist   199

Abuse of fallacies by the Sophists--their bidding for the
applause of the by-standers _ibid._

Comparison of the Euthydêmus with the Parmenidês   200

Necessity of settling accounts with the negative, before
we venture upon the affirmative, is common to both: in the one the
process is solitary and serious; in the other, it is vulgarised and
ludicrous   201

Opinion of Stallbaum and other critics about the
Euthydêmus, that Euthydêmus and Dionysodorus represent the way in
which Protagoras and Gorgias talked to their auditors   202

That opinion is unfounded. Sokrates was much more Eristic
than Protagoras, who generally manifested himself by continuous
speech or lecture   _ib._

Sokrates in the Euthydêmus is drawn suitably to the
purpose of that dialogue   203

The two Sophists in the Euthydêmus are not to be taken as
real persons, or representatives of real persons   204

Colloquy of Sokrates with Kleinias--possession of good things is
useless, unless we also have intelligence how to use them   _ib._

But intelligence--of what? It must be such intelligence,
or such an art, as will include both the making of what we want, and
the right use of it when made   205

Where is such an art to be found? The regal or political
art looks like it; but what does this art do for us? No answer can be
found. Ends in puzzle   206

Review of the cross-examination just pursued by Sokrates.
It is very suggestive--puts the mind upon what to look for   207

Comparison with other dialogues--Republic, Philêbus, Protagoras.
The only distinct answer is found in the Protagoras   208

The talk of the two Sophists, though ironically admired
while it is going on, is shown at the end to produce no real
admiration, but the contrary   _ib._

Mistaken representations about the Sophists--Aristotle's
definition--no distinguishable line can be drawn between the Sophist
and the Dialectician   210

Philosophical purpose of the Euthydêmus--exposure of
fallacies, in Plato's dramatic manner, by multiplication of
particular examples   211

Aristotle (Soph. Elench.) attempts a classification of
fallacies: Plato enumerates them without classification   212

Fallacies of equivocation propounded by the two Sophists
in the Euthydêmus   _ib._

Fallacies--_à dicto secundum quid, ad dictum
simpliciter_--in the Euthydêmus   213

Obstinacy shown by the two Sophists in their
replies--determination not to contradict themselves   214

Farther verbal equivocations   _ib._

Fallacies involving deeper logical principles--contradiction
is impossible.--To speak falsely is impossible   215

Plato's Euthydêmus is the earliest known attempt to set
out and expose fallacies--the only way of exposing fallacies is to
exemplify the fallacy by particular cases, in which the conclusion
proved is known _aliunde_ to be false and absurd   216

Mistake of supposing fallacies to have been invented and
propagated by Athenian Sophists--they are inherent inadvertencies and
liabilities to error, in the ordinary process of thinking. Formal
debate affords the best means of correcting them   217

Wide-spread prevalence of erroneous belief, misguided by
one or other of these fallacies, attested by Sokrates, Plato, Bacon,
&c.,--complete enumeration of heads of fallacies by Mill   218

Value of formal debate as a means for testing and
confuting fallacies   221

Without the habit of formal debate, Plato could not have
composed his Euthydêmus, nor Aristotle the treatise De Sophisticis
Elenchis   _ib._

Probable popularity of the Euthydêmus at Athens--welcomed
by all the enemies of Dialectic   222

Epilogue of Plato to the Dialogue, trying to obviate this
inference by opponents--Conversation between Sokrates and Kriton   223

Altered tone in speaking of Euthydêmus--Disparagement of
persons half-philosophers, half-politicians   224

Kriton asks Sokrates for advice about the education of his
sons--Sokrates cannot recommend a teacher--tells him to search for
himself   225

Euthydêmus is here cited as representative of Dialectic
and philosophy   226

Who is the person here intended by Plato,
half-philosopher, half-politician? Is it Isokrates?   227

Variable feeling at different times, between Plato and
Isokrates   228


CHAPTER XXII.

MENON.

Persons of the Dialogue   232

Question put by Menon--Is virtue teachable? Sokrates confesses that
he does not know what virtue is. Surprise of Menon   _ib._

Sokrates stands alone in this confession. Unpopularity
entailed by it   233

Answer of Menon--plurality of virtues, one belonging to
each different class and condition. Sokrates enquires for the
property common to all of them   _ib._

Analogous cases cited--definitions of figure and colour   235

Importance at that time of bringing into conscious view,
logical subordination and distinctions--Neither logic nor grammar had
then been cast into system   _ib._

Definition of virtue given by Menon: Sokrates pulls it to pieces   236

Menon complains that the conversation of Sokrates confounds
him like an electric shock--Sokrates replies that he is himself in
the same state of confusion and ignorance. He urges continuance of
search by both   237

But how is the process of search available to any purpose? No man
searches for what he already knows: and for what he does not know,
it is useless to search, for he cannot tell when he has found it   _ib._

Theory of reminiscence propounded by Sokrates--anterior immortality
of the soul--what is called teaching is the revival and recognition
of knowledge acquired in a former life, but forgotten   _ib._

Illustration of this theory--knowledge may be revived by
skilful questions in the mind of a man thoroughly untaught. Sokrates
questions the slave of Menon   238

Enquiry taken up--Whether virtue is teachable? without
determining what virtue is   239

Virtue is knowledge--no possessions, no attributes, either
of mind or body, are good or profitable, except under the guidance of
knowledge   _ib._

Virtue, as being knowledge, must be teachable. Yet there
are opposing reasons, showing that it cannot be teachable. No
teachers of it can be found   239

Conversation of Sokrates with Anytus, who detests the
Sophists, and affirms that any one of the leading politicians can
teach virtue   240

Confused state of the discussion. No way of acquiring
virtue is shown   _ib._

Sokrates modifies his premisses--knowledge is not the only thing
which guides to good results--right opinion will do the same   _ib._

Right opinion cannot be relied on for staying in the mind,
and can never give rational explanations, nor teach others--good
practical statesmen receive right opinion by inspiration from the
Gods   241

All the real virtue that there is, is communicated by
special inspiration from the Gods   242

But what virtue itself is, remains unknown   _ib._

Remarks on the dialogue. Proper order for examining the
different topics, is pointed out by Sokrates   _ib._

Mischief of debating ulterior and secondary questions when
the fundamental notions and word are unsettled   _ib._

Doctrine of Sokrates in the Menon--desire of good alleged
to be universally felt--in what sense this is true   243

Sokrates requires knowledge as the principal condition of
virtue, but does not determine knowledge, of what?   244

Subject of Menon; same as that of the Protagoras--diversity
of handling--Plato is not anxious to settle a question and
get rid of it   245

Anxiety of Plato to keep up and enforce the spirit of
research   246

Great question discussed among the Grecian
philosophers--criterion of truth--Wherein consists the process
of verification?   _ib._

None of the philosophers were satisfied with the answer
here made by Plato--that verification consists in appeal to pre-natal
experience   247

Plato's view of the immortality of the soul--difference
between the Menon, Phædrus, and Phædon   249

Doctrine of Plato, that new truth may be elicited by skilful
examination out of the unlettered mind--how far correct?   _ib._

Plato's doctrine about _à priori_ reasonings--different
from the modern doctrine   251

Plato's theory about pre-natal experience. He took no
pains to ascertain and measure the extent of post-natal experience   252

Little or nothing is said in the Menon about the Platonic
Ideas or Forms   253

What Plato meant by Causal Reasoning--his distinction
between knowledge and right opinion   _ib._

This distinction compared with modern philosophical views   254

Manifestation of Anytus--intense antipathy to the Sophists
and to philosophy generally   255

The enemy of Sokrates is also the enemy of the
sophists--practical statesmen   256

The Menon brings forward the point of analogy between
Sokrates and the Sophists, in which both were disliked by the
practical statesmen   257


CHAPTER XXIII.

PROTAGORAS.

Scenic arrangement and personages of the dialogue   259

Introduction. Eagerness of the youthful Hippokrates to
become acquainted with Protagoras   260

Sokrates questions Hippokrates as to his purpose and
expectations from Protagoras   _ib._

Danger of going to imbibe the instruction of a Sophist
without knowing beforehand what he is about to teach   262

Remarks on the Introduction. False persuasion of knowledge
brought to light   263

Sokrates and Hippokrates go to the house of Kallias.
Company therein. Respect shown to Protagoras   264

Questions of Sokrates to Protagoras. Answer of the latter,
declaring the antiquity of the sophistical profession, and his own
openness in avowing himself a sophist   _ib._

Protagoras prefers to converse in presence of the assembled
company   266

Answers of Protagoras. He intends to train young men as
virtuous citizens   _ib._

Sokrates doubts whether virtue is teachable. Reasons for
such doubt. Protagoras is asked to explain whether it is or not.   _ib._

Explanation of Protagoras. He begins with a mythe   267

Mythe. First fabrication of men by the Gods. Prometheus and
Epimetheus. Bad distribution of endowments to man by the latter. It
is partly amended by Prometheus   267

Prometheus gave to mankind skill for the supply of
individual wants, but could not give them the social art--Mankind are
on the point of perishing, when Zeus sends to them the dispositions
essential for society   268

Protagoras follows up his mythe by a discourse. Justice and
the sense of shame are not professional attributes, but are possessed
by all citizens and taught by all to all   269

Constant teaching of virtue. Theory of punishment   270

Why eminent men cannot make their sons eminent   271

Teaching by parents, schoolmaster, harpist, laws,
dikastery, &c.   _ib._

All learn virtue from the same teaching by all. Whether a
learner shall acquire more or less of it, depends upon his own
individual aptitude   272

Analogy of learning vernacular Greek. No special teacher
thereof. Protagoras teaches virtue somewhat better than others   273

The sons of great artists do not themselves become great
artists   274

Remarks upon the mythe and discourse. They explain the
manner in which the established sentiment of a community propagates
and perpetuates itself   274

Antithesis of Protagoras and Sokrates. Whether virtue is
to be assimilated to a special art   275

Procedure of Sokrates in regard to the discourse of
Protagoras--he compliments it as an exposition, and analyses some of
the fundamental assumptions   276

One purpose of the dialogue. To contrast continuous
discourse with short cross-examining question and answer   277

Questions by Sokrates--Whether virtue is one and
indivisible, or composed of different parts? Whether the parts are
homogeneous or heterogeneous?   _ib._

Whether justice is just, and holiness holy? How far
justice is like to holiness? Sokrates protests against an answer, "If
you please"   278

Intelligence and moderation are identical, because they
have the same contrary   279

Insufficient reasons given by Sokrates. He seldom cares to
distinguish different meanings of the same term   _ib._

Protagoras is puzzled, and becomes irritated   280

Sokrates presses Protagoras farther. His purpose is, to
test opinions and not persons. Protagoras answers with angry
prolixity   _ib._

Remonstrance of Sokrates against long answers as
inconsistent with the laws of dialogue. Protagoras persists. Sokrates
rises to depart   281

Interference of Kallias to get the debate continued.
Promiscuous conversation. Alkibiades declares that Protagoras ought
to acknowledge superiority of Sokrates in dialogue   282

Claim of a special _locus standi_ and professorship
for Dialectic, apart from Rhetoric   _ib._

Sokrates is prevailed upon to continue, and invites
Protagoras to question him   _ib._

Protagoras extols the importance of knowing the works of
the poets, and questions about parts of a song of Simonides.
Dissenting opinions about the interpretation of the song   283

Long speech of Sokrates, expounding the purpose of the
song, and laying down an ironical theory about the numerous concealed
sophists at Krete and Sparta, masters of short speech   283

Character of this speech--its connection with the
dialogue, and its general purpose. Sokrates inferior to Protagoras in
continuous speech   284

Sokrates depreciates the value of debates on the poets.
Their meaning is always disputed, and you can never ask from
themselves what it is. Protagoras consents reluctantly to resume the
task of answering   285

Purpose of Sokrates to sift difficulties which he really
feels in his own mind. Importance of a colloquial companion for this
purpose   287

The interrupted debate is resumed. Protagoras says that
courage differs materially from the other branches of virtue   288

Sokrates argues to prove that courage consists in
knowledge or intelligence. Protagoras does not admit this. Sokrates
changes his attack   _ib._

Identity of the pleasurable with the good--of the painful
with the evil. Sokrates maintains it. Protagoras denies. Debate   289

Enquiry about knowledge. Is it the dominant agency in the
mind? Or is it overcome frequently by other agencies, pleasure or
pain? Both agree that knowledge is dominant   290

Mistake of supposing that men act contrary to knowledge.
We never call pleasures evils, except when they entail a
preponderance of pain, or a disappointment of greater pleasures   291

Pleasure is the only good--pain the only evil. No man does
evil voluntarily, knowing it to be evil. Difference between pleasures
present and future--resolves itself into pleasure and pain   292

Necessary resort to the measuring art for choosing
pleasures rightly--all the security of our lives depend upon it   293

To do wrong, overcome by pleasure, is only a bad phrase
for describing what is really a case of grave ignorance   294

Reasoning of Sokrates assented to by all. Actions which
conduct to pleasures or freedom from pain, are honourable   295

Explanation of courage. It consists in a wise estimate of
things terrible and not terrible   _ib._

Reluctance of Protagoras to continue answering. Close of
the discussion. Sokrates declares that the subject is still in
confusion, and that he wishes to debate it again with Protagoras.
Amicable reply of Protagoras   297

Remarks on the dialogue. It closes without the least
allusion to Hippokrates   298

Two distinct aspects of ethics and politics exhibited: one
under the name of Protagoras; the other, under that of Sokrates   299

Order of ethical problems, as conceived by Sokrates   _ib._

Difference of method between him and Protagoras flows from
this difference of order. Protagoras assumes what virtue is, without
enquiry   300

Method of Protagoras. Continuous lectures addressed to
established public sentiments with which he is in harmony   301

Method of Sokrates. Dwells upon that part of the problem
which Protagoras had left out   _ib._

Antithesis between the eloquent lecturer and the
analytical cross-examiner   303

Protagoras not intended to be always in the wrong, though
he is described as brought to a contradiction   _ib._

Affirmation of Protagoras about courage is affirmed by
Plato himself elsewhere   _ib._

The harsh epithets applied by critics to Protagoras are
not borne out by the dialogue. He stands on the same ground as the
common consciousness   304

Aversion of Protagoras for dialectic. Interlude about the
song of Simonides   305

Ethical view given by Sokrates worked out at length
clearly. Good and evil consist in right or wrong calculation of
pleasures and pains of the agent   _ib._

Protagoras is at first opposed to this theory   306

Reasoning of Sokrates   307

Application of that reasoning to the case of courage   _ib._

The theory which Plato here lays down is more distinct and
specific than any theory laid down in other dialogues   308

Remarks on the theory here laid down by Sokrates. It is
too narrow, and exclusively prudential   309

Comparison with the Republic   310

The discourse of Protagoras brings out an important part
of the whole case, which is omitted in the analysis by Sokrates   311

The Ethical End, as implied in the discourse of
Protagoras, involves a direct regard to the pleasures and pains of
other persons besides the agent himself   312

Plato's reasoning in the dialogue is not clear or
satisfactory, especially about courage   313

Doctrine of Stallbaum and other critics is not correct.
That the analysis here ascribed to Sokrates is not intended by Plato
as serious, but as a mockery of the sophists   314

Grounds of that doctrine. Their insufficiency   315

Subject is professedly still left unsettled at the close
of the dialogue   316


CHAPTER XXIV.

GORGIAS.

Persons who debate in the Gorgias. Celebrity of the
historical Gorgias   317

Introductory circumstances of the dialogue. Polus and
Kalliklês   318

Purpose of Sokrates in questioning. Conditions of a good
definition   _ib._

Questions about the definition of Rhetoric. It is the
artisan of persuasion   319

The Rhetor produces belief without knowledge. Upon what
matters is he competent to advise?   319

The Rhetor can persuade the people upon any matter, even
against the opinion of the special expert. He appears to know, among
the ignorant   320

Gorgias is now made to contradict himself. Polus takes
up the debate with Sokrates   321

Polemical tone of Sokrates. At the instance of Polus he
gives his own definition of rhetoric. It is no art, but an empirical
knack of catering for the immediate pleasure of hearers, analogous to
cookery. It is a branch under the general head flattery   _ib._

Distinction between the true arts which aim at the good of
the body and mind--and the counterfeit arts, which pretend to the
same, but in reality aim at immediate pleasure   322

Questions of Polus. Sokrates denies that the Rhetors have
any real power, because they do nothing which they really wish   323

All men wish for what is good for them. Despots and
Rhetors, when they kill any one, do so because they think it good for
them. If it be really not good, they do not do what they will, and
therefore have no real power   324

Comparison of Archelaus, usurping despot of Macedonia--Polus
affirms that Archelaus is happy, and that every one thinks
so--Sokrates admits that every one thinks so, but nevertheless
denies it   325

Sokrates maintains--1. That it is a greater evil to do
wrong, than to suffer wrong.   2. That if a man has done wrong, it is
better for him to be punished than to remain unpunished   326

Sokrates offers proof--Definition of Pulchrum and
Turpe--Proof of the first point   327

Proof of the second point   _ib._

The criminal labours under a mental distemper, which
though not painful, is a capital evil. Punishment is the only cure
for him. To be punished is best for him   328

Misery of the Despot who is never punished. If our friend
has done wrong, we ought to get him punished: if our enemy, we ought
to keep him unpunished   329

Argument of Sokrates paradoxical--Doubt expressed by
Kalliklês whether he means it seriously   330

Principle laid down by Sokrates--That every one acts with
a view to the attainment of happiness and avoidance of misery   _ib._

Peculiar view taken by Plato of Good--Evil--Happiness   331

Contrast of the usual meaning of these words, with the
Platonic meaning   _ib._

Examination of the proof given by Sokrates--Inconsistency
between the general answer of Polus and his previous
declarations--Law and Nature   332

The definition of Pulchrum and Turpe, given by Sokrates,
will not hold   334

Worse or better--for whom? The argument of Sokrates does
not specify. If understood in the sense necessary for his inference,
the definition would be inadmissible   _ib._

Plato applies to every one a standard of happiness and
misery peculiar to himself. His view about the conduct of Archelaus
is just, but he does not give the true reasons for it   335

If the reasoning of Plato were true, the point of view in
which punishment is considered would be reversed   336

Plato pushes too far the analogy between mental distemper
and bodily distemper--Material difference between the two--Distemper
must be felt by the distempered persons   337

Kalliklês begins to argue against Sokrates--he takes a
distinction between Just by Law and Just by nature--Reply of
Sokrates, that there is no variance between the two, properly
understood   338

What Kalliklês says is not to be taken as a sample of the
teachings of Athenian sophists. Kalliklês--rhetor and politician   339

Uncertainty of referring to Nature as an authority. It may
be pleaded in favour of opposite theories. The theory of Kalliklês is
made to appear repulsive by the language in which he expresses it   340

Sokrates maintains that self-command and moderation is
requisite for the strong man as well as for others. Kalliklês defends
the negative   343

Whether the largest measure of desires is good for a man,
provided he has the means of satisfying them? Whether all varieties
of desire are good? Whether the pleasurable and the good are
identical?   344

Kalliklês maintains that pleasurable and good are
identical. Sokrates refutes him. Some pleasures are good, others bad.
A scientific adviser is required to discriminate them   345

Contradiction between Sokrates in the Gorgias, and
Sokrates in the Protagoras   _ib._

Views of critics about this contradiction   346

Comparison and appreciation of the reasoning of Sokrates
in both dialogues   _ib._

Distinct statement in the Protagoras. What are good and
evil, and upon what principles the scientific adviser is to proceed
in discriminating them. No such distinct statement in the Gorgias   347

Modern ethical theories. Intuition. Moral sense--not
recognised by Plato in either of the dialogues   348

In both dialogues the doctrine of Sokrates is
self-regarding as respects the agent: not considering the
pleasures and pains of other persons, so far as affected by
the agent   349

Points wherein the doctrine of the two dialogues is in
substance the same, but differing in classification   _ib._

Kalliklês, whom Sokrates refutes in the Gorgias, maintains
a different argument from that which Sokrates combats in the
Protagoras   350

The refutation of Kalliklês by Sokrates in the Gorgias, is
unsuccessful--it is only so far successful as he adopts
unintentionally the doctrine of Sokrates in the Protagoras   351

Permanent elements--and transient elements--of human
agency--how each of them is appreciated in the two dialogues   353

In the Protagoras   _ib._

In the Gorgias   354

Character of the Gorgias generally--discrediting all the
actualities of life   355

Argument of Sokrates resumed--multifarious arts of
flattery, aiming at immediate pleasure   357

The Rhetors aim at only flattering the public--even the
best past Rhetors have done nothing else--citation of the four great
Rhetors by Kallikles   357

Necessity for temperance, regulation, order. This is the
condition of virtue and happiness   358

Impossible to succeed in public life, unless a man be
thoroughly akin to and in harmony with the ruling force   359

Danger of one who dissents from the public, either for
better or for worse   _ib._

Sokrates resolves upon a scheme of life for himself--to
study permanent good, and not immediate satisfaction   360

Sokrates announces himself as almost the only man at Athens,
who follows out the true political art. Danger of doing this   361

Mythe respecting Hades, and the treatment of deceased
persons therein, according to their merits during life--the
philosopher who stood aloof from public affairs, will then be
rewarded   _ib._

Peculiar ethical views of Sokrates--Rhetorical or
dogmatical character of the Gorgias   362

He merges politics in Ethics--he conceives the rulers as
spiritual teachers and trainers of the community _id._

_Idéal_ of Plato--a despotic lawgiver or man-trainer,
on scientific principles, fashioning all characters pursuant to
certain types of his own   363

Platonic analogy between mental goodness and bodily
health--incomplete analogy--circumstances of difference   _ib._

Sokrates in the Gorgias speaks like a dissenter among a
community of fixed opinions and habits. Impossible that a dissenter,
on important points, should acquire any public influence   364

Sokrates feels his own isolation from his countrymen. He
is thrown upon individual speculation and dialectic   365

Antithesis between philosophy and rhetoric   _ib._

Position of one who dissents, upon material points, from
the fixed opinions and creed of his countrymen   366

Probable feelings of Plato on this subject--Claim put
forward in the Gorgias of an independent _locus standi_ for
philosophy, but without the indiscriminate cross-examination
pursued by Sokrates   367

Importance of maintaining the utmost liberty of discussion.
Tendency of all ruling orthodoxy towards intolerance   368

Issue between philosophy and rhetoric--not satisfactorily
handled by Plato. Injustice done to rhetoric. Ignoble manner in which
it is presented by Polus and Kalliklês   369

Perikles would have accepted the defence of rhetoric, as
Plato has put it into the mouth of Gorgias   370

The Athenian people recognise a distinction between the
pleasurable and the good: but not the same as that which Plato
conceived   371

Rhetoric was employed at Athens in appealing to all the
various established sentiments and opinions. Erroneous inferences
raised by the Kalliklês of Plato   373

The Platonic Idéal exacts, as good, some order, system,
discipline. But order may be directed to bad ends as well as to good.
Divergent ideas about virtue   374

How to discriminate the right order from the wrong. Plato
does not advise us   375

The Gorgias upholds the independence and dignity of the
dissenting philosopher   _ib._


CHAPTER XXV.

PHÆDON.

The Phædon is affirmative and expository   377

Situation and circumstances assumed in the Phædon. Pathetic
interest which they inspire   _ib._

Simmias and Kebês, the two collocutors with Sokrates. Their
feelings and those of Sokrates   378

Emphasis of Sokrates in insisting on freedom of debate, active
exercise of reason, and independent judgment for each reasoner   379

Anxiety of Sokrates that his friends shall be on their
guard against being influenced by his authority--that they shall
follow only the convictions of their own reason   380

Remarkable manifestation of earnest interest for reasoned
truth and the liberty of individual dissent   381

Phædon and Symposion--points of analogy and contrast   382

Phædon--compared with Republic and Timæus. No recognition
of the triple or lower souls. Antithesis between soul and body   383

Different doctrines of Plato about the soul. Whether all
the three souls are immortal, or the rational soul alone   385

The life and character of a philosopher is a constant
struggle to emancipate his soul from his body. Death alone enables
him to do this completely   386

Souls of the ordinary or unphilosophical men pass after
death into the bodies of different animals. The philosopher alone is
relieved from all communion with body   387

Special privilege claimed for philosophers in the Phædon
apart from the virtuous men who are not philosophers   388

Simmias and Kebês do not admit readily the immortality of
the soul, but are unwilling to trouble Sokrates by asking for proof.
Unabated interest of Sokrates in rational debate   390

Simmias and Kebês believe fully in the pre-existence of
the soul, but not in its post-existence. Doctrine--That the soul is a
sort of harmony--refuted by Sokrates   _ib._

Sokrates unfolds the intellectual changes or wanderings
through which his mind had passed   391

First doctrine of Sokrates as to cause. Reasons why he
rejected it   _ib._

Second doctrine. Hopes raised by the treatise of
Anaxagoras   393

Disappointment because Anaxagoras did not follow out the
optimistic principle into detail. Distinction between causes
efficient and causes co-efficient   394

Sokrates could neither trace out the optimistic principle
for himself, nor find any teacher thereof. He renounced it, and
embraced a third doctrine about cause   395

He now assumes the separate existence of ideas. These
ideas are the causes why particular objects manifest certain
attributes   396

Procedure of Sokrates if his hypothesis were impugned. He
insists upon keeping apart the discussion of the hypothesis and the
discussion of its consequences   397

Exposition of Sokrates welcomed by the hearers. Remarks
upon it   398

The philosophical changes in Sokrates all turned upon
different views as to a true cause   _ib._.

Problems and difficulties of which Sokrates first sought
solution   399

Expectations entertained by Sokrates from the treatise of
Anaxagoras. His disappointment. His distinction between causes and
co-efficients   400

Sokrates imputes to Anaxagoras the mistake of substituting
physical agencies in place of mental. This is the same which
Aristophanes and others imputed to Sokrates   401

The supposed theory of Anaxagoras cannot be carried out,
either by Sokrates himself or any one else. Sokrates turns to general
words, and adopts the theory of ideas   403

Vague and dissentient meanings attached to the word Cause.
That is a cause, to each man, which gives satisfaction to his
inquisitive feelings   404

Dissension and perplexity on the question.--What is a
cause? revealed by the picture of Sokrates--no intuition to guide him
407

Different notions of Plato and Aristotle about causation,
causes regular and irregular. Inductive theory of causation,
elaborated in modern times   _ib._

Last transition of the mind of Sokrates from things to
words--to the adoption of the theory of ideas. Great multitude of
ideas assumed, each fitting a certain number of particulars   410

Ultimate appeal to hypothesis of extreme generality   411

Plato's demonstration of the immortality of the soul rests
upon the assumption of the Platonic ideas. Reasoning to prove this   412

The soul always brings life, and is essentially living. It
cannot receive death: in other words, it is immortal   413

The proof of immortality includes pre-existence as well as
post-existence--animals as well as man--also the metempsychosis or
translation of the soul from one body to another   414

After finishing his proof that the soul is immortal,
Sokrates enters into a description, what will become of it after the
death of the body. He describes a [Greek: Nekui/a]   415

Sokrates expects that his soul is going to the islands of
the blest. Reply to Kriton about burying his body   416

Preparations for administering the hemlock. Sympathy of
the gaoler. Equanimity of Sokrates   _ib._

Sokrates swallows the poison. Conversation with the gaoler   417

Ungovernable sorrow of the friends present. Self-command
of Sokrates. Last words to Kriton, and death   _ib._

Extreme pathos, and probable trustworthiness of these
personal details   419

Contrast between the Platonic Apology and the Phædon   _ib._.

Abundant dogmatic and poetical invention of the Phædon
compared with the profession of ignorance which we read in the
Apology   421

Total renunciation and discredit of the body in the Phædon.
Different feeling about the body in other Platonic dialogues   422

Plato's argument does not prove the immortality of the
soul. Even if it did prove that, yet the mode of pre-existence and
the mode of post-existence, of the soul, would be quite undetermined   423

The philosopher will enjoy an existence of pure soul
unattached to any body   425

Plato's demonstration of the immortality of the soul did
not appear satisfactory to subsequent philosophers. The question
remained debated and problematical   426



PLATO.

CHAPTER XII

ALKIBIADES I. AND II.

ALKIBIADES I.--ON THE NATURE OF MAN.


[Side-note: Situation supposed in the dialogue.
Persons--Sokrates and Alkibiades.]

This dialogue is carried on between Sokrates and Alkibiades. It
introduces Alkibiades as about twenty years of age, having just
passed through the period of youth, and about to enter on the
privileges and duties of a citizen. The real dispositions and
circumstances of the historical Alkibiades (magnificent personal
beauty, stature, and strength, high family and connections, great
wealth already possessed, since his father had died when he was a
child,--a full measure of education and accomplishments--together
with exorbitant ambition and insolence, derived from such accumulated
advantages) are brought to view in the opening address of Sokrates.
Alkibiades, during the years of youth which he had just passed, had
been surrounded by admirers who tried to render themselves acceptable
to him, but whom he repelled with indifference, and even with scorn.
Sokrates had been among them, constantly present and near to
Alkibiades, but without ever addressing a word to him. The youthful
beauty being now exchanged for manhood, all these admirers had
retired, and Sokrates alone remains. His attachment is to Alkibiades
himself: to promise of mind rather than to attractions of person.
Sokrates has been always hitherto restrained, by his divine sign
or Dæmon, from speaking to Alkibiades. But this prohibition has now
been removed; and he accosts him for the first time, in the full
belief that he shall be able to give improving counsel, essential to
the success of that political career upon which the youth is about to
enter.[1]

[Footnote 1: Plato, Alkib. i. 103, 104, 105. Perikles is supposed to
be still alive and political leader of Athens--104 B.

I have briefly sketched the imaginary situation to which this
dialogue is made to apply. The circumstances of it belong to Athenian
manners of the Platonic age.

Some of the critics, considering that the relation supposed between
Sokrates and Alkibiades is absurd and unnatural, allege this among
their reasons for denying the authenticity of the dialogue. But if
any one reads the concluding part of the Symposion--the authenticity
of which has never yet been denied by any critic--he will find
something a great deal more abnormal in what is there recounted about
Sokrates and Alkibiades.

In a dialogue composed by Æschines Socraticus (cited by the rhetor
Aristeides--[Greek: Peri\ R(êtorikê=s], Or. xlv. p. 23-24),
expressions of intense love for Alkibiades are put into the mouth of
Sokrates. Æschines was [Greek: gnê/sios e(tai=ros Sôkra/tous], not
less than Plato. The different companions of Sokrates thus agreed in
their picture of the relation between him and Alkibiades.]

[Side-note: Exorbitant hopes and political ambition of
Alkibiades.]

You are about to enter on public life (says Sokrates to Alkibiades)
with the most inordinate aspirations for glory and aggrandisement.
You not only thirst for the acquisition of ascendancy such as
Perikles possesses at Athens, but your ambition will not be satisfied
unless you fill Asia with your renown, and put yourself upon a level
with Cyrus and Xerxes. Now such aspirations cannot be gratified
except through my assistance. I do not deal in long discourses such
as you have been accustomed to hear from others: I shall put to you
only some short interrogatories, requiring nothing more than answers
to my questions.[2]

[Footnote 2: Plato, Alkib. i. 106 B. [Greek: A)=ra e)rôtta=|s ei)/
tina e)/chô ei)pei=n lo/gon makro/n, oi(/ous dê\ a)kou/ein
ei)/thisai? ou) ga/r e)sti toiou=ton to\ e)mo/n.] I give here, as
elsewhere, not an exact translation, but an abstract.]

[Side-note: Questions put by Sokrates, in reference to
Alkibiades in his intended function as adviser of the Athenians. What
does he intend to advise them upon? What has he learnt, and what does
he know?]

_Sokr._--You are about to step forward as adviser of the public
assembly. Upon what points do you intend to advise them? Upon points
which you know better than they? _Alk._--Of course.
_Sokr._--All that you know, has been either learnt from others
or found out by yourself. _Alk._--Certainly. _Sokr._--But
you would neither have learnt any thing, nor found out any thing,
without the desire to learn or find out: and you would have felt no
such desire, in respect to that which you believed yourself to know
already. That which you now know, therefore, there was a time when
you believed yourself not to know? _Alk._--Necessarily so.
_Sokr._--Now all that you have learnt, as I am well aware,
consists of three things--letters, the harp, gymnastics. Do you
intend to advise the Athenians when they are debating about letters,
or about harp-playing, or about gymnastics? _Alk._--Neither of
the three. _Sokr._--Upon what occasions, then, do you propose to
give advice? Surely, not when the Athenians are debating about
architecture, or prophetic warnings, or the public health: for to
deliver opinions on each of these matters, belongs not to you but to
professional men--architects, prophets, physicians; whether they be
poor or rich, high-born or low-born? If not _then_, upon what
other occasions will you tender your counsel? _Alk._--When they
are debating about affairs of their own.

[Side-note: Alkibiades intends to advise the Athenians on
questions of war and peace. Questions of Sokrates thereupon. We must
fight those whom it is better to fight--to what standard does better
refer? To just and unjust.]

_Sokr._--But about what affairs of their own? Not about affairs
of shipbuilding: for of that you know nothing. _Alk._--When they
are discussing war and peace, or any other business concerning the
city. _Sokr._--You mean when they are discussing the question
with whom they shall make war or peace, and in what manner? But it is
certain that we must fight those whom it is best to fight--also
_when_ it is best--and _as long as_ it is best.
_Alk._--Certainly. _Sokr._--Now, if the Athenians wished
to know whom it was best to wrestle with, and when or how long it was
best which of the two would be most competent to advise them, you or
the professional trainer? _Alk._--The trainer, undoubtedly.
_Sokr._--So, too, about playing the harp or singing. But when
you talk about _better_, in wrestling or singing, what standard
do you refer to? Is it not to the gymnastic or musical art?
_Alk._--Yes. _Sokr._--Answer me in like manner about war or
peace, the subjects on which you are going to advise your countrymen,
whom, and at what periods, it is _better_ to fight, and
_better_ not to fight? What in this last case do you mean by
_better_? To what standard, or to what end, do you refer?[3]
_Alk._--I cannot say. _Sokr._--But is it not a disgrace,
since you profess to advise your countrymen when and against whom
it is better for them to war,--not to be able to say to what end your
_better_ refers? Do not you know what are the usual grounds and
complaints urged when war is undertaken? _Alk._--Yes:
complaints of having been cheated, or robbed, or injured.
_Sokr._--Under what circumstances? _Alk._--You mean,
whether justly or unjustly? That makes all the difference.
_Sokr._--Do you mean to advise the Athenians to fight those who
behave justly, or those who behave unjustly? _Alk._--The
question is monstrous. Certainly not those who behave justly. It
would be neither lawful nor honourable. _Sokr._--Then when you
spoke about _better_, in reference to war or peace, what you
meant was _juster_--you had in view justice and injustice?
_Alk._--It seems so.

[Footnote 3: Plato, Alkib. i. 108 E--109 A.
[Greek: i)/thi dê/, kai\ to\ en tô=| polemei=n be/ltion kai\ to\ en
tô=| ei)rê/nên a)/gein, tou=to to\ be/ltion ti/ o)noma/zeis? ô(/sper
e)kei= e)ph' e)ka/stô| e)/leges to\ a)/meinon, o(/ti mousikô/teron,
kai\ e)pi\ tô=| e(terô|, o(/ti gumnastikô/teron; peirô= dê\ kai\
e)ntau=tha le/gein to\ be/ltion . . . . . pro\s ti/ teinei to\ e)n
tô=| ei)rê/nên te a)/gein a)/meinon kai\ to\ e)n tô=| polemei=n oi(=s
dei=?] _Alkib._ [Greek: A)lla\ skopô=n ou) du/namai
e)nnoê=sai.]]

[Side-note: How, or from whom, has Alkibiades learnt to discern
or distinguish Just and Unjust? He never learnt it from any one; he
always knew it, even as a boy.]

_Sokr._--How is this? How do you know, or where have you learnt,
to distinguish just from unjust? Have you frequented some master,
without my knowledge, to teach you this? If you have, pray introduce
me to him, that I also may learn it from him. _Alk._--You are
jesting. _Sokr._--Not at all: I love you too well to jest.
_Alk._--But what if I had no master? Cannot I know about justice
and injustice, without a master? _Sokr._--Certainly: you might
find out for yourself, if you made search and investigated. But this
you would not do, unless you were under the persuasion that you did
not already know. _Alk._--Was there not a time when I really
believed myself not to know it? _Sokr._--Perhaps there may have
been: tell me _when_ that time was. Was it last year?
_Alk._--No: last year I thought that I knew. _Sokr._--Well,
then two years, three years, &c., ago? _Alk._--No: the case
was the same then, also, I thought that I knew. _Sokr._--But
before that, you were a mere boy; and during your boyhood you
certainly believed yourself to know what was just and unjust; for I
well recollect hearing you then complain confidently of other boys,
for acting unjustly towards you. _Alk._--Certainly: I was not
then ignorant on the point: I knew distinctly that they were acting
unjustly towards me. _Sokr._--You knew, then, even in your
boyhood, what was just and what was unjust? _Alk._--Certainly: I
knew even then. _Sokr._--At what moment did you first find it
out? Not when you already believed yourself to know: and what time
was there when you did not believe yourself to know?
_Alk._--Upon my word, I cannot say.

[Side-note: Answer amended. Alkibiades learnt it from the
multitude, as he learnt to speak Greek.--The multitude cannot teach
just and unjust, for they are at variance among themselves about it.
Alkibiades is going to advise the Athenians about what he does not
know himself.]

_Sokr._--Since, accordingly, you neither found it out for
yourself, nor learnt it from others, how come you to know justice or
injustice at all, or from what quarter? _Alk._--I was mistaken
in saying that I had not learnt it. I learnt it, as others do, from
the multitude.[4] _Sokr._--Your teachers are none of the best:
no one can learn from them even such small matters as playing at
draughts: much less, what is just and unjust. _Alk._--I learnt
it from them as I learnt to speak Greek, in which, too, I never had
any special teacher. _Sokr._--Of that the multitude are
competent teachers, for they are all of one mind. Ask which is a tree
or a stone,--a horse or a man,--you get the same answer from every
one. But when you ask not simply which are _horses_, but also
which horses are fit to run well in a race--when you ask not merely
about which are _men_, but which men are healthy or unhealthy--are
the multitude all of one mind, or all competent to answer?
_Alk._--Assuredly not. _Sokr._--When you see the multitude
differing among themselves, that is a clear proof that they are not
competent to teach others. _Alk._--It is so. _Sokr._--Now,
about the question, What is just and unjust--are the multitude all of
one mind, or do they differ among themselves? _Alk._--They
differ prodigiously: they not only dispute, but quarrel and destroy
each other, respecting justice and injustice, far more than about
health and sickness.[5] _Sokr._ How, then, can we say that the
multitude know what is just and unjust, when they thus fiercely
dispute about it among themselves? _Alk._--I now perceive that
we cannot say so. _Sokr._--How can we say, therefore, that
they are fit to teach others: and how can you pretend to know, who
have learnt from no other teachers? _Alk._--From what you say,
it is impossible.

[Footnote 4: Plato, Alkib. i. 110 D-E. [Greek: e)/mathon, oi)=mai,
kai\ e)gô\ ô(/sper kai\ oi( a)/lloi . . . . para\ tô=n pollô=n.]]

[Footnote 5: Plato, Alkib. i. 112 A. _Sokr._ [Greek: Ti/ de\
dê\? nu=n peri\ tô=n dikai/ôn kai\ a)di/kôn a)nthrô/pôn kai\
pragma/tôn, oi( polloi\ dokou=si/ soi o(mologei=n au)toi\ e(autoi=s
ê)\ a)llê/lois?] _Alkib._ [Greek: Ê(/kista, nê\ Di/', ô)=
Sô/krates.] _Sokr._ [Greek: Ti/ de/? ma/lista peri\ au)tô=n
diaphe/resthai?] _Alkib._ [Greek: polu/ ge.]]

_Sokr._--No: not from what _I_ say, but from what
_you_ say yourself. I merely ask questions: it is you who give
all the answers.[6] And what you have said amounts to this--that
Alkibiades knows nothing about what is just and unjust, but believes
himself to know, and is going to advise the Athenians about what he
does not know himself?

[Footnote 6: Plato, Alkib. i. 112-113.]

[Side-note: Answer farther amended. The Athenians do not
generally debate about just or unjust--which they consider plain to
every one--but about expedient and inexpedient, which are not
coincident with just and unjust. But neither does Alkibiades know the
expedient. He asks Sokrates to explain. Sokrates declines: he can do
nothing but question.]

_Alk._--But, Sokrates, the Athenians do not often debate about
what is just and unjust. They think that question self-evident; they
debate generally about what is expedient or not expedient. Justice
and expediency do not do not always coincide. Many persons commit
great crimes, and are great gainers by doing so: others again behave
justly, and suffer from it.[7] _Sokr_--Do you then profess to
know what is expedient or inexpedient? From whom have you learnt--or
when did you find out for yourself? I might ask you the same round of
questions, and you would be compelled to answer in the same manner.
But we will pass to a different point. You say that justice and
expediency are not coincident. Persuade _me_ of this, by
interrogating me as I interrogated you. _Alk._--That is beyond
my power. _Sokr._--But when you rise to address the assembly,
you will have to persuade _them_. If you can persuade them, you
can persuade me. Assume _me_ to be the assembly, and practise
upon me.[8] _Alk._--You are too hard upon me, Sokrates. It is
for you to speak and prove the point. _Sokr_--No: I can only
question: you must answer. You will be most surely persuaded when the
point is determined by your own answers.[9]

[Footnote 7: Plato, Alkib. i. 113 D. [Greek: Oi)=mai me\n o)liga/kis
A)thênai/ous bouleu/esthai po/tera dikaio/tera ê)\ a)dikôtera; ta\
me\n ga\r toiau=ta ê(gou=ntai dê=la ei)=nai], &c.]

[Footnote 8: Plato, Alkib. i. 114 B-C. This same argument is
addressed by Sokrates to Glaukon, in Xenoph. Memor. iii. 6, 14-15.]

[Footnote 9: Plato, Alkib. i. 114 E.
[Greek: Ou)kou=n ei) le/geis o(/ti tau=th' ou(/tôs e)/chei, ma/list'
a)\n ei)/ês pepeisme/nos?]]

[Side-note: Comment on the preceding--Sokratic method--the
respondent makes the discoveries for himself.]

Such is the commencing portion (abbreviated or abstracted) of
Plato's First Alkibiadês. It exhibits a very characteristic specimen
of the Sokratico-Platonic method: both in its negative and positive
aspect. By the negative, false persuasion of knowledge is exposed.
Alkibiades believes himself competent to advise about just and
unjust, which he has neither learnt from any teacher nor investigated
for himself--which he has picked up from the multitude, and supposes
to be clear to every one, but about which nevertheless there is so
much difference of appreciation among the multitude, that fierce and
perpetual quarrels are going on. On the positive side, Sokrates
restricts himself to the function of questioning: he neither affirms
nor denies any thing. It is Alkibiades who affirms or denies every
thing, and who makes all the discoveries for himself out of his own
mind, instigated indeed, but not taught, by the questions of his
companion.

[Side-note: Alkibiades is brought to admit that whatever is
just, is good, honourable, expedient: and that whoever acts
honourably, both does well, and procures for himself happiness
thereby. Equivocal reasoning of Sokrates.]

By a farther series of questions, Sokrates next brings Alkibiades to
the admission that what is just, is also honourable, good,
expedient--what is unjust, is dishonourable, evil, inexpedient: and
that whoever acts justly, and honourably, thereby acquires happiness.
Admitting, first, that an act which is good, honourable, just,
expedient, &c., considered in one aspect or in reference to some
of its conditions--may be at the same time bad, dishonourable,
unjust, considered in another aspect or in reference to other
conditions; Sokrates nevertheless brings his respondent to admit,
that every act, _in so far as it is just and honourable_, is
also good and expedient.[10] And he contends farther, that whoever
acts honourably, does well: now every man who does well, becomes
happy, or secures good things thereby: therefore the just, the
honourable, and the good or expedient, coincide.[11] The argument,
whereby this conclusion is here established, is pointed out by
Heindorf, Stallbaum, and Steinhart, as not merely inconclusive, but
as mere verbal equivocation and sophistry--the like of which,
however, we find elsewhere in Plato.[12]

[Footnote 10: Plato, Alkib. i. 115 B--116 A.
[Greek: Ou)kou=n tê\n toiau/tên boêthei/an kalê\n me\n le/geis kata\
tê\n e)pichei/rêsin tou= sô=sai ou(=s e)/dei; tou=to d' e)sti\n
a)ndri/a; . . . . kakê\n de/ ge kata\ tou\s thana/tous te kai\ ta\
e(/lkê. . . .

Ou)kou=n ô(=de di/kaion prosagoreu/ein e(ka/stên tô=n pra/xeôn;
ei)/per ê)=| kako\n a)perga/zetai kakê\n kalei=s, kai\ ê)=| a)gatho\n
a)gathê\n klête/on.

A)r' ou)=n kai\ ê)=| a)gatho\n kalo/n,--ê)=| de\ kako\n ai)schro/n?
Nai/.]

Compare Plato, Republic, v. p. 479, where he maintains that in every
particular case, what is just, honourable, virtuous, &c., is also
unjust, dishonourable, vicious, &c. Nothing remains unchanged,
nor excludes the contrary, except the pure, self-existent, Idea or
general Concept.--[Greek: au)to\-dikaiosu/nê], &c.]

[Footnote 11: Plato, Alkib. i. 116 E.]

[Footnote 12: The words [Greek: eu)= pra/ttein--eu)pragi/a] have a
double sense, like our "doing well". Stallbaum, Proleg. p. 175;
Steinhart, Einl. p. 149.

We have, p. 116 B, the equivocation between [Greek: kalô=s pra/ttein]
and [Greek: eu)= pra/ttein], also with [Greek: kakô=s pra/ttein], p.
134 A, 135 A; compare Heindorf ad Platon. Charmid. p. 172 A, p. 174
B; also Platon. Gorgias, p. 507 C, where similar equivocal meanings
occur.]

[Side-note: Humiliation of Alkibiades. Other Athenian statesmen
are equally ignorant. But the real opponents, against whom Alkibiades
is to measure himself, are, the kings of Sparta and Persia.
Eulogistic description of those kings. To match them, Alkibiades must
make himself as good as possible.]

Alkibiades is thus reduced to a state of humiliating embarrassment,
and stands convicted, by his own contradictions and confession, of
ignorance in its worst form: that is, of being ignorant, and yet
believing himself to know.[13] But other Athenian statesmen are no
wiser. Even Perikles is proved to be equally deficient--by the fact
that he has never been able to teach or improve any one else, not
even his own sons and those whom he loved best.[14] "At any rate"
(contends Alkibiades) "I am as good as my competitors, and can hold
my ground against them." But Sokrates reminds him that the real
competitors with whom he ought to compare himself, are foreigners,
liable to become the enemies of Athens, and against whom he, if he
pretends to lead Athens, must be able to contend. In an harangue of
unusual length, Sokrates shows that the kings of Sparta and Persia
are of nobler breed, as well as more highly and carefully trained,
than the Athenian statesmen.[15] Alkibiades must be rescued from his
present ignorance, and exalted, so as to be capable of competing with
these kings: which object cannot be attained except through the
auxiliary interposition of Sokrates. Not that Sokrates professes to
be himself already on this elevation, and to stand in need of no
farther improvement. But he can, nevertheless, help others to attain
it for themselves, through the discipline and stimulus of his
interrogatories.[16]


[Footnote 13: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 118.]

[Footnote 14: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 118-119.]

[Footnote 15: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 120-124.]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 124.]

[Side-note: But good--for what end, and under what
circumstances? Abundant illustrative examples.]

The dialogue then continues. _Sokr._--We wish to become as good
as possible. But in what sort of virtue? _Alk._--In that virtue
which belongs to good men. _Sokr._--Yes, but _good_, in
what matters? _Alk._--Evidently, to men who are good in
transacting business. _Sokr._--Ay, but what kind of business?
business relating to horses, or to navigation? If that be meant, we
must go and consult horse-trainers or mariners? _Alk._--No, I
mean such business as is transacted by the most esteemed leaders in
Athens. _Sokr._--You mean the intelligent men. Every man is
good, in reference to that which he understands: every man is bad, in
reference to that which he does not understand. _Alk._--Of
course. _Sokr._--The cobbler understands shoemaking, and is
therefore good at _that_: he does not understand weaving, and is
therefore bad at that. The same man thus, in your view, will be both
good and bad?[17] _Alk._--No: that cannot be. _Sokr._--Whom
then do you mean, when you talk of _the good_? _Alk._--I mean
those who are competent to command in the city. _Sokr._--But
to command whom or what--horses or men? _Alk._--To command
men. _Sokr._--But what men, and under what circumstances? sick
men, or men on shipboard, or labourers engaged in harvesting, or in
what occupations? _Alk._--I mean, men living in social and
commercial relation with each other, as we live here; men who live in
common possession of the same laws and government. _Sokr._--When
men are in communion of a sea voyage and of the same ship, how do we
name the art of commanding them, and to what purpose does it tend?
_Alk._--It is the art of the pilot; and the purpose towards which
it tends, is, bringing them safely through the dangers of the sea.
_Sokr._--When men are in social and political communion, to what
purpose does the art of commanding them tend? _Alk._--Towards
the better preservation and administration of the city.[18]
_Sokr._--But what do you mean by _better_? What is that,
the presence or absence of which makes _better_ or _worse_?
If in regard to the management of the body, you put to me the
same question, I should reply, that it is the presence of health, and
the absence of disease. What reply will you make, in the case of the
city? _Alk._--I should say, when friendship and unanimity among
the citizens are present, and when discord and antipathy are absent.
_Sokr._--This unanimity, of what nature is it? Respecting what
subject? What is the art or science for realising it? If I ask you
what brings about unanimity respecting numbers and measures, you will
say the arithmetical and the metrêtic art. _Alk._--I mean that
friendship and unanimity which prevails between near relatives,
father and son, husband and wife. _Sokr._--But how can there be
unanimity between any two persons, respecting subjects which one of
them knows, and the other does not know? For example, about spinning
and weaving, which the husband does not know, or about military
duties, which the wife does not know, how can there be unanimity
between the two? _Alk._--No: there cannot be. _Sokr._--Nor
friendship, if unanimity and friendship go together?
_Alk._--Apparently there cannot. _Sokr._--Then when men and women
each perform their own special duties, there can be no friendship
between them. Nor can a city be well administered, when each citizen
performs his own special duties? or (which is the same thing) when
each citizen acts justly? _Alk._--Not so: I think there may be
friendship, when each person performs his or her own business.
_Sokr._--Just now you said the reverse. What is this friendship
or unanimity which we must understand and realise, in order to become
good men?

[Footnote 17: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 125 B.

[Greek: O( au)to\s a)/ra tou/tô| ge tô=| lo/gô| kako/s te kai\
a)gatho/s.]

Plato slides unconsciously here, as in other parts of his reasonings,
_à dicto secundum quid, ad dictum simpliciter_.]

[Footnote 18: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 126 A. [Greek: ti/ de/? ê)\n su\
kalei=s eu)bouli/an, ei)s ti/ e)stin?] _Alk._ [Greek: Ei)s to\
a)/meinon tê\n po/lin dioikei=n kai\ sô/zesthai.] _Sokr._
[Greek: A)meinon de\ dioikei=tai kai\ sô/zetai ti/nos paragignome/nou
ê)\ a)pogignomenou?]]

[Side-note: Alkibiades, puzzled and humiliated, confesses his
ignorance. Encouragement given by Sokrates. It is an advantage to
make such discovery in youth.]

_Alk._--In truth, I am puzzled myself to say. I find myself in a
state of disgraceful ignorance, of which I had no previous suspicion.
_Sokr._--Do not be discouraged. If you had made this discovery
when you were fifty years old, it would have been too late for taking
care of yourself and applying a remedy: but at your age, it is the
right time for making the discovery. _Alk._--What am I to do,
now that I have made it? _Sokr._--You must answer my questions.
If my auguries are just, we shall soon be both of us better for the
process.[19]

[Footnote 19: Plato, Alkib. i. 127 D-E. _Alk._ [Greek: A)lla\
ma\ tou\s theou/s, ou)d' au)to\s oi)=da o(/ ti le/gô, kinduneu/ô de\
kai\ pa/lai lelêthe/nai e)mauto\n ai)/schist' e)/chôn.]

_Sokr._ [Greek: A)lla\ chrê\ thar)r(ei=n; ei) me\n ga\r au)to\
ê)=|sthou peponthô\s pentêkontae/tês, chalepo\n a)\n ê)=n soi
e)pimelêthê=nai sautou=; nu=n de\ ê)\n e)/cheis ê(liki/an, au)/tê
e)sti/n, e)n ê(=| dei= au)to\ ai)sthe/sthai.]

_Alk._ [Greek: Ti/ ou)=n to\n ai(stho/menon chrê\ poiei=n?]

_Sokr._ [Greek: _A)pokri/nesthai ta\ e)rôtô/mena_, kai\
e)a\n tou=to poiê=|s, a)\n theo\s e)the/lê|, ei)/ ti dei= kai\ tê=|
e)mê=| mantei/a| pisteu/ein, su/ te ka)gô\ beltio/nôs schê/somen.]]

[Side-note: Platonic Dialectic--its actual effect--its
anticipated effect--applicable to the season of youth.]

Here we have again, brought into prominent relief, the dialectic
method of Plato, under two distinct aspects: 1. Its actual effects,
in exposing the false supposition of knowledge, in forcing upon the
respondent the humiliating conviction, that he does not know familiar
topics which he supposed to be clear both to himself and to others.
2. Its anticipated effects, if continued, in remedying such defect:
and in generating out of the mind of the respondent, real and living
knowledge. Lastly, it is plainly intimated that this shock of
humiliation and mistrust, painful but inevitable, must be undergone
in youth.

[Side-note: Know Thyself--Delphian maxim--its urgent
importance--What is myself? My mind is myself.]

The dialogue continues, in short questions and answers, of which the
following is an abstract. _Sokr._--What is meant by a man
_taking care of himself_? Before I can take care of myself, I
must know what myself is: I must _know myself_, according to the
Delphian motto. I cannot make myself better, without knowing what
_myself_ is.[20] That which belongs to me is not _myself_:
my body is not myself, but an instrument governed by myself.[21] My
mind or soul only, is myself. To take care of myself is, to take care
of my mind. At any rate, if this be not strictly true,[22] my mind is
the most important and dominant element within me. The physician who
knows his own body, does not for that reason know himself: much less
do the husbandman or the tradesman, who know their own properties or
crafts, know themselves, or perform what is truly their own business.

[Footnote 20: Plato, Alkib. i. 129 B. [Greek: ti/n' a)\n tro/pon
eu(rethei/ê _au)to\ to\ au)to/_?]]

[Footnote 21: Plato, Alkib. i. 128-130. All this is greatly expanded
in the dialogue--p. 128 D: [Greek: Ou)k a)/ra o)/tan tô=n sautou=
e)pimelê=|, sautou= e)pime/lei?] This same antithesis is employed by
Isokrates, De Permutatione, sect. 309, p. 492, Bekker. He recommends
[Greek: au)tou= pro/teron ê)\ tô=n au)tou= poiei=sthai tê\n
e)pime/leian].]

[Footnote 22: Plato considers this point to be not clearly made out.
Alkib. i. 130.]

[Side-note: I cannot know myself, except by looking into
another mind. Self-knowledge is temperance. Temperance and Justice
are the conditions both of happiness and of freedom.]

Since temperance consists in self-knowledge, neither of these
professional men, as such, is temperate: their professions are of a
vulgar cast, and do not belong to the virtuous life.[23] How are
we to know our own minds? We know it by looking into another mind,
and into the most rational and divine portion thereof: just as the
eye can only know itself by looking into another eye, and seeing
itself therein reflected.[24] It is only in this way that we can come
to know ourselves, or become temperate: and if we do not know
ourselves, we cannot even know what belongs to ourselves, or what
belongs to others: all these are branches of one and the same
cognition. We can have no knowledge of affairs, either public or
private: we shall go wrong, and shall be unable to secure happiness
either for ourselves or for others. It is not wealth or power which
are the conditions of happiness, but justice and temperance. Both for
ourselves individually, and for the public collectively, we ought to
aim at justice and temperance, not at wealth and power. The evil and
unjust man ought to have no power, but to be the slave of those who
are better than himself.[25] He is fit for nothing but to be a slave:
none deserve freedom except the virtuous.

[Footnote 23: Plato, Alkib. i. 131 B.]

[Footnote 24: Plato, Alkib. i. 133.]

[Footnote 25: Plato, Alkib. i. 134-135 B-C.

[Greek: Pri\n de/ ge a)retê\n e)/chein, to\ a)/rchesthai a)/meinon
u(po\ tou= belti/onos ê)\ to\ a)/rchein a)ndri\, ou) mo/non paidi/
. . . . Pre/pei a)/ra tô=| kakô=| douleu/ein; a)/meinon ga/r.]]

[Side-note: Alkibiades feels himself unworthy to be free, and
declares that he will never quit Sokrates.]

_Sokr._--How do you feel your own condition now, Alkibiades. Are
you worthy of freedom? _Alk._--I feel but too keenly that I am
not. I cannot emerge from this degradation except by your society and
help. From this time forward I shall never leave you.[26]

[Footnote 26: Plato, Alkib. i. 135.]


ALKIBIADES II.


[Side-note: Second Alkibiades--situation supposed.]

The other Platonic dialogue, termed the Second Alkibiades, introduces
Alkibiades as about to offer prayer and sacrifice to the Gods.

[Side-note: Danger of mistake in praying to the Gods for gifts
which may prove mischievous. Most men are unwise. Unwise is the
generic word: madmen, a particular variety under it.]

_Sokr._--You seem absorbed in thought, Alkibiades, and not
unreasonably. In supplicating the Gods, caution is required not to
pray for gifts which are really mischievous. The Gods sometimes grant
men's prayers, even when ruinously destructive; as they granted
the prayers of Oedipus, to the destruction of his own sons.
_Alk._--Oedipus was mad: what man in his senses would put up
such a prayer? _Sokr._--You think that madness is the opposite
of good sense or wisdom. You recognise men wise and unwise: and you
farther admit that every man must be one or other of the two,--just
as every man must be either healthy or sick: there is no third
alternative possible? _Alk._--I think so. _Sokr._--But each
thing can have but one opposite:[27] to be unwise, and to be mad, are
therefore identical? _Alk._--They are. _Sokr._--Wise men
are only few, the majority of our citizens are unwise: but do you
really think them mad? How could any of us live safely in the society
of so many mad-men? _Alk._--No: it cannot be so: I was mistaken.
_Sokr._--Here is the illustration of your mistake. All men who
have gout, or fever, or ophthalmia are sick; but all sick men have
not gout, or fever, or ophthalmia. So, too, all carpenters, or
shoemakers, or sculptors, are craftsmen; but all craftsmen are not
carpenters, or shoemakers, or sculptors. In like manner, all mad men
are unwise; but all unwise men are not mad. _Unwise_ comprises
many varieties and gradations of which the extreme is, being mad: but
these varieties are different among themselves, as one disease
differs from another, though all agree in being disease and one art
differs from another, though all agree in being art.[28]

[Footnote 27: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 139 B.

[Greek: Kai\ mê\n du/o ge u(penanti/a e(ni\ pra/gmati pô=s a)\n
ei)/ê?]

That each thing has one opposite, and no more, is asserted in the
Protagoras also, p. 192-193.]

[Footnote 28: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 139-140 A-B.

[Greek: Kai\ ga\r oi( pure/ttontes pa/ntes nosou=sin, ou) me/nntoioi(
nosou=ntes pa/ntes pure/ttousin ou)de\ podagrô=sin ou)de/ ge
o)phthalmiô=sin; a)lla\ no/sos me\n pa=n to\ toiou=to/n e)sti,
diaphe/rein de/ phasin ou(\s dê\ kalou=men i)atros tê\n a)pergasi/an
au)tô=n; ou) ga\r pa=sai ou)/te o(/moiai ou)/te o(moi/ôs
diapra/ttontai, a)lla\ kata\ tê\n au)tê=s du/namin e(ka/stê.]]

[Side-note: Relation between a generic term, and the specific
terms comprehended under it, was not then familiar.]

(We may remark that Plato here, as in the Euthyphron, brings under
especial notice one of the most important distinctions in formal
logic--that between a generic between a term and the various specific
terms comprehended under it. Possessing as yet no technical language
for characterising this distinction, he makes it understood by an
induction of several separate but analogous cases. Because the
distinction is familiar now to instructed men, we must not suppose
that it was familiar then.)

[Side-note: Frequent cases, in which men pray for supposed
benefits, and find that when obtained, they are misfortunes. Every
one fancies that he knows what is beneficial: mischiefs of
ignorance.]

_Sokr._--Whom do you call wise and unwise? Is not the wise man,
he who knows what it is proper to say and do--and the unwise man, he
who does not know? _Alk._--Yes. _Sokr._--The unwise man
will thus often unconsciously say or do what ought not to be said or
done? Though not mad like Oedipus, he will nevertheless pray to the
Gods for gifts, which will be hurtful to him if obtained. You, for
example, would be overjoyed if the Gods were to promise that you
should become despot not only over Athens, but also over Greece.
_Alk._--Doubtless I should: and every one else would feel as I
do. _Sokr._--But what if you were to purchase it with your life,
or to damage yourself by the employment of it? _Alk._--Not on
those conditions.[29] _Sokr._--But you are aware that many
ambitious aspirants, both at Athens and elsewhere (among them, the
man who just now killed the Macedonian King Archelaus, and usurped
his throne), have acquired power and aggrandisement, so as to be
envied by every one: yet have presently found themselves brought to
ruin and death by the acquisition. So, also, many persons pray that
they may become fathers; but discover presently that their children
are the source of so much grief to them, that they wish themselves
again childless. Nevertheless, though such reverses are perpetually
happening, every one is still not only eager to obtain these supposed
benefits, but importunate with the Gods in asking for them. You see
that it is not safe even to accept without reflection boons offered
to you, much less to pray for boons to be conferred.[30] _Alk._--I
see now how much mischief ignorance produces. Every one thinks
himself competent to pray for what is beneficial to himself; but
ignorance makes him unconsciously imprecate mischief on his own head.

[Footnote 29: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 141.]

[Footnote 30: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 141-142.]

[Side-note: Mistake in predications about ignorance generally.
We must discriminate. Ignorance of _what?_ Ignorance of good, is
always mischievous: ignorance of other things, not always.]

_Sokr._--You ought not to denounce ignorance in this unqualified
manner. You must distinguish and specify. Ignorance of what? and
under what modifications of persons and circumstances? _Alk._--How?
Are there _any_ matters or circumstances in which it is
better for a man to be ignorant, than to know? _Sokr._--You will
see that there are such. Ignorance of good, or ignorance of what is
best, is always mischievous: moreover, assuming that a man knows what
is best, then all other knowledge will be profitable to him. In his
special case, ignorance on any subject cannot be otherwise than
hurtful. But if a man be ignorant things of good, or of what is best,
in his case knowledge on other subjects will be more often hurtful
than profitable. To a man like Orestes, so misguided on the question,
"What is good?" as to resolve to kill his mother, it would be a real
benefit, if for the time he did not know his mother. Ignorance on
that point, in his state of mind, would be better for him than
knowledge.[31] _Alk._--It appears so.

[Footnote 31: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 144.]

[Side-note: Wise public counsellors are few. Upon what ground
do we call these few wise? Not because they possess merely special
arts or accomplishments, but because they know besides, upon what
occasions and under what limits each of these accomplishments ought
to be used.]

_Sokr._--Follow the argument farther. When we come forward to
say or do any thing, we either know what we are about to say and do,
or at least believe ourselves to know it. Every statesman who gives
counsel to the public, does so in the faith of such knowledge. Most
citizens are unwise, and ignorant of good as well as of other things.
The wise are but few, and by their advice the city is conducted. Now
upon what ground do we call these few, wise and useful public
counsellors? If a statesman knows war, but does not know whether it
is best to go to war, or at what juncture it is best--should we call
him wise? If he knows how to kill men, or dispossess them, or drive
them into exile,--but does not know upon whom, or on what occasions,
it is good to inflict this treatment--is he a useful counsellor? If
he can ride, or shoot, or wrestle, well,--we give him an epithet
derived from this special accomplishment: we do not call him wise.
What would be the condition of a community composed of bowmen,
horsemen, wrestlers, rhetors, &c., accomplished and excellent
each in his own particular craft, yet none of them knowing what is
good, nor when, nor on what occasions, it is good to employ their
craft? When each man pushes forward his own art and speciality,
without any knowledge whether it is good on the whole either for
himself or for the city, will not affairs thus conducted be reckless
and disastrous?[32] _Alk._--They will be very bad indeed.

[Footnote 32: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 145.]

[Side-note: Special accomplishments, without the knowledge of
the good or profitable, are oftener hurtful than beneficial.]

_Sokr._--If, then, a man has no knowledge of good or of the
better--if upon this cardinal point he obeys fancy without
reason--the possession of knowledge upon special subjects will be
oftener hurtful than profitable to him; because it will make him more
forward in action, without any good result. Possessing many arts and
accomplishments, and prosecuting one after another, but without the
knowledge of good,--he will only fall into greater trouble, like a
ship sailing without a pilot. Knowledge of good is, in other words,
knowledge of what is useful and profitable. In conjunction with this,
all other knowledge is valuable, and goes to increase a man's
competence as a counsellor: apart from this, all other knowledge will
not render a man competent as a counsellor, but will be more
frequently hurtful than beneficial.[33] Towards right living, what we
need is, the knowledge of good: just as the sick stand in need of a
physician, and the ship's crew of a pilot. _Alk._--I admit your
reasoning. My opinion is changed. I no longer believe myself
competent to determine what I ought to accept from the Gods, or what
I ought to pray for. I incur serious danger of erring, and of asking
for mischiefs, under the belief that they are benefits.

[Footnote 33: Plato, Alkib. ii. 145 C:

[Greek: O(/stis a)/ra ti tô=n toiou/tôn oi)=den, e)a\n me\n
pare/pêtai au)tô=| ê( _tou= belti/stou e)pistê/mê--au(/tê d' ê)=n
ê( au)tê\ dê/pou ê(/per kai\ ê( tou= ô)pheli/mou_--phro/nimo/n ge
au)to\n phê/somen kai\ a)pochrô=nta xu/mboulou kai\ tê=| po/lei kai\
au)to\n au(tô=|; to\n de\ mê\ toiou=ton, ta)nanti/a tou/tôn.]
([Greek: Touou=ton] is Schneider's emendation for [Greek:
poiou=nta].) Ibid. 146 C: [Greek: Ou)kou=n phame\n pa/lin tou\s
pollou\s diêmartêke/nai tou= belti/stou, ô(s ta\ polla/ ge, oi)=mai,
a)/neu nou= do/xê| pepisteuko/tas?] Ibid. 146 E: [Greek: O(ra=|s
ou)=n, o(/te g' e)/phên kinduneu/ein to/ ge tô=n a)/llôn e)pistêmô=n
ktê=ma, e)a/n tis a)/neu tê=s tou= belti/stou e)pistê/mês kektême/nos
ê)=|, o)liga/kis me\n ô)phelei=n bla/ptein de\ ta\ plei/ô ton
e)/chont' au)to/.] Ibid. 147 A: [Greek: O( de\ dê\ tê\n kaloume/nên
poluma/theia/n te kai\ polutechni/an kektême/nos, o)rphano\s de\ ô)\n
tau/tês tê=s e)pistê/mês, a)go/menos de\ u(po\ mia=s e(ka/stês tô=n
a)/llôn, a)=r' ou)chi\ tô=| o)/nti dikai/ôs pollô=| cheimô=ni
chrê/setai, a(/t', oi)=mai, a)/neu kubernê/tou diatelô=n e)n
pela/gei], &c.]

[Side-note: It is unsafe for Alkibiades to proceed with his
sacrifice, until he has learnt what is the proper language to address
to the Gods. He renounces his sacrifice, and throws himself upon the
counsel of Sokrates.]

_Sokr._--The Lacedæmonians, when they offer sacrifice, pray
simply that they may obtain what is honourable and good, without
farther specification. This language is acceptable to the Gods,
more acceptable than the costly festivals of Athens. It has procured
for the Spartans more continued prosperity than the Athenians have
enjoyed.[34] The Gods honour wise and just men, that is, men who know
what they ought to say and do both towards Gods and towards men--more
than numerous and splendid offerings.[35] You see, therefore, that it
is not safe for you to proceed with your sacrifice, until you have
learnt what is the proper language to be used, and what are the
really good gifts to be prayed for. Otherwise your sacrifice will not
prove acceptable, and you may even bring upon yourself positive
mischief.[36] _Alk._--When shall I be able to learn this, and
who is there to teach me? I shall be delighted to meet him.
_Sokr._--There is a person at hand most anxious for your
improvement. What he must do is, first to disperse the darkness from
your mind, next, to impart that which will teach you to discriminate
evil from good, which at present you are unable to do. _Alk._--I
shall shrink from no labour to accomplish this object. Until then, I
postpone my intended sacrifice: and I tender my sacrificial wreath to
you, in gratitude for your counsel.[37] _Sokr._--I accept the
wreath as a welcome augury of future friendship and conversation
between us, to help us out of the present embarrassment.

[Footnote 34: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 148.]

[Footnote 35: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 150.]

[Footnote 36: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 150.]

[Footnote 37: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 151.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Different critical opinions respecting these two
dialogues.]

The two dialogues, called First and Second Alkibiadês, of which I
have just given some account, resemble each other more than most of
the Platonic dialogues, not merely in the personages introduced, but
in general spirit, in subject, and even in illustrations. The First
Alkibiadês was recognised as authentic by all critics without
exception, until the days of Schleiermacher. Nay, it was not only
recognised, but extolled as one of the most valuable and important of
all the Platonic compositions; proper to be studied first, as a key
to all the rest. Such was the view of Jamblichus and Proklus,
transmitted to modern times; until it received a harsh contradiction
from Schleiermacher, who declared the dialogue to be both worthless
and spurious. The Second Alkibiadês was also admitted both by
Thrasyllus, and by the general body of critics in ancient times: but
there were some persons (as we learn from Athenæus)[38] who
considered it to be a work of Xenophon; perceiving probably (what is
the fact) that it bears much analogy to several conversations which
Xenophon has set down. But those who held this opinion are not to be
considered as of one mind with critics who reject the dialogue as a
forgery or imitation of Plato. Compositions emanating from Xenophon
are just as much Sokratic, probably even more Sokratic, than the most
unquestioned Platonic dialogues, besides that they must of necessity
be contemporary also. Schleiermacher has gone much farther: declaring
the Second as well as the First to be an unworthy imitation of
Plato.[39]

[Footnote 38: Athenæus, xi. p. 506.]

[Footnote 39: See the Einleitung of Schleiermacher to Alkib. i. part
ii. vol. iii. p. 293 seq. Einleitung to Alkib. ii. part i. vol. ii.
p. 365 seq. His notes on the two dialogues contain various additional
reasons, besides what is urged in his Introduction.]

[Side-note: Grounds for disallowing them--less strong against
the Second than against the First.]

Here Ast agrees with Schleiermacher fully, including both the First
and Second Alkibiades in his large list of the spurious. Most of the
subsequent critics go with Schleiermacher only half-way: Socher,
Hermann, Stallbaum, Steinhart, Susemihl, recognise the First
Alkibiadês, but disallow the Second.[40] In my judgment,
Schleiermacher and Ast are more consistently right, or more
consistently wrong, in rejecting both, than the other critics who
find or make so capital a distinction between the two. The similarity
of tone and topics between the two is obvious, and is indeed admitted
by all. Moreover, if I were compelled to make a choice, I should say
that the grounds for suspicion are rather less strong against the
Second than against the First; and that Schleiermacher, reasoning
upon the objections admitted by his opponents as conclusive against
the Second, would have no difficulty in showing that his own
objections against the First were still more forcible. The long
speech assigned in the First Alkibiadês to Sokrates, about the
privileges of the Spartan and Persian kings,[41] including the
mention of Zoroaster, son of Oromazes, and the Magian religion,
appears to me more unusual with Plato than anything which I find in
the Second Alkibiadês. It is more Xenophontic[42] than Platonic.

[Footnote 40: Socher, Ueber Platon's Schriften, p. 112. Stallbaum,
Prolegg. to Alkib. i. and ii. vol. v. pp. 171-304. K. F. Hermann,
Gesch. und Syst. der Platon. Philos. p. 420-439. Steinhart,
Einleitungen to Alkib. i. and ii. in Hieronymus Müller's Uebersetzung
des Platon's Werke, vol. i. pp. 135-509.]

[Footnote 41: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 121-124.

Whoever reads the objections in Steinhart's Einleitung (p. 148-150)
against the First Alkibiadês, will see that they are quite as
forcible as what he urges against the Second; only, that in the case
of the First, he gives these objections their legitimate bearing,
allowing them to tell against the merit of the dialogue, but not
against its authenticity.]

[Footnote 42: See Xenoph. Oekonom. c. 4; Cyropæd. vii. 5, 58-64,
viii. 1, 5-8-45; Laced. Repub. c. 15.]

[Side-note: The supposed grounds for disallowance are in
reality only marks of inferiority.]

But I must here repeat, that because I find, in this or any other
dialogue, some peculiarities not usual with Plato, I do not feel
warranted thereby in declaring the dialogue spurious. In my judgment,
we must look for a large measure of diversity in the various
dialogues; and I think it an injudicious novelty, introduced by
Schleiermacher, to set up a canonical type of Platonism, all
deviations from which are to be rejected as forgeries. Both the First
and the Second Alkibiadês appear to me genuine, even upon the showing
of those very critics who disallow them. Schleiermacher, Stallbaum,
and Steinhart, all admit that there is in both the dialogues a
considerable proportion of Sokratic and Platonic ideas: but they
maintain that there are also other ideas which are not Sokratic or
Platonic, and that the texture, style, and prolixity of the Second
Alkibiadês (Schleiermacher maintains this about the First also) are
unworthy of Plato. But if we grant these premisses, the reasonable
inference would be, not to disallow it altogether, but to admit it as
a work by Plato, of inferior merit; perhaps of earlier days, before
his powers of composition had attained their maturity. To presume
that because Plato composed many excellent dialogues, therefore all
that he composed must have been excellent, is a pretension formally
disclaimed by many critics, and asserted by none.[42] Steinhart
himself allows that the Second Alkibiadês, though not composed by
Plato, is the work of some other author contemporary, an untrained
Sokratic disciple attempting to imitate Plato.[44] But we do not know
that there were any contemporaries who tried to imitate Plato:
though Theopompus accused him of imitating others, and called most of
his dialogues useless as well as false: while Plato himself, in his
inferior works, will naturally appear like an imitator of his better
self.

[Footnote 43: Stallbaum (Prolegg. ad Alcib. i. p. 186) makes this
general statement very justly, but he as well as other critics are
apt to forget it in particular cases.]

[Footnote 44: Steinhart, Einleitung, p. 516-519. Stallbaum and Boeckh
indeed assign the dialogue to a later period. Heindorf (ad Lysin, p.
211) thinks it the work "antiqui auctoris, sed non Platonis".

Steinhart and others who disallow the authenticity of the Second
Alkibiadês insist much (p. 518) upon the enormity of the
chronological blunder, whereby Sokrates and Alkibiadês are introduced
as talking about the death of Archelaus king of Macedonia, who was
killed in 399 B.C., in the same year as Sokrates, and four
years after Alkibiades. Such an anachronism (Steinhart urges) Plato
could never allow himself to commit. But when we read the Symposion,
we find Aristophanes in a company of which Sokrates, Alkibiades, and
Agathon form a part, alluding to the [Greek: dioi/kisis] of
Mantineia, which took place in 386 B.C. No one has ever made
this glaring anachronism a ground for disallowing the Symposion.
Steinhart says that the style of the Second Alkibiadês copies Plato
too closely (die ängstlich platonisirende Sprache des Dialogs, p.
515), yet he agrees with Stallbaum that in several places it departs
too widely from Plato.]

[Side-note: The two dialogues may probably be among Plato's
earlier compositions.]

I agree with Schleiermacher and the other recent critics in
considering the First and Second Alkibiadês to be inferior in merit
to Plato's best dialogues; and I contend that their own premisses
justify no more. They may probably be among his earlier productions,
though I do not believe that the First Alkibiadês was composed during
the lifetime of Sokrates, as Socher, Steinhart, and Stallbaum
endeavour to show.[45] I have already given my reasons, in a
previous chapter, for believing that Plato composed no dialogues at
all during the lifetime of Sokrates; still less in that of
Alkibiadês, who died four years earlier. There is certainly nothing
in either Alkibiadês I. or II. to shake this belief.

[Footnote 45: Stallbaum refers the composition of Alkib. i. to a time
not long before the accusation of Sokrates, when the enemies of
Sokrates were calumniating him in consequence of his past intimacy
with Alkibiades (who had before that time been killed in 404
B.C.) and when Plato was anxious to defend his master
(Prolegg. p. 186). Socher and Steinhart (p. 210) remark that such
writings would do little good to Sokrates under his accusation. They
place the composition of the dialogue earlier, in 406 B.C.
(Steinhart, p. 151-152), and they consider it the first exercise of
Plato in the strict dialectic method. Both Steinhart and Hermann
(Gesch. Plat. Phil. p. 440) think that the dialogue has not only a
speculative but a political purpose; to warn and amend Alkibiades,
and to prevent him from surrendering himself blindly to the
democracy.

I cannot admit the hypothesis that the dialogue was written in 406
B.C. (when Plato was twenty-one years of age, at most
twenty-two), nor that it had any intended bearing upon the real
historical Alkibiades, who left Athens in 415 B.C. at the
head of the armament against Syracuse, was banished three months
afterwards, and never came back to Athens until May 407 B.C.
(Xenoph. Hellen. i. 4, 13; i. 5, 17). He then enjoyed four months of
great ascendancy at Athens, left it at the head of the fleet to Asia
in Oct. 407 B.C., remained in command of the fleet for about
three months or so, then fell into disgrace and retired to
Chersonese, never revisiting Athens. In 406 B.C. Alkibiades
was again in banishment, out of the reach of all such warnings as
Hermann and Steinhart suppose that Plato intended to address to him
in Alkib. i.

Steinhart says (p. 152), "In dieser Zeit also, _wenige Jahre nach
seiner triumphirenden Rückkehr_, wo Alkibiades," &c. Now
Alkibiades left the Athenian service, irrevocably, within less
_than one year_ after his triumphant return.

Steinhart has not realised in his mind the historical and
chronological conditions of the period.]

[Side-note: Analogy with various dialogues in the Xenophontic
Memorabilia--Purpose of Sokrates to humble presumptuous young men.]

If we compare various colloquies of Sokrates in the Xenophontic
Memorabilia, we shall find Alkibiadês I. and II. very analogous to
them both in purpose and spirit. In Alkibiadês I. the situation
conceived is the same as that of Sokrates and Glaukon, in the third
book of the Memorabilia. Xenophon recounts how the presumptuous
Glaukon, hardly twenty years of age, fancied himself already fit to
play a conspicuous part in public affairs, and tried to force
himself, in spite of rebuffs and humiliations, upon the notice of the
assembly.[46] No remonstrances of friends could deter him, nor could
anything, except the ingenious dialectic of Sokrates, convince him of
his own impertinent forwardness and exaggerated self-estimation.
Probably Plato (Glaukon's elder brother) had heard of this
conversation, but whether the fact be so or not, we see the same
situation idealised by him in Alkibiadês I., and worked out in a way
of his own. Again, we find in the Xenophontic Memorabilia another
colloquy, wherein Sokrates cross-questions, perplexes, and
humiliates, the studious youth Euthydemus,[47] whom he regards as
over-confident in his persuasions and too well satisfied with
himself. It was among the specialties of Sokrates to humiliate
confident young men, with a view to their future improvement. He made
his conversation "an instrument of chastisement," in the language of
Xenophon: or (to use a phrase of Plato himself in the Lysis) he
conceived. "that the proper way of talking to youth whom you love,
was, not to exalt and puff them up, but to subdue and humiliate
them".[48]

[Footnote 46: Xenoph. Memor. iii. 6.]

[Footnote 47: Xenoph. Mem. iv. 2.]

[Footnote 48: Xenoph. Mem. i. 4, 1. [Greek: skepsa/menoi mê\ mo/non
a(\ e)kei=nos] (Sokrates) [Greek: _kolastêri/ou e(/neka _tou/s
pa/nt' oi)ome/nous ei)de/nai e)rôtô=n ê)/legchen, a)lla\ kai\ a(\
le/gôn sunême/reue toi=s sundiatri/bousin], &c. So in the
Platonic Lysis, the youthful Lysis says to Sokrates "Talk to
Menexenus, [Greek: i(/n' au)to\n kola/sê|s]" (Plat. Lysis, 211 B).
And Sokrates himself says, a few lines before (210 E), [Greek: Ou(/tô
chrê\ toi=s paidikoi=s diale/gesthai, tapeinou=nta kai\ suste/llonta,
kai\ mê\ ô(/sper su\ chaunou=nta kai\ diathru/ptonta.]]

[Side-note: Fitness of the name and character of Alkibiades for
idealising this feature in Sokrates.]

If Plato wished to idealise this feature in the character of
Sokrates, no name could be more suitable to his purpose than that of
Alkibiades: who, having possessed as a youth the greatest personal
beauty (to which Sokrates was exquisitely sensible) had become in his
mature life distinguished not less for unprincipled ambition and
insolence, than for energy and ability. We know the real Alkibiadês
both from Thucydides and Xenophon, and we also know that Alkibiades
had in his youth so far frequented the society of Sokrates as to
catch some of that dialectic ingenuity, which the latter was expected
and believed to impart.[49] The contrast, as well as the
companionship, between Sokrates and Alkibiades was eminently
suggestive to the writers of Sokratic dialogues, and nearly all of
them made use of it, composing dialogues in which Alkibiades was the
principal name and figure.[50] It would be surprising indeed if Plato
had never done the same: which is what we must suppose, if we adopt
Schleiermacher's view, that both Alkibiadês I. and II. are spurious.
In the Protagoras as well as in the Symposion, Alkibiades figures;
but in neither of them is he the principal person, or titular hero,
of the piece. In Alkibiadês I. and II., he is introduced as the
solitary respondent to the questions of Sokrates--[Greek: kolastêri/ou
e(/neka]: to receive from Sokrates a lesson of humiliation such as
the Xenophontic Sokrates administers to Glaukon and Euthydemus,
taking care to address the latter when alone.[51]

[Footnote 49: The sensibility of Sokrates to youthful beauty is as
strongly declared in the Xenophontic Memorabilia (i. 3, 8-14), as in
the Platonic Lysis, Charmidês, or Symposion.

The conversation reported by Xenophon between Alkibiades, when not
yet twenty years of age, and his guardian Perikles, the first man in
Athens--wherein Alkibiades puzzles Perikles by a Sokratic
cross-examination--is likely enough to be real, and was probably the
fruit of his sustained society with Sokrates (Xen. Memor. i. 2, 40).]

[Footnote 50: Stallbaum observes (Prolegg. ad Alcib. i. p. 215, 2nd
ed.), "Ceterum etiam Æschines, Euclides, Phædon, et Antisthenes,
dialogos _Alcibiadis_ nomine inscriptos composuisse narrantur".

Respecting the dialogues composed by Æschines, see the first note to
this chapter.]

[Footnote 51: Xenoph. Mem. iv. 2, 8.]

[Side-note: Plato's manner of replying to the accusers of
Sokrates. Magical influence ascribed to the conversation of
Sokrates.]

I conceive Alkibiadês I. and II. as composed by Plato among his
earlier writings (perhaps between 399-390 B.C.)[52] giving
an imaginary picture of the way in which "Sokrates handled every
respondent just as he chose" (to use the literal phrase of
Xenophon[53]): taming even that most overbearing youth, whom
Aristophanes characterises as the lion's whelp.[54] In selecting
Alkibiades as the sufferer under such a chastising process, Plato
rebuts in his own ideal style that charge which Xenophon answers with
prosaic directness--the charge made against Sokrates by his enemies,
that he taught political craft without teaching ethical sobriety; and
that he had encouraged by his training the lawless propensities of
Alkibiades.[55] When Schleiermacher, and others who disallow the
dialogue, argue that the inordinate insolence ascribed to Alkibiades,
and the submissive deference towards Sokrates also ascribed to him,
are incongruous and incompatible attributes,--I reply that such a
conjunction is very improbable in any real character. But this does
not hinder Plato from combining them in one and the same ideal
character, as we shall farther see when we come to the manifestation
of Alkibiades in the Symposion: in which dialogue we find a
combination of the same elements, still more extravagant and
high-coloured. Both here and there we are made to see that Sokrates,
far from encouraging Alkibiades, is the only person who ever succeeded
in humbling him. Plato attributes to the personality and conversation
of Sokrates an influence magical and almost superhuman: which Cicero
and Plutarch, proceeding probably upon the evidence of the Platonic
dialogues, describe as if it were historical fact. They represent
Alkibiades as shedding tears of sorrow and shame, and entreating
Sokrates to rescue him from a sense of degradation insupportably
painful.[56] Now Xenophon mentions Euthydemus and other young men as
having really experienced these profound and distressing
emotions.[56] But he does not at all certify the same about
Alkibiades, whose historical career is altogether adverse to the
hypothesis. The Platonic picture is an _idéal_, drawn from what
may have been actually true about other interlocutors of Sokrates,
and calculated to reply to Melêtus and his allies.

[Footnote 52: The date which I here suppose for the composition of
Alkib. i. (_i.e._ after the death of Sokrates, but early in the
literary career of Plato), is farther sustained (against those
critics who place it in 406 B.C. or 402 B.C. before
the death of Sokrates) by the long discourse (p. 121-124) of Sokrates
about the Persian and Spartan kings. In reference to the Persian
monarchy Sokrates says (p. 123 B), [Greek: e)pei/ pot' e)gô\ ê(/kousa
a)ndro\s a)xiopi/stou tô=n a)nabebêko/tôn para\ basile/a, o(\s e)/phê
parelthei=n chô/ran pa/nu pollê\n kai\ a)gathê/n--ê(\n kalei=n tou\s
e)pichôri/ous zô/nên tê=s basile/ôs gunaiko/s], &c. Olympiodorus
and the Scholiast both suppose that Plato here refers to Xenophon and
the Anabasis, in which a statement very like this is found (i. 4, 9).
It is plain, therefore, that _they_ did not consider the
dialogue to have been composed before the death of Sokrates. I think
it very probable that Plato had in his mind Xenophon (either his
Anabasis, or personal communications with him); but at any rate
visits of Greeks to the Persian court became very numerous between
399-390 B.C., whereas Plato can hardly have seen any such
visitors at Athens in 406 B.C. (before the close of the
war), nor probably in 402 B.C., when Athens, though relieved
from the oligarchy, was still in a state of great public prostration.
Between 399 B.C. and the peace of Antalkidas (387
B.C.), visitors from Greece to the interior of Persia became
more and more frequent, the Persian kings interfering very actively
in Grecian politics. Plato may easily have seen during these years
intelligent Greeks who had been up to the Persian court on military
or political business. Both the Persian kings and the Spartan kings
were then in the maximum of power and ascendancy--it is no wonder
therefore that Sokrates should here be made to dwell upon their
prodigious dignity in his discourse with Alkibiades. Steinhart (Einl.
p. 150) feels the difficulty of reconciling this part of the dialogue
with his hypothesis that it was composed in 406 B.C.: yet he
and Stallbaum both insist that it must have been composed before the
death of Sokrates, for which they really produce no grounds at all.]

[Footnote 53: Xen. Mem. i. 2, 14. [Greek: toi=s de\ dialegome/nois
au)tô=| pa=si chrô/menon e)n toi=s lo/gois o(/pôs bou/loito.]]

[Footnote 54: Aristoph. Ran. 1431. [Greek: ou) chrê\ le/ontos
sku/mnon e)n po/lei tre/phein.] Thucyd. vi. 15. [Greek: phobêthe/ntes
ga\r au)tou=] (Alkib.) [Greek: oi( polloi\ to\ me/gethos tê=s te
kata\ to\ e(autou= sô=ma paranomi/as e)s tê\n di/aitan, kai\ tê=s
dianoi/as ô(=n kath' e(\n e(/kaston, e)n o(/tô| gi/gnoito,
e)/prassen, ô(s turanni/dos e)pithumou=nti pole/mioi kathe/stasan],
&c.]

[Footnote 55: Xenoph. Memorab. i. 2, 17.]

[Footnote 56: Cicero, Tusc. Disp. iii. 32, 77; Plutarch, Alkib. c.
4-6. Compare Plato, Alkib. i. p. 127 D, 135 C; Symposion, p. 215-216.]

[Footnote 57: Xenoph. Memor. iv. 2, 39-40.]

[Side-note: The purpose proclaimed by Sokrates in the Apology
is followed out in Alkib. I. Warfare against the false persuasion of
knowledge.]

Looking at Alkibiadês I. and II. in this point of view, we shall find
them perfectly Sokratic both in topics proclaimed and in
manner--whatever may be said about unnecessary prolixity and common-place
here and there. The leading ideas of Alkibiadês I. may be found,
nearly all, in the Platonic Apology. That warfare, which Sokrates
proclaims in the Apology as having been the mission of his life,
against the false persuasion of knowledge, or against beliefs ethical
and æsthetical, firmly entertained without having been preceded by
conscious study or subjected to serious examination--is exemplified
in Alkibiadês I. and II. as emphatically as in any Platonic
composition. In both these dialogues, indeed (especially in the
first), we find an excessive repetition of specialising
illustrations, often needless and sometimes tiresome: a defect easily
intelligible if we assume them to have been written when Plato was
still a novice in the art of dialogic composition. But both dialogues
are fully impregnated with the spirit of the Sokratic process,
exposing, though with exuberant prolixity, the firm and universal
belief, held and affirmed by every one even at the age of boyhood,
without any assignable grounds or modes of acquisition, and amidst
angry discordance between the affirmation of one man and another. The
emphasis too with which Sokrates insists upon his own single function
of merely questioning, and upon the fact that Alkibiades gives all
the answers and pronounces all the self-condemnation with his own
mouth[58]--is remarkable in this dialogue: as well as the confidence
with which he proclaims the dialogue as affording the only, but
effective, cure.[59] The ignorance of which Alkibiades stands
unexpectedly convicted, is expressly declared to be common to him
with the other Athenian politicians: an exception being half allowed
to pass in favour of the semi-philosophical Perikles, whom Plato
judges here with less severity than elsewhere[60]--and a decided
superiority being claimed for the Spartan and Persian kings, who are
extolled as systematically trained from childhood.

[Footnote 58: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 112-113.]

[Footnote 59: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 127 E.]

[Footnote 60: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 118-120.]

[Side-note: Difficulties multiplied for the purpose of
bringing Alkibiades to a conviction of his own ignorance.]

The main purpose of Sokrates is to drive Alkibiades into
self-contradictions, and to force upon him a painful consciousness of
ignorance and mental defect, upon grave and important subjects, while
he is yet young enough to amend it. Towards this purpose he is made
to lay claim to a divine mission similar to that which the real
Sokrates announces in the Apology[61] A number of perplexing
questions and difficulties are accumulated: it is not meant that
these difficulties are insoluble, but that they cannot be solved by
one who has never seriously reflected on them--by one who (as the
Xenophontic Sokrates says to Euthydemus),[62] is so confident of
knowing the subject that he has never meditated upon it at all. The
disheartened Alkibiades feels the necessity of improving himself and
supplicates the assistance of Sokrates:[63] who reminds him that he
must first determine what "Himself" is. Here again we find ourselves
upon the track of Sokrates in the Platonic Apology, and under the
influence of the memorable inscription at Delphi--_Nosce
teipsum_. Your mind is yourself; your body is a mere instrument of
your mind: your wealth and power are simple appurtenances or
adjuncts. To know yourself, which is genuine Sophrosynê or
temperance, is to know your mind: but this can only be done by
looking into another mind, and into its most intelligent compartment:
just as the eye can only see itself by looking into the centre of
vision of another eye.[64]

[Footnote 61: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 124 C-127 E.]

[Footnote 62: Xenoph. Mem. iv. 2, 36. [Greek: A)lla\ tau=ta me/n,
e)/phê o( Sôkra/tês, i)/sôs, dia\ to\ spho/dra posteu/ein ei)de/nai,
ou)d' e)/skepsai.]]

[Footnote 63: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 128-132 A.]

[Footnote 64: Plato, Alkib. i. p. 133.

A Platonic metaphor, illustrating the necessity for two separate
minds co-operating in dialectic colloquy.]

[Side-note: Sokrates furnishes no means of solving these
difficulties. He exhorts to Justice and Virtue--but these are
acknowledged Incognita.]

At the same time, when, after having convicted Alkibiades of
deplorable ignorance, Sokrates is called upon to prescribe
remedies--all distinctness of indication disappears. It is exacted only
when the purpose is to bring difficulties and contradictions to view:
it is dispensed with, when the purpose is to solve them. The conclusion
is, that assuming happiness as the acknowledged ultimate end,[65]
Alkibiades cannot secure this either for himself or for his city, by
striving for wealth and power, private or public: he can only secure
it by acquiring for himself, and implanting in his country-men,
justice, temperance, and virtue. This is perfectly Sokratic, and
conformable to what is said by the real Sokrates in the Platonic
Apology. But coming at the close of Alkibiadês I., it presents no
meaning and imparts no instruction: because Sokrates had shown in the
earlier part of the dialogue, that neither he himself, nor
Alkibiades, nor the general public, knew what justice and virtue
were. The positive solution which Sokrates professes to give, is
therefore illusory. He throws us back upon those old, familiar,
emotional, associations, unconscious products and unexamined
transmissions from mind to mind--which he had already shown to
represent the fancy of knowledge without the reality--deep-seated
belief without any assignable intellectual basis, or outward standard
of rectitude.

[Footnote 65: Plat. Alkibiad. i. p. 134.]

[Side-note: Prolixity of Alkibiadês I.--Extreme multiplication
of illustrative examples--How explained.]

Throughout the various Platonic dialogues, we find alternately two
distinct and opposite methods of handling--the generalising of the
special, and the specialising of the general. In Alkibiadês I, the
specialising of the general preponderates--as it does in most of the
conversations of the Xenophontic Memorabilia: the number of
exemplifying particulars is unusually great. Sokrates does not accept
as an answer a general term, without illustrating it by several of
the specific terms comprehended under it: and this several times on
occasions when an instructed reader thinks it superfluous and
tiresome: hence, partly, the inclination of some modern critics to
disallow the dialogue. But we must recollect that though a modern
reader practised in the use of general terms may seize the meaning at
once, an Athenian youth of the Platonic age would not be sure of
doing the same. No conscious analysis had yet been applied to general
terms: no grammar or logic then entered into education. Confident
affirmation, without fully knowing the meaning of what is affirmed,
is the besetting sin against which Plato here makes war: and his
precautions for exposing it are pushed to extreme minuteness. So,
too, in the Sophistês and Politikus, when he wishes to illustrate the
process of logical division and subdivision, he applies it to cases
so trifling and so multiplied, that Socher is revolted and rejects
the dialogues altogether. But Plato himself foresees and replies to
the objection; declaring expressly that his main purpose is, not to
expound the particular subject chosen, but to make manifest and
familiar the steps and conditions of the general classifying
process--and that prolixity cannot be avoided.[66] We must reckon upon
a similar purpose in Alkibiadês I. The dialogue is a specimen of that
which Aristotle calls Inductive Dialectic, as distinguished from
Syllogistic: the Inductive he considers to be plainer and easier,
suitable when you have an ordinary collocutor--the Syllogistic is the
more cogent, when you are dealing with a practised disputant.[67]

[Footnote 66: Plato, Politikus, 285-286.]

[Footnote 67: Aristotel. Topic. i. 104, a. 16. [Greek: Po/sa tô=n
lo/gôn ei)/dê tô=n dialektikô=n--e)/sti de\ to\ me\n e)pagôgê/, to\
de\ sullogismo/s . . . . e)/sti d' ê( me\n e)pagôgê\ pithanô/teron
kai\ saphe/steron kai\ kata\ tê\n ai)/sthêsin gnôrimô/teron kai\
toi=s polloi=s koino/n; o( de\ sullogismo\s biastikô/teron kai\ pro\s
tou\s a)ntilogikou\s e)nerge/steron.]]

[Side-note: Alkibiadês II. leaves its problem avowedly
undetermined.]

It has been seen that Alkibiadês I, though professing to give
something like a solution, gives what is really no solution at all.
Alkibiadês II., similar in many respects, is here different, inasmuch
as it does not even profess to solve the difficulty which had been
raised. The general mental defect--false persuasion of knowledge
without the reality--is presented in its application to a particular
case. Alkibiades is obliged to admit that he does not know what he
ought to pray to the Gods for: neither what is _good_, to be
granted, nor what is _evil_, to be averted. He relies upon
Sokrates for dispelling this mist from his mind: which Sokrates
promises to do, but adjourns for another occasion.

[Side-note: Sokrates commends the practice of praying to the
Gods for favours undefined--his views about the semi-regular,
semi-irregular agency of the Gods--he prays to them for premonitory
warnings.]

Sokrates here ascribes to the Spartans, and to various philosophers,
the practice of putting up prayers in undefined language, for good
and honourable things generally. He commends that practice. Xenophon
tells us that the historical Sokrates observed it:[68] but he tells
us also that the historical Sokrates, though not praying for any
special presents from the Gods, yet prayed for and believed himself
to receive special irregular revelations and advice as to what was
good to be done or avoided in particular cases. He held that these
special revelations were essential to any tolerable life: that the
dispensations of the Gods, though administered upon regular
principles on certain subjects and up to a certain point, were kept
by them designedly inscrutable beyond that point: but that the Gods
would, if properly solicited, afford premonitory warnings to any
favoured person, such as would enable him to keep out of the way of
evil, and put himself in the way of good. He declared that to consult
and obey oracles and prophets was not less a maxim of prudence than a
duty of piety: for himself, he was farther privileged through his
divine sign or monitor, which he implicitly followed.[69] Such
premonitory warnings were the only special favour which he thought it
suitable to pray for--besides good things generally. For special
presents he did not pray, because he professed not to know whether
any of the ordinary objects of desire were good or bad. He proves in
his conversation with Euthydêmus, that all those acquisitions which
are usually accounted means of happiness--beauty, strength, wealth,
reputation, nay, even good health and wisdom--are sometimes good
or causes of happiness, sometimes evil or causes of misery; and
therefore cannot be considered either as absolutely the one or
absolutely the other.[70]

[Footnote 68: Xenoph. Mem. i. 3, 2; Plat. Alk. ii. p. 143-148.]

[Footnote 69: These opinions of Sokrates are announced in various
passages of the Xenophontic Memorabilia, i. 1, 1-10--[Greek: e)/phê
de\ dei=n, a(\ me\n matho/ntas poiei=n e)/dôkan oi( theoi/,
mantha/nein; a(\ de\ mê\ dê=la toi=s a)nthrô/pois e)sti/, peira=sthai
dia\ mantikê=s para\ tô=n theô=n puntha/nesthai; tou\s theou\s ga/r,
oi(=s a)\n ô)=sin i(/leô|, sêmai/nein]--i. 3, 4; i. 4, 2-15; iv. 3,
12; iv. 7, 10; iv. 8, 5-11.]

[Footnote 70: Xenoph. Memor. iv. 2, 31-32-36.[Greek: Tau=ta ou)=n
pote\ me\n ô)phelou=nta pote\ de\ bla/ptonta, ti/ ma=llon a)gatha\
ê)\ kaka/ e)stin?]]

[Side-note: Comparison of Alkibiadês II. with the Xenophontic
Memorabilia, especially the conversation of Sokrates with Euthydemus.
Sokrates not always consistent with himself.]

This impossibility of determining what is good and what is evil, in
consequence of the uncertainty in the dispensations of the Gods and
in human affairs--is a doctrine forcibly insisted on by the
Xenophontic Sokrates in his discourse with Euthydêmus, and much akin
to the Platonic Alkibiadês II., being applied to the special case of
prayer. But we must not suppose that Sokrates adheres to this
doctrine throughout all the colloquies of the Xenophontic
Memorabilia: on the contrary, we find him, in other places, reasoning
upon such matters, as health, strength, and wisdom, as if they were
decidedly good.[71] The fact is, that the arguments of Sokrates, in
the Xenophontic Memorabilia, vary materially according to the
occasion and the person with whom he is discoursing: and the case is
similar with the Platonic dialogues: illustrating farther the
questionable evidence on which Schleiermacher and other critics
proceed, when they declare one dialogue to be spurious, because it
contains reasoning inconsistent with another.

[Footnote 71: For example, Xen. Mem. iv. 5, 6--[Greek: sophi/an to\
me/giston a)gatho/n], &c.]

We find in Alkibiadês II. another doctrine which is also proclaimed
by Sokrates in the Xenophontic Memorabilia: that the Gods are not
moved by costly sacrifice more than by humble sacrifice, according to
the circumstances of the offerer:[72] they attend only to the mind of
the offerer, whether he be just and wise: that is, "whether he knows
what ought to be done both towards Gods and towards men".[73]

[Footnote 72: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 149-150; Xen. Mem. i. 3. Compare
Plato, Legg. x. p. 885; Isokrat. ad Nikok.]

[Footnote 73: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 149 E, 150 B.]

[Side-note: Remarkable doctrine of Alkibiadês II.--that
knowledge is not always Good. The knowledge of Good itself is
indispensable: without that, the knowledge of other things is more
hurtful than beneficial.]

But we find also in Alkibiadês II. another doctrine, more remarkable.
Sokrates will not proclaim absolutely that knowledge is good, and
that ignorance is evil. In some cases, he contends, ignorance is
good; and he discriminates which the cases are. That which we
are principally interested in knowing, is _Good_, or The
_Best_--The _Profitable_:[74] phrases used as equivalent.
The knowledge of this is good, and the ignorance of it mischievous,
under all supposable circumstances. And if a man knows good, the more
he knows of everything else, the better; since he will sure to make a
good use of his knowledge. But if he does not know good, the
knowledge of other things will be hurtful rather than beneficial to
him. To be skilful in particular arts and accomplishments, under the
capital mental deficiency supposed, will render him an instrument of
evil and not of good. The more he knows--and the more he believes
himself to know--the more forward will he be in acting, and therefore
the greater amount of harm will he do. It is better that he should
act as little as possible. Such a man is not fit to direct his own
conduct, like a freeman: he must be directed and controlled by
others, like a slave. The greater number of mankind are fools of this
description--ignorant of good: the wise men who know good, and are
fit to direct, are very few. The wise man alone, knowing good,
follows reason: the rest trust to opinion, without reason.[75] He
alone is competent to direct both his own conduct and that of the
society.

[Footnote 74: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 145 C. [Greek: O(/stis a)/ra ti
tô=n toiou/tôn oi)=den, e)a\n me\n pare/pêtai au)tô=| ê( tou=
belti/stou e)pistê/mê--au)tê\ d' ê)=n ê( au)tê\ dê/pou ê(per kai\ ê(
tou= ô)pheli/mou]--also 146 B.]

[Footnote 75: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 146 A-D. [Greek: a)/neu nou=
do/xê| pepisteuko/tas.]]

The stress which is laid here upon the knowledge of good, as
distinguished from all other varieties of knowledge--the
identification of the good with the profitable, and of the knowledge
of good with reason ([Greek: nou=s]), while other varieties of
knowledge are ranked with opinion ([Greek: do/xa])--these are points
which, under one phraseology or another, pervade many of the Platonic
dialogues. The old phrase of Herakleitus--[Greek: Polumathi/ê no/on
ou) dida/skei]--"much learning does not teach reason"--seems to have
been present to the mind of Plato in composing this dialogue. The man
of much learning and art, without the knowledge of good, and
surrendering himself to the guidance of one or other among his
accomplishments, is like a vessel tossed about at sea without a
pilot.[76]

[Footnote 76: Plato, Alkib. ii. p. 147 A. [Greek: o( de\ dê\ tê\n
kaloume/nên poluma/theia/n te kai\ polutechni/an kektême/nos,
o)rphano\s de\ ô)\n tau/tês tê=s e)pistê/mês, a)go/menos de\ u(po\
mia=s e(ka/stês tô=n a)/llôn], &c.]

[Side-note: Knowledge of Good--appears postulated and divined,
in many of the Platonic dialogues, under different titles.]

What Plato here calls the knowledge of Good, or Reason--the just
discrimination and comparative appreciation of Ends and
Means--appears in the Politikus and Euthydêmus, under the title of the
Regal or Political Art, of employing or directing[77] the results of all
other arts, which are considered as subordinate: in the Protagoras,
under the title of art of calculation or mensuration: in the
Philêbus, as measure and proportion: in the Phædrus (in regard to
rhetoric) as the art of turning to account, for the main purpose of
persuasion, all the special processes, stratagems, decorations,
&c., imparted by professional masters. In the Republic, it is
personified in the few venerable Elders who constitute the Reason of
the society, and whose directions all the rest (Guardians and
Producers) are bound implicitly to follow: the virtue of the
subordinates consisting in this implicit obedience. In the Leges, it
is defined as the complete subjection in the mind, of pleasures and
pains to right Reason,[78] without which, no special aptitudes are
worth having. In the Xenophontic Memorabilia, it stands as a Sokratic
authority under the title of Sophrosynê or Temperance:[79] and the
Profitable is declared identical with the Good, as the directing and
limiting principle for all human pursuits and proceedings.[80]

[Footnote 77: Plato, Politikus, 292 B, 304 B, 305 A; Euthydêmus, 291
B, 292 B. Compare Xenophon, Oekonomicus, i. 8, 13.]

[Footnote 78: Leges, iii. 689 A-D, 691 A.]

[Footnote 79: Xenoph. Memor. i. 2. 17; iv. 3. 1.]

[Footnote 80: Xenoph. Memor. iv. 6, 8; iv. 7, 7.]

[Side-note: The Good--the Profitable--what is it?--How are we
to know it? Plato leaves this undetermined.]

But what are we to understand by the _Good_, about which there
are so many disputes, according to the acknowledgment of Plato as
well as of Sokrates? And what are we to understand by the Profitable?
In what relation does it stand to the Pleasurable and the Painful?

These are points which Plato here leaves undetermined. We shall find
him again touching them, and trying different ways of determining
them, in the Protagoras, the Gorgias, the Republic, and
elsewhere. We have here the title and the postulate, but nothing
more, of a comprehensive Teleology, or right comparative estimate of
ends and means one against another, so as to decide when, how far,
under what circumstances, &c., each ought to be pursued. We shall
see what Plato does in other dialogues to connect this title and
postulate with a more definite meaning.



CHAPTER XIII.

HIPPIAS MAJOR--HIPPIAS MINOR.


[Side-note: Hippias Major--situation supposed--character of the
dialogue. Sarcasm and mockery against Hippias.]

Both these two dialogues are carried on between Sokrates and the
Eleian Sophist Hippias. The general conception of Hippias--described
as accomplished, eloquent, and successful, yet made to say vain and
silly things--is the same in both dialogues: in both also the
polemics of Sokrates against him are conducted in a like spirit, of
affected deference mingled with insulting sarcasm. Indeed the figure
assigned to Hippias is so contemptible, that even an admiring critic
like Stallbaum cannot avoid noticing the "petulans pene et proterva
in Hippiam oratio," and intimating that Plato has handled Hippias
more coarsely than any one else. Such petulance Stallbaum attempts to
excuse by saying that the dialogue is a youthful composition of
Plato:[1] while Schleiermacher numbers it among the reasons for
suspecting the dialogue, and Ast, among the reasons for declaring
positively that Plato is not the author.[2] This last conclusion I do
not at all accept: nor even the hypothesis of Stallbaum, if it be
tendered as an excuse for improprieties of tone: for I believe that
the earliest of Plato's dialogues was composed after he was
twenty-eight years of age--that is, after the death of Sokrates. It is
however noway improbable, that both the Greater and Lesser Hippias
may have been among Plato's earlier compositions. We see by the
Memorabilia of Xenophon that there was repeated and acrimonious
controversy between Sokrates and Hippias: so that we may probably
suppose feelings of special dislike, determining Plato to compose two
distinct dialogues, in which an imaginary Hippias is mocked and
scourged by an imaginary Sokrates.

[Footnote 1: Stallbaum, Prolegg. in Hipp. Maj. p. 149-150; also
Steinhart (Einleitung, p. 42-43), who says, after an outpouring of
his usual invective against the Sophist: "Nevertheless the coarse
jesting of the dialogue seems almost to exceed the admissible limit
of comic effect," &c. Again, p. 50, Steinhart talks of the banter
which Sokrates carries on with Hippias, in a way not less cruel
(grausam) than purposeless, tormenting him with a string of
successive new propositions about the definition of the Beautiful,
which propositions, as fast as Hippias catches at them, he again
withdraws of his own accord, and thus at last dismisses him (as he
had dismissed Ion) uninstructed and unimproved, without even leaving
behind in him the sting of anger, &c.

It requires a powerful hatred against the persons called Sophists, to
make a critic take pleasure in a comedy wherein silly and ridiculous
speeches are fastened upon the name of one of them, in his own day
not merely honoured but acknowledged as deserving honour by
remarkable and varied accomplishments--and to make the critic
describe the historical Hippias (whom we only know from Plato and
Xenophon--see Steinhart, note 7, p. 89; Socher, p. 221) as if he had
really delivered these speeches, or something equally absurd.

How this comedy may be appreciated is doubtless a matter of
individual taste. For my part, I agree with Ast in thinking it
misplaced and unbecoming: and I am not surprised that he wishes to
remove the dialogue from the Platonic canon, though I do not concur
either in this inference, or in the general principle on which it
proceeds, viz., that all objections against the composition of a
dialogue are to be held as being also objections against its
genuineness as a work of Plato. The Nubes of Aristophanes, greatly
superior as a comedy to the Hippias of Plato, is turned to an abusive
purpose when critics put it into court as evidence about the
character of the real Sokrates.

K. F. Hermann, in my judgment, takes a more rational view of the
Hippias Major (Gesch. und Syst. der Plat. Phil. p. 487-647). Instead
of expatiating on the glory of Plato in deriding an accomplished
contemporary, he dwells upon the logical mistakes and confusion which
the dialogue brings to view; and he reminds us justly of the
intellectual condition of the age, when even elementary distinctions
in logic and grammar had been scarcely attended to.

Both K. F. Hermann and Socher consider the Hippias to be not a
juvenile production of Plato, but to belong to his middle age.]

[Footnote 2: Schleierm. Einleitung. p. 401; Ast, Platon's Leben und
Schriften, p. 457-459.]

[Side-note: Real debate between the historical Sokrates and
Hippias in the Xenophontic Memorabilia--subject of that debate.]

One considerable point in the Hippias Major appears to have a bearing
on the debate between Sokrates and Hippias in the Xenophontic
Memorabilia: in which debate, Hippias taunts Sokrates with always
combating and deriding the opinions of others, while evading to give
opinions of his own. It appears that some antecedent debates between
the two had turned upon the definition of the Just, and that on these
occasions Hippias had been the respondent, Sokrates the objector.
Hippias professes to have reflected upon these debates, and to be now
prepared with a definition which neither Sokrates nor any one else
can successfully assail, but he will not say what the definition is,
until Sokrates has laid down one of his own. In reply to this
challenge, Sokrates declares the Just to be equivalent to the Lawful
or Customary: he defends this against various objections of
Hippias, who concludes by admitting it.[3] Probably this debate, as
reported by Xenophon, or something very like it, really took place.
If so, we remark with surprise the feebleness of the objections of
Hippias, in a case where Sokrates, if he had been the objector, would
have found such strong ones--and the feeble replies given by
Sokrates, whose talent lay in starting and enforcing difficulties,
not in solving them.[4] Among the remarks which Sokrates makes in
illustration to Hippias, one is--that Lykurgus had ensured
superiority to Sparta by creating in the Spartans a habit of implicit
obedience to the laws.[5] Such is the character of the Xenophontic
debate.

[Footnote 3: Xenoph. Mem. iv. 4, 12-25.]

[Footnote 4: Compare the puzzling questions which Alkibiades when a
youth is reported to have addressed to Perikles, and which he must
unquestionably have heard from Sokrates himself, respecting the
meaning of the word [Greek: No/mos] (Xen. Mem. i. 2, 42). All the
difficulties in determining the definition of [Greek: No/mos], occur
also in determining that of [Greek: No/mimon], which includes both
Jus Scriptum and Jus Moribus Receptum.]

[Footnote 5: Xen. Mem. iv. 4, 15.]

[Side-note: Opening of the Hippias Major--Hippias describes the
successful circuit which he had made through Greece, and the renown
as well as the gain acquired by his lectures.]

Here, in the beginning of the Hippias Major, the Platonic Sokrates
remarks that Hippias has been long absent from Athens: which absence,
the latter explains, by saying that he has visited many cities in
Greece, giving lectures with great success, and receiving high pay:
and that especially he has often visited Sparta, partly to give
lectures, but partly also to transact diplomatic business for his
countrymen the Eleians, who trusted him more than any one else for
such duties. His lectures (he says) were eminently instructive and
valuable for the training of youth: moreover they were so generally
approved, that even from a small Sicilian town called Inykus, he
obtained a considerable sum in fees.

[Side-note: Hippias had met with no success at Sparta. Why the
Spartans did not admit his instructions--their law forbids.]

Upon this Sokrates asks--In which of the cities were your gains the
largest: probably at Sparta? _Hip._--No; I received nothing at
all at Sparta. _Sokr._--How? You amaze me! Were not your
lectures calculated to improve the Spartan youth? or did not the
Spartans desire to have their youth improved? or had they no money?
_Hip._--Neither one nor the other. The Spartans, like others,
desire the improvement of their youth: they also have plenty of
money: moreover my lectures were very beneficial to them as well
as to the rest.[6] _Sokr._--How could it happen then, that at
Sparta, a city great and eminent for its good laws, your valuable
instructions were left unrewarded; while you received so much at the
inconsiderable town of Inykus? _Hip._--It is not the custom of
the country, Sokrates, for the Spartans to change their laws, or to
educate their sons in a way different from their ordinary routine.
_Sokr._--How say you? It is not the custom of the country for
the Spartans to do right, but to do wrong? _Hip._--I shall not
say that, Sokrates. _Sokr._--But surely they would do right, in
educating their children better and not worse? _Hip._--Yes, they
would do right: but it is not lawful for them to admit a foreign mode
of education. If any one could have obtained payment there for
education, I should have obtained a great deal; for they listen to me
with delight and applaud me: but, as I told you, their law forbids.

[Footnote 6: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 283-284.]

[Side-note: Question, What is law? The law-makers always aim at
the Profitable, but sometimes fail to attain it. When they fail, they
fail to attain law. The lawful is the Profitable: the Unprofitable is
also unlawful.]

_Sokr._--Do you call law a hurt or benefit to the city?
_Hip._--Law is enacted with a view to benefit: but it sometimes
hurts if it be badly enacted.[7] _Sokr._--But what? Do not the
enactors enact it as the maximum of good, without which the citizens
cannot live a regulated life? _Hip._--Certainly: they do so.
_Sokr._--Therefore, when those who try to enact laws miss the
attainment of good, they also miss the lawful and law itself. How say
you? _Hip._--They do so, if you speak with strict propriety: but
such is not the language which men commonly use. _Sokr._--What
men? the knowing? or the ignorant? _Hip._--The Many.
_Sokr._--The Many; is it _they_ who know what truth is?
_Hip._--Assuredly not. _Sokr._--But surely those who do
know, account the profitable to be in truth more lawful than the
unprofitable, to all men. Don't you admit this? _Hip._--Yes, I
admit they account it so in truth. _Sokr._--Well, and it is so,
too: the truth is as the knowing men account it. _Hip._--Most
certainly. _Sokr._--Now you affirm, that it is more profitable
to the Spartans to be educated according to your scheme, foreign as
it is, than according to their own native scheme. _Hip._--I
affirm it, and with truth too. _Sokr._--You affirm besides,
that things more profitable are at the same time more lawful?
_Hip._--I said so. _Sokr._--According to your reasoning,
then, it is more lawful for the Spartan children to be educated by
Hippias, and more unlawful for them to be educated by their fathers--
if in reality they will be more benefited by you? _Hip._--But
they will be more benefited by me. _Sokr._--The Spartans
therefore act unlawfully, when they refuse to give you money and to
confide to you their sons? _Hip._--I admit that they do: indeed
your reasoning seems to make in my favour, so that I am noway called
upon to resist it. _Sokr._--We find then, after all, that the
Spartans are enemies of law, and that too in the most important
matters--though they are esteemed the most exemplary followers of
law.[8]

[Footnote 7: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 284 C-B.]

[Footnote 8: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 285.]


* * * * *

[Side-note: Comparison of the argument of the Platonic Sokrates
with that of the Xenophontic Sokrates.]

Perhaps Plato intended the above argument as a derisory taunt against
the Sophist Hippias, for being vain enough to think his own tuition
better than that of the Spartan community. If such was his intention,
the argument might have been retorted against Plato himself, for his
propositions in the Republic and Leges: and we know that the enemies
of Plato did taunt him with his inability to get these schemes
adopted in any actual community. But the argument becomes interesting
when we compare it with the debate before referred to in the
Xenophontic Memorabilia, where Sokrates maintains against Hippias
that the Just is equivalent to the Lawful. In that Xenophontic
dialogue, all the difficulties which embarrass this explanation are
kept out of sight, and Sokrates is represented as gaining an easy
victory over Hippias. In this Platonic dialogue, the equivocal use of
the word [Greek: no/mimon] is expressly adverted to, and Sokrates
reduces Hippias to a supposed absurdity, by making him pronounce the
Spartans to be enemies of law: [Greek: paranomou/s] bearing a double
sense, and the proposition being true in one sense, false in the
other. In the argument of the Platonic Sokrates, a law which does not
attain its intended purpose of benefiting the community, is no
law at all,--not lawful:[9] so that we are driven back again upon the
objections of Alkibiades against Perikles (in the Xenophontic
Memorabilia) in regard to what constitutes a law. In the argument of
the Xenophontic Sokrates, law means a law actually established, by
official authority or custom--and the Spartans are produced as
eminent examples of a lawfully minded community. As far as we can
assign positive opinion to the Platonic Sokrates in the Hippias
Major, he declares that the profitable or useful (being that which
men always aim at in making law) is The Lawful, whether actually
established or not: and that the unprofitable or hurtful (being that
which men always intend to escape) is The Unlawful, whether
prescribed by any living authority or not. This (he says) is the
opinion of the wise men who know: though the ignorant vulgar hold the
contrary opinion. The explanation of [Greek: to\ di/kaion] given by
the Xenophontic Sokrates ([Greek: to\ di/kaion = to\ no/mimon]),
would be equivalent, if we construe [Greek: to\ no/mimon] in the
sense of the Platonic Sokrates (in Hippias Major) as an affirmation
that The Just was the generally useful--[Greek: To\ di/kaion = to\
koinê=| su/mphoron].

[Footnote 9: Compare a similar argument of Sokrates against
Thrasymachus--Republic, i. 339.]

[Side-note: The Just or Good is the beneficial or profitable.
This is the only explanation which Plato ever gives and to this he
does not always adhere.]

There exists however in all this, a prevalent confusion between Law
(or the Lawful) as actually established, and Law (or the Lawful) as
it ought to be established, in the judgment of the critic, or of
those whom he follows: that is (to use the phrase of Mr. Austin in
his 'Province of Jurisprudence') Law as it would be, if it conformed
to its assumed measure or test. In the first of these senses, [Greek:
to\ no/mimon] is not one and the same, but variable according to
place and time--one thing at Sparta, another thing elsewhere:
accordingly it would not satisfy the demand of Plato's mind, when he
asks for an explanation of [Greek: to\ di/kaion]. It is an
explanation in the second of the two senses which Plato seeks--a
common measure or test applicable universally, at all times and
places. In so far as he ever finds one, it is that which I have
mentioned above as delivered by the Platonic Sokrates in this
dialogue: viz., the Just or Good, that which ought to be the measure
or test of Law and Positive Morality, is, the beneficial or
profitable. This (I repeat) is the only approach to a solution which
we ever find in Plato. But this is seldom clearly enunciated, never
systematically followed out, and sometimes, in appearance, even
denied.

* * * * *

[Side-note: Lectures of Hippias at Sparta not upon geometry, or
astronomy, &c., but upon the question--What pursuits are
beautiful, fine, and honourable for youth.]

I resume the thread of the Hippias Major. Sokrates asks Hippias what
sort of lectures they were that he delivered with so much success at
Sparta? The Spartans (Hippias replies) knew nothing and cared nothing
about letters, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy: but they took delight
in hearing tales about heroes, early ancestors, foundation-legends of
cities, &c., which his mnemonic artifice enabled him to
deliver.[10] The Spartans delight in you (observes Sokrates) as
children delight in old women's tales. Yes (replies Hippias), but
that is not all: I discoursed to them also, recently, about fine and
honourable pursuits, much to their admiration: I supposed a
conversation between Nestor and Neoptolemus, after the capture of
Troy, in which the veteran, answering a question put by his youthful
companion, enlarged upon those pursuits which it was fine,
honourable, beautiful for a young man to engage in. My discourse is
excellent, and obtained from the Spartans great applause. I am going
to deliver it again here at Athens, in the school-room of
Pheidostratus, and I invite you, Sokrates, to come and hear it, with
as many friends as you can bring.[11]

[Footnote 10: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 285 E.]

[Footnote 11: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 286 A-B.]

[Side-note: Question put by Sokrates, in the name of a friend in
the background, who has just been puzzling him with it--What is the
Beautiful?]

I shall come willingly (replied Sokrates). But first answer me one
small question, which will rescue me from a present embarrassment.
Just now, I was shamefully puzzled in conversation with a friend, to
whom I had been praising some things as honourable and
beautiful,--blaming other things as mean and ugly. He surprised me by
the interrogation--How do you know, Sokrates, what things are beautiful,
and what are ugly? Come now, can you tell me, What is the Beautiful?
I, in my stupidity, was altogether puzzled, and could not answer the
question. But after I had parted from him, I became mortified and
angry with myself; and I vowed that the next time I met any wise man,
like you, I would put the question to him, and learn how to answer
it; so that I might be able to renew the conversation with my friend.
Your coming here is most opportune. I entreat you to answer and
explain to me clearly what the Beautiful is; in order that I may not
again incur the like mortification. You can easily answer: it is a
small matter for you, with your numerous attainments.

[Side-note: Hippias thinks the question easy to answer.]

Oh--yes--a small matter (replies Hippias); the question is easy to
answer. I could teach you to answer many questions harder than that:
so that no man shall be able to convict you in dialogue.[12]

[Footnote 12: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 286 C-D.]

Sokrates then proceeds to interrogate Hippias, in the name of the
absentee, starting one difficulty after another as if suggested by
this unknown prompter, and pretending to be himself under awe of so
impracticable a disputant.

[Side-note: Justice, Wisdom, Beauty must each be something.
What is Beauty, or the Beautiful?]

All persons are just, through Justice--wise, through Wisdom--good,
through Goodness or the Good--beautiful, through Beauty or the
Beautiful. Now Justice, Wisdom, Goodness, Beauty or the Beautiful,
must each be _something_. Tell me what the Beautiful is?

[Side-note: Hippias does not understand the question. He
answers by indicating one particularly beautiful object.]

Hippias does not conceive the question. Does the man want to know
what is a beautiful thing? _Sokr._--No; he wants to know what is
_The Beautiful_. _Hip._--I do not see the difference. I
answer that a beautiful maiden is a beautiful thing. No one can deny
that.[13]

[Footnote 13: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 287 A.]

_Sokr._--My disputatious friend will not accept your answer. He
wants you to tell him, What is the Self-Beautiful?--that Something
through which all beautiful things become beautiful. Am I to tell
him, it is because a beautiful maiden is a beautiful thing? He will
say--Is not a beautiful mare a beautiful thing also? and a beautiful
lyre as well? _Hip._--Yes;--both of them are so. _Sokr._--Ay,
and a beautiful pot, my friend will add, well moulded and rounded
by a skilful potter, is a beautiful thing too. _Hip._--How,
Sokrates? Who can your disputatious friend be? Some ill-taught
man, surely; since he introduces such trivial names into a dignified
debate. _Sokr._--Yes; that is his character: not polite, but
vulgar, anxious for nothing else but the truth. _Hip._--A pot,
if it be beautifully made, must certainly be called beautiful; yet
still, all such objects are unworthy to be counted as beautiful, if
compared with a maiden, a mare, or a lyre.

[Side-note: Cross-questioning by Sokrates--Other things also
are beautiful; but each thing is beautiful only by comparison, or
under some particular circumstances--it is sometimes beautiful,
sometimes not beautiful.]

_Sokr._--I understand. You follow the analogy suggested by
Herakleitus in his dictum--That the most beautiful ape is ugly, if
compared with the human race. So you say, the most beautiful pot is
ugly, when compared with the race of maidens. _Hip_--Yes. That
is my meaning. _Sokr._--Then my friend will ask you in return,
whether the race of maidens is not as much inferior to the race of
Gods, as the pot to the maiden? whether the most beautiful maiden
will not appear ugly, when compared to a Goddess? whether the wisest
of men will not appear an ape, when compared to the Gods, either in
beauty or in wisdom.[14] _Hip._--No one can dispute it.
_Sokr._--My friend will smile and say--You forget what was the
question put. I asked you, What is the Beautiful?--the
Self-Beautiful: and your answer gives me, as the Self-Beautiful,
something which you yourself acknowledge to be no more beautiful than
ugly? If I had asked you, from the first, what it was that was both
beautiful and ugly, your answer would have been pertinent to the
question. Can you still think that the Self-Beautiful,--that
Something, by the presence of which all other things become
beautiful,--is a maiden, or a mare, or a lyre?

[Footnote 14: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 289.]

[Side-note: Second answer of Hippias--_Gold_, is that by
the presence of which all things become beautiful--scrutiny applied
to the answer. Complaint by Hippias about vulgar analogies.]

_Hip._--I have another answer to which your friend can take no
exception. That, by the presence of which all things become
beautiful, is Gold. What was before ugly, will (we all know), when
ornamented with gold, appear beautiful. _Sokr._--You little know
what sort of man my friend is. He will laugh at your answer, and ask
you--Do you think, then, that Pheidias did not know his profession as
a sculptor? How came he not to make the statue of Athênê all
gold, instead of making (as he has done) the face, hands, and feet of
ivory, and the pupils of the eyes of a particular stone? Is not ivory
also beautiful, and particular kinds of stone? _Hip._--Yes, each
is beautiful, where it is becoming. _Sokr._--And ugly, where it
is not becoming.[15] _Hip._--Doubtless. I admit that what is
becoming or suitable, makes that to which it is applied appear
beautiful: that which is not becoming or suitable, makes it appear
ugly. _Sokr._--My friend will next ask you, when you are boiling
the beautiful pot of which we spoke just now, full of beautiful soup,
what sort of ladle will be suitable and becoming--one made of gold,
or of fig-tree wood? Will not the golden ladle spoil the soup, and
the wooden ladle turn it out good? Is not the wooden ladle,
therefore, better than the golden? _Hip._--By Hêraklês,
Sokrates! what a coarse and stupid fellow your friend is! I cannot
continue to converse with a man who talks of such matters.
_Sokr._--I am not surprised that you, with your fine attire and
lofty reputation, are offended with these low allusions. But I have
nothing to spoil by intercourse with this man; and I entreat you to
persevere, as a favour to me. He will ask you whether a wooden
soup-ladle is not more beautiful than a ladle of gold,--since it is more
suitable and becoming? So that though you said--The Self-Beautiful is
Gold--you are now obliged to acknowledge that gold is not more
beautiful than fig-tree wood?

[Footnote 15: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 290.]

[Side-note: Third answer of Hippias--questions upon it--proof
given that it fails of universal application.]

_Hip._--I acknowledge that it is so. But I have another answer
ready which will silence your friend. I presume you wish me to
indicate as The Beautiful, something which will never appear ugly to
any one, at any time, or at any place.[16] _Sokr._--That is
exactly what I desire. _Hip._--Well, I affirm, then, that to
every man, always, and everywhere, the following is most beautiful. A
man being healthy, rich, honoured by the Greeks, having come to old
age and buried his own parents well, to be himself buried by his own
sons well and magnificently. _Sokr._--Your answer sounds
imposing; but my friend will laugh it to scorn, and will remind me
again, that his question pointed to the Beautiful
_itself_[17]--something which, being present as attribute in any
subject, will make that subject (whether stone, wood, man, God,
action, study, &c.) beautiful. Now that which you have asserted
to be beautiful to every one everywhere, was not beautiful to
Achilles, who accepted by preference the lot of dying before his
father--nor is it so to the heroes, or to the sons of Gods, who do
not survive or bury their fathers. To some, therefore, what you
specify is beautiful--to others it is not beautiful but ugly: that
is, it is both beautiful and ugly, like the maiden, the lyre, the
pot, on which we have already remarked. _Hip._--I did not speak
about the Gods or Heroes. Your friend is intolerable, for touching on
such profanities.[18] _Sokr._--However, you cannot deny that
what you have indicated is beautiful only for the sons of men, and
not for the sons of Gods. My friend will thus make good his reproach
against your answer. He will tell me, that all the answers, which we
have as yet given, are too absurd. And he may perhaps at the same
time himself suggest another, as he sometimes does in pity for my
embarrassment.

[Footnote 16: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 291 C-D.]

[Footnote 17: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 292 D.]

[Footnote 18: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 293 B.]

[Side-note: Farther answers, suggested by Sokrates himself--1.
The Suitable or Becoming--objections thereunto--it is rejected.]

Sokrates then mentions, as coming from hints of the absent friend,
three or four different explanations of the Self-Beautiful: each of
which, when first introduced, he approves, and Hippias approves also:
but each of which he proceeds successively to test and condemn. It is
to be remarked that all of them are general explanations: not
consisting in conspicuous particular instances, like those which had
come from Hippias. His explanations are the following:--

1. The suitable or becoming (which had before been glanced at). It is
the suitable or becoming which constitutes the Beautiful.[19]

[Footnote 19: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 293 E.]

To this Sokrates objects: The suitable, or becoming, is what causes
objects to _appear_ beautiful--not what causes them to _be
really_ beautiful. Now the latter is that which we are seeking.
The two conditions do not always go together. Those objects,
institutions, and pursuits which _are really_ beautiful (fine,
honourable) very often do not appear so, either to individuals or to
cities collectively; so that there is perpetual dispute and
fighting on the subject. The suitable or becoming, therefore, as it
is certainly what makes objects appear beautiful, so it cannot be
what makes them really beautiful.[20]

[Footnote 20: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 294 B-E.]

[Side-note: 2. The useful or profitable--objections--it will
not hold.]

2. The useful or profitable.--We call objects beautiful, looking to
the purpose which they are calculated or intended to serve: the human
body, with a view to running, wrestling, and other exercises--a
horse, an ox, a cock, looking to the service required from
them--implements, vehicles on land and ships at sea, instruments for
music and other arts all upon the same principle, looking to the end
which they accomplish or help to accomplish. Laws and pursuits are
characterised in the same way. In each of these, we give the name
Beautiful to the useful, in so far as it is useful, when it is
useful, and for the purpose to which it is useful. To that which is
useless or hurtful, in the same manner, we give the name Ugly.[21]

[Footnote 21: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 295 C-D.]

Now that which is capable of accomplishing each end, is useful for
such end: that which is incapable, is useless. It is therefore
capacity, or power, which is beautiful: incapacity, or impotence, is
ugly.[22]

[Footnote 22: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 295 E. [Greek: Ou)kou=n to\ dunato\n
e(/kaston a)perga/zesthai, ei)s o(/per dunato/n, ei)s tou=to kai\
chrê/simon; to\ de\ a)du/naton a)/chrêston? . . . . Du/namis me\n
a)/ra kalo/n--a)dunami/a de\ ai)schro/n?]]

Most certainly (replies Hippias): this is especially true in our
cities and communities, wherein political power is the finest thing
possible, political impotence, the meanest.

Yet, on closer inspection (continues Sokrates), such a theory will
not hold. Power is employed by all men, though unwillingly, for bad
purposes: and each man, through such employment of his power, does
much more harm than good, beginning with his childhood. Now power,
which is useful for the doing of evil, can never be called
beautiful.[23]

[Footnote 23: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 296 C-D.]

You cannot therefore say that Power, taken absolutely, is beautiful.
You must add the qualification--Power used for the production of some
good, is beautiful. This, then, would be the profitable--the cause or
generator of good.[24] But the cause is different from its effect:
the generator or father is different from the generated or son.
The beautiful would, upon this view, be the cause of the good. But
then the beautiful would be different from the good, and the good
different from the beautiful? Who can admit this? It is obviously
wrong: it is the most ridiculous theory which we have yet hit
upon.[25]

[Footnote 24: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 297 B.]

[Footnote 25: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 297 D-E. [Greek: ei) oi(=o/n t'
e)sti/n, e(kei/nôn ei)=nai (kinduneu/ei) geloio/teros tô=n
prô/tôn.]]

[Side-note: 3. The Beautiful is a variety of the Pleasurable--that
which is received through the eye and the ear.]

3. The Beautiful is a particular variety of the agreeable or
pleasurable: that which characterises those things which cause
pleasure to us through sight and hearing. Thus the men, the
ornaments, the works of painting or sculpture, upon which we look
with admiration,[26] are called beautiful: also songs, music, poetry,
fable, discourse, in like manner; nay even laws, customs, pursuits,
which we consider beautiful, might be brought under the same
head.[27]

[Footnote 26: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 298 A-B.]

[Footnote 27: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 298 D.

Professor Bain observes:--"The eye and the ear are the great avenues
to the mind for the æsthetic class of influences; the other senses
are more or less in the monopolist interest. The blue sky, the green
woods, and all the beauties of the landscape, can fill the vision of
a countless throng of admirers. So with the pleasing sounds, &c."
'The Emotions and the Will.' ch. xiv. (The Æsthetic Emotions), sect.
2, p. 226, 3rd ed.]

[Side-note: Objections to this last--What property is there
common to both sight and hearing, which confers upon the pleasures of
these two senses the exclusive privilege of being beautiful?]

The objector, however, must now be dealt with. He will ask us--Upon
what ground do you make so marked a distinction between the pleasures
of sight and hearing, and other pleasures? Do you deny that these
others (those of taste, smell, eating, drinking, sex) are really
pleasures? No, surely (we shall reply); we admit them to be
pleasures,--but no one will tolerate us in calling them beautiful:
especially the pleasures of sex, which as pleasures are the greatest
of all, but which are ugly and disgraceful to behold. He will
answer--I understand you: you are ashamed to call these pleasures
beautiful, because they do not seem so to the multitude: but I did not
ask you, what _seems_ beautiful to the multitude--I asked you, what
_is_ beautiful.[28] You mean to affirm, that all pleasures which
do not belong to sight and hearing, are not beautiful: Do you mean,
all which do not belong to both? or all which do not belong to
one or the other? We shall reply--To either one of the two--or to
both the two. Well! but, why (he will ask) do you single out these
pleasures of sight and hearing, as beautiful exclusively? What is
there peculiar in them, which gives them a title to such distinction?
All pleasures are alike, so far forth as pleasures, differing only in
the more or less. Next, the pleasures of sight cannot be considered
as beautiful by reason of their coming through sight--for that reason
would not apply to the pleasures of hearing: nor again can the
pleasures of hearing be considered as beautiful by reason of their
coming through hearing.[29] We must find something possessed as well
by sight as by hearing, common to both, and peculiar to them,--which
confers beauty upon the pleasures of both and of each. Any attribute
of one, which does not also belong to the other, will not be
sufficient for our purpose.[30] Beauty must depend upon some
essential characteristic which both have in common.[31] We must
therefore look out for some such characteristic, which belongs to
both as well as to each separately.

[Footnote 28: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 298 E, 299 A.

[Greek: Mantha/nô, a)\n i)/sôs phai/ê, kai\ e)gô/, o(/ti pa/lai
ai)schu/nesthe tau/tas ta\s ê(dona\s pha/nai kala\s ei)=nai, o(/ti
ou) dokei= toi=s a)nthrô/pois; a)ll' e)gô\ ou) tou=to ê)rô/tôn,
_o(\ dokei= toi=s polloi=s kalo\n ei)=nai_, a)ll' o(\, _ti
e)/stin_.]]

[Footnote 29: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 299 D-E.]

[Footnote 30: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 300 B. A separate argument between
Sokrates and Hippias is here as it were interpolated; Hippias affirms
that he does not see how any predicate can be true of both which is
not true of either separately. Sokrates points out that two men are
Both, even in number, while each is One, an odd number. You cannot
say of the two that they are one, nor can you say of either that he
is Both. There are two classes of predicates; some which are true of
either but not true of the two together, or _vice versâ_; some
again which are true of the two and true also of each one--such as
just, wise, handsome, &c. p. 301-303 B.]

[Footnote 31: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 302 C. [Greek: tê=| ou)si/a| tê=| e)p'
a)mpho/tera e(pome/nê| ô)=|mên, ei)/per a)mpho/tera/ e)sti kala/,
tau/tê| dei=n au)ta\ kala\ ei)=nai, tê=| de\ kata\ ta\ e(/tera
a)poleipome/nê| mê/. kai\ e(/ti nu=n oi)=omai.]]

[Side-note: Answer--There is, belonging to each and to both in
common, the property of being innocuous and profitable
pleasures--upon this ground they are called beautiful.]

Now there is one characteristic which may perhaps serve. The
pleasures of sight and hearing, both and each, are distinguished from
other pleasures by being the most innocuous and the best.[32] It is
for this reason that we call them beautiful. The Beautiful, then, is
profitable pleasure--or pleasure producing good--for the profitable
is, that which produces good.[33]

[Footnote 32: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 303 E. [Greek: o(/ti a)sine/statai
au(=tai tô=n ê(donô=n ei)si kai\ be/ltistai, kai\ a)mpho/terai kai\
e(kate/ra.]]

[Footnote 33: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 303 E. [Greek: le/gete dê\ to\ kalo\n
ei)=nai, _ê(donê\n ô)phe/limon_.]]

[Side-note: This will not hold--the Profitable is the cause of
Good, and is therefore different from Good--to say that the beautiful
is the Profitable, is to say that it is different from Good but this
has been already declared inadmissible.]

Nevertheless the objector will not be satisfied even with this. He
will tell us--You declare the Beautiful to be Pleasure producing
good. But we before agreed, that the producing agent or cause is
different from what is produced or the effect. Accordingly, the
Beautiful is different from the good: or, in other words, the
Beautiful is not good, nor is the Good beautiful--if each of them is
a different thing.[34] Now these propositions we have already
pronounced to be inadmissible, so that your present explanation will
not stand better than the preceding.

[Footnote 34: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 303 E--304 A. [Greek: Ou)/koun
ô)phe/limon, phê/sei, to\ poiou=n ta)gatho/n, to\ de\ poiou=n kai\
to\ poiou/menon, e(/teron nu=n dê\ e)pha/nê, kai\ ei)s to\n pro/teron
lo/gon ê(/kei u(mi=n o( lo/gos? _ou)/te ga\r to\ a)gatho\n a)\n
ei)/ê kalo\n ou)/te to\ kalo\n a)gatho/n, ei)/per a)/llo au)tô=n
e(ka/tero/n e)stin_.]

These last words deserve attention, because they coincide with the
doctrine ascribed to Antisthenes, which has caused so many hard words
to be applied to him (as well as to Stilpon) by critics, from Kolôtes
downwards. The general principle here laid down by Plato is--A is
something different from B, therefore A is not B and B is not A. In
other words, A cannot be predicated of B nor B of A. Antisthenes said
in like manner--[Greek: A)/nthrôpos] and [Greek: A)gatho\s] are
different from each other, therefore you cannot say [Greek:
A)/nthrôpos e)stin a)gatho/s]. You can only say [Greek: A)/nthrôpos
e)stin A)/nthrôpos]--A)gatho/s e)stin a)gatho/s].

I have touched farther upon this point in my chapter upon Antisthenes
and the other Viri Sokratici.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Remarks upon the Dialogue--the explanations
ascribed to Hippias are special conspicuous examples: those ascribed
to Sokrates are attempts to assign some general concept.]

Thus finish the three distinct explanations of [Greek: To\ kalo\n],
which Plato in this dialogue causes to be first suggested by
Sokrates, successively accepted by Hippias, and successively refuted
by Sokrates. In comparing them with the three explanations which he
puts into the mouth of Hippias, we note this distinction: That the
explanations proposed by Hippias are conspicuous particular
exemplifications of the Beautiful, substituted in place of the
general concept: as we remarked, in the Dialogue Euthyphron, that the
explanations of the Holy given by Euthyphron in reply to Sokrates,
were of the same exemplifying character. On the contrary, those
suggested by Sokrates keep in the region of abstractions, and seek to
discover some more general concept, of which the Beautiful is only a
derivative or a modification, so as to render a definition of it
practicable. To illustrate this difference by the language of Dr.
Whewell respecting many of the classifications in Natural History, we
may say--That according to the views here represented by Hippias,
the group of objects called beautiful is given by Type, not by
Definition:[35] while Sokrates proceeds like one convinced that some
common characteristic attribute may be found, on which to rest a
Definition. To search for Definitions of general words, was (as
Aristotle remarks) a novelty, and a valuable novelty, introduced by
Sokrates. His contemporaries, the Sophists among them, were not
accustomed to it: and here the Sophist Hippias (according to Plato's
frequent manner) is derided as talking nonsense,[36] because, when
asked for an explanation of The Self-Beautiful, he answers by citing
special instances of beautiful objects. But we must remember, first,
that Sokrates, who is introduced as trying several general
explanations of the Self-Beautiful, does not find one which will
stand: next, that even if one such could be found, particular
instances can never be dispensed with, in the way of illustration;
lastly, that there are many general terms (the Beautiful being one of
them) of which no definitions can be provided, and which can only be
imperfectly explained, by enumerating a variety of objects to which
the term in question is applied.[37] Plato thought himself
entitled to objectivise every general term, or to assume a
substantive Ens, called a Form or Idea, corresponding to it. This was
a logical mistake quite as serious as any which we know to have been
committed by Hippias or any other Sophist. The assumption that
wherever there is a general term, there must also be a generic
attribute corresponding to it--is one which Aristotle takes much
pains to negative: he recognises terms of transitional analogy, as
well as terms equivocal: while he also especially numbers the
Beautiful among equivocal terms.[38]

[Footnote 35: See Dr. Whewell's 'History of the Inductive Sciences,'
ii. 120 seq.; and Mr. John Stuart Mill's 'System of Logic,' iv. 8, 3.

I shall illustrate this subject farther when I come to the dialogue
called Lysis.]

[Footnote 36: Stallbaum, in his notes, bursts into exclamations of
wonder at the incredible stupidity of Hippias--"En hominis stuporem
prorsus admirabilem," p. 289 E.]

[Footnote 37: Mr. John Stuart Mill observes in his System of Logic,
i. 1, 5: "One of the chief sources of lax habits of thought is the
custom of using connotative terms without a distinctly ascertained
connotation, and with no more precise notion of their meaning than
can be loosely collected from observing what objects they are used to
denote. It is in this manner that we all acquire, and inevitably so,
our first knowledge of our vernacular language. A child learns the
meaning of Man, White, &c., by hearing them applied to a number
of individual objects, and finding out, by a process of
generalisation of which he is but imperfectly conscious, what those
different objects have in common. In many cases objects bear a
general resemblance to each other, which leads to their being
familiarly classed together under a common name, while it is not
immediately apparent what are the particular attributes upon the
possession of which in common by them all their general resemblance
depends. In this manner names creep on from subject to subject until
all traces of a common meaning sometimes disappear, and the word
comes to denote a number of things not only independently of any
common attribute, but which have actually no attribute in common, or
none but what is shared by other things to which the name is
capriciously refused. It would be well if this degeneracy of language
took place only in the hands of the untaught vulgar; but some of the
most remarkable instances are to be found in terms of art, and among
technically educated persons, such as English lawyers. _Felony_,
_e.g._, is a law-term with the sound of which all are familiar:
_but there is no lawyer who would undertake to tell what a felony
is, otherwise than by enumerating the various offences so called._
Originally the word _felony_ had a meaning; it denoted all
offences, the penalty of which included forfeiture of lands or goods,
but subsequent Acts of Parliament have declared various offences to
be felonies without enjoining that penalty, and have taken away that
penalty from others which continue nevertheless to be called
felonies, insomuch that the acts so called have now no property
whatever in common save that of being unlawful and punishable."]

[Footnote 38: Aristot. Topic, i. 106, a. 21. [Greek: Ta\ pollachô=s
lego/mena--ta\ pleonachô=s lego/mena]--are perpetually noted and
distinguished by Aristotle.]

[Side-note: Analogy between the explanations here ascribed to
Sokrates, and those given by the Xenophontic Sokrates in the
Memorabilia.]

We read in the Xenophontic Memorabilia a dialogue between Sokrates
and Aristippus, on this same subject--What is the Beautiful, which
affords a sort of contrast between the Dialogues of Search and those
of Exposition. In the Hippias Major, we have the problem approached
on several different sides, various suggestions being proposed, and
each successively disallowed, on reasons shown, as failures: while in
the Xenophontic dialogue, Sokrates declares an affirmative doctrine,
and stands to it--but no pains are taken to bring out the objections
against it and rebut them. The doctrine is, that the Beautiful is
coincident with the Good, and that both of them are resolvable into
the Useful: thus all beautiful objects, unlike as they may be to the
eye or touch, bear that name because they have in common the
attribute of conducing to one and the same purpose--the security,
advantage, or gratification, of man, in some form or other. This is
one of the three explanations broached by the Platonic Sokrates, and
afterwards refuted by him, in the Hippias: while his declaration
(which Hippias puts aside as unseemly)--that a pot and a wooden
soup-ladle conveniently made are beautiful is perfectly in harmony
with that of the Xenophontic Sokrates, that a basket for carrying dung
is beautiful, if it performs its work well.[39] We must moreover
remark, that the objections whereby the Platonic Sokrates, after
proposing the doctrine and saying much in its favour, finds himself
compelled at last to disallow it--these objections are not produced
and refuted, but passed over without notice, in the Xenophontic
dialogue, wherein Sokrates affirms it decidedly.[40] The
affirming Sokrates, and the objecting Sokrates, are not on the
stage at once.

[Footnote 39: Xen. Mem. iii. 6, 2, 7; iv. 6, 8.

Plato, Hipp. Maj. 288 D, 290 D.

I am obliged to translate the words [Greek: to\ Kalo/n] by the
Beautiful or beauty, to avoid a tiresome periphrasis. But in reality
the Greek words include more besides: they mean also the _fine_,
the _honourable or that which is worthy of honour_, the
_exalted_, &c. If we have difficulty in finding any common
property connoted by the English word, the difficulty in the case of
the Greek word is still greater.]

[Footnote 40: In regard to the question, Wherein consists [Greek: To\
Kalo/n]? and objections against the theory of the Xenophontic
Sokrates, it is worth while to compare the views of modern
philosophers. Dugald Stewart says (on the Beautiful, 'Philosophical
Essays,' p. 214 seq.), "It has long been a favourite problem with
philosophers to ascertain the common quality or qualities which
entitle a thing to the denomination of Beautiful. But the success of
their speculations has been so inconsiderable, that little can be
inferred from them except the impossibility of the problem to which
they have been directed. The speculations which have given occasion
to these remarks have evidently originated in a prejudice which has
descended to modern times from the scholastic ages. That when a word
admits of a variety of significations, these different significations
must all be species of the same genus, and must consequently include
some essential idea common to every individual to which the generic
term can be applied. Of this principle, which has been an abundant
source of obscurity and mystery in the different sciences, it would
be easy to expose the unsoundness and futility. Socrates, whose plain
good sense appears, on this as on other occasions, to have fortified
his understanding to a wonderful degree against the metaphysical
subtleties which misled his successors, was evidently apprised fully
of the justice of the foregoing remarks, if any reliance can be
placed on the account given by Xenophon of his conversation with
Aristippus about the Good and the Beautiful," &c.

Stewart then proceeds to translate a portion of the Xenophontic
dialogue (Memorab. iii. 8). But unfortunately he does not translate
the whole of it. If he had he would have seen that he has
misconceived the opinion of Sokrates, who maintains the very doctrine
here disallowed by Stewart, viz., That there is an essential idea
common to all beautiful objects, the fact of being conducive to human
security, comfort, or enjoyment. This is unquestionably an important
common property, though the multifarious objects which possess it may
be unlike in all other respects.

As to the general theory I think that Stewart is right: it is his
compliment to Sokrates, on this occasion, which I consider misplaced.
He certainly would not have agreed with Sokrates (nor should I agree
with him) in calling by the epithet _beautiful_ a basket for
carrying dung when well made for its own purpose, or a convenient
boiling-pot, or a soup-ladle made of fig-tree wood, as the Platonic
Sokrates affirms in the Hippias (288 D, 290 D). The Beautiful and the
Useful sometimes coincide; more often or at least very often, they do
not. Hippias is made to protest, in this dialogue, against the mention
of such vulgar objects as the pot and the ladle; and this is
apparently intended by Plato as a defective point in his character,
denoting silly affectation and conceit, like his fine apparel. But
Dugald Stewart would have agreed in the sentiment ascribed to
Hippias--that vulgar and mean objects have no place in an inquiry
into the Beautiful; and that they belong, when well-formed for their
respective purposes, to the category of the Useful.

The Xenophontic Sokrates in the Memorabilia is mistaken in
confounding the Beautiful with the Good and the Useful. But his
remarks are valuable in another point of view, as they insist most
forcibly on the essential relativity both of the Beautiful and the
Good.

The doctrine of Dugald Stewart is supported by Mr. John Stuart Mill
('System of Logic,' iv. 4, 5, p. 220 seq.);** and Professor Bain
has expounded the whole subject still more fully in a chapter (xiv.
p. 225 seq., on the Æsthetic Emotions) of his work on the Emotions
and the Will.]

The concluding observations of this dialogue, interchanged between
Hippias and Sokrates, are interesting as bringing out the antithesis
between rhetoric and dialectic--between the concrete and
exemplifying, as contrasted with the abstract and analytical.
Immediately after Sokrates has brought his own third suggestion to an
inextricable embarrassment, Hippias remarks--

[Side-note: Concluding thrust exchanged between Hippias and
Sokrates.]

"Well, Sokrates, what do you think now of all these reasonings of
yours? They are what I declared them to be just now,--scrapings and
parings of discourse, divided into minute fragments. But the really
beautiful and precious acquirement is, to be able to set out well and
finely a regular discourse before the Dikastery or the public
assembly, to persuade your auditors, and to depart carrying with you
not the least but the greatest of all prizes--safety for yourself,
your property, and your friends. These are the real objects to strive
for. Leave off your petty cavils, that you may not look like an
extreme simpleton, handling silly trifles as you do at present."[41]

"My dear Hippias," (replies Sokrates) "you are a happy man, since you
know what pursuits a man ought to follow, and have yourself followed
them, as you say, with good success. But I, as it seems, am under the
grasp of an unaccountable fortune: for I am always fluctuating and
puzzling myself, and when I lay my puzzle before you wise men, I am
requited by you with hard words. I am told just what you have now
been telling me, that I busy myself about matters silly, petty, and
worthless. When on the contrary, overborne by your authority, I
declare as you do, that it is the finest thing possible to be able to
set out well and beautifully a regular discourse before the public
assembly, and bring it to successful conclusion--then there are other
men at hand who heap upon me bitter reproaches: especially that one
man, my nearest kinsman and inmate, who never omits to convict me.
When on my return home he hears me repeat what you have told me, he
asks, if I am not ashamed of my impudence in talking about beautiful
(honourable) pursuits, when I am so manifestly convicted upon
this subject, of not even knowing what the Beautiful (Honourable) is.
How can you (he says), being ignorant what the Beautiful is, know
_who_ has set out a discourse beautifully and _who_ has
not--_who_ has performed a beautiful exploit and _who_ has
not? Since you are in a condition so disgraceful, can you think life
better for you than death? Such then is my fate--to hear
disparagement and reproaches from you on the one side, and from him
on the other. Necessity however perhaps requires that I should endure
all these discomforts: for it will be nothing strange if I profit by
them. Indeed I think that I have already profited both by your
society, Hippias, and by his: for I now think that I know what the
proverb means--Beautiful (Honourable) things are difficult."[42]

[Footnote 41: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 304 A.]

[Footnote 42: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 304 D-E.]

[Side-note: Rhetoric against Dialectic.]

Here is a suitable termination for one of the Dialogues of Search:
"My mind has been embarrassed by contradictions as yet unreconciled,
but this is a stage indispensable to future improvement". We have
moreover an interesting passage of arms between Rhetoric and
Dialectic: two contemporaneous and contending agencies, among the
stirring minds of Athens, in the time of Plato and Isokrates. The
Rhetor accuses the Dialectician of departing from the conditions of
reality--of breaking up the integrity of those concretes, which occur
in nature each as continuous and indivisible wholes. Each of the
analogous particular cases forms a continuum or concrete by itself,
which may be compared with the others, but cannot be taken to pieces,
and studied in separate fragments.[43] The Dialectician on his side
treats the Abstract ([Greek: to\ kalo\n]) as the real Integer, and
the highest abstraction as the first of all integers, containing in
itself and capable of evolving all the subordinate integers: the
various accompaniments, which go along with each Abstract to make up
a concrete, he disregards as shadowy and transient disguises.

[Footnote 43: Plat. Hipp. Maj. 301 B. [Greek: A)lla\ ga\r dê\ su/,
ô)= Sô/krates, ta\ me\n o(/la tô=n pragma/tôn ou) skopei=s, ou)d'
e)kei=noi, oi(=s su\ ei)/ôthas diale/gesthai, krou/ete de\
a)polamba/nontes to\ kalo\n kai\ e(/kaston tô=n o)/ntôn e)n toi=s
lo/gois katate/mnontes; dia\ tau=ta ou(/tô mega/la u(ma=s lantha/nei
kai\ _dianekê= sô/mata tê=s ou)si/as pephuko/ta_.] Compare 301
E.

The words [Greek: dianekê= sô/mata tê=s ou)si/as pephuko/ta]
correspond as nearly as can be to the logical term _Concrete_,
opposed to _Abstract_. Nature furnishes only Concreta, not
Abstracta.]

[Side-note: Men who dealt with real life, contrasted with the
speculative and analytical philosophers.]

Hippias accuses Sokrates of never taking into his view Wholes,
and of confining his attention to separate parts and fragments,
obtained by logical analysis and subdivision. Aristophanes, when he
attacks the Dialectic of Sokrates, takes the same ground, employing
numerous comic metaphors to illustrate the small and impalpable
fragments handled, and the subtle transpositions which they underwent
in the reasoning. Isokrates again deprecates the over-subtlety of
dialectic debate, contrasting it with discussions (in his opinion)
more useful; wherein entire situations, each with its full clothing
and assemblage of circumstances, were reviewed and estimated.[44]
All these are protests, by persons accustomed to deal with real life,
and to talk to auditors both numerous and commonplace, against that
conscious analysis and close attention to general and abstract terms,
which Sokrates first insisted on and transmitted to his disciples. On
the other side, we have the emphatic declaration made by the Platonic
Sokrates (and made still earlier by the Xenophontic[45] or historical
Sokrates)--That a man was not fit to talk about beautiful things in
the concrete--that he had no right to affirm or deny that attribute,
with respect to any given subject--that he was not** even fit to live
unless he could explain what was meant by The Beautiful, or Beauty
in the abstract. Here are two distinct and conflicting intellectual
habits, the antithesis between which, indicated in this dialogue,
is described at large and forcibly in the Theætêtus.[46]

[Footnote 44: Aristophan. Nubes, 130. [Greek: lo/gôn a)kribô=n
schindala/mous--paipa/lê.] Nub. 261, Aves, 430. [Greek: leptota/tôn
lê/rôn i(ereu=], Nub. 359. [Greek: gnô/mais leptais], Nub. 1404.
[Greek: skariphismoi=si lê/rôn], Ran. 1497. [Greek: smileu/mata]--id.
819. Isokrates, [Greek: Pro\s Nikokle/a], s. 69, antithesis of the
[Greek: lo/goi politikoi\] and [Greek: lo/goi e)ristikoi/--ma/lista
me\n kai\ a)po\ tôn kairô=n theôrei=n sumbouleu/ontas, ei) de\ mê\,
_kath' o(/lôn tô=n pragma/tôn_ le/gontas]--which is almost
exactly the phrase ascribed to Hippias by Plato in this Hippias
Major. Also Isokrates, Contra Sophistas, s. 24-25, where he contrasts
the useless [Greek: logi/dia], debated by the contentious
dialecticians (Sokrates and Plato being probably included in this
designation), with his own [Greek: lo/goi politikoi/]. Compare also
Isokrates, Or. xv. De Permutatione, s. 211-213-285-287.]

[Footnote 45: Xen. Mem. i. 1, 16.]

[Footnote 46: Plato, Theætêt. pp. 173-174-175.]

[Side-note: Concrete Aggregates--abstract or logical
Aggregates. Distinct aptitudes required by Aristotle for the
Dialectician.]

When Hippias accuses Sokrates of neglecting to notice Wholes or
Aggregates, this is true in the sense of Concrete Wholes--the
phenomenal sequences and co-existences, perceived by sense or
imagined. But the Universal (as Aristotle says)[47] is one kind of
Whole: a Logical Whole, having logical parts. In the minds of
Sokrates and Plato, the Logical Whole separable into its logical
parts and into them only, were preponderant.

[Footnote 47: Aristot. Physic. i. 1. [Greek: to\ ga\r o(/lon kata\
tê\n ai)/sthêsin gnôrimô/teron, _to\ de\ katho/lou o(/lon ti e)sti;
polla\ ga\r perilamba/nei ô(s me/rê to\ katho/lou_.] Compare
Simplikius, Schol. Brandis ad loc. p. 324, a. 10-26.]

[Side-note: Antithesis of Absolute and Relative, here brought
into debate by Plato, in regard to the Idea of Beauty.]

One other point deserves peculiar notice, in the dialogue under our
review. The problem started is, What is the Beautiful--the
Self-Beautiful, or Beauty _per se_: and it is assumed that this must
be Something,[48] that from the accession of which, each particular
beautiful thing becomes beautiful. But Sokrates presently comes to
make a distinction between that which is really beautiful and that
which appears to be beautiful. Some things (he says) appear
beautiful, but are not so in reality: some are beautiful, but do not
appear so. The problem, as he states it, is, to find, not what that
is which makes objects appear beautiful, but what it is that makes
them really beautiful. This distinction, as we find it in the
language of Hippias, is one of degree only:[49] that _is_
beautiful which appears so to every one and at all times. But in the
language of Sokrates, the distinction is radical: to _be_
beautiful is one thing, to _appear_ beautiful is another;
whatever makes a thing appear beautiful without being so in reality,
is a mere engine of deceit, and not what Sokrates is enquiring
for.[50] The Self-Beautiful or real Beauty is so, whether any one
perceives it to be beautiful or not: it is an Absolute, which exists
_per se_, having no relation to any sentient or percipient
subject.[51] At any rate, such is the manner in which Plato
conceives it, when he starts here as a problem to enquire, What
it is.

[Footnote 48: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 286 K. [Greek: au)to\ to\ kalo\n o(/,
ti e)/stin.] Also 287 D, 289 D.]

[Footnote 49: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 291 D, 292 E.]

[Footnote 50: Plato, Hipp. Maj. 294 A-B, 299 A.]

[Footnote 51: Dr. Hutcheson, in his inquiry into the Original of our
Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, observes (sect. i. and ii. p. 14-16):--

"Beauty is either original or comparative, or, if any like the terms
better, absolute or relative; only let it be observed, that by
_absolute_ or _original_, is not understood any quality
supposed to be in the object, which should of itself be beautiful,
without relation to any mind which perceives it. For Beauty, like
other names of sensible ideas, properly denotes the perception of
some mind. . . . . Our inquiry is only about the qualities which are
beautiful to men, or about the foundation of their sense of beauty,
for (as above hinted) Beauty has always relation to the sense of some
mind; and when we afterwards show how generally the objects that
occur to us are beautiful, we mean that such objects are agreeable to
the sense of men, &c."

The same is repeated, sect. iv. p. 40; sect. vi. p. 72.]

Herein we note one of the material points of disagreement between
Plato and his master: for Sokrates (in the Xenophontic Memorabilia)
affirms distinctly that Beauty is altogether relative to human wants
and appreciations. The Real and Absolute, on the one hand, wherein
alone resides truth and beauty--as against the phenomenal and
relative, on the other hand, the world of illusion and meanness--this
is an antithesis which we shall find often reproduced in Plato. I
shall take it up more at large, when I come to discuss his argument
against Protagoras in the Theætêtus.

* * * * *

[Side-note: Hippias Minor--characters and situation supposed.]

I now come to the Lesser Hippias: in which (as we have already seen
in the Greater) that Sophist is described by epithets, affirming
varied and extensive accomplishments, as master of arithmetic,
geometry, astronomy, poetry (especially that of Homer), legendary
lore, music, metrical and rhythmical diversities, &c. His memory
was prodigious, and he had even invented for himself a technical
scheme for assisting memory. He had composed poems, epic, lyric, and
tragic, as well as many works in prose: he was, besides, a splendid
lecturer on ethical and political subjects, and professed to answer
any question which might be asked. Furthermore, he was skilful in
many kinds of manual dexterity: having woven his own garments,
plaited his own girdle, made his own shoes, engraved his own
seal-ring, and fabricated for himself a curry-comb and oil-flask.[52]
Lastly, he is described as wearing fine and showy apparel. What he is
made to say is rather in harmony with this last point of character,
than with the preceding. He talks with silliness and presumption, so
as to invite and excuse the derisory sting of Sokrates, There is a
third interlocutor, Eudikus: but he says very little, and other
auditors are alluded to generally, who say nothing.[53]

[Footnote 52: Plato, Hipp. Minor, 368.]

[Footnote 53: Plato, Hipp. Minor, 369 D, 373 B.

Ast rejects both the dialogues called by the name of Hippias, as not
composed by Plato. Schleiermacher doubts about both, and rejects the
Hippias Minor (which he considers as perhaps worked up by a Platonic
scholar from a genuine sketch by Plato himself) but will not pass the
same sentence upon the Hippias Major (Schleierm. Einleit. vol. ii.
pp. 293-296; vol. v. 399-403. Ast, Platon's Leben und Schriften, pp.
457-464).

Stallbaum defends both the dialogues as genuine works of Plato, and
in my judgment with good reason (Prolegg. ad Hipp. Maj. vol. iv. pp.
145-150; ad Hipp. Minor, pp. 227-235). Steinhart (Einleit. p. 99) and
Socher (Ueber Platon, p. 144 seq., 215 seq.) maintain the same
opinion on these dialogues as Stallbaum. It is to be remarked that
Schleiermacher states the reasons both for and against the
genuineness of the dialogues; and I think that even in his own
statement the reasons _for_ preponderate. The reasons which both
Schleiermacher and Ast produce as proving the spuriousness, are in my
view quite insufficient to sustain their conclusion. There is bad
taste, sophistry, an overdose of banter and derision (they say very
truly), in the part assigned to Sokrates: there are also differences
of view, as compared with Sokrates in other dialogues; various other
affirmations (they tell us) are _not_ Platonic. I admit much of
this, but I still do not accept their conclusion. These critics
cannot bear to admit any Platonic work as genuine unless it affords
to them ground for superlative admiration and glorification of the
author. This postulate I altogether contest; and I think that
differences of view, as between Sokrates in one dialogue and Sokrates
in another, are both naturally to be expected and actually manifested
(witness the Protagoras and Gorgias). Moreover Ast designates (p.
404) a doctrine as "durchaus unsokratisch" which Stallbaum justly
remarks (p. 233) to have been actually affirmed by Sokrates in the
Xenophontic Memorabilia. Stallbaum thinks that both the two dialogues
(Socher, that the Hippias Minor only) were composed by Plato among
his earlier works, and this may probably be true. The citation and
refutation of the Hippias Minor by Aristotle (Metaphys. [Greek: D].
1025, a. 6) counts with me as a strong corroborative proof that the
dialogue is Plato's work. Schleiermacher and Ast set this evidence
aside because Aristotle does not name Plato as the author. But if the
dialogue had been composed by any one less celebrated than Plato,
Aristotle would have named the author. Mention by Aristotle, though
without Plato's name, is of greater value to support the genuineness
than the purely internal grounds stated by Ast and Schleiermacher
against it.]

[Side-note: Hippias has just delivered a lecture, in which
he extols Achilles as better than Odysseus--the veracious and
straightforward hero better than the mendacious and crafty.]

In the Hippias Minor, that Sophist appears as having just concluded a
lecture upon Homer, in which he had extolled Achilles as better than
Odysseus: Achilles being depicted as veracious and straightforward,
Odysseus as mendacious and full of tricks. Sokrates, who had been
among the auditors, cross-examines Hippias upon the subject of this
affirmation.

Homer (says Hippias) considers veracious men, and mendacious men, to
be not merely different, but opposite: and I agree with him. Permit
me (Sokrates remarks) to ask some questions about the meaning of this
from you, since I cannot ask any from Homer himself. You will answer
both for yourself and him.[54]

[Footnote 54: Plat. Hipp. Minor, 365 C-D.

The remark here made by Sokrates--"The poet is not here to answer for
himself, so that you cannot put any questions to him" is a point of
view familiar to Plato: insisted upon forcibly in the Protagoras (347
E), and farther generalised in the Phædrus, so as to apply to all
written matter compared with personal converse (Phædrus, p. 275 D).

This ought to count, so far as it goes, as a fragment of proof that
the Hippias Minor is a genuine work of Plato, instead of which
Schleiermacher treats it (p. 295) as evincing a poor copy, made by
some imitator of Plato, from the Protagoras.]

Mendacious men (answers Hippias, to a string of questions,
somewhat prolix) are capable, intelligent, wise: they are not
incapable or ignorant. If a man be incapable of speaking falsely, or
ignorant, he is not mendacious. Now the capable man is one who can
make sure of doing what he wishes to do, at the time and occasion
when he does wish it, without let or hindrance.[55]

[Footnote 55: Plat. Hipp. Minor, 366 B-C.]

[Side-note: This is contested by Sokrates. The veracious man
and the mendacious man are one and the same--the only man who can
answer truly if he chooses, is he who can also answer falsely if he
chooses, _i.e._ the knowing man--the ignorant man cannot make
sure of doing either the one or the other.]

You, Hippias (says Sokrates), are expert on matters of arithmetic:
you can make sure of answering truly any question put to you on the
subject. You are _better_ on the subject than the ignorant man,
who cannot make sure of doing the same. But as you can make sure of
answering truly, so likewise you can make sure of answering falsely,
whenever you choose to do so. Now the ignorant man cannot make sure
of answering falsely. He may, by reason of his ignorance, when he
wishes to answer falsely, answer truly without intending it. You,
therefore, the intelligent man and the good in arithmetic, are better
than the ignorant and the bad for both purposes--for speaking
falsely, and for speaking truly.[56]

[Footnote 56: Plato, Hippias Minor, 366 E. [Greek: Po/teron su\ a)\n
ma/lista pseu/doio kai\ a)ei\ kata\ tau)ta\ pseudê= le/gois peri\
tou/tôn, boulo/menos pseu/desthai kai\ mêde/pote a)lêthê=
a)pokri/nesthai? ê)/ o( a)mathê\s ei)s logismou\s du/nait' a)\n sou=
ma=llon pseu/desthai boulome/nou? ê)\ o( me\n a)mathê\s polla/kis
a)\n boulo/menos pseudê= le/gein ta)lêthê= a)\n ei)/poi a)/kôn, ei)
tu/choi, dia\ to\ mê\ ei)de/nai--su\ de\ o( sopho/s, ei)/per bou/loio
pseu/desthai, a)ei\ a)\n kata\ ta\ au)ta\ pseu/doio?]]

[Side-note: Analogy of special arts--it is only the
arithmetician who can speak falsely on a question of arithmetic when
he chooses.]

What is true about arithmetic, is true in other departments also. The
only man who can speak falsely whenever he chooses is the man who can
speak truly whenever he chooses. Now, the mendacious man, as we
agreed, is the man who can speak falsely whenever he chooses.
Accordingly, the mendacious man, and the veracious man, are the same.
They are not different, still less opposite: nay, the two epithets
belong only to one and the same person. The veracious man is not
better than the mendacious--seeing that he is one and the same.[57]

[Footnote 57: Plato, Hipp. Minor, 367 C, 368 E, 369 A-B.]

You see, therefore, Hippias, that the distinction, which you drew
and which you said that Homer drew, between Achilles and Odysseus,
will not hold. You called Achilles veracious, and Odysseus,
mendacious: but if one of the two epithets belongs to either of them,
the other must belong to him also.[58]

[Footnote 58: Plat. Hipp. Minor, 360 B.]

[Side-note: View of Sokrates respecting Achilles in the Iliad.
He thinks that Achilles speaks falsehood cleverly. Hippias maintains
that if Achilles ever speaks falsehood, it is with an innocent
purpose, whereas Odysseus does the like with fraudulent purpose.]

Sokrates then tries to make out that Achilles speaks falsehood in the
Iliad, and speaks it very cleverly, because he does so in a way to
escape detection from Odysseus himself. To this Hippias replies, that
if Achilles ever speaks falsehood, he does it innocently, without any
purpose of cheating or injuring any one; whereas the falsehoods of
Odysseus are delivered with fraudulent and wicked intent.[59] It is
impossible (he contends) that men who deceive and do wrong wilfully
and intentionally, should be better than those who do so unwillingly
and without design. The laws deal much more severely with the former
than with the latter.[60]

[Footnote 59: Plat. Hipp. Minor, 370 E.]

[Footnote 60: Plat. Hipp. Minor, 372 A.]

[Side-note: Issue here taken--Sokrates contends that those who
hurt, or cheat, or lie wilfully, are better than those who do the
like unwillingly--he entreats Hippias to enlighten him and answer his
questions.]

Upon this point, Hippias (says Sokrates), I dissent from you
entirely. I am, unhappily, a stupid person, who cannot find out the
reality of things: and this appears plainly enough when I come to
talk with wise men like you, for I always find myself differing from
you. My only salvation consists in my earnest anxiety to put
questions and learn from you, and in my gratitude for your answers
and teaching. I think that those who hurt mankind, or cheat, or lie,
or do wrong, _wilfully_--are better than those who do the same
_unwillingly_. Sometimes, indeed, from my stupidity, the
opposite view presents itself to me, and I become confused: but now,
after talking with you, the fit of confidence has come round upon me
again, to pronounce and characterise the persons who do wrong
_unwillingly_, as worse than those who do wrong _wilfully_.
I entreat you to heal this disorder of my mind. You will do me
much more good than if you cured my body of a distemper. But it will
be useless for you to give me one of your long discourses: for I warn
you that I cannot follow it. The only way to confer upon me real
service, will be to answer my questions again, as you have hitherto
done. Assist me, Eudikus, in persuading Hippias to do so.

Assistance from me (says Eudikus) will hardly be needed, for Hippias
professed himself ready to answer any man's questions.

Yes--I did so (replies Hippias)--but Sokrates always brings trouble
into the debate, and proceeds like one disposed to do mischief.

Eudikus repeats his request, and Hippias, in deference to him,
consents to resume the task of answering.[61]

[Footnote 61: Plat. Hipp. Min. 373 B.]

[Side-note: Questions of Sokrates--multiplied analogies of the
special arts. The unskilful artist, who runs, wrestles, or sings
badly, whether he will or not, is worse than the skilful, who can
sing well when he chooses, but can also sing badly when he chooses.]

Sokrates then produces a string of questions, with a view to show
that those who do wrong wilfully, are better than those who do wrong
unwillingly. He appeals to various analogies. In running, the good
runner is he who runs quickly, the bad runner is he who runs slowly.
What is evil and base in running is, to run slowly. It is the good
runner who does this evil wilfully: it is the bad runner who does it
unwillingly.[62] The like is true about wrestling and other bodily
exercises. He that is good in the body, can work either strongly or
feebly,--can do either what is honourable or what is base; so that
when he does what is base, he does it wilfully. But he that is bad
in the body does what is base unwillingly, not being able to help
it.[63]

[Footnote 62: Plat. Hipp. Min. 373 D-E.]

[Footnote 63: Plat. Hipp. Min. 374 B.]

What is true about the bodily movements depending upon strength, is
not less true about those depending on grace and elegance. To be
wilfully ungraceful, belongs only to the well-constituted body: none
but the badly-constituted body is ungraceful without wishing it. The
same, also, about the feet, voice, eyes, ears, nose: of these organs,
those which act badly through will and intention, are preferable to
those which act badly without will or intention. Lameness of feet is
a misfortune and disgrace: feet which go lame only by intention
are much to be preferred.[64]

[Footnote 64: Plat. Hipp. Min. 374 C-D.]

Again, in the instruments which we use, a rudder or a bow,--or the
animals about us, horses or dogs,--those are better with which we
work badly when we choose; those are worse, with which we work badly
without design, and contrary to our own wishes.

[Side-note: It is better to have the mind of a bowman who
misses his mark only by design, than that of one who misses even when
he intends to hit.]

It is better to have the mind of a bowman who misses his mark by
design, than that of one who misses when he tries to hit. The like
about all other arts--the physician, the harper, the flute-player. In
each of these artists, _that_ mind is better, which goes wrong
only wilfully--_that_ mind is worse, which goes wrong
unwillingly, while wishing to go right. In regard to the minds of our
slaves, we should all prefer those which go wrong only when they
choose, to those which go wrong without their own choice.[65]

[Footnote 65: Plat. Hipp. Min. 376 B-D.]

Having carried his examination through this string of analogous
particulars, and having obtained from Hippias successive
answers--"Yes--true in that particular case," Sokrates proceeds to
sum up the result:--

_Sokr._--Well! should we not wish to have our own minds as good
as possible? _Hip._--Yes. _Sokr._--We have seen that they
will be better if they do mischief and go wrong wilfully, than if
they do so unwillingly? _Hip._--But it will be dreadful,
Sokrates, if the willing wrong-doers are to pass for better men than
the unwilling.

[Side-note: Dissent and repugnance of Hippias.]

_Sokr._--Nevertheless--it seems so: from what we have said.
_Hip._--It does not seem so to me. _Sokr._--I thought that
it would have seemed so to you, as it does to me. However, answer me
once more--Is not justice either a certain mental capacity? or else
knowledge? or both together?[66] _Hip._--Yes! it is.
_Sokr._--If justice be a capacity of the mind, the more capable
mind will also be the juster: and we have already seen that the more
capable soul is the better. _Hip._--We have. _Sokr._--If it
be knowledge, the more knowing or wiser mind will of course be
the juster: if it be a combination of both capacity and knowledge,
that mind which is more capable as well as more knowing,--will be the
juster that which is less capable and less knowing, will be the more
unjust. _Hip._--So it appears. _Sokr._--Now we have shown
that the more capable and knowing mind is at once the better mind,
and more competent to exert itself both ways--to do what is
honourable as well as what is base--in every employment.
_Hip._--Yes. _Sokr._--When, therefore, such a mind does what is base,
it does so wilfully, through its capacity or intelligence, which we
have seen to be of the nature of justice? _Hip._--It seems so.
_Sokr._--Doing base things, is acting unjustly: doing honourable
things, is acting justly. Accordingly, when this more capable and
better mind acts unjustly, it will do so wilfully; while the less
capable and worse mind will do so without willing it?
_Hip._--Apparently.

[Footnote 66: Plat. Hipp. Min. 375 D. [Greek: ê( dikaiosu/nê ou)chi
ê)\ du/nami/s ti/s e)stin, ê)\ e)pistê/mê, ê)\ a)mpho/tera?]]

[Side-note: Conclusion--That none but the good man can do evil
wilfully: the bad man does evil unwillingly. Hippias cannot resist
the reasoning, but will not accept the conclusion--Sokrates confesses
his perplexity.]

_Sokr._--Now the good man is he that has the good mind: the bad
man is he that has the bad mind. It belongs therefore to the good man
to do wrong wilfully, to the bad man, to do wrong without wishing
it--that is, if the good man be he that has the good mind? _Hip._--But
that is unquestionable--that he has it. _Sokr._--Accordingly,
he that goes wrong and does base and unjust things
wilfully, if there be any such character--can be no other than the
good man. _Hip._--I do not know how to concede _that_ to
you, Sokrates.[67] _Sokr._--Nor I, how to concede it to myself,
Hippias: yet so it must appear to us, now at least, from the past
debate. As I told you long ago, I waver hither and thither upon this
matter; my conclusions never remain the same. No wonder indeed that I
and other vulgar men waver; but if you wise men waver also, that
becomes a fearful mischief even to us, since we cannot even by coming
to you escape from our embarrassment.[68]

[Footnote 67: Plat. Hipp. Min. 375 E, 376 B.]

[Footnote 68: Plato, Hipp. Min. 376 C.]

* * * * *

I will here again remind the reader, that in this, as in the other
dialogues, the real speaker is Plato throughout: and that it is
he alone who prefixes the different names to words determined by
himself.

[Side-note: Remarks on the dialogue. If the parts had been
inverted, the dialogue would have been cited by critics as a specimen
of the sophistry and corruption of the Sophists.]

Now, if the dialogue just concluded had come down to us with the
parts inverted, and with the reasoning of Sokrates assigned to
Hippias, most critics would probably have produced it as a tissue of
sophistry justifying the harsh epithets which they bestow upon the
Athenian Sophists--as persons who considered truth and falsehood to
be on a par--subverters of morality--and corruptors of the youth of
Athens.[69] But as we read it, all that, which in the mouth of
Hippias would have passed for sophistry, is here put forward by
Sokrates; while Hippias not only resists his conclusions, and adheres
to the received ethical sentiment tenaciously, even when he is unable
to defend it, but hates the propositions forced upon him, protests
against the perverse captiousness of Sokrates, and requires much
pressing to induce him to continue the debate. Upon the views adopted
by the critics, Hippias ought to receive credit for this conduct, as
a friend of virtue and morality. To me, such reluctance to debate
appears a defect rather than a merit; but I cite the dialogue as
illustrating what I have already said in another place--that
Sokrates and Plato threw out more startling novelties in ethical
doctrine, than either Hippias or Protagoras, or any of the other
persons denounced as Sophists.

[Footnote 69: Accordingly one of the Platonic critics, Schwalbe
(Oeuvres de Platon, p. 116), explains Plato's purpose in the
Hippias Minor by saying, that Sokrates here serves out to the
Sophists a specimen of their own procedure, and gives them an example
of sophistical dialectic, by defending a sophistical thesis in a
sophistical manner: That he chooses and demonstrates at length the
thesis--the liar is not different from the truth-teller--as an
exposure of the sophistical art of proving the contrary of any given
proposition, and for the purpose of deriding and unmasking the false
morality of Hippias, who in this dialogue talks reasonably enough.

Schwalbe, while he affirms that this is the purpose of Plato, admits
that the part here assigned to Sokrates is unworthy of him; and
Steinhart maintains that Plato never could have had any such purpose,
"however frequently" (Steinhart says), "sophistical artifices may
occur in this conversation of Sokrates, which artifices Sokrates no
more disdained to employ than any other philosopher or rhetorician of
that day" ("so häufig auch in seinen Erörterungen sophistische
Kunstgriffe vorkommen mögen, die Sokrates eben so wenig verschmaht
hat, als irgend ein Philosoph oder Redekünstler dieser Zeit").
Steinhart, Einleitung zum Hipp. Minor, p. 109.

I do not admit the purpose here ascribed to Plato by Schwalbe, but I
refer to the passage as illustrating what Platonic critics think of
the reasoning assigned to Sokrates in the Hippias Minor, and the
hypotheses which they introduce to colour it.

The passage cited from Steinhart also--that Sokrates no more
disdained to employ sophistical artifices than any other philosopher
or rhetorician of the age--is worthy of note, as coming from one who
is so very bitter in his invectives against the sophistry of the
persons called Sophists, of which we have no specimens left.]

[Side-note: Polemical purpose of the dialogue--Hippias
humiliated by Sokrates.]

That Plato intended to represent this accomplished Sophist as
humiliated by Sokrates, is evident enough: and the words put into his
mouth are suited to this purpose. The eloquent lecturer, so soon as
his admiring crowd of auditors has retired, proves unable to parry
the questions of a single expert dialectician who remains behind,
upon a matter which appears to him almost self-evident, and upon
which every one (from Homer downward) agrees with him. Besides this,
however, Plato is not satisfied without making him say very simple
and absurd things. All this is the personal, polemical, comic scope
of the dialogue. It lends (whether well-placed or not) a certain
animation and variety, which the author naturally looked out for, in
an aggregate of dialogues all handling analogous matters about man
and society.

But though the polemical purpose of the dialogue is thus plain, its
philosophical purpose perplexes the critics considerably. They do not
like to see Sokrates employing sophistry against the Sophists: that
is, as they think, casting out devils by the help of Beelzebub. And
certainly, upon the theory which they adopt, respecting the relation
between Plato and Sokrates on one side, and the Sophists on the
other, I think this dialogue is very difficult to explain. But I do
not think it is difficult, upon a true theory of the Platonic
writings.

[Side-note: Philosophical purpose of the dialogue--theory of
the Dialogues of Search generally, and of Knowledge as understood by
Plato.]

In a former chapter, I tried to elucidate the general character and
purpose of those Dialogues of Search, which occupy more than half the
Thrasyllean Canon, and of which we have already reviewed two or three
specimens--Euthyphron, Alkibiadês, &c. We have seen that they are
distinguished by the absence of any affirmative conclusion: that they
prove nothing, but only, at the most, disprove one or more supposable
solutions: that they are not processes in which one man who knows
communicates his knowledge to ignorant hearers, but in which all are
alike ignorant, and all are employed, either in groping, or guessing,
or testing the guesses of the rest. We have farther seen that the
value of these Dialogues depends upon the Platonic theory about
knowledge; that Plato did not consider any one to know, who could not
explain to others all that he knew, reply to the cross-examination of
a Sokratic Elenchus, and cross-examine others to test their
knowledge: that knowledge in this sense could not be attained by
hearing, or reading, or committing to memory a theorem, together with
the steps of reasoning which directly conducted to it:--but that
there was required, besides, an acquaintance with many
counter-theorems, each having more or less appearance of truth; as
well as with various embarrassing aspects and plausible delusions
on the subject, which an expert cross-examiner would not fail to urge.
Unless you are practised in meeting all the difficulties which he can
devise, you cannot be said _to know_. Moreover, it is in this
last portion of the conditions of knowledge, that most aspirants are
found wanting.

[Side-note: The Hippias is an exemplification of this
theory--Sokrates sets forth a case of confusion, and avows his inability
to clear it up. Confusion shown up in the Lesser Hippias--Error in the
Greater.]

Now the Greater and Lesser Hippias are peculiar specimens of these
Dialogues of Search, and each serves the purpose above indicated. The
Greater Hippias enumerates a string of tentatives, each one of which
ends in acknowledged failure: the Lesser Hippias enunciates a thesis,
which Sokrates proceeds to demonstrate, by plausible arguments such
as Hippias is forced to admit. But though Hippias admits each
successive step, he still mistrusts the conclusion, and suspects that
he has been misled--a feeling which Plato[70] describes elsewhere as
being frequent among the respondents of Sokrates. Nay, Sokrates
himself shares in the mistrust--presents himself as an unwilling
propounder of arguments which force themselves upon him,[71] and
complains of his own mental embarrassment. Now you may call this
sophistry, if you please; and you may silence its propounders by
calling them hard names. But such ethical prudery--hiding all the
uncomfortable logical puzzles which start up when you begin to
analyse an established sentiment, and treating them as non-existent
because you refuse to look at them--is not the way, to attain what
Plato calls knowledge. If there be any argument, the process of which
seems indisputable, while yet its conclusion contradicts, or seems to
contradict, what is known, upon other evidence--the full and patient
analysis of that argument is indispensable, before you can become
master of the truth and able to defend it. Until you have gone
through such analysis, your mind must remain in that state of
confusion which is indicated by Sokrates at the end of the Lesser
Hippias. As it is a part of the process of Search, to travel in the
path of the Greater Hippias--that is, to go through a string of
erroneous solutions, each of which can be proved, by reasons shown,
to _be_ erroneous: so it is an equally important part of the
same process, to travel in the path of the Lesser Hippias--that is,
to acquaint ourselves with all those arguments, bearing on the case,
in which two contrary conclusions appear to be both of them plausibly
demonstrated, and in which therefore we cannot as yet determine which
of them is erroneous--or whether both are not erroneous. The Greater
Hippias exhibits errors,--the Lesser Hippias puts before us
confusion. With both these enemies the Searcher for truth must
contend: and Bacon tells us, that confusion is the worst enemy of the
two--"Citius emergit veritas ex errore, quam ex confusione". Plato,
in the Lesser Hippias, having in hand a genuine Sokratic thesis, does
not disdain to invest Sokrates with the task (sophistical, as some
call it, yet not the less useful and instructive) of setting forth at
large this case of confusion, and avowing his inability to clear it
up. It is enough for Sokrates that he brings home the painful sense
of confusion to the feelings of his hearer as well as to his own. In
that painful sentiment lies the stimulus provocative of farther
intellectual effort.[72] The dialogue ends but the process of search,
far from ending along with it, is emphatically declared to be
unfinished, and, to be in a condition not merely unsatisfactory
but intolerable, not to be relieved except by farther investigation,
which thus becomes a necessary sequel.

[Footnote 70: Plato, Republ. vi. 487 B.

[Greek: Kai\ o( A)dei/mantos, Ô)= Sô/krates, e)/phê, pro\s me\n
tau=ta/ soi ou)dei\s a)\n oi(=os t' ei)/ê a)nteipei=n; a)lla\ ga\r
toio/nde ti pa/schousin oi( a)kou/ontes e)ka/stote a)\ nu=n le/geis;
ê(gou=ntai di' a)peiri/an tou= e)rôta=|n kai\ a)pokri/nesthai u(po\
tou= lo/gou par' e(/kaston to\ e)rô/têma smikro\n parago/menoi,
a)throisthe/ntôn tô=n smikrô=n e)pi\ teleutê=s tô=n lo/gôn, me/ga to\
spha/lma kai\ e)nanti/on toi=s prô/tois a)naphai/nesthai . . . e)pei
to/ ge a)lêthe\s ou)de/n ti ma=llon tau/tê| e)/chein.]

This passage, attesting the effect of the Sokratic examination upon
the minds of auditors, ought to be laid to heart by those Platonic
critics who denounce the Sophists for generating scepticism and
uncertainty.]

[Footnote 71: Plato, Hipp. Minor, 373 B; also the last sentence of
the dialogue.]

[Footnote 72: See the passage in Republic, vii. 523-524, where the
[Greek: to\ paraklêtiko\n kai\ e)gertiko\n tê=s noê/seôs] is declared
to arise from the pain of a felt contradiction.]

There are two circumstances which lend particular interest to this
dialogue--Hippias Minor. 1. That the thesis out of which the
confusion arises, is one which we know to have been laid down by the
historical Sokrates himself. 2. That Aristotle expressly notices this
thesis, as well as the dialogue in which it is contained, and combats
it.

[Side-note: The thesis maintained here by Sokrates, is also
affirmed by the historical Sokrates in the Xenophontic Memorabilia.]

Sokrates in his conversation with the youthful Euthydemus (in the
Xenophontic Memorabilia) maintains, that of two persons, each of whom
deceives his friends in a manner to produce mischief, the one who
does so wilfully is not so unjust as the one who does so
unwillingly.[73] Euthydemus (like Hippias in this dialogue) maintains
the opposite, but is refuted by Sokrates; who argues that justice is
a matter to be learnt and known like letters; that the lettered man,
who has learnt and knows letters, can write wrongly when he chooses,
but never writes wrongly unless he chooses--while it is only the
unlettered man who writes wrongly unwillingly and without intending
it: that in like manner the just man, he that has learnt and knows
justice, never commits injustice unless when he intends it--while the
unjust man, who has not learnt and does not know justice, commits
injustice whether he will or not. It is the just man therefore, and
none but the just man (Sokrates maintains), who commits injustice
knowingly and wilfully: it is the unjust man who commits injustice
without wishing or intending it.[74]

[Footnote 73: Xen. Mem. iv. 2, 19. [Greek: tô=n de\ dê\ tou\s
phi/lous e)xapatô/ntôn e)pi\ blabê=| (i(/na mêde\ tou=to
paralei/pômen a)/skepton) po/teros a)dikô/tero/s e)stin, o( e(kô\n
ê)\ o( a)/kôn?]

The natural meaning of [Greek: e)pi\ blabê=|] would be, "for the
purpose of mischief"; and Schneider, in his Index, gives "nocendi
causâ". But in that meaning the question would involve an
impossibility, for the words [Greek: o( a)/kôn] exclude any such
purpose.]

[Footnote 74: Xen. Mem. iv. 2, 19-22.]

This is the same view which is worked out by the Platonic Sokrates in
the Hippias Minor: beginning with the antithesis between the
veracious and mendacious man (as Sokrates begins in Xenophon); and
concluding with the general result--that it belongs to the good
man to do wrong wilfully, to the bad man to do wrong unwillingly.

[Side-note: Aristotle combats the thesis. Arguments against
it.]

Aristotle,[75] in commenting upon this doctrine of the Hippias Minor,
remarks justly, that Plato understands the epithets _veracious_
and _mendacious_ in a sense different from that which they
usually bear. Plato understands the words as designating one who
_can_ tell the truth if he chooses--one who _can_ speak
falsely if he chooses: and in this sense he argues plausibly that the
two epithets go together, and that no man can be mendacious unless he
be also veracious. Aristotle points out that the epithets in their
received meaning are applied, not to the power itself, but to the
habitual and intentional use of that power. The power itself is
doubtless presupposed or implied as one condition to the
applicability of the epithets, and is one common condition to the
applicability of both epithets: but the distinction, which they are
intended to draw, regards the intentions and dispositions with which
the power is employed. So also Aristotle observes that Plato's
conclusion--"He that does wrong wilfully is a better man than he that
does wrong unwillingly," is falsely collected from induction or
analogy. The analogy of the special arts and accomplishments, upon
which the argument is built, is not applicable. _Better_ has
reference, not to the amount of intelligence but to the dispositions
and habitual intentions; though it presupposes a certain state and
amount of intelligence as indispensable.

[Footnote 75: Aristotel. Metaphys. [Greek: D]. p. 1025, a. 8; compare
Ethic. Nikomach. iv. p. 1127, b. 16.]

[Side-note: Mistake of Sokrates and Plato in dwelling too
exclusively on the intellectual conditions of human conduct.]

Both Sokrates and Plato (in many of his dialogues) commit the error
of which the above is one particular manifestation--that of dwelling
exclusively on the intellectual conditions of human conduct,[76] and
omitting to give proper attention to the emotional and volitional, as
essentially co-operating or preponderating in the complex meaning of
ethical attributes. The reasoning ascribed to the Platonic Sokrates
in the Hippias Minor exemplifies this one-sided view. What he
says is true, but it is only a part of the truth. When he speaks of a
person "who does wrong unwillingly," he seems to have in view one who
does wrong without knowing that he does so: one whose intelligence is
so defective that he does not know when he speaks truth and when he
speaks falsehood. Now a person thus unhappily circumstanced must be
regarded as half-witted or imbecile, coming under the head which the
Xenophontic Sokrates called _madness_:[77] unfit to perform any
part in society, and requiring to be placed under tutelage. Compared
with such a person, the opinion of the Platonic Sokrates may be
defended--that the mendacious person, who _can_ tell truth when
he chooses, is the better of the two in the sense of less mischievous
or dangerous. But he is the object of a very different sentiment;
moreover, this is not the comparison present to our minds when we
call one man veracious, another man mendacious. We always assume, in
every one, a measure of intelligence equal or superior to the
admissible minimum; under such assumption, we compare two persons,
one of whom speaks to the best of his knowledge and belief, the
other, contrary to his knowledge and belief. We approve the former
and disapprove the latter, according to the different intention and
purpose of each (as Aristotle observes); that is, looking at them
under the point of view of emotion and volition--which is logically
distinguishable from the intelligence, though always acting in
conjunction with it.

[Footnote 76: Aristotle has very just observations on these views of
Sokrates, and on the incompleteness of his views when he resolved all
virtue into knowledge, all vice into ignorance. See, among other
passages, Aristot. Ethica Magna, i. 1182, a. 16; 1183, b. 9; 1190, b.
28; Ethic. Eudem. i. 1216, b, 4. The remarks of Aristotle upon
Sokrates and Plato evince a real progress in ethical theory.]

[Footnote 77: Xen. Mem. iii. 9, 7. [Greek: tou\s diêmartêko/tas, ô(=n
oi( polloi\ gignô/skousi, mainome/nous kalei=n], &c.]

[Side-note: They rely too much on the analogy of the special
arts--They take no note of the tacit assumptions underlying the
epithets of praise and blame.]

Again, the analogy of the special arts, upon which the Platonic
Sokrates dwells in the Hippias Minor, fails in sustaining his
inference. By a good runner, wrestler, harper, singer, speaker,
&c., we undoubtedly mean one who can, if he pleases, perform some
one of these operations well; although he can also, if he pleases,
perform them badly. But the epithets _good_ or _bad_, in
this case, consider exclusively that element which was left out, and
leave out that element which was exclusively considered, in the
former case. The good singer is declared to stand distinguished from
the bad singer, or from the [Greek: i)diô/tês], who, if he sings
at all, will certainly sing badly, by an attribute belonging to his
intelligence and vocal organs. To sing well is a special
accomplishment, which is possessed only by a few, and which no man is
blamed for not possessing. The distinction between such special
accomplishments, and justice or rectitude of behaviour, is well
brought out in the speech which Plato puts into the mouth of the
Sophist Protagoras.[78] "The special artists (he says) are few in
number: one of them is sufficient for many private citizens. But
every citizen, without exception, must possess justice and a sense of
shame: if he does not, he must be put away as a nuisance--otherwise,
society could not be maintained." The special artist is a citizen
also; and as such, must be subject to the obligations binding on all
citizens universally. In predicating of him that he is _good_ or
_bad_ as a citizen, we merely assume him to possess the average
intelligence, of the community; and the epithet declares whether his
emotional and volitional attributes exceed, or fall short of, the
minimum required in the application of that intelligence to his
social obligations. It is thus that the words _good_ or
_bad_ when applied to him as a citizen, have a totally different
bearing from that which the same words have when applied to him in
his character of special artist.

[Footnote 78: Plato, Protagoras, 322.]

[Side-note: Value of a Dialogue of Search, that it shall be
suggestive, and that it shall bring before us different aspects of
the question under review.]

The value of these debates in the Platonic dialogues consists in
their raising questions like the preceding, for the reflection of the
reader--whether the Platonic Sokrates may or may not be represented
as taking what we think the right view of the question. For a
Dialogue of Search, the great merit is, that it should be suggestive;
that it should bring before our attention the conditions requisite
for a right and proper use of these common ethical epithets, and the
state of circumstances which is tacitly implied whenever any one uses
them. No man ever learns to reflect upon the meaning of such familiar
epithets, which he has been using all his life--unless the process be
forced upon his attention by some special conversation which brings
home to him an uncomfortable sentiment of perplexity and
contradiction. If a man intends to acquire any grasp of ethical
or political theory, he must render himself master, not only of the
sound arguments and the guiding analogies but also of the unsound
arguments and the misleading analogies, which bear upon each portion
of it.

[Side-note: Antithesis between Rhetoric and Dialectic.]

There is one other point of similitude deserving notice, between the
Greater and Lesser Hippias. In both of them, Hippias makes special
complaint of Sokrates, for breaking the question in pieces and
picking out the minute puzzling fragments--instead of keeping it
together as a whole, and applying to it the predicates which it
merits when so considered.[79] Here is the standing antithesis
between Rhetoric and Dialectic: between those unconsciously acquired
mental combinations which are poured out in eloquent, impressive,
unconditional, and undistinguishing generalities--and the logical
analysis which resolves the generality into its specialities,
bringing to view inconsistencies, contradictions, limits,
qualifications, &c. I have already touched upon this at the close
of the Greater Hippias.

[Footnote 79: Plato, Hipp. Min. 369 B-C. [Greek: Ô)= Sô/krates, a)ei\
su/ tinas toiou/tous ple/keis lo/gous, kai\ a)polamba/nôn o(/ a)\n
ê)=| duschere/staton tou= lo/gou, tou/tou e)/chei kata\ smikro\n
e)phapto/menos, kai\ ou)ch o(/lô a)gôni/zei tô=| pra/gmati, peri\
o(/tou a)\n o( lo/gos ê)=|], &c.

A remark of Aristotle (Topica, viii. 164, b. 2) illustrates this
dissecting function of the Dialectician.

[Greek: e)/sti ga/r, ô(s a(plô=s ei)pei=n, dialektiko\s o(
protatiko\s kai\ e)nstatiko/s; e)/sti de\ to\ me\n protei/nesthai,
e(\n poiei=n ta\ plei/ô (dei= ga\r e(\n o(/lô| lêphthê=nai pro\s o(\
o( lo/gos), to\ d' e)ni/stasthai, to\ e(n polla/; ê)\ ga\r diairei=,
ê)\ a)nairei=, to\ me\n didou/s, to\ de\ ou)/, tô=n
proteinome/nôn.]]



CHAPTER XIV.

HIPPARCHUS--MINOS.


In these two dialogues, Plato sets before us two farther specimens of
that error and confusion which beset the enquirer during his search
after "reasoned truth". Sokrates forces upon the attention of a
companion two of the most familiar words of the market-place, to see
whether a clear explanation of their meaning can be obtained.

[Side-note: Hipparchus--Question--What is the definition of
Lover of Gain? He is one who thinks it right to gain from things
worth nothing. Sokrates cross-examines upon this explanation. No man
expects to gain from things which he knows to be worth nothing: in
this sense, no man is a lover of gain.]

In the dialogue called Hipparchus, the debate turns on the definition
of [Greek: to\ philokerde\s] or [Greek: o( philokerdê/s]--the love of
gain or the lover of gain. Sokrates asks his Companion to define the
word. The Companion replies--He is one who thinks it right to gain
from things worth nothing.[1] Does he do this (asks Sokrates) knowing
that the things are worth nothing? or not knowing? If the latter, he
is simply ignorant. He knows it perfectly well (is the reply). He is
cunning and wicked; and it is because he cannot resist the temptation
of gain, that he has the impudence to make profit by such things,
though well aware that they are worth nothing. _Sokr._--Suppose
a husbandman, knowing that the plant which he is tending is
worthless--and yet thinking that he ought to gain by it: does not
that correspond to your description of the lover of gain?
_Comp._--The lover of gain, Sokrates, thinks that he ought to
gain from every thing. _Sokr._--Do not answer in that reckless
manner,[2] as if you had been wronged by any one; but answer with
attention. You agree that the lover of gain knows the value of
that from which he intends to derive profit; and that the husbandman
is the person cognizant of the value of plants. _Comp._--Yes: I
agree. _Sokr._--Do not therefore attempt, you are so young, to
deceive an old man like me, by giving answers not in conformity with
your own admissions; but tell me plainly, Do you believe that the
experienced husbandman, when he knows that he is planting a tree
worth nothing, thinks that he shall gain by it? _Comp._--No,
certainly: I do not believe it.

[Footnote 1: Plato, Hipparch. 225 A. [Greek: oi(\ a)\n kerdai/nein
a)xiô=sin a)po\ tô=n mêdeno\s a)xi/ôn.]]

[Footnote 2: Plato, Hipparch. 225 C.]

Sokrates then proceeds to multiply illustrations to the same general
point. The good horseman does not expect to gain by worthless food
given to his horse: the good pilot, by worthless tackle put into his
ship: the good commander, by worthless arms delivered to his
soldiers: the good fifer, harper, bowman, by employing worthless
instruments of their respective arts, if they know them to be
worthless.

[Side-note: Gain is good. Every man loves good: therefore all
men are lovers of gain.]

None of these persons (concludes Sokrates) correspond to your
description of the lover of gain. Where then can you find a lover of
gain? On your explanation, no man is so.[3] _Comp._--I mean,
Sokrates, that the lovers of gain are those, who, through greediness,
long eagerly for things altogether petty and worthless; and thus
display a love of gain.[4] _Sokr._--Not surely knowing them to
be worthless--for this we have shown to be impossible--but ignorant
that they are worthless, and believing them to be valuable.
_Comp._--It appears so. _Sokr._--Now gain is the opposite
of loss: and loss is evil and hurt to every one: therefore gain (as
the opposite of loss) is good. _Comp._--Yes. _Sokr._--It
appears then that the lovers of good are those whom you call lovers
of gain? _Comp._--Yes: it appears so. _Sokr._--Do not you
yourself love good--all good things? _Comp._--Certainly.
_Sokr._--And I too, and every one else. All men love good
things, and hate evil. Now we agreed that gain was a good: so that by
this reasoning, it appears that all men are lovers of gain while by
the former reasoning, we made out that none were so.[5] Which of the
two shall we adopt, to avoid error. _Comp._--We shall commit
no error, Sokrates, if we rightly conceive the lover of gain. He is
one who busies himself upon, and seeks to gain from, things from
which good men do not venture to gain.

[Footnote 3: Plat. Hipparch. 226 D.]

[Footnote 4: Plat. Hipparch. 226 D. [Greek: A)ll' e)gô\, ô)=
Sô/krates, bou/lomai le/gein tou/tous philokerdei=s ei)=nai, oi(\
e(ka/stote u(po\ a)plêsti/as kai\ panu\ smikra\ kai\ o)li/gou a)/xia
kai\ ou)deno\s gli/chontai u(perphuô=s kai\ philokerdou=sin.]]

[Footnote 5: Plat. Hipparch. 227 C.]

[Side-note: Apparent contradiction. Sokrates accuses the
companion of trying to deceive him. Accusation is retorted upon
Sokrates.]

_Sokr._--But, my friend, we agreed just now, that gain was a
good, and that all men always love good. It follows therefore, that
good men as well as others love all gains, if gains are good things.
_Comp._--Not, certainly, those gains by which they will
afterwards be hurt. _Sokr._--Be hurt: you mean, by which they
will become losers. _Comp._--I mean that and nothing else.
_Sokr._--Do they become losers by gain, or by loss?
_Comp._--By both: by loss, and by evil gain. _Sokr._--Does
it appear to you that any useful and good thing is evil?
_Comp._--No. _Sokr._--Well! we agreed just now that gain
was the opposite of loss, which was evil; and that, being the
opposite of evil, gain was good. _Comp._--That was what we
agreed. _Sokr._--You see how it is: you are trying to deceive
me: you purposely contradict what we just now agreed upon.
_Comp._--Not at all, by Zeus: on the contrary, it is you,
Sokrates, who deceive me, wriggling up and down in your talk, I
cannot tell how.[6] _Sokr._--Be careful what you say: I should
be very culpable, if I disobeyed a good and wise monitor.
_Comp._--Whom do you mean: and what do you mean?
_Sokr._--Hipparchus, son of Peisistratus.

[Footnote 6: Plat. Hipparch. 228 A. _Sokr._--[Greek: O(ra=|s
ou)=n? e)picheirei=s me e)xapata=|n, e)pi/têdes e)nanti/a le/gôn
oi(=s a)/rti ô(mologê/samen.] _Comp._ [Greek: Ou) ma\ Di/', ô)=
Sô/krates; a)lla\ tou)nanti/on su\ e)me\ e)xapata=|s, kai\ ou)k
oi)=da o(pê=| e)n toi=s lo/gois a)/nô kai\ ka/tô stre/pheis.]]

[Side-note: Precept inscribed formerly by Hipparchus the
Peisistratid--"Never deceive a friend". Eulogy of Hipparchus by
Sokrates.]

Sokrates then describes at some length the excellent character of
Hipparchus: his beneficent rule, his wisdom, his anxiety for the
moral improvement of the Athenians: the causes, different from what
was commonly believed, which led to his death; and the wholesome
precepts which he during his life had caused to be inscribed on
various busts of Hermes throughout Attica. One of these busts or
Hermæ bore the words--Do not deceive a friend.[7]

[Footnote 7: Plat. Hipparch. 228 B-229 D.

The picture here given of Hipparchus deserves notice. We are informed
that he was older than his brother Hippias, which was the general
belief at Athens, as Thucydides (i. 20, vi. 58) affirms, though
himself contradicting it, and affirming that Hippias was the elder
brother. Plato however agrees with Thucydides in this point, that the
three years after the assassination of Hipparchus, during which
Hippias ruled alone, were years of oppression and tyranny; and that
the hateful recollection of the Peisistratidæ, which always survived
in the minds of the Athenians, was derived from these three last
years.

The picture which Plato here gives of Hipparchus is such as we might
expect from a philosopher. He dwells upon the pains which Hipparchus
took to have the recitation of the Homeric poems made frequent and
complete: also upon his intimacy with the poets Anakreon and
Simonides. The colouring which Plato gives to the intimacy between
Aristogeiton and Harmodius is also peculiar. The [Greek: e)rastê\s]
is represented by Plato as eager for the education and improvement of
the [Greek: e)rô/menos]; and the jealousy felt towards Hipparchus is
described as arising from the distinguished knowledge and abilities
of Hipparchus, which rendered him so much superior and more effective
as an educator.]

The Companion resumes: Apparently, Sokrates, either you do not
account me your friend, or you do not obey Hipparchus: for you are
certainly deceiving me in some unaccountable way in your talk. You
cannot persuade me to the contrary.

[Side-note: Sokrates allows the companion to retract some of
his answers. The companion affirms that some gain is good, other gain
is evil.]

_Sokr._--Well then! in order that you may not think yourself
deceived, you may take back any move that you choose, as if we were
playing at draughts. Which of your admissions do you wish to
retract--That all men desire good things? That loss (to be a loser)
is evil? That gain is the opposite of loss: that to gain is the
opposite of to lose? That to gain, as being the opposite of evil
is a good thing? _Comp._--No. I do not retract any one of these.
_Sokr._--You think then, it appears, that some gain is good, other
gain evil? _Comp._--Yes, that is what I do think.[8] _Sokr._--Well, I
give you back that move: let it stand as you say. Some gain is good:
other gain is bad. But surely the good gain is no more _gain_,
than the bad gain: both are _gain_, alike and equally.
_Comp._--How do you mean?

[Footnote 8: Plat. Hipparch. 229 E, 230 A.]

[Side-note: Questions by Sokrates--bad gain is _gain_, as
much as good gain. What is the common property, in virtue of which
both are called Gain? Every acquisition, made with no outlay, or with
a smaller outlay, is gain. Objections--the acquisition may be
evil--embarrassment confessed.]

Sokrates then illustrates his question by two or three analogies. Bad
food is just as much _food_, as good food: bad drink, as much
_drink_ as good drink: a good man is no more _man_ than a
bad man.[9]

[Footnote 9: Plat. Hipparch. 230 C.]

_Sokr._--In like manner, bad gain, and good gain, are (both of
them) _gain_ alike--neither of them more or less than the other.
Such being the case, what is that common quality possessed by both,
which induces you to call them by the same name _Gain_?[10]
Would you call _Gain_ any acquisition which one makes either
with a smaller outlay or with no outlay at all?[11]
_Comp._--Yes. I should call that gain. _Sokr._--For example, if after
being at a banquet, not only without any outlay, but receiving an
excellent dinner, you acquire an illness? _Comp._--Not at all:
that is no gain. _Sokr._--But if from the banquet you acquire
health, would that be gain or loss? _Comp._--It would be gain.
_Sokr._--Not every acquisition therefore is gain, but only such
acquisitions as are good and not evil: if the acquisition be evil, it
is loss. _Comp._--Exactly so. _Sokr._--Well, now, you see,
you are come round again to the very same point: Gain is good. Loss
is evil. _Comp._--I am puzzled what to say.[12]
_Sokr._--You have good reason to be puzzled.

[Footnote 10: Plat. Hipparch. 230 E. [Greek: dia\ ti/ pote
a)mpho/tera au)ta\ ke/rdos kalei=s? ti/ tau)to\n e)n a)mphote/rois
o(rô=n?]]

[Footnote 11: Plat. Hipparch. 231 A.]

[Footnote 12: Plat. Hipparch. 231 C. _Sokr._ [Greek: O(ra=|s
ou)=n, ô(s pa/lin au)= peritre/cheis ei)s to\ au)to\--to\ me\n
ke/rdos a)gatho\n phai/netai, ê( de\ zêmi/a kako/n?] _Comp._
[Greek: A)porô= e)/gôge o(\, ti ei)/pô.] _Sokr._ [Greek: Ou)k
a)di/kôs ge su\ a)porô=n.]]

[Side-note: It is essential to gain, that the acquisition made
shall be greater not merely in quantity, but also in value, than the
outlay. The valuable is the profitable--the profitable is the good.
Conclusion comes back. That Gain is Good.]

But tell me: you say that if a man lays out little and acquires much,
that is gain? _Comp._--Yes: but not if it be evil: it is gain,
if it be good, like gold or silver. _Sokr._--I will ask you
about gold and silver. Suppose a man by laying out one pound of gold
acquires two pounds of silver, is it gain or loss? _Comp._--It
is loss, decidedly, Sokrates: gold is twelve times the value of
silver. _Sokr._--Nevertheless he has acquired more: double is
more than half. _Comp._--Not in value: double silver is not more
than half gold. _Sokr._--It appears then that we must include
value as essential to gain, not merely quantity. The valuable is
gain: the valueless is no gain. The valuable is that which is
valuable to possess: is that the profitable, or the unprofitable?
_Comp._--It is the profitable. _Sokr._--But the profitable
is good? _Comp._--Yes: it is. _Sokr._--Why then, here, the
same conclusion comes back to us as agreed, for the third or fourth
time. The gainful is good. _Comp._--It appears so.[13]

[Footnote 13: Plato, Hipparch. 231 D-E, 232 A.]

[Side-note: Recapitulation. The debate has shown that all gain
is good, and that there is no evil gain--all men are lovers of gain--no
man ought to be reproached for being so. The companion is compelled
to admit this, though he declares that he is not persuaded.]

 _Sokr._--Let me remind you of what has passed. You contended
 that good men did not wish to acquire all sorts of gain, but
only such as were good, and not such as were evil. But now, the
debate has compelled us to acknowledge that all gains are good,
whether small or great. _Comp._--As for me, Sokrates, the debate
has compelled me rather than persuaded me.[14]
_Sokr._--Presently, perhaps, it may even persuade you. But now,
whether you have been persuaded or not, you at least concur with
me in affirming that all gains, whether small or great, are good.
That all good men wish for all good things. _Comp._--I do concur.
_Sokr._--But you yourself stated that evil men love all gains,
small and great? _Comp._--I said so. _Sokr._--According to your
doctrine then, all men are lovers of gain, the good men as well as
the evil? _Comp._--Apparently so. _Sokr._--It is therefore
wrong to reproach any man as a lover of gain: for the person who
reproaches is himself a lover of gain, just as much.

[Footnote 14: Plat. Hipparch. 232 A-B. _Sokr._ [Greek: Ou)kou=n
nu=n pa/nta ta\ ke/rdê o( lo/gos ê(ma=s ê)na/gkake kai\ smikra\ kai\
mega/la o(mologei=n a)gatha\ ei)=nai?] _Comp._ [Greek:
Ê)na/gkake ga/r, ô)= Sô/krates, ma=llon e)me/ ge ê)\ pe/peiken.]
_Sokr._ [Greek: A)ll' i)/sôs meta\ tou=to kai\ pei/seien
a)\n.]]

[Side-note: Minos. Question put by Sokrates to the companion.
What is Law, or The Law? All law is the same, _quatenus_ law:
what is the common constituent attribute?]

The Minos, like the Hipparchus, is a dialogue carried on between
Sokrates and a companion not named. It relates to Law, or The Law--

_Sokr._--What is Law (asks Sokrates)? _Comp._--Respecting
what sort of Law do you enquire (replies the Companion)?
_Sokr._--What! is there any difference between one law and
another law, as to that identical circumstance, of being Law? Gold
does not differ from gold, so far as the being gold is concerned--nor
stone from stone, so far as being stone is concerned. In like manner,
one law does not differ from another, all are the same, in so far as
each is Law alike:--not, one of them more, and another less. It is
about this as a whole that I ask you--What is Law?

[Side-note: Answer--Law is, 1. The consecrated and binding
customs. 2. The decree of the city. 3. Social or civic opinion.]

_Comp._--What should Law be, Sokrates, other than the various
assemblage of consecrated and binding customs and beliefs?[15]
_Sokr._--Do you think, then, that discourse is, the things
spoken: that sight is, the things seen? that hearing is, the things
heard? Or are they not distinct, in each of the three cases--and is
not Law also one thing, the various customs and beliefs another?
_Comp._--Yes! I now think that they are distinct.[16]
_Sokr._--Law is that whereby these binding customs become
binding. What is it? _Comp._--Law can be nothing else than the
public resolutions and decrees promulgated among us. Law is the
decree of the city.[17] _Sokr._--You mean, that Law is social
opinion. _Comp._--Yes I do.

[Footnote 15: Plato, Minos, 313 B. [Greek: Ti/ ou)=n a)/llo no/mos
ei)/ê a)\n a)ll' ê)\ ta\ nomizo/mena?]]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Minos, 313 B-C.

I pass over here an analogy started by Sokrates in his next question;
as [Greek: o)/psis] to [Greek: ta\ o(rô/mena], so [Greek: no/mos] to
[Greek: ta\ nomizo/mena], &c.]

[Footnote 17: Plato, Minos, 814 A. [Greek: e)peidê\ no/mô| ta\
nomizo/mena nomi/zetai, ti/ni o)/nti tô=| no/mô| nomi/zetai?]]

[Side-note: Cross-examination by Sokrates--just and
lawfully-behaving men are so through law; unjust and lawless men
are so through the absence of law. Law is highly honourable and useful:
lawlessness is ruinous. Accordingly, bad decrees of the city--or bad
social opinion--cannot be law.]

_Sokr._--Perhaps you are right: but let us examine. You call
some persons wise:--they are wise through wisdom. You call some
just:--they are just through justice. In like manner, the
lawfully-behaving men are so through law: the lawless men are so
through lawlessness. Now the lawfully-behaving men are just: the
lawless men are unjust. _Comp._--It is so. _Sokr._--Justice and Law,
are highly honourable: injustice and lawlessness, highly
dishonourable: the former preserves cities, the latter ruins them.
_Comp._--Yes--it does. _Sokr._--Well, then! we must
consider law as something honourable; and seek after it, under the
assumption that it is a good thing. You defined law to be the decree
of the city: Are not some decrees good, others evil?
_Comp._--Unquestionably. _Sokr._--But we have already said that law
is not evil. _Comp._--I admit it. _Sokr._--It is incorrect
therefore to answer, as you did broadly, that law is the decree of
the city. An evil decree cannot be law. _Comp._--I see that it
is incorrect.[18]

[Footnote 18: Plato, Minos, 314 B-C-D.]

[Side-note: Suggestion by Sokrates--Law is the _good_
opinion of the city--but good opinion is true opinion, or the finding
out of reality. Law therefore wishes (tends) to be the finding out of
reality, though it does not always succeed in doing so.]

_Sokr._--Still--I think, myself, that law is opinion of some
sort; and since it is not evil opinion, it must be good opinion. Now
good opinion is true opinion: and true opinion is, the finding out of
reality. _Comp._--I admit it. _Sokr._--Law therefore wishes
or tends to be, the finding out of reality.[19] _Comp._--But,
Sokrates, if law is the finding out of reality--if we have
therein already found out realities--how comes it that all
communities of men do not use the same laws respecting the same
matters? _Sokr._--The law does not the less wish or tend to find
out realities; but it is unable to do so. That is, if the fact be
true as you state--that we change our laws, and do not all of us use
the same. _Comp._--Surely, the fact as a fact is obvious
enough.[20]

[Footnote 19: Plato, Minos, 315 A. [Greek: Ou)kou=n ê( a)lêthê\s
do/xa tou= o)/ntos e)stin e)xeu/resis? . . . o( no/mos a)/ra bou/letai
tou= o)/ntos ei)=nai e)xeu/resis?]]

[Footnote 20: Plato, Minos, 315 A-B.]

[Side-note: Objection taken by the Companion--That there is
great discordance of laws in different places--he specifies several
cases of such discordance at some length. Sokrates reproves his
prolixity, and requests him to confine himself to question or
answer.]

(The Companion here enumerates some remarkable local rites,
venerable in one place, abhorrent in another, such as the human
sacrifices at Carthage, &c., thus lengthening his answer much
beyond what it had been before. Sokrates then continues):

_Sokr._--Perhaps you are right, and these matters have escaped
me. But if you and I go on making long speeches each for ourselves,
we shall never come to an agreement. If we are to carry on our
research together, we must do so by question and answer. Question me,
if you prefer:--if not, answer me. _Comp._--I am quite ready,
Sokrates, to answer whatever you ask.

[Side-note: Farther questions by Sokrates--Things heavy and
light, just and unjust, honourable and dishonourable, &c., are
so, and are accounted so everywhere. Real things are always accounted
real. Whoever fails in attaining the real, fails in attaining the
lawful.]

_Sokr._--Well, then! do you think that just things are just and
unjust things are unjust? _Comp._--I think they are.
_Sokr._--Do not all men in all communities, among the Persians
as well as here, now as well as formerly, think so too?
_Comp._--Unquestionably they do. _Sokr._--Are not things which weigh
more, accounted heavier; and things which weigh less, accounted
lighter, here, at Carthage, and everywhere else?[21]
_Comp._--Certainly. _Sokr._--It seems, then, that honourable things
are accounted honourable everywhere, and dishonourable things
dishonourable? not the reverse. _Comp._--Yes, it is so.
_Sokr._--Then, speaking universally, existent things or
realities (not non-existents) are accounted existent and real, among
us as well as among all other men? _Comp._--I think they are.
_Sokr._--Whoever therefore fails in attaining the real fails in
attaining the lawful.[22] _Comp._--As you now put it, Sokrates,
it would seem that the same things are accounted lawful both by us at
all times, and by all the rest of mankind besides. But when I reflect
that we are perpetually changing our laws, I cannot persuade myself
of what you affirm.

[Footnote 21: Plato, Minos, 316 A. [Greek: Po/teron de\ ta\ plei=on
e)/lkonta baru/tera nomi/zetai e)ntha/de, ta\ de\ e)/latton,
koupho/tera, ê)\ tou)nanti/on?]

The verb [Greek: nomi/zetai] deserves attention here, being the same
word as has been employed in regard to law, and derived from [Greek:
no/mos].]

[Footnote 22: Plato, Minos, 316 B. [Greek: ou)kou=n, ô(s kata\
pa/ntôn ei)pei=n, ta\ o)/nta nomi/zetai ei)=nai, ou) ta\ mê\ o)/nta,
kai\ par' ê(mi=n kai\ para\ toi=s a)/llois a(/pasin.]
_Comp._ [Greek: E)/moige dokei=.] _Sokr._ [Greek: O(\s a)\n
a)/ra tou= o)/ntos a(marta/nê|, tou= nomi/mou a(marta/nei.]]

[Side-note: There are laws of health and of cure, composed by
the few physicians wise upon those subjects, and unanimously declared
by them. So also there are laws of farming, gardening, cookery,
declared by the few wise in those respective pursuits. In like
manner, the laws of a city are the judgments declared by the few wise
men who know how to rule.]

_Sokr._--Perhaps you do not reflect that pieces on the draught-board,
when their position is changed, still remain the same. You
know medical treatises: you know that physicians are the really
knowing about matters of health: and that they agree with each other
in writing about them. _Comp._--Yes--I know that. _Sokr._--The
case is the same whether they be Greeks or not Greeks: Those who
know, must of necessity hold the same opinion with each other, on
matters which they know: always and everywhere. _Comp._--Yes--always
and everywhere. _Sokr._--Physicians write respecting
matters of health what they account to be true, and these writings of
theirs are the medical laws? _Comp._--Certainly they are.
_Sokr._--The like is true respecting the laws of farming--the
laws of gardening--the laws of cookery. All these are the writings of
persons, knowing in each of the respective pursuits? _Comp._--Yes.[23]
_Sokr._--In like manner, what are the laws respecting
the government of a city? Are they not the writings of those who know
how to govern--kings, statesmen, and men of superior excellence?
_Comp._--Truly so. _Sokr._--Knowing men like these will not
write differently from each other about the same things, nor change
what they have once written. If, then, we see some doing this,
are we to declare them knowing or ignorant?
_Comp._--Ignorant--undoubtedly.

[Footnote 23: Plato, Minos, 316 D-E.]

[Side-note: That which is right is the regal law, the only
true and real law--that which is not right, is not law, but only
seems to be law in the eyes of the ignorant.]

_Sokr._--Whatever is right, therefore, we may pronounce to be
lawful; in medicine, gardening, or cookery: whatever is not right,
not to be lawful but lawless. And the like in treatises respecting
just and unjust, prescribing how the city is to be administered: That
which is right, is the regal law--that which is not right, is not so,
but only seems to be law in the eyes of the ignorant--being in truth
lawless. _Comp._--Yes. _Sokr._--We were correct therefore
in declaring Law to be the finding out of reality. _Comp._--It
appears so.[24] _Sokr._--It is the skilful husbandman who gives
right laws on the sowing of land: the skilful musician on the
touching of instruments: the skilful trainer, respecting exercise of
the body: the skilful king or governor, respecting the minds of the
citizens. _Comp._--Yes--it is.[25]

[Footnote 24: Plato, Minos, 317 C. [Greek: to\ me\n o)rtho\n no/mos
e)sti\ basiliko/s; to\ de\ mê\ o)rtho/n ou)/, o(\ dokei= no/mos
ei)=nai toi=s ei)do/sin; e)/sti ga\r a)/nomon.]]

[Footnote 25: Plato, Minos, 318 A.]

[Side-note: Minos, King of Krete--his laws were divine and
excellent, and have remained unchanged from time immemorial.]

_Sokr._--Can you tell me which of the ancient kings has the
glory of having been a good lawgiver, so that his laws still remain
in force as divine institutions? _Comp._--I cannot tell.
_Sokr._--But can you not say which among the Greeks have the
most ancient laws? _Comp._--Perhaps you mean the Lacedæmonians
and Lykurgus? _Sokr._--Why, the Lacedæmonian laws are hardly
more than three hundred years old: besides, whence is it that the
best of them come? _Comp._--From Krete, they say. _Sokr._--Then
it is the Kretans who have the most ancient laws in Greece?
_Comp._--Yes. _Sokr._--Do you know those good kings of
Krete, from whom these laws are derived--Minos and Rhadamanthus, sons
of Zeus and Europa? _Comp._--Rhadamanthus certainly is said to
have been a just man, Sokrates; but Minos quite the reverse--savage,
ill-tempered, unjust. _Sokr._--What you affirm, my friend, is a
fiction of the Attic tragedians. It is not stated either by Homer or
Hesiod, who are far more worthy of credit than all the tragedians put
together. _Comp._--What is it that Homer and Hesiod say
about Minos?[26]

[Footnote 26: Plato, Minos, 318 E.]

[Side-note: Question about the character of Minos--Homer and
Hesiod declare him to have been admirable, the Attic tragedians
defame him as a tyrant, because he was an enemy of Athens.]

Sokrates replies by citing, and commenting upon, the statements of
Homer and Hesiod respecting Minos, as the cherished son, companion,
and pupil, of Zeus; who bestowed upon him an admirable training,
teaching him wisdom and justice, and thus rendering him consummate as
a lawgiver and ruler of men. It was through these laws, divine as
emanating from the teaching of Zeus, that Krete (and Sparta as the
imitator of Krete) had been for so long a period happy and virtuous.
As ruler of Krete, Minos had made war upon Athens, and compelled the
Athenians to pay tribute. Hence he had become odious to the
Athenians, and especially odious to the tragic poets who were the
great teachers and charmers of the crowd. These poets, whom every one
ought to be cautious of offending, had calumniated Minos as the old
enemy of Athens.[27]

[Footnote 27: Plato, Minos, 319-320.]

[Side-note: That Minos was really admirable--and that he has
found out truth and reality respecting the administration of the
city--we may be sure from the fact that his laws have remained so
long unaltered.]

But that these tales are mere calumny (continues Sokrates), and that
Minos was truly a good lawgiver, and a good shepherd ([Greek: nomeu\s
a)gatho/s]) of his people--we have proof through the fact, that his
laws still remain unchanged: which shows that he has really found out
truth and reality respecting the administration of a city.[28]
_Comp._--Your view seems plausible, Sokrates. _Sokr._--If I
am right, then, you think that the Kretans have more ancient laws
than any other Greeks? and that Minos and Rhadamanthus are the best
of all ancient lawgivers, rulers, and shepherds of mankind?
_Comp._--I think they are.

[Footnote 28: Plato, Minos, 321 B. [Greek: tou=to me/giston sêmei=on,
o(/ti a)ki/nêtoi au)tou= oi( no/moi ei)si/n, a)/te tou= o)/ntos peri\
po/leôs oi)kê/seôs e)xeuro/ntos eu)= tê\n a)lê/theian.]]

[Side-note: The question is made more determinate--What is it
that the good lawgiver prescribes and measures out for the health of
the mind, as the physician measures out food and exercise for the
body? Sokrates cannot tell. Close.]

_Sokr._--Now take the case of the good lawgiver and good
shepherd for the body--If we were asked, what it is that he
prescribes for the body, so as to render it better? we should answer,
at once, briefly, and well, by saying--food and labour: the former to
sustain the body, the latter to exercise and consolidate it.
_Comp._--Quite correct. _Sokr._--And if after that we
were asked, What are those things which the good lawgiver prescribes
for the mind to make it better, what should we say, so as to avoid
discrediting ourselves? _Comp._--I really cannot tell.
_Sokr._--But surely it is discreditable enough both for your
mind and mine--to confess, that we do not know upon what it is that
good and evil for our minds depends, while we can define upon what it
is that the good or evil of our bodies depends?[29]

[Footnote 29: Plato, Minos, 321 C-B.]

* * * * *

[Side-note: The Hipparchus and Minos are analogous to each
other, and both of them inferior works of Plato, perhaps unfinished.]

I have put together the two dialogues Hipparchus and Minos, partly
because of the analogy which really exists between them, partly
because that analogy is much insisted on by Boeckh, Schleiermacher,
Stallbaum, and other recent critics; who not only strike them both
out of the list of Platonic works, but speak of them with contempt as
compositions. On the first point, I dissent from them altogether: on
the second, I agree with them thus far--that I consider the two
dialogues inferior works of Plato:--much inferior to his greatest and
best compositions,--certainly displaying both less genius and less
careful elaboration--probably among his early performances--perhaps
even unfinished projects, destined for a farther elaboration, which
they never received, and not published until after his decease. Yet
in Hipparchus as well as in Minos, the subjects debated are important
as regards ethical theory. Several questions are raised and partially
canvassed: no conclusion is finally attained. These characteristics
they have in common with several of the best Platonic dialogues.

[Side-note: Hipparchus--Double meaning of [Greek:
philokerdê\s] and [Greek: ke/rdos].]

In Hipparchus, the question put by Sokrates is, about the definition
of [Greek: o( philokerdê\s] (the lover of gain), and of [Greek:
ke/rdos] itself--gain. The first of these two words (like many in
Greek as well as in English) is used in two senses. In its plain,
etymological sense, it means an attribute belonging to all men: all
men love gain, hate loss. But since this is predicable of all,
there is seldom any necessity for predicating it of any one man or
knot of men in particular. Accordingly, when you employ the epithet
as a predicate of A or B, what you generally mean is, to assert
something more than its strict etymological meaning: to declare that
he has the attribute in unusual measure; or that he has shown
himself, on various occasions, wanting in other attributes, which on
those occasions ought, in your judgment, to have countervailed it.
The epithet thus comes to connote a sentiment of blame or reproach,
in the mind of the speaker.[30]

[Footnote 30: Aristotle adverts to this class of ethical epithets,
connoting both an attribute in the person designated and an
unfavourable sentiment in the speaker (Ethic. Nikom. ii. 6, p. 1107,
a. 9). [Greek: Ou) pa=sa d' e)pide/chetai pra=xis, ou)de\ pa=n
pa/thos, tê\n meso/têta; e)/nia ga\r eu)thu\s ô)no/mastai
suneilêmme/na meta\ tê=s phaulo/têtos, oi)=on], &c.]

[Side-note: State or mind of the agent, as to knowledge,
frequent inquiry in Plato. No tenable definition found.]

The Companion or Collocutor, being called upon by Sokrates to explain
[Greek: to\ philokerde\s], defines it in this last sense, as
conveying or connoting a reproach. He gives three different
explanations of it (always in this sense), each of which Sokrates
shows to be untenable. A variety of parallel cases are compared, and
the question is put (so constantly recurring in Plato's writings),
what is the state of the agent's mind as to knowledge? The
cross-examination makes out, that if the agent be supposed to
know,--then there is no man corresponding to the definition of a
[Greek: philokerdê/s]: if the agent be supposed not to know--then,
on the contrary, every man will come under the definition. The
Companion is persuaded that there is such a thing as "love of
gain" in the blamable sense. Yet he cannot find any tenable
definition, to discriminate it from "love of gain" in the
ordinary or innocent sense.

[Side-note: Admitting that there is bad gain, as well as good
gain, what is the meaning of the word _gain_? None is found.]

The same question comes back in another form, after Sokrates has
given the liberty of retractation. The Collocutor maintains that
there is bad _gain_, as well as good _gain_. But what is
that common, generic, quality, designated well as good by the word
_gain_, apart from these two distinctive epithets? He cannot
find it out or describe it. He gives two definitions, each of which
is torn up by Sokrates. To deserve the name of _gain_, that
which a man acquires must be good; and it must surpass, in value as
well as in quantity, the loss or outlay which he incurs in order
to acquire it. But when thus understood, all gains are good. There is
no meaning in the distinction between good and bad gains: all men are
lovers of gain.

[Side-note: Purpose of Plato in the dialogue--to lay bare the
confusion, and to force the mind of the respondent into efforts for
clearing it up.]

With this confusion, the dialogue closes. The Sokratic notion of
_good_, as what every one loves--_evil_ as what every one
hates--also of evil-doing, as performed by every evil-doer only
through ignorance or mistake is brought out and applied to test the
ethical phraseology of a common-place respondent. But it only serves
to lay bare a state of confusion and perplexity, without clearing up
any thing. Herein, so far as I can see, lies Plato's purpose in the
dialogue. The respondent is made aware of the confusion, which he did
not know before; and this, in Plato's view, is a progress. The
respondent cannot avoid giving contradictory answers, under an acute
cross-examination: but he does not adopt any new belief. He says to
Sokrates at the close--"The debate has constrained rather than
persuaded me".[31] This is a simple but instructive declaration of
the force put by Sokrates upon his collocutors; and of the
reactionary effort likely to be provoked in their minds, with a view
to extricate themselves from a painful sense of contradiction. If
such effort be provoked, Plato's purpose is attained.

[Footnote 31: Plato, Hipparch. 232 B. [Greek: ê)na/gkake ga\r (o(
lo/gos) ma=llon e)me/ ge ê)\ pe/peiken.]]

One peculiarity there is, analogous to what we have already seen in
the Hippias Major. It is not merely the Collocutor who charges
Sokrates, but also Sokrates who accuses the Collocutor--each charging
the other with attempts to deceive a friend.[32] This seems intended
by Plato to create an occasion for introducing what he had to say
about Hipparchus--_apropos_ of the motto on the Hipparchean
Hermes--[Greek: mê\ phi/lon e)xapa/ta].

[Footnote 32: Plato, Hipparch. 225 E, 228 A.]

[Side-note: Historical narrative and comments given in the
dialogue respecting Hipparchus--afford no ground for declaring the
dialogue to be spurious.]

The modern critics, who proclaim the Hipparchus not to be the work of
Plato, allege as one of the proofs of spuriousness, the occurrence of
this long narrative and comment upon the historical Hipparchus and
his behaviour; which narrative (the critics maintain) Plato would
never have introduced, seeing that it contributes nothing to the
settlement of the question debated. But to this we may reply, first,
That there are other dialogues[33] (not to mention the Minos) in
which Plato introduces recitals of considerable length, historical or
quasi-historical recitals; bearing remotely, or hardly bearing at
all, upon the precise question under discussion; next,--That even if
no such analogies could be cited, and if the case stood single, no
modern critic could fairly pretend to be so thoroughly acquainted
with Plato's views and the surrounding circumstances, as to put a
limit on the means which Plato might choose to take, for rendering
his dialogues acceptable and interesting. Plato's political views
made him disinclined to popular government generally, and to the
democracy of Athens in particular. Conformably with such sentiment,
he is disposed to surround the rule of the Peisistratidæ with an
ethical and philosophical colouring: to depict Hipparchus as a wise
man busied in instructing and elevating the citizens; and to
discredit the renown of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, by affirming them
to have been envious of Hipparchus, as a philosopher who surpassed
themselves by his own mental worth. All this lay perfectly in the
vein of Plato's sentiment; and we may say the same about the
narrative in the Minos, respecting the divine parentage and teaching
of Minos, giving rise to his superhuman efficacy as a lawgiver and
ruler. It is surely very conceivable, that Plato, as a composer of
ethical dialogues or dramas, might think that such recitals lent a
charm or interest to some of them. Moreover, something like variety,
or distinctive features as between one dialogue and another, was a
point of no inconsiderable moment. I am of opinion that Plato did so
conceive these narratives. But at any rate, what I here contend is,
that no modern critics have a right to assume as certain that he did
not.

[Footnote 33: See Alkibiad. ii. pp. 142-149-150; Alkibiad. i. pp.
121-122: Protagoras, 342-344; Politikus, 268 D., [Greek: schedo\n
paidia\n e)gkerasame/nous] and the two or three pages which follow.

F. A. Wolf, and various critics after him, contend that the
genuineness of the Hipparchus was doubted in antiquity, on the
authority of Ælian, V. H. viii.	2. But I maintain that this is not
the meaning of the passage, unless upon the supposition that the word
[Greek: mathêtê\s] is struck out of the text conjecturally. The
passage may be perfectly well construed, leaving [Greek: mathêtê\s]
in the text: we must undoubtedly suppose the author to have made an
assertion historically erroneous: but this is nowise impossible in
the case of Ælian. If you construe the passage as it stands, without
such conjectural alteration, it does not justify Wolf's inference.]

[Side-note: Minos. Question--What is the characteristic
property connoted by the word [Greek: No/mos] or law?]

I now come to the Minos. The subject of this dialogue is, the
explanation or definition of Law. Sokrates says to his Companion or
Collocutor,--Tell me what is the generic constituent of Law: All Laws
are alike _quatenus_ Law. Take no note of the difference between
one law and another, but explain to me what characteristic property
it is, which is common to all Law, and is implied in or connoted by
the name Law.

This question is logically the same as that which Sokrates asks in
the Hipparchus with reference to [Greek: ke/rdos] or gain.

[Side-note: This question was discussed by the historical
Sokrates, Memorabilia of Xenophon.]

That the definition of [Greek: No/mos] or Law was discussed by
Sokrates, we know, not only from the general description of his
debates given in Xenophon, but also from the interesting description
(in that author) of the conversation between the youthful Alkibiades
and Perikles.[34] The interrogations employed by Alkibiades on that
occasion are Sokratic, and must have been derived, directly or
indirectly, from Sokrates. They are partially analogous to the
questions of Sokrates in the dialogue Minos, and they end by driving
Perikles into a confusion, left unexplained, between Law and
Lawlessness.

[Footnote 34: Xen. Mem. i. 1, 16; i. 2, 42-46.]

[Side-note: Definitions of law--suggested and refuted. Law
includes, as a portion of its meaning, justice, goodness, usefulness,
&c. Bad decrees are not laws.]

Definitions of [Greek: No/mos] are here given by the Companion, who
undergoes a cross-examination upon them. First, he says, that [Greek:
No/mos = ta\ nomizo/mena]. But this is rejected by Sokrates, who
intimates that Law is not the aggregate of laws enacted or of customs
held binding: but that which lies behind these laws and customs,
imparting to them their binding force.[35] We are to enquire what
this is. The Companion declares that it is the public decree of the
city: political or social opinion. But this again Sokrates contests:
putting questions to show that Law includes, as a portion of its
meaning, justice, goodness, beauty, and preservation of the city with
its possessions; while lawlessness includes injustice, evil,
ugliness, and destruction. There can be no such thing as bad or
wicked law.[36] But among decrees of the city, some are bad, some
are good. Therefore to define Law as a decree of the city, thus
generally, is incorrect. It is only the good decree, not the bad
decree, which is Law. Now the good decree or opinion, is the true
opinion: that is, it is the finding out of reality. Law therefore
wishes or aims to be the finding out of reality: and if there are
differences between different nations, this is because the power to
find out does not always accompany the wish to find out.

[Footnote 35: Plato, Minos, 314 A. [Greek: e)peidê\ no/mô| ta\
nomizo/mena nomi/zetai, ti/ni o)/nti tô=| no/mô| nomi/zetai?]]

[Footnote 36: Plato, Minos, 314 E. [Greek: kai\ mê\n no/mos ge ou)k
ê)=n ponêro/s.]]

[Side-note: Sokrates affirms that law is everywhere the same--it
is the declared judgment and command of the Wise man upon the
subject to which it refers--it is truth and reality, found out and
certified by him.]

As to the assertion--that Law is one thing here, another thing there,
one thing at one time, another thing at another--Sokrates contests
it. Just things are just (he says) everywhere and at all times;
unjust things are unjust also. Heavy things are heavy, light things
light, at one time, as well as at another. So also honourable things
are everywhere honourable, base things everywhere base. In general
phrase, existent things are everywhere existent,[37] non-existent
things are not existent. Whoever therefore fails to attain the
existent and real, fails to attain the lawful and just. It is only
the man of art and knowledge, in this or that department, who attains
the existent, the real, the right, true, lawful, just. Thus the
authoritative rescripts or laws in matters of medicine, are those
laid down by practitioners who know that subject, all of whom agree
in what they lay down: the laws of cookery, the laws of agriculture
and of gardening--are rescripts delivered by artists who know
respectively each of those subjects. So also about Just and Unjust,
about the political and social arrangements of the city--the
authoritative rescripts or laws are, those laid down by the artists
or men of knowledge in that department, all of whom agree in laying
down the same: that is, all the men of art called kings or lawgivers.
It is only the right, the true, the real--that which these artists
attain--which is properly a law and is entitled to be so called. That
which is not right is not a law,--ought not to be so called--and is
only supposed to be a law by the error of ignorant men.[38]

[Footnote 37: M. Boeckh remarks justly in his note on this
passage--"neque enim illud demonstratum est, eadem omnibus legitima
esse--sed tantum, _notionem_" (rather the sentiment or emotion)
"_legitimi_ omnibus eandem esse. Sed omnia scriptor hic
confundit."]

[Footnote 38: Plato, Minos, 317 C.]

[Side-note: Reasoning of Sokrates in the Minos is unsound,
but Platonic. The Good, True, and Real, coalesce in the mind of
Plato--he acknowledges nothing to be Law, except what he thinks ought
to _be_ Law.]

That the reasoning of Sokrates in this dialogue is confused and
unsound (as M. Boeckh and other critics have remarked), I perfectly
agree. But it is not the less completely Platonic; resting upon views
and doctrines much cherished and often reproduced by Plato. The
dialogue Minos presents, in a rude and awkward manner, without
explanation or amplification, that worship of the Abstract and the
Ideal, which Plato, in other and longer dialogues, seeks to diversify
as well as to elaborate. The definitions of Law here combated and
given by Sokrates, illustrate this. The good, the true, the right,
the beautiful, the real--all coalesce in the mind of Plato. There is
nothing (in his view) real, except _The_ Good, _The_ Just, &c.
([Greek: to\ au)to-a)gatho\n]; [Greek: au)to-di/kaion]--Absolute
Goodness and Justice): particular good and just things have
no reality, they are no more good and just than bad and unjust--they
are one or the other, according to circumstances--they are ever
variable, floating midway between the real and unreal.[39] The real
alone is knowable, correlating with knowledge or with the knowing
Intelligence [Greek: Nou=s]. As Sokrates distinguishes elsewhere
[Greek: to\ di/kaion] or [Greek: au)to-di/kaion] from [Greek: ta\
di/kaia]--so here he distinguishes ([Greek: no/mos] from [Greek: ta\
nomizo/mena]) _Law_, from the assemblage of actual commands or
customs received as _laws_ among mankind. These latter are
variable according to time and place; but Law is always one and the
same. Plato will acknowledge nothing to _be_ Law, except that
which (he thinks) _ought to be_ Law: that which emanates from a
lawgiver of consummate knowledge, who aims at the accomplishment of
the good and the real, and knows how to discover and realise that
end. So far as "the decree of the city" coincides with what would
have been enacted by this lawgiver (_i. e._ so far as it is good
and right), Sokrates admits it as a valid explanation of Law; but no
farther. He considers the phrase _bad law_ to express a logical
impossibility, involving a contradiction _in adjecto_.[40] What
others call a bad law, he regards as being no real law, but only
a fallacious image, mistaken for such by the ignorant. He does not
consider such ignorant persons as qualified to judge: he recognises
only the judgment of the knowing one or few, among whom he affirms
that there can be no difference of opinion. Every one admits just
things to be just,--unjust things to be unjust,--heavy things to be
heavy,--the existent and the real, to be the existent and the real.
If then the lawgiver in any of his laws fails to attain this reality,
he fails in the very purpose essential to the conception of law:[41]
_i. e._ his pretended law is no law at all.

[Footnote 39: See the remarkable passage in the fifth book of the
Republic, pp. 479-480; compare vii. 538 E.]

[Footnote 40: Plato, Minos, 314 D.

The same argument is brought to bear by the Platonic Sokrates against
Hippias in the Hippias Major, 284-285. If the laws are not really
profitable, which is the only real purpose for which they were
established, they are no laws at all. The Spartans are [Greek:
para/nomoi]. Some of the answers assigned to Hippias (284 D) are
pertinent enough; but he is overborne.]

[Footnote 41: Plato, Minos, 316 B. [Greek: O(\s a)\n a)/ra tou=
o)/ntos a(marta/nê, tou= nomi/mou a(marta/nei.]]

[Side-note: Plato worships the Ideal of his own mind--the work
of systematic constructive theory by the Wise Man.]

By _Law_ then, Plato means--not the assemblage of actual
positive rules, nor any general property common to and characteristic
of them, nor the free determination of an assembled Demos as
distinguished from the mandates of a despot--but the Type of Law as
it ought to be, and as it would be, if prescribed by a perfectly wise
ruler, aiming at good and knowing how to realise it. This, which is
the ideal of his own mind, Plato worships and reasons upon as if it
were the only reality; as Law by nature, or natural Law,
distinguished from actual positive laws: which last have either been
set by some ill-qualified historical ruler, or have grown up
insensibly. Knowledge, art, philosophy, systematic and constructive,
applied by some one or few exalted individuals, is (in his view) the
only cause capable of producing that typical result which is true,
good, real, permanent, and worthy of the generic name.

[Side-note: Different applications of this general Platonic
view, in the Minos, Politikus, Kratylus, &c. _Natural_
Rectitude of Law, Government, Names, &c.]

In the Minos, this general Platonic view is applied to Law: in the
Politikus, to government and social administration: in the Kratylus,
to naming or language. In the Politikus, we find the received
classification of governments (monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy)
discarded as improper; and the assertion advanced, That there is only
one government right, true, genuine, really existing--government by
the uncontrolled authority and superintendence of the man of exalted
intelligence: he who is master in the art of governing, whether
such man do in fact hold power anywhere or not. All other governments
are degenerate substitutes for this type, some receding from it less,
some more.[42] Again, in the Kratylus, where names and name-giving
are discussed, Sokrates[43] maintains that things can only be named
according to their true and real nature--that there is, belonging to
each thing, one special and appropriate Name-Form, discernible only
by the sagacity of the intelligent Lawgiver: who alone is competent
to bestow upon each thing its right, true, genuine, real name,
possessing rectitude by nature ([Greek: o)rtho/tês phu/sei]).[44]
This Name-Form (according to Sokrates) is the same in all languages
in so far as they are constructed by different intelligent Lawgivers,
although the letters and syllables in which they may clothe the Form
are very different.[45] If names be not thus apportioned by the
systematic purpose of an intelligent Lawgiver, but raised up by
insensible and unsystematic growth--they will be unworthy substitutes
for the genuine type, though they are the best which actual societies
possess; according to the opinion announced by Kratylus in that same
dialogue, they will not be names at all.[46]

[Footnote 42: Plato, Politikus, 293 C-E. [Greek: tau/tên o)rthê\n
diaphero/ntôs ei)=nai kai\ mo/nên politei/an, e)n ê(=| tis a)\n
eu(/riskoi tou\s a)/rchontas a)lêthô=s e)pistê/monas kai\ ou)
dokou=ntas mo/non . . . to/te kai\ kata\ tou\s toiou/tous o(/rous
ê(mi=n mo/nên o)rthê\n politei/an ei)=nai r(ête/on. o(/sas de\
a)/llas le/gomen, _ou) gnêsi/as ou)d' o)/ntôs ou)/sas lekte/on_,
a)lla\ memimême/nas tau/tên, a(/s me\n eu)no/mous le/gomen, e)pi\ ta\
kalli/ô, ta\s de\ a)/llas e)pi\ ta\ ai)schi/ona memimê=sthai.]

The historical (Xenophontic) Sokrates asserts this same position in
Xenophon's Memorabilia (iii. 9, 10). "Sokrates said that Kings and
Rulers were those who knew how to command, not those who held the
sceptre or were chosen by election or lot, or had acquired power by
force or fraud," &c.

The Kings of Sparta and Macedonia, the [Greek: Boulê\] and [Greek:
Dê=mos] of Athens, the Despot of Syracuse or Pheræ are here declared
to be not real rulers at all.]

[Footnote 43: Plato, Kratylus, 387 D.]

[Footnote 44: Plato, Kratyl. 388 A-E.]

[Footnote 45: Plato, Kratyl. 389 E, 390 A, 432 E. [Greek: Ou)kou=n
ou)/tôs a)xiô/seis kai\ to\n nomothe/tên to/n te e)ntha/de kai\ to\n
e)n toi=s barba/rois, e(/ôs a)\n to\ tou= o)no/matos ei)=dos
a)podidô=| to\ prosê=kon e(ka/stô| e)n o(poiaisou=n sullabai=s,
ou)de\n chei/rô nomothe/tên ei)=nai to\n e)ntha/de ê)\ to\n o(pouou=n
a)/llothi?] Compare this with the Minos, 315 E, 316 D, where Sokrates
evades, by an hypothesis very similar, the objection made by the
collocutor, that the laws in one country are very different from
those in another--[Greek: i)/sôs ga\r ou)k e)nnoei=s tau=ta
metapetteuo/mena o(/ti tau)ta/ e)stin.]]

[Footnote 46: Plato, Kratyl. 430 A, 432 A, 433 D, 435 C.

Kratylus says that a name badly given is no name at all; just as
Sokrates says in the Minos that a bad law is no law at all.]

[Side-note: Eulogy on Minos, as having established laws on
this divine type or natural rectitude.]

The Kretan Minos (we here find it affirmed), son, companion, and
pupil of Zeus, has learnt to establish laws of this divine type or
natural rectitude: the proof of which is, that the ancient Kretan
laws have for immemorial ages remained, and still do remain,[47]
unchanged. But when Sokrates tries to determine, Wherein consists
this Law-Type? What is it that the wise Lawgiver prescribes for the
minds of the citizens--as the wise gymnastic trainer prescribes
proper measure of nourishment and exercise for their bodies?--the
question is left unanswered. Sokrates confesses with shame that he
cannot answer it: and the dialogue ends in a blank. The
reader--according to Plato's manner--is to be piqued and shamed
into the effort of meditating the question for himself.

[Footnote 47: Plato, Minos, 319 B, 321 A.]

[Side-note: The Minos was arranged by Aristophanes at first in
a Trilogy along with the Leges.]

An attempt to answer this question will be found in Plato's Treatise
De Legibus--in the projected Kretan colony, of which he there
sketches the fundamental laws. Aristophanes of Byzantium very
naturally placed this treatise as sequel to the Minos; second in the
Trilogy of which the Minos was first.[48]

[Footnote 48: I reserve for an Appendix some further remarks upon the
genuineness of Hipparchus and Minos.]

[Side-note: Explanations of the word Law--confusion in its
meaning.]

Whoever has followed the abstract of the Minos, which I have just
given, will remark the different explanations of the word Law--both
those which are disallowed, and that which is preferred, though left
incomplete, by Sokrates. On this same subject, there are in many
writers, modern as well an ancient, two distinct modes of confusion
traceable--pointed out by eminent recent jurists, such as Mr.
Bentham, Mr. Austin, and Mr. Maine. 1. Between Law as it is, and Law
as it ought to be. 2. Between Laws Imperative, set by intelligent
rulers, and enforced by penal sanction--and Laws signifying
uniformities of fact expressed in general terms, such as the Law of
Gravitation, Crystallisation, &c.--We can hardly say that in the
dialogue Minos, Plato falls into the first of these two modes of
confusion: for he expressly says that he only recognises the Ideal of
Law, or Law as it ought to be (actual Laws everywhere being
disallowed, except in so far as they conform thereunto). But he does
fall into the second, when he identifies the Lawful with the Real or
Existent. His Ideal stands in place of generalisations of fact.

There is also much confusion, if we compare the Minos with other
dialogues; wherein Plato frequently talks of Laws as the laws and
customs actually existing or imperative in any given state--Athens,
Sparta, or elsewhere ([Greek: No/mos = ta\ nomizo/mena], according to
the first words in the Minos). For example, in the harangue which he
supposes to be addressed to Sokrates in the Kriton, and which he
invests with so impressive a character--the Laws of Athens are
introduced as speakers: but according to the principles laid down in
the Minos, three-fourths of the Laws of Athens could not be regarded
as laws at all. If therefore we take Plato's writings throughout, we
shall not find that he is constant to one uniform sense of the word
Law, or that he escapes the frequent confusion between Law as it
actually exists and Law as it ought to be.[49]

[Footnote 49: The first explanation of [Greek: No/mos] advanced by
the Companion in reply to Sokrates (viz. [Greek: No/mos = ta\
nomizo/mena], coincides substantially with the meaning of [Greek:
No/mos basileu\s] in Pindar and Herodotus (see above, chap. viii.),
who is an imaginary ruler, occupying a given region, and enforcing
[Greek: ta\ nomizo/mena]. It coincides also with the precept [Greek:
No/mô| po/leôs], as prescribed by the Pythian priestess to applicants
who asked advice about the proper forms of religious worship (Xen.
Mem. i. 3, 1); though this precept, when Cicero comes to report it
(Legg. ii. 16, 40), appears divested of its simplicity, and
over-clouded with the very confusion touched upon in my text. Aristotle
does not keep clear of the confusion (compare Ethic. Nikom. i. 1,
1094, b. 16, and v. 5, 1130, b. 24). I shall revert again to the
distinction between [Greek: no/mos] and [Greek: phu/sis], in touching
on other Platonic dialogues. Cicero expressly declares (Legg. ii. 5,
11), conformably to what is said by the Platonic Sokrates in the
Minos, that a bad law, however passed in regular form, is no law at
all; and this might be well if he adhered consistently to the same
phraseology, but he perpetually uses, in other places, the words
_Lex_ and _Leges_ to signify laws actually in force at
Rome, good or bad.

Mr. Bentham gives an explanation of Law or The Law, which coincides
with [Greek: No/mos = ta\ nomizo/mena]. He says (Principles of Morals
and Legislation, vol. ii. ch. 17, p. 257, ed. 1823), "Now Law, or The
Law, taken indefinitely, is an abstract and collective term, which,
when it means anything, can mean neither more nor less than the sum
total of a number of individual laws taken together".

Mr. Austin in his Lectures, 'The Province of Jurisprudence
Determined', has explained more clearly and copiously than any
antecedent author, the confused meanings of the word Law adverted to
in my text. See especially his first lecture and his fifth, pp. 88
seq. and 171 seq., 4th ed.]

* * * * *


APPENDIX.

In continuing to recognise Hipparchus and Minos as Platonic works,
contrary to the opinion of many modern critics, I have to remind the
reader, not only that both are included in the Canon of Thrasyllus,
but that the Minos was expressly acknowledged by Aristophanes of
Byzantium, and included by him among the Trilogies: showing that it
existed then (220 B.C.) in the Alexandrine Museum as a
Platonic work. The similarity between the Hipparchus and Minos is
recognised by all the Platonic critics, most of whom declare that
both of them are spurious. Schleiermacher affirms and vindicates this
opinion in his Einleitung and notes: but it will be convenient to
take the arguments advanced to prove the spuriousness, as they are
set forth by M. Boeckh, in his "Comment. in Platonis qui vulgo fertur
Minoem": in which treatise, though among his early works, the case is
argued with all that copious learning and critical ability, which
usually adorn his many admirable contributions to the improvement of
philology.

M. Boeckh not only rejects the pretensions of Hipparchus and Minos to
be considered as works of Plato, but advances an affirmative
hypothesis to show what they are. He considers these two dialogues,
together with those De Justo, and De Virtute (two short dialogues in
the pseudo-Platonic list, not recognised by Thrasyllus) as among the
dialogues published by Simon; an Athenian citizen and a shoemaker by
trade, in whose shop Sokrates is said to have held many of his
conversations. Simon is reported to have made many notes of these
conversations, and to have composed and published, from them, a
volume of thirty-three dialogues (Diog. L. ii. 122), among the titles
of which there are two--[Greek: Peri\ Philkerdou=s] and [Greek: Peri\
No/mou]. Simon was, of course, contemporary with Plato; but somewhat
older in years. With this part of M. Boeckh's treatise, respecting
the supposed authorship of Simon, I have nothing to do. I only notice
the arguments by which he proposes to show that Hipparchus and Minos
are not works of Plato.

In the first place, I notice that M. Boeckh explicitly recognises
them as works of an author contemporary with Plato, not later
than 380 B.C. (p. 46). Hereby many of the tests, whereby we
usually detect spurious works, become inapplicable.

In the second place, he admits that the dialogues are composed in
good Attic Greek, suitable to the Platonic age both in character and
manners--"At veteris esse et Attici scriptoris, probus sermo, antiqui
mores, totus denique character, spondeat," p. 32.

The reasons urged by M. Boeckh to prove the spuriousness of the
Minos, are first, that it is unlike Plato--next, that it is too much
like Plato. "Dupliciter dialogus a Platonis ingenio discrepat: partim
quod parum, partim quod nimium, similis ceteris ejusdem scriptis sit.
Parum similis est in rebus permultis. Nam cum Plato adhuc vivos ac
videntes aut nuper defunctos notosque homines, ut scenicus poeta
actores, moribus ingeniisque accurate descriptis, nominatim producat
in medium--in isto opusculo cum Socrate colloquens persona plané
incerta est ac nomine carens: quippe cum imperitus scriptor esset
artis illius colloquiis suis _dulcissimas veneres_ illas
inferendi, quæ ex peculiaribus personarum moribus pingendis
redundant, atque à Platone ut flores per amplos dialogorum hortos
sunt disseminatæ" (pp. 7-8): again, p. 9, it is complained that there
is an "infinitus secundarius collocutor" in the Hipparchus.

Now the sentence, just transcribed from M. Boeckh, shows that he had
in his mind as standard of comparison, a certain number of the
Platonic works, but that he did not take account of all of them. The
Platonic Protagoras begins with a dialogue between Sokrates and an
unknown, nameless person; to whom Sokrates, after a page of
conversation with him, recounts what has just passed between himself,
Protagoras, and others. Next, if we turn to the Sophistês and
Politikus, we find that in both of them, not simply the secundarius
collocutor, but even the principal speaker, is an unknown and
nameless person, described only as a Stranger from Elea, and never
before seen by Sokrates. Again, in the Leges, the principal speaker
is only an [Greek: A)thênai=os xe/nos], without a name. In the face
of such analogies, it is unsafe to lay down a peremptory rule, that
no dialogue can be the work of Plato, which acknowledges as
_collocutor_ an unnamed person.

Then again--when M. Boeckh complains that the Hipparchus and Minos
are destitute of those "_flores et dulcissimæ Veneres_" which
Plato is accustomed to spread through his dialogues--I ask, Where are
the "dulcissimæ Veneres" in the Parmenidês, Sophistês, Politikus,
Leges, Timæus, Kritias? I find none. The presence of "dulcissimæ
Veneres" is not a condition _sine quâ non_, in every
composition which pretends to Plato as its author: nor can the
absence of them be admitted as a reason for disallowing Hipparchus
and Minos.

The analogy of the Sophistês and Politikus (besides Symposium,
Republic, and Leges) farther shows, that there is nothing wonderful
in finding the titles of Hipparchus and Minos derived from the
subjects ([Greek: Peri\ Philkerdou=s] and [Greek: Peri\ No/mou]), not
from the name of one of the collocutors:--whether we suppose the
titles to have been bestowed by Plato himself, or by some subsequent
editor (Boeckh, p. 10).

To illustrate his first ground of objection--Dissimilarity between
the Minos and the true Platonic writings--M. Boeckh enumerates (pp.
12-23) several passages of the dialogue which he considers
unplatonic. Moreover, he includes among them (p. 12) examples of
confused and illogical reasoning. I confess that to me this evidence
is noway sufficient to prove that Plato is not the author. That
certain passages may be picked out which are obscure, confused,
inelegant--is certainly no sufficient evidence. If I thought so, I
should go along with Ast in rejecting the Euthydêmus, Menon, Lachês,
Charmidês, Lysis, &c., against all which Ast argues as spurious,
upon evidence of the same kind. It is not too much to say, that
against almost every one of the dialogues, taken severally, a case of
the same kind, more or less plausible, might be made out. You might
in each of them find passages peculiar, careless, awkwardly
expressed. The expression [Greek: tê\n a)nthrôpei/an a)ge/lên tou=
sô/matos], which M. Boeckh insists upon so much as improper, would
probably have been considered as a mere case of faulty text, if it
had occurred in any other dialogue: and so it may fairly be
considered in the Minos.

Moreover as to faults of logic and consistency in the reasoning, most
certainly these cannot be held as proving the Minos not to be Plato's
work. I would engage to produce, from most of his dialogues, defects
of reasoning quite as grave as any which the Minos exhibits. On the
principle assumed by M. Boeckh, every one who agreed with Panætius in
considering the elaborate proof given in the Phædon, of the
immortality of the soul, as illogical and delusive--would also agree
with Panætius in declaring that the Phædon was not the work of Plato.
It is one question, whether the reasoning in any dialogue be good or
bad: it is another question, whether the dialogue be written by Plato
or not. Unfortunately, the Platonic critics often treat the first
question as if it determined the second.

M. Boeckh himself considers that the evidence arising from
dissimilarity (upon which I have just dwelt) is not the strongest
part of his case. He relies more upon the evidence arising from
_too much similarity_, as proving still more clearly the
spuriousness of the Minos. "Jam pergamus ad alteram partem nostræ
argumentationis, _eamque etiam firmiorem_, de _nimia
similitudine_ Platonicorum aliquot locorum, quæ imitationem doceat
subesse. Nam de hoc quidem conveniet inter omnes doctos et indoctos,
Platonem se ipsum haud posse imitari: nisi si quis dubitet de sanâ
ejus mente" (p. 23). Again, p. 26, "Jam vero in nostro colloquio
Symposium, Politicum, Euthyphronem, Protagoram, Gorgiam, Cratylum,
Philêbum, dialogos expressos ac tantum non compilatos reperies". And
M. Boeckh goes on to specify various passages of the Minos, which he
considers to have been imitated, and badly imitated, from one or
other of these dialogues.

I cannot agree with M. Boeckh in regarding this _nimia
similitudo_ as the strongest part of his case. On the contrary, I
consider it as the weakest: because his own premisses (in my
judgment) not only do not prove his conclusion, but go far to prove
the opposite. When we find him insisting, in such strong language,
upon the great analogy which subsists between the Minos and seven of
the incontestable Platonic dialogues, this is surely a fair proof
that its author is the same as their author. To me it appears as
conclusive as internal evidence ever can be; unless there be some
disproof _aliunde_ to overthrow it. But M. Boeckh produces no
such disproof. He converts these analogies into testimony in his own
favour, simply by bestowing upon them the name _imitatio,--stulta
imitatio_ (p. 27). This word involves an hypothesis, whereby the
point to be proved is assumed--viz.: difference of authorship. "Plato
cannot have imitated himself" (M. Boeckh observes). I cannot admit
such impossibility, even if you describe the fact in that phrase: but
if you say "Plato in one dialogue thought and wrote like Plato in
another"--you describe the same fact in a different phrase, and it
then appears not merely possible but natural and probable. Those very
real analogies, to which M. Boeckh points in the word
_imitatio_, are in my judgment cases of the Platonic thought in
one dialogue being like the Platonic thought in another. The
_similitudo_, between Minos and these other dialogues, can
hardly be called _nimia_, for M. Boeckh himself points out that
it is accompanied with much difference. It is a similitude, such as
we should expect between one Platonic dialogue and another: with this
difference, that whereas, in the Minos, Plato gives the same general
views in a manner more brief, crude, abrupt--in the other dialogues
he works them out with greater fulness of explanation and
illustration, and some degree of change not unimportant. That there
should be this amount of difference between one dialogue of Plato and
another appears to me perfectly natural. On the other hand--that
there should have been a contemporary _falsarius_ (scriptor
miser, insulsus, vilissimus, to use phrases of M. Boeckh), who
studied and pillaged the best dialogues of Plato, for the purpose of
putting together a short and perverted abbreviation of them--and who
contrived to get his miserable abbreviation recognised by the
Byzantine Aristophanes among the genuine dialogues notwithstanding
the existence of the Platonic school--this, I think highly
improbable.

I cannot therefore agree with M. Boeckh in thinking, that "ubique se
prodens Platonis imitatio" (p. 31) is an irresistible proof of
spuriousness: nor can I think that his hypothesis shows itself to
advantage, when he says, p. 10--"Ipse autem dialogus (Minos) quum
post Politicum compositus sit, quod quædam in eo dicta rebus ibi
expositis manifesté nitantur, ut paullo post ostendemus--quis est qui
artificiosissimum philosophum, postquam ibi (in Politico) accuratius
de naturâ legis egisset, de eâ iterum putet negligenter egisse?"--I
do not think it so impossible as it appears to M. Boeckh, that a
philosopher, after having _written_ upon a given subject
_accuratius_, should subsequently write upon it
_negligenter_. But if I granted this ever so fully, I should
still contend that there remains another alternative. The negligent
workmanship may have preceded the accurate: an alternative which I
think is probably the truth, and which has nothing to exclude it
except M. Boeckh's pure hypothesis, that the Minos must have been
copied from the Politikus.

While I admit then that the Hipparchus and Minos are among the
inferior and earlier compositions of Plato, I still contend that
there is no ground for excluding them from the list of his works.
Though the Platonic critics of this century are for the most part of
an adverse opinion, I have with me the general authority of the
critics anterior to this century--from Aristophanes of Byzantium down
to Bentley and Ruhnken--see Boeckh, pp. 7-32.

Yxem defends the genuineness of the Hipparchus--(Ueber Platon's
Kleitophon, p. 8. Berlin, 1846).



CHAPTER XV.

THEAGES.


[Side-note: Theagês--has been declared spurious by some modern
critics--grounds for such opinion not sufficient.]

This is among the dialogues declared by Schleiermacher, Ast,
Stallbaum, and various other modern critics, to be spurious and
unworthy of Plato: the production of one who was not merely an
imitator, but a bad and silly imitator.[1] Socher on the other hand
defends the dialogue against them, reckoning it as a juvenile
production of Plato.[2] The arguments which are adduced to prove its
spuriousness appear to me altogether insufficient. It has some
features of dissimilarity with that which we read in other
dialogues--these the above-mentioned critics call un-Platonic: it has
other features of similarity--these they call bad imitation by a
_falsarius_: lastly, it is inferior, as a performance, to the
best of the Platonic dialogues. But I am prepared to expect (and have
even the authority of Schleiermacher for expecting) that some
dialogues will be inferior to others. I also reckon with certainty,
that between two dialogues, both genuine, there will be points of
similarity as well as points of dissimilarity. Lastly, the critics
find marks of a bad, recent, un-Platonic style: but Dionysius of
Halikarnassus--a judge at least equally competent upon such a
matter--found no such marks. He expressly cites the dialogue as the
work of Plato,[3] and explains the peculiar phraseology assigned to
Demodokus by remarking, that the latter is presented as a person of
rural habits and occupations.

[Footnote 1: Stallbaum, Proleg. pp. 220-225, "ineptus tenebrio,"
&c. Schleiermacher, Einleitung, part ii. v. iii. pp. 247-252.
Ast, Platon's Leben und Schriften, pp. 495-497.

Ast speaks with respect (differing in this respect from the other
two) of the Theagês as a composition, though he does not believe it
to be the work of Plato. Schleiermacher also admits (see the end of
his Einleitung) that the style in general has a good Platonic
colouring, though he considers some particular phrases as
un-Platonic.]

[Footnote 2: Socher, Ueber Platon, pp. 92-102. M. Cobet also speaks
of it as a work of Plato (Novæ Lectiones, &c., p. 624. Lugd. Bat.
1858).]

[Footnote 3: Dionys. Hal. Ars Rhetor. p. 405, Reiske. Compare
Theagês, 121 D. [Greek: ei)s to\ a)/stu katabai/nontes].

In general, in discussions on the genuineness of any of the Platonic
dialogues, I can do nothing but reply to the arguments of those
critics who consider them spurious. But in the case of the Theagês
there is one argument which tends to mark Plato positively as the
author.

In the Theagês, p. 125, the senarius [Greek: sophoi\ tu/rannoi tô=n
sophô=n sunousi/a|] is cited as a verse of _Euripides_. Now it
appears that this is an error of memory, and that the verse really
belongs to _Sophokles_, [Greek: e)n Ai)/anti Lokrô=|]. If the
error had only appeared in this dialogue, Stallbaum would probably
have cited it as one more instance of stupidity on the part of the
_ineptus tenebrio_ whom he supposes to have written the
dialogue. But unfortunately the error does not belong to the Theagês
alone. It is found also in the Republic (viii. 568 B), the most
unquestionable of all the Platonic compositions. Accordingly,
Schleiermacher tells us in his note that the _falsarius_ of the
Theagês has copied this error out of the above-named passage of the
Republic of Plato (notes, p. 500).

This last supposition of Schleiermacher appears to me highly
improbable. Since we know that the mistake is one made by Plato
himself, surely we ought rather to believe that he made it in two
distinct compositions. In other words, the occurrence of the same
exact mistake in the Republic and the Theagês affords strong
presumption that both are by the same author--Plato.]

[Side-note: Persons of the dialogue--Sokrates, with Demodokus
and Theagês, father and son. Theagês (the son), eager to acquire
knowledge, desires to be placed under the teaching of a Sophist.]

Demodokus, an elderly man (of rank and landed property), and his
youthful son Theagês, have come from their Deme to Athens, and enter
into conversation with Sokrates: to whom the father explains, that
Theagês has contracted, from the conversation of youthful companions,
an extraordinary ardour for the acquisition of wisdom. The son has
importuned his father to put him under the tuition of one of the
Sophists, who profess to teach wisdom. The father, though not
unwilling to comply with the request, is deterred by the difficulty
of finding a good teacher and avoiding a bad one. He entreats the
advice of Sokrates, who invites the young man to explain what it is
that he wants, over and above the usual education of an Athenian
youth of good family (letters, the harp, wrestling, &c.), which
he has already gone through.[4]

[Footnote 4: Plato, Theagês, 122.]

[Side-note: Sokrates questions Theagês, inviting him to specify
what he wants.]

_Sokr._--You desire wisdom: but what kind of wisdom? That by
which men manage chariots? or govern horses? or pilot ships?
_Theag._--No: that by which men are governed. _Sokr._--But
what men? those in a state of sickness--or those who are singing in a
chorus--or those who are under gymnastic training? Each of these
classes has its own governor, who bears a special title, and belongs
to a special art by itself--the medical, musical, gymnastic, &c.
_Theag._--No: I mean that wisdom by which we govern, not these
classes alone, but all the other residents in the city along with
them--professional as well as private--men as well as women.[5]

[Footnote 5: Plato, Theagês, 124 A-B. Schleiermacher (Einleit. p.
250) censures the prolixity of the inductive process in this
dialogue, and the multitude of examples here accumulated to prove a
general proposition obvious enough without proof. Let us grant this
to be true; we cannot infer from it that the dialogue is not the work
of Plato. By very similar arguments Socher endeavours to show that
the Sophistês and the Politikus are not works of Plato, because in
both these dialogues logical division and differentiation is
accumulated with tiresome prolixity, and applied to most trivial
subjects. But Plato himself (in Politikus, pp. 285-286) explains why
he does so, and tells us that he wishes to familiarise his readers
with logical subdivision and classification as a process. In like
manner I maintain that prolixity in the [Greek: lo/goi e)paktikoi/]
is not to be held as proof of spurious authorship, any more than
prolixity in the process of logical subdivision and classification.

I noticed the same objection in the case of the First Alkibiadês.]

[Side-note: Theagês desires to acquire that wisdom by which he
can govern freemen with their own consent.]

Sokrates now proves to Theagês, that this function and power which he
is desirous of obtaining, is, the function and power of a despot: and
that no one can aid him in so culpable a project. I might yearn (says
Theagês) for such despotic power over all: so probably would you and
every other man. But it is not _that_ to which I now aspire. I
aspire to govern freemen, with their own consent; as was done by
Themistokles, Perikles, Kimon, and other illustrious statesmen,[6]
who have been accomplished in the political art.

[Footnote 6: Plato, Theagês, 126 A.]

_Sokr._--Well, if you wished to become accomplished in the art
of horsemanship, you would put yourself under able horsemen: if in
the art of darting the javelin, under able darters. By parity of
reasoning, since you seek to learn the art of statesmanship, you must
frequent able statesmen.[7]


[Footnote 7: Plato, Theagês, 126 C.]

[Side-note: Incompetence of the best practical statesmen to
teach any one else. Theagês requests that Sokrates will himself teach
him.]

_Theag._--No, Sokrates. I have heard of the language which you
are in the habit of using to others. You pointed out to them that
these eminent statesmen cannot train their own sons to be at all
better than curriers: of course therefore they cannot do _me_
any good.[8] _Sokr._--But what can your father do for you
better than this, Theagês? What ground have you for complaining of
him? He is prepared to place you under any one of the best and most
excellent men of Athens, whichever of them you prefer.
_Theag._--Why will not you take me yourself, Sokrates? I look
upon you as one of these men, and I desire nothing better.[9]

[Footnote 8: Plato, Theagês, 126 D. Here again Stallbaum (p. 222)
urges, among his reasons for believing the dialogue to be
spurious--How absurd to represent the youthful Theagês as knowing
what arguments Sokrates had addressed to others! But the youthful
Theætêtus is also represented as having heard from others the
cross-examinations made by Sokrates (Theætêt. 148 E). So likewise the
youthful sons of Lysimachus--(Lachês, 181 A); compare also Lysis, 211
A.]

[Footnote 9: Plato, Theagês, 127 A.]

Demodokus joins his entreaties with those of Theagês to prevail upon
Sokrates to undertake this function. But Sokrates in reply says that
he is less fit for it than Demodokus himself, who has exercised high
political duties, with the esteem of every one; and that if practical
statesmen are considered unfit, there are the professional Sophists,
Prodikus, Gorgias, Polus, who teach many pupils, and earn not merely
good pay, but also the admiration and gratitude of every one--of the
pupils as well as their senior relatives.[10]

[Footnote 10: Plato, Theagês, 127 D-E, 128 A.]

[Side-note: Sokrates declares that he is not competent to
teach--that he knows nothing except about matters of love. Theagês
maintains that many of his young friends have profited largely by the
conversation of Sokrates.]

_Sokr._--I know nothing of the fine things which these Sophists
teach: I wish I did know. I declare everywhere, that I know nothing
whatever except one small matter--what belongs to love. In that, I
surpass every one else, past as well as present.[11]
_Theag._--Sokrates is only mocking us. I know youths (of my own age and
somewhat older), who were altogether worthless and inferior to every
one, before they went to him; but who, after they had frequented his
society, became in a short time superior to all their former rivals.
The like will happen with me, if he will only consent to receive
me.[12]

[Footnote 11: Plato, Theagês, 128 B. [Greek: a)lla\ kai\ le/gô dê/pou
a)ei/, o(/ti e)gô\ tugcha/nô, ô(s e)/pos ei)pei=n, ou)de\n
e)pista/menos plê/n ge smikrou= tino\s mathê/matos, tô=n e)rôtikô=n,
tou=to me/ntoi to\ ma/thêma par' o(ntinou=n poiou=mai deino\s
ei)=nai, kai\ tô=n progegono/tôn a)nthrô/pôn kai\ tô=n nu=n.]]

[Footnote 12: Plato, Theagês, 128 C.]

[Side-note: Sokrates explains how this has sometimes happened--he
recites his experience of the divine sign or Dæmon.]

_Sokr._--You do not know how this happens; I will explain it to
you. From my childhood, I have had a peculiar superhuman something
attached to me by divine appointment: a voice, which, whenever it
occurs, warns me to abstain from that which I am about to do,
but never impels me.[13] Moreover, when any one of my friends
mentions to me what he is about to do, if the voice shall then occur
to me it is a warning for him to abstain. The examples of Charmides
and Timarchus (here detailed by Sokrates) prove what I say: and many
persons will tell you how truly I forewarned them of the ruin of the
Athenian armament at Syracuse.[14] My young friend Sannion is now
absent, serving on the expedition under Thrasyllus to Ionia: on his
departure, the divine sign manifested itself to me, and I am
persuaded that some grave calamity will befall him.

[Footnote 13: Plato, Theagês, 128 D. [Greek: e)sti ga/r ti thei/a|
moi/ra| parepo/menon e)moi\ e)k paido\s a)rxa/menon daimo/nion;
e)/sti de\ tou=to phônê/, ê)\ o(/tan ge/nêtai, a)ei/ moi sêmai/nei,
o(\ a)\n me/llô pra/ttein, tou/tou a)potropê/n, protre/pei de\
ou)de/pote.]]

[Footnote 14: Plato, Theag. 129.]

[Side-note: The Dæmon is favourable to some persons, adverse to
others. Upon this circumstance it depends how far any companion
profits by the society of Sokrates. Aristeides has not learnt
anything from Sokrates, yet has improved much by being near to him.]

These facts I mention to you (Sokrates continues) because it is that
same divine power which exercises paramount influence over my
intercourse with companions.[15] Towards many, it is positively
adverse; so that I cannot even enter into companionship with them.
Towards others, it does not forbid, yet neither does it co-operate:
so that they derive no benefit from me. There are others again in
whose case it co-operates; these are the persons to whom you allude,
who make rapid progress.[16] With some, such improvement is lasting:
others, though they improve wonderfully while in my society, yet
relapse into commonplace men when they leave me. Aristeides, for
example (grandson of Aristeides the Just), was one of those who made
rapid progress while he was with me. But he was forced to absent
himself on military service; and on returning, he found as my
companion Thucydides (son of Melesias), who however had quarrelled
with me for some debate of the day before. I understand (said
Aristeides to me) that Thucydides has taken offence and gives himself
airs; he forgets what a poor creature he was, before he came to
you.[17] I myself, too, have fallen into a despicable condition.
When I left you, I was competent to discuss with any one and make a
good figure, so that I courted debate with the most accomplished men.
Now, on the contrary, I avoid them altogether--so thoroughly am I
ashamed of my own incapacity. Did the capacity (I, _Sokrates_,
asked Aristeides) forsake you all at once, or little by little?
Little by little, he replied. And when you possessed it (I asked),
did you get it by learning from me? or in what other way? I will tell
you, Sokrates (he answered), what seems incredible, yet is
nevertheless true.[18] I never learnt from you any thing at all. You
yourself well know this. But I always made progress, whenever I was
along with you, even if I were only in the same house without being
in the same room; but I made greater progress, if I was in the same
room--greater still, if I looked in your face, instead of turning my
eyes elsewhere--and the greatest of all, by far, if I sat close and
touching you. But now (continued Aristeides) all that I then acquired
has dribbled out of me.[19]

[Footnote 15: Plato, Theagês, 129 E. [Greek: tau=ta dê\ pa/nta
ei)/rêka/ soi, o(/ti ê( du/namis au(/tê tou= daimoni/ou tou/tou kai\
ei)s ta\s sunousi/as tô=n met' e)mou= sundiatribo/ntôn to\ a(/pan
du/natai. polloi=s me\n ga\r e)nantiou=tai, kai\ ou)k e)/sti tou/tois
ô)phelêthênai met' e)mou= diatri/bousin.]]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Theag. 129 E. [Greek: oi(=s d' a)\n sulla/bêtai
tê=s sunousi/as ê( tou= daimo/niou du/namis, ou(=toi ei)sin ô(=n kai\
su\ ê)/|sthêsai; tachu\ ga\r parachrê=ma e)pidido/asin.]]

[Footnote 17: Plato, Theag. 130 A-B. [Greek: Ti/ dai/? ou)k oi)=den,
e)/phê, pri\n soi\ suggene/sthai, oi(=on ê)=n to\ a)ndra/podon?]]

[Footnote 18: Plato, Theag. 130 D. [Greek: Ê(ni/ka de/ soi
parege/neto (ê( du/namis), po/teron matho/nti par' e)mou= ti
parege/neto, ê)/ tini a)/llô| tro/pô|? E)gô/ soi, e)/phê, e)rô=, ô)=
Sô/krates, a)/piston me\n nê\ tou\s theou/s, a)lêthe\s de/. e)gô\
ga\r e)/mathon me\n para\ sou= ou)de\n pô/pote, ô(s au)to\s oi)=stha;
e)pedi/doun de\ o(pote soi sunei/ên, ka)\n ei) e)n tê=| au)tê=|
mo/non oi)ki/a| ei)/ên, mê\ e)n tô=| au)tô=| de\ oi)kê/mati],
&c.]

[Footnote 19: Plato, Theag. 130 E. [Greek: polu\ de\ ma/lista kai\
plei=ston e)pedi/doun, o(po/te par' au)to/n se kathoi/mên
e)cho/meno/s sou kai\ a(pto/menos. nu=n de/, ê)= d' o(/s, pa=sa
e)kei/nê ê(\ e(/xis e)xer)r(u/êken.]]

[Side-note: Theagês expresses his anxiety to be received as the
companion of Sokrates.]

_Sokr._--I have now explained to you, Theagês, what it is to
become my companion. If it be the pleasure of the God, you will make
great and rapid progress: if not, not. Consider, therefore, whether
it is not safer for you to seek instruction from some of those who
are themselves masters of the benefits which they impart, rather than
to take your chance of the result with me.[20] _Theag._--I shall
be glad, Sokrates, to become your companion, and to make trial of
this divine coadjutor. If he shows himself propitious, that will be
the best of all: if not, we can then take counsel, whether I shall
try to propitiate him by prayer, sacrifice, or any other means which
the prophets may recommend or whether I shall go to some other
teacher.[21]

[Footnote 20: Plato, Theag. 130 E. [Greek: o(/ra ou)=n mê/ soi
a)sphale/steron ê)=| par' e)kei/nôn tini\ paideu/esthai, oi(\
e)gkratei=s au)toi/ ei)si tê=s ô)phelei/as, ê)\n ô)phelou=si tou\s
a)nthrô/pous, ma=llon ê)\ par' e)mou= o(/, ti a)\n tu/chê|, tou=to
pra=xai.]]

[Footnote 21: Plato, Theag. 131 A.]

* * * * *

[Side-note: Remarks on the Theagês--analogy with the
Lachês.]

The Theagês figured in the list of Thrasyllus as first in the fifth
Tetralogy: the other three members of the same Tetralogy being
Charmidês, Lachês, Lysis. Some persons considered it suitable to read
as first dialogue of all.[22] There are several points of analogy
between the Theagês and the Lachês, though with a different turn
given to them. Aristeides and Thucydides are mentioned in both of
them: Sokrates also is solicited to undertake the duty of teacher.
The ardour of the young Theagês to acquire wisdom reminds us of
Hippokrates at the beginning of the Protagoras. The string of
questions put by Sokrates to Theagês, requiring that what is called
wisdom shall be clearly defined and specialised, has its parallel in
many of the Platonic dialogues. Moreover the declaration of Sokrates,
that he knows nothing except about matters of love, but that in them
he is a consummate master--is the same as what he explicitly declares
both in the Symposion and other dialogues.[23]

[Footnote 22: Diog. L. iii. 59-61.]

[Footnote 23: Symposion, 177 E. [Greek: ou)/te ga\r a)/n pou e)gô\
a)pophê/saimi, o(\s ou)de/n phêmi a)/llo e)pi/stasthai ê)\ ta\
e)rôtika/.] Compare the same dialogue, p. 212 B, 216 C. Phædrus, 227
E, 257 A; Lysis, 204 B. Compare also Xenoph. Memor. ii. 6, 28;
Xenoph. Sympos. iv. 27.

It is not reasonable to treat this declaration of Sokrates, in the
Theagês, as an evidence that the dialogue is the work of a
_falsarius_, when a declaration quite similar is ascribed to
Sokrates in other Platonic dialogues.]

[Side-note: Chief peculiarity of the Theagês--stress laid upon
the divine sign or Dæmon.]

But the chief peculiarity of the Theagês consists in the stress which
is laid upon the Dæmon, the divine voice, the inspiration of
Sokrates. This divine auxiliary is here described, not only as giving
a timely check or warning to Sokrates, when either he or his friends
contemplated any inauspicious project--but also as intervening, in
the case of those youthful companions with whom he conversed, to
promote the improvement of one, to obstruct that of others; so that
whether Sokrates will produce any effect or not in improving any one,
depends neither upon his own efforts nor upon those of the recipient,
but upon the unpredictable concurrence of a divine agency.[24]

[Footnote 24: See some remarks on this point in Appendix.]

[Side-note: Plato employs this divine sign here to render some
explanation of the singularity and eccentricity of Sokrates, and of
his unequal influence upon different companions.]

Plato employs the Sokratic Dæmon, in the Theagês, for a philosophical
purpose, which, I think, admits of reasonable explanation. During the
eight (perhaps ten) years of his personal communion with Sokrates,
he had had large experience of the variable and unaccountable
effect produced by the Sokratic conversation upon different hearers:
a fact which is also attested by the Xenophontic Memorabilia. This
difference of effect was in no way commensurate to the unequal
intelligence of the hearers. Chærephon, Apollodôrus, Kriton, seem to
have been ordinary men:--[25] while Kritias and Alkibiades, who
brought so much discredit both upon Sokrates and his teaching,
profited little by him, though they were among the ablest pupils that
he ever addressed: moreover Antisthenes, and Aristippus, probably did
not appear to Plato (since he greatly dissented from their
philosophical views) to have profited much by the common
companionship with Sokrates. Other companions there must have been
also personally known to Plato, though not to us: for we must
remember that Sokrates passed his whole day in talking with all
listeners. Now when Plato in after life came to cast the ministry of
Sokrates into dramatic scenes, and to make each scene subservient to
the illustration of some philosophical point of view, at least a
negative--he was naturally led to advert to the Dæmon or divine
inspiration, which formed so marked a feature in the character of his
master. The concurrence or prohibition of this divine auxiliary
served to explain why it was that the seed, sown broadcast by
Sokrates, sometimes fructified, and sometimes did not fructify, or
speedily perished afterwards--when no sufficient explanatory
peculiarity could be pointed out in the ground on which it fell. It
gave an apparent reason for the perfect singularity of the course
pursued by Sokrates: for his preternatural acuteness in one
direction, and his avowed incapacity in another: for his mastery of
the Elenchus, convicting men of ignorance, and his inability to
supply them with knowledge: for his refusal to undertake the duties
of a teacher. All these are mysterious features of the Sokratic
character. The intervention of the Dæmon appears to afford an
explanation, by converting them into religious mysteries: which,
though it be no explanation at all, yet is equally efficacious by
stopping the mouth of the questioner, and by making him believe that
it is guilt and impiety to ask for explanation--as Sokrates
himself declared in regard to astronomical phenomena, and as
Herodotus feels, when his narrative is crossed by strange religious
legends.[26]

[Footnote 25: Xenophon, Apol. Sokr. 28.
[Greek: A)pollo/dôros--e)pithumê/tês me\n i)schurô=s au)tou=,
a)/llôs d' eu)ê/thês.]--Plat. Phædon, 117 D.]

[Footnote 26: Xen. Mem. iv. 7, 5-6; Herodot. ii. 3, 45-46.]

[Side-note: Sokrates, while continually finding fault with
other teachers, refused to teach himself--difficulty of finding an
excuse for his refusal. The Theagês furnishes an excuse.]

In this manner, the Theagês is made by Plato to exhibit one way of
parrying the difficulty frequently addressed to Sokrates by various
hearers: "You tell us that the leading citizens cannot even teach
their own sons, and that the Sophists teach nothing worth having: you
perpetually call upon us to seek for better teachers, without telling
us where such are to be found. We entreat you to teach us yourself,
conformably to your own views."

If a leader of political opposition, after years employed in
denouncing successive administrators as ignorant and iniquitous,
refuses, when invited, to take upon himself the business of
administration--an intelligent admirer must find some decent pretence
to colour the refusal. Such a pretence is found for Sokrates in the
Theagês: "I am not my own master on this point. I am the instrument
of a divine ally, without whose active working I can accomplish
nothing: who forbids altogether my teaching of one man--tolerates,
without assisting, my unavailing lessons to another--assists
efficaciously in my teaching of a third, in which case alone the
pupil receives any real benefit. The assistance of this divine ally
is given or withheld according to motives of his own, which I cannot
even foretell, much less influence. I should deceive you therefore if
I undertook to teach, when I cannot tell whether I shall do good or
harm."

The reply of Theagês meets this scruple. He asks permission to make
the experiment, and promises to propitiate the divine auxiliary by
prayer and sacrifice; under which reserve Sokrates gives consent.

[Side-note: Plato does not always, nor in other dialogues,
allude to the divine sign in the same way. Its character and working
essentially impenetrable. Sokrates a privileged person.]

It is in this way that the Dæmon or divine auxiliary serves the
purpose of reconciling what would otherwise be an inconsistency in
the proceedings of Sokrates. I mean, that such is the purpose served
in _this_ dialogue: I know perfectly that Plato deals with the
case differently elsewhere: but I am not bound (as I have said
more than once) to force upon all the dialogues one and the same
point of view. That the agency of the Gods was often and in the most
important cases, essentially undiscoverable and unpredictable, and
that in such cases they might sometimes be prevailed on to give
special warnings to favoured persons--were doctrines which the
historical Sokrates in Xenophon asserts with emphasis.[27] The Dæmon
of Sokrates was believed, both by himself and his friends, to be a
special privilege and an extreme case of divine favour and
communication to him.[28] It was perfectly applicable to the scope of
the Theagês, though Plato might not choose always to make the same
employment of it. It is used in the same general way in the
Theætêtus;[29] doubtless with less expansion, and blended with
another analogy (that of the mid-wife) which introduces a
considerable difference.[30]

[Footnote 27: Xenoph. Memor. i. 1, 8-9-19.

Euripid. Hecub. 944.

[Greek: phu/rousi d' au)ta\ theoi\ pa/lin te kai\ pro/sô,
taragmo\n e)ntithe/ntes, ô(s a)gnôsi/a|
se/bômen au)tou/s.]]

[Footnote 28: Xenoph. Mem. iv. 3, 12.]

[Footnote 29: Plato, Theætêt. 150 D-E.]

[Footnote 30: Plato, Apolog. Sokr. 33 C. [Greek: e)moi\ de\ tou=to,
ô(s e)gô/ phêmi, proste/taktai u(po\ toou= theou= pra/ttein kai\ e)k
manteiô=n kai\ e)x e)nupni/ôn kai\ panti\ tro/pô|, ô(=|pe/r ti/s pote
kai\ a)/llê thei/a moio/ra a)nthrô/pô| kai\ o(tiou=n prose/taxe
pra/ttein.] 40 A. [Greek: ê( ga\r ei)ôthui=a/ moi mantikê\ ê( tou=
daimoni/ou e)n me\n tô=| pro/sthen _chro/nô| panti\ pa/nu puknê\
a)ei\ ê)=n kai\ pa/nu e)pi\ smikroi=s e)nantioume/nê_, ei)/ ti
me/lloimi mê\ o)rthô=s pra/xein.] Compare Xenophon, Memor. iv. 8, 5;
Apol. Sokr. c. 13.]



APPENDIX.

[Greek: To\ daimo/nion sêmei=on.]


Here is one of the points most insisted on by Schleiermacher and
Stallbaum, as proving that the Theagês is not the work of Plato.
These critics affirm (to use the language of Stallbaum, Proleg. p.
220) "Quam Plato alias de Socratis dæmonio prodidit sententiam, ea
longissimè recedit ab illâ ratione, quæ in hoc sermone exposita est".
He says that the representation of the Dæmon of Sokrates, given in
the Theagês, has been copied from a passage in the Theætêtus, by an
imitator who has not understood the passage, p. 150, D, E. But Socher
(p. 97) appears to me to have shown satisfactorily, that there is no
such material difference as these critics affirm between this passage
of the Theætêtus and the Theagês. In the Theætêtus, Sokrates
declares, that none of his companions learnt any thing from him, but
that all of them [Greek: oi(=sper a)\n o( theo\s parei/kê|] (the very
same term is used at the close of the Theagês--131 A, [Greek: e)a\n
me\n parei/kê| ê(mi=n--to\ daimo/nion]) made astonishing progress and
improvement in his company. Stallbaum says, "Itaque [Greek: o(
theo\s], qui ibi memoratur, non est Socratis dæmonium, sed potius
deus _i.e._ sors divina. Quod non perspiciens _noster
tenebrio_ protenus illud dæmonium, quod Socrates sibi semper
adesse dictitabat, ad eum dignitatis et potentiæ gradum evexit, ut,
&c." I agree with Socher in thinking that the phrase [Greek: o(
theo\s] in the Theætêtus has substantially the same meaning as
[Greek: to\ daimo/nion] in the Theagês. Both Schleiermacher (Notes on
the Apology, p. 432) and Ast (p. 482), have notes on the phrase
[Greek: to\ daimo/nion]--and I think the note of Ast is the more
instructive of the two. In Plato and Xenophon, the words [Greek: to\
daimo/nion], [Greek: to\ thei=on], are in many cases
undistinguishable in meaning from [Greek: o( dai/môn], [Greek: o(
theo/s]. Compare the Phædrus, 242 E, about [Greek: theo\s] and
[Greek: thei=o/n ti]. Sokrates, in his argument against Meletus in
the Apology (p. 27) emphatically argues that no man could believe in
any thing [Greek: daimo/nion], without also believing in [Greek:
daimo/nes]. The special [Greek: thei=o/n ti kai\ daimo/nion
(Apol. p. 31 C), which presented itself in regard to him and his
proceedings, was only one of the many modes in which (as he believed)
[Greek: o( theo/s] commanded and stimulated him to work upon the
minds of the Athenians:--[Greek: e)moi\ de\ tou=to, ô(s e)gô/ phêmi,
proste/taktai u(po\ tou= theou= pra/ttein kai\ e)k manteiô=n kai\ e)x
e)nupni/ôn kai\ panti\ tro/pô|, ô(=|pe/r ti/s pote kai\ a)/llê thei/a
moi=ra a)nthrô/pô| kai\ o(tiou=n prose/taxe pra/ttein] (Apol. p. 33
C). So again in Apol. p. 40 A, B, [Greek: ê( ei)ôthui=a/ moi mantikê\
ê( tou= daimoni/ou]--and four lines afterwards we read the very same
fact intimated in the words, [Greek: to\ tou= theou= sêmei=on], where
Sokratis dæmonium--and Deus--are identified: thus refuting the
argument above cited from Stallbaum. There is therefore no such
discrepancy, in reference to [Greek: to\ daimo/nion], as Stallbaum
and Schleiermacher contend for. We perceive indeed this difference
between them--that in the Theætêtus, the simile of the obstetric art
is largely employed, while it is not noticed in the Theagês. But we
should impose an unwarrantable restriction upon Plato's fancy, if we
hindered him from working out his variety and exuberance of
metaphors, and from accommodating each dialogue to the metaphor
predominant with him at the time.

Moreover, in respect to what is called the Dæmon of Sokrates, we
ought hardly to expect that either Plato or Xenophon would always be
consistent even with themselves. It is unsafe for a modern critic to
determine beforehand, by reason or feelings of his own, in what
manner either of them would speak upon this mysterious subject. The
belief and feeling of a divine intervention was very real on the part
of both, but their manner of conceiving it might naturally fluctuate:
and there was, throughout all the proceedings of Sokrates, a mixture
of the serious and the playful, of the sublime and the eccentric, of
ratiocinative acuteness with impulsive superstition--which it is
difficult to bring into harmonious interpretation. Such heterogeneous
mixture is forcibly described in the Platonic Symposium, pp. 215-222.
When we consider how undefined, and undefinable, the idea of this
[Greek: daimo/nion] was, we cannot wonder if Plato ascribes to it
different workings and manifestations at different times. Stallbaum
affirms that it is made ridiculous in the Theagês: and Kühner
declares that Plutarch makes it ridiculous, in his treatise De Genio
Sokratia (Comm. ad. Xenoph. Memor. p. 23). But this is because its
agency is described more in detail. You can easily present it in a
ridiculous aspect, by introducing it as intervening on petty and
insignificant matters. Now it is remarkable, that in the Apology, we
are expressly told that it actually did intervene on the most
trifling occasions--[Greek: pa/nu e)pi\ smikroi=s
e)nantioume/nê]. The business of an historian of philosophy is, to
describe it as it was really felt and believed by Sokrates and
Plato--whether a modern critic may consider the description
ridiculous or not.

When Schleiermacher says (Einleitung, p. 248), respecting the
_falsarius_ whom he supposes to have written the Theagês--"Damit
ist ihm begegnet, auf eine höchst verkehrte Art wunderbar
zusammenzurühren diese göttliche Schickung, und jenes persönliche
Vorgefühl welches dem Sokrates zur göttlichen Stimme ward".--I
contend that the mistake is chargeable to Schleiermacher himself, for
bisecting into two phenomena that which appears in the Apology as the
same phenomenon under two different names--[Greek: to\
daimo/nion]--[Greek: to\ tou= theou= sêmei=on]. Besides, to treat the
Dæmon as a mere "personal presentiment" of Sokrates, may be a true
view:--but it is the view of one who does not inhale the same religious
atmosphere as Sokrates, Plato, and Xenophon. It cannot therefore be
properly applied in explaining their sayings or doings. Kühner, who treats
the Theagês as not composed by Plato, grounds this belief partly on the
assertion, that the [Greek: daimo/nion] of Sokrates is described
therein as something peculiar to Sokrates; which, according to
Kühner, was the fiction of a subsequent time. By Sokrates and his
contemporaries (Kühner says) it was considered "non sibi soli tanquam
proprium quoddam beneficium a Diis tributum, sed commune sibi esse
cum cæteris hominibus" (pp. 20-21). I dissent entirely from this
view, which is contradicted by most of the passages noticed even by
Kühner himself. It is at variance with the Platonic Apology, as well
as with the Theætêtus (150 D), and Republic (vi. 496 C). Xenophon
does indeed try, in the first Chapter of the Memorabilia, as the
defender of Sokrates, to soften the _invidia_ against Sokrates,
by intimating that other persons had communications from the Gods as
well as he. But we see plainly, even from other passages of the
Memorabilia, that this was not the persuasion of Sokrates himself,
nor of his friends, nor of his enemies. They all considered it (as it
is depicted in the Theagês also) to be a special privilege and
revelation.



CHAPTER XVI.

ERASTÆ OR ANTERASTÆ--RIVALES.


The main subject of this short dialogue is--What is philosophy?
[Greek: ê( philosophi/a--to\ philosophei=n]. How are we to explain or
define it? What is its province and purport?

[Side-note: Erastæ--subject and persons of the
dialogue--dramatic introduction--interesting youths in the palæstra.]

Instead of the simple, naked, self-introducing, conversation, which
we read in the Menon, Hipparchus, Minos, &c. Sokrates recounts a
scene and colloquy, which occurred when he went into the house of
Dionysius the grammatist or school-master,[1] frequented by many
elegant and high-born youths as pupils. Two of these youths were
engaged in animated debate upon some geometrical or astronomical
problem, in the presence of various spectators; and especially of two
young men, rivals for the affection of one of them. Of these rivals,
the one is a person devoted to music, letters, discourse,
philosophy:--the other hates and despises these pursuits, devoting
himself to gymnastic exercise, and bent on acquiring the maximum of
athletic force.[2] It is much the same contrast as that between the
brothers Amphion and Zethus in the Antiopê of Euripides--which is
beautifully employed as an illustration by Plato in the Gorgias.[3]

[Footnote 1: Plato, Erastæ, 132. [Greek: ei)s Dionusi/ou tou=
grammatistou= ei)sê=lthon, kai\ ei)=don au)to/thi tô=n te ne/ôn tou\s
e)pieikesta/tous dokou=ntas ei)=nai tê\n i)de/an kai\ pate/rôn
eu)doki/môn kai\ tou/tôn e)rasta/s.]]

[Footnote 2: Plato, Erast. 132 E.]

[Footnote 3: Plato, Gorgias, 485-486. Compare Cicero De Oratore, ii.
37, 156.]

[Side-note: Two rival Erastæ--one of them literary, devoted to
philosophy--the other gymnastic, hating philosophy.]

As soon as Sokrates begins his interrogatories, the two youths
relinquish[4] their geometrical talk, and turn to him as attentive
listeners. Their approach affects his emotions hardly less than those
of the Erastes. He first enquires from the athletic Erastes,
What is it that these two youths are so intently engaged upon? It
must surely be something very fine, to judge by the eagerness which
they display? How do you mean _fine_ (replies the athlete)? They
are only prosing about astronomical matters--talking
nonsense--philosophising! The literary rival, on the contrary, treats this
athlete as unworthy of attention, speaks with enthusiastic admiration
of philosophy, and declares that all those to whom it is repugnant
are degraded specimens of humanity.

[Footnote 4: The powerful sentiment of admiration ascribed to
Sokrates in the presence of these beautiful youths deserves notice as
a point in his character. Compare the beginning of the Charmidês and
the Lysis.]

[Side-note: Question put by Sokrates--What is philosophy? It is
the perpetual accumulation of knowledge, so as to make the largest
sum total.]

_Sokr._--You think philosophy a fine thing? But you cannot tell
whether it is fine or not, unless you know what it is.[5] Pray
explain to me what philosophy is. _Erast._--I will do so
readily. Philosophy consists in the perpetual growth of a man's
knowledge--in his going on perpetually acquiring something new, both
in youth and in old age, so that he may learn as much as possible
during life. Philosophy is polymathy.[6] _Sokr._--You think
philosophy not only a fine thing, but good? _Erast._--Yes--very
good. _Sokr._--But is the case similar in regard to gymnastic?
Is a man's bodily condition benefited by taking as much exercise, or
as much nourishment, as possible? Is such very great quantity good
for the body?[7]

[Footnote 5: Plat. Erast. 133 A-B.]

[Footnote 6: Plato, Erast. 133 D. [Greek: tê\n
philosophi/an--poluma/theian.]]

[Footnote 7: Plato, Erast. 133 E.]

[Side-note: In the case of the body, it is not the maximum of
exercise which does good, but the proper, measured quantity. For the
mind also, it is not the maximum of knowledge, but the measured
quantity which is good. Who is the judge to determine this measure?]

It appears after some debate (in which the other or athletic Erastes
sides with Sokrates[8]) that in regard to exercise and food it is not
the great quantity or the small quantity, which is good for the body--but
the moderate or measured quantity.[9] For the mind, the case is
admitted to be similar. Not the _much_, nor the _little_,
of learning is good for it but the right or measured amount.
_Sokr._--And who is the competent judge, how much of either
is right measure for the body? _Erast._--The physician and the
gymnastic trainer. _Sokr._--Who is the competent judge, how much
seed is right measure for sowing a field? _Erast._--The farmer.
_Sokr._--Who is the competent judge, in reference to the sowing
and planting of knowledge in the mind, which varieties are good, and
how much of each is right measure?

[Footnote 8: Plat. Erast. 134 B-C. The literary Erastes says to
Sokrates, "To _you_, I have no objection to concede this point,
and to admit that my previous answer must be modified. But if I were
to debate the point only with _him_ (the athletic rival), I
could perfectly well have defended my answer, and even worse answer
still, for _he_ is quite worthless ([Greek: ou)de\n ga/r
e)sti])."

This is a curious passage, illustrating the dialectic habits of the
day, and the pride felt in maintaining an answer once given.]

[Footnote 9: Plato, Erastæ, 134 B-D. [Greek: ta\ me/tria ma/lista
ô)phelei=n, a)lla\ mê\ ta\ polla\ mêde\ ta\ o)li/ga.]]

[Side-note: No answer given. What is the best conjecture?
Answer of the literary Erastes. A man must learn that which will
yield to him the greatest reputation as a philosopher--as much as
will enable him to talk like an intelligent critic, though not to
practise.]

The question is one which none of the persons present can answer.[10]
None of them can tell who is the special referee, about training of
mind; corresponding to the physician or the farmer in the analogous
cases. Sokrates then puts a question somewhat different:
_Sokr._--Since we have agreed, that the man who prosecutes
philosophy ought not to learn many things, still less all
things--what is the best conjecture that we can make, respecting the
matters which he ought to learn? _Erast._--The finest and most suitable
acquirements for him to aim at, are those which will yield to him the
greatest reputation as a philosopher. He ought to appear accomplished
in every variety of science, or at least in all the more important;
and with that view, to learn as much of each as becomes a freeman to
know:--that is, what belongs to the intelligent critic, as
distinguished from the manual operative: to the planning and
superintending architect, as distinguished from the working
carpenter.[11] _Sokr._--But you cannot learn even two different
arts to this extent--much less several considerable arts.
_Erast._--I do not of course mean that the philosopher can be
supposed to know each of them accurately, like the artist himself--but
only as much as may be expected from the free and cultivated
citizen. That is, he shall be able to appreciate, better than other
hearers, the observations made by the artist: and farther to deliver
a reasonable opinion of his own, so as to be accounted, by all the
hearers, more accomplished in the affairs of the art than
themselves.[12]

[Footnote 10: Plato, Erast. 134 E, 135 A.]

[Footnote 11: Plat. Erast. 135 B. [Greek: o(/sa xune/seôs e)/chetai,
mê\ o(/sa cheirourgi/as.]]

[Footnote 12: Plat. Erast. 135 D.]

[Side-note: The philosopher is one who is second-best in
several different arts--a Pentathlus--who talks well upon each.]

_Sokr._--You mean that the philosopher is to be second-best in
several distinct pursuits: like the Pentathlus, who is not
expected to equal either the runner or the wrestler in their own
separate departments, but only to surpass competitors in the five
matches taken together.[13] _Erast._--Yes--I mean what you say.
He is one who does not enslave himself to any one matter, nor works
out any one with such strictness as to neglect all others: he attends
to all of them in reasonable measure.[14]

[Footnote 13: Plat. Erast. 135 E, 136 A. [Greek: kai\ ou(/tôs
gi/gnesthai peri\ pa/nta u(/pakro/n tina a)/ndra to\n
pephilosophêko/ta.] The five matches were leaping, running, throwing
the quoit and the javelin, wrestling.]

[Footnote 14: Plat. Erast. 136 B. [Greek: a)lla\ pa/ntôn metri/ôs
e)phê=phthai.]]

[Side-note: On what occasions can such second-best men be
useful? There are always regular practitioners at hand, and no one
will call in the second-best man when he can have the regular
practitioner.]

Upon this answer Sokrates proceeds to cross-examine: _Sokr._--Do
you think that good men are useful, bad men useless? _Erast._--Yes
I do. _Sokr._--You think that philosophers, as you describe
them, are useful? _Erast._--Certainly: extremely useful.
_Sokr._--But tell me on what occasions such second-best men are
useful: for obviously they are inferior to each separate artist. If
you fall sick will you send for one of _them_, or for a
professional physician? _Erast._--I should send for both.
_Sokr._--That is no answer: I wish to know, which of the two you
will send for first and by preference? _Erast._--No doubt I
shall send for the professional physician. _Sokr._--The like
also, if you are in danger on shipboard, you will entrust your life
to the pilot rather than to the philosopher: and so as to all other
matters, as long as a professional man is to be found, the
philosopher is of no use? _Erast._--So it appears. _Sokr._--Our
philosopher then is one of the useless persons: for we assuredly
have professional men at hand. Now we agreed before, that good men
were useful, bad men useless.[15] _Erast._--Yes; that was
agreed.

[Footnote 15: Plat. Erast. 136 C-D.]

[Side-note: Philosophy cannot consist in multiplication of
learned acquirements.]

_Sokr._--If then you have correctly defined a philosopher to be
one who has a second-rate knowledge on many subjects, he is useless
so long as there exist professional artists on each subject. Your
definition cannot therefore be correct. Philosophy must be something
quite apart from this multifarious and busy meddling with
different professional subjects, or this multiplication of
learned acquirements. Indeed I fancied, that to be absorbed in
professional subjects and in variety of studies, was vulgar and
discreditable rather than otherwise.[16]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Erast. 137 B.]

Let us now, however (continues Sokrates), take up the matter in
another way. In regard to horses and dogs, those who punish rightly
are also those who know how to make them better, and to discriminate
with most exactness the good from the bad? _Erast._--Yes: such
is the fact.

[Side-note: Sokrates changes his course of
examination--questions put to show that there is one special art, regal
and political, of administering and discriminating the bad from the
good.]

_Sokr._--Is not the case similar with men? Is it not the same
art, which punishes men rightly, makes them better, and best
distinguishes the good from the bad? whether applied to one, few, or
many? _Erast._--It is so.[17] _Sokr._--The art or science,
whereby men punish evil-doers rightly, is the judicial or justice:
and it is by the same that they know the good apart from the bad,
either one or many. If any man be a stranger to this art, so as not
to know good men apart from bad, is he not also ignorant of himself,
whether he be a good or a bad man? _Erast._--Yes: he is.
_Sokr._--To be ignorant of yourself, is to be wanting in
sobriety or temperance; to know yourself is to be sober or temperate.
But this is the same art as that by which we punish rightly--or
justice. Therefore justice and temperance are the same: and the
Delphian rescript, _Know thyself_, does in fact enjoin the
practice both of justice and of sobriety.[18] _Erast._--So it
appears. _Sokr._--Now it is by this same art, when practised by
a king, rightly punishing evil-doers, that cities are well governed;
it is by the same art practised by a private citizen or house-master,
that the house is well-governed: so that this art, justice or
sobriety, is at the same time political, regal, economical; and the
just and sober man is at once the true king, statesman,
house-master.[19] _Erast._--I admit it.

[Footnote 17: Plato, Erast. 137 C-D.]

[Footnote 18: Plato, Erast. 138 A.]

[Footnote 19: Plato, Erast. 138 C.]

[Side-note: In this art the philosopher must not only be
second-best, competent to talk--but he must be a fully qualified
practitioner, competent to act.]

_Sokr._--Now let me ask you. You said that it was discreditable
for the philosopher, when in company with a physician or any other
craftsman talking about matters of his own craft, not to be able to
follow what he said and comment upon it. Would it not also be
discreditable to the philosopher, when listening to any king, judge,
or house-master, about professional affairs, not to be able to
understand and comment? _Erast._--Assuredly it would be most
discreditable upon matters of such grave moment. _Sokr._--Shall
we say then, that upon these matters also, as well as all others, the
philosopher ought to be a Pentathlus or second-rate performer,
useless so long as the special craftsman is at hand? or shall we not
rather affirm, that he must not confide his own house to any one
else, nor be the second-best within it, but must himself judge and
punish rightly, if his house is to be well administered?
_Erast._--That too I admit.[20] _Sokr._--Farther, if his
friends shall entrust to him the arbitration of their disputes,--if
the city shall command him to act as Dikast or to settle any
difficulty,--in those cases also it will be disgraceful for him to
stand second or third, and not to be first-rate? _Erast._--I
think it will be. _Sokr._--You see then, my friend, philosophy
is something very different from much learning and acquaintance with
multifarious arts or sciences.[21]

[Footnote 20: Plato, Erast. 138 E. [Greek: Po/teron ou)=n kai\ peri\
tau=ta le/gômen, pe/ntathlon au)to\n dei=n ei)=nai kai\ u(/pakron,
ta\ deuterei=a e)/chonta pa/ntôn, to\n philo/sophon, kai\ a)chrei=on
ei)=nai, e(/ôs a)\n tou/tôn tis ê)=|? ê)\ prô=ton me\n tê\n au(tou=
oi)ki/an ou)k a)llô| e)pitrepte/on ou)de ta\ deuterei=a e)n tou/tô|
e(kte/on, a)ll' au)to\n kolaste/on dika/zonta o)rthô=s, ei) me/llei
eu)= oi)kei=sthai au)tou= ê( oi)ki/a?]]

[Footnote 21: Plato, Erast. 139 A. [Greek: Pollou= a)/ra dei= ê(mi=n,
ô)= be/ltiste, to\ philosophei=n poluma/theia/ te ei)=nai kai\ ê(
peri\ ta\s te/chnas pragmatei/a.]]

[Side-note: Close of the dialogue--humiliation of the literary
Erastes.]

Upon my saying this (so Sokrates concludes his recital of the
conversation) the literary one of the two rivals was ashamed and held
his peace; while the gymnastic rival declared that I was in the
right, and the other hearers also commended what I had said.


* * * * *


[Side-note: Remarks--animated manner of the dialogue.]

The antithesis between the philo-gymnast, hater of philosophy,--and
the enthusiastic admirer of philosophy, who nevertheless cannot
explain what it is--gives much point and vivacity to this short
dialogue. This last person is exhibited as somewhat presumptuous and
confident; thus affording a sort of excuse for the humiliating
cross-examination put upon him by Sokrates to the satisfaction
of his stupid rival. Moreover, the dramatic introduction is full of
animation, like that of the Charmidês and Lysis.

Besides the animated style of the dialogue, the points raised for
discussion in it are of much interest. The word philosophy has at all
times been vague and ambiguous. Certainly no one before
Sokrates--probably no one before Plato--ever sought a definition of it.
In no other Platonic dialogue than this, is the definition of it made a
special topic of research.

[Side-note: Definition of philosophy--here sought for the
first time--Platonic conception of measure--referee not discovered.]

It is here handled in Plato's negative, elenchtic, tentative, manner.
By some of his contemporaries, philosophy was really considered as
equivalent to polymathy, or to much and varied knowledge: so at least
Plato represents it as being considered by Hippias the Sophist,
contrary to the opinion of Protagoras.[22] The exception taken by
Sokrates to a definition founded on simple quantity, without any
standard point of sufficiency by which much or little is to be
measured, introduces that governing idea of [Greek: to\ me/trion]
(the moderate, that which conforms to a standard measure) upon which
Plato insists so much in other more elaborate dialogues. The
conception of a measure, of a standard of measurement--and of
conformity thereunto, as the main constituent of what is good and
desirable--stands prominent in his mind,[23] though it is not always
handled in the same way. We have seen it, in the Second Alkibiadês,
indicated under another name as knowledge of Good or of the Best:
without which, knowledge on special matters was declared to be
hurtful rather than useful.[24] Plato considers that this Measure is
neither discernible nor applicable except by a specially trained
intelligence. In the Erastæ as elsewhere, such an intelligence is
called for in general terms: but when it is asked, Where is the
person possessing such intelligence, available in the case of mental
training--neither Sokrates nor any one else can point him out. To
suggest a question, and direct attention to it, yet still to
leave it unanswered--is a practice familiar with Plato. In this
respect the Erastæ is like other dialogues. The answer, if any,
intended to be understood or divined, is, that such an intelligence
is the philosopher himself.

[Footnote 22: Plato, Protag. 318 E. Compare too, the Platonic
dialogues, Hippias Major and Minor.]

[Footnote 23: See about [Greek: ê( tou= metri/ou phu/sis] as [Greek:
ou)si/a]--as [Greek: o)/ntôs gigno/menon].--Plato, Politikus,
283-284. Compare also the Philêbus, p. 64 D, and the Protagoras, pp.
356-357, where [Greek: ê( metrêtikê\ te/chnê] is declared to be the
principal saviour of life and happiness.]

[Footnote 24: Plato, Alkib. ii. 145-146; supra, ch. xii. p. 16.]

[Side-note: View taken of the second-best critical talking
man, as compared with the special proficient and practitioner.]

The second explanation of philosophy here given--that the philosopher
is one who is second-best in many departments, and a good talker upon
all, but inferior to the special master in each--was supposed by
Thrasyllus in ancient times to be pointed at Demokritus. By many
Platonic critics, it is referred to those persons whom they single
out to be called Sophists. I conceive it to be applicable (whether
intended or not) to the literary men generally of that age, the
persons called Sophists included. That which Perikles expressed by
the word, when he claimed the love of wisdom and the love of beauty
as characteristic features of the Athenian citizen--referred chiefly
to the free and abundant discussion, the necessity felt by every one
for talking over every thing before it was done, yet accompanied with
full energy in action as soon as the resolution was taken to act.[25]
Speech, ready and pertinent, free conflict of opinion on many
different topics--was the manifestation and the measure of knowledge
acquired. Sokrates passed his life in talking, with every one
indiscriminately, and upon each man's particular subject; often
perplexing the artist himself. Xenophon recounts conversations with
various professional men--a painter, a sculptor, an armourer--and
informs us that it was instructive to all of them, though Sokrates
was no practitioner in any craft.[26] It was not merely Demokritus,
but Plato and Aristotle also, who talked or wrote upon almost every
subject included in contemporary observation. The voluminous works of
Aristotle,--the Timæus, Republic, and Leges, of Plato,--embrace a
large variety of subjects, on each of which, severally taken, these
two great men were second-best or inferior to some special
proficient. Yet both of them had judgments to give, which it was
important to hear, upon all subjects:[27] and both of them could
probably talk better upon each than the special proficient himself.
Aristotle, for example, would write better upon rhetoric than
Demosthenes--upon tragedy, than Sophokles. Undoubtedly, if an oration
or a tragedy were to be composed--if resolution or action were
required on any real state of particular circumstances--the special
proficient would be called upon to act: but it would be a mistake to
infer from hence, as the Platonic Sokrates intimates in the Erastæ,
that the second-best, or theorizing reasoner, was a useless man. The
theoretical and critical point of view, with the command of language
apt for explaining and defending it, has a value of its own; distinct
from, yet ultimately modifying and improving, the practical. And such
comprehensive survey and comparison of numerous objects, without
having the attention exclusively fastened or enslaved to any one of
them, deserves to rank high as a variety of intelligence whether it
be adopted as the definition of a philosopher, or not.

[Footnote 25: Thucyd. ii. 39 fin.--40. [Greek: kai\ e)/n te tou/tois
tê\n po/lin a)xi/an ei)=nai thauma/zesthai, kai\ e)/ti e)n a)/llois.
philokalou=men ga\r met' eu)telei/as kai\ philosophou=men a)/neu
malaki/as], &c., and the remarkable sequel of the same chapter
about the intimate conjunction of abundant speech with energetic
action in the Athenian character.]

[Footnote 26: Xen. Mem. iii. 10; iii. 11; iii. 12.]

[Footnote 27: The [Greek: pe/ntathlos] or [Greek: u(/pakros] whom
Plato criticises in this dialogue, coincides with what Aristotle
calls "the man of universal education or culture".--Ethic. Nikom. I.
i. 1095, a. 1. [Greek: e(/kastos de\ kri/nei kalô=s a(\ gignô/skei,
kai\ tou/tôn e)sti\n a)gatho\s kritê/s; kath' e(/kaston a)/ra, o(
pepaideume/nos; a(plô=s de/, o( peri\ pa=n pepaideume/nos.]]

[Side-note: Plato's view--that the philosopher has a province
special to himself, distinct from other specialties--dimly
indicated--regal or political art.]

Plato undoubtedly did not conceive the definition of the philosopher
in the same way as Sokrates. The close of the Erastæ is employed in
opening a distant and dim view of the Platonic conception. We are
given to understand, that the philosopher has a province of his own,
wherein he is not second-best, but a first-rate actor and adviser. To
indicate, in many different ways, that there is or must be such a
peculiar, appertaining to philosophy--distinct from, though analogous
to, the peculiar of each several art--is one leading purpose in many
Platonic dialogues. But what is the peculiar of the philosopher?
Here, as elsewhere, it is marked out in a sort of misty outline, not
as by one who already knows and is familiar with it, but as one who
is trying to find it without being sure that he has succeeded. Here,
we have it described as the art of discriminating good from evil,
governing, and applying penal sanctions rightly. This is the supreme
art or science, of which the philosopher is the professor; and
in which, far from requiring advice from others, he is the only
person competent both to advise and to act: the art which exercises
control over all other special arts, directing how far, and on what
occasions, each of them comes into appliance. It is philosophy,
looked at in one of its two aspects: not as a body of speculative
truth, to be debated, proved, and discriminated from what cannot be
proved or can be disproved--but as a critical judgment bearing on
actual life, prescribing rules or giving directions in particular
cases, with a view to the attainment of foreknown ends, recognised as
_expetenda_.[28] This is what Plato understands by the measuring
or calculating art, the regal or political art, according as we use
the language of the Protagoras, Politikus, Euthydêmus, Republic. Both
justice and sobriety are branches of this art; and the distinction
between the two loses its importance when the art is considered as a
whole--as we find both in the Erastæ and in the Republic.[29]

[Footnote 28: The difference between the second explanation of
philosophy and the third explanation, suggested in the Erastæ, will
be found to coincide pretty nearly with the distinction which
Aristotle takes much pains to draw between [Greek: sophi/a] and
[Greek: phro/nêsis].--Ethic. Nikomach. vi. 5, pp. 1140-1141; also
Ethic. Magn. i. pp. 1197-1198.]

[Footnote 29: See Republic, iv. 433 A; Gorgias, 526 C; Charmidês 164
B; and Heindorf's note on the passage in the Charmidês.]

[Side-note: Philosopher--the supreme artist controlling other
artists.]

Here, in the Erastæ, this conception of the philosopher as the
supreme artist controlling all other artists, is darkly indicated and
crudely sketched. We shall find the same conception more elaborately
illustrated in other dialogues; yet never passing out of that state.


* * * * *


APPENDIX.

This is one of the dialogues declared to be spurious by
Schleiermacher, Ast, Socher, and Stallbaum, all of them critics of
the present century. In my judgment, their grounds for such
declaration are altogether inconclusive. They think the dialogue an
inferior composition, unworthy of Plato; and they accordingly find
reasons, more or less ingenious, for relieving Plato from the
discredit of it. I do not think so meanly of the dialogue as they do;
but even if I did, I should not pronounce it to be spurious, without
some evidence bearing upon that special question. No such evidence,
of any value, is produced.

It is indeed contended, on the authority of a passage in Diogenes
(ix. 37), that Thrasyllus himself doubted of the authenticity of the
Erastæ. The passage is as follows, in his life of Demokritus--[Greek:
ei)/per oi( A)nterastai\ Pla/tôno/s ei)si, phêsi\ Thra/sullos,
ou(=tos a)\n ei)/ê o( parageno/menos a)nô/numos, tô=n peri\
Oi)nopi/dên kai\ A)naxago/ran e(/teros, e)n tê=| pro\s Sôkra/tên
o(mili/a| dialego/menos peri\ philosophi/as; ô(=|, phêsi/n, ô(s
penta/thlô| e)/oiken o( philo/sophos; kai\ ê)=n ô(s a)lêthô=s e)n
philosophi/a| pe/ntathlos] (Demokritus).

Now in the first place, Schleiermacher and Stallbaum both declare
that Thrasyllus can never have said that which Diogenes here makes
him say (Schleierm. p. 510; Stallbaum, Prolegg. ad. Erast. p. 266,
and not. p. 273).

Next, it is certain that Thrasyllus did consider it the undoubted
work of Plato, for he enrolled it in his classification, as the third
dialogue in the fourth tetralogy (Diog. L. iii. 59).

Yxem, who defends the genuineness of the Erastæ (Ueber Platon's
Kleitophon, pp. 6-7, Berlin, 1846), insists very properly on this
point; not merely as an important fact in itself, but as determining
the sense of the words [Greek: ei)/per oi( A)nterastai\ Pla/tôno/s
ei)si], and as showing that the words rather affirm, than deny, the
authenticity of the dialogue. "If the Anterastæ are the work of
Plato, _as they are universally admitted to be_." You must
supply the parenthesis in this way, in order to make Thrasyllus
consistent with himself. Yxem cites a passage from Galen, in
which [Greek: ei)/per] is used, and in which the parenthesis must be
supplied in the way indicated: no doubt at all being meant to be
hinted. And I will produce another passage out of Diogenes himself,
where [Greek: ei)/per] is used in the same way; not as intended to
convey the smallest doubt, but merely introducing the premiss for a
conclusion immediately following. Diogenes says, respecting the
Platonic Ideas, [Greek: ei)/per e)sti\ mnê/mê, ta\s i)de/as e)n toi=s
ou)=sin u(pa/rchein] (iii. 15). He does not intend to suggest any
doubt whether there be such a fact as memory. [Greek: Ei)/per] is
sometimes the equivalent of [Greek: e)peidê/per]: as we learn from
Hermann ad Viger. VIII. 6, p. 512.

There is therefore no fair ground for supposing that Thrasyllus
doubted the genuineness of the Erastæ. And when I read what modern
critics say in support of their verdict of condemnation, I feel the
more authorised in dissenting from it. I will cite a passage or two
from Stallbaum.

Stallbaum begins his Prolegomena as follows, pp. 205-206: "Quanquam
hic libellus genus dicendi habet purum, castum, elegans, nihil ut
inveniri queat quod à Platonis aut Xenophontis elegantiâ,
abhorreat--tamen quin à Boeckhio, Schleiermachero, Astio, Sochero,
Knebelio, aliis jure meritoque pro suppositicio habitus sit, haudquaquam
dubitamus. Est enim materia operis adeo non ad Platonis mentem
rationemque elaborata, ut potius cuivis alii Socraticorum quam huic
rectè adscribi posse videatur."

After stating that the Erastæ may be divided into two principal
sections, Stallbaum proceeds:--"Neutra harum partium ita tractata
est, ut nihil desideretur, quod ad justam argumenti explicationem
merito requiras--nihil inculcatum reperiatur, quod vel alio modo
illustratum vel omnino omissum esse cupias".

I call attention to this sentence as a fair specimen of the grounds
upon which the Platonic critics proceed when they strike dialogues
out of the Platonic Canon. If there be anything wanting in it which
is required for what they consider a proper setting forth of the
argument--if there be anything which they would desire to see omitted
or otherwise illustrated--this is with them a reason for deciding
that it is not Plato's work. That is, if there be any defects in it
of any kind, it cannot be admitted as Plato's work;--_his genuine
works have no defects_. I protest altogether against this _ratio
decidendi_. If I acknowledged it and applied it consistently I
should strike out every dialogue in the Canon. Certainly, the
presumption in favour of the Catalogue of Thrasyllus must be counted
as _nil_, if it will not outweigh such feeble counter-arguments
as these.

One reason given by Stallbaum for considering the Erastæ as
spurious is, that the Sophists are not derided in it. "Quis est
igitur, qui Platonem sibi persuadeat illos non fuisse castigaturum,
et omnino non significaturum, quinam illi essent, adversus quos hanc
disputationem instituisset?" It is strange to be called on by learned
men to strike out all dialogues from the Canon in which there is no
derision of the Sophists. Such derision exists already in excess: we
hear until we are tired how mean it is to receive money for
lecturing. Again, Stallbaum says that the persons whose opinions are
here attacked are not specified by name. But who are the [Greek:
ei)dô=n phi/loi], attacked in the Sophistês? They are not specified
by name, and critics differ as to the persons intended.



CHAPTER XVII.

ION.


[Side-note: Ion. Persons of the dialogue. Difference of opinion
among modern critics as to its genuineness.]

The dialogue called Ion is carried on between Sokrates and the
Ephesian rhapsode Ion. It is among those disallowed by Ast, first
faintly defended, afterwards disallowed, by Schleiermacher,[1] and
treated contemptuously by both. Subsequent critics, Hermann,[2]
Stallbaum, Steinhart, consider it as genuine, yet as an inferior
production, of little worth, and belonging to Plato's earliest years.

[Footnote 1: Schleiermacher, Einleit. zum Ion, p. 261-266; Ast, Leben
und Schriften des Platon, p. 406.]

[Footnote 2: K. F. Hermann, Gesch. und Syst. der Plat. Phil. pp.
437-438; Steinhart, Einleitung, p. 15.]

[Side-note: Rhapsodes as a class in Greece. They competed for
prizes at the festivals. Ion has been triumphant.]

I hold it to be genuine, and it may be comparatively early; but I see
no ground for the disparaging criticism which has often been applied
to it. The personage whom it introduces to us as subjected to the
cross-examination of Sokrates is a rhapsode of celebrity; one among a
class of artists at that time both useful and esteemed. They recited
or sang,[3] with appropriate accent and gesture, the compositions of
Homer and of other epic poets: thus serving to the Grecian epic, the
same purpose as the actors served to the dramatic, and the
harp-singers ([Greek: kitharô|doi\]) to the lyric. There were various
solemn festivals such as that of Æsculapius at Epidaurus, and (most
especially) the Panathenæa at Athens, where prizes were awarded for
the competition of the rhapsodes. Ion is described as having competed
triumphantly in the festival at Epidaurus, and carried off the first
prize. He appeared there in a splendid costume, crowned with a
golden wreath, amidst a crowd which is described as containing more
than 20,000 persons.[4]

[Footnote 3: The word [Greek: a)/|dein] is in this very dialogue (532
D, 535 A) applied to the rhapsoding of Ion.]

[Footnote 4: Plato, Ion, 535 D.]

[Side-note: Functions of the Rhapsodes. Recitation--Exposition
of the poets. Arbitrary exposition of the poets was then frequent.]

Much of the acquaintance of cultivated Greeks with Homer and the
other epic poets was both acquired and maintained through such
rhapsodes; the best of whom contended at the festivals, while others,
less highly gifted as to vocal power and gesticulation, gave separate
declamations and lectures of their own, and even private lessons to
individuals.[5] Euthydêmus, in one of the Xenophontic conversations
with Sokrates, and Antisthenes in the Xenophontic Symposion, are made
to declare that the rhapsodes as a class were extremely silly. This,
if true at all, can apply only to the expositions and comments with
which they accompanied their recital of Homer and other poets.
Moreover we cannot reasonably set it down (though some modern critics
do so) as so much incontestable truth: we must consider it as an
opinion delivered by one of the speakers in the conversation, but not
necessarily well founded.[6] Unquestionably, the comments made upon
Homer (both in that age and afterwards) were often fanciful and
misleading. Metrodorus, Anaxagoras, and others, resolved the Homeric
narrative into various allegories, physical, ethical, and
theological: and most men who had an opinion to defend, rejoiced to
be able to support or enforce it by some passages of Homer, well or
ill-explained--just as texts of the Bible are quoted in modern times.
In this manner, Homer was pressed into the service of every
disputant; and the Homeric poems were presented as containing, or at
least as implying, doctrines quite foreign to the age in which they
were composed.[7]

[Footnote 5: Xen. Sympos. iii. 6. Nikêratus says that he heard the
rhapsodes nearly every day. He professes to be able to repeat both
the Iliad and the Odyssey from memory.]

[Footnote 6: Xen. Mem. iv. 2, 10; Sympos. iii. 6; Plato, Ion, 530 E.

Steinhart cites this judgment about the rhapsodes as if it had been
pronounced by the Xenophontic Sokrates himself, which is not the fact
(Steinhart, Einleitung p. 3).]

[Footnote 7: Diogenes Laert. ii. 11; Nitzsch, Die Heldensage des
Griechen, pp. 74-78; Lobeck, Agloaphamus, p. 157.

Seneca, Epistol. 88: "modo Stoicum Homerum faciunt--modo Epicureum
. . . modo Peripateticum, tria genera bonorum inducentem: modo
Academicum, incerta omnia dicentem. Apparet nihil horum esse in illo,
cui omnia insunt: ista enim inter se dissident."]

[Side-note: The popularity of the Rhapsodes was chiefly derived
from their recitation. Powerful effect which they produced.]

The Rhapsodes, in so far as they interpreted Homer, were
probably not less disposed than others to discover in him their
own fancies. But the character in which they acquired most
popularity, was, not as expositors, but as reciters, of the poems.
The powerful emotion which, in the process of reciting, they both
felt themselves and communicated to their auditors, is declared in
this dialogue: "When that which I recite is pathetic (says Ion), my
eyes are filled with tears: when it is awful or terrible, my hair
stands on end, and my heart leaps. Moreover I see the spectators also
weeping, sympathising with my emotions, and looking aghast at what
they hear."[8] This assertion of the vehement emotional effect
produced by the words of the poet as declaimed or sung by the
rhapsode, deserves all the more credit--because Plato himself, far
from looking upon it favourably, either derides or disapproves it.
Accepting it as a matter of fact, we see that the influence of
rhapsodes, among auditors generally, must have been derived more from
their efficacy as actors than from their ability as expositors.

[Footnote 8: Plato, Ion, 535 C-E.

The description here given is the more interesting because it is the
only intimation remaining of the strong effect produced by these
rhapsodic representations.]

[Side-note: Ion both reciter and expositor--Homer was
considered more as an instructor than as a poet.]

Ion however is described in this dialogue as combining the two
functions of reciter and expositor: a partnership like that of
Garrick and Johnson, in regard to Shakspeare. It is in the last of
the two functions, that Sokrates here examines him: considering
Homer, not as a poet appealing to the emotions of hearers, but as a
teacher administering lessons and imparting instruction. Such was the
view of Homer entertained by a large proportion of the Hellenic
world. In that capacity, his poems served as a theme for rhapsodes,
as well as for various philosophers and Sophists who were not
rhapsodes, nor accomplished reciters.

[Side-note: Plato disregards and disapproves the poetic or
emotional working.]

The reader must keep in mind, in following the questions put by
Sokrates, that this pædagogic and edifying view of Homer is the only
one present to the men of the Sokratic school--and especially to
Plato. Of the genuine functions of the gifted poet, who touches the
chords of strong and diversified emotion--"qui pectus inaniter
angit, Irritat, mulcet, falsis terroribus implet" (Horat. Epist. II.
1, 212)--Plato takes no account: or rather, he declares open war
against them, either as childish delusions[9], or as mischievous
stimulants, tending to exalt the unruly elements of the mind, and to
overthrow the sovereign authority of reason. We shall find farther
manifestations on this point in the Republic and Leges.

[Footnote 9: The question of Sokrates (Ion, 535 D), about the emotion
produced in the hearers by the recital of Homer's poetry, bears out
what is here asserted.]

[Side-note: Ion devoted himself to Homer exclusively. Questions
of Sokrates to him--How happens it that you cannot talk equally upon
other poets? The poetic art is one.]

Ion professes to have devoted himself to the study of Homer
exclusively, neglecting other poets: so that he can interpret the
thoughts, and furnish reflections upon them, better than any other
expositor.[10] How does it happen (asked Sokrates) that you have so
much to say about Homer, and nothing at all about other poets? Homer
may be the best of all poets: but he is still only one of those who
exercise the poetic art, and he must necessarily talk about the same
subjects as other poets. Now the art of poetry is _One_
altogether--like that of painting, sculpture, playing on the flute,
playing on the harp, rhapsodizing, &c.[11] Whoever is competent
to judge and explain one artist,--what he has done well and what he
has done ill,--is competent also to judge any other artist in the
same profession.

[Footnote 10: Plato, Ion, 536 E.]

[Footnote 11: Plato, Ion, 531 A, 532 C-D. [Greek: poiêtikê\ pou/
e)sti to\ o(/lon. . . Ou)kou=n e)peida\n la/bê| tis kai\ a)/llên
te/chnên ê(ntinou=n o(/lên, o( au)to\s tro/pos tê=s ske/pseô/s e)sti
peri\ a(pasô=n tô=n technô=n?] 533 A.]

I cannot explain to you how it happens (replies Ion): I only know the
fact incontestably--that when I talk about Homer, my thoughts flow
abundantly, and every one tells me that my discourse is excellent.
Quite the reverse, when I talk of any other poet.[12]

[Footnote 12: Plato, Ion, 533 C.]

[Side-note: Explanation given by Sokrates. Both the Rhapsode
and the Poet work, not by art and system, but by divine inspiration.
Fine poets are bereft of their reason, and possessed by inspiration
from some God.]

_I_ can explain it (says Sokrates). Your talent in expounding
Homer is not an art, acquired by system and method--otherwise it
would have been applicable to other poets besides. It is a special
gift, imparted to you by divine power and inspiration. The like is
true of the poet whom you expound. His genius does not spring from
art, system, or method: it is a special gift emanating from the
inspiration of the Muses.[13] A poet is a light, airy, holy, person,
who cannot compose verses at all so long as his reason remains within
him.[14] The Muses take away his reason, substituting in place of it
their own divine inspiration and special impulse, either towards
epic, dithyramb, encomiastic hymns, hyporchemata, &c., one or
other of these. Each poet receives one of these special gifts, but is
incompetent for any of the others: whereas, if their ability had been
methodical or artistic, it would have displayed itself in all of them
alike. Like prophets, and deliverers of oracles, these poets have
their reason taken away, and become servants of the Gods.[15] It is
not _they_ who, bereft of their reason, speak in such sublime
strains: it is the God who speaks to us, and speaks through them. You
may see this by Tynnichus of Chalkis; who composed his Pæan, the
finest of all Pæans, which is in every one's mouth, telling us
himself, that it was the invention of the Muses--but who never
composed anything else worth hearing. It is through this worthless
poet that the God has sung the most sublime hymn:[16] for the express
purpose of showing us that these fine compositions are not human
performances at all, but divine: and that the poet is only an
interpreter of the Gods, possessed by one or other of them, as the
case may be.

[Footnote 13: Plato, Ion, 533 E--534 A. [Greek: pa/ntes ga\r oi(/ te
tô=n e)pô=n poiêtai\ oi( a)gathoi\ ou)k e)k te/chnês a)ll' e)/ntheoi
o)/ntes kai\ katecho/menoi pa/nta tau=ta ta\ kala\ le/gousi
poiê/mata, kai\ oi( melopoioi\ oi( a)gathoi\ ô(sau/tôs; ô(/sper oi(
korubantintiô=tes ou)k e)/mphrones o)/ntes o)rchou=ntai, ou(/tô kai\
oi(] melopoioi\ ou)k e)/mphrones o)/ntes ta\ kala\ me/lê tau=ta
poiou=sin], &c.]]

[Footnote 14: Plato, Ion, 534 B. [Greek: kou=phon ga\r chrê=ma
poiêtê/s e)sti kai\ ptêno\n kai\ i(ero/n, kai\ ou) pro/teron oi(=o/s
te poiei=n pri\n a)\n e)/ntheo/s te ge/nêtai kai\ e)/kphrôn kai\ o(
nou=s mêke/ti e)n au)tô=| e)nê=|; e(/ôs d' a)\n touti\ e)/chê| to\
ktê=ma, a)du/natos pa=s poiei=n e)stin a)/nthrôpos kai\
chrêsmô|dei=n.]]

[Footnote 15: Plato. Ion, 534 C-D. [Greek: dia\ tau=ta de\ o( theo\s
e)xairou/menos tou/tôn to\n nou=n tou/tois chrê=tai u(pêre/tais kai\
toi=s chrêsmô|doi=s kai\ toi=s ma/ntesi toi=s thei/ois, i(/na ê(mei=s
oi( a)kou/ontes ei)dô=men, o(/ti ou)ch ou(=toi/ ei)sin oi( tau=ta
le/gontes ou(/tô pollou= a)/xia, a)ll' o( theo\s au)to/s e)stin o(
le/gôn, dia\ tou/tôn de\ phthe/ggetai pro\s ê(ma=s.]]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Ion. 534 E. [Greek: tau=ta e)ndeiknu/menos o(
theo\s e)xepi/têdes dia\ tou= phaulota/tou poiêtou= to\ ka/lliston
me/los ê)=|sen.]]

[Side-note: Analogy of the Magnet, which holds up by attraction
successive stages of iron rings. The Gods first inspire Homer, then
act through him and through Ion upon the auditors.]

Homer is thus (continues Sokrates) not a man of art or reason, but
the interpreter of the Gods; deprived of his reason, but possessed,
inspired, by them. You, Ion, are the interpreter of Homer: and the
divine inspiration, carrying away your reason, is exercised over you
through him. It is in this way that the influence of the Magnet
is shown, attracting and holding up successive stages of iron
rings.[17] The first ring is in contact with the Magnet itself: the
second is suspended to the first, the third to the second, and so on.
The attractive influence of the Magnet is thus transmitted through a
succession of different rings, so as to keep suspended several which
are a good way removed from itself. So the influence of the Gods is
exerted directly and immediately upon Homer: through him, it passes
by a second stage to you: through him and you, it passes by a third
stage to those auditors whom you so powerfully affect and delight,
becoming however comparatively enfeebled at each stage of transition.

[Footnote 17: Plato, Ion, 533 D-E.]

[Side-note: This comparison forms the central point of the
dialogue. It is an expansion of a judgment delivered by Sokrates in
the Apology.]

The passage and comparison here given by Sokrates--remarkable as an
early description of the working of the Magnet--forms the central
point or kernel of the dialogue called Ion. It is an expansion of a
judgment delivered by Sokrates himself in his Apology to the Dikasts,
and it is repeated in more than one place by Plato.[18] Sokrates
declares in his Apology that he had applied his testing
cross-examination to several excellent poets; and that finding them
unable to give any rational account of their own compositions, he
concluded that they composed without any wisdom of their own, under
the same inspiration as prophets and declarers of oracles. In the
dialogue before us, this thought is strikingly illustrated and
amplified.

[Footnote 18: Plato, Apol. Sokr. p. 22 D; Plato, Menon, p. 99 D.]

[Side-note: Platonic Antithesis: systematic procedure
distinguished from unsystematic: which latter was either blind
routine, or madness inspired by the Gods. Varieties of madness, good
and bad.]

The contrast between systematic, professional, procedure,
deliberately taught and consciously acquired, capable of being
defended at every step by appeal to intelligible rules founded upon
scientific theory, and enabling the person so qualified to impart his
qualification to others--and a different procedure purely impulsive
and unthinking, whereby the agent, having in his mind a conception of
the end aimed at, proceeds from one intermediate step to another,
without knowing why he does so or how he has come to do so, and
without being able to explain his practice if questioned or to
impart it to others--this contrast is a favourite one with Plato. The
last-mentioned procedure--the unphilosophical or irrational--he
conceives under different aspects: sometimes as a blind routine or
insensibly acquired habit,[19] sometimes as a stimulus applied from
without by some God, superseding the reason of the individual. Such a
condition Plato calls _madness_, and he considers those under it
as persons out of their senses. But he recognises different varieties
of madness, according to the God from whom it came: the bad madness
was a disastrous visitation and distemper--the good madness was a
privilege and blessing, an inspiration superior to human reason.
Among these privileged madmen he reckoned prophets and poets; another
variety under the same genus, is, that mental love, between a
well-trained adult, and a beautiful, intelligent, youth, which he
regards as the most exalted of all human emotions.[20] In the Ion,
this idea of a privileged madness--inspiration from the Gods superseding
reason--is applied not only to the poet, but also to the rhapsode who
recites the poem, and even to the auditors whom he addresses. The
poet receives the inspiration directly from the Gods: he inoculates
the rhapsode with it, who again inoculates the auditors--the fervour
is, at each successive communication, diminished. The auditor
represents the last of the rings; held in suspension, through the
intermediate agency of other rings, by the inherent force of the
magnet.[21]

[Footnote 19: Plato, Phædon, 82 A; Gorgias, 463 A, 486 A.]

[Footnote 20: This doctrine is set forth at length by Sokrates in the
Platonic Phædrus, in the second discourse of Sokrates about Eros, pp.
244-245-249 D.]

[Footnote 21: Plato, Ion, 535 E. [Greek: ou(=to/s e)stin o( theatê\s
tô=n daktuli/ôn o( e)/schatos . . . . o( de\ me/sos su\ o( r(apsô|do\s
kai\ u(pokritê\s, o( de\ prô=tos, au)to\s o( poiêtê/s.]]

[Side-note: Special inspiration from the Gods was a familiar
fact in Grecian life. Privileged communications from the Gods to
Sokrates--his firm belief in them.]

We must remember, that privileged communications from the Gods to
men, and special persons recipient thereof, were acknowledged and
witnessed everywhere as a constant phenomenon of Grecian life. There
were not only numerous oracular temples, which every one could visit
to ask questions in matters of doubt--but also favoured persons who
had received from the Gods the gift of predicting the future, of
interpreting omens, of determining the good or bad indications
furnished by animals sacrificed.[22] In every town or village--or
wherever any body of men were assembled--there were always persons
who prophesied or delivered oracles, and to whom special revelations
were believed to be vouchsafed, during periods of anxiety. No one was
more familiar with this fact than the Sokratic disciples: for
Sokrates himself had perhaps a greater number of special
communications from the Gods than any man of his age: his divine sign
having begun when he was a child, and continuing to move him
frequently, even upon small matters, until his death: though the
revelations were for the most part negative, not affirmative--telling
him often what was not to be done--seldom what was to be
done--resembling in this respect his own dialogues with other persons.
Moreover Sokrates inculcated upon his friends emphatically, that they
ought to have constant recourse to prophecy: that none but impious
men neglected to do so: that the benevolence of the Gods was nowhere
more conspicuous than in their furnishing such special revelations
and warnings, to persons whom they favoured: that the Gods
administered the affairs of the world partly upon principles of
regular sequence, so that men by diligent study might learn what they
were to expect,--but partly also, and by design, in a manner
irregular and undecypherable, such that it could not be fathomed by
any human study, and could not be understood except through direct
and special revelation from themselves.[23]

[Footnote 22: Not only the [Greek: chrêsmolo/goi, ma/nteis] oracular
temples, &c., are often mentioned in Herodotus, Thucydides,
Xenophon, &c., but Aristotle also recognises [Greek: oi(
numpho/lêptoi kai\ theo/lêptoi tô=n a)nthrô/pôn, e)pipnoi/a|
daimoni/ou tino\s ô(/sper e)nthousia/zontes], as a real and known
class of persons. See Ethic. Eudem. i. p. 1214, a. 23; Ethic. Magna,
ii. p. 1207, b. 8.

The [Greek: ma/ntis] is a recognised profession, the gift of Apollo,
not merely according to Homer, but according to Solon (Frag. xi. 52,
Schn.):

[Greek: A)/llon ma/ntin e)/thêken a)/nax e(ka/ergos A)po/llôn,
e)/gnô d' a)ndri\ kako\n têlo/then e)rcho/menon], &c.]

[Footnote 23: These views of Sokrates are declared in the Memorabilia
of Xenophon, i. 1, 6-10; i. 4, 2-18; iv. 3, 12.

It is plain from Xenophon (Mem. i. 1, 3) that many persons were
offended with Sokrates because they believed,--or at least because he
affirmed--that he received more numerous and special revelations from
the Gods than any one else.]

[Side-note: Condition of the inspired person--his reason is
for the time withdrawn.]

Here, as well as elsewhere, Plato places inspiration, both of the
prophet and the poet, in marked contrast with reason and
intelligence. Reason is supposed to be for the time withdrawn or
abolished, and inspiration is introduced by the Gods into its
place. "When Monarch Reason sleeps, this mimic wakes." The person
inspired (prophet or poet) becomes for the time the organ of an
extraneous agency, speaking what he neither originates nor
understands. The genuine gift of prophecy[24] (Plato says) attaches
only to a disabled, enfeebled, distempered, condition of the
intelligence; the gift of poetry is conferred by the Gods upon the
most inferior men, as we see by the case of Tynnichus--whose sublime
pæan shows us, that it is the Gods alone who utter fine poetry
through the organs of a person himself thoroughly incompetent.

[Footnote 24: Plato, Timæus, 71 E. [Greek: i(kano\n de\ sêmei=on ô(s
mantikê\n a)phrosu/nê| theo\s a)nthrôpi/nê| de/dôken; ou)dei\s ga\r
e)/nnous e)pha/ptetai mantikê=s e)nthe/ou kai\ a)lêthou=s, a)ll' ê)\
kath' u(/pnon tê\n tê=s phronê/seôs pedêthei\s du/namin, ê)\ dia\
no/son ê)/ tina e)nthousiasmo\n paralla/xas.]

Compare Plato, Menon, pp. 99-100. [Greek: oi( chrêsmô|doi/ te kai\
oi( theoma/nteis . . . . le/gousi me\n a)lêthê= kai\ polla\ i)/sasi de\
ou)de\n ô(=n le/gousi.] Compare Plato, Legg. iv. 719.]

[Side-note: Ion does not admit himself to be inspired and out
of his mind.]

It is thus that Plato, setting before himself a process of
systematised reason,--originating in a superior intellect, laying
down universal principles and deducing consequences from
them--capable of being consistently applied, designedly taught, and
defended against objections--enumerates the various mental conditions
opposed to it, and ranks inspiration as one of them. In this
dialogue, Sokrates seeks to prove that the success of Ion as a
rhapsode depends upon his being out of his mind or inspired. But Ion
does not accept the compliment: _Ion._--You speak well,
Sokrates; but I should be surprised if you spoke well enough to
create in me the new conviction, that I am possessed and mad when I
eulogize Homer. I do not think that you would even yourself say so,
if you heard me discourse on the subject.[25]

[Footnote 25: Plato, Ion, 536 E.]

[Side-note: Homer talks upon all subjects--Is Ion competent to
explain what Homer says upon all of them? Rhapsodic art. What is its
province?]

_Sokr._--But Homer talks upon all subjects. Upon which of them
can you discourse? _Ion._--Upon all. _Sokr._--Not surely on
such as belong to special arts, professions. Each portion of the
matter of knowledge is included under some special art, and is known
through that art by those who possess it. Thus, you and I, both of
us, know the number of our fingers; we know it through the same art,
which both of us possess--the arithmetical. But Homer talks of
matters belonging to many different arts or occupations, that of
the physician, the charioteer, the fisherman, &c. You cannot know
these; since you do not belong to any of these professions, but are a
rhapsode. Describe to me what are the matters included in the
rhapsodic art. The rhapsodic art is one art by itself, distinct from
the medical and others: it cannot know every thing; tell me what
matters come under its special province.[26] _Ion._--The
rhapsodic art does not know what belongs to any one of the other
special arts: but that of which it takes cognizance, and that which I
know, is, what is becoming and suitable to each variety of character
described by Homer: to a man or woman--to a freeman or slave--to the
commander who gives orders or to the subordinate who obeys them,
&c. This is what belongs to the peculiar province of the rhapsode
to appreciate and understand.[27] _Sokr._--Will the rhapsode
know what is suitable for the commander of a ship to say to his
seamen, during a dangerous storm, better than the pilot? Will the
rhapsode know what is suitable for one who gives directions about the
treatment of a sick man, better than the physician? Will the rhapsode
know what is suitable to be said by the herdsman when the cattle are
savage and distracted, or to the female slaves when busy in spinning?
_Ion._--No: the rhapsode will not know these things so well as
the pilot, the physician, the grazier, the mistress, &c.[28]
_Sokr._--Will the rhapsode know what is suitable for the
military commander to say, when he is exhorting his soldiers?
_Ion._--Yes: the rhapsode will know this well: at least I know
it well.

[Footnote 26: Plato, Ion, 538-539.]

[Footnote 27: Plato, Ion, 540 A. [Greek: a)\ tô=| r(apsô|dô=|
prosê/kei kai\ skopei=sthai kai\ diakri/nein para\ tou\s a)/llous
a)nthrô/pous], 539 E.]

[Footnote 28: Plato, Ion, 540 B-C.]

[Side-note: The Rhapsode does not know special matters, such
as the craft of the pilot, physician, farmer, &c., but he knows
the business of the general, and is competent to command soldiers,
having learnt it from Homer.]

_Sokr._--Perhaps, Ion, you are not merely a rhapsode, but
possess also the competence for being a general. If you know matters
belonging to military command, do you know them in your capacity of
general, or in your capacity of rhapsode? _Ion._--I think there
is no difference. _Sokr._--How say you? Do you affirm that the
rhapsodic art, and the strategic art, are one? _Ion._--I think
they are one. _Sokr._--Then whosoever is a good rhapsode, is
also a good general? _Ion._--Unquestionably. _Sokr._--And
of course, whoever is a good general, is also a good rhapsode?
_Ion._--No: I do not think that. _Sokr._--But you do
maintain, that whosoever is a good rhapsode, is also a good general?
_Ion._--Decidedly. _Sokr._--You are yourself the best
rhapsode in Greece? _Ion._--By far. _Sokr._--Are you then
also the best general in Greece? _Ion._--Certainly I am,
Sokrates: and that too, by having learnt it from Homer.[29]

[Footnote 29: Plato, Ion, 540 D--541 B.]

After putting a question or two, not very forcible, to ask how it
happens that Ion, being an excellent general, does not obtain a
military appointment from Athens, Sparta, or some other city,
Sokrates winds up the dialogue as follows:--

[Side-note: Conclusion. Ion expounds Homer, not with any
knowledge of what he says, but by divine inspiration.]

Well, Ion, if it be really true that you possess a rational and
intelligent competence to illustrate the beauties of Homer, you wrong
and deceive me, because after promising to deliver to me a fine
discourse about Homer, you will not even comply with my preliminary
entreaty--that you will first tell me what those matters are, on
which your superiority bears. You twist every way like Proteus, until
at last you slip through my fingers and appear as a general. If your
powers of expounding Homer depend on art and intelligence, you are a
wrong-doer and deceiver, for not fulfilling** your promise to me. But
you are not chargeable with wrong, if the fact be as I say; that is,
if you know nothing about Homer, but are only able to discourse upon
him finely and abundantly, through a divine inspiration with which
you are possessed by him. Choose whether you wish me to regard you as
a promise-breaker, or as a divine man. _Ion._--I choose the
last: it is much better to be regarded as a divine man.[30]

[Footnote 30: Plato, Ion, 541 E--542 A. [Greek: ei) me\n a)lêthê/
le/geis, ô(s te/chnê| kai\ e)pistê/mê| oi(=o/s te ei)= O(/mêrou
e)painei=n, a)dikei=s . . . ei) de\ mê\ techniko\s ei)=, a)lla\
thei/a| moi/ra| katecho/menos e)x O(mê/rou mêde\n ei)dô\s polla\ kai\
kala\ le/geis peri\ tou= poiêtou=, ô(/sper e)gô\ ei)=pon peri\ sou=,
ou)de\n a)dikei=s; e(lou= ou)=n, po/tera bou/lei nomi/zesthai u(ph'
ê(mô=n a)/dikos a)nê\r ei)=nai ê)\ thei=os.]]


* * * * *


[Side-note: The generals in Greece usually possessed no
professional experience--Homer and the poets were talked of as the
great teachers--Plato's view of the poet, as pretending to know
everything, but really knowing nothing.]

It seems strange to read such language put into Ion's mouth (we are
not warranted in regarding it as what any rhapsode ever did say), as
the affirmation--that every good rhapsode was also a good general,
and that he had become the best of generals simply through
complete acquaintance with Homer. But this is only a caricature of a
sentiment largely prevalent at Athens, according to which the works
of the poets, especially the Homeric poems, were supposed to be a
mine of varied instruction, and were taught as such to youth.[31] In
Greece, the general was not often required (except at Sparta, and not
always even there) to possess professional experience.[32] Sokrates,
in one of the Xenophontic conversations, tries to persuade
Nikomachides, a practised soldier (who had failed in getting himself
elected general, because a successful Chorêgus had been preferred to
him), how much the qualities of an effective Chorêgus coincided with
those of an effective general.[33] The poet Sophokles was named by
the Athenians one of the generals of the very important armament for
reconquering Samos: though Perikles, one of his colleagues, as well
as his contemporary declared that he was an excellent poet, but knew
nothing of generalship.[34] Plato frequently seeks to make it evident
how little the qualities required for governing numbers, either civil
or military, were made matter of professional study or special
teaching. The picture of Homer conveyed in the tenth book of the
Platonic Republic is, that of a man who pretends to know
everything, but really knows nothing: an imitative artist,
removed by two stages from truth and reality,--who gives the shadows
of shadows, resembling only enough to satisfy an ignorant crowd. This
is the picture there presented of poets generally, and of Homer as
the best among them. The rhapsode Ion is here brought under the same
category as the poet Homer, whom he has by heart and recites. The
whole field of knowledge is assumed to be distributed among various
specialties, not one of which either of the two can claim.
Accordingly, both of them under the mask of universal knowledge,
conceal the reality of universal ignorance.

[Footnote 31: Aristophan. Ranæ, 1032.

  [Greek: O)rpheu\s me\n ga\r teleta/s th' ê(mi=n kate/deixe pho/nôn
t' a)pe/chesthai
Mousai=os d' e)xake/seis te no/sôn kai\ chrêsmou/s, Ê(si/odos de\
Gê=s e)rgasi/as, karpô=n ô(/ras, a)ro/tous; o( de\ thei=os O(/mêros
A)po\ tou= timê\n kai\ kle/os e)/schein, plê\n tou=d', o(/ti chrê/st'
e)di/daxe.
Ta/xeis, a)reta/s, o(pli/seis a)ndrô=n? . . . .
A)ll' a)/llous toi pollou\s a)gathou\s (e)di/daxen), ô(=n ê)=n kai\
La/machos ê(/rôs.]

See these views combated by Plato, Republ. x. 599-600-606 E.

The exaggerated pretension here ascribed to Ion makes him look
contemptible--like the sentiment ascribed to him, 535 E, "If I make
the auditors weep, I myself shall laugh and pocket money," &c.]

[Footnote 32: Xenoph. Memor. iii. 5, 21, in the conversation between
the younger Perikles and Sokrates--[Greek: tô=n de\ stratêgô=n oi(
plei=stoi au)toschedia/zousin.] Also iii. 5, 24.

Compare, respecting the generals, the striking lines of Euripides,
Androm. 698, and the encomium of Cicero (Academ. Prior. 2, 1)
respecting the quickness and facility with which Lucullus made
himself an excellent general.]

[Footnote 33: Xen. Mem. iii. 4, especially iii. 4, 6, where
Nikomachides asks with surprise, [Greek: le/geis su/, ô)= Sô/krates,
ô(s tou= au)tou= a)ndro/s e)sti chorêgei=n te kalô=s kai\
stratêgei=n?]]

[Footnote 34: See the very curious extract from the contemporary Ion
of Chios, in Athenæus, xiii. 604. Aristophanes of Byzantium says that
the appointment of Sophokles to this military function arose from the
extra-ordinary popularity of his tragedy Antigonê, exhibited a little
time before. See Boeckh's valuable 'Dissertation on the Antigonê,'
appended to his edition thereof, pp. 121-124.]

[Side-note: Knowledge, opposed to divine inspiration without
knowledge.]

Ion is willing enough (as he promises) to exhibit before Sokrates one
of his eloquent discourses upon Homer. But Sokrates never permits him
to arrive at it: arresting him always by preliminary questions, and
requiring him to furnish an intelligible description of the matter
which his discourse is intended to embrace, and thus to distinguish
it from other matters left untouched. A man who cannot comply with
this requisition,--who cannot (to repeat what I said in a previous
chapter) stand a Sokratic cross-examination on the subject--possesses
no rational intelligence of his own proceedings: no art, science,
knowledge, system, or method. If as a practitioner he executes well
what he promises (which is often the case), and attains success--he
does so either by blind imitation of some master, or else under the
stimulus and guidance of some agency foreign to himself--of the Gods
or Fortune.

This is the Platonic point of view; developed in several different
ways and different dialogues, but hardly anywhere more conspicuously
than in the Ion.

[Side-note: Illustration of Plato's opinion respecting the
uselessness of written geometrical treatises.]

I have observed that in this dialogue, Ion is anxious to embark on
his eloquent expository discourse, but Sokrates will not allow him to
begin: requiring as a preliminary stage that certain preliminary
difficulties shall first be cleared up. Here we have an illustration
of Plato's doctrine, to which I adverted in a former chapter,[35]--that
no written geometrical treatise could impart a knowledge of
geometry to one ignorant thereof. The geometrical writer begins by
laying down a string of definitions and axioms; and then strikes out
boldly in demonstrating his theorems. But Plato would refuse him the
liberty of striking out, until he should have cleared up the
preliminary difficulties about the definitions and axioms themselves.
This the geometrical treatise does not even attempt.[36]

[Footnote 35: Chap. viii. p. 353.]

[Footnote 36: Compare Plato, Republic, vi. 510 C; vii. 538 C-D.]



CHAPTER XVIII.

LACHES.


The main substance of this dialogue consists of a discussion, carried
on by Sokrates with Nikias and Lachês, respecting Courage. Each of
the two latter proposes an explanation of Courage: Sokratês
criticises both of them, and reduces each to a confessed
contradiction.

[Side-note: Lachês. Subject and persons of the dialogue,
Whether it is useful that two young men should receive lessons from a
master of arms. Nikias and Lachês differ in opinion.]

The discussion is invited, or at least dramatically introduced, by
two elderly men--Lysimachus, son of Aristeides the Just,--and
Melêsias, son of Thucydides the rival of Perikles. Lysimachus and
Melêsias, confessing with shame that they are inferior to their
fathers, because their education has been neglected, wish to guard
against the same misfortune in the case of their own sons: respecting
the education of whom, they ask the advice of Nikias and Lachês. The
question turns especially upon the propriety of causing their sons to
receive lessons from a master of arms just then in vogue. Nikias and
Lachês, both of them not merely distinguished citizens but also
commanders of Athenian armies, are assumed to be well qualified to
give advice. Accordingly they deliver their opinions: Nikias
approving such lessons as beneficial, in exalting the courage of a
young man, and rendering him effective on the field of battle: while
Lachês takes an opposite view, disparages the masters of arms as
being no soldiers, and adds that they are despised by the
Lacedæmonians, to whose authority on military matters general
deference was paid in Greece.[1] Sokratês,--commended greatly by
Nikias for his acuteness and sagacity, by Lachês for his courage
in the battle of Delium,--is invited to take part in the
consultation. Being younger than both, he waits till they have
delivered their opinions, and is then called upon to declare with
which of the two his own judgment will concur.[2]

[Footnote 1: Plato, Lachês, 182-183.]

[Footnote 2: Plato, Lachês, 184 D.

Nikias is made to say that Sokrates has recently recommended to him
Damon, as a teacher of [Greek: mousikê\] to his sons, and that Damon
had proved an admirable teacher as well as companion (180 D). Damon
is mentioned by Plato generally with much eulogy.]

[Side-note: Sokrates is invited to declare his opinion. He
replies that the point cannot be decided without a competent
professional judge.]

_Sokr._--The question must not be determined by a plurality of
votes, but by superiority of knowledge.[3] If we were debating about
the proper gymnastic discipline for these young men, we should
consult a known artist or professional trainer, or at least some one
who had gone through a course of teaching and practice under the
trainer. The first thing to be enquired therefore is, whether, in
reference to the point now under discussion, there be any one of us
professionally or technically competent, who has studied under good
masters, and has proved his own competence as a master by producing
well-trained pupils. The next thing is, to understand clearly what it
is, with reference to which such competence is required.[4]
_Nikias._--Surely the point before us is, whether it be wise to
put these young men under the lessons of the master of arms? That is
what we want to know. _Sokr._--Doubtless it is: but that is only
one particular branch of a wider and more comprehensive enquiry. When
you are considering whether a particular ointment is good for your
eyes, it is your eyes, and their general benefit, which form the
subject of investigation--not the ointment simply. The person to
assist you will be, he who understands professionally the general
treatment of the eyes. So in this case, you are enquiring whether
lessons in arms will be improving for the minds and character of your
sons. Look out therefore for some one who is professionally
competent, from having studied under good masters, in regard to the
general treatment of the mind.[5] _Lachês._--But there are
various persons who, without ever having studied under masters,
possess greater technical competence than others who have so
studied. _Sokr._--There are such persons: but you will never
believe it upon their own assurance, unless they can show you some
good special work actually performed by themselves.

[Footnote 3: Plato, Lachês, 184 E. [Greek: e)pistê/mê| dei=
kri/nesthai a)ll' ou) plê/thei to\ me/llon kalô=s krithê/sesthai.]]

[Footnote 4: Plato, Lachês, 185 C.]

[Footnote 5: Plato, Lachês, 185 E. [Greek: ei)/ tis ê(mô=n techniko\s
peri\ psuchê=s therapei/an, kai\ oi(=o/s te kalô=s tou=to
therapeu=sai, kai\ o(/tô| dida/skaloi a)gathoi\ gego/nasi, tou=to
skepte/on.]]

[Side-note: Those who deliver an opinion must begin by proving
their competence to judge--Sokrates avows his own incompetence.]

_Sokr._--Now then, Lysimachus, since you have invited Lachês and
Nikias, as well as me, to advise you on the means of most effectively
improving the mind of your son, it is for us to show you that we
possess competent professional skill respecting the treatment of the
youthful mind. We must declare to you who are the masters from whom
we have learnt, and we must prove their qualifications. Or if we have
had no masters, we must demonstrate to you our own competence by
citing cases of individuals, whom we have successfully trained, and
who have become incontestably good under our care. If we can fulfil
neither of these two conditions, we ought to confess our incompetence
and decline advising you. We must not begin to try our hands upon so
precious a subject as the son of a friend, at the hazard of doing him
more harm than good.[6]

[Footnote 6: Plato, Lachês, 186 B.]

As to myself, I frankly confess that I have neither had any master to
impart to me such competence, nor have I been able to acquire it by
my own efforts. I am not rich enough to pay the Sophists, who profess
to teach it. But as to Nikias and Lachês, they are both older and
richer than I am: so that they may well have learnt it from others,
or acquired it for themselves. They must be thoroughly satisfied of
their own knowledge on the work of education; otherwise they would
hardly have given such confident opinions, pronouncing what pursuits
are good or bad for youth. For my part, I trust them implicitly: the
only thing which surprises me, is, that they dissent from each
other.[7] It is for you therefore, Lysimachus, to ask Nikias and
Lachês,--Who have been their masters? Who have been their
fellow-pupils? If they have been their own masters, what proof can they
produce of previous success in teaching, and what examples can they
cite of pupils whom they have converted from bad to good?[8]

[Footnote 7: Plato, Lachês, 186 C-D. [Greek: dokou=si dê/ moi
dunatoi\ ei)=nai paideu=sai a)/nthrôpon; ou) ga\r a)\n pote a)deô=s
a)pephai/nonto peri\ e)pitêdeuma/tôn ne/ô| chrêstô=n te kai\
ponêrô=n, ei) mê\ au)toi=s e)pi/steuon i(kanô=s ei)de/nai. ta\ me\n
ou)=n a)/lla, e)/gôge tou/tois pisteu/ô, o(/ti de\ diaphe/resthon
a)llê/loin, e)thau/masa.]]

[Footnote 8: Plato, Lachês, 186-187.]

[Side-note: Nikias and Lachês submit to be cross-examined
by Sokrates.]

_Nikias._--I knew from the beginning that we should both of us
fall under the cross-examination of Sokrates, and be compelled to
give account of our past lives. For my part, I have already gone
through this scrutiny before, and am not averse to undergo it again.
_Lachês._--And I, though I have never experienced it before,
shall willingly submit to learn from Sokrates, whom I know to be a
man thoroughly courageous and honest in his actions. I hate men whose
lives are inconsistent with their talk.[9]--Thus speak both of them.

[Footnote 9: Plato, Lachês, 188.

"Ego odi homines ignavâ operâ et philosophiâ sententiâ," is a line
cited by Cicero out of one of the Latin comic writers.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Both of them give opinions offhand, according to
their feelings on the special case--Sokrates requires that the
question shall be generalised, and examined as a branch of
education.]

This portion of the dialogue, which forms a sort of preamble to the
main discussion, brings out forcibly some of the Platonic points of
view. We have seen it laid down in the Kriton--That in questions
about right and wrong, good and evil, &c., we ought not to trust
the decision of the Many, but only that of the One Wise Man. Here we
learn something about the criteria by which this One man may be
known. He must be one who has gone through a regular training under
some master approved in ethical or educational teaching: or, if he
cannot produce such a certificate, he must at least cite sufficient
examples of men whom he has taught well himself. This is the Sokratic
comparison, assimilating the general art of living well to the
requirements of a special profession, which a man must learn through
express teaching, from a master who has proved his ability, and
through conscious application of his own. Nikias and Lachês give
their opinions offhand and confidently, upon the question whether
lessons from the master of arms be profitable to youth or not. Plato,
on the contrary, speaking through Sokrates, points out that this is
only one branch of the more comprehensive question as to education
generally--"What are the qualities and habits proper to be imparted
to youth by training? What is the proper treatment of the mind? No
one is competent to decide the special question, except he who
has professionally studied the treatment of the mind." To deal with
the special question, without such preliminary general preparation,
involves rash and unverified assumptions, which render any opinion so
given dangerous to act upon. Such is the judgment of the Platonic
Sokrates, insisting on the necessity of taking up ethical questions
in their most comprehensive aspect.

[Side-note: Appeal of Sokrates to the judgment of the One Wise
Man--this man is never seen or identified.]

Consequent upon this preamble, we should expect that Lachês and
Nikias would be made to cite the names of those who had been their
masters; or to produce some examples of persons effectively taught by
themselves. This would bring us a step nearer to that One Wise
Man--often darkly indicated, but nowhere named or brought into
daylight--from whom alone we can receive a trustworthy judgment. But
here, as in the Kriton and so many other Platonic dialogues, we get
only a Pisgah view of our promised adviser--nothing more. The discussion
takes a different turn.


* * * * *


[Side-note: We must know what virtue is, before we give an
opinion on education. Virtue, as a whole, is too large a question. We
will enquire about one branch of virtue--courage.]

_Sokr._--"We will pursue a line of enquiry which conducts to the
same result; and which starts even more decidedly from the
beginning.[10] We are called upon to advise by what means virtue can
be imparted to these youths, so as to make them better men. Of
course, this implies that we know what virtue is: otherwise how can
we give advice as to the means of acquiring it? _Lachês._--We
could give no advice at all. _Sokr._--We affirm ourselves
therefore to know what virtue is? _Lachês._--We do.
_Sokr._--Since therefore we know, we can farther declare what it
is.[11] _Lachês._--Of course we can. _Sokr._--Still, we
will not at once enquire as to the whole of virtue, which might be an
arduous task, but as to a part of it--Courage: that part to which the
lessons of the master of arms are supposed to tend. We will
first enquire what courage is: after that has been determined,
we will then consider how it can best be imparted to these youths."

[Footnote 10: Plato, Lachês, 189 E. [Greek: kai\ ê( toia/de ske/psis
ei)s tau)to\n phe/rei, schedo\n de/ ti kai\ ma=llon e)x a)rchê=s
ei)/ê a)\n.]]

[Footnote 11: Plato, Lachês, 190 C. [Greek: phame\n a)/ra, ô)=
La/chês, ei)de/nai au)to\ (tê\n a)retê\n) o(/, ti e)/sti. Phame\n
me/ntoi. Ou)kou=n o(/ ge i)/smen, ka)\n ei)/poimen dê/pou, ti/
e)/sti. Pô=s ga\r ou)/?]]

"Try then if you can tell me, Lachês, what courage is.
_Lachês._--There is no difficulty in telling you that. Whoever
keeps his place in the rank, repels the enemy, and does not run away,
is a courageous man."[12]

[Footnote 12: Plato, Lachês, 190 D-E.]

[Side-note: Question--what is courage? Lachês answers by citing
one particularly manifest case of courage. Mistake of not giving a
general explanation.]

Here is the same error in replying, as was committed by Euthyphron
when asked, What is the Holy? and by Hippias, about the Beautiful.
One particular case of courageous behaviour, among many, is
indicated, as if it were an explanation of the whole: but the general
feature common to all acts of courage is not declared. Sokrates
points out that men are courageous, not merely among hoplites who
keep their rank and fight, but also among the Scythian horsemen who
fight while running away; others also are courageous against disease,
poverty, political adversity, pain and fear of every sort; others
moreover, against desires and pleasures. What is the common attribute
which in all these cases constitutes Courage? If you asked me what is
_quickness_--common to all those cases when a man runs, speaks,
plays, learns, &c., quickly--I should tell you that it was that
which accomplished much in a little time. Tell me in like manner,
what is the common fact or attribute pervading all cases of courage?

Lachês at first does not understand the question:[13] and Sokrates
elucidates it by giving the parallel explanation of quickness. Here,
as elsewhere, Plato takes great pains to impress the conception in
its full generality, and he seems to have found difficulty in making
others follow him.

[Footnote 13: Plato, Lachês, 191-192.

[Greek: pa/lin ou)=n peirô= ei)pei=n a)ndrei/an prô=ton, ti/ o)\n e)n
pa=si tou/tois tau)to/n e)stin. ê)\ ou)/pô katamantha/neis o(\
le/gô?] _Lachês._ [Greek: Ou) pa/nu ti. . . .] _Sokr._
[Greek: peirô= dê\ tê\n a)ndrei/an ou(/tôs ei)pein, ti/s ou)=sa
du/namis ê( au)tê\ e)n ê(donê=| kai\ e)n lu/pê| kai\ e)n a(/pasin
oi(=s nu=n dê\ e)le/gomen au)tê\n ei)=nai, e)/peit' a)ndrei/a
ke/klêtai.]]

[Side-note: Second answer. Courage is a sort of endurance of
the mind. Sokrates points out that the answer is vague and incorrect.
Endurance is not always courage: even intelligent endurance is not
always courage.]

Lachês then gives a general definition of courage. It is a sort of
endurance of the mind.[14]

[Footnote 14: Plato, Lachês, 192 B. [Greek: karteri/a tis tê=s
psuchê=s.]]

Surely not _all_ endurance (rejoins Sokrates)? You admit that
courage is a fine and honourable thing. But endurance without
intelligence is hurtful and dishonourable: it cannot therefore be
courage. Only intelligent endurance, therefore, can be courage. And
then what is meant by _intelligent_? Intelligent--of what--or to
what end? A man, who endures the loss of money, understanding well
that he will thereby gain a larger sum, is he courageous? No. He who
endures fighting, knowing that he has superior skill, numbers,
and all other advantages on his side, manifests more of
intelligent endurance, than his adversary who knows that he has all
these advantages against him, yet who nevertheless endures fighting.
Nevertheless this latter is the most courageous of the two.[15]
Unintelligent endurance is in this case courage: but unintelligent
endurance was acknowledged to be bad and hurtful, and courage to be a
fine thing. We have entangled ourselves in a contradiction. We must
at least show our own courage, by enduring until we can get right.
For my part (replies Lachês) I am quite prepared for such endurance.
I am piqued and angry that I cannot express what I conceive. I seem
to have in my mind clearly what courage is: but it escapes me somehow
or other, when I try to put it in words.[16]

[Footnote 15: Plato, Lachês, 192 D-E. [Greek: ê( phro/nimos karteri/a
. . . i)/dômen dê/, _ê( ei)s ti/_ phro/nimos; ê)\ ê( ei)s a(/panta
kai\ ta\ mega/la kai\ ta\ smikra/?]]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Lachês, 193 C, 194 B.]

Sokrates now asks aid from Nikias. _Nikias._--My explanation of
courage is, that it is a sort of knowledge or intelligence.
_Sokr._--But what sort of intelligence? Not certainly
intelligence of piping or playing the harp. Intelligence of what?

[Side-note: Confusion. New answer given by Nikias. Courage is
a sort of intelligence--the intelligence of things terrible and not
terrible. Objections of Lachês.]

_Nikias._--Courage is intelligence of things terrible, and
things not terrible, both in war and in all other conjunctures.
_Lachês._--What nonsense! Courage is a thing totally apart from
knowledge or intelligence.[17] The intelligent physician knows best
what is terrible, and what is not terrible, in reference to disease:
the husbandman, in reference to agriculture. But they are not for
that reason courageous. _Nikias._--They are not; but neither do
they know what is terrible, or what is not terrible. Physicians can
predict the result of a patient's case: they can tell what may
cure him, or what will kill him. But whether it be better for him to
die or to recover--_that_ they do not know, and cannot tell him.
To some persons, death is a less evil than life:--defeat, than
victory:--loss of wealth, than gain. None except the person who can
discriminate these cases, knows what is really terrible and what is
not so. He alone is really courageous.[18] _Lachês._--Where is
there any such man? It can be only some God. Nikias feels himself in
a puzzle, and instead of confessing it frankly as I have done, he is
trying to help himself out by evasions more fit for a pleader before
the Dikastery.[19]

[Footnote 17: Plato, Lachês, 195 A. [Greek: tê\n tô=n deinôn kai\
thar)r(ale/ôn e)pistê/mên kai\ e)n pole/mô| kai\ e)n toi=s a)/llois
a(/pasin.] _Lachês._--[Greek: Ô(s a)/topa le/gei!--chôri\s dê/
pou sophi/a e)sti\n a)ndrei/as.]

It appears from two other passages (195 E, and 198 B) that [Greek:
thar)r(a/leos] here is simply the negation of [Greek: deino\s] and
cannot be translated by any affirmative word.]

[Footnote 18: Plato, Lachês, 195-196.]

[Footnote 19: Plato, Lachês, 196 B.]

[Side-note: Questions of Sokrates to Nikias. It is only future
events, not past or present, which are terrible; but intelligence of
future events cannot be had without intelligence of past or present.]

_Sokr._--You do not admit, then, Nikias, that lions, tigers,
boars, &c., and such animals, are courageous? _Nikias._--No:
they are without fear--simply from not knowing the danger--like
children: but they are not courageous, though most people call them
so. I may call them bold, but I reserve the epithet courageous for
the intelligent. _Lachês._--See how Nikias strips those, whom
every one admits to be courageous, of this honourable appellation!
_Nikias._--Not altogether, Lachês: I admit you, and Lamachus,
and many other Athenians, to be courageous, and of course therefore
intelligent. _Lachês._--I feel the compliment: but such subtle
distinctions befit a Sophist rather than a general in high
command.[20] _Sokr._--The highest measure of intelligence befits
one in the highest command. What you have said, Nikias, deserves
careful examination. You remember that in taking up the investigation
of courage, we reckoned it only as a portion of virtue: you are aware
that there are other portions of virtue, such as justice, temperance,
and the like. Now you define courage to be, intelligence of what is
terrible or not terrible: of that which causes fear, or does not
cause fear. But nothing causes fear, except future or apprehended
evils: present or past evils cause no fear. Hence courage, as you
define it, is intelligence respecting future evils, and future events
not evil. But how can there be intelligence respecting the future,
except in conjunction with intelligence respecting the present and
the past? In every special department, such as medicine, military
proceedings, agriculture, &c., does not the same man, who knows
the phenomena of the future, know also the phenomena of present and
past? Are they not all inseparable acquirements of one and the same
intelligent mind?[21]

[Footnote 20: Plato, Lachês, 197. [Greek: Kai\ ga\r pre/pei, ô)=
Sô/krates, sophistê=| ta\ toiau=ta ma=llon kompseu/esthai ê)\ a)ndri\
o(\n ê( po/lis a)xioi= au(tê=s proi+sta/nai.]

Assuredly the distinctions which here Plato puts into the mouth of
Nikias are nowise more subtle than those which he is perpetually
putting into the mouth of Sokrates. He cannot here mean to
distinguish the Sophists from Sokrates, but to distinguish the
dialectic talkers, including both one and the other, from the active
political leaders.]

[Footnote 21: Plato, Lachês, 198 D. [Greek: peri\ o(/sôn e)sti\n
e)pistê/mê, ou)k a)/llê me\n ei)=nai peri\ gegono/tos, ei)de/nai
o(/pê| ge/gonen, a)/llê de\ peri\ gignome/nôn, o(/pê| gi/gnetai,
a)/llê de\ o(/pê| a)\n ka/llista ge/noito kai\ genê/setai to\ mê/pô
gegono/s--a)ll' ê( au)tê/. oi(=on peri\ to\ u(gieino\n ei)s a(/pantas
tou\s chro/nous ou)k a)/llê tis ê)\ ê( i)atrikê/, mi/a ou)=sa,
e)phora=| kai\ gigno/mena kai\ gegono/ta kai\ genêso/mena, o(/pê|
genê/setai.]

199 B. [Greek: ê( de/ g' au)tê\ e)pistê/mê tô=n au)tô=n kai\
mello/ntôn kai\ pa/ntôs e)cho/ntôn ei)=nai [ô(molo/gêtai].]

[Side-note: Courage therefore must be intelligence of good and
evil generally. But this definition would include the whole of
virtue, and we declared that courage was only a part thereof. It will
not hold therefore as a definition of courage.]

Since therefore courage, according to your definition, is the
knowledge of futurities evil and not evil, or future evil and good--and
since such knowledge cannot exist without the knowledge of good
and evil generally--it follows that courage is the knowledge of good
and evil generally.[22] But a man who knows thus much, cannot be
destitute of any part of virtue. He must possess temperance and
justice as well as courage. Courage, therefore, according to your
definition, is not only a part of virtue, it is the whole. Now we
began the enquiry by stating that it was only a part of virtue, and
that there were other parts of virtue which it did not comprise. It
is plain therefore that your definition of courage is not precise,
and cannot be sustained. We have not yet discovered what courage
is.[23]

[Footnote 22: Plato, Lachês, 199 C. [Greek: kata\ to\n so\n lo/gon
ou) mo/non deinô=n te kai\ thar)r(ale/ôn ê( e)pistê/mê a)ndrei/a
e)sti/n, a)lla\ schedo/n ti ê( peri\ pa/ntôn a)gathô=n te kai\ kakô=n
kai\ pa/ntôs e)cho/ntôn], &c.]

[Footnote 23: Plato, Lachês, 199 E. [Greek: Ou)k a)/ra eu)rê/kamen,
a)ndrei/a o(/, ti e)/stin.]]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Remarks. Warfare of Sokrates against the false
persuasion of knowledge. Brave generals deliver opinions confidently
about courage without knowing what it is.]

Here ends the dialogue called Lachês, without any positive result.
Nothing is proved except the ignorance of two brave and eminent
generals respecting the moral attribute known by the name
_Courage_: which nevertheless they are known to possess,
and have the full sentiment and persuasion of knowing perfectly; so
that they give confident advice as to the means of imparting it. "I
am unaccustomed to debates like these" (says Lachês): "but I am
piqued and mortified--because I feel that I know well what Courage
is, yet somehow or other I cannot state my own thoughts in words."
Here is a description[24] of the intellectual deficiency which
Sokrates seeks to render conspicuous to the consciousness, instead of
suffering it to remain latent and unknown, as it is in the ordinary
mind. Here, as elsewhere, he impugns the false persuasion of
knowledge, and the unconscious presumption of estimable men in
delivering opinions upon ethical and social subjects, which have
become familiar and interwoven with deeply rooted associations, but
have never been studied under a master, nor carefully analysed and
discussed, nor looked at in their full generality. This is a mental
defect which he pronounces to be universal: belonging not less to men
of action like Nikias and Lachês, than to Sophists and Rhetors like
Protagoras and Gorgias.

[Footnote 24: Plato, Lachês, 194. [Greek: Kai/toi a)ê/thês g' ei)mi\]
(Lachês) [Greek: tô=n toiou/tôn lo/gôn; a)lla/ ti/s me kai\
philoneiki/a ei)/lêphe pro\s ta\ ei)rême/na, kai\ ô(s a)lêthô=s
a)ganaktô=, ei) ou(tôsi\ a)\ noô= mê\ oi(=o/s t' ei)mi\ ei)pei=n;
noei=n me\n ga\r e)/moige dokô= peri\ a)ndrei/as o(/, ti e)/stin,
ou)k oi)=da d' o(/pê| me a)/rti die/phugen, ô(/ste mê\ xullabei=n
tô=| lo/gô| au)tê\n kai\ ei)pei=n o(/, ti e)/stin.]

Compare the Charmidês p. 159 A, 160 D, where Sokrates professes to
tell Charmides, If temperance is really in you, you can of course
inform us what it is.]

[Side-note: No solution given by Plato. Apparent tendency of
his mind, in looking for a solution. Intelligence--cannot be
understood without reference to some object or end.]

Here, as elsewhere, Plato (or the Platonic Sokrates) exposes the
faulty solutions of others, but proposes no better solution of his
own, and even disclaims all ability to do so. We may nevertheless
trace, in the refutation which he gives of the two unsatisfactory
explanations, hints guiding the mind into that direction in which
Plato looks to supply the deficiency. Thus when Lachês, after having
given as his first answer (to the question, What is Courage?) a
definition not even formally sufficient, is put by Sokrates upon
giving his second answer,--That Courage is intelligent endurance:
Sokrates asks him[25]--"Yes, _intelligent_: but intelligent to
_what end_? Do you mean, to all things alike, great as well
as little?" We are here reminded that _intelligence_, simply
taken, is altogether undefined; that intelligence must relate to
_something_--and when human conduct is in question, must relate
to some end; and that the Something, and the End, to which it
relates, must be set forth, before the proposition can be clearly
understood.

[Footnote 25: Plato, Lachês, 192 D.

[Greek: ê( phro/nimos karteri/a . . . i)/dômen dê/, ê( ei)s ti
phro/nimos; ê)\ ê( ei)s a(/panta kai\ ta\ mega/la kai\ ta\
smikra/?]]

[Side-note: Object--is supplied in the answer of Nikias.
Intelligence--of things terrible and not terrible. Such intelligence
is not possessed by professional artists.]

Coming to the answer given by Nikias, we perceive that this
deficiency is in a certain manner supplied. Courage is said to
consist in knowledge: in knowledge of things terrible, and things not
terrible. When Lachês applies his cross-examination to the answer,
the manner in which Nikias defends it puts us upon a distinction
often brought to view, though not always adhered to, in the Platonic
writings. There can be no doubt that death, distemper, loss of
wealth, defeat, &c. are terrible things (_i.e._ the prospect
of them inspires fear) in the estimation of mankind generally.
Correct foresight of such contingencies, and of the antecedents
tending to produce or avert them, is possessed by the physician and
other professional persons: who would therefore, it should seem,
possess the knowledge of things terrible and not terrible. But Nikias
denies this. He does not admit that the contingencies here enumerated
are, always or necessarily, proper objects of fear. In some cases, he
contends, they are the least of two evils. Before you can be said to
possess the knowledge of things terrible and not terrible, you must
be able to take correct measure not only of the intervening
antecedents or means, but also of the end itself as compared with
other alternative ends: whether, in each particular case, it be the
end most to be feared, or the real evil under the given
circumstances. The professional man can do the former, but he cannot
do the latter. He advises as to means, and executes: but he assumes
his own one end as an indisputable datum. The physician seeks to cure
his patient, without ever enquiring whether it may not be a less evil
for such patient to die than to survive.

[Side-note: Postulate of a Science of Ends, or Teleology,
dimly indicated by Plato. The Unknown Wise Man--correlates with the
undiscovered Science of Ends.]

The ulterior, yet not less important, estimate of the comparative
worth of different ends, is reserved for that unknown master whom
Nikias himself does not farther specify, and whom Lachês sets
aside as nowhere to be found, under the peculiar phrase of "some
God". Subjectively considered, this is an appeal to the judgment of
that One Wise Man, often alluded to by Plato as an absent Expert who
might be called into court--yet never to be found at the exact
moment, nor produced in visible presence: Objectively considered, it
is a postulate or divination of some yet undiscovered Teleology or
Science of Ends: that Science of the Good, which (as we have already
noticed in Alkibiadês II.) Plato pronounces to be the crowning and
capital science of all--and without which he there declared, that
knowledge on all other topics was useless and even worse than
useless.[26] The One Wise Man--the _Science of Good_--are the
Subject and Object corresponding to each other, and postulated by
Plato. None but the One Wise Man can measure things terrible and not
terrible: none else can estimate the good or evil, or the comparative
value of two alternative evils, in each individual case. The items
here directed to be taken into the calculation, correspond with what
is laid down by Sokrates in the Protagoras, not with that laid down
in the Gorgias: we find here none of that marked antithesis between
pleasure and good--between pain and evil--upon which Sokrates
expatiates in the Gorgias.

[Footnote 26: Plato, Alkib. ii. 146-147. See above, ch. xii. p. 16.]

[Side-note: Perfect condition of the intelligence--is the one
sufficient condition of virtue.]

This appears still farther when the cross-examination is taken up by
Sokrates instead of by Lachês. We are then made to perceive, that the
knowledge of things terrible and not terrible is a part, but an
inseparable part, of the knowledge of good and evil generally: the
lesser cannot be had without the greater--and the greater carries
with it not merely courage, but all the other virtues besides. None
can know good or evil generally except the perfectly Wise Man. The
perfect condition of the Intelligence, is the sole and all-sufficient
condition of virtue. None can possess one mode of virtue separately.

This is the doctrine to which the conclusion of the Lachês points,
though the question debated is confessedly left without solution. It
is a doctrine which seems to have been really maintained by the
historical Sokrates, and is often implied in the reasonings of the
Platonic Sokrates, but not always nor consistently.

[Side-note: Dramatic contrast between Lachês and Sokrates, as
cross-examiners.]

In reference to this dialogue, the dramatic contrast is very
forcible, between the cross-examination carried on by Lachês, and
that carried on by Sokrates. The former is pettish and impatient,
bringing out no result, and accusing the respondent of cavil and
disingenuousness: the latter takes up the same answer patiently,
expands it into the full generality wrapped up in it, and renders
palpable its inconsistency with previous admissions.


APPENDIX.


Ast is the only critic who declares the Lachês not to be Plato's work
(Platon's Leben und Schr. pp. 451-456). He indeed even finds it
difficult to imagine how Schleiermacher can accept it as genuine (p.
454). He justifies this opinion by numerous reasons--pointing out
what he thinks glaring defects, absurdity, and bad taste, both in the
ratiocination and in the dramatic handling, also _dicta_ alleged
to be _un-Platonic_. Compare Schleiermacher's Einleitung zum
Lachês, p. 324 seq.

I do not concur with Ast in the estimation of those passages which
serve as premisses to his conclusion. But even if I admitted his
premisses, I still should not admit his conclusion. I should conclude
that the dialogue was an inferior work of Plato, but I should
conclude nothing beyond. Stallbaum (Prolegg. ad Lachet. p. 29-30, 2nd
ed.) and Socher discover "adolescentiæ vestigia" in it, which are not
apparent to me.

Socher, Stallbaum, and K. F. Hermann pass lightly over the objections
of Ast; and Steinhart (Einleit. p. 355) declares them to be unworthy
of a serious answer. For my part, I draw from these dissensions among
the Platonic critics a conviction of the uncertain evidence upon
which all of them proceed. Each has his own belief as to what Plato
_must_ say, _ought to_ say, and _could not_ have said;
and each adjudicates thereupon with a degree of confidence which
surprises me. The grounds upon which Ast rejects Lachês, Charmidês,
and Lysis, though inconclusive, appear to me not more inconclusive
than those on which he and other critics reject the Erastæ, Theagês.
Hippias Major, Alkibiadês II., &c.

The dates which Stallbaum, Schleiermacher, Socher, and Steinhart
assign to the Lachês (about 406-404 B.C.) are in my judgment
erroneous. I have already shown my reasons for believing that not one
of the Platonic dialogues was composed until after the death of
Sokrates. The hypotheses also of Steinhart (p. 357) as to the special
purposes of Plato in composing the dialogue are unsupported by any
evidence; and are all imagined so as to fit his supposition as
to the date. So also Schleiermacher tells us that a portion of the
Lachês is intended by Plato as a defence of himself against
accusations which had been brought against him, a young man, for
impertinence in having attacked Lysias in the Phædrus, and Protagoras
in the Protagoras, both of them much older than Plato. But Steinhart
justly remarks that this explanation can only be valid if we admit
Schleiermacher's theory that the Phædrus and the Protagoras are
earlier compositions than the Lachês, which theory Steinhart and most
of the others deny. Steinhart himself adapts his hypotheses to his
own idea of the date of the Lachês: and he is open to the same remark
as he himself makes upon Schleiermacher.



CHAPTER XIX.

CHARMIDES.


As in Lachês, we have pursued an enquiry into the nature of Courage--so
in Charmidês, we find an examination of Temperance, Sobriety,
Moderation.[1] Both dialogues conclude without providing any tenable
explanation. In both there is an abundant introduction--in Charmidês,
there is even the bustle of a crowded palæstra, with much dramatic
incident--preluding to the substantive discussion. I omit the notice
of this dramatic incident, though it is highly interesting to read.

[Footnote 1: I translate [Greek: sôphrosu/nê] Temperance, though it
is very inadequate, but I know no single English word better
suited.]

[Side-note: Scene and personages of the dialogue. Crowded
palæstra. Emotions of Sokrates.]

The two persons with whom Sokrates here carries on the discussion,
are Charmides and Kritias; both of whom, as historical persons, were
active movers in the oligarchical government of the Thirty, with its
numerous enormities. In this dialogue, Charmides appears as a youth
just rising into manhood, strikingly beautiful both in face and
stature: Kritias his cousin is an accomplished literary man of mature
age. The powerful emotion which Sokrates describes himself as
experiencing,[2] from the sight and close neighbourhood of the
beautiful Charmides, is remarkable, as a manifestation of Hellenic
sentiment. The same exaltation of the feelings and imagination, which
is now produced only by beautiful women, was then excited chiefly by
fine youths. Charmides is described by Kritias as exhibiting
dispositions at once philosophical and poetical:[3] illustrating
the affinity of these two intellectual veins, as Plato conceived
them. He is also described as eminently temperate and modest:[4] from
whence the questions of Sokrates take their departure.

[Footnote 2: Plato, Charm. 154 C. Ficinus, in his Argumentum to this
dialogue (p. 767), considers it as mainly allegorical, especially the
warm expressions of erotic sentiment contained therein, which he
compares to the Song of Solomon. "Etsi omnia in hoc dialogo mirificam
habeant allegoriam, amatoria maxime, non aliter quam Cantica
Salomonis--mutavi tamen nonnihil--nonnihil etiam prætermisi. Quæ enim
consonabant castigatissimis auribus Atticorum, rudioribus fortè
auribus minimé consonarent."]

[Footnote 3: Plato, Charm. 155 A.]

[Footnote 4: Plato, Charm. 157 D. About the diffidence of Charmides
in his younger years, see Xen. Mem. iii. 7, 1.]

[Side-note: Question, What is Temperance? addressed by Sokrates
to the temperate Charmides. Answer, It is a kind of sedateness or
slowness.]

You are said to be temperate, Charmides (says Sokrates). If so, your
temperance will surely manifest itself within you in some way, so as
to enable you to form and deliver an opinion, What Temperance is.
Tell us in plain language what you conceive it to be. Temperance,
replies Charmides (after some hesitation),[5] consists in doing every
thing in an orderly and sedate manner, when we walk in the highway,
or talk, or perform other matters in the presence of others. It is,
in short, a kind of sedateness or slowness.

[Footnote 5: Plato, Charm. 159 B. [Greek: to\ kosmi/ôs pa/nta
pra/ttein kai\ ê(suchê=|, e)/n te tai=s o)doi=s badi/zein kai\
diale/gesthai . . . sullê/bdên ê(suchio/tês tis.]]

[Side-note: But Temperance is a fine or honourable thing, and
slowness is, in many or most cases, not fine or honourable, but the
contrary. Temperance cannot be slowness.]

Sokrates begins his cross-examination upon this answer, in the same
manner as he had begun it with Laches in respect to courage.
_Sokr._--Is not temperance a fine and honourable thing? Does it
not partake of the essence and come under the definition, of what is
fine or and honourable?[6] _Char._--Undoubtedly it does.
_Sokr._--But if we specify in detail our various operations,
either of body or mind--such as writing, reading, playing on the
harp, boxing, running, jumping, learning, teaching, recollecting,
comprehending, deliberating, determining, &c.--we shall find that
to do them quickly is more fine and honourable than to do them
slowly. Slowness does not, except by accident, belong to the fine and
honourable: therefore temperance, which does so belong to it, cannot
be a kind of slowness.[7]

[Footnote 6: Plato, Charm. 159 C--160 D. [Greek: ou) tô=n kalô=n
me/ntoi ê( sôphrosu/nê e)sti/n? . . . e)peidê\ _e)n tô=| lo/gô|_ tô=n
kalô=n ti ê(mi=n ê( sôphrosu/nê u(pete/thê.]]

[Footnote 7: Plato, Charm. 160 C.]

[Side-note: Second answer. Temperance is a variety of the
feeling of shame. Refuted by Sokrates.]

Charmides next declares Temperance to be a variety of the feeling of
shame or modesty. But this (observes Sokrates) will not hold more
than the former explanation: since Homer has pronounced shame not to
be good, for certain persons and under certain circumstances.[8]

[Footnote 8: Plato, Charm. 161 A.]

[Side-note: Third answer. Temperance consists in doing one's
own business. Defended by Kritias. Sokrates pronounces it a riddle,
and refutes it. Distinction between making and doing.]

"Temperance consists in doing one's own business." Here we have a
third explanation, proposed by Charmides and presently espoused by
Kritias. Sokrates professes not to understand it, and pronounces it
to be like a riddle.[9] Every tradesman or artisan does the business
of others as well as his own. Are we to say for that reason that he
is not temperate? I distinguish (says Kritias) between _making_
and _doing_: the artisan _makes_ for others, but he does
not _do_ for others, and often cannot be said to _do_ at
all. _To do_, implies honourable, profitable, good, occupation:
this alone is a man's own business, and this I call temperance. When
a man acts so as to harm himself, he does not do his own
business.[10] The doing of good things, is temperance.[11]

[Footnote 9: Plato, Charm. 161 C--162 B. [Greek: sôphrosu/nê--to\ ta\
au(tou= pra/ttein . . . ai)ni/gmati/ tini e)/oiken.]

There is here a good deal of playful vivacity in the dialogue:
Charmidês gives this last answer, which he has heard from Kritias,
who is at first not forward to defend it, until Charmides forces him
to come forward, by hints and side-insinuations. This is the dramatic
art and variety of Plato, charming to read, but not bearing upon him
as a philosopher.]

[Footnote 10: Plato, Charm. 163 C-D. [Greek: ta\ kalô=s kai\
ô)pheli/môs poiou/mena . . . oi)kei=a mo/na ta\ toiau=ta ê(gei=sthai,
ta\ de\ blabera\ pa/nta a)llo/tria . . . o(/ti ta\ oi)kei=a te kai\
ta\ au(tou= a)gatha\ kaloi/ês, kai\ ta\s tô=n a)gathô=n poiê/seis
pra/xeis.]]

[Footnote 11: Plato, Charm. 163 E. [Greek: tê\n tô=n a)gathô=n pra=xin
sôphrosu/nên ei)=nai saphô=s soi diori/zomai.]]

[Side-note: Fourth answer, by Kritias. Temperance consists in
self-knowledge.]

_Sokr._--Perhaps it is. But does the well-doer always and
certainly know that he is doing well? Does the temperate man know his
own temperance? _Krit._--He certainly must. Indeed I think that
the essence of temperance is, _Self-knowledge_. _Know
thyself_ is the precept of the Delphian God, who means thereby the
same as if he had said--Be temperate. I now put aside all that I have
said before, and take up this new position, That temperance consists
in a man's knowing himself. If you do not admit it, I challenge your
cross-examination.[12]

[Footnote 12: Plato, Charm. 164-165.]

[Side-note: Questions of Sokrates thereupon. What good does
self-knowledge procure for us? What is the object known, in this
case? Answer: There is no object of knowledge, distinct from the
knowledge itself.]

_Sokr._--I cannot tell you whether I admit it or not, until I
have investigated. You address me as if I professed to know the
subject: but it is because I do not know, that I examine, in
conjunction with you, each successive answer.[13] If temperance
consists in knowing, it must be a knowledge of something.
_Krit._--It is so: it is knowledge of a man's self.
_Sokr._--What good does this knowledge procure for us? as
medical knowledge procures for us health--architectural knowledge,
buildings, &c.? _Krit._--It has no object positive result of
analogous character: but neither have arithmetic nor geometry.
_Sokr._--True, but in arithmetic and geometry, we can at least
indicate a something known, distinct from the knowledge. Number and
proportion are distinct from arithmetic, the science which takes
cognizance of them. Now what is that, of which temperance is the
knowledge,--distinct from temperance itself? _Krit._--It is on
this very point that temperance differs from all the other
cognitions. Each of the others is knowledge of something different
from itself, but not knowledge of itself: while temperance is
knowledge of all the other sciences and of itself also.[14]
_Sokr._--If this be so, it will of course be a knowledge of
ignorance, as well as a knowledge of knowledge?
_Krit._--Certainly.

[Footnote 13: Plato, Charm. 165 C.]

[Footnote 14: Plato, Charm. 166 C. [Greek: ai( me\n a)/llai pa=sai
a)/llou ei)si\n e)pistê=mai, e(autô=n d' ou)/; ê( de\ mo/nê tô=n te
a)/llôn e)pistêmô=n e)pistê/mê e)sti\ kai\ au)tê\ e(autê=s.] So
also 166 E.]

[Side-note: Sokrates doubts the possibility of any knowledge,
without a given _cognitum_ as its object. Analogies to prove
that knowledge of knowledge is impossible.]

_Sokr._--According to your explanation, then, it is only the
temperate man who knows himself. He alone is able to examine himself,
and thus to find out what he really knows and does not know: he alone
is able to examine others, and thus to find out what each man knows,
or what each man only believes himself to know without really
knowing. Temperance, or self-knowledge, is the knowledge what a man
knows, and what he does not know.[15] Now two questions arise upon
this: First, is it possible for a man to know, that he knows what he
does know, and that he does not know what he does not know? Next,
granting it to be possible, in what way do we gain by it? The first
of these two questions involves much difficulty. How can there be any
cognition, which is not cognition of a given _cognitum_, but
cognition merely of other cognitions and non-cognitions? There is no
vision except of some colour, no audition except of some sound: there
can be no vision of visions, or audition of auditions. So
likewise, all desire is desire of some pleasure; there is no desire
of desires. All volition is volition of some good; there is no
volition of volitions: all love applies to something beautiful--there
is no love of other loves. The like is true of fear, opinion, &c.
It would be singular therefore, if contrary to all these analogies,
there were any cognition not of some _cognitum_, but of itself
and other cognitions.[16]

[Footnote 15: Plato, Charm. 167 A.]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Charm. 167-168.]

[Side-note: All knowledge must be relative to some object.]

It is of the essence of cognition to be cognition of something, and
to have its characteristic property with reference to some
correlate.[17] What is greater, has its property of being greater in
relation to something else, which is less--not in relation to itself.
It cannot be greater than itself, for then it would also be less than
itself. It cannot include in itself the characteristic property of
the _correlatum_ as well as that of the _relatum_. So too
about what is older, younger, heavier, lighter: there is always a
something distinct, to which reference is made. Vision does not
include in itself both the property of seeing, and that of being
seen: the _videns_ is distinct from the _visum_. A movement
implies something else to be moved: a heater something else to be
heated.

[Footnote 17: Plato, Charm. 168 B. [Greek: e)/sti me\n au(tê\ ê(
e)pistê/mê tino\s e)pistê/mê, kai\ e)/chei tina toiau/tên du/namin
ô(/ste tino\s ei)=nai.]]

[Side-note: All properties are relative--every thing in nature
has its characteristic property with reference to something else.]

In all these cases (concludes Sokrates) the characteristic property
is essentially relative, implying something distinguishable from, yet
correlating with, itself. May we generalise the proposition, and
affirm, That all properties are relative, and that every thing in
nature has its characteristic property with reference, not to itself,
but to something else? Or is this true only of some things and not of
all--so that cognition may be something in the latter category?

This is an embarrassing question, which I do not feel qualified to
decide: neither the general question, whether there be any cases of
characteristic properties having no reference to any thing beyond
themselves, and therefore not relative, but absolute--nor the
particular question, whether cognition be one of those cases,
implying no separate _cognitum_, but being itself both
_relatum_ and _correlatum_--cognition of cognition.[18]

[Footnote 18: Plato, Charm. 168-169. 169 A: [Greek: mega/lou dê/ tinos
a)ndro\s dei=, o(/stis tou=to kata\ pa/ntôn i(kanô=s diairê/setai,
po/teron ou)de\n tô=n o)/ntôn tê\n au(tou= du/namin au)to\ pro\s e(auto\
pe/phuken e)/chein, a)lla\ pro\s a)llo\--ê)\ ta\ me\n, ta\ d' ou)/;
kai\ ei) e)/stin au(= a(/tina au)ta\ pro\s e(auta\ e)/chei, a)=r' e)n
tou/tois e)sti\n e)pistê/mê, ê(\n dê\ ê(mei=s sôphrosu/nên phame\n
ei)=nai. e)gô\ me\n ou) pisteu/ô e)mautô=| i(kano\s ei)=nai tau=ta
diele/sthtai.]]

But even if cognition of cognition be possible, I shall not
admit it as an explanation of what temperance is, until I have
satisfied myself that it is beneficial. For I have a presentiment
that temperance must be something beneficial and good.[19]

[Footnote 19: Plato, Charm. 169 B. [Greek: ô)phelimo/n ti ka)gatho\n
manteu/omai ei)=nai.]]

[Side-note: Even if cognition of cognition were possible,
cognition of non-cognition would be impossible. A man may know what
he knows, but he cannot know what he is ignorant of. He knows the
fact _that_ he knows: but he does not know how much he knows,
and how much he does not know.]

Let us concede for the present discussion (continues Sokrates) that
cognition of cognition is possible. Still how does this prove that
there can be cognition of non-cognition? that a man can know both
what he knows and what he does not know? For this is what we declared
self-knowledge and temperance to be.[20] To have cognition of
cognition is one thing: to have cognition of non-cognition is a
different thing, not necessarily connected with it. If you have
cognition of cognition, you will be enabled to distinguish that which
is cognition from that which is not--but no more. Now the knowledge
or ignorance of the matter of health is known by medical science:
that of justice known by political science. The knowledge of
knowledge simply--cognition of cognition--is different from both. The
person who possesses this last only, without knowing either medicine
or politics, will become aware that he knows something and possesses
some sort of knowledge, and will be able to verify so much with
regard to others. But _what_ it is that he himself knows, or
that others know, he will not thereby be enabled to find out: he will
not distinguish whether that which is known belong to physiology or
to politics; to do this, special acquirements are needed. You, a
temperate man therefore, as such, do not know _what_ you know
and _what_ you do not know; you know the bare fact, _that_
you know and _that_ you do not know. You will not be competent
to cross-examine any one who professes to know medicine or any other
particular subject, so as to ascertain whether the man really
possesses what he pretends to possess. There will be no point in
common between you and him. You, as a temperate man, possess
cognition of cognition, but you do not know any special
_cognitum_: the special man knows his own special
_cognitum_ but is a stranger to cognition generally. You cannot
question him, nor criticise what he says or performs, in his own
specialty--for of that you are ignorant:--no one can do it except
some fellow _expert_. You can ascertain that he possesses some
knowledge: but whether he possesses that particular knowledge to
which he lays claim, or whether he falsely pretends to it, you cannot
ascertain:--since, as a temperate man, you know only cognition and
non-cognition generally. To ascertain this point, you must be not
only a temperate man, but a man of special cognition besides.[21] You
can question and test no one, except another temperate man like
yourself.

[Footnote 20: Plato, Charm. 169 D. [Greek: nu=n me\n tou=to
xugchôrê/sômen, dunato\n ei)=nai gene/sthai e)pistê/mên e)pistê/mês--i)/thi
dê\ ou)=n, ei) o(/, ti ma/lista dunato\n tou=to, ti/ ma=llon oi(=o/n
te/ e)stin ei)de/nai a(/ te/ tis oi)=de kai\ a(\ mê/? tou=to ga\r
dê/pou e)/phamen ei)=nai to\ gignô/skein au(to\n kai\ sôphronei=n.]]

[Footnote 21: Plato, Charm. 170-171. 171 C: [Greek: Panto\s a)/ra
ma=llon, ei) ê( sôphrosu/nê e)pistê/mês e)pisê/mê mo/non e)sti\ kai\
a)nepistêmosu/nês, ou)/te i)atro\n diakri=nai oi(/a te e)/stai
e)pista/menon ta\ tê=s te/chnês, ê)\ mê\ e)pista/menon prospoiou/menon
de\ ê)\ oi)o/menon, ou)/te a)//lon ou)de/na tô=n e)pistame/nôn
kai\ o(tiou=n, plê/n ge to\n au(tou= o(mo/technon, ô(/sper oi(
a)/lloi dêmiourgoi/.]]

[Side-note: Temperance, therefore, as thus defined, would be
of little or no value.]

But if this be all that temperance can do, of what use is it to us
(continues Sokrates)? It is indeed a great benefit to know how much
we know, and how much we do not know: it is also a great benefit to
know respecting others, how much _they_ know, and how much they
do not know. If thus instructed, we should make fewer mistakes: we
should do by ourselves only what we knew how to do,--we should commit
to others that which they knew how to do, and which we did not know.
But temperance (meaning thereby cognition of cognition and of
non-cognition generally) does not confer such instruction, nor have
we found any science which does.[22] How temperance benefits us, does
not yet appear.

[Footnote 22: Plato, Charm. 172 A. [Greek: o(ra=|s, o(/ti ou)damou=
e)pistê/mê ou)demi/a toiau/tê ou)=sa pe/phantai.]]

[Side-note: But even granting the possibility of that which
has just been denied, still Temperance would be of little value.
Suppose that all separate work were well performed, by special
practitioners, we should not attain our end--Happiness.]

But let us even concede--what has been just shown to be impossible--that
through temperance we become aware of what we do know and what
we do not know. Even upon this hypothesis, it will be of little
service to us. We have been too hasty in conceding that it would be a
great benefit if each of us did only what he knew, committing to
others to do only what they knew. I have an awkward suspicion
(continues Sokrates) that after all, this would be no great
benefit.[23] It is true that upon this hypothesis, all operations in
society would be conducted scientifically and skilfully. We should
have none but competent pilots, physicians, generals, &c., acting
for us, each of them doing the work for which he was fit. The
supervision exercised by temperance (in the sense above defined)
would guard us against all pretenders. Let us even admit that as to
prediction of the future, we should have none but competent and
genuine prophets to advise us; charlatans being kept aloof by this
same supervision. We should thus have every thing done scientifically
and in a workmanlike manner. But should we for that reason do well
and be happy? Can that be made out, Kritias?[24]

[Footnote 23: Plato, Charm. 172-173.]

[Footnote 24: Plato, Charm. 173 C-D. [Greek: kateskeuasme/non dê\
ou(/tô to\ a)nthrô/pinon ge/nos o(/ti me\n e)pistêmo/nôs a)\n pra/ttoi
kai\ zô=|ê, e(/pomai--o(/ti d' e)pistêmo/nôs a)\n pra/ttontes eu)= a)\n
pra/ttoimen kai\ eu)daimonoi=men, tou=to de\ ou(/pô duna/metha
mathei=n, ô)= phi/le Kriti/a.]]

[Side-note: Which of the varieties of knowledge contributes
most to well-doing or happiness? That by which we know good and
evil.]

_Krit._--You will hardly find the end of well-doing anywhere
else, if you deny that it follows on doing scientifically or
according to knowledge.[25] _Sokr._--But according to knowledge,
of _what_? Of leather-cutting, brazen work, wool, wood, &c.?
_ Krit._--No, none of these. _Sokr._--Well then, you see,
we do not follow out consistently your doctrine--That the happy man
is he who lives scientifically, or according to knowledge. For all
these men live according to knowledge, and still you do not admit
them to be happy. Your definition of happiness applies only to some
portion of those who live according to knowledge, but not to all. How
are we to distinguish which of them? Suppose a man to know every
thing past, present, and future; which among the fractions of such
omniscience would contribute most to make him happy? Would they all
contribute equally? _Krit._--By no means. _Sokr._--Which of
them then would contribute most? Would it be that by which he knew
the art of gaming? _Krit._--Certainly not. _Sokr._--Or that
by which he knew the art of computing? _Krit._--No.
_Sokr._--Or that by which he knew the conditions of health?
_Krit._--That will suit better. _Sokr._--But which of them
most of all? _Krit._--That by which he knew good and evil.[26]

[Footnote 25: Plato, Charm. 173 D. [Greek: A)lla\ me/ntoi, ê)= d' o(/s,
ou) r(a|di/ôs eu(rê/seis a)/llo ti te/los tou= eu)= pra/ttein
e)a\n to\ e)pistêmo/nôs a)tima/sês.]]

[Footnote 26: Plato, Charm. 174.]

[Side-note: Without the science of good and evil, the other
special science will be of little or of no service. Temperance is not
the science of good and evil, and is of little service.]

_Sokr._--Here then, you have been long dragging me round in a
circle, keeping back the fact, that well-doing and happiness does not
arise from living according to science generally, not of all other
matters taken together--but from living according to the science of
this one single matter, good and evil. If you exclude this last, and
leave only the other sciences, each of these others will work as
before: the medical man will heal, the weaver will prepare clothes,
the pilot will navigate his vessel, the general will conduct his
army--each of them scientifically. Nevertheless, that each of these
things shall conduce to our well-being and profit, will be an
impossibility, if the science of good and evil be wanting.[27] Now
this science of good and evil, the special purpose of which is to
benefit us,[28] is altogether different from temperance; which you
have defined as the science of cognition and non-cognition, and which
appears not to benefit us at all. _Krit._--Surely it does
benefit us: for it presides over and regulates all the other
sciences, and of course regulates this very science, of good and
evil, among the rest. _Sokr._--In what way can it benefit us? It
does not procure for us any special service, such as good health:
_that_ is the province of medicine: in like manner, each
separate result arises from its own producing art. To confer benefit
is, as we have just laid down, the special province of the science of
good and evil.[29] Temperance, as the science of cognition and
non-cognition, cannot work any benefit at all.

[Footnote 27: Plato, Charm. 174 C-D. [Greek: e)pei\ ei) the/leis
e)xelei=n tau/tên tê\n e)pistê/mên] (of good and evil) [Greek: e)k
tô=n a)/llôn e)pistêmô=n, ê(=tto/n ti ê( me\n i)atrikê\ u(giai/nein
poiê/sei, ê( de\ skutikê\ u(podede/sthai, ê( de\ u(phantikê\
ê(mphie/sthai, ê( de\ kubbernêtikê\ kôlu/sei e)n tê=| thala/ttê|
a)pothnê/skein kai\ ê( stratêgikê\ e)n pole/mô|? Ou)de\n ê(=tton, e)/phê.
A)lla\ to\ eu)= te tou/tôn e(/kasta gi/gnesthai kai\ ô)pheli/môs
a)poleloipo\s ê(ma=s e)/stai tau/tês a)pou/sês.]]

[Footnote 28: Plato, Charm. 174 D. [Greek: ê(=s e)/rgon e)sti\ to\
ô)phelei=n ê(ma=s], &c.]

[Footnote 29: Plato, Charm. 175 A. [Greek: Ou)k a)/ra u(giei/as e)/stai
dêmiourgo/s (ê( sôphrosu/nê). Ou) dê=ta. A)/llês ga\r ê)=n te/chnês
u(giei/a, ê)\ ou)/? A)/llês. Ou)d' a)/ra ô)phelei/as, ô)= e(/taire;
a)/llê| ga\r au)= a)pe/domen tou=to to\ e)/rgon te/chnê| nu=n dê/;
ê)= ga/r? Pa/nu ge. Pô=s ou)=n ô)phe/limos e)/stai ê( sôphrosu/nê,
ou)demia=s ô)phelei/as ou)=sa dêmiourgo/s? Ou)damô=s, ô)= Sô/krates,
e)/oike/ ge.]]

[Side-note: Sokrates confesses to entire failure in his
research. He cannot find out what temperance is: although several
concessions have been made which cannot be justified.]

Thus then, concludes Sokrates, we are baffled in every way: we
cannot find out what temperance is, nor what that name has been
intended to designate. All our tentatives have failed; although, in
our anxiety to secure some result, we have accepted more than one
inadmissible hypothesis. Thus we have admitted that there might exist
cognition of cognition, though our discussion tended to negative such
a possibility. We have farther granted, that this cognition of
cognition, or science of science, might know all the operations of
each separate and special science: so that the temperate man
(_i.e._ he who possesses cognition of cognition) might know both
what he knows and what he does not know: might know, namely, that he
knows the former and that he does not know the latter. We have
granted this, though it is really an absurdity to say, that what a
man does not know at all, he nevertheless does know after a certain
fashion.[30] Yet after these multiplied concessions against strict
truth, we have still been unable to establish our definition of
temperance: for temperance as we defined it has, after all, turned
out to be thoroughly unprofitable.

[Footnote 30: Plato, Charm. 175 B. [Greek: kai\ ga\r e)pistê/mên
e)pistê/mês ei)=nai xunechôrê/samen, ou)k e)ô=ntos tou= lo/gou ou)de\
pha/skontos ei)=nai; kai\ tau/tê| au)= tê=| e)pistê/mê| kai\ ta\ tô=n
a)/llôn e)pistêmô=n e)/rga gignô/skein xunechôrê/samen, ou)de\ tou=t'
e)ô=ntos tou= lo/gou, i(/na dê\ ê(mi=n ge/noito o( sô/phrôn
e)pistê/môn ô(=n te oi)=den, o(/ti oi)=de, kai\ ô(=n mê\ oi)=den, o(/ti
ou)k oi)=de. tou=to me\n dê\ kai\ panta/pasi megaloprepô=s
xunechôrê/samen, ou)d' e)piskepsa/menoi to\ a)du/naton ei)=nai
a(/ tis mê\ oi)=de mêdamô=s, tau=ta ei)de/nai a(mô=s ge/ pôs; o(/ti
ga\r ou)k oi)=de, phêsi\n au)ta\ ei)de/nai ê( ê(mete/ra o(mologi/a.
kai/toi, ô(s e)gô=mai, ou)deno\s o(/tou ou)chi\ a)logô/teron tou=t'
a)\n phanei/ê.] This would not appear an absurdity to Aristotle.
See Analyt. Priora, ii. p. 67, a. 21; Anal. Post. i. 71, a. 28.]

[Side-note: Temperance is and must be a good thing: but
Charmides cannot tell whether he is temperate or not; since what
temperance is remains unknown.]

It is plain that we have taken the wrong road, and that I (Sokrates)
do not know how to conduct the enquiry. For temperance, whatever it
may consist in, must assuredly be a great benefit: and you,
Charmides, are happy if you possess it. How can I tell (rejoins
Charmides) whether I possess it or not: since even men like you and
Kritias cannot discover what it is?[31]

[Footnote 31: Plato, Charm. 176 A.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Expressions both from Charmides and Kritias of
praise and devotion to Sokrates, at the close of the dialogue.
Dramatic ornament throughout.]

Here ends the dialogue called Charmidês[32] after the interchange of
a few concluding compliments, forming part of the great dramatic
richness which characterises this dialogue from the beginning. I make
no attempt to reproduce this latter attribute; though it is one of
the peculiar merits of Plato in reference to ethical enquiry,
imparting to the subject a charm which does not naturally belong to
it. I confine myself to the philosophical bearing of the dialogue.
According to the express declaration of Sokrates, it ends in nothing
but disappointment. No positive result is attained. The problem--What
is Temperance?--remains unsolved, after four or five different
solutions have been successively tested and repudiated.

[Footnote 32: See Appendix at end of chapter.]

[Side-note: The Charmides is an excellent specimen of
Dialogues of Search. Abundance of guesses and tentatives, all
ultimately disallowed.]

The Charmidês (like the Lachês) is a good illustrative specimen of
those Dialogues of Search, the general character and purpose of which
I have explained in my eighth** chapter. It proves nothing: it
disproves several hypotheses: but it exhibits (and therein consists
its value) the anticipating, guessing, tentative, and eliminating
process, without which no defensible conclusions can be
obtained--without which, even if such be found, no advocate can be
formed capable of defending them against an acute cross-examiner. In most
cases, this tentative process is forgotten or ignored: even when
recognised as a reality, it is set aside with indifference, often
with ridicule. A writer who believes himself to have solved any
problem, publishes his solution together with the proofs; and
acquires deserved credit for it, if those proofs give satisfaction.
But he does not care to preserve, nor do the public care to know, the
steps by which such solution has been reached. Nevertheless in most
cases, and in all cases involving much difficulty, there has been a
process, more or less tedious, of tentative and groping--of guesses
at first hailed as promising, then followed out to a certain extent,
lastly discovered to be untenable. The history of science,[33]
astronomical, physical, chemical, physiological, &c.,
wherever it has been at all recorded, attests this constant
antecedence of a period of ignorance, confusion, and dispute, even in
cases where ultimately a solution has been found commanding the
nearly unanimous adhesion of the scientific world. But on subjects
connected with man and society, this period of dispute and confusion
continues to the present moment. No unanimity has ever been
approached, among nations at once active in intellect and enjoying
tolerable liberty of dissent. Moreover--apart from the condition of
different sciences among mature men--we must remember that the
transitive process, above described, represents the successive stages
by which every adult mind has been gradually built up from infancy.
Trial and error--alternate guess and rejection, generation and
destruction of sentiments and beliefs--is among the most widespread
facts of human intelligence.[34] Even those ordinary minds, which in
mature life harden with the most exemplary fidelity into the locally
prevalent type of orthodoxy,--have all in their earlier years gone
through that semi-fluid and indeterminate period, in which the type
to come is yet a matter of doubt--in which the head might have been
permanently lengthened or permanently flattened, according to the
direction in which pressure was applied.

[Footnote 33: It is not often that historians of science take much
pains to preserve and bring together the mistaken guesses and
tentatives which have preceded great physical discoveries. One
instance in which this has been ably and carefully done is in the
'Biography of Cavendish,' the chemist and natural philosopher, by Dr.
Geo. Wilson.

The great chemical discovery of the composition of water,
accomplished during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, has
been claimed as the privilege of three eminent scientific
men--Cavendish, Watt, and Lavoisier. The controversy on the subject,
voluminous and bitter, has been the means of recording each
successive scientific phase and point of view. It will be found
admirably expounded in this biography. Wilson sets forth the
misconceptions, confusion of ideas, approximations to truth seen but
not followed out, &c., which prevailed upon the scientific men of
that day, especially under the misleading influence of the
"phlogiston theory," then universally received.

To Plato such a period of mental confusion would have been in itself
an interesting object for contemplation and description. He might
have dramatised it under the names of various disputants, with the
cross-examining Elenchus, personified in Sokrates, introduced to stir
up the debate, either by first advocating, then refuting, a string of
successive guesses and dreams (Charmidês, 173 A) of his own, or by
exposing similar suggestions emanating from others; especially in
regard to the definition of _phlogiston_, an entity which then
overspread and darkened all chemical speculation, but which every
theorist thought himself obliged to define. The dialogues would have
ended (as the Protagoras, Lysis, Charmidês, &c., now end) by
Sokrates deriding the ill success which had attended them in the
search for an explanation, and by his pointing out that while all the
theorists talked familiarly about _phlogiston_ as a powerful
agent, none of them could agree what it was.

See Dr. Wilson's 'Biography of Cavendish,' pp. 36-198-320-325, and
elsewhere.]

[Footnote 34: It is strikingly described by Plato in one of the most
remarkable passages of the speech of Diotima in the Symposion, pp.
207-208.]

[Side-note: Trial and Error, the natural process of the human
mind. Plato stands alone in bringing to view and dramatising this
part of the mental process. Sokrates accepts for himself the
condition of conscious ignorance.]

We shall follow Plato towards the close of his career (Treatise De
Legibus), into an imperative and stationary orthodoxy of his
own: but in the dialogues which I have already reviewed, as well as
in several others which I shall presently notice, no mention is made
of any given affirmative doctrine as indispensable to arrive at
ultimately. Plato here concentrates his attention upon the
indeterminate period of the mind: looking upon the mind not as an
empty vessel, requiring to be filled by ready-made matter from
without--nor as a blank sheet, awaiting a foreign hand to write
characters upon it--but as an assemblage of latent capacities, which
must be called into action by stimulus and example, but which can
only attain improvement through multiplied trials and multiplied
failures. Whereas in most cases these failures are forgotten, the
peculiarity of Plato consists in his bringing them to view with full
detail, explaining the reasons of each. He illustrates abundantly,
and dramatises with the greatest vivacity, the intellectual process
whereby opinions are broached, at first adopted, then mistrusted,
unmade, and re-made--or perhaps not re-made at all, but exchanged for
a state of conscious ignorance. The great hero and operator in this
process is the Platonic Sokrates, who accepts for himself this
condition of conscious ignorance, and even makes it a matter of
comparative pride, that he stands nearly alone in such
confession.[35] His colloquial influence, working powerfully and
almost preternaturally,[36] not only serves both to spur and to
direct the activity of hearers still youthful and undecided, but also
exposes those who have already made up their minds and confidently
believe themselves to know. Sokrates brings back these latter from
the false persuasion of knowledge to the state of conscious
ignorance, and to the prior indeterminate condition of mind, in which
their opinions have again to be put together by the tentative and
guessing process. This tentative process, prosecuted under the drill
of Sokrates, is in itself full of charm and interest for Plato,
whether it ends by finding a good solution or only by discarding a
bad one.

[Footnote 35: Plato, Apolog. Sokr. pp. 21-22-23.]

[Footnote 36: Plato, Symposion, 213 E, 215-216; Menon, 80 A-B.]

[Side-note: Familiar words--constantly used, with much earnest
feeling, but never understood nor defined--ordinary phenomenon in
human society.]

The Charmidês is one of the many Platonic dialogues wherein such
intellectual experimentation appears depicted without any positive
result: except as it adds fresh matter to illustrate that wide-spread
mental fact,--(which has already come before the reader, in
Euthyphron, Alkibiadês, Hippias, Erastæ, Lachês, &c., as to
holiness, beauty, philosophy, courage, &c., and is now brought to
view in the case of _temperance_ also; all of them words in
every one's mouth, and tacitly assumed by every one as known
quantities) the perpetual and confident judgments which mankind are
in the habit of delivering--their apportionment of praise and blame,
as well as of reward and punishment consequent on praise and
blame--without any better basis than that of strong emotion imbibed
they know not how, and without being able to render any rational
explanation even of the familiar words round which such emotions are
grouped. No philosopher has done so much as Plato to depict in detail
this important fact--the habitual condition of human society, modern
as well as ancient, and for that very reason generally unnoticed.[37]
The emotional or subjective value of temperance is all that Sokrates
determines, and which indeed he makes his point of departure.
Temperance is essentially among the fine, beautiful, honourable,
things:[38] but its rational or objective value (_i.e._, what is
the common object characterising all temperate acts or persons), he
cannot determine. Here indeed Plato is not always consistent with
himself: for we shall come to other dialogues wherein he professes
himself incompetent to say whether a thing be beautiful or not, until
it be determined what the thing is:[39] and we have already found
Sokrates declaring (in the Hippias Major), that we cannot
determine whether any particular object is beautiful or not, until we
have first determined, What is Beauty in the Absolute, or the
Self-Beautiful? a problem nowhere solved by Plato.

[Footnote 37: "Whoever has reflected on the generation of ideas in
his own mind, or has investigated the causes of misunderstandings
among mankind, will be obliged to proclaim as a fact deeply seated in
human nature--That most of the misunderstandings and contradictions
among men, most of the controversies and errors both in science and
in society, arise usually from our assuming (consciously or
unconsciously) fundamental maxims and fundamental facts as if they
were self-evident, and as if they must be assumed by every one else
besides. Accordingly we never think of closely examining them, until
at length experience has taught us that these _self-evident_
matters are exactly what stand most in need of proof, and what form
the special root of divergent opinions."--(L. O. Bröcker--Untersuchungen
über die Glaubwürdigkeit der alt-Römischen Geschichte, p. 490.)]

[Footnote 38: Plato, Charm. 159 B, 160 D. [Greek: ê( sôphrosu/nê--tô=n
kalô=n ti--e)n tô=| lo/gô=| tô=n kalô=n ti]. So also Sokrates
in the Lachês (192 C), assumes that courage is [Greek: tô=n pa/nu kalô=n
pragma/tôn], though he professes not to know nor to be able to discover
what courage is.]

[Footnote 39: See Gorgias, 462 B, 448 E; Menon, 70 B.]

[Side-note: Different ethical points of view in different
Platonic dialogues.]

Among the various unsuccessful definitions of temperance propounded,
there is more than one which affords farther example to show how
differently Plato deals with the same subject in different dialogues.
Here we have the phrase--"to do one's own business"--treated as an
unmeaning puzzle, and exhibited as if it were analogous to various
other phrases, with which the analogy is more verbal than real. But
in the Republic, Plato admits this phrase as well understood, and
sets it forth as the constituent element of justice; in the Gorgias,
as the leading mark of philosophical life.[40]

[Footnote 40: Plato, Republ. iv. 433, vi. 496 C, viii. 550 A;
Gorgias, 526 C. Compare also Timæus, 72 A, Xen, Mem. ii. 9, 1.]

[Side-note: Self-knowledge is here declared to be impossible.]

Again, another definition given by Kritias is, That temperance
consists in knowing yourself, or in self-knowledge. In commenting
upon this definition, Sokrates makes out--first, that self-knowledge
is impossible: next, that if possible, it would be useless. You
cannot know yourself, he argues: you cannot know what you know, and
what you do not know: to say that you know what you know, is either
tautological or untrue--to say that you know what you do not know, is
a contradiction. All cognition must be cognition of something
distinct from yourself: it is a relative term which must have some
correlate, and cannot be its own correlate: you cannot have cognition
of cognition, still less cognition of non-cognition.

[Side-note: In other dialogues, Sokrates declares
self-knowledge to be essential and inestimable. Necessity for
the student to have presented to him dissentient points of view.]

This is an important point of view, which I shall discuss more at
length when I come to the Platonic Theætetus. I bring it to view here
only as contrasting with different language held by the Platonic
Sokrates in other dialogues; where he insists on the great value and
indispensable necessity of self-knowledge, as a preliminary to all
other knowledge--upon the duty of eradicating from men's minds that
false persuasion of their own knowledge which they universally
cherished--and upon the importance of forcing them to know their
own ignorance as well as their own knowledge. In the face of this
last purpose, so frequently avowed by the Platonic Sokrates
(indirectly even in this very dialogue),[41] we remark a material
discrepancy, when he here proclaims self-knowledge to be impossible.
We must judge every dialogue by itself, illustrating it when
practicable by comparison with others, but not assuming consistence
between them as a postulate _à priori_. It is a part of Plato's
dramatic and tentative mode of philosophising to work out different
ethical points of view, and to have present to his mind one or other
of them, with peculiar force in each different dialogue. The subject
is thus brought before us on all its sides, and the reader is
familiarised with what a dialectician might say, whether capable of
being refuted or not. Inconsistency between one dialogue and another
is not a fault in the Platonic dialogues of Search; but is, on the
contrary, a part of the training process, for any student who is
destined to acquire that full mastery of question and answer which
Plato regards as the characteristic test of knowledge. It is a puzzle
and provocative to the internal meditation of the student.

[Footnote 41: Plato, Charm. 166 D.]

[Side-note: Courage and Temperance are shown to have no
distinct meaning, except as founded on the general cognizance of good
and evil.]

In analyzing the Lachês, we observed that the definition of courage
given by Nikias was shown by Sokrates to have no meaning, except in
so far as it coincided with the general knowledge or cognition of
good and evil. Here, too, in the Charmidês, we are brought in the
last result to the same terminus--the general cognition of good and
evil. But Temperance, as previously good and defined, is not
comprehended under that cognition, and is therefore pronounced to be
unprofitable.

[Side-note: Distinction made between the special sciences and
the science of Good and Evil. Without this last, the special sciences
are of no use.]

This cognition of good and evil--the science of the profitable--is
here (in the Charmidês) proclaimed by Sokrates to have a place of its
own among the other sciences; and even to be first among them,
essentially necessary to supervise and direct them, as it had been
declared in Alkibiadês II. Now the same supervising place and
directorship had been claimed by Kritias for Temperance as he
defines it--that is, self-knowledge, or the cognition of our
cognitions and non-cognitions. But Sokrates doubts even the reality
of such self-knowledge: and granting for argument's sake that it
exists, he still does not see how it can be profitable. For the
utmost which its supervision can ensure would be, that each
description of work shall be scientifically done, by the skilful man,
and not by the unskilful. But it is not true, absolutely speaking (he
argues), that acting scientifically or with knowledge is sufficient
for well doing or for happiness: for the question must next be
asked--Knowledge--of what? Not knowledge of leather-cutting, carpenter's
or brazier's work, arithmetic, or even medicine: these, and many others,
a man may possess, and may act according to them; but still he will
not attain the end of being happy. All cognitions contribute in
greater or less proportion towards that end: but what contributes
most, and most essentially, is the cognition of good and evil,
without which all the rest are insufficient. Of this last-mentioned
cognition or science, it is the special object to ensure profit or
benefit:[42] to take care that everything done by the other sciences
shall be done well or in a manner conducing towards the end
Happiness. After this, there is no province left for
temperance--_i.e._, self-knowledge, or the knowledge of cognitions and
non-cognitions: no assignable way in which it can yield any benefit.[43]

[Footnote 42: Plato, Charm. 174 D. [Greek: Ou)ch au(/tê| de/ ge, ô(s
e)/oiken, e)sti\n ê( sôphrosu/nê, a)ll' ê(=s e)/rgon e)sti\ to\
ô)phelei=n ê(ma=s. Ou) ga\r e)pistêmô=n ge kai\ a)nepistêmosunô=n
ê( e)pistê/mê e)sti/n, a)lla\ a)gathou= te kai\ kakou=.]]

[Footnote 43: Plato, Charm. 174 E. [Greek: Ou)k a)/ra u(giei/as e)/stai
dêmiourgo/s? Ou) dê=ta. A)/llês ga\r ê)=n te/chnês u(gi/eia? ê)\ ou)/?
A)/llês; Ou)d' a)/ra ô)phelei/as, ô)= e(tai=re; a)/llê| ga\r au)=
a)pe/domen tou=to to\ e)/rgon te/chnê| nu=n dê/; ê)= ga\r? Pa/nu ge.
Pô=s ou)=n ô)phe/limos e)/stai ê(sôphrosu/nê, ou)demia=s ô)phelei/as
ou)=sa dêmiourgo/s? Ou)damô=s, ô)= Sô/krates, e)/oike/ ge.]]

[Side-note: Knowledge, always relative to some object known.
Postulate or divination of a Science of Teleology.]

Two points are here to be noted, as contained and debated in the
handling of this dialogue. 1. Knowledge absolutely, is a word without
meaning: all knowledge is relative, and has a definite object or
_cognitum_: there can be no _scientia scientiarum_. 2.
Among the various objects of knowledge (_cognita_ or
_cognoscenda_), one is, _good and evil_. There is a science
of good and evil, the function of which is, to watch over and compare
the results of the other sciences, in order to promote results of
happiness, and to prevent results of misery: without the supervision
of this latter science, the other sciences might be all exactly
followed out, but no rational comparison could be had between
them.[44] In other words, there is a science of Ends, estimating the
comparative worth of each End in relation to other Ends (Teleology):
distinct from those other more special sciences, which study the
means each towards a separate End of its own. Here we fall into the
same track as we have already indicated in Lachês and Alkibiadês II.

[Footnote 44: Compare what has been said upon the same subject in my
remarks on Alkib. i. and ii. p. 31.**]

[Side-note: Courage and Temperance, handled both by Plato and
by Aristotle. Comparison between the two.]

These matters I shall revert to in other dialogues, where we shall
find them turned over and canvassed in many different ways. One
farther observation remains to be made on the Lachês and Charmidês,
discussing as they do Courage (which is also again discussed in the
Protagoras) and Temperance. An interesting comparison may be made
between them and the third book of the Nikomachean Ethics of
Aristotle,[45] where the same two subjects are handled in the
Aristotelian manner. The direct, didactic, systematising, brevity of
Aristotle contrasts remarkably with the indirect and circuitous
prolixity, the multiplied suggestive comparisons, the shifting points
of view, which we find in Plato. Each has its advantages: and both
together will be found not more than sufficient, for any one who is
seriously bent on acquiring what Plato calls knowledge, with the
cross-examining power included in it. Aristotle is greatly superior
to Plato in one important attribute of a philosopher: in the care
which he takes to discriminate the different significations of the
same word: the univocal and the equivocal, the generically identical
from the remotely analogical, the proper from the improper, the
literal from the metaphorical. Of such precautions we discover little
or no trace in Plato, who sometimes seems not merely to neglect, but
even to deride them. Yet Aristotle, assisted as he was by all Plato's
speculations before us, is not to be understood as having superseded
the necessity for that negative Elenchus which animates the Platonic
dialogues of Search: nor would his affirmative doctrines have held
their grounds before a cross-examining Sokrates.

[Footnote 45: Aristot. Ethic. Nikom. iii. p. 1115, 1119; also Ethic.
Eudem. iii. 1229-1231.

The comments of Aristotle upon the doctrine of Sokrates respecting
Courage seem to relate rather to the Protagoras than to the Lachês of
Plato. See Eth. Nik. 1116, 6, 4; Eth. Eud. 1229, a. 15.]


APPENDIX.


The dialogue Charmidês is declared to be spurious, not only by Ast,
but also by Socher (Ast, Platon's Leb. pp. 419-428; Socher, Ueber
Platon, pp. 130-137). Steinhart maintains the genuineness of the
dialogue against them; declaring (as in regard to the Lachês) that he
can hardly conceive how critics can mistake the truly Platonic
character of it, though here too, as in the Lachês, he detects
"adolescentiæ vestigia" (Steinhart, Einleit. zum Charmidês,
pp. 290-293).

Schleiermacher considers Charmidês as well as Lachês to be appendixes
to the Protagoras, which opinion both Stallbaum (Proleg. ad Charm, p.
121; Proleg. ad Lachet. p. 30, 2nd ed.) and Steinhart controvert.

The views of Stallbaum respecting the Charmidês are declared by
Steinhart (p. 290) to be "recht äusserlich und oberflächlich". To me
they appear much nearer the truth than the profound and recondite
meanings, the far-sighted indirect hints, which Steinhart himself
perceives or supposes in the words of Plato.

These critics consider the dialogue as composed during the government
of the Thirty at Athens, in which opinion I do not concur.



CHAPTER XX.

LYSIS.


[Side-note: Analogy between Lysis and Charmidês. Richness of
dramatic incident in both. Youthful beauty.]

The Lysis, as well as the Charmidês, is a dialogue recounted by
Sokrates himself, describing both incidents and a conversation in a
crowded Palæstra; wherein not merely bodily exercises were habitually
practised, but debate was carried on and intellectual instruction
given by a Sophist named Mikkus, companion and admirer of Sokrates.
There is a lively dramatic commencement, introducing Sokrates into
the Palæstra, and detailing the preparation and scenic arrangements,
before the real discussion opens. It is the day of the Hermæa, or
festival of Hermes, celebrated by sacrifice and its accompanying
banquets among the frequenters of gymnasia.

[Side-note: Scenery and personages of the Lysis.]

Lysis, like Charmidês, is an Athenian youth, of conspicuous beauty,
modesty, and promise. His father Demokrates represents an ancient
family of the Æxonian Deme in Attica, and is said to be descended
from Zeus and the daughter of the Archêgetês or Heroic Founder of
that Deme. The family moreover are so wealthy, that they have gained
many victories at the Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean games, both with
horses and with chariots and four. Menexenus, companion of Lysis, is
somewhat older, and is his affectionate friend. The persons who
invite Sokrates into the palæstra, and give occasion to the debate,
are Ktesippus and Hippothalês: both of them adults, yet in the vigour
of age. Hippothalês is the Erastes of Lysis, passionately attached to
him. He is ridiculed by Ktesippus for perpetually talking about
Lysis, as well as for addressing to him compositions both in prose
and verse, full of praise and flattery; extolling not only his
personal beauty, but also his splendid ancestry and position.[1]

[Footnote 1: Plato, Lysis, 203-205.]

[Side-note: Origin of the conversation. Sokrates promises to
give an example of the proper way of talking to a youth, for his
benefit.]

In reference to these addresses, Sokrates remonstrates with
Hippothalês on the imprudence and mischief of addressing to a youth
flatteries calculated to turn his head. He is himself then invited by
Hippothalês to exhibit a specimen of the proper mode of talking to
youth; such as shall be at once acceptable to the person addressed,
and unobjectionable. Sokrates agrees to do so, if an opportunity be
afforded him of conversing with Lysis.[2] Accordingly after some
well-imagined incidents, interesting as marks of Greek manners--Sokrates
and Ktesippus with others seat themselves in the palæstra,
amidst a crowd of listeners.[3] Lysis, too modest at first to
approach, is emboldened to sit down by seeing Menexenus seated by the
side of Sokrates: while Hippothalês, not daring to put himself where
Lysis can see him, listens, but conceals himself behind some of the
crowd. Sokrates begins the conversation with Menexenus and Lysis
jointly: but presently Menexenus is called away for a moment, and he
talks with Lysis singly.

[Footnote 2: Plato, Lysis, 206.]

[Footnote 3: Plato, Lysis, 206-207.]

[Side-note: Conversation of Sokrates with Lysis.]

_Sokr._--Well--Lysis--your father and mother love you extremely.
_Lysis._--Assuredly they do. _Sokr._--They would wish you
therefore to be as happy as possible. _Lysis._--Undoubtedly.
_Sokr._--Do you think any man happy, who is a slave, and who is
not allowed to do any thing that he desires? _Lysis._--I do not
think him happy at all. _Sokr._--Since therefore your father and
mother are so anxious that you should be happy, they of course allow
you to do the things which you desire, and never reprove nor forbid
you. _Lysis._--Not at all, by Zeus, Sokrates: there are a great
many things that they forbid me. _Sokr._--How say you! they wish
you to be happy--and they hinder you from doing what you wish! Tell
me, for example, when one of your father's chariots is going to run a
race, if you wished to mount and take the reins, would not they allow
you to do so? _Lysis._--No--certainly: they would not allow me.
_Sokr._--But whom do they allow, then? _Lysis._--My father
employs a paid charioteer. _Sokr._--What! do they permit a
hireling, in preference to _you_, to do what he wishes with the
horses? and do they give him pay besides for doing so?
_Lysis._--Why--to be sure. _Sokr._--But doubtless, I imagine, they
trust the team of mules to your direction; and if you chose to take
the whip and flog, they would allow you? _Lysis._--Allow me? not at
all. _Sokr._--What! is no one allowed to flog them?
_Lysis._--Yes--certainly--the mule-groom. _Sokr._--Is he a
slave or free? _Lysis._--A slave. _Sokr._--Then, it seems,
they esteem a slave higher than you their son; trusting their
property to him rather than to you, letting _him_ do what he
pleases, while they forbid you. But tell me farther: do they allow
you to direct yourself--or do not they even trust you so far as that?
_Lysis._--How can you imagine that they trust me? _Sokr._--But
does any one else direct you? _Lysis._--Yes--this tutor
here. _Sokr._--Is he a slave? _Lysis._--To be sure:
belonging to our family. _Sokr._--That is shocking: one of free
birth to be under the direction of a slave! But what is it that he
does, as your director? _Lysis._--He conducts me to my teacher's
house. _Sokr._--What! do _they_ govern you also, these
teachers? _Lysis._--Undoubtedly they do. _Sokr._--Then your
father certainly is bent on putting over you plenty of directors and
governors. But surely, when you come home to your mother, she at
least, anxious that you should be happy as far as she is concerned,
lets you do what you please about the wool or the web, when she is
weaving: she does not forbid you to meddle with the bodkin or any of
the other instruments of her work? _Lysis._--Ridiculous! not
only does she forbid me, but I should be beaten if I did meddle.
_Sokr._--How is this, by Heraklês? Have you done any wrong to
your father and mother? _Lysis._--Never at all, by Zeus.
_Sokr._--From what provocation is it, then, that they prevent
you in this terrible way, from being happy and doing what you wish?
keeping you the whole day in servitude to some one, and never your
own master? so that you derive no benefit either from the great
wealth of the family, which is managed by every one else rather than
by you--or from your own body, noble as it is. Even _that_ is
consigned to the watch and direction of another: while you, Lysis,
are master of nothing, nor can do any one thing of what you desire.
_Lysis._--The reason is, Sokrates, that I am not yet old enough.
_Sokr._--That can hardly be the reason; for to a certain extent
your father and mother do trust you, without waiting for you to
grow older. If they want any thing to be written or read for them,
they employ you for that purpose in preference to any one in the
house: and you are then allowed to write or read first, whichever of
the letters you think proper. Again, when you take up the lyre,
neither father nor mother hinder you from tightening or relaxing the
strings, or striking them either with your finger or with the
plectrum. _Lysis._--They do not. _Sokr._--Why is it, then,
that they do not hinder you in this last case, as they did in the
cases before mentioned? _Lysis._--I suppose it is because I know
this last, but did not know the others. _Sokr._--Well, my good
friend, you see that it is not your increase of years that your
father waits for; but on the very day that he becomes convinced that
you know better than he, he will entrust both himself and his
property to your management. _Lysis._--I suppose that he will.
_Sokr._--Ay--and your neighbour too will judge in the same way
as your father. As soon as he is satisfied that you understand
house-management better than he does, which do you think he will
rather do--confide his house to you, or continue to manage it
himself? _Lysis._--I think he will confide it to me. _Sokr._--The
Athenians too: do not you think that they also will put their affairs
into your management, as soon as they perceive that you have
intelligence adequate to the task? _Lysis._--Yes: I do.
_Sokr._--What do you say about the Great King also, by Zeus!
When his meat is being boiled, would he permit his eldest son who is
to succeed to the rule of Asia, to throw in any thing that he pleases
into the sauce, rather than us, if we come and prove to him that we
know better than his son the way of preparing sauce?
_Lysis._--Clearly, he will rather permit us. _Sokr._--The Great King
will not let his son throw in even a pinch of salt: while we, if we
chose to take up an entire handful, should be allowed to throw it in.
_Lysis._--No doubt. _Sokr._--What if his son has a
complaint in his eyes; would the Great King, knowing him to be
ignorant of medicine, allow him even to touch his own eyes or would
he forbid him? _Lysis._--He would forbid him. _Sokr._--As
to us, on the contrary, if he accounted us good physicians, and if we
desired even to open the eyes and drop a powder into them, he would
not hinder us, in the conviction that we understood what we were
doing. _Lysis._--You speak truly. _Sokr._--All other
matters, in short, on which he believed us to be wiser than himself
or his son, he would entrust to us rather than to himself or his son?
_Lysis._--Necessarily so, Sokrates. _Sokr._--This is the
state of the case, then, my dear Lysis: On those matters on which we
shall have become intelligent, all persons will put trust in us--Greeks
as well as barbarians, men as well as women. We shall do
whatever we please respecting them: no one will be at all inclined to
interfere with us on such matters; not only we shall be ourselves
free, but we shall have command over others besides. These matters
will be really ours, because we shall derive real good from them.[4]
As to those subjects, on the contrary, on which we shall not have
acquired intelligence, no one will trust us to do what we think
right: every one,--not merely strangers, but father and mother and
nearer relatives if there were any,--will obstruct us as much as they
can: we shall be in servitude so far as these subjects are concerned;
and they will be really alien to us, for we shall derive no real good
from them. Do you admit that this is the case?[5] _Lysis._--I do
admit it. _Sokr._--Shall we then be friends to any one, or will
any one love us, on those matters on which we are unprofitable
_Lysis._--Certainly not. _Sokr._--You see that neither does
your father love you, nor does any man love another, in so far as he
is useless? _Lysis._--Apparently not. _Sokr._--If then you
become intelligent, my boy, all persons will be your friends and all
persons will be your kinsmen: for you will be useful and good: if you
do not, no one will be your friend,--not even your father nor your
mother nor your other relatives.

[Footnote 4: Plato, Lysis, 210 B. [Greek: kai\ ou)dei\s ê(ma=s e(kô\n
ei)=nai e)mpodiei=, a)ll' au)toi/ te e)leu/theroi e)so/metha e)n
au)toi=s kai\ a)/llôn a)/rchontes, ê(me/tera/ te tau=ta e)/stai;
o)nêso/metha ga\r a)p' au)tô=n.]]

[Footnote 5: Plato, Lysis, 210 C. [Greek: au)toi/ te e)n au)toi=s
e)so/metha a)/llôn u(pêkooi, kai\ ê(mi=n e)/stai a)llo/tria; ou)de\n
ga\r a)p' au)tô=n o)nêso/metha. Sugchôrei=s ou(/tôs e)/chein?
Sugchôrô=.]]

Is it possible then, Lysis, for a man to think highly of himself on
those matters on which he does not yet think aright? _Lysis._--How
can it be possible? _Sokr._--If you stand in need of a
teacher, you do not yet think aright? _Lysis._--True.
_Sokr._--Accordingly, you are not presumptuous on the score of
intelligence, since you are still without intelligence.
_Lysis._--By Zeus, Sokrates, I think not.[6]

[Footnote 6: Plato, Lysis, 210 D. [Greek: Oi(=o/n te ou)=n e)pi\
tou/tois, ô)= Lu/si, me/ga phronei=n, e)n oi(=s tis mê/pô phronei=?
Kai\ pô=s a)\n? e)/phê. Ei) d' a)/ra su\ didaska/lou de/ei, ou)/pô
phronei=s. A)lêthê=.

Ou)d' a)/ra megalo/phrôn ei)=, ei)/per a)/phrôn e)/ti. Ma\ Di/',
e)/phê, ô)= Sô/krates, ou)/ moi dokei=.]

There is here a double sense of [Greek: me/ga phronei=n,
megalo/phrôn], which cannot easily be made to pass into any other
language.]

[Side-note: Lysis is humiliated. Distress of Hippothalês.]

When I heard Lysis speak thus (continues Sokrates, who is here the
narrator), I looked towards Hippothalês and I was on the point of
committing a blunder: for it occurred to me to say, That is the way,
Hippothalês, to address a youth whom you love: you ought to check and
humble him, not puff him up and spoil him, as you have hitherto done.
But when I saw him agitated and distressed by what had been said, I
called to mind that, though standing close by, he wished not to be
seen by Lysis. Accordingly, I restrained myself and said nothing of
the kind.[7]

[Footnote 7: Plato, Lysis, 210 E.]

[Side-note: Lysis entreats Sokrates to talk in the like strain
to Menexenus.]

Lysis accepts this as a friendly lesson, inculcating humility: and
seeing Menexenus just then coming back, he says aside to Sokrates,
Talk to Menexenus, as you have been talking to me. You can tell him
yourself (replies Sokrates) what you have heard from me: you listened
very attentively. Most certainly I shall tell him (says Lysis): but
meanwhile pray address to him yourself some other questions, for me
to hear. You must engage to help me if I require it (answers
Sokrates): for Menexenus is a formidable disputant, scholar of our
friend Ktesippus, who is here ready to assist him. I know he is
(rejoined Lysis), and it is for that very reason that I want you to
talk to him--that you may chasten and punish him.[8]

[Footnote 8: Plato, Lysis, 211 B-C. [Greek: a)ll' o(/ra o(/pôs
e)pikourê/seis moi, e)a/n me e)le/gchein e)picheirê=| o( Mene/xenos.
ê)\ ou)k oi)=stha o(/ti e)ristiko/s e)sti? Nai\ ma\ Di/a, e)/phê,
spho/dra ge. dia\ tau=ta/ toi kai\ bou/lomai/ se au)tô=|
diale/gesthai--i(/n' au)to\n kola/sê|s.]

Compare Xenophon, Memor. i. 4, 1, where he speaks of the chastising
purpose often contemplated by Sokrates in his conversation--[Greek:
a)\ e)kei=nos kolastêri/ou e(/neka tou\s pa/nt' oi)ome/nous ei)de/nai
e)rôtô=n ê)/legchen.]]

[Side-note: Value of the first conversation between Sokrates
and Lysis, as an illustration of the Platonico-Sokratic manner.]

I have given at length, and almost literally (with some few
abbreviations), this first conversation between Sokrates and Lysis,
because it is a very characteristic passage, exhibiting conspicuously
several peculiar features of the Platonico-Sokratic interrogation.
Facts common and familiar are placed in a novel point of view,
ingeniously contrasted, and introduced as stepping-stones to a very
wide generality. Wisdom or knowledge is exalted into the ruling force
with liberty of action not admissible except under its guidance:
the questions are put in an inverted half-ironical tone (not uncommon
with the historical Sokrates[9]), as if an affirmative answer were
expected as a matter of course, while in truth the answer is sure to
be negative: lastly, the purpose of checking undue self-esteem is
proclaimed. The rest of the dialogue, which contains the main
substantive question investigated, I can report only in brief
abridgment, with a few remarks following.

[Footnote 9: See the conversation of Sokrates with Glaukon in
Xenophon, Memor. iii. 6; also the conversation with Perikles, iii. 5,
23-24.]

[Side-note: Sokrates begins to examine Menexenus respecting
friendship. Who is to be called a friend? Halt in the dialogue.]

Sokrates begins, as Lysis requests, to interrogate Menexenus--first
premising--Different men have different tastes: some love horses and
dogs, others wealth or honours. For my part, I care little about all
such acquisitions: but I ardently desire to possess friends, and I
would rather have a good friend than all the treasures of Persia. You
two, Menexenus and Lysis, are much to be envied, because at your
early age, each of you has made an attached friend of the other. But
I am so far from any such good fortune, that I do not even know how
any man becomes the friend of another. This is what I want to ask
from you, Menexenus, as one who must know,[10] having acquired such a
friend already.

[Footnote 10: Plato, Lysis, 211-212.]

When one man loves another, which becomes the friend of which? Does
he who loves, become the friend of him whom he loves, whether the
latter returns the affection or not? Or is the person loved, whatever
be his own dispositions, the friend of the person who loves him? Or
is reciprocity of affection necessary, in order that either shall be
the friend of the other?

The speakers cannot satisfy themselves that the title of
_friend_ fits either of the three cases;[11] so that this line
of interrogating comes to a dead lock. Menexenus avows his
embarrassment, while Lysis expresses himself more hopefully.

[Footnote 11: Plato, Lysis, 212-213. 213 C:--[Greek: ei) mê/te oi(
philou=ntes (1) phi/loi e)/sontai, mê/th' oi( philou/menoi (2),
mê/th' oi( philou=nte/s te kai\ philou/menoi] (3), &c. Sokrates
here professes to have shown grounds for rejecting all these three
suppositions. But if we follow the preceding argument, we shall see
that he has shown grounds only against the first two, not against the
third.]

[Side-note: Questions addressed to Lysis. Appeal to the maxims
of the poets. Like is the friend of like. Canvassed and rejected.]

Sokrates now takes up a different aspect of the question, and
turns to Lysis, inviting him to consider what has been laid down
by the poets, "our fathers and guides in respect of wisdom".[12]
Homer says that the Gods originate friendship, by bringing the like
man to his like: Empedokles and other physical philosophers have also
asserted, that like must always and of necessity be the friend of
like. These wise teachers cannot mean (continues Sokrates) that bad
men are friends of each other. The bad man can be no one's friend. He
is not even like himself, but ever wayward and insane:--much less can
he be like to any one else, even to another bad man. They mean that
the good alone are like to each other, and friends to each other.[13]
But is this true? What good, or what harm, can like do to like, which
it does not also do to itself? How can there be reciprocal love
between parties who render to each other no reciprocal aid? Is not
the good man, so far forth as good, sufficient to himself,--standing
in need of no one--and therefore loving no one? How can good men care
much for each other, seeing that they thus neither regret each other
when absent, nor have need of each other when present?[14]

[Footnote 12: Plato, Lysis, 213 E: [Greek: skopou=nta kata\ tou\s
poiêta/s; ou(=toi ga\r ê(mi=n ô(/sper pate/res tê=s sophi/as ei)si\
kai\ ê(gemo/nes.]]

[Footnote 13: Plato, Lysis, 214.]

[Footnote 14: Plato, Lysis 215 B: [Greek: O( de\ mê/ tou deo/menos,
ou)de/ ti a)gapô/| a)\n. . . . O(\ de\ mê\ a)gapô/|ê, ou)d' a)\n
philoi=. . . . Pô=s ou)=n oi( a)gathoi\ toi=s a)gathoi=s ê(mi=n phi/loi
e)/sontai tê\n a)rchê/n, oi(\ mê/te a(po/ntes potheinoi\
a)llê/lois--i(kanoi\ ga\r e(autoi=s kai\ chôri\s o)/ntes--mê/te paro/ntes
chrei/an au)tô=n e)/chousi? tou\s dê\ toiou/tous ti/s mêchanê\ peri\
pollou= poiei=sthai a)llêlous?]]

[Side-note: Other poets declare that likeness is a cause of
aversion; unlikeness, of friendship. Reasons _pro_ and
_con_. Rejected.]

It appears, therefore, Lysis (continues Sokrates), that we are
travelling in the wrong road, and must try another direction. I now
remember to have recently heard some one affirming--contrary to what
we have just said--that likeness is a cause of aversion, and**
unlikeness a cause of friendship. He too produced evidence from the
poets: for Hesiod tells us, that "potter is jealous of potter, and
bard of bard". Things most alike are most full of envy, jealousy and
hatred to each other: things most unlike, are most full of
friendship. Thus the poor man is of necessity a friend to the rich,
the weak man to the strong, for the sake of protection: the sick man,
for similar reason, to the physician. In general, every ignorant man
loves, and is a friend to, the man of knowledge. Nay, there are
also physical philosophers, who assert that this principle
pervades all nature; that dry is the friend of moist, cold of hot,
and so forth: that all contraries serve as nourishment to their
contraries. These are ingenious teachers: but if we follow them, we
shall have the cleverest disputants attacking us immediately, and
asking--What! is the opposite essentially a friend to its opposite?
Do you mean that unjust is essentially the friend of just--temperate
of intemperate--good of evil? Impossible: the doctrine cannot be
maintained.[15]

[Footnote 15: Plato, Lysis, 215-216.]

[Side-note: Confusion of Sokrates. He suggests, That the
Indifferent (neither good nor evil) is friend to the Good.]

My head turns (continues Sokrates) with this confusion and puzzle--since
neither like is the friend of like, nor contrary of contrary.
But I will now hazard a different guess of my own.[16] There are
three genera in all: the good--the evil--and that which is neither
good nor evil, the indifferent. Now we have found that good is not a
friend to good--nor evil to evil--nor good to evil--nor evil to good.
If therefore there exist any friendship at all, it must be the
indifferent that is friend, either to its like, or to the good: for
nothing whatever can be a friend to evil. But if the indifferent be a
friend at all, it cannot be a friend to its own like; since we have
already shown that like generally is not friend to like. It remains
therefore, that the indifferent, in itself neither good nor evil, is
friend to the good.[17]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Lysis, 216 C-D: [Greek: tô=| o)/nti au)to\s
i)liggiô= u(po\ tê=s tou= lo/gou a)pori/as--Le/gô toi/nun
a)pomanteuo/menos], &c.]

[Footnote 17: Plato, Lysis, 216 D.]

[Side-note: Suggestion canvassed. If the Indifferent is friend
to the Good, it is determined to become so by the contact of felt
evil, from which it is anxious to escape.]

Yet hold! Are we on the right scent? What reason is there to
determine, on the part of the indifferent, attachment to the good? It
will only have such attachment under certain given circumstances:
when, though neither good nor evil in itself, it has nevertheless
evil associated with it, of which it desires to be rid. Thus the body
in itself is neither good nor evil: but when diseased, it has evil
clinging to it, and becomes in consequence of this evil, friendly to
the medical art as a remedy. But this is true only so long as the
evil is only apparent, and not real: so long as it is a mere
superficial appendage, and has not become incorporated with the
essential nature of the body. When evil has become engrained,
the body ceases to be indifferent (_i.e._, neither good nor
evil), and loses all its attachment to good. Thus that which
determines the indifferent to become friend of the good, is, the
contact and pressure of accessory evil not in harmony with its own
nature, accompanied by a desire for the cure of such evil.[18]

[Footnote 18: Plato, Lysis, 217 E: [Greek: To\ mê/te kako\n a)/ra
mê/t' a)gatho\n e)ni/ote kakou= paro/ntos ou)/pô kako/n e)stin,
e)/sti d' o(/te ê)/dê to\ toiou=ton ge/gonen. Pa/nu ge. Ou)kou=n
o(/tan mê/pô lalo\n ê(=| kakou= paro/ntos, au)tê\ me\n ê( parousi/a
a)gathou= au)to\ poiei= e)pithumei=n, ê( de\ kako\n poiou=sa
a)posterei= au)to\ tê=s t' e)pithumi/as a)/ma kai\ tê=s phili/as
ta)gathou=. Ou) ga\r e)/ti e)sti\n ou)/te kako\n ou)/t' a)gatho/n,
a)lla\ kako/n; phi/lon de\ a)gathô=| kako\n ou)k ê)=n.]]

[Side-note: Principle illustrated by the philosopher. His
intermediate condition--not wise, yet painfully feeling his own
ignorance.]

Under this head comes the explanation of the philosopher--the friend
or lover of wisdom. The man already wise is not a lover of wisdom:
nor the man thoroughly bad and stupid, with whose nature ignorance is
engrained. Like does not love like, nor does contrary love contrary.
The philosopher is intermediate between the two: he is not wise, but
neither has he yet become radically stupid and unteachable. He has
ignorance cleaving to him as an evil, but he knows his own ignorance,
and yearns for wisdom as a cure for it.[19]

[Footnote 19: Plato, Lysis, 218 A. [Greek: dia\ tau=ta dê\ phai=men
a)\n kai\ tou\s ê)/dê sophou\s mêke/ti philosophei=n, ei)/te theoi\
ei)/te a)/nthrôpoi/ ei)sin ou(=toi; ou)d' au)= e)kei/nous
philosophei=n tou\s ou(/tôs a)/gnoian e)/chontas ô(/ste kakou\s
ei)=nai; kako\n ga\r kai\ a)mathê= ou)de/na philosophei=n. lei/pontai
dê\ oi( e)/chontes me\n to\ kako\n tou=to, tê\n a)/gnoian, mê/pô de\
u(p' au)tou= o)/ntes a)gnô/mones mêd' a)mathei=s, a)ll' e)/ti
ê(gou/menoi mê\ ei)de/nai a(\ mê\ i)/sasin. dio\ dê\ philosophou=sin
oi( ou)/te a)gathoi\ ou)/te kakoi/ pô o)/ntes. o(/soi de\ kakoi\, ou)
philosophou=sin, ou)de\ oi( a)gathoi/.]

Compare Plato, Symposion, 204.]

[Side-note: Sokrates dissatisfied. He originates a new
suggestion. The Primum Amabile, or object originally dear to us,
_per se_: by relation or resemblance to which other objects
become dear.]

The two young collocutors with Sokrates welcome this explanation
heartily, and Sokrates himself appears for the moment satisfied with
it. But he presently bethinks himself, and exclaims, Ah! Lysis and
Menexenus, our wealth is all a dream! we have been yielding again to
delusions! Let us once more examine. You will admit that all
friendship is on account of something and for the sake of something:
it is relative both to some producing cause, and to some prospective
end. Thus the body, which is in itself neither good nor evil, becomes
when sick a friend to the medical art: on account of sickness, which
is an evil--and for the sake of health, which is a good. The medical
art is dear to us, because health is dear: but is there any thing
behind, for the sake of which health also is dear? It is plain
that we cannot push the series of references onward for ever, and
that we must come ultimately to something which is dear _per
se_, not from reference to any ulterior _aliud_. We must come
to some _primum amabile_, dear by its own nature, to which all
other dear things refer, and from which they are derivatives.[20] It
is this _primum amabile_ which is the primitive, essential, and
constant, object of our affections: we love other things only from
their being associated with it. Thus suppose a father tenderly
attached to his son, and that the son has drunk hemlock, for which
wine is an antidote; the father will come by association to prize
highly, not merely the wine which saves his son's life, but even the
cup in which the wine is contained. Yet it would be wrong to say that
he prizes the wine or the cup as much as his son: for the truth is,
that all his solicitude is really on behalf of his son, and extends
only in a derivative and secondary way to the wine and the cup. So
about gold and silver: we talk of prizing highly gold and silver--but
this is incorrect, for what we really prize is not gold, but the
ulterior something, whatever it be, for the attainment of which gold
and other instrumental means are accumulated. In general terms--when
we say that B is dear on account of A, we are really speaking of A
under the name of B. What is really dear, is that primitive object of
love, _primum amabile_, towards which all the affections which
we bear to other things, refer and tend.[21]

[Footnote 20: Plato, Lysis, 219 C-D. [Greek: A)=r' ou)=n ou)k
a)na/gkê a)peipei=n ê(ma=s ou(/tôs i)o/ntas, kai\ a)phike/sthai e)pi/
tina a)rchê\n, ê)\ ou)ke/t' e)panoi/sei e)p' a)/llo phi/lon, a)ll'
ê(/xei e)p' e)kei=no o(/ e)sti _prô=ton phi/lon_, ou(= e(/neka
kai\ ta)/lla phame\n pa/nta phi/la ei)=nai?]]

[Footnote 21: Plato, Lysis, c. 37, p. 220 B. [Greek: O(/sa ga/r
phamen phi/la ei)=nai ê(mi=n e(/neka phi/lou tino/s, e(te/rô|
r(ê/mati phaino/metha le/gontes _au)to/_; phi/lon de\ _tô=|
o)/nti_ kinduneu/ei _e)kei=no au)to\_, ei)s o(\ pa=sai
au(=tai ai( lego/menai phili/ai teleutô=sin.]]

[Side-note: The cause of love is desire. We desire that which
is akin to us or our own.]

Is it then true (continues Sokrates) that good is our _primum
amabile_, and dear to us in itself? If so, is it dear to us on
account of evil? that is, only as a remedy for evil; so that if evil
were totally banished, good would cease to be prized? Is it true that
evil is the cause why any thing is dear to us?[22] This cannot be:
because even if all evil were banished, the appetites and
desires, such of them as were neither good nor evil, would still
remain: and the things which gratify those appetites will be dear to
us. It is not therefore true that evil is the cause of things being
dear to us. We have just found out another cause for loving and being
loved--desire. He who desires, loves what he desires and as long as
he desires: he desires moreover that of which he is in want, and he
is in want of that which has been taken away from him--of his
own.[23] It is therefore this _own_ which is the appropriate
object of desire, friendship, and love. If you two, Lysis and
Menexenus, love each other, it is because you are somehow of kindred
nature with each other. The lover would not become a lover, unless
there were, between him and his beloved, a certain kinship or
affinity in mind, disposition, tastes, or form. We love, by necessary
law, that which has a natural affinity to us; so that the real and
genuine lover may be certain of a return of affection from his
beloved.[24]

[Footnote 22: Plato, Lysis, 220 D. We may see that in this chapter
Plato runs into a confusion between [Greek: to\ dia/ ti] and [Greek:
to\ e(/neka/ tou], which two he began by carefully distinguishing.
Thus in 218 D he says, [Greek: o( phi/los e)sti\ tô| phi/los--e(/neka/
tou kai\ dia/ ti.] Again 219 A, he says--[Greek: to\ sô=ma
tê=s i)atrikê=s phi/lon e)sti/n, _dia\ tê\n no/son, e(/neka tê=s
u(giei/as_.] This is a very clear and important distinction.

It is continued in 220 D--[Greek: o(/ti _dia\ to\ kako\n_
ta)gatho\n ê)gapô=men kai\ e)philou=men, ô(s pha/rmakon o)\n tou=
kakou= to\ a)gatho/n, to\ de\ kako/n no/sma.] But in 220 E--[Greek:
to\ de\ tô=| o)/nti phi/lon pa=n tou)nanti/on tou/tou phai/netai
pephuko/s; _phi/lon ga\r ê(mi=n a)nepha/nê o(\n e(chthrou=
e(/neka_.] To make the reasoning consistent with what had gone
before, these two last words ought to be exchanged for [Greek: dia\
to\ e)chthro/n]. Plato had laid down the doctrine that good is
loved--[Greek: dia\ to\ kako/n], not [Greek: e(/neka tou= kakou=]. Good
is loved on _account of evil_, but for _the sake of obtaining_
a remedy to or cessation of the evil.

Steinhart (in his note on Hieron. Müller's translation of Plato, p.
268) calls this a "sophistisches Räthselspiel"; and he notes other
portions of the dialogue which "remind us of the deceptive tricks of
the Sophists" (die Trugspiele der Sophisten, see p. 222-224-227-230).
He praises Plato here for his "fine pleasantry on the deceptive arts
of the Sophists". Admitting that Plato puts forward sophistical
quibbles with the word [Greek: phi/los], he tells us that this is
suitable for the purpose of puzzling the contentious young man
Menexenus. The confusion between [Greek: e(/neka/ tou] and [Greek:
dia/ ti] (noticed above) appears to be numbered by Steinhart among
the fine jests against Protagoras, Prodikus, or some of the Sophists.
I can see nothing in it except an unconscious inaccuracy in Plato's
reasoning.]

[Footnote 23: Plato, Lysis, 221 E. [Greek: To\ e)pithumou=n ou(= a)\n
e)ndee\s ê)=|, tou/tou e)pithumei=--e)ndee\s de\ gi/gnetai ou(= a)/n
tis a)phairê=tai--tou= oi)kei/ou dê/, ô(s e)/oiken, o(/ te e)/rôs
kai\ ê( phili/a kai\ ê( e)pithumi/a tugcha/nei ou)=sa.] This is the
same doctrine as that which we read, expanded and cast into a myth
with comic turn, in the speech of Aristophanes in the Symposion, pp.
191-192-193. [Greek: e(/kastos ou)=n ê(mô=n e)/stin a)nthrô/pou
su/mbolon, a)/te tetmême/nos ô(/sper ai( psê=ttai e)x e(no\s du/o.
zêtei= dê\ a)ei\ to\ au)tou= e(/kastos xu/mbolon] (191 D)--[Greek:
dikai/ôs a)\n u(mnoi=men E)/rôta, o(\s e)/n te tô=| paro/nti plei=sta
ê(ma=s o)ni/nêsin ei)s to\ oi)kei=on a)/gôn], &c. (193 D).]

[Footnote 24: Plato, Lysis, 221-222.]

[Side-note: Good is of a nature akin to every one, evil is
alien to every one. Inconsistency with what has been previously laid
down.]

But is there any real difference between what is akin and what is
like? We must assume that there is: for we showed before, that like
was useless to like, and therefore not dear to like. Shall we say
that good is of a nature akin to every one, and evil of a nature
foreign to every one? If so, then there can be no friendship except
between one good man and another good man. But this too has been
proved to be impossible. All our tentatives have been alike
unsuccessful.

[Side-note: Failure of the enquiry. Close of the dialogue.]

In this dilemma (continues Sokrates, the narrator) I was about to ask
assistance from some of the older men around. But the tutors of
Menexenus and Lysis came up to us and insisted on conveying their
pupils home--the hour being late. As the youths were departing I said
to them--Well, we must close our dialogue with the confession, that
we have all three made a ridiculous figure in it: I, an old man, as
well as you two youths. Our hearers will go away declaring, that we
fancy ourselves to be friends each to the other two; but that we have
not yet been able to find out what a friend is.[25]

[Footnote 25: Plato, Lysis, 223 B. [Greek: Nu=n me\n katage/lastoi
gego/namen e)gô/ te, gerô\n a)nê/r, kai\ u(mei=s], &c.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Remarks. No positive result. Sokratic purpose in
analysing the familiar words--to expose the false persuasion of
knowledge.]

Thus ends the main discussion of the Lysis: not only without any
positive result, but with speakers and hearers more puzzled than they
were at the beginning: having been made to feel a great many
difficulties which they never felt before. Nor can I perceive any
general purpose running through the dialogue, except that truly
Sokratic and Platonic purpose--To show, by cross-examination on the
commonest words that what every one appears to know, and talks about
most confidently, no one really knows or can distinctly explain.[26]
This is the meaning of the final declaration put into the mouth
of Sokrates. "We believe ourselves to be each other's friends, yet we
none of us know what a friend is." The question is one, which no one
had ever troubled himself to investigate, or thought it requisite to
ask from others. Every one supposed himself to know, and every one
had in his memory an aggregate of conceptions and beliefs which he
accounted tantamount to knowledge: an aggregate generated by the
unconscious addition of a thousand facts and associations, each
separately unimportant and often inconsistent with the remainder:
while no rational analysis had ever been applied to verify the
consistency of this spontaneous product, or to define the familiar
words in which it is expressed. The reader is here involved in a
cloud of confusion respecting Friendship. No way out of it is shown,
and how is he to find one? He must take the matter into his own
active and studious meditation: which he has never yet done, though
the word is always in his mouth, and though the topic is among the
most common and familiar, upon which "the swain treads daily with his
clouted shoon".

[Footnote 26: Among the many points of analogy between the Lysis and
the Charmidês, one is, That both of them are declared to be spurious
and unworthy of Plato, by Socher as well as by Ast (Ast, Platon's
Leben, pp. 429-434; Socher, Ueber Platon, pp. 137-144).

Schleiermacher ranks the Lysis as second in his Platonic series of
dialogues, an appendix to the Phædrus (Einl. p. 174 seq.); K. F.
Hermann, Stallbaum, and nearly all the other critics dissent from
this view: they place the Lysis as an early dialogue, along with
Charmidês and Lachês, anterior to the Protagoras (K. F. Hermann,
Gesch. und Syst. Plat. Phil. pp. 447-448; Stallbaum, Proleg. ad Lys.
p. 90 (110 2nd ed.); Steinhart, Einl. p. 221) near to or during the
government of the Thirty. All of them profess to discover in the
Lysis "adolescentiæ vestigia".

Ast and Socher characterise the dialogue as a tissue of subtle
sophistry and eristic contradiction, such as (in their opinion) Plato
cannot have composed. Stallbaum concedes the sophistry, but contends
that it is put by Plato intentionally, for the purpose of deriding,
exposing, disgracing, the Sophists and their dialectical tricks:
"ludibrii causâ" (p. 88); "ut illustri aliquo exemplo demonstretur
dialecticam istam, quam adolescentes magno quodam studio sectabantur,
nihil esse aliud, nisi inanem quandam argutiarum captatricem,"
&c. (p. 87). Nevertheless he contends that along with this
derisory matter there is intermingled serious reasoning which may be
easily distinguished (p. 87), but which certainly he does not clearly
point out. (Compare pp. 108-9-14-15, 2nd ed.) Schleiermacher and
Steinhart also (pp. 222-224-227) admit the sophistry in which
Sokrates is here made to indulge. But Steinhart maintains that there
is an assignable philosophical purpose in the dialogue, which Plato
purposely wrapped up in enigmatical language, but of which he
(Steinhart) professes to give the solution (p. 228).]

[Side-note: Subject of Lysis. Suited for a Dialogue of Search.
Manner of Sokrates, multiplying defective explanations, and showing
reasons why each is defective.]

This was a proper subject for a dialogue of Search. In the dialogue
Lysis, Plato describes Sokrates as engaged in one of these searches,
handling, testing, and dropping, one point of view after another,
respecting the idea and foundation of friendship. He speaks,
professedly, as a diviner or guesser; following out obscure
promptings which he does not yet understand himself.[27] In this
character, he suggests several different explanations, not only
distinct but inconsistent with each other; each of them true to a
certain extent, under certain conditions and circumstances: but each
of them untrue, when we travel beyond those limits: other
contradictory considerations then interfering. To multiply defective
explanations, and to indicate why each is defective, is the whole
business of the dialogue.

[Footnote 27: Plato, Lysis, 216 D. [Greek: le/gô toi/nun
a)pomanteuo/menos], &c.]

[Side-note: The process of trial and error is better
illustrated by a search without result than with result. Usefulness
of the dialogue for self-working minds.]

Schleiermacher discovers in this dialogue indications of a positive
result not plainly enunciated: but he admits that Aristotle did not
discover them--nor can I believe them to have been intended by the
author.[28] But most critics speak slightingly of it, as alike
sceptical and sophistical: and some even deny its authenticity on
these grounds. Plato might have replied by saying that he intended it
as a specimen illustrating the process of search for an unknown
_quæsitum_; and as an exposition of what can be said for, as
well as against, many different points of view. The process of trial
and error, the most general fact of human intelligence, is even
better illustrated when the search is unsuccessful: because when a
result is once obtained, most persons care for nothing else and
forget the antecedent blunders. To those indeed, who ask only to hear
the result as soon as it is found, and who wait for others to look
for it--such a dialogue as the Lysis will appear of little value. But
to any one who intends to search for it himself, or to study the same
problem for himself, the report thus presented of a previous
unsuccessful search, is useful both as guidance and warning. Every
one of the tentative solutions indicated in the Lysis has something
in its favour, yet is nevertheless inadmissible. To learn the grounds
which ultimately compel us to reject what at first appears
admissible, is instruction not to be despised; at the very least, it
helps to preserve us from mistake, and to state the problem in the
manner most suitable for obtaining a solution.

[Footnote 28: Schleiermacher, Einleitung zum Lysis, i. p. 177.]

[Side-note: Subject of friendship, handled both by the
Xenophontic Sokrates, and by Aristotle.]

In truth, no one general solution is attainable, such as Plato here
professes to search for.[29] In one of the three Xenophontic
dialogues wherein the subject of friendship is discussed we find
the real Sokrates presenting it with a juster view of its real
complications.[30] The same remark may be made upon Aristotle's
manner of handling friendship in the Ethics. He seems plainly to
allude to the Lysis (though not mentioning it by name); and to profit
by it at least in what he puts out of consideration, if not in what
he brings forward.[31] He discards the physical and cosmical
analogies, which Plato borrows from Empedokles and Herakleitus, as
too remote and inapplicable: he considers that the question must be
determined by facts and principles relating to human dispositions and
conduct. In other ways, he circumscribes the problem, by setting
aside (what Plato includes) all objects of attachment which are not
capable of reciprocating attachment.[32] The problem, as set forth
here by Plato, is conceived in great generality. In what manner does
one man become the friend of another?[33] How does a man become the
object of friendship or love from another? What is that object
towards which our love or friendship is determined? These terms are
so large, that they include everything belonging to the Tender
Emotion generally.[34]

[Footnote 29: Turgot has some excellent remarks on the hopelessness
of such problems as that which Plato propounds, here well as in other
dialogues, to find definitions of common and vague terms.

We read in his article Etymologie, in the Encyclopédie (vol. iii. pp.
70-72 of his Oeuvres Complets):

"Qu'on se répresente la foule des acceptions du mot _esprit_,
depuis son sens primitif _spiritus, haleine_, jusqu'à ceux
qu'on lui donne dans la chimie, dans la littérature, dans la
jurisprudence, _esprit acide_, esprit de Montaigne, _esprit
des loix_, &c.--qu'on essaie d'extraire de toutes ces
acceptions une idée qui soit commune à toutes--on verra s'évanouir
tous les caractères qui distinguent _l'esprit_ de toute autre
chose, dans quelque sens qu'on le prenne. . . . La multitude et
l'incompatibilité des acceptions du mot _esprit_, sont telles,
que personne n'a été tenté de les comprendre toutes dans une seule
_définition_, et de définir l'esprit en général. Mais le vice de
cette méthode n'est pas moins réel lorsqu'il n'est pas assez sensible
pour empêcher qu'on ne la suive.

"A mesure que le nombre et la diversité des acceptions diminue,
l'absurdité s'affoiblit: et quand elle disparoit, il reste encore
l'erreur. J'ose dire, que presque toutes les _définitions_ où
l'on annonce qu'on va définir les choses _dans le sens le plus
général_, ont ce défaut, et ne définissent véritablement rien:
parceque leurs auteurs, en voulant renfermer toutes les acceptions
d'un mot, ont entrepris une chose impossible: je veux dire, de
rassembler sous une seule idée générale des idées très différentes
entre elles, et qu'un même nom n'a jamais pu désigner que
successivement, en cessant en quelque sorte d'être le même mot."

See also the remarks of Mr. John Stuart Mill on the same subject.
System of Logic, Book IV. chap. 4, s. 5.]

[Footnote 30: See Xenophon, Memor. ii. 4-5-6. In the last of these
three conversations (s. 21-22), Sokrates says to Kritobulus [Greek:
A)ll' e)/chei me\n poiki/lôs pôs tau=ta, ô)= Krito/boule; phu/sei
ga\r e)/chousin oi( a)/nthrôpoi ta\ me\n philika/; de/ontai te ga\r
a)llê/lôn, kai\ e)leou=si, kai\ sunergou=ntes ô)phelou=si, kai\
tou=to sunie/ntes cha/rin e)/chousin a)llê/lois, ta\ de\ polemika/;
ta/ te ga\r au)ta\ kala\ kai\ ê(de/a nomi/zontes u(pe\r tou/tôn
ma/chontai, kai\ dichognômonou=ntes e)nantiou=ntai; polemiko\n de\
kai\ e)/ris kai\ o)rgê/; kai\ dusmene\s me\n o( tou= pleonektei=n
e)/rôs, misêto\n de\ o( phtho/nos.]

This observation of Sokrates is very true and valuable--that the
causes of friendship and the causes of enmity are both of them
equally natural, _i.e._ equally interwoven with the constant
conditions of individual and social life. This is very different from
the vague, partial, and encomiastic predicates with which [Greek: to\
phu/sei] is often decorated elsewhere by Sokrates himself, as well as
by Plato and Aristotle.]

[Footnote 31: Aristot. Eth. Nikom. viii. 1, p. 1155 b. Compare Plato,
Lysis, 214 A--215 E.]

[Footnote 32: Aristot. Ethic. Nik. viii. 2, p. 1155, b. 28; Plato,
Lysis, 212 D.]

[Footnote 33: Plato, Lysis, 212 A: [Greek: o(/ntina tro/pon gi/gnetai
phi/los e(/teros e(te/rou.] 223 ad fin.: [Greek: o(/, ti e)sti\n o(
phi/los.]]

[Footnote 34: See the chapter on Tender Emotion in Mr. Bain's
elaborate classification and description of the Emotions. 'The
Emotions and the Will,' ch. vii. p. 94 seq. (3rd ed., p. 124).

In the Lysis, 216 C-D, we read, among the suppositions thrown out by
Sokrates, about [Greek: to\ phi/lon--kinduneu/ei kata\ tê\n
a)rchai/an paroimi/an to\ kalo\n phi/lon ei)=nai. e)/oike gou=n
malakô=| tini kai\lei/ô| kai\ liparô=|; dio\ kai\ i)/sôs r(a|di/ôs
diolisthai/nei kai\ diadu/etai ê(ma=s, a(/te toiou=ton o)/n; le/gô
ga\r ta)gatho\n kalo\n ei)=nai.] This allusion to the soft and the
smooth is not very clear; a passage in Mr. Bain's chapter serves to
illustrate it.

"Among the sensations of the senses we find some that have the power
of awakening tender emotion. The sensations that incline to
tenderness are, in the first place, the effects of very gentle or
soft stimulants, such as soft touches, gentle sounds, slow movements,
temperate warmth, mild sunshine. These sensations must be felt in
order to produce the effect, which is mental and not simply organic.
We have seen that an acute sensation raises a vigorous muscular
expression, as in wonder; a contrast to this is exhibited by gentle
pressure or mild radiance. Hence tenderness is passive emotion by
pre-eminence: we see it flourishing best in the quiescence of the
moving members. Remotely there may be a large amount of action
stimulated by it, but the proper outgoing accompaniment of it is
organic not muscular."

That the sensations of the soft and the smooth dispose to the Tender
Emotion is here pointed out as a fact in human nature, agreeably to
the comparison of Plato. Mr. Bain's treatise has the rare merit of
describing fully the physical as well as the mental characteristics
of each separate emotion.]

[Side-note: Debate in the Lysis partly verbal, partly real.
Assumptions made by the Platonic Sokrates, questionable, such as the
real Sokrates would have found reason for challenging.]

The debate in the Lysis is partly verbal: _i.e._, respecting the
word [Greek: phi/los], whether it means the person loving, or the
person loved, or whether it shall be confined to those cases in which
the love is reciprocal, and then applied to both. Herein the question
is about the meaning of words--a word and nothing more. The following
portions of the dialogue enter upon questions not verbal but
real--"Whether we are disposed to love what is like to ourselves, or
what is unlike or opposite to ourselves?" Though both these are
occasionally true, it is shown that as general explanations neither
of them will hold. But this is shown by means of the following
assumptions, which not only those whom Plato here calls the "very
clever Disputants,"[35] but Sokrates himself at other times, would
have called in question, viz.: "That bad men cannot be friends to
each other--that men like to each other (therefore good men as
well as bad) can be of no use to each other, and therefore there can
be no basis of friendship between them--that the good man is
self-sufficing, stands in need of no one, and therefore will not love
any one."[36] All these assumptions Sokrates would have found sufficient
reason for challenging, if they had been advanced by Protagoras or
any other opponents. They stand here as affirmed by him; but here, as
elsewhere in Plato, the reader must apply his own critical intellect,
and test what he reads for himself.

[Footnote 35: Plato, Lysis, 216 A.: [Greek: oi( pa/nsophoi a)/ndres
oi( a)ntilogikoi/], &c. Yet Plato, in the Phædrus and Symposion,
indicates colloquial debate as the great generating cause of the most
intense and durable friendship. Aristeides the Rhetor says, Orat.
xlvii. ([Greek: Pro\s Kapi/tôna]), p. 418, Dindorf, [Greek: e)pei\
kai\ Pla/tôn to\ a)lêthe\s a(pantachou= tima=|, kai\ ta\s e)n toi=s
lo/gois sunousi/as a)phormê\n phili/as a)lêthinê=s u(polamba/nei.]]

[Footnote 36: Plato, Lysis, 214-215. The discourse of Cicero, De
Amicitiâ, is composed in a style of pleasing rhetoric; suitable to
Lælius, an ancient Roman senator and active politician, who expressly
renounces the accurate subtlety of Grecian philosophers (v. 18).
There is little in it which we can compare with the Platonic Lysis;
but I observe that he too, giving expression to his own feelings,
maintains that there can be no friendship except between the good and
virtuous: a position which is refuted by the "nefaria vox," cited by
himself as spoken by C. Blossius, xi. 37.]

[Side-note: Peculiar theory about friendship broached by
Sokrates. Persons neither good nor evil by nature, yet having a
superficial tinge of evil, and desiring good to escape from it.]

It is thus shown, or supposed to be shown, that the persons who love
are neither the Good, nor the Bad: and that the objects loved, are
neither things or persons similar, nor opposite, to the persons
loving. Sokrates now adverts to the existence of a third
category--Persons who are neither good, nor bad, but intermediate between
the two--Objects which are intermediate between likeness and opposition.
He announces as his own conjecture,[37] that the Subject of friendly
or loving feeling, is, that which is neither good nor evil: the
Object of the feeling, Good: and the cause of the feeling, the
superficial presence of evil, which the subject desires to see
removed.[38] The evil must be present in a superficial and removable
manner--like whiteness in the hair caused by white paint, not by the
grey colour of old age. Sokrates applies this to the state of mind of
the philosopher, or lover of knowledge: who is not yet either
thoroughly good or thoroughly bad,--either thoroughly wise or
thoroughly unwise--but in a state intermediate between the two:
ignorant, yet conscious of his own ignorance, and feeling it as a
misfortune which he was anxious to shake off.[39]

[Footnote 37: Plato, Lysis, 216 D. [Greek: le/gô toi/nun
a)pomanteuo/menos], &c.]

[Footnote 38: Plato, Lysis, 216-217.]

[Footnote 39: Plato, Lysis, 218 C. [Greek: lei/pontai dê\ oi(
e)/chontes me\n to\ kako\ tou=to, tê\n a)/gnoian, mê/pô de\ u(p'
au)tou= o)/ntes a)gnô/mones mêd' a)mathei=s, a)ll' e)/ti ê(gou/menoi
mê\ ei)de/nai a)\ mê\ i)/sasi; dio\ dê\ philosophou=sin oi( ou)/te
a)gathoi\ ou)/te kakoi/ pô o)/ntes; o(/soi de\ kakoi/, ou)
philosophou=sin, ou)de\ oi( a)gathoi/.] Compare the phrase of Seneca,
Epist. 59, p. 211, Gronov.: "Elui difficile est: non enim inquinati
sumus, sed infecti".]

[Side-note: This general theory illustrated by the case
of the philosopher or lover of wisdom. Painful consciousness of
ignorance the attribute of the philosopher. Value set by Sokrates and
Plato upon this attribute.]

This meaning of philosophy, though it is not always and consistently
maintained throughout the Platonic writings, is important as
expanding and bringing into system the position laid down by Sokrates
in the Apology. He there disclaimed all pretensions to wisdom, but he
announced himself as a philosopher, in the above literal sense: that
is, as ignorant, yet as painfully conscious of his own ignorance, and
anxiously searching for wisdom as a corrective to it: while most men
were equally ignorant, but were unconscious of their own ignorance,
believed themselves to be already wise, and delivered confident
opinions without ever having analysed the matters on which they
spoke. The conversation of Sokrates (as I have before remarked) was
intended, not to teach wisdom, but to raise men out of this false
persuasion of wisdom, which he believed to be the natural state of
the human mind, into that mental condition which he called
philosophy. His Elenchus made them conscious of their ignorance,
anxious to escape from it, and prepared for mental efforts in search
of knowledge: in which search Sokrates assisted them, but without
declaring, and even professing inability to declare, where that truth
lay in which the search was to end. He considered that this change
was in itself a great and serious improvement, converting what was
evil, radical, and engrained--into evil superficial and removable;
which was a preliminary condition to any positive acquirement. The
first thing to be done was to create searchers after truth, men who
would look at the subject for themselves with earnest attention, and
make up their own individual convictions. Even if nothing ulterior
were achieved, that alone would be a great deal. Such was the scope
of the Sokratic conversation; and such the conception of philosophy
(the capital peculiarity which Plato borrowed from Sokrates), which
is briefly noted in this passage of the Lysis, and developed in other
Platonic dialogues, especially in the Symposion,[40] which we shall
reach presently.

[Footnote 40: Plato, Sympos. 202-203-204. Phædrus, 278 D.]

[Side-note: Another theory of Sokrates. The Primum Amabile, or
original and primary object of Love. Particular objects are loved
through association with this. The object is, Good.]

Still, however, Sokrates is not fully satisfied with this
hypothesis, but passes on to another. If we love anything, we
must love it (he says) for the sake of something. This implies that
there must exist, in the background, a something which is the
primitive and real object of affection. The various things which we
actually love, are not loved for their own sake, but for the sake of
this _primum amabile_, and as shadows projected by it: just as a
man who loves his son, comes to love by association what is salutary
or comforting to his son--or as he loves money for the sake of what
money will purchase. The _primum amabile_, in the view of
Sokrates, is _Good_; particular things loved, are loved as
shadows of good.

[Side-note: Statement by Plato of the general law of mental
association.]

This is a doctrine which we shall find reproduced in other dialogues.
We note with interest here, that it appears illustrated, by a
statement of the general law of mental association--the calling up of
one idea by other ideas or by sensations, and the transference of
affections from one object to others which have been apprehended in
conjunction with it, either as antecedents or consequents. Plato
states this law clearly in the Phædon and elsewhere:[41] but he here
conceives it imperfectly: for he seems to believe that, if an
affection be transferred by association from a primitive object A, to
other objects, B, C, D, &c., A always continues to be the only
real object of affection, while B, C, D, &c., operate upon the
mind merely by carrying it back to A. The affection towards B, C, D,
&c., therefore is, in the view of Plato, only the affection for A
under other denominations and disguises.[42] Now this is doubtless
often the case; but often also, perhaps even more generally, it is
not the case. After a certain length of repetition and habit, all
conscious reference to the primitive object of affection will
commonly be left out, and the affection towards the secondary object
will become a feeling both substantive and immediate. What was
originally loved as means, for the sake of an ulterior end, will in
time come to be loved as an end for itself; and to constitute a
new centre of force, from whence derivatives may branch out. It may
even come to be loved more vehemently than any primitive object of
affection, if it chance to accumulate in itself derivative influences
from many of those objects.[43] This remark naturally presents
itself, when we meet here for the first time, distinctly stated by
Plato, the important psychological doctrine of the transference of
affections by association from one object to others.

[Footnote 41: Plato, Phædon, 73-74.

It is declared differently, and more clearly, by Aristotle in the
treatise [Greek: Peri\ Mnê/mês kai\ A)namnê/seôs], pp. 451-452.]

[Footnote 42: Plato, Lysis, 220 B. [Greek: o(/sa ga/r phamen phi/la
ei)=nai ê(mi=n e(/neka phi/lou tino/s, e(te/rô| r(ê/mati phaino/metha
le/gontes au)to/; phi/lon de\ tô=| o)/nti kinduneu/ei e)kei=no au)to\
ei)=nai, ei)s o(\ pa=sai au(=tai ai( lego/menai phili/ai
teleutô=sin.]]

[Footnote 43: There is no stronger illustration of this than the love
of money, which is the very example that Plato himself here cites.

The important point to which I here call attention, in respect to the
law of Mental Association, is forcibly illustrated by Mr. James Mill
in his 'Analysis of the Human Mind,' chapters xxi. and xxii., and by
Professor Bain in his works on the Senses and the
Intellect,--Intellect, chap. i. sect. 47-48, p. 404 seq. ed. 3; and on
the Emotions and the Will, chap. iv. sect. 4-5, p. 428 seq. (3rd ed. p.
363 seq.).]

[Side-note: Theory of the Primum Amabile, here introduced by
Sokrates, with numerous derivative objects of love. Platonic Idea.
Generic communion of Aristotle, distinguished by him from the feebler
analogical communion.]

The _primum amabile_, here introduced by Sokrates, is described
in restricted terms, as valuable merely to correct evil, and as
having no value _per se_, if evil were assumed not to exist. In
consequence chiefly of this restriction, Sokrates discards it as
unsatisfactory. Such restriction, however, is noway essential to the
doctrine: which approaches to, but is not coincident with, the Ideal
Good or Idea of Good, described in other dialogues as what every one
yearns after and aspires to, though without ever attaining it and
without even knowing what it is.[44] The Platonic Idea was conceived
as a substantive, intelligible, Ens, distinct in its nature from all
the particulars bearing the same name, and separated from them all by
a gulf which admitted no gradations of nearer and farther--yet
communicating itself to, or partaken by, all of them, in some
inexplicable way. Aristotle combated this doctrine, denying the
separate reality of the Idea, and admitting only a common generic
essence, dwelling in and pervading the particulars, but pervading
them all equally. The general word connoting this generic unity was
said by Aristotle (retaining the Platonic phraseology) to be [Greek:
lego/menon kata\ mi/an i)de/an] or [Greek: kath' e(/n].

[Footnote 44: Plato, Republ. vi. pp. 505-506.]

But apart from and beyond such generic unity, which implied a common
essence belonging to all, Aristotle recognised a looser, more
imperfect, yet more extensive, communion, founded upon common
relationship towards some [Greek: A)rchê\]--First Principle or First
Object. Such relationship was not always the same in kind: it might
be either resemblance, concomitance, antecedence or consequence,
&c.: it might also be different in degree, closer or more remote,
direct or indirect. Here, then, there was room for graduation, or
ordination of objects as former and latter, first, second, third,
&c., according as, when compared with each other, they were more
or less related to the common root. This imperfect communion was
designated by Aristotle under the title [Greek: kat' a)nalogi/an], as
contrasted with [Greek: kata\ ge/nos]: the predicate which affirmed
it was said to be applied, not [Greek: kata\ mi/an i)de/an] or
[Greek: kath' e(/n], but [Greek: pro\s mi/an phu/sin] or [Greek:
pro\s e(/n]:[45] it was affirmed neither entirely [Greek: sunônu/môs]
(which would imply generic communion), nor entirely [Greek:
o(mônu/môs] (which would be casual and imply no communion at all),
but midway between the two, so as to admit of a graduated communion,
and an arrangement as former and later, first cousin, or second,
third cousin. Members of the same Genus were considered to be
brothers, all on a par: but wherever there was this graduated
cousinship or communion (signified by the words Former and Later,
more or less in degree of relationship), Aristotle did not admit a
common Genus, nor did Plato admit a Substantive Idea.[46]

[Footnote 45: Arist. Metaphys. A. 1072, a. 26-29; Bonitz, Comm. p.
497 id. [Greek: Prô=ton o)rekto/n--Prô=ton voêto/n (prô=ton
o)rekto\n]--"quod _per se_ appetibile est et concupiscitur").
"Quod autem primum est in aliquâ serie, id præcipue etiam habet
qualitatem, quæ in reliquâ cernitur serie, c. a. 993, b. 24: ergo
prima illa substantia est [Greek: to\ a)/riston]"--also [Greek: G]
1004, a. 25-26, 1005, a. 7, about the [Greek: prô=ton e(/n--prô=ton
o)/n]. These were [Greek: ta\ pollachô=s lego/mena--ta\ pleonachô=s
lego/mena]--which were something less than [Greek: sunô/numa] and
more than [Greek: o(mô/numa]; intermediate between the two, having no
common [Greek: lo/gos] or generical unity, and yet not entirely
equivocal, but designating a [Greek: koino\n kat' a)nalogi/an]: not
[Greek: kata\ mi/an i)de/an lego/mena], but [Greek: pro\s e(\n] or
[Greek: pro\s mi/an phu/sin]; having a certain relation to one common
[Greek: phu/sis] called [Greek: to\ prô=ton]. See the Metaphys.
[Greek: G]. 1003, a. 33--[Greek: to/ de\ o)/n le/getai me\n
pollachô=s, a)lla\ pro\s e(/n kai\ mi/an tina\ phu/sin, kai\ ou)ch
o(mônu/môs, a)ll' ô(/sper to\ u(gieino\n a(/pan pro\s u(giei/an, to\
me\n tô=| phula/ttein, to\ de\ tô=| poiei=n, to\ de\ tê| sêmei=on
ei)=nai tê=s u(giei/as, to\ d' o(/ti dektiko\n au)tê=s--kai\ to\
i)atriko\n pro\s i)atrikê/n], &c. The Scholion of Alexander upon
this passage is instructive (p. 638, a. Brandis); and a very copious
explanation of the whole doctrine is given by M. Brentano, in his
valuable treatise, 'Von der mannigfachen Bedeutung _des
Seienden_ nach Aristoteles,' Freiburg, 1862, pp. 85-108-147.
Compare Aristotel. Politic. III. i. 9, p. 1275, a. 35.

The distinction drawn by Aristotle between [Greek: to\ koino\n kat'
i)de/an] and [Greek: to\ koino\n kat' a)nalogi/an]--between [Greek:
ta\ kata\ mi/an i)de/an lego/mena], and [Greek: ta\ pro\s e(\n] or
[Greek: pro\s mi/an phu/sin lego/mena]--this distinction corresponds
in part to that which is drawn by Dr. Whewell between classes which
are given by Definition, and natural groups which are given by Type.
"Such a natural group" (says Dr. Whewell) "is steadily fixed, though
not precisely limited; it is given, though not circumscribed; it is
determined, not by a boundary but by a central point within, &c."
The coincidence between this doctrine and the Aristotelian is real,
though only partial: [Greek: to\ prô=ton phi/lon, to\ prô=ton
o(rekto/n], may be considered as types of _objects loveable,
objects desirable_, &c., but [Greek: ê( u(giei/a] cannot be
considered as a type of [Greek: ta\ u(gieina\] nor [Greek: ê(
i)atrikê\] as a type of [Greek: ta\ i)atrika/], though it is "the
central point" to which all things so called are referred. See Dr.
Whewell's doctrine stated in the Philosophy of the Inductive
Sciences, i. 476-477; and the comments of Mr. John Stuart Mill on the
doctrine--'System of Logic,' Book iv. ch. 7. I have adverted to this
same doctrine in remarking on the Hippias Major, supra, p. 47; also
on the Philêbus, infra, chap. 32, vol. III.]

[Footnote 46: This is attested by Aristotle, Eth. Nik. i. 64, p.
1096, a. 16. [Greek: Oi( de\ komi/santes tê\n do/xan tau/tên, ou)k
e)poi/oun i)de/as e)n oi(=s to\ pro/teron kai\ to\ u(/steron
e)/legon; dio/per ou)de\ tô=n a)rithmô=n i)de/an kateskeu/azon]:
compare Ethic. Eudem. i. 8, 1218, a. 2. He goes on to object that
Plato, having laid this down as a general principle, departed from it
in recognizing an [Greek: i)de/an a)gathou=], because [Greek:
ta)gatho\n] was predicated in all the categories, in that of [Greek:
ou)si/a] as well as in that of [Greek: pro/s ti--to\ de\ kath' au(to\
kai\ ê( ou)si/a pro/teron tê=| phu/sei tou= pro/s ti--ô(/ste ou)k
a)\n ei)/ê koinê/ tis e)pi\ tou/tôn i)de/a.]]

[Side-note: Primum Amabile of Plato, compared with the Prima
Amicitia of Aristotle. Each of them is head of an analogical
aggregate, not member of a generic family.]

Now the [Greek: Prô=ton phi/lon] or Primum Amabile which we find in
the Lysis, is described as the principium or initial root of one of
these imperfectly united aggregates; ramifying into many branches
more or less distant, in obedience to one or other of the different
laws of association. Aristotle expresses the same idea in another
form of words: instead of a Primum Amabile, he gives us a Prima
Amicitia--affirming that the diversities of friendship are not
species comprehended under the same genus, but gradations or
degeneracies departing in one direction or other from the First or
pure Friendship. The Primum Amabile, in Plato's view, appears to be
the Good, though he does not explicitly declare it: the Prima
Amicitia, with Aristotle, is friendship subsisting between two good
persons, who have had sufficient experience to know, esteem, and
trust, each other.[47]

[Footnote 47: Aristotel. Eth. Nikom. viii. 2, 1155, b. 12, viii. 5,
1157, a. 30, viii. 4; Eth. Eudem. vii. 2, 1236, a. 15. The statement
is more full in the Eudemian Ethics than in the Nikomachean; he
begins the seventh book by saying that [Greek: phili/a] is not said
[Greek: monachô=s] but [Greek: pleonachô=s]; and in p. 1236 he says
[Greek: A)na/gkê a)/ra tri/a phili/as ei)/dê ei)=nai, kai\ _mête
kath' e(\n a(pa/sas_ mêth' ô(s _ei)/dê e(no\s ge/nous_, mê/te
pa/mpan le/gesthai o(mônu/môs; pro\s _mi/an ga/r tina le/gontai
kai\ prô/tên, ô(/sper to\ i)atriko/n_], &c. The whole passage
is instructive, but is too long to cite.

Bonitz gives some good explanations of these passages. Observationes
Criticæ in Aristotelis quæ feruntur _Magna Moralia_ et
_Eudemia_, pp. 55-57.]

[Side-note: The Good and Beautiful, considered as objects of
attachment.]

In regard to the Platonic Lysis, I have already observed that no
positive result can be found in it, and that all the hypotheses
broached are successively negatived. What is kept before the reader's
mind, however, more than anything else, though not embodied in any
distinct formula, is--The Good and the Beautiful considered as
objects of love or attachment.



CHAPTER XXI.

EUTHYDEMUS.


[Side-note: Dramatic and comic exuberance of the Euthydêmus.
Judgments of various critics.]

Dramatic vivacity, and comic force, holding up various persons to
ridicule or contempt, are attributes which Plato manifests often and
abundantly. But the dialogue in which these qualities reach their
maximum, is, the Euthydêmus. Some portions of it approach to the
Nubes of Aristophanes: so that Schleiermacher, Stallbaum, and other
admiring critics have some difficulty in explaining, to their own
satisfaction,[1] how Plato, the sublime moralist and lawgiver, can
here have admitted so much trifling and buffoonery. Ast even rejects
the dialogue as spurious; declaring it to be unworthy of Plato and
insisting on various peculiarities, defects, and even absurdities,
which offend his critical taste. His conclusion in this case has
found no favour: yet I think it is based on reasons quite as forcible
as those upon which other dialogues have been condemned:[2] upon
reasons, which, even if admitted, might prove that the dialogue was
an inferior performance, but would not prove that Plato was not the
author.

[Footnote 1: Schleiermacher, Einleitung zum Euthydemos, vol. iii. pp.
400-403-407; Stallbaum. Proleg. in Euthydem. p. 14.]

[Footnote 2: Ast, Platon's Leben und Schriften, pp. 408-418.]

[Side-note: Scenery and personages.]

Sokrates recounts (to Kriton) a conversation in which he has just
been engaged with two Sophists, Euthydêmus and Dionysodorus, in the
undressing-room belonging to the gymnasium of the Lykeium. There were
present, besides, Kleinias, a youth of remarkable beauty and
intelligence, cousin of the great Alkibiades--Ktesippus, an adult
man, yet still young, friend of Sokrates and devotedly attached to
Kleinias--and a crowd of unnamed persons, partly friends of
Kleinias, partly admirers and supporters of the two Sophists.

[Side-note: The two Sophists, Euthydemus and Dionysodorus:
manner in which they are here presented.]

This couple are described and treated throughout by Sokrates, with
the utmost admiration and respect: that is, in terms designating such
feelings, but intended as the extreme of irony or caricature. They
are masters of the art of Contention, in its three varieties[3]--1.
Arms, and the command of soldiers. 2. Judicial and political
rhetoric, fighting an opponent before the assembled Dikasts or
people. 3. Contentious Dialectic--they can reduce every respondent to
a contradiction, if he will only continue to answer their
questions--whether what he says be true or false.[4] All or each of these
accomplishments they are prepared to teach to any pupil who will pay
the required fee: the standing sarcasm of Plato against the paid
teacher, occurring here as in so many other places. Lastly, they are
brothers, old and almost toothless--natives of Chios, colonists from
thence to Thurii, and exiles from Thurii and resident at Athens, yet
visiting other cities for the purpose of giving lessons.[5] Their
dialectic skill is described as a recent acquisition,--made during
their old age, only in the preceding year,--and completing their
excellence as professors of the tripartite Eristic. But they now
devote themselves to it more than to the other two parts. Moreover
they advertise themselves as teachers of virtue.

[Footnote 3: Plato, Euthyd. pp. 271-272.]

[Footnote 4: Plat. Euthyd. p. 272 B. [Greek: e)xele/gchein to\ a)ei\
lego/menon, o(moi/ôs e)a/n te pseu=dos e)a/n t' a)lêthe\s ê)=|]: p.
275 C. [Greek: ou)de\n diaphe/rei, e)a\n mo/non e)the/lê|
a)pokri/nesthai o( neani/skos.]]

[Footnote 5: Plat. Euthyd. p. 273 B-C. "quamvis essent ætate
grandiores et _edentuli_" says Stallbaum in his Proleg. p. 10.
He seems to infer this from page 294 C; the inference, though not
very certain, is plausible.

Steinhart, in his Einleitung zum Euthydemos (vol. ii. p. 2 of
Hieronym. Müller's translation of Plato) repeats these antecedents of
Euthydemus and Dionysodorus, as recited in the dialogue before us, as
if they were matter of real history, exemplifications of the
character of the class called Sophists. He might just as well produce
what is said by the comic poets Eupolis and Aristophanes--the
proceedings as recounted by the Sokratic disciple in the [Greek:
phrontistê/rion] (Nubes)--as evidence about the character of
Sokrates.]

[Side-note: Conversation carried on with Kleinias, first by
Sokrates, next by the two Sophists.]

The two Sophists, having announced themselves as competent to teach
virtue and stimulate pupils to a virtuous life, are entreated by
Sokrates to exercise their beneficent influence upon the youth
Kleinias, in whose improvement he as well as Ktesippus feels the
warmest interest. Sokrates gives a specimen of what he wishes by
putting a series of questions himself. Euthydêmus follows, and begins
questioning Kleinias; who, after answering three or four
successive questions, is forced to contradict himself. Dionysodorus
then takes up the last answer of Kleinias, puts him through another
series of interrogations, and makes him contradict himself again. In
this manner the two Sophists toss the youthful respondent backwards
and forwards to each other, each contriving to entangle him in some
puzzle and contradiction. They even apply the same process to
Sokrates, who cannot avoid being entangled in the net; and to
Ktesippus, who becomes exasperated, and retorts upon them with
contemptuous asperity. The alternate interference of the two Sophists
is described with great smartness and animation; which is promoted by
the use of the dual number, peculiar to the Greek language, employed
by Plato in speaking of them.

[Side-note: Contrast between the two different modes of
interrogation.]

This mode of dialectic, conducted by the two Sophists, is interrupted
on two several occasions by a counter-exhibition of dialectic on the
part of Sokrates: who, under colour of again showing to the couple a
specimen of that which he wishes them to do, puts two successive
batches of questions to Kleinias in his own manner.[6] The contrast
between Sokrates and the two Sophists, in the same work, carried on
respectively by him and by them, of interrogating Kleinias, is
evidently meant as one of the special matters to arrest attention in
the dialogue. The questions put by the couple are made to turn
chiefly on verbal quibbles and ambiguities: they are purposely
designed to make the respondent contradict himself, and are
proclaimed to be certain of bringing about this result, provided the
respondent will conform to the laws of dialectic--by confining his
answer to the special point of the question, without adding any
qualification of his own, or asking for farther explanation from the
questioner, or reverting to any antecedent answer lying apart from
the actual question of the moment.[7] Sokrates, on the contrary,
addresses interrogations, each of which has a clear and substantive
meaning, and most of which Kleinias is able to answer without
embarrassment: he professes no other design except that of
encouraging Kleinias to virtue, and assisting him to determine
in what virtue consists: he resorts to no known quibbles or words of
equivocal import. The effect of the interrogations is represented as
being, not to confound and silence the youth, but to quicken and
stimulate his mind and to call forth an unexpected amount of latent
knowledge: insomuch that he makes one or two answers very much beyond
his years, exciting the greatest astonishment and admiration, in
Sokrates as well as in Kriton.[8] In this respect, the youth Kleinias
serves the same illustrative purpose as the youthful slave in the
Menon:[9] each is supposed to be quickened by the interrogatory of
Sokrates, into a manifestation of knowledge noway expected, nor
traceable to any teaching. But in the Menon, this magical evocation
of knowledge from an untaught youth is explained by the theory of
reminiscence, pre-existence, and omniscience, of the soul: while in
the Euthydêmus, no allusion is made to any such theory, nor to any
other cause except the stimulus of the Sokratic cross-questioning.

[Footnote 6: Plat. Euthydêm. pp. 279-288.]

[Footnote 7: Plat. Euthyd. pp. 275 E--276 E. [Greek: Pa/nta toiau=ta
ê(mei=s e)rôtô=men a)/phukta], pp. 287 B--295 B--296 A, &c.]

[Footnote 8: Plat. Euthydêm. pp. 290-291. The unexpected wisdom,
exhibited by the youth Kleinias in his concluding answer, can be
understood only as illustrating the obstetric efficacy of Sokratic
interrogations. See Winckelmann, Proleg. ad Euthyd. pp. xxxiii.
xxxiv. The words [Greek: tô=n kreitto/nôn] must have the usual
signification, as recognised by Routh and Heindorf, though
Schleiermacher treats it as absurd, p. 552, notes.]

[Footnote 9: Plato, Menon, pp. 82-85.]

[Side-note: Wherein this contrast does not consist.]

In the dialogue _Euthydêmus_, then, one main purpose of Plato is
to exhibit in contrast two distinct modes of questioning: one
practised by Euthydemus and Dionysodorus; the other, by Sokrates. Of
these two, it is the first which is shown up in the most copious and
elaborate manner: the second is made subordinate, serving mainly as a
standard of comparison with the first. We must take care however to
understand in what the contrast between the two consists, and in what
it does not consist.

The contrast does not consist in this--that Sokrates so contrives his
string of questions as to bring out some established and positive
conclusion, while Euthydemus and his brother leave everything in
perplexity. Such is not the fact. Sokrates ends without any result,
and with a confession of his inability to find any. Professing
earnest anxiety to stimulate Kleinias in the path of virtue, he is at
the same time unable to define what the capital condition of
virtue is.[10] On this point, then, there is no contrast between
Sokrates and his competitors: if they land their pupil in
embarrassment, so does he. Nor, again, does Sokrates stand
distinguished from them by affirming (or rather implying in his
questions) nothing but what is true and indisputable.[11]

[Footnote 10: Plat. Euthydêm. pp. 291 A--293 A; Plat. Kleitophon, pp.
409-410.]

[Footnote 11: See Plat. Euthydêm. p. 281 C-D, where undoubtedly the
positions laid down by Sokrates would not have passed without
contradiction by an opponent.]

[Side-note: Wherein it does consist.]

The real contrast between the competitors, consists, first in the
pretensions--next in the method. The two Sophists are described as
persons of exorbitant arrogance, professing to teach virtue,[12] and
claiming a fee as if they did teach it: Sokrates disdains the fee,
doubts whether such teaching is possible, and professes only to
encourage or help forward on the road a willing pupil. The pupil in
this case is a given subject, Kleinias, a modest and intelligent
youth: and the whole scene passes in public before an indiscriminate
audience. To such a pupil, what is needed is, encouragement and
guidance. Both of these are really administered by the questions of
Sokrates, which are all suggestive and pertinent to the matter in
hand, though failing to reach a satisfactory result: moreover,
Sokrates attends only to Kleinias, and is indifferent to the effect
on the audience around. The two Sophists, on the contrary, do not say
a word pertinent to the object desired. Far from seeking (as they
promised) to encourage Kleinias,[13] they confuse and humiliate him
from the beginning: all their implements for teaching consist only of
logical puzzles; lastly, their main purpose is to elicit applause
from the by-standers, by reducing both the modest Kleinias and every
other respondent to contradiction and stand-still.

[Footnote 12: Plat. Euthydêm. pp. 273 D, 275 A, 304 B.]

[Footnote 13: Plat. Euthyd. p. 278 C. [Greek: e)pha/tên ga\r
e)pidei/xasthai tê\n protreptikê\n sophi/an.]]

[Side-note: Abuse of fallacies by the Sophists--their bidding
for the applause of the by-standers.]

Such is the real contrast between Sokrates and the two Sophists, and
such is the real scene which we read in the dialogue. The presence,
as well as the loud manifestations of an indiscriminate crowd in the
Lykeium, are essential features of the drama.[14] The point of
view which Plato is working out, is, the abusive employment, the
excess, and the misplacement, of logical puzzles: which he brings
before us as administered for the humiliation of a youth who requires
opposite treatment, in the prosecution of an object which they do not
really promote and before undiscerning auditors, for whose applause
the two Sophists are bidding.[15] The whole debate upon these
fallacies is rendered ridiculous; and when conducted with Ktesippus,
degenerates into wrangling and ribaldry.

[Footnote 14: The [Greek: o)/chlos] (surrounding multitude) is
especially insisted on in the first sentence of the dialogue, and is
perpetually adverted to throughout all the recital of Sokrates to
Kriton, pp. 276 B-D, 303 B.]

[Footnote 15: Plat. Euthydêm. p. 303 B.]

[Side-note: Comparison of the Euthydêmus with the Parmenidês.]

The bearing of the Euthydêmus, as I here state it, will be better
understood if we contrast it with the Parmenidês. In this
last-mentioned dialogue, the amount of negative dialectic and
contradiction is greater and more serious than that which we read in
the Euthydêmus. One single case of it is elaborately built up in the
long Antinomies at the close of the Parmenidês (which occupy as much
space, and contain nearly as much sophistry, as the speeches assigned
to the two Sophists in Euthydêmus), while we are given to understand
that many more remain behind.[16] These perplexing Antinomies
(addressed by the veteran Parmenides to Sokrates as his junior),
after a variety of other objections against the Platonic theory of
Ideas, which theory Sokrates has been introduced as affirming,--are
drawn up for the avowed purpose of checking premature affirmation,
and of illustrating the difficult exercises and problems which must
be solved, before affirmation can become justifiable. This task,
though long and laborious, cannot be evaded (we are here told) by
aspirants in philosophy. But it is a task which ought only to be
undertaken in conjunction with a few select companions. "Before any
large audience, it would be unseemly and inadmissible: for the public
are not aware that without such roundabout and devious journey in all
directions, no man can hit upon truth or acquire intelligence."[17]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Parmenid. p. 136 B. I shall revert to this point
when I notice the Parmenidês.]

[Footnote 17: Plat. Parmen. pp. 135-136. [Greek: e(/lkuson de\
sauto\n kai\ gu/mnasai ma=llon dia\ tê=s dokou/sês a)chrê/stou
ei)=nai kai\ kaloume/nês u(po\ tô=n pollô=n a)doleschi/as, e(/ôs
e(/ti ne/os ei)=--ei) me\n ou)=n plei/ous ê(=men, ou)k a)\n a)/xion
ê)=n dei=sthai], (to request Parmenides to give a specimen of
dialectic) [Greek: a)prepê= ga\r ta\ toiau=ta pollô=n e)nanti/on
le/gein, a)/llôs te kai\ têlikou/tô|; a)gnoou=si ga\r oi( polloi\
o(/ti a)/neu tau/tês tê=s dia\ pa/ntôn diexo/dou te kai\ pla/nês,
a)du/naton e)ntucho/nta tô=| a)lêthei= nou=n schei=n.]]

[Side-note: Necessity of settling accounts with the
negative, before we venture upon the affirmative, is common to both:
in the one the process is solitary and serious; in the other, it is
vulgarised and ludicrous.]

This important proposition--That before a man can be entitled to lay
down with confidence any affirmative theory, in the domain of
philosophy or "reasoned truth," he must have had before him the
various knots tied by negative dialectic, and must find out the way
of untying them--is a postulate which lies at the bottom of Plato's
Dialogues of Search, as I have remarked in the eighth chapter of this
work. But there is much difference in the time, manner, and
circumstances, under which such knots are brought before the student
for solution. In the Parmenidês the process is presented as one both
serious and indispensable, yet requiring some precautions: the public
must be excluded, for they do not understand the purpose: and the
student under examination must be one who is competent or more than
competent to bear the heavy burthen put upon him, as Sokrates is
represented to be in the Parmenidês.[18] In the Euthydêmus, on the
contrary, the process is intended to be made ridiculous; accordingly
these precautions are disregarded. The crowd of indiscriminate
auditors are not only present, but are the persons whose feelings the
two Sophists address--and who either admire what is said as dexterous
legerdemain, or laugh at the interchange of thrusts, as the duel
becomes warmer: in fact, the debate ends with general mirth, in which
the couple themselves are among the loudest.[19] Lastly, Kleinias,
the youth under interrogation, is a modest novice; not represented,
like Lysis in the dialogue just reviewed, as in danger of corruption
from the exorbitant flatteries of an Erastes, nor as requiring a
lowering medicine to be administered by a judicious friend. When the
Xenophontic (historical) Sokrates cross-examines and humiliates
Euthydêmus (a youth, but nevertheless more advanced than Kleinias in
the Platonic Euthydêmus is represented to be), we shall see that he
not only lays a train for the process by antecedent suggestions, but
takes especial care to attack Euthydêmus when alone.[20] The
cross-examination pursued by Sokrates inflicts upon this accomplished
young man the severest distress and humiliation, and would have been
utterly intolerable, if there had been by-standers clapping their
hands (as we read in the Platonic Euthydêmus) whenever the respondent
was driven into a corner. We see that it was hardly tolerable even
when the respondent was alone with Sokrates; for though Euthydêmus
bore up against the temporary suffering, cultivated the society of
Sokrates, and was handled by him more gently afterwards; yet there
were many other youths whom Sokrates cross-examined in the same way,
and who suffered so much humiliation from the first solitary
colloquy, that they never again came near him (so Xenophon expressly
tells us)[21] for a second. This is quite enough to show us how
important is the injunction delivered in the Platonic Parmenidês--to
carry on these testing colloquies apart from indiscriminate auditors,
in the presence, at most, of a few select companions.

[Footnote 18: See the compliments to Sokrates, on his strenuous
ardour and vocation for philosophy, addressed by Parmenides, p. 135
D.]

[Footnote 19: Plat. Euthyd. p. 303 B. [Greek: E)ntau=tha me/ntoi, ô)=
phi/le Kri/tôn, ou)deis o(/stis ou) tô=n paro/ntôn u(perepê/nese to\n
lo/gon, kai\ tô\ a)/ndre] (Euthydêmus and Dionysodorus) [Greek:
gelô=nte kai\ krotou=nte kai\ chai/ronte o)li/gou pareta/thêsan.]]

[Footnote 20: Xenophon. Memor. iv. 2, 5-8. [Greek: ô(s d' ê)/|stheto]
(Sokrates) [Greek: au)to\n e)toimo/teron u(pome/nonta, o(/te
diale/goito, kai\ prothumo/teron a)kou/onta, _mo/nos ê)=lthen_
ei)s to\ ê(niopoiei=on; parakathezome/non d' au)tô=| tou=
Eu)thudê/mou, Ei)=pe/ moi, e)/phê], &c.]

[Footnote 21: Xen. Mem. iv. 2, 39-40. Compare the remarks of Sokrates
in Plato, Theætêtus, p. 151 C.]

[Side-note: Opinion of Stallbaum and other critics about the
Euthydêmus, that Euthydêmus and Dionysodorus represent the way in
which Protagoras and Gorgias talked to their auditors.]

Stallbaum, Steinhart, and other commentators denounce in severe terms
the Eristics or controversial Sophists of Athens, as disciples of
Protagoras and Gorgias, infected with the mania of questioning and
disputing every thing, and thereby corrupting the minds of youth.
They tell us that Sokrates was the constant enemy of this school, but
that nevertheless he was unjustly confounded with them by the comic
poets, and others; from which confusion alone his unpopularity with
the Athenian people arose.[22] In the Platonic dialogue of Euthydêmus
the two Sophists (according to these commentators) represent the way
in which Protagoras and Gorgias with their disciples reasoned: and
the purpose of the dialogue is to contrast this with the way in which
Sokrates reasoned.

[Footnote 22: Stallbaum, Prolegg. ad Plat. Euthydêm. pp. 9-11-13;
Winckelmann, Proleg. ad eundem, pp. xxxiii.-xxxiv.]

[Side-note: That opinion is unfounded. Sokrates was much more
Eristic than Protagoras, who generally manifested himself by
continuous speech or lecture.]

Now, in this opinion, I think that there is much of unfounded
assumption, as well as a misconception of the real contrast intended
in the Platonic Euthydêmus. Comparing Protagoras with Sokrates,
I maintain that Sokrates was decidedly the more Eristic of the two,
and left behind him a greater number of active disciples. In so far
as we can trust the picture given by Plato in the dialogue called
Protagoras, we learn that the Sophist of that name chiefly manifested
himself in long continuous speeches or rhetoric; and though he also
professed, if required, to enter into dialectic colloquy, in this art
he was no match for Sokrates.[23] Moreover, we know by the evidence
of Sokrates himself, that _he_ was an Eristic not only by taste,
but on principle, and by a sense of duty. He tells us, in the
Platonic Apology, that he felt himself under a divine mission to go
about convicting men of ignorance, and that he had prosecuted this
vocation throughout many years of a long life. Every one of these
convictions must have been brought about by one or more disputes of
his own seeking: every such dispute, with occasional exceptions, made
him unpopular, in the outset at least, with the person convicted: the
rather, as his ability in the process is known, upon the testimony of
Xenophon[24] as well as of Plato, to have been consummate. It is
therefore a mistake to decry Protagoras and the Protagoreans (if
there were any) as the special Eristics, and to represent Sokrates as
a tutelary genius, the opponent of such habits. If the commentators
are right (which I do not think they are) in declaring the Athenian
mind to have been perverted by Eristic, Sokrates is much more
chargeable with the mischief than Protagoras. And the comic poets,
when they treated Sokrates as a specimen and teacher of Eristic,
proceeded very naturally upon what they actually saw or heard of
him.[25]

[Footnote 23: See Plat. Protag., especially pp. 329 and 336. About
the eristic disposition of Sokrates, see the striking passage in
Plato, Theætêt. 169 B-C; also Lachês, 187, 188.]

[Footnote 24: Xen. Mem. i. 2.]

[Footnote 25: Stallbaum, Proleg. in Platon. Euthydêm. pp. 50-51. "Sed
hoc utcunque se habet, illud quidem ex Aristophane pariter atque ex
ipso Platone evidenter apparet, Socratem non tantum ab orationum
scriptoribus, sed etiam ab aliis, in vanissimorum sophistaram loco
habitum fuisse."]

[Side-note: Sokrates in the Euthydêmus is drawn suitably to
the purpose of that dialogue.]

The fact is, that the Platonic Sokrates when he talks with the two
Sophists in the dialogue Euthydêmus, is a character drawn by Plato
for the purpose of that dialogue, and is very different from the real
historical Sokrates, whom the public of Athens saw and heard in
the market-place or gymnasia. He is depicted as a gentle, soothing,
encouraging talker, with his claws drawn in, and affecting inability
even to hold his own against the two Sophists: such indeed as he
sometimes may have been in conversing with particular persons (so
Xenophon[26] takes pains to remind his readers in the Memorabilia),
but with entire elimination of that characteristic aggressive
Elenchus for which he himself (in the Platonic Apology) takes credit,
and which the auditors usually heard him exhibit.

[Footnote 26: Xen. Mem. i. 4, 1; iv. 2, 40.]

[Side-note: The two Sophists in the Euthydêmus are not to be
taken as real persons, or representatives of real persons.]

This picture, accurate or not, suited the dramatic scheme of the
Euthydêmus. Such, in my judgment, is the value and meaning of the
Euthydêmus, as far as regards personal contrasts. One style of
reasoning is represented by Sokrates, the other by the two Sophists:
both are the creatures of Plato, having the same dramatic reality as
Sokrates and Strepsiades, or the [Greek: Di/kaios Lo/gos] and [Greek:
A)/dikos Lo/gos], of Aristophanes, but no more. That they correspond
to any actual persons at Athens, is neither proved nor probable. The
comic poets introduce Sokrates as talking what was either
nonsensical, or offensive to the feelings of the Athenians: and
Sokrates (in the Platonic Apology) complains that the Dikasts judged
him, not according to what he had really said or done, but according
to the impression made on them by this dramatic picture. The Athenian
Sophists would have equal right to complain of those critics, who not
only speak of Euthydêmus and Dionysodorus with a degree of acrimony
applicable only to historical persons, but also describe them as
representative types of Protagoras, Gorgias, and their disciples.[27]

[Footnote 27: The language of Schleiermacher is more moderate than
that of Stallbaum, Steinhart, and others. He thinks moreover, that
the polemical purpose of this dialogue is directed not against
Protagoras or Gorgias, but against the Megarics and against
Antisthenes, who (so Schleiermacher supposes) had brought the attack
upon themselves by attacking Plato first (Einleitung zum Euthyd. p.
404 seq.). Schleiermacher cannot make out who the two Sophists were
personally, but he conceives them as obscure persons, deserving no
notice.

This is a conjecture which admits of no proof; but if any real victim
is here intended by Plato, we may just as reasonably suppose
Antisthenes as Protagoras.]

[Side-note: Colloquy of Sokrates with Kleinias--possession of
good things is useless, unless we also have intelligence how to use
them.]

The conversation of Sokrates with the youth Kleinias is
remarkable for its plainness and simplicity. His purpose is to
implant or inflame in the youth the aspiration and effort towards
wisdom or knowledge ([Greek: philosophi/a], in its etymological
sense). "You, like every one else, wish to do well or to be happy.
The way to be happy is, to have many good things. Every one knows
this: every one knows too, that among these good things, wealth is an
indisputable item:[28] likewise health, beauty, bodily activity, good
birth, power over others, honour in our city, temperance, justice,
courage, wisdom, &c. Good fortune does not count as a distinct
item, because it resolves itself into wisdom.[29]--But it is not
enough to have all these good things: we must not only have them but
use them: moreover, we must use them not wrongly, but rightly. If we
use them wrongly, they will not produce their appropriate
consequences. They will even make us more miserable than if we had
them not, because the possession of them will prompt us to be active
and meddlesome: whereas, if we have them not, we shall keep in the
back-ground and do little.[30] But to use these good things rightly,
depends upon wisdom, knowledge, intelligence. It thus appears that
the enumerated items are not really good, except on the assumption
that they are under the guidance of intelligence: if they are under
the guidance of ignorance, they are not good; nay, they even produce
more harm than good, since they are active instruments in the service
of a foolish master.[31]

[Footnote 28: Plato, Euthydêm. p. 279 A. [Greek: a)gatha\ de\ poi=a
a)/ra tô=n o)/ntôn tugcha/nei ê(mi=n o)/nta? ê)\ ou) chalepo\n ou)de\
semnou= a)ndro\s pa/nu ti ou)de\ tou=to e)/oiken ei)=nai eu(rei=n?
pa=s ga\r a)\n ê(mi=n ei)/poi o(/ti to\ ploutei=n a)gatho/n?]]

[Footnote 29: Plato, Euthydêm. pp. 279-280.]

[Footnote 30: Plato, Euthydêm. p. 281 C. [Greek: ê(=tton de\ kakô=s
pra/ttôn, a)/thlios ê(=tton a)\n ei)/ê.]]

[Footnote 31: Plato, Euthyd. p. 282 E. If we compare this with p. 279
C-D we shall see that the argument of Sokrates is open to the
exception which he himself takes in the case of [Greek: eu)tuchi/a--di\s
tau)ta\ le/gein]. Wisdom is counted twice over.]

[Side-note: But intelligence--of what? It must be such
intelligence, or such an art, as will include both the making of what
we want, and the right use of it when made.]

"But what intelligence do we want for the purpose? Is it _all_
intelligence? Or is there any one single variety of intelligence, by
the possession of which we shall become good and happy?[32]
Obviously, it must be must be such as will be profitable to us.[33]
We have seen that there is no good in possessing wealth--that we
should gain nothing by knowing how to acquire wealth or even to turn
stones into gold, unless we at the same time knew how to use it
rightly. Nor should we gain any thing by knowing how to make
ourselves healthy, or even immortal, unless we knew how to employ
rightly our health or immortality. We want knowledge or intelligence,
of such a nature, as to include both acting, making, or construction
and rightly using what we have done, made, or constructed.[34] The
makers of lyres and flutes may be men of skill, but they cannot play
upon the instruments which they have made: the logographers compose
fine discourses, but hand them over for others to deliver. Even
masters in the most distinguished arts--such as military commanders,
geometers, arithmeticians, astronomers, &c., do not come up to
our requirement. They are all of them varieties under the general
class _hunters_: they find and seize, but hand over what they
have seized for others to use. The hunter, when he has caught or
killed game, hands it over to the cook; the general, when he has
taken a town, delivers it to the political leader or minister: the
geometer makes over his theorems to be employed by the dialectician
or comprehensive philosopher.[35]

[Footnote 32: Plato, Euthydêm. p. 282 E. Sokrates here breaks off the
string of questions to Kleinias, but resumes them, p. 288 D.]

[Footnote 33: Plato, Euthydêm. p. 288 D. [Greek: ti/na pot' ou)=n
a)\n ktêsa/menoi e)pistê/mên o)rthô=s ktêsai/metha? a)=r' ou) tou=to
me\n a(plou=n, o(/ti tau/tên ê(/tis ê(ma=s o)nê/sei?]]

[Footnote 34: Plato, Euthyd. p. 289 B. [Greek: toiau/tês tino\s a)/r'
ê(mi=n e)pistê/mês dei=, e)n ê(=| sumpe/ptôken a(/ma to/ te poiei=n
kai\ to\ e)pi/stasthai chrê=sthai ô(=| a)\n poiê=|.]]

[Footnote 35: Plato, Euthyd. p.290 C-D.]

[Side-note: Where is such an art to be found? The regal or
political art looks like it; but what does this art do for us? No
answer can be found. Ends in puzzle.]

"Where then can we find such an art--such a variety of knowledge or
intelligence--as we are seeking? The regal or political art looks
like it: that art which regulates and enforces all the arrangements
of the city. But what is the work which this art performs? What
product does it yield, as the medical art supplies good health, and
the farmer's art, provision? What good does it effect? You may say
that it makes the citizens wealthy, free, harmonious in their
intercourse. But we have already seen that these acquisitions are not
good, unless they be under the guidance of intelligence: that nothing
is really good, except some variety of intelligence.[36] Does the
regal art then confer knowledge? If so, does it confer every
variety of knowledge--that of the carpenter, currier, &c., as
well as others? Not certainly any of these, for we have already
settled that they are in themselves neither good nor bad. The regal
art can thus impart no knowledge except itself; and what is
_itself_? how are we to use it? If we say, that we shall render
other men _good_--the question again recurs, _Good_--in
what respect? _useful_--for what purpose?[37]

[Footnote 36: Plato, Euthyd. p. 292 B. [Greek: A)gatho\n de/ ge/ pou
ô(mologê/samen a)llê/lois--ou)de\n ei)=nai a)/llo ê)\ e)pistê/mên
tina/.]]

[Footnote 37: Plat. Euthydêm. p. 292 D. [Greek: A)lla\ ti/na dê\
e)pistê/mên? ê(=| ti/ chrêso/metha? tô=n me\n ga\r e)/rgôn ou)deno\s
dei= au)tê\n dêmiourgo\n ei)=nai tô=n mê/te kakô=n mê/te a)gathô=n,
e)pistê/mên de\ paradido/nai mêdemi/an a)/llên ê)\ au)tê\n e(autê/n;
le/gômen dê\ ou)=n, ti/s pote e)/stin au(tê\ ê(=| ti/
chrêso/metha?]]

"Here then" (concludes Sokrates), "we come to a dead lock: we can
find no issue.[38] We cannot discover what the regal art does for us
or gives us: yet this is the art which is to make us happy." In this
difficulty, Sokrates turns to the two Sophists, and implores their
help. The contrast between him and them is thus brought out.

[Footnote 38: Plat. Euthyd. p. 292 E.]

[Side-note: Review of the cross-examination just pursued by
Sokrates. It is very suggestive--puts the mind upon what to look
for.]

The argument of Sokrates, which I have thus abridged from the
Euthydêmus, arrives at no solution: but it is nevertheless eminently
suggestive, and puts the question in a way to receive solution. What
is the regal or political art which directs or regulates all others?
A man has many different impulses, dispositions, qualities,
aptitudes, advantages, possessions, &c., which we describe by
saying that he is an artist, a general, a tradesman, clever, just,
temperate, brave, strong, rich, powerful, &c. But in the course
of life, each particular situation has its different exigencies,
while the prospective future has its exigencies also. The whole man
is one, with all these distinct and sometimes conflicting attributes:
in following one impulse, he must resist others--in turning his
aptitudes to one object, he must turn them away from others--he must,
as Plato says, distinguish the right use of his force from the wrong,
by virtue of knowledge, intelligence, reason. Such discriminating
intelligence, which in this dialogue is called the Regal or political
art,--what is the object of it? It is intelligence or knowledge,--But
_of what_? Not certainly of the way how each particular act is
to be performed--how each particular end is to be attained. Each
of these separately is the object of some special knowledge. But the
whole of a man's life is passed in a series of such particular acts,
each of which is the object of some special knowledge: what then
remains as the object of Regal or political intelligence, upon which
our happiness is said to depend? Or how can it have any object at
all?

[Side-note: Comparison with other dialogues--Republic,
Philêbus, Protagoras. The only distinct answer is found in the
Protagoras.]

The question here raised is present to Plato's mind in other
dialogues, and occurs under other words, as for example, What is
good? Good is the object of the Regal or political intelligence; but
what is Good? In the Republic he raises this question, but declines
to answer it, confessing that he could not make it intelligible to
his hearers:[39] in the Gorgias, he takes pains to tell us what it
_is not_: in the Philêbus, he does indeed tell us what it is,
but in terms which need explanation quite as much as the term which
they are brought to explain. There is only one dialogue in which the
question is answered affirmatively, in clear and unmistakable
language, and with considerable development--and that is, the
Protagoras: where Sokrates asserts and proves at length, that Good is
at the bottom identical with pleasure, and Evil with pain: that the
measuring or calculating intelligence is the truly regal art of life,
upon which the attainment of Good depends: and that the object of
that intelligence--the items which we are to measure, calculate, and
compare--is pleasures and pains, so as to secure to ourselves as much
as possible of the former, and escape as much as possible of the
latter.

[Footnote 39: Plato, Republic, vi. pp. 505-506.]

In my remarks on the Protagoras, I shall state the view which I take
of the doctrine laid down in that dialogue by Sokrates. Persons may
think the answer insufficient: most of the Platonic critics declare
it to be absolutely wrong. But at any rate it is the only distinct
answer which Plato ever gives, to the question raised by Sokrates in
the Euthydêmus and elsewhere.

[Side-note: The talk of the two Sophists, though ironically
admired while it is going on, is shown at the end to produce no real
admiration, but the contrary.]

From the abstract just given of the argument of Sokrates in the
Euthydêmus, it will be seen to be serious and pertinent, though
ending with a confession of failure. The observations placed in
contrast with it and ascribed to the two Sophists, are
distinguished by being neither serious nor pertinent; but parodies of
debate for the most part, put together for the express purpose of
appearing obviously silly to the reader. Plato keeps up the dramatic
or ironical appearance, that they are admired and welcomed not only
by the hearers, but even by Sokrates himself. Nevertheless, it is
made clear at the end that all this is nothing but irony, and that
the talk which Plato ascribes to Euthydêmus and Dionysodorus
produced, according to his own showing, no sentiment of esteem for
their abilities among the by-standers, but quite the reverse. Whether
there were individual Sophists at Athens who talked in that style, we
can neither affirm nor deny: but that there were an established class
of persons who did so, and made both money and reputation by it, we
can securely deny. It is the more surprising that the Platonic
commentators should desire us to regard Euthydêmus and Dionysodorus
as representative samples of a special class named Sophists, since
one of the most eminent of those commentators (Stallbaum),[40] both
admits that Sokrates himself was generally numbered in the class and
called by the name and affirms also (incorrectly, in my opinion) that
the interrogations of Sokrates, which in this dialogue stand
contrasted with those of the two Sophists, do not enunciate the
opinions either of Sokrates or of Plato himself, but the opinions of
these very Sophists, which Plato adopts and utters for the
occasion.[41]

[Footnote 40: Stallbaum, Proleg. in Platon. Euthydem. p. 50. "Illud
quidem ex Aristophane pariter atque ipso Platone evidenter apparet,
Socratem non tantum ab orationum scriptoribus, sed etiam ab aliis in
vanissimorum sophistarum numero habitum fuisse." Ib. p. 49 (cited in
a previous note). "Videtur pervulgata fuisse hominum opinio, quâ
Socratem inter vanos sophistas numerandum esse existimabant." Again
p. 44, where Stallbaum tells us that Sokrates was considered by many
to belong "misellorum Sophistarum gregi".]

[Footnote 41: Stallbaum, Proleg. ad Plat. Euthydem. p. 30. "Cavendum
est magnopere, ne quæ hic à Socrate disputantur, pro ipsius decretis
habeamus: _sunt enim omnia ad mentem Sophistarum disputata_,
quos ille, reprehensis eorum opinionibus, sperat eo adductum iri, ut
gravem prudentemque earum defensionem suscipiant." Compare p. 66.
Stallbaum says that Plato often reasons, adopting for the occasion
the doctrine of the Sophists. See his Prolegg. to the Lachês and
Charmidês, and still more his Proleg. to the Protagoras, where he
tells us that Plato introduces his spokesman Sokrates not only as
arguing _ex mente Sophistarum_, but also as employing captious
and delusive artifice, such as in this dialogue is ascribed to
Euthydemus and Dionysodorus.--pp. 23-24. "Itaque Socrates, missâ
hujus rei disputatione, repentè ad alia progreditur, scilicet
_similibus loqueis_ hominem denuo irretiturus. Nemini facilé
obscurum erit, hoc quoque loco Protagoram _argutis conclusiunculis
deludi_" (_i.e._ by Sokrates) "atque _callidé eo
permoveri,_" &c. "Quanquam nemo erit, quin videat, _callidé
deludi Protagoram_, ubi ex eo, quod qui injusté faciat, is
neutiquam agat [Greek: sôphro/nôs], protinus colligitur justitiam et
[Greek: sôphrosu/nê] unum idemque esse."--p. 25. "Disputat enim
Socrates pleraque omnia ad mentem ipsius Protagoræ."--p. 30.
"Platonem ipsum hæc non probâsse, sed e vulgi opinione et mente
explicasse, vel illud non obscuré significat," &c.--p. 33.]

[Side-note: Mistaken representations about the Sophists--Aristotle's
definition--no distinguishable line can be drawn between
the Sophist and the Dialectician.]

The received supposition that there were at Athens a class of men
called Sophists who made money and reputation by obvious fallacies
employed to bring about contradictions in dialogue--appears to me to
pervert the representations given of ancient philosophy. Aristotle
defines a Sophist to be "one who seeks to make money by apparent
wisdom which is not real wisdom":--the Sophist (he says) is an
Eristic who, besides money-making, seeks for nothing but victory in
debate and humiliation of his opponent:--Distinguishing the
Dialectician from the Sophist (he says), the Dialectician impugns or
defends, by probable arguments, probable tenets--that is, tenets
which are believed by a numerous public or by a few wise and eminent
individuals:--while the Sophist deals with tenets which are probable
only in appearance and not in reality--that is to say, tenets which
almost every one by the slightest attention recognises as false.[42]
This definition is founded, partly on the personal character and
purpose ascribed to the Sophist: partly upon the distinction between
apparent and real wisdom, assumed to be known and permanent. Now such
pseudo-wisdom was declared by Sokrates to be the natural state of all
mankind, even the most eminent, which it was his mission to expose:
moreover, the determination, what is to be comprised in this
description, must depend upon the judges to whom it is
submitted, since much of the works of Aristotle and Plato would come
under the category, in the judgment of modern readers both vulgar and
instructed. But apart from this relative and variable character of
the definition, when applied to philosophy generally--we may
confidently assert, that there never was any real class of
intellectual men, in a given time or place, to whom it could possibly
apply. Of individuals, the varieties are innumerable: but no
professional body of men ever acquired gain or celebrity by
maintaining theses, and employing arguments, which every one could
easily detect as false. Every man employs sophisms more or less;
every man does so inadvertently, some do it by design also; moreover,
almost every reasoner does it largely, in the estimation of his
opponents. No distinct line can be drawn between the Sophist and the
Dialectician: the definition given by Aristotle applies to an ideal
in his own mind, but to no reality without: Protagoras and Prodikus
no more correspond to it than Sokrates and Plato. Aristotle observes,
with great truth, that all men are dialecticians and testers of
reasoning, up to a certain point: he might have added that they are
all Sophists also, up to a certain point.[43] Moreover, when he
attempts to found a scientific classification of intellectual
processes upon a difference in the purposes of different
practitioners--whether they employ the same process for money or
display, or beneficence, or mental satisfaction to themselves--this
is altogether unphilosophical. The medical art is the same, whether
employed to advise gratis, or in exchange for a fee.[44]

[Footnote 42: Aristotel. Topic, i. 1, p. 100, b. 21. [Greek: e)/ndoxa
de\ ta\ dokou=nta pa=sin ê)\ toi=s plei/stois ê)\ toi=s sophoi=s,
kai\ tou/tois ê)\ pa=sin ê)\ toi=s plei/stois ê)\ toi=s ma/lista
gnôri/mois kai\ e)ndo/xois. E)ristiko\s de\ e)/sti sullogismo\s o(
e)k phainome/nôn e)ndo/xôn, mê\ o)/ntôn de\--kai\ o( e)x e)ndo/xôn
ê)\ phainome/nôn e)ndo/xôn phaino/menos. Ou)the\n ga\r tô=n
legome/nôn e)ndo/xôn e)pipolai/on e)/chei pantelô=s tê\n phantasi/an,
katha/per peri\ ta\s tô=n e)ristikô=n lo/gôn a)rcha\s sumbe/bêken
e)/chein. Parachrê=ma ga\r kai\ ô(s e)pi\ to\ polu\ toi=s kai\ mikra\
sunora=|n duname/nois, kata/dêlos e)n au)toi=s ê( tou= pseu/dous
e)/sti phu/sis.]

De Sophisticis Elenchis, i. p. 165, a. 21. [Greek: e)/sti ga\r ê(
sophistikê\ phainome/nê sophi/a, ou)=sa d' ou)/; kai\ o( sophistê\s
chrêmatistê\s a)po\ phainome/nês sophi/as, a)ll' ou)k ou)/sês], p.
165, b. 10, p. 171, b. 8-27. [Greek: Oi( phile/rides, e)ristikoi\,
a)gônistikoi\], are persons who break the rules of dialectic ([Greek:
a)dikomachi/a]) for the purpose of gaining victory; [Greek: oi(
sophistai\] are those who do the same thing for the purpose of
getting money. See also Metaphys. iii. 1004, b. 17.]

[Footnote 43: Aristot. Sophist. Elench. p. 172, a. 30.]

[Footnote 44: Aristot. Rhetor, i. 1, 1355, b. 18. He here admits that
the only difference between the Dialectician and the Sophist lies in
their purposes--that the mental activity employed by both is the
same. [Greek: o( ga\r sophistiko\s ou)k e)n tê=| duna/mei a)ll' e)n
tê=| proaire/sei; plê\n e)ntau=tha me\n] (in Rhetoric) [Greek:
e)/stai o( me\n kata\ tê\n e)pistê/mên o( de\ kata\ tê\n proai/resin,
r(ê/tôr, e)kei= de\] (in Dialectic) [Greek: sophistê\s me\n kata\
tê\n proai/resin, dialektiko\s de\ ou) kata\ tê\n proai/resin, a)lla\
kata\ tê\n du/namin.]]

[Side-note: Philosophical purpose of the Euthydêmus--exposure
of fallacies, in Plato's dramatic manner, by multiplication of
particular examples.]

Though I maintain that no class of professional Sophists (in the
meaning given to that term by the Platonic critics after Plato and
Aristotle) ever existed--and though the distinction between the paid
and the gratuitous discourser is altogether unworthy to enter into
the history of philosophy--yet I am not the less persuaded that the
Platonic dialogue Euthydêmus, and the treatise of Aristotle De
Sophisticis Elenchis, are very striking and useful compositions. This
last-mentioned treatise was composed by Aristotle very much
under the stimulus of the Platonic dialogue Euthydêmus, to which it
refers several times--and for the purpose of distributing the variety
of possible fallacies under a limited number of general heads, each
described by its appropriate characteristic, and represented by its
illustrative type. Such attempt at arrangement--one of the many
valuable contributions of Aristotle to the theory of reasoning--is
expressly claimed by him as his own. He takes a just pride in having
been the first to introduce system where none had introduced it
before.[45] No such system was known to Plato, who (in the
Euthydêmus) enumerates a string of fallacies one after another
without any project of classifying them, and who presents them as it
were in concrete, as applied by certain disputants in an imaginary
dialogue. The purpose is, to make these fallacies appear
conspicuously in their character of fallacies: a purpose which is
assisted by presenting the propounders of them as ridiculous and
contemptible. The lively fancy of Plato attaches suitable accessories
to Euthydêmus and Dionysodorus. They are old men, who have been all
their lives engaged in teaching rhetoric and tactics, but have
recently taken to dialectic, and acquired perfect mastery thereof
without any trouble--who make extravagant promises--and who as
talkers play into each other's hands, making a shuttlecock of the
respondent, a modest novice every way unsuitable for such treatment.

[Footnote 45: See the last chapter of the treatise De Sophisticis
Elenchis.]

[Side-note: Aristotle (Soph. Elench.) attempts a
classification of fallacies: Plato enumerates them without
classification.]

Thus different is the Platonic manner, from the Aristotelian manner,
of exposing fallacies. But those exhibited in the former appear as
members of one or more among the classes framed by the latter. The
fallacies which we read in the Euthydêmus are chiefly verbal: but
some are verbal, and something beyond.

[Side-note: Fallacies of equivocation propounded by the two
Sophists in the Euthydêmus.]

Thus, for example, if we take the first sophism introduced by the two
exhibitors, upon which they bring the youth Kleinias, by suitable
questions, to declare successively both sides of the
alternative--"Which of the two is it that learns, the wise or the
ignorant?"--Sokrates himself elucidates it by pointing out that the terms
used are equivocal:[46] You might answer it by using the language ascribed
to Dionysodorus in another part of this dialogue--"Neither and
Both".[47] The like may be said about the fallacy in page 284 D--"Are
there persons who speak of things as they are? Good men speak of
things as they are: they speak of good men well, of bad men badly:
therefore, of course, they speak of stout men stoutly, and of hot men
hotly. Ay! rejoins the respondent Ktesippus, angrily--they speak of
cold men coldly, and say that they talk coldly."[48] These are
fallacies of double meaning of words--or double construction of
phrases: as we read also in page 287 D, where the same Greek verb
([Greek: noei=n]) may be construed either to _think_ or to
_mean_: so that when Sokrates talks about what a predication
_means_--the Sophists ask him--"Does anything _think_,
except things having a soul? Did you ever know any predication that
had a soul?"

[Footnote 46: Plato, Euthydêm. pp. 275 D--278 D. Aristotle also
adverts to this fallacy, but without naming the Euthydêmus. See Soph.
El. 4, 165, b. 30.]

[Footnote 47: Plato, Euthydêm. p. 300 D. [Greek: Ou)de/tera kai\
a)mpho/tera]]

[Footnote 48: Plato, Euthydêm. p. 284 E. [Greek: tou\s gou=n
psuchrou\s psuchrô=s le/gousi/ te kai\ phasi\ diale/gesthai.] The
metaphorical sense of [Greek: psuchro\s] is _pointless_,
_stupid_, _out of taste_, _out of place_,
_&c._]

[Side-note: Fallacies--_à dicto secundum quid, ad dictum
simpliciter_--in the Euthydêmus.]

Again, the two Sophists undertake to prove that Sokrates, as well as
the youth Kleinias and indeed every one else, knows everything. "Can
any existing thing _be_ that which it is, and at the same time
_not be_ that which it is?--No.--You know some things?--Yes.--Then
if you know, _you are knowing_?--Certainly. I am knowing of
those particular things.--That makes no difference: if you are
knowing, you necessarily know everything.--Oh! no: for there are many
things which I do not know.--Then if there be anything which you do
not know, _you are not knowing_?--Yes, doubtless--of that
particular thing.--Still you are _not knowing_: and just now you
said that you were _knowing_: and thus, at one and the same
time, you are what you are, and you are not what you are.[49]

[Footnote 49: Plato, Euthydêm. p. 293 C. Aristotle considers
_know_ to be an equivocal word; he admits that in certain senses
you may both _know_ and _not know_ the same thing. Anal.
Prior. ii. 67, b. 8. Anal. Post. i. 71, a. 25.]

"But _you_ also" (retorts Sokrates upon the couple), "do not
you also know some things, not know others?--By no means.--What!
do you know nothing?--Far from it.--Then you know all
things?--Certainly we do,--and you too: if you know one thing, you know
all things.--What! do you know the art of the carpenter, the currier, the
cobbler--the number of stars in the heaven, and of grains of sand in
the desert, &c.?--Yes: we know all these things."

[Side-note: Obstinacy shown by the two Sophists in their
replies--determination not to contradict themselves.]

The two Sophists maintain their consistency by making reply in the
affirmative to each of these successive questions: though Ktesippus
pushes them hard by enquiries as to a string of mean and diverse
specialties.[50] This is one of the purposes of the dialogue: to
represent the two Sophists as willing to answer any thing, however
obviously wrong and false, for the purpose of avoiding defeat in the
dispute--as using their best efforts to preserve themselves in the
position of questioners, and to evade the position of respondents--and
as exacting a categorical answer--Yes or No--to every question
which they put without any qualifying words, and without any
assurance that the meaning of the question was understood.[51]

[Footnote 50: Plato, Euthydêm. pp. 293-294.]

[Footnote 51: Plato, Euthydêm. pp. 295-296.]

The base of these fallacious inferences is, That respecting the same
subject, you cannot both affirm and deny the same predicate: you
cannot say, A is knowing--A is not knowing ([Greek: e)pistê/môn]).
This is a fallacy more than verbal: it is recognised by Aristotle
(and by all subsequent logicians) under the name--_à dicto secundum
quid, ad dictum simpliciter_.

It is very certain that this fallacy is often inadvertently committed
by very competent reasoners, including both Plato and Aristotle.

[Side-note: Farther verbal equivocations.]

Again--Sophroniskus was my father--Chæredemus was the father of
Patrokles.--Then Sophroniskus was different from a father: therefore
he was not a father. You are different from a stone, therefore you
are not a stone: you are different from gold, therefore you are not
gold. By parity of reasoning, Sophroniskus is different from a
father--therefore he is not a father. Accordingly, you, Sokrates,
have no father.[52]

[Footnote 52: Plato, Euthydêm. pp. 297-298.]

But (retorts Ktesippus upon the couple) your father is different
from my father.--Not at all.--How can that be?--What! is your father,
then, the father of all men and of all animals?--Certainly he is. A
man cannot be at the same time a father, and not a father. He cannot
be at the same time a man, and not a man--gold, and not gold.[53]

[Footnote 53: Plato, Euthydêm. p. 298. Some of the fallacies in the
dialogue ([Greek: Po/teron o(rô=sin oi( a)/nthrôpoi ta\ dunata\
o(ra=|n ê)\ ta\ a)du/nata? . . . Ê)= ou)ch oi(=o/n te sigô=nta
le/gein?] p. 300 A) are hardly translatable into English, since they
depend upon equivocal constructions peculiar to the Greek language.
Aristotle refers them to the general head [Greek: par'
a)mphiboli/an]. The same about [Greek: prosê/kei to\n ma/geiron
katako/ptein], p. 301 D.]

You have got a dog (Euthydêmus says to Ktesippus).--Yes.--The dog is
the father of puppies?--Yes.--The dog, being a father, is
yours?--Certainly.--Then your father is a dog, and you are brother
of the puppies.

You beat your dog sometimes? Then you beat your father.[54]

[Footnote 54: Plat. Euthyd. p. 298.]

Those animals, and those alone are _yours_ (sheep, oxen,
&c.), which you can give away, or sell, or sacrifice at pleasure.
But Zeus, Apollo, and Athênê are _your_ Gods. The Gods have a
soul and are animals. Therefore your Gods are your animals. Now you
told us that those alone were your animals, which you could give
away, or sell, or sacrifice at pleasure. Therefore you can give away,
or sell, or sacrifice at pleasure, Zeus, Apollo, and Athênê.[55]

[Footnote 55: Plat. Euthydêm. p. 302. This same fallacy, in
substance, is given by Aristotle, De Sophist. El. 17, 176 a. 3, 179,
a. 5, but with different exemplifying names and persons.]

This fallacy depends upon the double and equivocal meaning of
_yours_--one of its different explanations being treated as if
it were the only one.

[Side-note: Fallacies involving deeper logical
principles--contradiction is impossible.--To speak falsely is impossible.]

Other puzzles cited in this dialogue go deeper:--Contradiction is
impossible--To speak falsely is impossible.[56] These paradoxes were
maintained by Antisthenes and others, and appear to have been matters
of dialectic debate throughout the fourth and third centuries. I
shall say more of them when I speak about the Megarics and
Antisthenes. Here I only note, that in this dialogue, Ktesippus is
represented as put to silence by them, and Sokrates as making an
answer which is no answer at all.[57] We see how much trouble these
paradoxes gave to Plato, when we read the Sophistês, in which he
handles the last of the two in a manner elaborate, but (to my
judgment) unsatisfactory.

[Footnote 56: Plato, Euthydêm. pp. 285-286.]

[Footnote 57: Plato, Euthydêm. pp. 286 B--287 A.]

[Side-note: Plato's Euthydêmus is the earliest known attempt
to set out and expose fallacies--the only way of exposing fallacies
is to exemplify the fallacy by particular cases, in which the
conclusion proved is known _aliunde_ to be false and absurd.]

The Euthydêmus of Plato is memorable in the history of philosophy as
the earliest known attempt to set out, and exhibit to attention, a
string of fallacious modes of reasoning. Plato makes them all absurd
and ridiculous. He gives a caricature of a dialectic debate, not
unworthy of his namesake Plato Comicus--or of Aristophanes, Swift, or
Voltaire. The sophisms appear for the most part so silly, as he puts
them, that the reader asks himself how any one could have been ever
imposed upon by such a palpable delusion? Yet such confidence is by
no means justified. A sophism, perfectly analogous in character to
those which Plato here exposes to ridicule, may, in another case,
easily escape detection from the hearer, and even from the reasoner
himself. People are constantly misled by fallacies arising from the
same word bearing two senses, from double construction of the same
phrase, from unconscious application of a _dictum secundum
quid_, as if it were a _dictum simpliciter_; from Petitio
Principii, &c., Ignoratio Elenchi, &c. Neither Plato himself,
nor Aristotle, can boast of escaping them.[58] If these fallacies
appear, in the examples chosen by Plato for the Euthydêmus, so
obviously inconclusive that they can deceive no one--the reason lies
not in the premisses themselves, but in the particular conclusions to
which they lead: which conclusions are known on other grounds to be
false, and never to be seriously maintainable by any person. Such
conclusions as--"Sokrates had no father: Sophroniskus, if father of
Sokrates, was father of all men and all animals: In beating your dog,
you beat your father: If you know one thing, you know everything,"
&c., being known _aliunde_ to be false, prove that there has
been some fallacy in the premisses whereby they have been
established. Such cases serve as a _reductio ad absurdum_ of the
antecedent process. They make us aware of one mode of liability
to error, and put us on our guard against it in analogous cases. This
is a valuable service, and all the more valuable, because the
liability to error is real and widespread, even from fallacies
perfectly analogous to those which seem so silly under the particular
exemplifications which Plato selects and exposes. Many of the
illustrations of the Platonic Euthydêmus are reproduced by Aristotle
in the Treatise de Sophisticis Elenchis, together with other
fallacies, discriminated with a certain method and system.[59]

[Footnote 58: See a passage in Plato's Charmidês, where Heindorf
remarks with propriety upon his equivocal use of the words [Greek:
eu)= zê=|n] and [Greek: eu)= pra/ttein]--also the Gorgias, p. 507 D,
with the notes of Routh and Heindorf. I have noticed both passages in
discussing these two dialogues.]

[Footnote 59: Aristotle, De Sophist. Elench.; also Arist. Rhet. ii.
p. 1401, a-b.]

[Side-note: Mistake of supposing fallacies to have been
invented and propagated by Athenian Sophists--they are inherent
inadvertencies and liabilities to error, in the ordinary process of
thinking. Formal debate affords the best means of correcting them.]

The true character of these fallacies is very generally overlooked by
the Platonic critics, in their appreciation of the Euthydêmus; when
they point our attention to the supposed tricks and frauds of the
persons whom they called Sophists, as well as to mischievous
corruptions alleged to arise from Eristic or formal contentious
debate. These critics speak as if they thought that such fallacies
were the special inventions of Athenian Sophists for the purposes of
Athenian Eristic: as if such causes of error were inoperative on
persons of ordinary honesty or intelligence, who never consulted or
heard the Sophists. It has been the practice of writers on logic,
from Aristotle down to Whately, to represent logical fallacies as
frauds devised and maintained by dishonest practitioners, whose art
Whately assimilates to that of jugglers.

This view of the case appears to me incomplete and misleading. It
substitutes the rare and accidental in place of the constant and
essential. The various sophisms, of which Plato in the Euthydêmus
gives the _reductio ad absurdum_, are not the inventions of
Sophists. They are erroneous tendencies of the reasoning process,
frequently incident to human thought and speech: specimens of those
ever-renewed "inadvertencies of ordinary thinking" (to recur to a
phrase cited in my preface), which it is the peculiar mission of
philosophy or "reasoned truth" to rectify. Moreover the practice of
formal debate, which is usually denounced with so much asperity--if
it affords on some occasions opportunity to produce such fallacies,
presents not merely equal opportunity, but the only effective means,
for exposing and confuting them. Whately in his Logic,[60] like
Plato in the Euthydêmus, when bringing these fallacies into open
daylight in order that every one may detect them, may enliven the
theme by presenting them as the deliberate tricks of a Sophist.
Doubtless they are so by accident: yet their essential character is
that of infirmities incident to the _intellectus sibi
permissus_: operative at Athens before Athenian Sophists existed,
and in other regions also, where these persons never penetrated.]

[Footnote 60: Whately's Logic, ch. v. sect. 5. Though Whately, like
other logicians, keeps the Sophists in the foreground, as the
fraudulent enemy who sow tares among that which would otherwise come
up as a clean crop of wheat--yet he intimates also incidentally how
widespread and frequent such fallacies are, quite apart from
dishonest design. He says--"It seems by most persons to be taken for
granted, that a Fallacy is to be dreaded merely as a weapon fashioned
and wielded by a skilful Sophist: or, if they allow that a man may
with honest intentions slide into one, unconsciously, in the heat of
_argument_--still they seem to suppose, that where there is no
_dispute_, there is no cause to dread Fallacy. Whereas there is
much danger, even in what may be called _solitary reasoning_, of
sliding unawares into some Fallacy, by which one may be so far
deceived as even to act upon the conclusion so obtained. By
_solitary reasoning_, is meant the case in which we are not
seeking for arguments to prove a given question, but labouring to
elicit from our previous stock of knowledge some useful inference."

"To speak of all the Fallacies that have ever been enumerated, as too
glaring and obvious to need even being mentioned--because the simple
instances given in books, and there stated in the plainest and
consequently most easily detected form, are such as (in that form)
would deceive no one--this, surely, shows either extreme weakness or
extreme unfairness."--Aristotle himself makes the same remark as
Whately--That the man who is easily taken in by a Fallacy advanced by
another, will be easily misled by the like Fallacy in his own
solitary reasoning. Sophist. Elench. 16, 175, a. 10.]

[Side-note: Wide-spread prevalence of erroneous belief,
misguided by one or other of these fallacies, attested by Sokrates,
Plato, Bacon, &c.,--complete enumeration of heads of fallacies by
Mill.]

The wide diffusion and constant prevalence of such infirmities is
attested not less by Sokrates in his last speech, wherein he declares
real want of knowledge and false persuasion of knowledge, to be
universal, the mission of his life being to expose them, though he
could not correct them--than by Bacon in his reformatory projects,
where he enumerates the various Idola worshipped by the human
intellect, and the false tendencies acquired "_in primâ digestione
mentis_". The psychological analysis of the sentiment of belief
with its different sources, given in Mr. Alexander Bain's work on the
Emotions and the Will, shows how this takes place; and exhibits true
or sound belief, in so far as it ever is acquired, as an acquisition
only attained after expulsion of earlier antecedent error.[61] Of
such error, and of the different ways in which apparent evidence
is mistaken for real evidence, a comprehensive philosophical
exposition is farther given by Mr. John Stuart Mill, in the fifth
book of his System of Logic, devoted to the subject of Fallacies.
Every variety of erroneous procedure is referable to some one or more
of the general heads of Fallacy there enumerated. It is the Fallacies
of Ratiocination, of which the two Sophists, in the Platonic
Euthydêmus, are made to exhibit specimens: and when we regard such
Fallacies, as one branch among several in a complete logical scheme,
we shall see at once that they are not inventions of the Athenian
Sophists--still less inventions for the purpose of Eristic or formal
debate. For every one of these Fallacies is of a nature to ensnare
men, and even to ensnare them more easily, in the common, informal,
conversation of life--or in their separate thoughts. Besides mistakes
on matters of fact, the two main causes which promote the
success and encourage the multiplication of Fallacies generally, are
first, the emotional bias towards particular conclusions, which
disposes persons to accept any apparent evidence, favourable to such
conclusion, as if it, were real evidence: next, the careless and
elliptical character of common speech, in which some parts of the
evidence are merely insinuated, and other parts altogether left out.
It is this last circumstance which gives occasion to the very
extensive class of Fallacies called by Mr. Mill Fallacies of
Confusion: a class so large, that the greater number of Fallacies
might plausibly be brought under it.[62]

[Footnote 61: See the instructive and original chapter on the
generation, sources, and growth of Belief, in Mr. Bain's work,
'Emotions and Will,' p. 568 seq. After laying down the fundamental
characteristic of Belief, as referable altogether to intended action,
either certain to come, or contingent under supposed circumstances,
and after enumerating the different Sources of Belief.--1. Intuitive
or Instinctive. 2. Experience. 3. The Influence of the Emotions
(sect. x. p. 579)--Mr. Bain says: "Having in our constitution
primordial fountains of activity in the spontaneous and voluntary
impulses, we follow the first clue that experience gives us, and
accept the indication with the whole force of these natural
promptings. Being under the strongest impulses to act somehow, an
animal accepts any lead that is presented, and if successful, abides
by that lead with unshaken confidence. This is that instinct of
credulity so commonly attributed to the infant mind. It is not the
single instance, or the repetition of two or three, that makes up the
strong tone of confidence; it is the mind's own active determination,
finding some definite vent in the gratification of its ends, and
abiding by the discovery with the whole energy of the character,
until the occurrence of some check, failure, or contradiction. The
force of belief, therefore, is not one rising from zero to a full
development by slow degrees, according to the length of the
experience. We must treat it rather as a strong primitive
manifestation, derived from the natural activity of the system, and
taking its direction and rectification from experience (p. 583). The
anticipation of nature, so strenuously repudiated by Bacon, is the
offspring of this characteristic of the mental system. With the
active tendency at its maximum, and the exercise of intelligence and
acquired knowledge at the minimum, there can issue nothing but a
quantity of rash enterprises. The respectable name
_generalisation_, implying the best products of enlightened
scientific research, has also a different meaning, expressing one of
the most erroneous impulses and crudest determinations of untutored
human nature. To extend some familiar and narrow experience, so as to
comprehend cases the most distant, is a piece of mere reckless
instinct, demanding severe discipline for its correction. I have
mentioned the case of our supposing all other minds constituted like
our own. The veriest infant has got this length in the career of
fallacy. Sound belief, instead of being a pacific and gentle growth,
is in reality the battering of a series of strongholds, the
conquering of a country in hostile occupation. This is a fact common
both to the individual and to the race. Observation is unanimous on
the point. It will probably be long ere the last of the delusions
attributable to this method of believing first and proving afterwards
can be eradicated from humanity." [3rd ed., p. 505 seq.]]

[Footnote 62: Mill, 'System of Logic,' Book V., to which is prefixed
the following citation from Hobbes's 'Logica'. "Errare non modo
affirmando et negando, sed etiam in sentiendo, et in tacitâ hominum
cogitatione, contingit."

Mr. Mill points out forcibly both the operation of moral or emotional
bias in perverting the intellect, and causing sophisms or fallacies
to produce conviction; and the increased chance afforded for the
success of a sophism by the suppression of part of the premisses,
which is unavoidable in informal discussions.

"Bias is not a direct source of wrong conclusions (v. 1-3). We cannot
believe a proposition only by wishing, or only by dreading, to
believe it. Bias acts indirectly by placing the intellectual grounds
of belief in an incomplete or distorted shape before a man's eyes. It
makes him shrink from the irksome labour of a rigorous induction. It
operates too by making him look out eagerly for reasons, or apparent
reasons, to support opinions which are conformable, or resist those
which are repugnant, to his interests or feelings; and when the
interests or feelings are common to great numbers of persons, reasons
are accepted or pass current which would not for a moment be listened
to in that character, if the conclusion had nothing more powerful
than its reasons to speak in its behalf. The natural or acquired
prejudices of mankind are perpetually throwing up philosophical
theories, the sole recommendation of which consists in the premisses
which they afford for proving cherished doctrines, or justifying
favourite feelings; and when any one of these theories has become so
thoroughly discredited as no longer to serve the purpose, another is
always ready to take its place."--"Though the opinions of the
generality of mankind, when not dependent upon mere habit and
inculcation, have their root much more in the inclinations than in
the intellect, it is a necessary condition to the triumph of the
moral bias that it should first pervert the understanding."

Again in v. 2, 3. "It is not in the nature of bad reasoning to
express itself unambiguously. When a sophist, whether he is imposing
upon himself or attempting to impose upon others, can be constrained
to throw his argument into so distinct a form, it needs, in a large
number of cases, no farther exposure. In all arguments, everywhere
but in the schools, some of the links are suppressed: _à
fortiori_, when the arguer either intends to deceive, or is a lame
and inexpert thinker, little accustomed to bring his reasoning
processes to any test; and it is in those steps of the reasoning
which are made in this tacit and half-conscious, or even wholly
unconscious, manner, that the error oftenest lurks. In order to
detect the fallacy the proposition thus silently assumed must be
supplied, but the reasoner, most likely, has never really asked
himself what he was assuming; his confuter, unless permitted to
extort it from him by the Socratic mode of interrogation, must
himself judge what the suppressed premiss ought to be, in order to
support the conclusion." Mr. Mill proceeds to illustrate this
confusion by an excellent passage cited from Whately's 'Logic'. I may
add, that Aristotle himself makes a remark substantially the same--That
the same fallacy may be referred to one general head or to
another, according to circumstances. Sophist. Elench. 33, 182, b. 10.]

[Side-note: Value of formal debate as a means for testing
and confuting fallacies.]

We thus see not only that the fallacious agencies are self-operative,
generating their own weeds in the common soil of human thought and
speech, without being planted by Athenian Sophists or watered by
Eristic--but that this very Eristic affords the best means of
restraining their diffusion. It is only in formal debate that the
disputant can be forced to make clear to himself and declare
explicitly to others, without reserve or omission, all the premisses
upon which his conclusion rests--that every part of these premisses
becomes liable to immediate challenge by an opponent--that the
question comes distinctly under consideration, what is or is not
sufficient evidence--that the premisses of one argument can be
compared with the premisses of another, so that if in the former you
are tempted to acquiesce in them as sufficient because you have a
bias favourable to the conclusion, in the latter you may be made to
feel that they are _insufficient_, because the conclusion which
they prove is one which you know to be untrue (_reductio ad
absurdum_). The habit of formal debate (called by those who do not
like it, Eristic[63]) is thus an indispensable condition both for the
exposure and confutation of fallacies, which exist quite independent
of that habit--owing their rise and prevalence to deep-seated
psychological causes.

[Footnote 63: The Platonic critics talk about the Eristics (as they
do about the Sophists) as if that name designated a known and
definite class of persons. This is altogether misleading. The term is
vituperative, and was applied by different persons according to their
own tastes.

Ueberweg remarks with great justice, that Isokrates called all
speculators on philosophy by the name of Eristics. "Als ob jener
Rhetor nicht (wie ja doch Spengel selbst gut nachgewiesen hat) alle
und jede Spekulation mit dem Nahmen der Eristik bezeichnete."
(Untersuchungen über die Zeitfolge der Plat. Schriften, p. 257.) In
reference to the distinction which Aristotle attempts to draw between
Dialectic and Eristic--the former legitimate, the latter
illegitimate--we must remark that even in the legitimate Dialectic
the purpose prominent in his mind is that of victory over an
opponent. He enjoins that you are not only to guard against your
opponent, lest he should out-manoeuvre you, but you are to conceal
and disguise the sequence of your questions so as to out-manoeuvre
him. [Greek: Chrê\ d' o(/per phula/ttesthai paragge/llomen
a)pokrinome/nous, au)tou\s e)picheirou=ntas peira=sthai lantha/nein.]
Anal. Prior. ii. 66, a. 32. Compare Topic. 108, a. 25, 156, a. 23,
164, b. 35.]

[Side-note: Without the habit of formal debate, Plato could
not have composed his Euthydêmus, nor Aristotle the treatise De
Sophisticis Elenchis.]

Without the experience acquired by this habit of dialectic debate at
Athens, Plato could not have composed his Euthydêmus, exhibiting a
_reductio ad absurdum_ of several verbal fallacies--nor could we
have had the logical theories of Aristotle, embodied in the
Analytica and Topica with its annexed treatise De Sophisticis
Elenchis, in which various fallacies are discriminated and
classified. These theories, and the corollaries connected with them,
do infinite honour to the comprehensive intellect of Aristotle: but
he could not have conceived them without previous study of the
ratiocinative process. He, as the first theorizer, must have had
before him abundant arguments explicitly laid out, and contested, or
open to be contested, at every step by an opponent.[64] Towards such
habit of formal argumentation, a strong repugnance was felt by many
of the Athenian public, as there is among modern readers generally:
but those who felt thus, had probably little interest in the
speculations either of Plato or of Aristotle. That the Platonic
critics should themselves feel this same repugnance, seems to me not
consistent with their admiration for the great dialectician and
logician of antiquity: nor can I at all subscribe to their view, when
they present to us the inherent infirmities of the human intellect as
factitious distempers generated by the habit of formal debate, and by
the rapacity of Protagoras, Prodikus, and others.

[Footnote 64: Mill, 'System of Logic.' Book VI. 1, 1. "Principles of
Evidence and Theories of Method, are not to be constructed _à
priori_. The laws of our rational faculty, like those of every
other natural agency, are only got by seeing the agent at work."]

[Side-note: Probable popularity of the Euthydêmus at
Athens--welcomed by all the enemies of Dialectic.]

I think it probable that the dialogue of Euthydêmus, as far as the
point to which I have brought it (_i.e._, where Sokrates
finishes his recital to Kriton of the conversation which he had had
with the two Sophists), was among the most popular of all the
Platonic dialogues: not merely because of its dramatic vivacity and
charm of expression, but because it would be heartily welcomed by the
numerous enemies of Dialectic at Athens. We must remember that in the
estimation of most persons at Athens, Dialectic included Sokrates and
all the _viri Sokratici_ (Plato among them), just as much as the
persons called Sophists. The discreditable picture here given of
Euthydêmus and Dionysodorus, would be considered as telling against
Dialectic and the Sokratic Elenchus generally: while the rhetors, and
others who dealt in long continuous discourse, would treat it as a
blow inflicted upon the rival art of dialogue, by the professor
of the dialogue himself. In Plato's view, the dialogue was the
special and appropriate manifestation of philosophy.

[Side-note: Epilogue of Plato to the Dialogue, trying to
obviate this inference by opponents--Conversation between Sokrates
and Kriton.]

That the natural effect of the picture here drawn by Plato, was, to
justify the antipathy of those who hated philosophy--we may see by
the epilogue which Plato has thought fit to annex: an epilogue so
little in harmony with what has preceded, that we might almost
imagine it to be an afterthought--yet obviously intended to protect
philosophy against imputations. Sokrates having concluded the
recital, in his ironical way, by saying that he intended to become a
pupil under the two Sophists, and by inviting Kriton to be a pupil
along with him--Kriton replies by saying that he is anxious to obtain
instruction from any one who can give it, but that he has no sympathy
with Euthydêmus, and would rather be refuted by him, than learn from
him to refute in such a manner. Kriton proceeds to report to Sokrates
the remarks of a by-stander (an able writer of discourses for the
Dikastery) who had heard all that passed; and who expressed his
surprise that Sokrates could have remained so long listening to such
nonsense, and manifesting so much deference for a couple of foolish
men. Nevertheless (continued the by-stander) this couple are among
the most powerful talkers of the day upon philosophy. This shows you
how worthless a thing philosophy is: prodigious fuss, with
contemptible result--men careless what they say, and carping at every
word that they hear.[65]

[Footnote 65: Plat. Euthyd. pp. 304-305.]

Now, Sokrates (concludes Kriton), this man is wrong for depreciating
philosophy, and all others who depreciate it are wrong also. But he
was right in blaming you, for disputing with such a couple before a
large crowd.

_Sokr._--What kind of person is this censor of philosophy? Is he
a powerful speaker himself in the Dikastery? Or is he only a composer
of discourses to be spoken by others? _Krit._--The latter. I do
not think that he has ever spoken in court: but every one says that
he knows judicial practice well, and that he composes admirable
speeches.[66]

[Footnote 66: Plat. Euthyd. p. 305.]

[Side-note: Altered tone in speaking of
Euthydêmus--Disparagement of persons half-philosophers,
half-politicians.]

_Sokr._--I understand the man. He belongs to that class whom
Prodikus describes as the border-men between philosophy and politics.
Persons of this class account themselves the wisest of mankind, and
think farther that besides being such in reality, they are also
admired as such by many: insomuch that the admiration for them would
be universal, if it were not for the professors of philosophy.
Accordingly they fancy, that if they could once discredit these
philosophers, the prize of glory would be awarded to themselves,
without controversy, by every one: they being in truth the wisest men
in society, though liable, if ever they are caught in dialectic
debate, to be overpowered and humbled by men like Euthydêmus.[67]
They have very plausible grounds for believing in their own wisdom,
since they pursue both philosophy and politics to a moderate extent,
as far as propriety enjoins; and thus pluck the fruit of wisdom
without encountering either dangers or contests. _Krit._--What
do you say to their reasoning, Sokrates? It seems to me specious.
_Sokr._--Yes, it is specious, but not well founded. You cannot
easily persuade them, though nevertheless it is true, that men who
take a line mid-way between two pursuits, are _better_ than
either, if both pursuits be bad--_worse_ than either, if both
pursuits be good, but tending to different ends--_better_ than
one and _worse_ than the other, if one of the pursuits be bad
and the other good--_better_ than both, if both be bad, but
tending to different ends. Such being the case, if the pursuit of
philosophy and that of active politics be both of them good, but
tending to different objects, these men are inferior to the pursuers
of one as well as of the other: if one be good, the other bad, they
are worse than the pursuers of the former, better than the pursuers
of the latter: if both be bad, they are better than either. Now I am
sure that these men themselves account both philosophy and politics
to be good. Accordingly, they are inferior both to philosophers and
politicians:[68] they occupy only the third rank, though they pretend
to be in the first. While we pardon such a pretension, and
refrain from judging these men severely, we must nevertheless
recognise them for such as they really are. We must be content with
every one, who announces any scheme of life, whatever it be, coming
within the limits of intelligence, and who pursues his work with
persevering resolution.[69]

[Footnote 67: Plat. Euthyd. p. 305 D. [Greek: ei)=nai me\n ga\r tê=|
a)lêthei/a| spha=s sophôta/tous, e)n de\ toi=s i)di/ois lo/gois
o(/tan a)polêphthô=sin, u(po\ tô=n a)mphi\ Eu)thu/dêmon
kolou/esthai.]

[Greek: Oi( a)mphi\ Eu)thu/dêmon] may mean Euthydêmus himself and
alone; yet I incline to think that it here means Euthydêmus and his
like.]

[Footnote 68: Plat. Euthyd. p. 306 B.]

[Footnote 69: Plat. Euthyd. p. 306 C. [Greek: suggignô/skein me\n
ou)=n au)toi=s chrê\ tê=s e)pithumi/as kai\ mê\ chalepai/nein,
ê(gei=sthai me/ntoi toiou/tous ei)=nai oi(=oi/ ei)si; pa/nta ga\r
a)/ndra chrê\ a)gapa=|n, o(/stis kai\ o(tiou=n le/gei e)cho/menon
phronê/seôs pra=gma, kai\ a)ndrei/ôs diaponei=tai.]]

[Side-note: Kriton asks Sokrates for advice about the
education of his sons--Sokrates cannot recommend a teacher--tells him
to search for himself.]

_Krit._ I am always telling you, Sokrates, that I too am embarrassed
where to seek instructors for my sons. Conversation with you has
satisfied me, that it is madness to bestow so much care upon the
fortune and position of sons, and so little upon their instruction.
Yet when I turn my eyes to the men who make profession of
instructing, I am really astonished. To tell you the truth, every one
of them appears to me extravagantly absurd,[70] so that I know not
how to help forward my son towards philosophy. _Sokr._--Don't
you know, Kriton, that in every different pursuit, most of the
professors are foolish and worthless, and that a few only are
excellent and above price? Is not this the case with gymnastic,
commercial business, rhetoric, military command? Are not most of
those who undertake these pursuits ridiculously silly?[71]
_Krit._--Unquestionably: nothing can be more true. _Sokr._--Do
 you think _that_ a sufficient reason for avoiding all these
pursuits yourself, and keeping your son out of them also? _Krit._ No:
it would be wrong to do so. _Sokr._--Well then, don't do so.
Take no heed about the professors of philosophy, whether they are
good or bad; but test philosophy itself, well and carefully. If it
shall appear to you worthless, dissuade not merely your sons, but
every one else also, from following it.[72] But if it shall appear to
you as valuable as I consider it to be, then take courage to pursue
and practise it, you and your children both, according to the
proverb.--

[Footnote 70: Plato, Euthyd. p. 306 E. [Greek: kai/ moi dokei= ei)=s
e(/kastos au)tô=n skopou=nti pa/nu a)llo/kotos ei)=nai], &c.]

[Footnote 71: Plato, Euthyd. p. 307 B. [Greek: e)n e(ka/stê| tou/tôn
tou\s pollou\s pro\s e(/kaston to\ e)/rgon ou) katagela/stous
o(ra=|s?]]

[Footnote 72: Plato, Euthyd. p. 307 B. [Greek: e)a/sas chai/rein
tou\s e)pitêdeu/ontas philosophi/an, ei)/te chrêstoi/ ei)sin ei)/te
ponêroi/, au)to\ to\ pra=gma basani/sas kalô=s te kai\ eu)=, e)a\n
me/n soi phai/nêtai phaulo\n o)/n], &c.]

[Side-note: Euthydêmus is here cited as representative of
Dialectic and philosophy.]

The first part of this epilogue, which I have here given in
abridgment, has a bearing very different from the rest of the
dialogue, and different also from most of the other Platonic
dialogues. In the epilogue, Euthydêmus is cited as the representative
of true dialectic and philosophy: the opponents of philosophy are
represented as afraid of being put down by Euthydêmus: whereas,
previously, he had been depicted as contemptible,--as a man whose
manner of refuting opponents was more discreditable to himself than
to the opponent refuted; and who had no chance of success except
among hearers like himself. We are not here told that Euthydêmus was
a bad specimen of philosophers, and that there were others better, by
the standard of whom philosophy ought to be judged. On the contrary,
we find him here announced by Sokrates as among those dreaded by men
adverse to philosophy,--and as not undeserving of that epithet which
the semi-philosopher cited by Kriton applies to "one of the most
powerful champions of the day".

Plato, therefore, after having applied his great dramatic talent to
make dialectic debate ridiculous, and thus said much to gratify its
enemies--changes his battery, and says something against these
enemies, without reflecting whether it is consistent or no with what
had preceded. Before the close, however, he comes again into
consistency with the tone of the earlier part, in the observation
which he assigns to Kriton, that most of the professors of philosophy
are worthless; to which Sokrates rejoins that this is not less true
of all other professions. The concluding inference is, that
philosophy is to be judged, not by its professors but by itself; and
that Kriton must examine it for himself, and either pursue it or
leave it alone, according as his own convictions dictated.

This is a valuable admonition, and worthy of Sokrates, laying full
stress as it does upon the conscientious conviction which the person
examining may form for himself. But it is no answer to the question
of Kriton; who says that he had already heard from Sokrates, and was
himself convinced, that philosophy was of first-rate importance--and
that he only desired to learn where he could find teachers to forward
the progress of his son in it. As in so many other dialogues, Plato
leaves the problem started, but unsolved. The impulse towards
philosophy being assured, those who feel it ask Plato in what
direction they are to move towards it. He gives no answer. He can
neither perform the service himself, nor recommend any one else, as
competent. We shall find such silence made matter of pointed
animadversion, in the fragment called Kleitophon.

[Side-note: Who is the person here intended by Plato,
half-philosopher, half-politician? Is it Isokrates?]

The person, whom Kriton here brings forward as the censor of Sokrates
and the enemy of philosophy, is peculiarly marked. In general, the
persons whom Plato ranks as enemies of philosophy are the rhetors and
politicians: but the example here chosen is not comprised in either
of these classes: it is a semi-philosopher, yet a writer of
discourses for others. Schleiermacher, Heindorf, and Spengel, suppose
that Isokrates is the person intended: Winckelmann thinks it is
Thrasymachus: others refer it to Lysias, or Theodorus of
Byzantium:[73] Socher and Stallbaum doubt whether any special person
is intended, or any thing beyond some supposed representative of a
class described by attributes. I rather agree with those who refer
the passage to Isokrates. He might naturally be described as one
steering a middle course between philosophy and rhetoric: which in
fact he himself proclaims in the Oration De Permutatione, and which
agrees with the language of Plato in the dialogue Phædrus, where
Isokrates is mentioned by name along with Lysias. In the Phædrus,
moreover, Plato speaks of Isokrates with unusual esteem, especially
as a favourable contrast with Lysias, and as a person who, though not
yet a philosopher, may be expected to improve, so as in no long time
to deserve that appellation.[74] We must remember that Plato in
the Phædrus attacks by name, and with considerable asperity, first
Lysias, next Theodorus and Thrasymachus the rhetors--all three
persons living and of note. Being sure to offend all these, Plato
might well feel disposed to avoid making an enemy of Isokrates at the
same time, and to except him honourably by name from the vulgar
professors of rhetoric. In the Euthydêmus (where the satire is
directed not against the rhetors, but against their competitors the
dialecticians or pseudo-dialecticians) he had no similar motive to
address compliments to Isokrates: respecting whom he speaks in a
manner probably more conformable to his real sentiments, as the
unnamed representative of a certain type of character--a
semi-philosopher, fancying himself among the first men in Athens, and
assuming unwarrantable superiority over the genuine philosopher; but
entitled to nothing more than a decent measure of esteem, such as
belonged to sincere mediocrity of intelligence.

[Footnote 73: Stallbaum, Proleg. ad Euthyd. p. 47; Winckelmann.
Proleg. p. xxxv.

Heindorf, in endeavouring to explain the difference between Plato's
language in the Phædrus and in the Euthydêmus respecting Isokrates,
assumes as a matter beyond question the theory of Schleiermacher,
that the Phædrus was composed during Plato's early years. I have
already intimated my may dissent from this theory.]

[Footnote 74: Plato, Phædrus, p. 278 E.

I have already observed that I do not agree with Schleiermacher and
the other critics who rank the Phædrus as the earliest or even among
the earliest compositions of Plato. That it is of much later
composition I am persuaded, but of what particular date can only be
conjectured. The opinion of K. F. Hermann, Stallbaum, and others,
that it was composed about the time when Plato began his school at
Athens (387-386 B.C.) is sufficiently probable.

The Euthydêmus may be earlier or may be later than the Phædrus. I
incline to think it later. The opinion of Stallbaum (resting upon the
mention of Alkibiadês, p. 275 A), that it was composed in or before
404 B.C., appears to me untenable (Stallbaum, Proleg. p.
64). Plato would not be likely to introduce Sokrates speaking of
Alkibiadês as a deceased person, whatever time the dialogue was
composed. Nor can I agree with Steinhart, who refers it to 402
B.C. (Einleitung, p. 26). Ueberweg (Untersuch. über die
Zeitfolge der Plat. Schr. pp. 265-267) considers the Euthydêmus later
(but not much later) than the Phædrus, subsequent to the
establishment of the Platonic school at Athens (387-386
B.C.) This seems to me more probable than the contrary.

Schleiermacher, in arranging the Platonic dialogues, ranks the
Euthydêmus as an immediate sequel to the Menon, and as presupposing
both Gorgias and Theætêtus (Einl. pp. 400-401). Socher agrees in this
opinion, but Steinhart rejects it (Einleit. p. 26), placing the
Euthydêmus immediately after the Protagoras, and immediately before
the Menon and the Gorgias; according to him, Euthydêmus, Menon, and
Gorgias, form a well marked Trilogy.

Neither of these arrangements rests upon any sufficient reasons. The
chronological order cannot be determined.]

[Side-note: Variable feeling at different times, between Plato
and Isokrates.]

That there prevailed at different times different sentiments, more or
less of reciprocal esteem or reciprocal jealousy, between Plato and
Isokrates, ought not to be matter of surprise. Both of them were
celebrated teachers of Athens, each in his own manner, during the
last forty years of Plato's life: both of them enjoyed the favour of
foreign princes, and received pupils from outlying, sometimes
distant, cities--from Bosphorus and Cyprus in the East, and from
Sicily in the West. We know moreover that during the years
immediately preceding Plato's death (347 B.C.), his pupil
Aristotle, then rising into importance as a teacher of rhetoric, was
engaged in acrimonious literary warfare, seemingly of his own
seeking, with Isokrates (then advanced in years) and some of the
Isokratean pupils. The little which we learn concerning the literary
and philosophical world of Athens, represents it as much distracted
by feuds and jealousies. Isokrates on his part has in his
compositions various passages which appear to allude (no name being
mentioned) to Plato among others, in a tone of depreciation.[75]

[Footnote 75: Isokrates, ad Philipp. Or. v. s. 14, p. 84; contra
Sophistas, Or. xiii.; Or. xiii. s. 2-24, pp. 291-295; Encom. Helenæ,
Or. x. init.; Panathenaic. Or. xii. s. 126, p. 257; Or. xv. De
Permutatione, s. 90, p. 440, Bekk.]

Isokrates seems, as far as we can make out, to have been in early
life, like Lysias, a composer of speeches to be spoken by clients in
the Dikastery. This lucrative profession was tempting, since his
family had been nearly ruined during the misfortunes of Athens at the
close of the Peloponnesian war. Having gained reputation by such
means, Isokrates became in his mature age a teacher of Rhetoric, and
a composer of discourses, not for private use by clients, but for the
general reader, on political or educational topics. In this
character, he corresponded to the description given by Plato in the
Euthydêmus: being partly a public adviser, partly a philosopher. But
the general principle under which Plato here attacks him, though
conforming to the doctrine of the Platonic Republic, is contrary to
that of Plato in other dialogues, "You must devote yourself either
wholly to philosophy, or wholly to politics: a mixture of the two is
worse than either"--this agrees with the Republic, wherein Plato
enjoins upon each man one special and exclusive pursuit, as well as
with the doctrine maintained against Kalliklês in the Gorgias--but it
differs from the Phædrus, where he ascribes the excellence of
Perikles as a statesmen and rhetor, to the fact of his having
acquired a large tincture of philosophy.[76] Cicero quotes this last
passage as applicable to his own distinguished career, a combination
of philosophy with politics.[77] He dissented altogether from the
doctrine here laid down by Plato in the Euthydêmus, and many other
eminent men would have dissented from it also.

[Footnote 76: See the facts about Isokrates in a good Dissertation by
H. P. Schröder, Utrecht, 1859, Quæstiones Isocrateæ, p. 51, seq.

Plato, Phædrus, p. 270; Plutarch, Periklês, c. 23; Plato, Republic,
iii. p. 397.]

[Footnote 77: Cicero, De Orator. iii. 34, 138; Orator. iv. 14;
Brutus, 11, 44.]

As a doctrine of universal application, in fact, it cannot be
defended. The opposite scheme of life (which is maintained by
Isokrates in De Permutatione and by Kalliklês in the Platonic
Gorgias)[78]--that philosophy is to be attentively studied in the
earlier years of life as an intellectual training, to arm the mind
with knowledge and capacities which may afterwards be applied to the
active duties of life--is at least equally defensible, and suits
better for other minds of a very high order. Not only Xenophon and
other distinguished Greeks, but also most of the best Roman citizens,
held the opinion which Plato in the Gorgias ascribes to Kalliklês and
reprobates through the organ of Sokrates--That philosophical study,
if prolonged beyond what was necessary for this purpose of adequate
intellectual training, and if made the permanent occupation of life,
was more hurtful than beneficial.[79] Certainly, a man may often fail
in the attempt to combine philosophy with active politics. No one
failed in such a career more lamentably than Dion, the friend of
Plato--and Plato himself, when he visited Sicily to second Dion.
Moreover Alkibiadês and Kritias were cited by Anytus and the other
accusers of Sokrates as examples of the like mischievous conjunction.
But on the other hand, Archytas at Tarentum (another friend of Plato
and philosopher) administered his native city with success, as long
(seemingly) as Periklês administered Athens. Such men as these two
are nowise inferior either to the special philosopher or to the
special politician. Plato has laid down an untenable generality, in
this passage of the Euthydêmus, in order to suit a particular point
which he wished to make against Isokrates, or against the
semi-philosopher indicated, whoever else he may have been.

[Footnote 78: Isokrates, De Permutatione, Or. xv. sect. 278-288, pp.
485-480, Bekk.; Plato, Gorgias, pp. 484-485.]

[Footnote 79: The half-philosophers and half-politicians to whom
Sokrates here alludes, are characterised by one of the Platonic
critics as "jene oberflächlichen und schwächlichen Naturen die sich
zwischen beiden Richtungen stellen, und zur Erreichung
selbstsüchtiger und beschränkter Zwecke von beiden aufnehmen was sie
verstehen und was ihnen gefällt" (Steinhart, Einleit. p. 25). On the
other hand we find in Tacitus a striking passage respecting the
studies of Agricola in his youth at Massilia. "Memoriâ teneo, solitum
ipsum narrare, se in primâ juventâ studium philosophiæ acrius, ultra
quam concessum Romano ac senatori, hausisse--ni prudentia matris
incensum ac flagrantem animum exercuisset: Scilicet sublime et
erectum ingenium, pulchritudinem ac speciem excelsæ magnæque gloriæ
vehementius quam lauté appetebat: retinuitque, quod est
difficillimum, ex sapientiâ modum" (Vit. Agr. c. 4).

Tacitus expresses himself in the same manner about the purpose with
which Helvidius Priscus applied himself to philosophy (Hist. iv. 6):
"non, ut plerique, ut nomine magnifico segne otium velaret, sed quo
constantior adversus fortuita rempublicam capesseret".

Compare also the memorable passage in the Funeral Oration pronounced
by Periklês (Thuc. ii. 40)--[Greek: philosophou=men a)/neu
malaki/as], &c., which exhibits the like views.

Aulus Gellius (x. 22), who cites the doctrine which Plato ascribes to
Kalliklês in the Gorgias (about the propriety of confining philosophy
to the function of training and preparation for active pursuits),
tries to make out that this was Plato's own opinion.]



CHAPTER XXII.

MENON.


[Side-note: Persons of the Dialogue.]

This dialogue is carried on between Sokrates and Menon, a man of
noble family, wealth, and political influence, in the Thessalian city
of Larissa. He is supposed to have previously frequented, in his
native city, the lectures and society of the rhetor Gorgias.[1] The
name and general features of Menon are probably borrowed from the
Thessalian military officer, who commanded a division of the Ten
Thousand Greeks, and whose character Xenophon depicts in the
Anabasis: but there is nothing in the Platonic dialogue to mark that
meanness and perfidy which the Xenophontic picture indicates. The
conversation between Sokrates and Menon is interrupted by two
episodes: in the first of these, Sokrates questions an unlettered
youth, the slave of Menon: in the second, he is brought into conflict
with Anytus, the historical accuser of the historical Sokrates.

[Footnote 1: Cicero notices Isokrates as having heard Gorgias in
Thessaly (Orator. 53, 176).]

The dialogue is begun by Menon, in a manner quite as abrupt as the
Hipparchus and Minos:

[Side-note: Question put by Menon--Is virtue teachable?
Sokrates confesses that he does not know what virtue is. Surprise of
Menon.]

_Menon._--Can you tell me, Sokrates, whether virtue is
teachable--or acquirable by exercise--or whether it comes by nature--or
in what other manner it comes? _Sokr._--I cannot answer your
question. I am ashamed to say that I do not even know what virtue is:
and when I do not know what a thing is, how can I know any thing
about its attributes or accessories? A man who does not know, Menon,
cannot tell whether he is handsome, rich, &c., or the contrary.
_Menon._--Certainly not. But is it really true, Sokrates,
that you do not know what virtue is? Am I to proclaim this respecting
you, when I go home?[2] _Sokr._--Yes--undoubtedly: and proclaim
besides that I have never yet met with any one who _did_ know.
_Menon._--What! have you not seen Gorgias at Athens, and did not
he appear to you to know? _Sokr._--I have met him, but I do not
quite recollect what he said. We need not consider what he said,
since he is not here to answer for himself.[3] But you doubtless
recollect, and can tell me, both from yourself, and from him, what
virtue is? _Menon._--There is _no difficulty_ in telling
you.[4]

[Footnote 2: Plato, Menon, p. 71 B-C. [Greek: A)lla\ su/, ô)=
Sô/krates, ou)d' o(/ ti a)retê/ e)stin oi)=stha, a)lla\ tau=ta peri\
sou= kai\ oi)/kade a)pagge/llômen?]]

[Footnote 3: Plato, Menon, p. 71 D. [Greek: a)kei=non me/ntoi nu=n
e)ô=men, e)peidê\ kai\ a)/pestin.] Sokrates sets little value upon
opinions unless where the person giving them is present to explain
and defend: compare what he says about the uselessness of citation
from poets, from whom you can ask no questions, Plato, Protagor. p.
347 E.]

[Footnote 4: Plato, Menon, p. 71 E. [Greek: A)ll' ou) chalepo/n, ô)=
Sô/krates, ei)pei=n], &c.]

[Side-note: Sokrates stands alone in this confession.
Unpopularity entailed by it.]

Many commentators here speak as if such disclaimer on the part of
Sokrates had reference merely to certain impudent pretensions to
universal knowledge on the part of the Sophists. But this (as I have
before remarked) is a misconception of the Sokratic or Platonic point
of view. The matter which Sokrates proclaims that _he_ does not
know, is, what, not Sophists alone, but every one else also,
professes to know well. Sokrates stands alone in avowing that he does
not know it, and that he can find no one else who knows. Menon treats
the question as one of no difficulty--one on which confessed
ignorance was discreditable. "What!" says Menon, "am I really to
state respecting you, that you do not know what virtue is?" The man
who makes such a confession will be looked upon by his neighbours
with surprise and displeasure--not to speak of probable consequences
yet worse. He is one whom the multifarious agencies employed by King
Nomos (which we shall find described more at length in the
Protagoras) have failed to mould into perfect and uninquiring
conformity, and he is still in process of examination to form a
judgment for himself.

[Side-note: Answer of Menon--plurality of virtues, one
belonging to each different class and condition. Sokrates enquires
for the property common to all of them.]

Menon proceeds to answer that there are many virtues: the virtue of a
man--competence to transact the business of the city, and in such
business to benefit his friends and injure his enemies: the
virtue of a woman--to administer the house well, preserving every
thing within it and obeying her husband: the virtue of a child, of an
old man, a slave, &c. There is in short a virtue--and its
contrary, a vice--belonging to each of us in every work, profession,
and age.[5]

[Footnote 5: Plato, Menon, p. 72 A. [Greek: kath' e(ka/stên ga\r tô=n
pra/xeôn kai\ tô=n ê(likô=n pro\s e(/kaston e)/rgon e(ka/stô| ê(mô=n
ê( a)retê/ e)stin. ô(sau/tôs de\ kai\ ê( kaki/a.]

Though Sokrates disapproves this method of answering--[Greek: to\
e)xarithmei=n ta\s a)reta/s] (to use the expression of Aristotle)--yet
Aristotle seems to think it better than searching for one general
definition. See Politica, i. 13, p. 1260, a. 15-30, where he has the
Platonic Menon in his mind.]

But (replies Sokrates) are they not all the same, _quatenus_
virtue? Health, _quatenus_ Health, is the same in a man or a
woman: is not the case similar with virtue? _Menon._--Not
exactly similar. _Sokr._--How so? Though there are many diverse
virtues, have not all of them one and the same form in common,
through the communion of which they _are_ virtues? In answer to
my question, you ought to declare what this common form is. Thus,
both the man who administers the city, and the woman who administers
the house, must act both of them with justice and moderation. Through
the same qualities, both the one and the other are good. There is
thus some common constituent: tell me what it is, according to you
and Gorgias? _Menon._--It is to be competent to exercise command
over men.[6] _Sokr._--But that will not suit for the virtue of a
child or a slave. Moreover, must we not superadd the condition, to
command justly, and not unjustly? _Menon._--I think so: justice
is virtue. _Sokr._--Is it virtue--or is it one particular
variety of virtue?[7] _Menon._--How do you mean? _Sokr._--Just
as if I were to say about roundness, that it is not figure, but
a particular variety of figure: because there are other figures
besides roundness. _Menon._--Very true: I say too, that there
are other virtues besides justice--namely, courage, moderation,
wisdom, magnanimity, and several others also. _Sokr._--We are
thus still in the same predicament. In looking for one virtue, we
have found many; but we cannot find that one form which runs through
them all. _Menon._--I cannot at present tell what that one
is.[8]

[Footnote 6: Plato, Menon, p. 73 D.]

[Footnote 7: Plato, Menon, p. 73 E. [Greek: Po/teron a)retê/, ô)=
Me/nôn, ê)\ a)retê/ tis?]]

[Footnote 8: Plato, Menon, p. 74 A. [Greek: ou) ga\r du/namai/ pô,
ô)= Sô/krates, ô(s su\ zêtei=s, mi/an a)retê\n labei=n kata\
pa/ntôn.]]

[Side-note: Analogous cases cited--definitions of figure
and colour.]

Sokrates proceeds to illustrate his meaning by the analogies of
figure and colour. You call _round_ a figure, and _square_
a figure: you call _white_ and _black_ both colour, the one
as much as the other, though they are unlike and even opposite.[9]
Tell me, What is this same common figure and property in both, which
makes you call both of them figure--both of them colour? Take this as
a preliminary exercise, in order to help you in answering my enquiry
about virtue.[10] Menon cannot answer, and Sokrates answers his own
question. He gives a general definition, first of figure, next of
colour. He first defines figure in a way which implies colour to be
known. This is pointed out; and he then admits that in a good
definition, suitable to genuine dialectical investigation, nothing
should be implied as known, except what the respondent admits himself
to know. Figure and colour are both defined suitably to this
condition.[11]

[Footnote 9: Plato, Menon, p. 74 D.]

[Footnote 10: Plato, Menon, c. 7, pp. 74-75. [Greek: Peirô= ei)pei=n,
i(/na kai\ ge/nêtai/ soi mele/tê pro\s tê\n peri\ tê=s a)retê=s
a)po/krisin] (75 A).

The purpose of practising the respondent is here distinctly
announced.]

[Footnote 11: Plato, Menon, p. 75 C-E.]

[Side-note: Importance at that time of bringing into conscious
view, logical subordination and distinctions--Neither logic nor
grammar had then been cast into system.]

All this preliminary matter seems to be intended for the purpose of
getting the question clearly conceived as a general question--of
exhibiting and eliminating the narrow and partial conceptions which
unconsciously substitute themselves in the mind, in place of that
which ought to be conceived as a generic whole--and of clearing up
what is required in a good definition. A generic whole, including
various specific portions distinguishable from each other, was at
that time little understood by any one. There existed no grammar, nor
any rules of logic founded on analysis of the intellectual processes.
To predicate of the genus what was true only of the species--to
predicate as distinctively characterizing the species, what is true
of the whole genus in which it is contained--to lose the integrity of
the genus in its separate parcels or fragments[12]--these were errors
which men had never yet been expressly taught to avoid. To assign the
one common meaning, constituent of or connoted by a generic term,
had never yet been put before them as a problem. Such
preliminary clearing of the ground is instructive even now, when
formal and systematic logic has become more or less familiar: but in
the time of Plato, it must have been indispensably required, to
arrive at a full conception of any general question.[13]

[Footnote 12: Plato, Menon, p. 79 A. [Greek: e)mou= deêthe/ntos sou
mê\ katagnu/mai mêde\ kermati/zein tê\n a)retên], &c. 79 B:
[Greek: e)mou= deêthe/ntos o(/lên ei)pei=n tê\n a)retê/n], &c.]

[Footnote 13: These examples of trial, error, and exposure, have
great value and reflect high credit on Plato, when we regard them as
an intellectual or propædeutic discipline, forcing upon hearers an
attention to useful logical distinctions at a time when there existed
no systematic grammar or logic. But surely they must appear degraded,
as they are presented in the Prolegomena of Stallbaum, and by some
other critics. We are there told that Plato's main purpose in this
dialogue was to mock and jeer the Sophists and their pupil, and that
for this purpose Sokrates is made to employ not his own arguments but
arguments borrowed from the Sophists themselves--"ut callidé suam
ipsius rationem occultare existimandus sit, quo magis illudat
Sophistarum alumnum" (p. 15). "Quæ quidem argumentatio" (that of
Sokrates) "admodum cavendum est ne pro Socraticâ vel Platonicâ
accipiatur. Est enim prorsus ad mentem Sophistarum aliorumque id
genus hominum comparata," &c. (p. 16). Compare pp. 12-13 seq.

The Sophists undoubtedly had no distinct consciousness, any more than
other persons, of these logical distinctions, which were then for the
first pressed forcibly upon attention.]

[Side-note: Definition of virtue given by Menon: Sokrates pulls
it to pieces.]

Menon having been thus made to understand the formal requisites for a
definition, gives as his definition of virtue the phrase of some
lyric poet--"To delight in, or desire, things beautiful, fine,
honourable--and to have the power of getting them". But Sokrates
remarks that honourable things are good things, and that every one
without exception desires good. No one desires evil except when he
mistakes it for good. On this point all men are alike; the
distinctive feature of virtue must then consist in the second half of
the definition--in the power of acquiring good things, such as
health, wealth, money, power, dignities, &c.[14] But the
acquisition of these things is not virtuous, unless it be made
consistently with justice and moderation: moreover the man who acts
justly is virtuous, even though he does not acquire them. It appears
then that every agent who acts with justice and moderation is
virtuous. But this is nugatory as a definition of virtue: for justice
and moderation are only known as parts of virtue, and require to be
themselves defined. No man can know what a part of virtue is, unless
he knows what virtue itself is.[15] Menon must look for a better
definition, including nothing but what is already known or admitted.

[Footnote 14: Plato, Menon, p. 77 B. [Greek: dokei= toi/nun moi
a)retê\ ei)=nai, katha/per o( poiêtê\s le/gei, chai/rein te kaloi=si
kai\ du/nasthai. Kai\ e)gô\ tou=to le/gô a)retê\n e)pithumou=nta tô=n
kalô=n dunato\n ei)=nai pori/zesthai.]

Whoever this lyric poet was, his real meaning is somewhat twisted by
Sokrates in order to furnish a basis for ethical criticism, as the
song of Simonides is in the Protagoras. A person having power, and
taking delight in honourable or beautiful things--is a very
intelligible Hellenic idéal, as an object of envy and admiration.
Compare Protagoras, p. 351 C: [Greek: ei)/per toi=s kaloi=s zô/|ê
ê(do/menos.] A poor man may be [Greek: philo/kalos] as well as a rich
man: [Greek: philokalou=men met' eu)telei/as], is the boast of
Periklês in the name of the Athenians, Thucyd. ii. 40.

Plato, Menon, p. 78 C. _Sokr._ [Greek: A)gatha\ de\ kalei=s
ou)chi oi(=on u(gi/eia/n te kai\ plou=ton? kai\ chrusi/on le/gô kai\
a)rgu/rion kta=sthai kai\ tima\s e)n po/lei kai\ a)rcha/s? mê\ a)/ll'
a)/tta le/geis ta)gatha\ ê)\ ta\ toiau=ta?] _Menon._ [Greek:
Ou)k; a)lla\ pa/nta le/gô ta\ toiau=ta.]]

[Footnote 15: Plato, Menon, p. 79.]

[Side-note: Menon complains that the conversation of Sokrates
confounds him like an electric shock--Sokrates replies that he is
himself in the same state of confusion and ignorance. He urges
continuance of search by both.]

_Menon._--Your conversation, Sokrates, produces the effect of
the shock of the torpedo: you stun and confound me: you throw me into
inextricable perplexity, so that I can make no answer. I have often
discoursed copiously--and, as I thought, effectively--upon virtue;
but now you have shown that I do not even know what virtue is.
_Sokr._--If I throw you into perplexity, it is only because I am
myself in the like perplexity and ignorance. I do not know what
virtue is, any more than you: and I shall be glad to continue the
search for finding it, if you will assist me.

[Side-note: But how is the process of search available to any
purpose? No man searches for what he already knows: and for what he
does not know, it is useless to search, for he cannot tell when he
has found it.]

_Menon._--But how are you to search for that of which you are
altogether ignorant? Even if you do find it, how can you ever know
that you have found it? _Sokr._--You are now introducing a
troublesome doctrine, laid down by those who are averse to the labour
of thought. They tell us that a man cannot search either for what he
knows, or for what he does not know. For the former, research is
superfluous: for the latter it is unprofitable and purposeless, since
the searcher does not know what he is looking for.

[Side-note: Theory of reminiscence propounded by
Sokrates--anterior immortality of the soul--what is called teaching is
the revival and recognition of knowledge acquired in a former life, but
forgotten.]

I do not believe this doctrine (continues Sokrates). Priests,
priestesses, and poets (Pindar among them) tell us, that the mind of
man is immortal and has existed throughout all past time, in
conjunction with successive bodies; alternately abandoning one body,
or dying--and taking up new life or reviving in another body. In this
perpetual succession of existences, it has seen every thing,--both
here and in Hades and everywhere else--and has learnt every thing.
But though thus omniscient, it has forgotten the larger portion of
its knowledge. Yet what has been thus forgotten may again be
revived. What we call learning, is such revival. It is reminiscence
of something which the mind had seen in a former state of existence,
and knew, but had forgotten. Since then all the parts of nature are
analogous, or cognate--and since the mind has gone through and learnt
them all--we cannot wonder that the revival of any one part should
put it upon the track of recovering for itself all the rest, both
about virtue and about every thing else, if a man will only persevere
in intent meditation. All research and all learning is thus nothing
but reminiscence. In our researches, we are not looking for what we
do not know: we are looking for what we do know, but have forgotten.
There is therefore ample motive, and ample remuneration, for
prosecuting enquiries: and your doctrine which pronounces them to be
unprofitable, is incorrect.[16]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Menon, pp. 81 C-D. [Greek: A(=te ou)=n ê(
psuchê\ a)tha/nato/s te ou)=sa kai\ polla/kis gegonui=a, kai\
e(ôrakui=a kai\ ta\ e)ntha/de kai\ ta\ e)n Ai)/dou kai\ pa/nta
chrê/mata, ou)k e)/stin o(/ ti ou) mema/thêken; ô(/ste ou)de\n
thaumasto\n kai\ peri\ a)retê=s kai\ peri\ a)/llôn oi(=o/n te ei)=nai
au)tê\n a)namnêsthê=nai a(/ ge kai\ pro/teron ê)pi/stato. A(=te ga\r
tê=s phu/seôs a(pa/sês suggenou=s ou)/sês kai\ memathêkui/as tê=s
psuchê=s a(/panta, ou)de\n kôlu/ei e(\n mo/non a)namnêsthe/nta, o(\
dê\ ma/thêsin kalou=sin a)/nthrôpoi, ta)/lla pa/nta au)to\n
a)neurei=n, e)a/n tis a)ndrei=os ê)=| kai\ mê\ a)poka/mnê| zêtô=n.
To\ ga\r zêtei=n a)/ra kai\ to\ mantha/nein a)na/mnêsis o(/lon
e)sti/n.]]

[Side-note: Illustration of this theory--knowledge may be
revived by skilful questions in the mind of a man thoroughly
untaught. Sokrates questions the slave of Menon.]

Sokrates proceeds to illustrate the position, just laid down, by
cross-examining Menon's youthful slave, who, though wholly untaught
and having never heard any mention of geometry, is brought by a
proper series of questions to give answers out of his own mind,
furnishing the solution of a geometrical problem. The first part of
the examination brings him to a perception of the difficulty, and
makes him feel a painful perplexity, from which he desires to obtain
relief:[17] the second part guides his mind in the efforts necessary
for fishing up a solution out of its own pre-existing, but forgotten,
stores. True opinions, which he had long had within him without
knowing it, are awakened by interrogation, and become cognitions.
From the fact that the mind thus possesses the truth of things
which it has not acquired in this life, Sokrates infers that it must
have gone through a pre-existence of indefinite duration, or must be
immortal.[18]

[Footnote 17: Plato, Menon, p. 84 C. [Greek: Oi)/ei ou)=n a)\n
au)to\n pro/teron e)picheirê=sai zêtei=n ê)\ mantha/nein tou=to o(\
ô)=|eto ei)de/nai ou)k ei)dô/s, pri\n ei)s a)pori/an kate/pesen
ê(gêsa/menos mê\ ei)de/nai, kai\ e)po/thêse to\ ei)de/nai? Ou)/ moi
dokei=. Ô)/nêto a)/ra narkê/sas?]]

[Footnote 18: Plato, Menon, p. 86. [Greek: Ou)kou=n ei) a)ei\ ê(
a)lê/theia ê(mi=n tô=n o)/ntôn e)sti\n e)n tê=| psuchê=|, a)tha/natos
a)\n ê( psuchê\ ei)/ê?]]

[Side-note: Enquiry taken up--Whether virtue is teachable?
without determining what virtue is.]

The former topic of enquiry is now resumed: but at the instance of
Menon, the question taken up, is not--"What is virtue?" but--"Is
virtue teachable or not?" Sokrates, after renewing his objection
against the inversion of philosophical order by discussing the second
question without having determined the first, enters upon the
discussion hypothetically, assuming as a postulate, that nothing can
be taught except knowledge. The question then stands thus--"Is virtue
knowledge?" If it be, it can be taught: if not, it cannot be
taught.[19]

[Footnote 19: Plato, Menon, p. 87.]

[Side-note: Virtue is knowledge--no possessions, no
attributes, either of mind or body, are good or profitable, except
under the guidance of knowledge.]

Sokrates proceeds to prove that virtue is knowledge, or a mode of
knowledge. Virtue is good: all good things are profitable. But none
of the things accounted good are profitable, unless they be rightly
employed; that is, employed with knowledge or intelligence. This is
true not only of health, wealth, beauty, strength, power, &c.,
but also of the mental attributes justice, moderation, courage, quick
apprehension, &c. All of these are profitable, and therefore
good, if brought into action under knowledge or right intelligence;
none of them are profitable or good, without this condition--which is
therefore the distinctive constituent of virtue.[20]

[Footnote 20: Plato, Menon, p. 89.]

Virtue, therefore, being knowledge or a mode of knowledge, cannot
come by nature, but must be teachable.

[Side-note: Virtue, as being knowledge, must be teachable. Yet
there are opposing reasons, showing that it cannot be teachable. No
teachers of it can be found.]

Yet again there are other contrary reasons (he proceeds) which prove
that it cannot be teachable. For if it were so, there would be
distinct and assignable teachers and learners of it, and the times
and places could be pointed out where it is taught and learnt. We see
that this is the case with all arts and professions. But in regard to
virtue, there are neither recognised teachers, nor learners, nor
years of learning. The Sophists pretend to be teachers of it, but are
not:[21] the leading and esteemed citizens of the community do
not pretend to be teachers of it, and are indeed incompetent to teach
it even to their own sons--as the character of those sons
sufficiently proves.[22]

[Footnote 21: Plato, Menon, p. 92.]

[Footnote 22: Plato, Menon, p. 97. Isokrates (adv. Sophistas, s. 25,
p. 401) expressly declares that he does not believe [Greek: ô(/s
e)sti dikaiosu/nê didakto/n]. There is no [Greek: te/chnê] which can
teach it, if a man be [Greek: kakô=s pephukô/s]. But if a man be
well-disposed, then education in [Greek: lo/goi politikoi/] will
serve [Greek: sumparakeleu/sasthai/ ge kai\ sunaskê=sai].

For a man to announce himself as a teacher of justice or virtue, was
an unpopular and invidious pretension. Isokrates is anxious to guard
himself against such unpopularity.]

[Side-note: Conversation of Sokrates with Anytus, who detests
the Sophists, and affirms that any one of the leading politicians can
teach virtue.]

Here, a new speaker is introduced into the dialogue--Anytus, one of
the accusers of Sokrates before the Dikastery. The conversation is
carried on for some time between Sokrates and him. Anytus denies
altogether that the Sophists are teachers of virtue, and even
denounces them with bitter contempt and wrath. But he maintains that
the leading and esteemed citizens of the state do really teach it.
Anytus however presently breaks off in a tone of displeasure and
menace towards Sokrates himself.[23] The conversation is then renewed
with Menon, and it is shown that the leading politicians cannot be
considered as teachers of virtue, any more than the Sophists. There
exist no teachers of it; and therefore we must conclude that it is
not teachable.

[Footnote 23: Plato, Menon, p. 94 E.]

[Side-note: Confused state of the discussion. No way of
acquiring virtue is shown.]

The state of the discussion as it stands now, is represented by two
hypothetical syllogisms, as follows:
1. If virtue is knowledge, it is teachable:
But virtue is knowledge:
Therefore virtue is teachable.
2. If virtue is knowledge, it is teachable:
But virtue is not teachable:
Therefore virtue is not knowledge.
The premisses of each of these two syllogisms contradict the
conclusion of the other. Both cannot be true. If virtue is not
acquired by teaching and does not come by nature, how are there any
virtuous men?

[Side-note: Sokrates modifies his premisses--knowledge is not
the only thing which guides to good results--right opinion will do
the same.]

Sokrates continues his argument: The second premiss of the first
syllogism--that virtue is knowledge--is true, but not the whole
truth. In proving it we assumed that there was nothing except
knowledge which guided us to useful and profitable consequences. But
this assumption will not hold. There is something else besides
knowledge, which also guides us to the same useful results. That
something is _right opinion_, which is quite different from
knowledge. The man who holds right opinions is just as profitable to
us, and guides us quite as well to right actions, as if he knew.
Right opinions, so long as they stay in the mind, are as good as
knowledge, for the purpose of guidance in practice. But the
difference is, that they are evanescent and will not stay in the
mind: while knowledge is permanent and ineffaceable. They are exalted
into knowledge, when bound in the mind by a chain of causal
reasoning:[24] that is, by the process of reminiscence, before
described.

[Footnote 24: Plato, Menon, pp. 97 E--98 A. [Greek: kai\ ga\r ai(
do/xai ai( a)lêthei=s, o(/son me\n a)\n chro/non parame/nôsin, kalo/n
ti chrê=ma kai\ pa/nta ta)gatha\ e)rga/zontai; polu\n de\ chro/non
ou)k e)the/lousi parame/nein, a)lla\ drapeteu/ousin e)k tê=s psuchê=s
tou= a)nthrô/pou. ô(/ste ou) pollou= a)/xiai/ ei)sin, _e(/ôs a)\n
tis au)ta\s dê/sê| ai)ti/as logismô=|_; tou=to d' e)sti\n
_a)na/mnêsis_, ô(s e)n toi=s pro/sthen ê(mi=n ô(molo/gêtai.]]

[Side-note: Right opinion cannot be relied on for staying in
the mind, and can never give rational explanations, nor teach
others--good practical statesmen receive right opinion by inspiration
from the Gods.]

Virtue then (continues Sokrates)--that which constitutes the virtuous
character and the permanent, trustworthy, useful guide--consists in
knowledge. But there is also right opinion, a sort of
_quasi-knowledge_, which produces in practice effects as good as
knowledge, only that it is not deeply or permanently fixed in the
mind.[25] It is this right opinion, or _quasi-knowledge_, which
esteemed and distinguished citizens possess, and by means of which
they render useful service to the city. That they do not possess
knowledge, is certain; for if they did, they would be able to teach
it to others, and especially to their own sons: and this it has been
shown that they cannot do.[26] They deliver true opinions and
predictions, and excellent advice, like prophets and oracular
ministers, by divine inspiration and possession, without knowledge or
wisdom of their own. They are divine and inspired persons, but not
wise or knowing.[27]

[Footnote 25: Plato, Menon, p. 99 A. [Greek: ô(=| de\ a)/nthrôpos
ê(gemô/n e)stin e)pi\ to\ o)rtho/n, du/o tau=ta, do/xa a)lêthê\s kai\
e)pistê/mê.]]

[Footnote 26: Plato, Menon, p. 99 B. [Greek: Ou)k a)/ra sophi/a tini\
ou)de\ sophoi\ o)/ntes oi( toiou=toi a)/ndres ê(gou=nto tai=s
po/lesin, oi( a)mphi\ Themistokle/a. . . . dio\ kai\ ou)ch oi(=oi/ te
a)/llous poiei=n toiou/tous oi(=oi au)toi/ ei)sin, a(/te ou) di'
e)pistê/mên o)/ntes toiou=toi.]]

[Footnote 27: Plato, Menon, p. 99 D. [Greek: kai\ tou\s politikou\s
ou)ch ê(/kista tou/tôn phai=men, a)\n thei/ous te ei)=nai kai\
e)nthousia/zein, e)pi/pnous o)/ntas kai\ katechome/nous e)k tou=
theou=, o(/tan katorthô=si le/gontes polla\ kai\ mega/la pra/gmata,
mêde\n ei)do/tes ô(=n le/gousin.]]

[Side-note: All the real virtue that there is, is
communicated by special inspiration from the Gods.]

And thus (concludes Sokrates) the answer to the question originally
started by Menon--"Whether virtue is teachable?"--is as follows.
Virtue in its highest sense, in which it is equivalent to or
coincident with knowledge, is teachable: but no such virtue exists.
That which exists in the most distinguished citizens under the name
of virtue,--or at least producing the results of virtue in practice--is
not teachable. Nor does it come by nature, but by special
inspiration from the Gods. The best statesmen now existing cannot
make any other person like themselves: if any one of them could do
this, he would be, in comparison with the rest, like a real thing
compared with a shadow.[28]

[Footnote 28: Plato, Menon, p. 100.]

[Side-note: But what virtue itself is, remains unknown.]

Nevertheless the question which we have just discussed--"How virtue
arises or is generated?"--must be regarded as secondary and
dependent, not capable of being clearly understood until the primary
and principal question--"What is virtue?"--has been investigated and
brought to a solution.[29]

[Footnote 29: Plato, Menon, p. 100 B.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Remarks on the dialogue. Proper order for
examining the different topics, is pointed out by Sokrates.]

This last observation is repeated by Sokrates at the end--as it had
been stated at the beginning, and in more than one place during the
continuance--of the dialogue. In fact, Sokrates seems at first
resolved to enforce the natural and necessary priority of the latter
question: but is induced by the solicitation of Menon to invert the
order.[30]

[Footnote 30: Plato, Menon, p. 86.]

[Side-note: Mischief of debating ulterior and secondary
questions when the fundamental notions and word are unsettled.]

The propriety of the order marked out, but not pursued, by Sokrates
is indisputable. Before you can enquire how virtue is generated or
communicated, you must be satisfied that you know what virtue is. You
must know the essence of the subject--or those predicates which the
word connotes ( = the meaning of the term) before you investigate its
accidents and antecedents.[31] Menon begins by being satisfied that
he knows what virtue is: so satisfied, that he accounts it
discreditable for a man not to know: although he is made to answer
like one who has never thought upon the subject, and does not even
understand the question. Sokrates, on the other hand, not only
confesses that he does not himself know, but asserts that he never
yet met with a man who did know. One of the most important lessons in
this, as in so many other Platonic dialogues, is the mischief of
proceeding to debate ulterior and secondary questions, without having
settled the fundamental words and notions: the false persuasion of
knowledge, common to almost every one, respecting these familiar
ethical and social ideas. Menon represents the common state of mind.
He begins with the false persuasion that he as well as every one else
knows what virtue is: and even when he is proved to be ignorant, he
still feels no interest in the fundamental enquiry, but turns aside
to his original object of curiosity--"Whether virtue is teachable".
Nothing can be more repugnant to an ordinary mind than the thorough
sifting of deep-seated, long familiarised, notions--[Greek: to\ ga\r
o)rthou=sthai gnô/man, o)duna=|].

[Footnote 31: To use the phrase of Plato himself in the Euthyphron,
p. 11 A, the [Greek: ou)si/a] must be known before the [Greek:
pa/thê] are sought--[Greek: kinduneu/eis, ô)= Eu)thu/phron,
e)rôtô/menos to\ o(/sion, o(/, ti/ pot' e)sti, _tê\n me\n
ou)si/an_ moi au)tou= ou) bou/lesthai dêlô=sai, _pa/thos de/ ti
peri\ au)tou=_ le/gein, o(/, ti pe/ponthe tou=to to\ o(/sion,
philei=sthai u(po\ pa/ntôn theô=n; _o(/ ti de\ o)/n, ou)/pô
ei)=pes_.]

Compare Lachês, p. 190 B and Gorgias, pp. 448 E, 462 C.]

[Side-note: Doctrine of Sokrates in the Menon--desire of good
alleged to be universally felt--in what sense this is true.]

The confession of Sokrates that neither he nor any other person in
his experience knows what virtue is--that it must be made a subject
of special and deliberate investigation--and that no man can know
what justice, or any other part of virtue is, unless he first knows
what virtue as a whole is[32]--are matters to be kept in mind also,
as contrasting with other portions of the Platonic dialogues, wherein
virtue, justice, &c., are tacitly assumed (according to the
received habit) as matters known and understood. The contributions
which we obtain from the Menon towards finding out the Platonic
notion of virtue, are negative rather than positive. The comments of
Sokrates upon Menon's first definition include the doctrine often
announced in Plato--That no man by nature desires suffering or evil;
every man desires good: if he seeks or pursues suffering or
evil, he does so merely from error or ignorance, mistaking it for
good.[33] This is true, undoubtedly, if we mean what is good or evil
for himself: and if by good or evil we mean (according to the
doctrine enforced by Sokrates in the Protagoras) the result of items
of pleasure and pain, rightly estimated and compared by the Measuring
Reason. Every man naturally desires pleasure, and the means of
acquiring pleasure, for himself: every man naturally shrinks from
pain, or the causes of pain, to himself: every one compares and
measures the items of each with more or less wisdom and impartiality.
But the proposition is not true, if we mean what is good or evil for
others: and if by good we mean (as Sokrates is made to declare in the
Gorgias) something apart from pleasure, and by evil something apart
from pain (understanding pleasure and pain in their largest sense). A
man sometimes desires what is good for others, sometimes what is evil
for others, as the case may be. Plato's observation therefore cannot
be admitted--That as to the wish or desire, all men are alike: one
man is no better than another.[34]

[Footnote 32: Plato, Menon, p. 79 B-C. [Greek: tê\n ga\r dikaiosu/nên
mo/rion phê\| a)retê=s ei)=nai kai\ e(/kasta tou/tôn. . . . oi)/ei tina
ei)de/nai mo/rion a)retê=s o(/ ti e)/stin, au)tê\n mê\ ei)do/ta? Ou)k
e)/moige dokei=.]]

[Footnote 33: Plato, Menon, p. 77.]

[Footnote 34: Plato, Menon, p. 78 B. [Greek: to\ me\n bou/lesthai
pa=sin u(pa/rchei, kai\ tau/tê| ge ou)de\n o( e(/teros tou= e(te/rou
belti/ôn.]]

[Side-note: Sokrates requires knowledge as the principal
condition of virtue, but does not determine knowledge, of what?]

The second portion of Plato's theory, advanced to explain what virtue
is, presents nothing more satisfactory. Virtue is useful or
profitable: but neither health, strength, beauty, wealth, power,
&c., are profitable, unless rightly used: nor are justice,
moderation, courage, quick apprehension, good memory, &c.,
profitable, unless they are accompanied and guided by knowledge or
prudence.[35] Now if by _profitable_ we have reference not to
the individual agent alone, but to other persons concerned also, the
proposition is true, but not instructive or distinct. For what is
meant by _right use_? To what ends are the gifts here enumerated
to be turned, in order to constitute right use? What again is meant
by _knowledge_? knowledge of what?[36] This is a question put by
Sokrates in many other dialogues, and necessary to be put here also.
Moreover, knowledge is a term which requires to be determined, not
merely to some assignable object, but also in its general import,
no less than virtue. We shall come presently to an elaborate
dialogue (Theætêtus) in which Plato makes many attempts to determine
knowledge generally, but ends in a confessed failure. Knowledge must
be knowledge _possessed by some one_, and must be knowledge of
_something_. What is it, that a man must know, in order that his
justice or courage may become profitable? Is it pleasures and pains,
with their causes, and the comparative magnitude of each (as Sokrates
declares in the Protagoras), in order that he may contribute to
diminish the sum of pains, increase that of pleasures, to himself or
to the society? If this be what he is required to know, Plato should
have said so--or if not, what else--in order that the requirement of
knowledge might be made an intelligible condition.

[Footnote 35: Plato, Menon, pp. 87-88.]

[Footnote 36: See Republic, vi. p. 505 B, where this question is put,
but not answered, respecting [Greek: phro/nêsis].]

[Side-note: Subject of Menon; same as that of the
Protagoras--diversity of handling--Plato is not anxious to settle a
question and get rid of it.]

Though the subject of direct debate in the Menon is the same as that
in the Protagoras (whether virtue be teachable?) yet the manner of
treating this subject is very different in the two. One point of
difference between the two has been just noticed. Another difference
is, that whereas in Menon the teachability of virtue is assumed to be
disproved, because there are no recognised teachers or learners of
it--in the Protagoras this argument is produced by Sokrates, but is
combated at length (as we shall presently see) by a counter-argument
on the part of the Sophists, without any rejoinder from Sokrates. Of
this counter-argument no notice is taken in the Menon: although, if
it be well-founded, it would have served Anytus no less than
Protagoras, as a solution of the difficulties raised by Sokrates.
Such diversity of handling and argumentative fertility, are
characteristic of the Platonic procedure. I have already remarked,
that the establishment of positive conclusions, capable of being
severed from their premisses, registered in the memory, and used as
principles for deduction--is foreign to the spirit of these Dialogues
of Search. To settle a question and finish with it--to get rid of the
debate, as if it were a troublesome temporary necessity--is not what
Plato desires. His purpose is, to provoke the spirit of enquiry--to
stimulate responsive efforts of the mind by a painful shock of
exposed ignorance--and to open before it a multiplicity of new roads
with varied points of view.

[Side-note: Anxiety of Plato to keep up and enforce the
spirit of research.]

Nowhere in the Platonic writings is this provocative shock more
vividly illustrated than in the Menon, by the simile of the
electrical fish: a simile as striking as that of the magnet in
Ion.[37] Nowhere, again, is the true character of the Sokratic
intellect more clearly enunciated. "You complain, Menon, that I
plunge your mind into nothing but doubt, and puzzle, and conscious
ignorance. If I do this, it is only because my own mind is already in
that same condition.[38] The only way out of it is, through joint
dialectical colloquy and search; in which I invite you to accompany
me, though I do not know when or where it will end." And then, for
the purpose of justifying as well as encouraging such prolonged
search, Sokrates proceeds to unfold his remarkable
hypothesis--eternal pre-existence, boundless past experience, and
omniscience, of the mind--identity of cognition with recognition,
dependent on reminiscence. "Research or enquiry (said some) is fruitless.
You must search either for that which you know, or for that which you do
not know. The first is superfluous--the second impossible: for if you do
not know what a thing is, how are you to be satisfied that the answer
which you find is that which you are looking for? How can you
distinguish a true solution from another which is untrue, but
plausible?"

[Footnote 37: Plato, Menon, p. 80 A. [Greek: na/rkê thalassi/a].
Compare what I have said above about the Ion, ch. XVII., p. 128.]

[Footnote 38: Plato, Menon, p. 80 D.]

[Side-note: Great question discussed among the Grecian
philosophers--criterion of truth--Wherein consists the process of
verification?]

Here we find explicitly raised, for the first time, that difficulty
which embarrassed the different philosophical schools in Greece for
the subsequent three centuries--What is the criterion of truth?
Wherein consists the process called verification and proof, of that
which is first presented as an hypothesis? This was one of the great
problems debated between the Academics, the Stoics, and the Sceptics,
until the extinction of the schools of philosophy.[39]

[Footnote 39: Sokrates here calls this problem an [Greek: e)ristiko\s
lo/gos]. Stallbaum (in his Prolegom. to the Menon, p. 14) describes
it as a "quæstiunculam, haud dubie e sophistarum disciplinâ
arreptam". If the Sophists were the first to raise this question, I
think that by doing so they rendered service to the interests of
philosophy. The question is among the first which ought to be
thoroughly debated and sifted, if we are to have a body of "reasoned
truth" called philosophy.

I dissent from the opinion of Stallbaum (p. 20), though it is adopted
both by Socher (Ueber Platon, p. 185) and by Steinhart (Einleitung
zum Menon, p. 123), that the Menon was composed by Plato during the
lifetime of Sokrates. Schleiermacher (Einleitung zum Gorgias, p. 22;
Einleitung zum Menon, pp. 329-330), Ueberweg (Aechth. Plat. Schr. p.
226), and K. F. Hermann, on the other hand, regard the Menon as
composed after the death of Sokrates, and on this point I agree with
them, though whether it was composed not long after that event (as K.
F. Hermann thinks) or thirteen years after it (as Schleiermacher
thinks), I see no sufficient grounds for deciding. I incline to the
belief that its composition is considerably later than Hermann
supposes; the mention of the Theban Ismenias is one among the reasons
rendering such later origin probable. Plato probably borrowed from
the Xenophontic Anabasis the name, country, and social position of
Menon, who may have received teaching from Gorgias, as we know that
Proxenus did, Xen. Anab. ii. 6, 16. The reader can compare the
Einleitung of Schleiermacher (in which he professes to prove that the
Menon is a corollary to the Theætêtus and Gorgias, and an immediate
antecedent to the Euthydêmus,--that it solves the riddle of the
Protagoras--and that it presupposes and refers back to the Phædrus)
with the Einleitung of Steinhart (p. 120 seq.), who contests all
these propositions, saying that the Menon is decidedly later than the
Euthydêmus, and decidedly earlier than the Theætêtus, Gorgias, and
Phædrus; with the opinions of Stallbaum and Hermann, who recognise an
order different from that either of Steinhart or Schleiermacher; and
with that of Ast, who rejects the Menon altogether as unworthy of
Plato. Every one of these dissentient critics has _something_ to
say for his opinion, while none of them (in my judgment) can make out
anything like a conclusive case. The mistake consists in assuming
that there must have been a peremptory order and intentional
interdependence among the Platonic Dialogues, and next in trying to
show by internal evidence what that order was.]

[Side-note: None of the philosophers were satisfied with
the answer here made by Plato--that verification consists in appeal
to pre-natal experience.]

Not one of these schools was satisfied with the very peculiar answer
which the Platonic Sokrates here gives to the question. When truth is
presented to us (he intimates), we recognise it as an old friend
after a long absence. We know it by reason of its conformity to our
antecedent, pre-natal, experience (in the Phædon, such pre-natal
experience is restricted to commerce with the substantial,
intelligible, Ideas, which are not mentioned in the Menon): the soul
or mind is immortal, has gone through an indefinite succession of
temporary lives prior to the present, and will go through an
indefinite succession of temporary lives posterior to the
present--"longæ, canitis si cognita, vitæ Mors media est". The mind has
thus become omniscient, having seen, heard, and learnt every thing, both
on earth and in Hades: but such knowledge exists as a confused and
unavailable mass, having been buried and forgotten on the
commencement of its actual life.

Since all nature is in universal kindred, communion, or
interdependence, that which we hear or see here, recalls to the
memory, by association, portions of our prior forgotten
omniscience.[40] It is in this recall or reminiscence that
search, learning, acquisition of knowledge, consists. Teaching and
learning are words without meaning: the only process really
instructive is that of dialectic debate, which, if indefatigably
prosecuted, will dig out the omniscience buried within.[41] So vast
is the theory generated in Plato's mind, by his worship of dialectic,
respecting that process of search to which more than half of his
dialogues are devoted.

[Footnote 40: The doctrine of communion or interdependence pervading
all Nature, with one continuous cosmical soul penetrating everywhere,
will be found set forth in the kosmology of the Timæus, pp. 37-42-43.
It was held, with various modifications, both by the Pythagoreans and
the Stoics. Compare Cicero, Divinat. ii. 14-15; Virgil, Æneid vi. 715
seqq.; Georgic. iv. 220; Sextus Empir. adv. Mathem. ix. 127;
Ekphantus Pythagoreus ap. Stobæum, Tit. 48, vol. ii. p. 320,
Gaisford.

The view here taken by Plato, that all nature is cognate and
interdependent--[Greek: a(/te ga\r tê=s phu/seôs a(pa/sês suggenou=s
ou)/sês]--is very similar to the theory of Leibnitz:--"Ubique per
materiam disseminata statuo principia vitalia seu percipientia. Omnia
in naturâ sunt analogica" (Leibnitz, Epist. ad Wagnerum, p. 466;
Leibn. Opp. Erdmann). Farther, that the human mind by virtue of its
interdependence or kindred with all nature, includes a confused
omniscience, is also a Leibnitzian view. "Car comme tout est plein
(ce qui rend toute la matière liée) et comme dans le plein tout
mouvement fait quelqu' effet sur les corps distans à mesure de la
distance, de sorte que chaque corps est affecté non seulement par
ceux qui le touchent, et se ressent en quelque façon de tout ce qui
leur arrive--mais aussi par leur moyen se ressent de ceux qui
touchent les premiers dont il est touché immédiatement. Il s'ensuit
que cette communication va à quelque distance que ce soit. Et par
consequent tout corps se ressent de tout ce qui se fait dans
l'Univers: tellement que celui, qui voit tout, pourroit lire dans
chacun ce qui se fait partout et même ce qui s'est fait et se fera,
en remarquant dans le présent ce qui est éloigné tant selon les temps
que selon les lieux: [Greek: su/mpnoia pa/nta], disoit Hippocrate.
Mais une âme ne peut lire en elle même que ce qui y est representé
distinctement: elle ne sauroit developper tout d'un coup ses règles,
car elles vont à l'infini. Ainsi quoique chaque monade créée
représente tout l'Univers, elle représente plus distinctement le
corps qui lui est particulièrement affecté, et dont elle fait
l'Entéléchie. Et comme ce corps exprime tout l'Univers par la
connexion de toute la matière dans le plein, l'âme représente aussi
tout l'Univers en représentant ce corps qui lui appartient d'une
manière particulière" (Leibnitz, Monadologie, sect. 61-62, No. 88, p.
710; Opp. Leibn. ed. Erdmann).

Again, Leibnitz, in another Dissertation: "Comme à cause de la
plénitude du monde tout est lié, et chaque corps agit sur chaque
autre corps, plus ou moins, selon la distance, et en est affecté par
la réaction--il s'ensuit que chaque monade est un miroir vivant, ou
doué d'action interne, représentatif de l'Univers, suivant son point
de vue, et aussi réglé que l'Univers même" (Principes de la Nature et
de la Grace, p. 714, ed. Erdmann; also Système Nouveau, p. 128, a.
36).

Leibnitz expresses more than once how much his own metaphysical views
agreed with those of Plato. Lettre à M. Bourguet, pp. 723-725. He
expresses his belief in the pre-existence of the soul: "Tout ce que
je crois pouvoir assurer, est, que l'âme de tout animal a préexisté,
et a été dans un corps organique: qui enfin, par beaucoup de
changemens, involutions, et évolutions, est devenu l'animal présent"
(Lettre à M. Bourguet, p. 731). And in the Platonic doctrine of
reminiscence to a certain point: "II y a quelque chose de solide dans
ce que dit Platon de la réminiscence" (p. 137, b. 10). Also
Leibnitz's Nouveaux Essais sur l'Entendement Humain, p. 196, b. 28;
and Epistol. ad Hanschium, p. 446, a. 12.

See the elaborate account of the philosophy of Leibnitz by Dr. Kuno
Fischer--Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, vol. ii. pp. 226-232.]

[Footnote 41: Plato, Menon, p. 81 D. [Greek: e)a/n tis a)ndrei=os
ê)=|, kai\ mê\ a)poka/mnê| zêtô=n.] Compare also p. 86 B.]

[Side-note: Plato's view of the immortality of the
soul--difference between the Menon, Phædrus, and Phædon.]

In various other dialogues of Plato, the same hypothesis is found
repeated. His conception of the immortality of the soul or mind,
includes pre-existence as well as post-existence: a perpetual
succession of temporary lives, each in a distinct body, each
terminated by death, and each followed by renewed life for a time in
another body. In fact, the pre-existence of the mind formed the most
important part of Plato's theory about immortality: for he employed
it as the means of explaining how the mind became possessed of
general notions. As the doctrine is stated in the Menon, it is made
applicable to all minds (instead of being confined, as in Phædrus,
Phædon, and elsewhere, to a few highly gifted minds, and to commerce
with the intelligible substances called Ideas). This appears from the
person chosen to illustrate the alleged possibility of stimulating
artificial reminiscence: that person is an unlettered youth, taken at
hazard from among the numerous slaves of Menon.[42]

[Footnote 42: Plato, Menon, pp. 82 A, 85 E. [Greek: proska/leson tô=n
pollô=n a)kolou/thôn toutôni\ tô=n sautou= e(/na, o(/ntina bou/lei,
i(/na e)n tou/tô| soi e)pidei/xômai.] Stallbaum says that this
allusion to the numerous slaves in attendance is intended to
illustrate conspicuously the wealth and nobility of Menon. In my
judgment, it is rather intended to illustrate the operation of pure
accident--the perfectly ordinary character of the mind worked
upon--"one among many, which you please".]

[Side-note: Doctrine of Plato, that new truth may be elicited
by skilful examination out of the unlettered mind--how far correct?]

It is true, indeed (as Schleiermacher observes), that the questions
put by Sokrates to this youth are in great proportion leading
questions, suggesting their own answers. They would not have served
their purpose unless they had been such. The illustration here
furnished, of the Sokratic interrogatory process, is highly
interesting, and his theory is in a great degree true.[43] Not all
learning, but an important part of learning, consists in
reminiscence--not indeed of acquisitions made in an antecedent
life, but of past experience and judgments in this life. Of such
experience and judgments every one has travelled through a large
course; which has disappeared from his memory, yet not irrevocably.
Portions of it may be revived, if new matter be presented to the
mind, fitted to excite the recollection of them by the laws of
association. By suitable interrogations, a teacher may thus recall to
the memory of his pupils many facts and judgments which have been
hitherto forgotten: he may bring into juxtaposition those which have
never before been put together in the mind: and he may thus make them
elicit instructive comparisons and inferences. He may provoke the
pupils to strike out new results for themselves, or to follow, by
means of their own stock of knowledge, in the path suggested by the
questions. He may farther lead them to perceive the fallacy of
erroneous analogies which at first presented themselves as plausible;
and to become painfully sensible of embarrassment and perplexing
ignorance, before he puts those questions which indicate the way of
escape from it. Upon the necessity of producing such painful
consciousness of ignorance Plato insists emphatically, as is his
custom.[44]

[Footnote 43: Plutarch (Fragment. [Greek: Peri\ psuchê=s]). Ei) a)ph'
e(te/rou e(/teron e)nnoou=men? ou)k a)/n, ei) mê\ proe/gnôsto. To\
e)pichei/rêma Platôniko/n. Ei) prosti/themen to\ e)/lleipon toi=s
ai)sthêtoi=s?--kai\ au)to\ Platôniko/n.]

Plutarch, in the same fragment, indicates some of the objections made
by Bion and Straton against the doctrine of [Greek: a)na/mnêsis]. How
(they asked) does it happen that this reminiscence brings up often
what is false or absurd? (asked Bion). If such reminiscence exists
(asked Straton) how comes it that we require demonstrations to
conduct us to knowledge? and how is it that no man can play on the
flute or the harp without practice?

[Greek: O(/ti Bi/ôn ê)po/rei peri\ tou= pseu/dous, ei) kai\ au)to\
kat' a)na/mnêsin, ô(s to\ e)nanti/on ge, ê)\ ou)/? kai\ ti/ ê(
a)logi/a? O(/ti Stra/tôn ê)po/rei, ei) e)/stin a)namnêsis, pô=s
a)/neu a)podei/xeôn ou) gigno/metha e)pistê/mones? pô=s de\ ou)dei\s
au)lêtê\s ê)\ kitharistê\s ge/gonen a)/neu mele/tês?]]

[Footnote 44: Plato, Menon, p. 84. The sixteenth Dissertation of
Maximus Tyrius presents a rhetorical amplification of this
doctrine--[Greek: pa=sa ma/thêsis, a)na/mnêsis]--in which he enters fully
into the spirit of the Menon and the Phædon--[Greek: au)todi/dakto/n ti
chrê=ma ê( psuchê/--ê( psuchê=s eu(/resis, au)togenê/s tis ou)=sa,
kai\ au)tophuê\s, kai\ xu/mphutos, ti/ a)/llo e)/stin ê)\ do/xai
a)lêthei=s e)geiro/menai, ô(=n tê=| e)pege/rsei te kai\ xunta/xei
e)pistê/mê o)/noma?] (c. 6). Compare also Cicero, Tusc. D. i. 24.
The doctrine has furnished a theme for very elegant poetry: both in
the Consolatio Philosophiæ of Boethius--the piece which ends with

"Ac si Platonis Musa personat verum,
Quod quisque discit, immemor recordatur"--

and in Wordsworth--"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,"
&c.

On the other hand Aristotle alludes also to the same doctrine and
criticises it; but he does not seem (so far as I can understand this
brief allusion) to seize exactly Plato's meaning. This is the remark
of the Scholiast on Aristotle: and I think it just. It is curious to
compare the way in which [Greek: a)na/mnêsis] is handled by Plato in
the Menon and Phædon, and by Aristotle in the valuable little
tract--[Greek: Peri\ mnê/nês kai\ a)namnê/seôs] (p. 451, b.). Aristotle
has his own way of replying to the difficulty raised in the question of
Menon, and tries to show that sometimes we _know_ in one sense
and _do not know_ in another. See Aristotel. Anal. Prior., ii.
p. 67, a. 22; Anal. Poster. i. p. 71, a. 27; and the Scholia on the
former passage, p. 193, b. 21, ed. Brandis.

Sir William Hamilton, in one of the Appendixes to his edition of
Reid's Works (Append. D. p. 890 seq.), has given a learned and
valuable translation and illustration of the treatise of Aristotle
[Greek: Peri\ A)namnê/seôs]. I note, however, with some surprise,
that while collecting many interesting comments from writers who
lived _after_ Aristotle, he has not adverted to what was said
upon this same subject by Plato, _before_ Aristotle. It was the
more to be expected that he would do this, since he insists so
emphatically upon the complete originality of Aristotle.]

[Side-note: Plato's doctrine about _à priori_
reasonings--Different from the modern doctrine.]

Plato does not intend here to distinguish (as many modern writers
distinguish) geometry from other sciences, as if geometry were known
_à priori_, and other sciences known _à posteriori_ or from
experience. He does not suppose that geometrical truths are such that
no man can possibly believe the contrary of them; or that they are
different in this respect from the truths of any other science. He
here maintains that all the sciences lie equally in the untaught
mind,[45] but buried, forgotten, and confused: so as to require the
skill of the questioner not merely to recall them into consciousness,
but to disentangle truth from error. Far from supposing that the
untaught mind has a natural tendency to answer correctly geometrical
questions, he treats erroneous answers as springing up more naturally
than true answers, and as requiring a process of painful exposure
before the mind can be put upon the right track. The questioner,
without possessing any knowledge himself, (so Plato thinks,) can
nevertheless exercise an influence at once stimulating, corrective,
and directive. He stimulates the action of the associative process,
to call up facts, comparisons, and analogies, bearing on the
question: he arrests the respondent on a wrong answer, creating
within him a painful sense of ignorance and embarrassment: he directs
him by his subsequent questions into the path of right answers. His
obstetric aid (to use the simile in Plato's Theætetus), though
presupposing the pregnancy of the respondent mind, is indispensable
both to forward the childbirth, and to throw away any offspring which
may happen to be deformed. In the Theætetus, the main stress is laid
on that part of the dialogue which is performed by the questioner: in
the Menon, upon the latent competence and large dead stock of an
untaught respondent.

[Footnote 45: Plato, Menon, p. 85 E. [Greek: ou(=tos ga\r] (the
untaught slave) [Greek: poiê/sei peri\ pa/sês geômetri/as tau)ta\
tau=ta, kai\ tô=n a)/llôn mathêma/tôn a(pa/ntôn.]]

The mind of the slave questioned by Sokrates is discovered to be
pregnant. Though he has received no teaching from any professed
geometer, he is nevertheless found competent, when subjected to a
skilful interrogatory, to arrive at last, through a series of
mistakes, at correct answers, determining certain simple
problems of geometry. He knows nothing about geometry:
nevertheless there exist in his mind true opinions respecting that
which he does not know. These opinions are "called up like a dream"
by the interrogatories: which, if repeated and diversified, convert
the opinions into knowledge, taken up by the respondent out of
himself.[46] The opinions are inherited from an antecedent life and
born with him, since they have never been taught to him during this
life.

[Footnote 46: Plato, Menon, p. 85. [Greek: tô=| ou)k eido/ti a)/ra
peri\ ô(=n a)\n mê\ ei)dê=| e)/neisin a)lêthei=s do/xai. . . . kai\
nu=n me/n ge _au)tô=| ô(/sper o)/nar_ a)/rti a)nakeki/nêntai ai(
do/xai au(=tai; ei) de\ au)to/n tis a)nerê/setai polla/kis ta\ au)ta\
tau=ta kai\ pollachê=, oi)=sth' o(/ti teleutô=n ou)deno\s ê(=tton
a)kribô=s e)pistê/setai peri\ au)tôn. . . . Ou)kou=n ou)deno\s
dida/xantos a)ll' e)rôtê/santos e)pistê/setai, a)nalabô\n au)to\s e)x
au)tou= tê\n e)pistê/mên?]]

[Side-note: Plato's theory about pre-natal experience. He took
no pains to ascertain and measure the extent of post-natal
experience.]

It is thus that Plato applies to philosophical theory the doctrine
(borrowed from the Pythagoreans) of pre-natal experience and
cognitions: which he considers, not as inherent appurtenances of the
mind, but as acquisitions made by the mind during various antecedent
lives. These ideas (Plato argues) cannot have been acquired during
the present life, because the youth has received no special teaching
in geometry. But Plato here takes no account of the multiplicity and
diversity of experiences gone through, comparisons made, and
acquirements lodged, in the mind of a youthful adult however
unlettered. He recognises no acquisition of knowledge except through
special teaching. So, too, in the Protagoras, we shall find him
putting into the mouth of Sokrates the doctrine--That virtue is not
taught and cannot be taught, because there were no special masters or
times of teaching. But in that dialogue we shall also see Plato
furnishing an elaborate reply to this doctrine in the speech of
Protagoras; who indicates the multifarious and powerful influences
which are perpetually operative, even without special professors, in
creating and enforcing ethical sentiment. If Plato had taken pains to
study the early life of the untaught slave, with its stock of facts,
judgments, comparisons, and inferences suggested by analogy, &c.,
he might easily have found enough to explain the competence of the
slave to answer the questions appearing in the dialogue. And even if
enough could not have been found, to afford a direct and specific
explanation--we must remember that only a very small proportion
of the long series of mental phenomena realised in the infant, the
child, the youth, ever comes to be remembered or recorded. To assume
that the large unknown remainder would be insufficient, if known, to
afford the explanation sought, is neither philosophical nor
reasonable. This is assumed in every form of the doctrine of innate
ideas: and assumed by Plato here without even trying any explanation
to dispense with the hypothesis: simply because the youth
interrogated had never received any special instruction in geometry.

[Side-note: Little or nothing is said in the Menon about the
Platonic Ideas or Forms.]

I have already observed, that though great stress is laid in this
dialogue upon the doctrine of opinions and knowledge inherited from
an antecedent life--upon the distinction between true opinion and
knowledge--and upon the identity of the process of learning with
reminiscence--yet nothing is said about universal Ideas or Forms, so
much dwelt upon in other dialogues. In the Phædrus and Phædon, it is
with these universal Ideas that the mind is affirmed to have had
communion during its prior existence, as contrasted with the
particulars of sense apprehended during the present life: while in
the Menon, the difference pointed out between true opinions and
knowledge is something much less marked and decisive. Both the one
and the other are said to be, not acquired during this life, but
inherited from antecedent life: to be innate, yet
unperceived--revived by way of reminiscence and interrogation. True
opinions are affirmed to render as much service as knowledge, in
reference to practice. There is only this distinction between them--that
true opinions are transient, and will not remain in the mind until they
are bound in it by causal reasoning, or become knowledge.

[Side-note: What Plato meant by Causal Reasoning--his
distinction between knowledge and right opinion.]

What Plato meant by this "causal reasoning, or computation of cause,"
is not clearly explained. But he affirms very unequivocally, first,
that the distinction between true opinion and knowledge is one of the
few things of which he feels assured[47]--next, with somewhat less
confidence, that the distinction consists only in the greater
security which knowledge affords for permanent in-dwelling in the
mind. This appears substantially the same distinction as what is laid
down in other words towards the close of the dialogue--That those,
who have only true opinions and not knowledge, judge rightly without
knowing how or why; by an aptitude not their own but supplied to them
from without for the occasion, in the nature of inspiration or
prophetic _oestrus_. Hence they are unable to teach others, or
to transfer this occasional inspiration to any one else. They cannot
give account of what they affect to know, nor answer scrutinizing
questions to test it. This power of answering and administering
cross-examination, is Plato's characteristic test of real knowledge--as
I have already observed in my eighth** chapter.

[Footnote 47: Plato, Menon, p. 98 B. [Greek: o(/ti de/ e)sti/ ti
a)lloi=on o)rthê\ do/xa kai\ e)pistê/mê, ou) pa/nu moi dokô= tou=to
ei)ka/zein; a)ll' ei)/per ti a)/llo phai/ên a)\n ei)de/nai,
_o)li/ga d' a)\n phai/ên, e(\n d' ou)=n kai\ tou=to e)kei/nôn
thei/ên a)\n ô(=n oi)=da_.]]

[Side-note: This distinction compared with modern
philosophical views.]

To translate the views of Plato into analogous views of a modern
philosopher, we may say--That right opinion, as contrasted with
knowledge, is a discriminating and acute empirical judgment:
inferring only from old particulars to new particulars (without the
intermediate help and guarantee of general propositions distinctly
enunciated and interpreted), but selecting for every new case the
appropriate analogies out of the past, with which it ought to be
compared. Many persons judge in this manner fairly well, and some
with extreme success. But let them be ever so successful in practice,
they proceed without any conscious method; they are unable to
communicate the grounds of their inferences to others: and when they
are right, it is only by haphazard--that is (to use Plato's
language), through special inspiration vouchsafed to them by the
Gods. But when they ascend to knowledge, and come to judge
scientifically, they then distribute these particular facts into
classes--note the constant sequences as distinguished from the
occasional--and draw their inferences in every new case according to
such general laws or uniformities of antecedent and consequent. Such
uniform and unconditional antecedents are the only causes of which we
have cognizance. They admit of being described in the language which
Plato here uses ([Greek: ai)ti/as logismô=|]), and they also serve as
reasons for justifying or explaining our inferences to others.[48]

[Footnote 48: We have seen that in the Menon Plato denies all [Greek:
didachê/], and recognises nothing but [Greek: a)na/mnêsis]. The
doctrine of the Timæus (p. 51 D-E) is very different. He there lays
especial stress on the distinction between [Greek: didachê\] and
[Greek: peithô/]--the first belonging to [Greek: e)pistê/mê], the
second to [Greek: do/xa]. Also in Gorgias, 454, and in Republic, v.
pp. 477-479, about [Greek: do/xa] and [Greek: e)pistê/mê]. In those
dialogues the distinction between the two is presented as marked and
fundamental, as if [Greek: do/xa] alone was fallible and [Greek:
e)pistê/mê] infallible. In the Menon the distinction appears as
important, but not fundamental; the Platonic Ideas or Universals
being _not_ recognised as constituting a substantive world by
themselves. In this respect the Menon is nearer to the truth in
describing the difference between [Greek: o)rthê\ do/xa] and [Greek:
e)pistê/mê]. Mr. John Stuart Mill (in the chapter of his System of
Logic wherein the true theory of the Syllogism is for the first time
expounded) has clearly explained what that difference amounts to. All
our inferences are _from_ particulars, sometimes _to_ new
particulars directly and at once ([Greek: do/xa]), sometimes
_to_ generals in the first instance, and through them _to_
new particulars; which latter, or scientific process, is highly
valuable as a security for correctness ([Greek: e)pistê/mê]). "Not
only" (says Mr. Mill) "_may_ we reason from particulars to
particulars without passing through generals, but we perpetually
_do_ so reason. All our earliest inferences are of this nature.
From the first dawn of intelligence we draw inferences, but years
elapse before we learn the use of general language. We are constantly
reasoning from ourselves to other people, or from one person to
another, without giving ourselves the trouble to erect our
observations into general maxims of human or external nature. If we
have an extensive experience and retain its impressions strongly, we
may acquire in this manner a very considerable power of accurate
judgment, which we may be utterly incapable of justifying or of
communicating to others. Among the higher order of practical
intellects, there have been many of whom it was remarked how
admirably they suited their means to their ends, without being able
to give any sufficient account of what they did; and applied, or
seemed to apply, recondite principles which they were wholly unable
to state. This is a natural consequence of having a mind stored with
appropriate particulars, and having been accustomed to reason at once
from these to fresh particulars, without practising the habit of
stating to one's self or others the corresponding general
propositions. The cases of men of talent performing wonderful things
they know not how, are examples of the rudest and most spontaneous
forms of the operations of superior minds. It is a defect in them,
and often a source of errors, not to have generalised as they went
on; but generalisation, though a help, the most important indeed of
all helps, is not an essential" (Mill, Syst. of Logic, Book II. ch.
iii.). Compare the first chapter of the Metaphysica of Aristotle, p.
980, a. 15, b. 7.]

[Side-note: Manifestation of Anytus--intense antipathy to
the Sophists and to philosophy generally.]

The manner in which Anytus, the accuser of Sokrates before the
Dikastery, is introduced into this dialogue, deserves notice. The
questions are put to him by Sokrates--"Is virtue teachable? How is
Menon to learn virtue, and from whom? Ought he not to do as he would
do if he wished to learn medicine or music: to put himself under some
paid professional man as teacher?" Anytus answers these questions in
the affirmative: but asks, where such professional teachers of virtue
are to be found. "There are the Sophists," replies Sokrates. Upon
this Anytus breaks out into a burst of angry invective against the
Sophists; denouncing them as corruptors of youth, whom none but a
madman would consult, and who ought to be banished by public
authority.

Why are you so bitter against the Sophists? asks Sokrates. Have
any of them ever injured you? _Anyt._--No; never: I have never
been in the company of any one of them, nor would I ever suffer any
of my family to be so. _Sokr._--Then you have no experience
whatever about the Sophists? _Anyt._--None: and I hope that I
never may have. _Sokr._--How then can you know about this
matter, how far it is good or bad, if you have no experience whatever
about it? _Anyt._--Easily. I know what sort of men the Sophists
are, whether I have experience of them or not. _Sokr._--Perhaps
you are a prophet, Anytus: for how else you can know about them, I do
not understand, even on your own statement.[49]

[Footnote 49: Plato, Menon, p. 92.]

Anytus then declares, that the persons from whom Menon ought to learn
virtue are the leading practical politicians; and that any one of
them can teach it. But Sokrates puts a series of questions, showing
that the leading Athenian politicians, Themistoklês, Periklês,
&c., have not been able to teach virtue even to their own sons:
_à fortiori_, therefore, they cannot teach it to any one else.
Anytus treats this series of questions as disparaging and calumnious
towards the great men of Athens. He breaks off the conversation
abruptly, with an angry warning to Sokrates to be cautious about his
language, and to take care of his own safety.

The dialogue is then prosecuted and finished between Sokrates and
Menon: and at the close of it, Sokrates says--"Talk to Anytus, and
communicate to him that persuasion which you have yourself
contracted,[50] in order that he may be more mildly disposed: for, if
you persuade him, you will do some good to the Athenians as well as
to himself."

[Footnote 50: Plato, Menon, ad fin. [Greek: su\ de\ tau=ta a(/per
au)to\s pe/peisai, pei=the kai\ to\n xe/non to/nde A)/nuton, i(/na
pra|o/teros ê)=|; ô(s e)a\n pei/sê|s tou=ton, e)/stin o(/, ti kai\
A)thênai/ous o)nê/seis.]]

[Side-note: The enemy of Sokrates is also the enemy of the
sophists--Practical statesmen.]

The enemy and accuser of Sokrates is here depicted as the bitter
enemy of the Sophists also. And Plato takes pains to exhibit the
enmity of Anytus to the Sophists as founded on no facts or
experience. Without having seen or ascertained anything about them,
Anytus hates them as violently as if he had sustained from them some
personal injury; a sentiment which many Platonic critics and
many historians of philosophy have inherited from him.[51] Whether
the corruption which these Sophists were accused of bringing about in
the minds of youth, was intentional or not intentional on their
part--how such corruption could have been perpetually continued, while at
the same time the eminent Sophists enjoyed long and unabated esteem
from the youth themselves and from their relatives--are difficulties
which Anytus does not attempt to explain, though they are started
here by Sokrates. Indeed we find the same topics employed by Sokrates
himself, in his defence before the Dikasts against the same
charge.[52] Anytus has confidence in no one except the practical
statesmen: and when a question is raised about _their_ power to
impart their own excellence to others, he presently takes offence
against Sokrates also. The same causes which have determined his
furious antipathy against the Sophists, make him ready to transfer
the like antipathy to Sokrates. He is a man of plain sense, practical
habits, and conservative patriotism--who worships what he finds
accredited as virtue, and dislikes the talkers and theorisers about
virtue in general: whether they debated in subtle interrogation and
dialectics, like Sokrates--or lectured in eloquent continuous
discourse, like Protagoras. He accuses the Sophists, in this
dialogue, of corrupting the youth; just as he and Melêtus, before the
Dikastery, accused Sokrates of the same offence. He understands the
use of words, to discuss actual business before the assembly or
dikastery; but he hates discourse on the generalities of ethics or
philosophy. He is essentially [Greek: miso/logos]. The point which he
condemns in the Sophists, is that which they have in common with
Sokrates.

[Footnote 51: Upon the bitter antipathy here expressed by Anytus
against the Sophists, whom nevertheless he admits that he does not at
all know, Steinhart remarks as follows:--"Gerade so haben zu allen
Zeiten Orthodoxe und Fanatiker aller Arten über ihre Gegner
abgeurtheilt, ohne sie zu kennen oder auch nur kennen lernen zu
wollen" (Einleit. zum Menon, not. 15, p. 173).

Certainly orthodox and fanatical persons often do what is here
imputed to them. But Steinhart might have found a still closer
parallel with Anytus, in his own criticisms, and in those of many
other Platonic critics on the Sophists; the same expressions of
bitterness and severity, with the same slender knowledge of the
persons upon whom they bear.]

[Footnote 52: Plato, Apol. Sokr. pp. 26 A, 33 D, 34 B.]

[Side-note: The Menon brings forward the point of analogy
between Sokrates and the Sophists, in which both were disliked by the
practical statesmen.]

In many of the Platonic dialogues we have the antithesis between
Sokrates and the Sophists brought out, as to the different point of
view from which the one and the other approached ethical
questions. But in this portion of the Menon, we find exhibited the
feature of analogy between them, in which both one and the other
stood upon ground obnoxious to the merely practical politicians. Far
from regarding hatred against the Sophists as a mark of virtue in
Anytus, Sokrates deprecates it as unwarranted and as menacing to
philosophy in all her manifestations. The last declaration ascribed
to Anytus, coupled with the last speech of Sokrates in the dialogue,
show us that Plato conceives the anti-Sophistic antipathy as being
anti-Sokratic also, in its natural consequences. That Sokrates was in
common parlance a Sophist, disliked by a large portion of the general
public, and ridiculed by Aristophanes, on the same grounds as those
whom Plato calls Sophists--is a point which I have noticed elsewhere.



CHAPTER XXIII.

PROTAGORAS.


[Side-note: Scenic arrangement and personages of the dialogue.]

The dialogue called Protagoras presents a larger assemblage of varied
and celebrated characters, with more of dramatic winding, and more
frequent breaks and resumptions in the conversation, than any
dialogue of Plato--not excepting even Symposion and Republic. It
exhibits Sokrates in controversy with the celebrated Sophist
Protagoras, in the presence of a distinguished society, most of whom
take occasional part in the dialogue. This controversy is preceded by
a striking conversation between Sokrates and Hippokrates--a youth of
distinguished family, eager to profit by the instructions of
Protagoras. The two Sophists Prodikus and Hippias, together with
Kallias, Kritias, Alkibiades, Eryximachus, Phædrus, Pausanias,
Agathon, the two sons of Periklês (Paralus and Xanthippus),
Charmides, son of Glaukon, Antimoerus of Mende, a promising pupil
of Protagoras, who is in training for the profession of a
Sophist--these and others are all present at the meeting, which is held
in the house of Kallias.[1] Sokrates himself recounts the whole--both his
conversation with Hippokrates and that with Protagoras--to a nameless
friend.

[Footnote 1: Plato, Protag. p. 315.]

This dialogue enters upon a larger and more comprehensive ethical
theory than anything in the others hitherto noticed. But it contains
also a great deal in which we hardly recognise, or at least cannot
verify, any distinct purpose, either of search or exposition. Much of
it seems to be composed with a literary or poetical view, to enhance
the charm or interest of the composition. The personal
characteristics of each speaker--the intellectual peculiarities
of Prodikus and Hippias--the ardent partisanship of Alkibiades--are
brought out as in a real drama. But the great and marked antithesis
is that between the Sophist Protagoras and Sokrates--the Hektor and
Ajax of the piece: who stand forward in single combat, exchange some
serious blows, yet ultimately part as friends.

[Side-note: Introduction. Eagerness of the youthful Hippokrates
to become acquainted with Protagoras.]

An introduction of some length impresses upon us forcibly the
celebrity of the Great Sophist, and the earnest interest excited by
his visit to Athens. Hippokrates, a young man of noble family and
eager aspirations for improvement, having just learnt the arrival of
Protagoras, comes to the house of Sokrates and awakens him before
daylight, entreating that Sokrates will introduce him to the
new-comer. He is ready to give all that he possesses in order that he
may become wise like Protagoras.[2] While they are awaiting a suitable
hour for such introduction, Sokrates puts a series of questions to
test the force of Hippokrates.[3]

[Footnote 2: Plato, Protag. pp. 310-311 A.]

[Footnote 3: Plato, Protag. p. 311 B. [Greek: kai\ e)gô\
popeirô/menos tou= I(ppokra/tous tê=s r(ô/mês diesko/poun au)to\n
kai\ ê)rô/tôn], &c.]

[Side-note: Sokrates questions Hippokrates as to his purpose
and expectations from Protagoras.]

_Sokr._--You are now intending to visit Protagoras, and to pay
him for something to be done for you--tell me what manner of man it
is that you are going to visit--and what manner of man do you wish to
become? If you were going in like manner to pay a fee for instruction
to your namesake Hippokrates of Kos, you would tell me that you were
going to him as to a physician--and that you wished to qualify
yourself for becoming a physician. If you were addressing yourself
with the like view to Pheidias or Polykleitus, you would go to them
as to sculptors, and for the purpose of becoming yourself a sculptor.
Now then that we are to go in all this hurry to Protagoras, tell me
who he is and what title he bears, as we called Pheidias a sculptor?
_Hipp._--They call him a Sophist.[4] _Sokr._--We are going
to pay him then as a Sophist? _Hipp._--Certainly. _Sokr._--And
what are you to become by going to him? _Hipp._--Why,
judging from the preceding analogies, I am to become a Sophist.
_Sokr._--But would not you be ashamed of presenting yourself to
the Grecian public as a Sophist? _Hipp._--Yes: if I am to
tell you my real opinion.[5] _Sokr._--Perhaps however you only
propose to visit Protagoras, as you visited your schoolmaster and
your musical or gymnastical teacher: not for the purpose of entering
that career as a professional man, but to acquire such instruction as
is suitable for a private citizen and a freeman? _Hipp._--That
is more the instruction which I seek from Protagoras. _Sokr._--Do
you know then what you are going to do? You are consigning your
mind to be treated by one whom you call a Sophist: but I shall be
surprised if you know what a Sophist is[6]--and if you do not know,
neither do you know what it is--good or evil--to which you are
consigning your mind. _Hipp._--I think I _do_ know. The
Sophist is, as the name implies, one cognizant of matters wise and
able.[7] _Sokr._--That may be said also of painters and
carpenters. If we were asked in what special department are painters
cognizant of matters wise and able, we should specify that it was in
the workmanship of portraits. Answer me the same question about the
Sophist. What sort of workmanship does he direct? _Hipp._--That
of forming able speakers.[8] _Sokr._--Your answer may be
correct, but it is not specific enough: for we must still ask, About
_what_ is it that the Sophist forms able speakers? just as the
harp-master makes a man an able speaker about harping, at the same
time that he teaches him harping. About _what_ is it that the
Sophist forms able speakers: of course about that which he
himself knows?[9] _Hipp._--Probably. _Sokr._--What then is
that, about which the Sophist is himself cognizant, and makes his
pupil cognizant? _Hipp._--By Zeus, I cannot give you any farther
answer.[10]

[Footnote 4: Plato, Protagoras, p. 311.]

[Footnote 5: Plato, Protag. p. 312 A. [Greek: su\ de/, ê)=n d' e)gô/,
pro\s theô=n, ou)k a)\n ai)schu/noio ei)s tou\s E(/llênas sauto\n
sophistê\n pare/chôn? Nê\ to\n Di/', ô)= Sô/krates, ei)/per ge a)\
dianoou=mai chrê\ le/gein.] Ast (Platon's Leben, p. 78) and other
Platonic critics treat this _Sophistomanie_ (as they call it) of
an Athenian youth as something ludicrous and contemptible: all the
more ludicrous because (they say) none of them goes to qualify
himself for becoming a Sophist, but would even be ashamed of the
title. Yet if we suppose the same question addressed to a young
Englishman of rank and fortune (as Hippokrates was at Athens), "Why
do you put yourself under the teaching of Dr. ---- at Eton or
Professor ---- at Oxford? Do you intend to qualify yourself for
becoming a schoolmaster or a professor?" He will laugh at you for the
question; if he answers it seriously, he will probably answer as
Hippokrates does. But there is nothing at all in the question to
imply that the schoolmaster or the professor is a worthless
pretender--or the youth foolish, for being anxious to obtain
instruction from him; which is the inference that Ast and other
Platonic critics desire us to draw about the Athenian Sophists.]

[Footnote 6: Plato, Protag. p. 312 C. [Greek: o(/, ti de/ pote o(
sophistê/s e)sti, thauma/zoim' a)\n ei) oi)=stha], &c.]

[Footnote 7: Plato, Protag. p. 312 C. [Greek: ô(/s per tou)/noma
le/gei, to\n tô=n sophô=n e)pistê/mona.] (Quasi sophistes
sit--[Greek: o( tô=n sophô=n i)/stês], Heindorf.) If this supposition
of Heindorf be just, we may see in it an illustration of the
etymological views of Plato, which I shall notice when I come to the
Kratylus.]

[Footnote 8: Plato, Protag. p. 312 D. [Greek: poi/as e)rgasi/as
e)pista/tês? e)pista/tên tou= poiê=sai deino\n le/gein.]]

[Footnote 9: Plato, Protag. p. 312 D-E. [Greek: e)rôtê/seôs ga\r
e)/ti ê( a)po/krisis ê(mi=n dei=tai, peri\ o(/tou o( sophistê\s
deino\n poiei= le/gein; ô(/sper o( kitharistê\s deino\n dê/pou poiei=
le/gein peri\ ou(=per kai\ e)pistê/mona, peri\ kithari/seôs.]]

[Footnote 10: Plato, Protag. p. 312 E.]

[Side-note: Danger of going to imbibe the instruction of a
Sophist without knowing beforehand what he is about to teach.]

_Sokr._--Do you see then to what danger you are going to submit
your mind? If the question were about going to trusting your body to
any one, with the risk whether it should become sound or unsound, you
would have thought long, and taken much advice, before you decided.
But now, when it is about your mind, which you value more than your
body, and upon the good or evil of which all your affairs turn[11]--you
are hastening without reflection and without advice, you are
ready to pay all the money that you possess or can obtain, with a
firm resolution already taken to put yourself at all hazard under
Protagoras: whom you do not know--with whom you have never once
talked--whom you call a Sophist, without knowing what a Sophist is?
_Hipp._--I must admit the case to be as you say.[12]
_Sokr._--Perhaps the Sophist is a man who brings for sale those
transportable commodities, instruction or doctrine, which form the
nourishment of the mind. Now the traders in food for the body praise
indiscriminately all that they have to sell, though neither they nor
their purchasers know whether it is good for the body; unless by
chance any one of them be a gymnastic trainer or a physician.[13] So,
too, these Sophists, who carry about food for the mind, praise all
that they have to sell: but perhaps some of them are ignorant, and
assuredly their purchasers are ignorant, whether it be good or bad
for the mind: unless by accident any one possess medical knowledge
about the mind. Now if you, Hippokrates, happen to possess such
knowledge of what is good or bad for the mind, you may safely
purchase doctrine from Protagoras or from any one else:[14] but if
not, you are hazarding and putting at stake your dearest
interests. The purchase of doctrines is far more dangerous than that
of eatables or drinkables. As to these latter, you may carry them
away with you in separate vessels, and before you take them into your
body you may invoke the _Expert_, to tell you what you may
safely eat and drink, and when, and how much. But this cannot be done
with doctrines. You cannot carry away _them_ in a separate
vessel to be tested; you learn them and take them into the mind
itself; so that you go away, after having paid your money, actually
damaged or actually benefited, as the case may be.[15] We will
consider these matters in conjunction with our elders. But first let
us go and talk with Protagoras--we can consult the others afterwards.

[Footnote 11: Plato, Protag. p. 313 A. [Greek: o(\ de\ peri\
plei/onos tou= sô/matos ê(gei=, tê\n psuchê\n, kai\ e)n ô)=| pa/nt'
e)sti\ ta\ sa\ ê)\ eu)= ê)\ kalô=s pra/ttein, chrêstou= ê)\ ponêrou=
au)tou= genome/nou], &c.]

[Footnote 12: Plato, Protag. p. 313 C.]

[Footnote 13: Plato, Protag. p. 313 D.]

[Footnote 14: Plato, Protag. p. 313 E. [Greek: e)a\n mê/ tis tu/chê|
peri\ tê\n psuchê\n au)= i)atriko\s ô)/n. ei) me\n ou)=n su\
tugcha/neis e)pistê/môn tou/tôn ti/ chrêsto\n kai\ ponêro/n,
a)sphale/s soi ô)nei=sthai mathê/mata kai\ para\ Prôtago/rou kai\
par' a)/llou o(tounou=n; ei) de\ mê/, o(/ra, ô)= phi/ltate, mê\ peri\
toi=s philta/tois kubeu/ê|s te kai\ kinduneu/ê|s.]]

[Footnote 15: Plato, Protag. p. 314 A. [Greek: siti/a me\n ga\r kai\
pota\ pria/menon e)/xestin e)n a)/llois a)ggei/ois a)pophe/rein, kai\
pri\n de/xasthai au)ta\ e)s to\ sô=ma pio/nta ê)\ phago/nta,
katathe/menon oi)/kade e)/xesti sumbouleu/sasthai parakale/santa to\n
e)pai+/onta, o(/, ti te e)deste/on ê)\ pote/on kai\ o(/, ti mê/, kai\
o(po/son, kai\ o(po/te; . . . . mathê/mata de\ ou)k e)/stin e)n a)/llô|
a)ggei/ô| a)penegkei=n, a)ll' a)na/gkê katathe/nta tê\n timê\n to\
ma/thêma e)n au)tê=| tê=| psuchê=| labo/nta kai\ matho/nta a)pie/nai
ê)\ beblamme/non ê)\ ô)phelême/non.]]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Remarks on the Introduction. False persuasion of
knowledge brought to light.]

Such is the preliminary conversation of Sokrates with Hippokrates,
before the interview with Protagoras. I have given it (like the
introduction to the Lysis) at considerable length, because it is a
very characteristic specimen of the Sokratico-Platonic point of view.
It brings to light that false persuasion of knowledge, under which
men unconsciously act, especially in what concerns the mind and its
treatment. Common fame and celebrity suffice to determine the most
vehement aspirations towards a lecturer, in one who has never stopped
to reflect or enquire what the lecturer does. The pressure applied by
Sokrates in his successive questions, to get beyond vague
generalities into definite particulars--the insufficiency, thereby
exposed, of the conceptions with which men usually rest
satisfied--exhibit the working of his Elenchus in one of its most
instructive ways. The parallel drawn between the body and the mind--the
constant precaution taken in the case of the former to consult the
professional man and to follow his advice in respect both to
discipline and nourishment--are in the same vein of sentiment
which we have already followed in other dialogues. Here too, as
elsewhere, some similar _Expert_, in reference to the ethical
and intellectual training of mind, is desiderated, as still more
imperatively necessary. Yet where is he to be found? How is the
business of mental training to be brought to a beneficial issue
without him? Or is Protagoras the man to supply such a demand? We
shall presently see.


* * * * *


[Side-note: Sokrates and Hippokrates go to the house of
Kallias. Company therein. Respect shown to Protagoras.]

Sokrates and Hippokrates proceed to the house of Kallias, and find
him walking about in the fore-court with Protagoras, and some of the
other company; all of whom are described as treating the Sophist with
almost ostentatious respect. Prodikus and Hippias have each their
separate hearers, in or adjoining to the court. Sokrates addresses
Protagoras.

[Side-note: Questions of Sokrates to Protagoras. Answer of the
latter, declaring the antiquity of the sophistical profession, and
his own openness in avowing himself a sophist.]

_Sokr._--Protagoras, I and Hippokrates here are come to talk to
you about something. _Prot._--Do you wish to ta]k to me alone,
or in presence of the rest? _Sokr._--To us it is indifferent:
but I will tell you what we come about, and you may then determine
for yourself. This Hippokrates is a young man of noble family, and
fully equal to his contemporaries in capacity. He wishes to become
distinguished in the city; and he thinks he shall best attain that
object through your society. Consider whether you would like better
to talk with him alone, or in presence of the rest.[16] _Prot._--Your
consideration on my behalf, Sokrates, is reasonable. A person
of my profession must be cautious in his proceedings. I, a foreigner,
visit large cities, persuading the youth of best family to frequent
my society in preference to that of their kinsmen and all others; in
the conviction that I shall do them good. I thus inevitably become
exposed to much jealousy and even to hostile conspiracies.[17]
The sophistical art is an old one;[18] but its older professors,
being afraid of enmity if they proclaimed what they really were, have
always disguised themselves under other titles. Some, like Homer,
Hesiod, and Simonides, called themselves poets: others, Orpheus,
Musæus, &c., professed to prescribe religious rites and
mysteries: others announced themselves as gymnastic trainers or
teachers of music. But I have departed altogether from this policy;
which indeed did not succeed in really deceiving any leading
men--whom alone it was intended to deceive--and which, when found out,
entailed upon its authors the additional disgrace of being considered
deceivers. The true caution consists in open dealing; and this is
what I have always adopted. I avow myself a Sophist, educating men. I
am now advanced in years, old enough to be the father of any of you,
and have grown old in the profession: yet during all these years,
thank God, I have suffered no harm either from my practice or my
title.[19] If therefore you desire to converse with me, it will be
far more agreeable to me to converse in presence of all who are now
in the house.[20]

[Footnote 16: Plat. Prot. p. 316.

The motive assigned by Hippokrates, for putting himself under the
teaching of Protagoras, is just the same as that which Xenophon
assigns to his friend Proxenus for taking lessons and paying fees to
the Leontine Gorgias (Xen. Anab. ii. 6, 16).]

[Footnote 17: The jealousy felt by fathers, mothers, and relatives
against a teacher or converser who acquired great influence over
their youthful relatives, is alluded to by Sokrates in the Platonic
Apology (p. 37 E), and is illustrated by a tragical incident in the
Cyropædia of Xenophon, iii. 1. 14-38. Compare also Xenophon, Memorab.
i. 2, 52.]

[Footnote 18: Plat. Prot. p. 316 D. [Greek: e)gô\ de\ tê\n
sophistikê\n te/chnên phêmi\ me\n ei)=nai palaia/n.]]

[Footnote 19: Plat. Prot. p. 317 C. [Greek: ô(/ste su\n theô=|
ei)pei=n mêde\n deino\n pa/schein dia\ to\ o(mologei=n sophistê\s
ei)=nai.]]

[Footnote 20: Plat. Prot. p. 317 D. In the Menon, the Platonic
Sokrates is made to say that Protagoras died at the age of seventy;
that he had practised forty years as a Sophist; and that during all
that long time he had enjoyed the highest esteem and reputation, even
after his death, "down to the present day" (Menon, p. 91 E).

It must be remembered that the speech, of which I have just given an
abstract, is delivered not by the historical, real, Protagoras, but
by the character named _Protagoras_, depicted by Plato in this
dialogue: _i.e._ the speech is composed by Plato himself. I
read, therefore, with much surprise, a note of Heindorf (ad p. 316
D), wherein he says about Protagoras: "Callidé in postremis reticet,
quod addere poterat, [Greek: chrê/mata dido/ntas]." "Protagoras
cunningly keeps back, what he might have here added, that people gave
him money for his teaching." Heindorf must surely have supposed that
he was commenting upon a real speech, delivered by the historical
person called Protagoras. Otherwise what can be meant by this charge
of "cunning reticence or keeping back?" Protagoras here speaks what
Plato puts into his mouth; neither more nor less. What makes the
remark of Heindorf the more preposterous is, that in page 328 B the
very fact, which Protagoras is here said "cunningly to keep back,"
appears mentioned by Protagoras; and mentioned in the same spirit of
honourable frankness and fair-dealing as that which pervades the
discourse which I have just (freely) translated. Indeed nothing can
be more marked than the way in which Plato makes Protagoras dwell
with emphasis on the frankness and openness of his dealing: nothing
can be more at variance with the character which critics give us of
the Sophists, as "cheats, who defrauded pupils of their money while
teaching them nothing at all, or what they themselves knew to be
false".]

[Side-note: Protagoras prefers to converse in presence of
the assembled company.]

On hearing this, Sokrates--under the suspicion (he tells us) that
Protagoras wanted to show off in the presence of Prodikus and
Hippias--proposes to convene all the dispersed guests, and to talk in
their hearing. This is accordingly done, and the conversation
recommences--Sokrates repeating the introductory request which he had
preferred on behalf of Hippokrates.

[Side-note: Answers of Protagoras. He intends to train young
men as virtuous citizens.]

_Sokr._--Hippokrates is anxious to distinguish himself in the
city, and thinks that he shall best attain this end by placing
himself under your instruction. He would gladly learn, Protagoras,
what will happen to him, if he comes into intercourse with you.
_Prot._--Young man, if you come to me, on the day of your first
visit, you will go home better than you came, and on the next day the
like: each successive day you will make progress for the better.[21]
_Sokr._--Of course he will; there is nothing surprising in that:
but towards _what_, and about _what_, will he make
progress? _Prot._--Your question is a reasonable one, and I am
glad to reply to it. I shall not throw him back--as other Sophists
do, with mischievous effect--into the special sciences, geometry,
arithmetic, astronomy, music, &c., just after he has completed
his course in them. I shall teach him what he really comes to learn:
wisdom and good counsel, both respecting his domestic affairs, that
he may manage his own family well--and respecting the affairs of the
city, that he may address himself to them most efficaciously, both in
speech and act. _Sokr._--You speak of political or social
science. You engage to make men good citizens. _Prot._--Exactly
so.[22]

[Footnote 21: Plato, Protag. p. 318 A. "Qui ad philosophorum scholas
venit, quotidie secum aliquid boni ferat: aut sanior domum redeat,
aut sanabilior." Seneca, Epistol. 108, p. 530.]

[Footnote 22: Plato, Protag. pp. 318-319.

The declaration made by Protagoras--that he will not throw back his
pupils into the special arts--is represented by Plato as intended to
be an indirect censure on Hippias, then sitting by.]

[Side-note: Sokrates doubts whether virtue is teachable.
Reasons for such doubt. Protagoras is asked to explain whether it is
or not.]

_Sokr._--That is a fine talent indeed, which you possess, if you
_do_ possess it; for (to speak frankly) I thought that the thing
had not been teachable, nor intentionally communicable, by man to
man.[23] I will tell you why I think so. The Athenians are
universally recognised as intelligent men. Now when our public
assembly is convened, if the subject of debate be fortification,
ship-building, or any other specialty which they regard as learnable
and teachable, they will listen to no one except a professional
artist or craftsman.[24] If any non-professional man presumes to
advise them on the subject, they refuse to hear him, however rich and
well-born he may be. It is thus that they act in matters of any
special art;[25] but when the debate turns upon the general
administration of the city, they hear every man alike--the
brass-worker, leather-cutter, merchant, navigator, rich, poor,
well-born, low-born, &c. Against none of them is any exception taken,
as in the former case--that he comes to give advice on that which he has
not learnt, and on which he has had no master.[26] It is plain that
the public generally think it not teachable. Moreover our best and
wisest citizens, those who possess civic virtue in the highest
measure, cannot communicate to their own children this same virtue,
though they cause them to be taught all those accomplishments which
paid masters can impart. Periklês and others, excellent citizens
themselves, have never been able to make any one else excellent,
either in or out of their own family. These reasons make me conclude
that social or political virtue is not teachable. I shall be glad if
you can show me that it is so.[27]

[Footnote 23: Plato, Protag. p. 319 B. [Greek: ou) didakto\n ei)=nai,
mêd' u(p' a)nthrô/pôn paraskeuasto\n a)nthrô/pois.]]

[Footnote 24: Plato, Protag. p. 319 C. [Greek: kai\ ta)/lla pa/nta
ou(/tôs, o(/sa ê(gou=ntai mathêta/ te kai\ didakta\ ei)=nai. e)a/n
de/ tis a)/llos e)picheirê=| au)toi=s sumbouleu/ein o(\n e)kei=noi
mê\ oi)/ontai dêmiourgo\n ei)=nai], &c.]

[Footnote 25: Plato, Protag. p. 319 D. [Greek: Peri\ me\n ou)=n ô(=n
_oi)/ontai e)n te/chnê| ei)=nai_, ou(/tô diapra/ttontai.]]

[Footnote 26: Plato, Protag. p. 319 D. [Greek: kai\ tou/tois ou)dei\s
tou=to e)piplê/ssei ô(sper toi=s pro/teron, o(/ti ou)damo/then
mathô/n, ou)de\ o)/ntos didaska/lou ou)deno\s au)tô=|, e)/peita
sumbouleu/ein e)picheirei=; dê=lon ga\r o(/ti ou)ch ê(gou=ntai
didakto\n ei)=nai.]]

[Footnote 27: Plato, Protag. pp. 319-320.]

[Side-note: Explanation of Protagoras. He begins with a
mythe.]

_Prot._--I will readily show you. But shall I, like an old man
addressing his juniors, recount to you an illustrative mythe?[28] or
shall I go through an expository discourse? The mythe perhaps will be
the more acceptable of the two.

[Footnote 28: Plato, Protag. p. 320 C. [Greek: po/teron u(mi=n, ô(s
presbu/teros neôte/rois, mu=thon le/gôn e)pidei/xô, ê)\ lo/gô|
diexelthô/n?]

It is probable that the Sophists often delivered illustrative mythes
or fables as a more interesting way of handling social matters before
an audience. Such was the memorable fable called the choice of
Hêraklês by Prodikus.]

[Side-note: Mythe. First fabrication of men by the Gods.
Prometheus and Epimetheus. Bad distribution of endowments to man by
the latter. It is partly amended by Prometheus.]

There was once a time when Gods existed, but neither men nor
animals had yet come into existence. At the epoch prescribed by
Fate, the Gods fabricated men and animals in the interior of the
earth, out of earth, fire, and other ingredients: directing the
brothers Prometheus and Epimetheus to fit them out with suitable
endowments. Epimetheus, having been allowed by his brother to
undertake the task of distributing these endowments, did his work
very improvidently, wasted all his gifts upon the inferior animals,
and left nothing for man. When Prometheus came to inspect what had
been done, he found that other animals were adequately equipped, but
that man had no natural provision for clothing, shoeing, bedding, or
defence. The only way whereby Prometheus could supply the defect was,
by breaking into the common workshop of Athênê and Hephæstus, and
stealing from thence their artistic skill, together with fire.[29]
Both of these he presented to man, who was thus enabled to construct
for himself, by art, all that other animals received from nature and
more besides.

[Footnote 29: Plato, Protag. pp. 321-322. [Greek: a)pori/a| ou)=n
e)cho/menos o( Promêtheu\s ê(/ntina sôtêri/an tô=| a)nthrô/pô|
eu(/roi, kle/ptei Ê(phai/stou kai\ A)thêna=s tê\n e(/ntechnon
sophi/an su\n puri/. . . . Tê\n me\n ou)=n peri\ to\n bi/on sophi/an
a)/nthrôpos tau/tê| e)/sche, tê\n de\ politikê\n ou)k ei)=chen; ê)=n
ga\r para\ tô=| Di/i+], &c.

If the reader will compare this with the doctrine delivered in the
Platonic Timæus--that the inferior animals spring from degenerate
men--he will perceive the entire variance between the two (Timæus,
pp. 91-92).]

[Side-note: Prometheus gave to mankind skill for the supply of
individual wants, but could not give them the social art. Mankind are
on the point of perishing, when Zeus sends to them the dispositions
essential for society.]

Still however, mankind did not possess the political or social art;
which Zeus kept in his own custody, where Prometheus could not reach
it. Accordingly, though mankind could provide for themselves as
individuals, yet when they attempted to form themselves into
communities, they wronged each other so much, from being destitute of
the political or social art, that they were presently forced again
into dispersion.[30] The art of war, too, being a part of the
political art, which mankind did not possess--they could not get up a
common defence against hostile animals: so that the human race would
have been presently destroyed, had not Zeus interposed to avert such
a consummation. He sent Hermês to mankind, bearing with him
Justice and the sense of Shame (or Moderation), as the bonds and
ornaments of civic society, coupling men in friendship.[31] Hermês
asked Zeus--Upon what principle shall I distribute these gifts among
mankind? Shall I distribute them in the same way as artistic skill is
distributed, only to a small number--a few accomplished physicians,
navigators, &c., being adequate to supply the wants of the entire
community? Or are they to be apportioned in a certain dose to every
man? Undoubtedly, to every man (was the command of Zeus). All without
exception must be partakers in them. If they are confined exclusively
to a few, like artistic or professional skill, no community can
exist.[32] Ordain, by my authority, that every man, who cannot take a
share of his own in justice and the sense of shame, shall be slain,
as a nuisance to the community.

[Footnote 30: Plato, Protag. p. 322 B. [Greek: e)zê/toun dê\
a)throi/zesthai kai\ sô/zesthai kti/zontes po/leis; o(/t' ou)=n
a)throisthei=en, ê)di/koun a)llê/lous, a(/te ou)k e)/chontes tê\n
politikê\n te/chnên, ô(/ste pa/lin skedannu/menoi diephthei/ronto.]

Compare Plato, Republic, i. p. 351 C, p. 352 B, where Sokrates sets
forth a similar argument.]

[Footnote 31: Plato, Protagor. p. 322 C. [Greek: E(rmê=n pe/mpei
a)/gonta ei)s a)nthrô/pous ai)dô= te kai\ di/kên, i(/n' ei)=en
po/leôn ko/smoi te kai\ desmoi\ phili/as sunagôgoi/.]]

[Footnote 32: Plato, Protag. p. 322 C-D. [Greek: ei)=s e)/chôn
i)atrikê\n polloi=s i(kano\s i)diô/tais, kai\ oi( a)/lloi
dêmiourgoi/. kai\ di/kên dê\ kai\ ai)dô= ou(/tô thô= e)n toi=s
a)nthrô/pois, ê)\ e)pi\ pa/ntas nei/mô? E)pi\ pa/ntas, e)/phê o(
Zeu/s, kai\ pa/ntes metecho/ntôn; ou) ga\r a)\n ge/nointo po/leis,
ei) o)li/goi au)tô=n mete/choien ô(/sper a)/llôn technô=n. kai\
no/mon ge the\s par' e)mou=, to\n mê\ duna/menon ai)doou=s kai\
di/kês mete/chein, ktei/nein ô(s no/son po/leôs.]

We see by p. 323 A that [Greek: sôphrosu/nê] is employed as
substitute or equivalent for [Greek: ai)dô/s]: yet still [Greek:
ai)dô\s] is the proper word to express Plato's meaning, as it denotes
a distinct and positive regard to the feelings of others--a feeling
of pain in each man's mind, when he discovers or believes that he is
disapproved by his comrades. Hom. Il. O. 561--[Greek: ai)dô=
the/sth' e)ni\ thumô=| A)llê/lous t' ai)dei=sthe kata\ kratera\s
u(smi/nas.]]

[Side-note: Protagoras follows up his mythe by a discourse.
Justice and the sense of shame are not professional attributes, but
are possessed by all citizens and taught by all to all.]

This fable will show you, therefore, Sokrates (continues Protagoras),
that the Athenians have good reason for making the distinction to
which you advert. When they are discussing matters of special art,
they will hear only the few to whom such matters are known. But when
they are taking counsel about social or political virtue, which
consists altogether in justice and moderation, they naturally hear
every one; since every one is presumed, as a condition of the
existence of the commonwealth, to be a partaker therein.[33]
Moreover, even though they know a man not to have these virtues in
reality, they treat him as insane if he does not proclaim himself to
have them, and make profession of virtue: whereas, in the case of the
special arts, if a man makes proclamation of his own skill as a
physician or musician, they censure or ridicule him.[34]

[Footnote 33: Plat. Prot. pp. 322-323.]

[Footnote 34: Plato, Protag. p. 323 C.]

[Side-note: Constant teaching of virtue. Theory of
punishment.]

Nevertheless, though they account this political or social virtue an
universal endowment, they are far from thinking that it comes
spontaneously or by nature. They conceive it to be generated by care
and teaching. For in respect of all those qualities which come by
nature or by accident, no one is ever angry with another or blames
another for being found wanting. An ugly, dwarfish, or sickly man is
looked upon simply with pity, because his defects are such as he
cannot help. But when any one manifests injustice or other qualities
the opposite of political virtue, then all his neighbours visit him
with indignation, censure, and perhaps punishment: implying clearly
their belief that this virtue is an acquirement obtained by care and
learning.[35] Indeed the whole institution of punishment has no other
meaning. It is in itself a proof that men think social virtue to be
acquirable and acquired. For no rational man ever punishes
malefactors because they _have_ done wrong, or simply with a
view to the past:--since what is already done cannot be undone. He
punishes with a view to the future, in order that neither the same
man, nor others who see him punished, may be again guilty of similar
wrong. This opinion plainly implies the belief, that virtue is
producible by training, since men punish for the purpose of
prevention.[36]

[Footnote 35: Plato, Protag. pp. 323-324.]

[Footnote 36: Plato, Protag. p. 324 A-B. [Greek: ou)dei\s ga\r
kola/zei tou\s a)dikou=ntas pro\s tou/tô| to\n nou=n e)/chôn kai\
tou/tou e(/neka o(/ti ê)di/kêsen, o(/stis mê\ ô(/sper thêri/on
a)logi/stôs timôrei=tai; o( de\ meta\ lo/gou e)picheirô=n kola/zein
ou) tou= parelêlutho/tos e(/neka a)dikê/matos timôrei=tai--ou) ga\r
a)\n to/ ge prachthe\n a)ge/nêton thei/ê--a)lla\ tou= me/llontos
cha/rin, i(/na mê\ au)=this a)dikê/sê| mê/te au)to\s ou(=tos mê/te
a)/llos o( tou=ton i)dô\n kolasthe/nta. kai\ toiau/tên ei)=nai
a)retê/n; _a)potropê=s gou=n e(/neka kola/zei_.]

This clear and striking exposition of the theory of punishment is one
of the most memorable passages in Plato, or in any ancient author.
And if we are to believe the words which immediately follow, it was
the theory universally accepted at that time--[Greek: tau/tên ou)=n
tê\n do/xan pa/ntes e)/chousin, o(/soi per timôrou=ntai kai\ i)di/a|
kai\ dêmosi/a|.] Compare Plato, Legg. xi. p. 933, where the same
doctrine is announced: Seneca, De Irâ, i. 16. "Nam, ut Plato ait,
nemo prudens punit, quia peccatum est, sed ne peccetur. Revocari enim
præterita non possunt: futura prohibentur." Steinhart (Einleit. zum
Protag. p. 423) pronounces a just encomium upon this theory of
punishment, which, as he truly observes, combines together the
purposes declared in the two modern theories--Reforming and
Deterring. He says further, however, that the same theory of
punishment reappears in the Gorgias, which I do not think exact. The
purpose of punishment, as given in the Gorgias, is simply to cure a
distempered patient of a terrible distemper, and thus to confer great
benefit on him--but without any allusion to tutelary results as
regards society.]

[Side-note: Why eminent men cannot make their sons
eminent.]

I come now to your remaining argument, Sokrates. You urge that
citizens of eminent civil virtue cannot communicate that virtue to
their own sons, to whom nevertheless they secure all the
accomplishments which masters can teach. Now I have already shown you
that civil virtue is the one accomplishment needful,[37] which every
man without exception must possess, on pain of punishment or final
expulsion, if he be without it. I have shown you, moreover that every
one believes it to be communicable by teaching and attention. How can
you believe then that these excellent fathers teach their sons other
things, but do not teach them this, the want of which entails such
terrible penalties?

[Footnote 37: Plato, Protag. p. 324 E. [Greek: Po/teron e)/sti ti
e(/n, ê)\ ou)k e)/stin, ou)= a)nagkai=on pa/ntas tou\s poli/tas
mete/chein, ei)/per me/llei po/lis ei)=nai? e)n tou/tô| ga\r au(/tê
lu/etai ê( a)pori/a ê(\n su\ a)porei=s.]]

[Side-note: Teaching by parents, schoolmaster, harpist, laws,
dikastery, &c.]

The fact is, they _do_ teach it: and that too with great
pains.[38] They begin to admonish and lecture their children, from
the earliest years. Father, mother, tutor, nurse, all vie with each
other to make the child as good as possible: by constantly telling
him on every occasion which arises, This is right--That is
wrong--This is honourable--That is mean--This is holy--That is unholy--Do
these things, abstain from those.[39] If the child obeys them, it is
well: if he do not, they straighten or rectify him, like a crooked
piece of wood, by reproof and flogging. Next, they send him to a
schoolmaster, who teaches him letters and the harp; but who is
enjoined to take still greater pains in watching over his orderly
behaviour. Here the youth is put to read, learn by heart, and recite,
the compositions of able poets; full of exhortations to excellence
and of stirring examples from the good men of past times.[40] On the
harp also, he learns the best songs, his conduct is strictly watched,
and his emotions are disciplined by the influence of rhythmical and
regular measure. While his mind is thus trained to good, he is sent
besides to the gymnastic trainer, to render his body a suitable
instrument for it,[41] and to guard against failure of energy
under the obligations of military service. If he be the son of a
wealthy man, he is sent to such training sooner, and remains in it
longer. As soon as he is released from his masters, the city publicly
takes him in hand, compelling him to learn the laws prescribed by old
and good lawgivers,[42] to live according to their prescriptions, and
to learn both command and obedience, on pain of being punished. Such
then being the care bestowed, both publicly and privately, to foster
virtue, can you really doubt, Sokrates, whether it be teachable? You
might much rather wonder if it were not so.[43]

[Footnote 38: Plato, Protag. p. 325 B.]

[Footnote 39: Plato, Protag. p. 325 D. [Greek: par' e(/kaston kai\
e)/rgon kai\ lo/gon dida/skontes kai\ e)ndeiknu/menoi o(/ti to\ me\n
di/kaion, to\ de\ a)/dikon, kai\ to/de me\n kalo/n, to/de de\
ai)schro/n], &c.]

[Footnote 40: Plato, Protag. p. 325 E--326 A. [Greek: paratithe/asin
au)toi=s e)pi\ tô=n ba/thrôn a)naginô/skein poiêtô=n a)gathô=n
poiê/mata kai\ e)kmantha/nein a)nagka/zousin, e)n oi(=s pollai\ me\n
nouthetê/seis e)/neisi, pollai\ de\ die/xodoi kai\ e)/painoi kai\
e)gkô/mia palaiô=n a)ndrô=n a)gathô=n, i(/na o( pai=s zêlô=n mimê=tai
kai\ o)re/gêtai toiou=tos gene/sthai.]]

[Footnote 41: Plato, Protag. p. 326 B. [Greek: i(/na ta\ sô/mata
belti/ô e)/chontes u(pêretô=si tê=| dianoi/a| chrêstê=| ou)/sê|],
&c.]

[Footnote 42: Plato, Protag. p. 326 D. [Greek: no/mous u(pogra/psasa,
a)gathô=n kai\ palaiô=n nomothetô=n eu(rê/mata], &c.]

[Footnote 43: Plato, Protag. p. 326 E.]

[Side-note: All learn virtue from the same teaching by all.
Whether a learner shall acquire more or less of it, depends upon his
own individual aptitude.]

How does it happen, then, you ask, that excellent men so frequently
have worthless sons, to whom, even with all virtue from these
precautions, they cannot teach their own virtue? This is not
surprising, when you recollect what I have just said--That in regard
to social virtue, every man must be a craftsman and producer; there
must be no non-professional consumers.[44] All of us are interested
in rendering our neighbours just and virtuous, as well as in keeping
them so. Accordingly, every one, instead of being jealous, like a
professional artist, of seeing his own accomplishments diffused,
stands forward zealously in teaching justice and virtue to every one
else, and in reproving all short-comers.[45] Every man is a teacher
of virtue to others: every man learns his virtue from such general
teaching, public and private. The sons of the best men learn it in
this way, as well as others. The instruction of their fathers counts
for comparatively little, amidst such universal and paramount
extraneous influence; so that it depends upon the aptitude and
predispositions of the sons themselves, whether they turn out better
or worse than others. The son of a superior man will often turn out
ill; while the son of a worthless man will prove meritorious. So
the case would be, if playing on the flute were the one thing needful
for all citizens; if every one taught and enforced flute-playing upon
all others, and every one learnt it from the teaching of all
others.[46] You would find that the sons of good or bad flute-players
would turn out good or bad, not in proportion to the skill of their
fathers, but according to their own natural aptitudes. You would find
however also, that all of them, even the most unskilful, would be
accomplished flute-players, if compared with men absolutely untaught,
who had gone through no such social training. So too, in regard to
justice and virtue.[47] The very worst man brought up in your society
and its public and private training, would appear to you a craftsman
in these endowments, if you compared him with men who had been
brought up without education, without laws, without dikasteries,
without any general social pressure bearing on them, to enforce
virtue: such men as the savages exhibited last year in the comedy of
Pherekrates at the Lenæan festival. If you were thrown among such
men, you, like the chorus of misanthropes in that play, would look
back with regret even upon the worst criminals of the society which
you had left, such as Eurybatus and Phrynondas.[48]

[Footnote 44: Plato, Protag. p. 326 E. [Greek: o(/ti tou/tou tou=
pra/gmatos, tê=s a)retê=s, ei) me/llei po/lis ei)=nai, ou)de/na dei=
_i)diôteu/ein_.]

It is to be regretted that there is no precise word to translate
exactly the useful antithesis between [Greek: i)diô/tês] and [Greek:
techni/tês] or [Greek: dêmiourgo/s].]

[Footnote 45: Plato, Protag. p. 327 A. [Greek: ei) kai\ tou=to kai\
i)di/a| kai\ dêmosi/a| pa=s pa/nta kai\ e)di/daske kai\ e)pe/plêtte
to\n mê\ kalô=s au)lou=nta, kai\ mê\ e)phtho/nei tou/tou, ô(/sper
nu=n tô=n dikai/ôn kai\ tô=n nomi/môn ou)dei\s phthonei= ou)d'
a)pokru/ptetai, ô(/sper tô=n a)/llôn technêma/tôn--lusitelei= ga\r,
oi)=mai, ê(mi=n ê( a)llê/lôn dikaiosu/nê kai\ a)retê\; dia\ tau=ta
pa=s panti\ prothu/môs le/gei kai\ dida/skei kai\ ta\ di/kaia kai\
ta\ no/mima.]]

[Footnote 46: Plato, Protag. p. 327 C.]

[Footnote 47: Plato, Protag. p. 327 C-D. [Greek: O(/stis soi
a)dikô/tatos phai/netai a)/nthrôpos tô=n e)n no/mois kai\
a)nthrô/pois tethramme/nôn, di/kaion au)to\n ei)=nai kai\
_dêmiourgo\n tou/tou tou= pra/gmatos_, ei) de/oi au)to\n
kri/nesthai pro\s a)nthrô/pous, oi(=s mê/te paidei/a e)sti\ mê/te
dikastê/ria mê/te no/moi mê/te a)na/gkê mêdemi/a dia\ panto\s
a)nagka/zoousa a)retê=s e)pimelei=sthai.]]

[Footnote 48: Plato, Protag. p. 327 D.]

[Side-note: Analogy of learning vernacular Greek. No special
teacher thereof. Protagoras teaches virtue somewhat better than
others.]

But now, Sokrates, you are over-nice, because all of us are teachers
of virtue, to the best of every man's power; while no particular
individual appears to teach it specially and _ex professo_[49]
By the same analogy, if you asked who was the teacher for speaking
our vernacular Greek, no one special person could be pointed out:[50]
nor would you find out who was the finishing teacher for those sons
of craftsmen who learnt the rudiments of their art from their own
fathers--while if the son of any non-professional person learns a
craft, it is easy to assign the person by whom he was taught.[51]
So it is in respect to virtue. All of us teach and enforce
virtue to the best of our power; and we ought to be satisfied if
there be any one of us ever so little superior to the rest, in the
power of teaching it. Of such men I believe myself to be one.[52] I
can train a man into an excellent citizen, better than others, and in
a manner worthy not only of the fee which I ask, but even of a still
greater remuneration, in the judgment of the pupil himself. This is
the stipulation which I make with him: when he has completed his
course, he is either to pay me the fee which I shall demand--or if he
prefers, he may go into a temple, make oath as to his own estimate of
the instruction imparted to him, and pay me according to that
estimate.[53]

[Footnote 49: Plato, Protag. p. 327 E. [Greek: nu=n de\ trupha=|s,
ô)= Sô/krates, dio/ti pa/ntes dida/skaloi/ ei)sin a)retê=s, kath'
o(/son du/natai e(/kastos, kai\ ou)dei/s soi phai/netai.]]

[Footnote 50: Plato, Protag. p. 327 E. [Greek: ei)=th' ô(/s per a)\n
ei) zêtoi=s ti/s dida/skalos tou= e(llêni/zein, ou)d' a)\n ei(=s
phanei/ê.]]

[Footnote 51: Plato, Protag. p. 328 A.]

[Footnote 52: Plato, Protag. p. 328 B. [Greek: A)lla\ ka)\n ei)
o)li/gon e)/sti tis o(/stis diaphe/rei ê(mô=n probiba/sai ei)s
a)retê/n, a)gapêto/n. Ô(=n dê\ e)gô\ oi)=mai ei(=s ei)=nai],
&c.]

[Footnote 53: Plato, Protag. p. 328 B.]

[Side-note: The sons of great artists do not themselves become
great artists.]

I have thus proved to you, Sokrates--That virtue is teachable--That
the Athenians account it to be teachable--That there is nothing
wonderful in finding the sons of good men worthless, and the sons of
worthless men good. Indeed this is true no less about the special
professions, than about the common accomplishment, virtue. The sons
of Polyklêtus the statuary, and of many other artists, are nothing as
compared with their fathers.[54]

[Footnote 54: Plato, Protag. p. 328 C.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Remarks upon the mythe and discourse. They explain
the manner in which the established sentiment of a community
propagates and perpetuates itself.]

Such is the discourse composed by Plato and attributed to the
Platonic Protagoras--showing that virtue is teachable, and intended
to remove the difficulties proposed by Sokrates. It is an exposition
of some length: and because it is put into the mouth of a Sophist,
many commentators presume, as a matter of course, that it must be a
manifestation of some worthless quality:[55] that it is either empty
verbiage, or ostentatious self-praise, or low-minded immorality. I am
unable to perceive in the discourse any of these demerits. I think it
one of the best parts of the Platonic writings, as an exposition
of the growth and propagation of common sense--the common,
established, ethical and social sentiment, among a community:
sentiment neither dictated in the beginning, by any scientific or
artistic lawgiver, nor personified in any special guild of craftsmen
apart from the remaining community--nor inculcated by any formal
professional teachers--nor tested by analysis--nor verified by
comparison with any objective standard: but self-sown and
self-asserting, stamped, multiplied, and kept in circulation, by the
unpremeditated conspiracy of the general[56] public--the omnipresent
agency of King Nomos and his numerous volunteers.

[Footnote 55: So Serranus (ad 326 E), who has been followed by many
later critics. "Quæstio est, Virtusne doceri possit? Quod instituit
demonstrare Sophista, sed ineptissimis argumentis et quæ contra
seipsum faciant."

To me this appears the reverse of the truth. But even if it were
true, no blame could fall on Protagoras. We should only be warranted
in concluding that it suited the scheme of Plato here to make him
talk nonsense.]

[Footnote 56: This is what the Platonic Sokrates alludes to in the
Phædon and elsewhere. [Greek: oi( tê\n dêmotikê\n te kai\ politikê\n
a)retê\n e)pitetêdeuko/tes, ê(\n dê\ kalou=si sôphrosu/nên te kai\
dikaiosu/nêv, e)x e)/thous te kai\ mele/tês gegonui=an, a)/neu
philosophi/as te kai\ nou=.] Phædon, p. 82 B; compare the same
dialogue, p. 68 C; also Republic, x. p. 619 C--[Greek: e)/thei a)/neu
philosophi/as a)retê=s meteilêpho/ta].]

The account given by Mr. James Mill (Fragment on Mackintosh, p.
259-260) of the manner in which the established morality of a society
is transmitted and perpetuated, coincides completely with the discourse
of the Platonic Protagoras. The passage is too long to be cited: I
give here only the concluding words, which describe the [Greek:
dêmotikê\ a)retê\ a)/neu philosophi/as]--

"In this manner it is that men, in the social state, acquire the
habits of moral acting, and certain affections connected with it,
before they are capable of reflecting upon the grounds which
recommend the acts either to praise or blame. Nearly at this point
the greater part of them remain: continuing to perform moral acts and
to abstain from the contrary, chiefly from the habits which they have
acquired, and the authority upon which they originally acted: though
it is not possible that any man should come to the years and blessing
of reason, without perceiving at least in an indistinct and general
way, the advantage which mankind derive from their acting towards one
another in one way rather than another."]

[Side-note: Antithesis of Protagoras and Sokrates. Whether
virtue is to be assimilated to a special art.]

In many of the Platonic dialogues, Sokrates is made to dwell upon the
fact that there are no recognised professional teachers of virtue;
and to ground upon this fact a doubt, whether virtue be really
teachable. But the present dialogue is the only one in which the fact
is accounted for, and the doubt formally answered. There are neither
special teachers, nor professed pupils, nor determinate periods of
study, nor definite lessons or stadia, for the acquirement of virtue,
as there are for a particular art or craft: the reason being, that in
that department every man must of necessity be a practitioner, more
or less perfectly: every man has an interest in communicating it to
his neighbour: hence every man is constantly both teacher and
learner. Herein consists one main and real distinction between virtue
and the special arts; an answer to the view most frequently
espoused by the Platonic Sokrates, assimilating virtue to a
professional craft, which ought to have special teachers, and a
special season of apprenticeship, if it is to be acquired at all.

The speech is censured by some critics as prolix. But to me it seems
full of matter and argument, exceedingly free from superfluous
rhetoric. The fable with which it opens presents of course the
poetical ornament which belongs to that manner of handling. It is
however fully equal, in point of perspicuity as well as charm--in my
judgment, it is even superior to any other fable in Plato.

[Side-note: Procedure of Sokrates in regard to the discourse
of Protagoras--he compliments it as an exposition, and analyses some
of the fundamental assumptions.]

When the harangue, lecture, or sermon, of Protagoras is concluded,
Sokrates both expresses his profound admiration of it, and admits the
conclusion--That virtue is teachable--to be made out, as well as it
can be made out by any continuous exposition.[57] In fact, the
speaker has done all that could be done by Perikles or the best
orator of the assembly. He has given a long series of reasonings in
support of his own case, without stopping to hear the doubts of
opponents. He has sailed along triumphantly upon the stream of public
sentiment, accepting all the established beliefs--appealing to his
hearers with all those familiar phrases, round which the most
powerful associations are grouped--and taking for granted that
justice, virtue, good, evil, &c., are known, indisputable,
determinate data, fully understood, and unanimously interpreted. He
has shown that the community take great pains, both publicly and
privately, to inculcate and enforce virtue: that is, what _they_
believe in and esteem as virtue. But is their belief well founded? Is
that which they esteem, really virtue? Do they and their elegant
spokesman Protagoras, know what virtue is? If so, _how_ do they
know it, and can they explain it?

[Footnote 57: Plato, Protag. pp. 328-329.

Very different indeed is the sentiment of the principal Platonic
commentators. Schleiermacher will not allow the mythus of Protagoras
to be counted among the Platonic mythes: he says that it is composed
in the style of Protagoras, and perhaps copied from some real
composition of that Sophist. He finds in it nothing but a
"grobmaterialistiche Denkungsart, die über die sinnliche Erfahrung
nicht hinaus philosophirt" (Einleitung zum Protagoras, vol. i. pp.
233-234).

To the like purpose Ast (Plat. Leb. p. 71)--who tells us that what is
expressed in the mythus is, "the vulgar and mean sentiment and manner
of thought of the Sophist: for it deduces every thing, both arts and
the social union itself, from human wants and necessity". Apparently
these critics, when they treat this as a proof of meanness and
vulgarity, have forgotten that the Platonic Sokrates himself does
exactly the same thing in the Republic--deriving the entire social
union from human necessities (Republ. ii. 369 C).

K. F. Hermann is hardly less severe upon the Protagorean discourse
(Gesch. und Syst. der Plat. Phil. p. 460).

For my part, I take a view altogether opposed to these learned
persons. I think the discourse one of the most striking and
instructive portions of the Platonic writings: and if I could believe
that it was the composition of Protagoras himself, my estimation of
him would be considerably raised.

Steinhart pronounces a much more rational and equitable judgment than
Ast and Schleiermacher, upon the discourse of Protagoras (Einleitung
zum Prot. pp. 422-423).]

[Side-note: One purpose of the dialogue. To contrast
continuous discourse with short cross-examining question and answer.]

This is the point upon which Sokrates now brings his Elenchus to
bear: his method of short question and answer. We have seen what long
continuous speaking can do: we have now to see what short
cross-questioning can do. The antithesis between the two is at least
one main purpose of Plato--if it be not even _the_ purpose (as
Schleiermacher supposes it to be) in this memorable dialogue.

[Side-note: Questions by Sokrates--Whether virtue is one and
indivisible, or composed of different parts? Whether the parts are
homogeneous or heterogeneous?]

After your copious exposition, Protagoras (says Sokrates), I have
only one little doubt remaining, which you will easily explain.[58]
You have several times spoken of justice, moderation, holiness,
&c., as if they all, taken collectively, made up virtue. Do you
mean that virtue is a Whole, and that these three names denote
distinct parts of it? Or are the three names all equivalent to
virtue, different names for one and are the same thing?
 _Prot._--They are names signifying distinct parts of virtue.
_Sokr._--Are these parts like the parts of the face,--eyes, nose,
mouth, ears--each part not only distinct from the rest, but having
its own peculiar properties? Or are they like the parts of gold,
homogeneous with each other and with the whole, differing only in
magnitude? _Prot._--The former. _Sokr._--Then some men may possess one
part, some another. Or is it necessary that he who possesses one
part, should possess all? _Prot._--By no means necessary. Some
men are courageous, but unjust: others are just, but not intelligent.
_Sokr._--Wisdom and courage then, both of them, are parts of
virtue? _Prot._--They are so. Wisdom is the greatest of the
parts: but no one of the parts is the exact likeness of another: each
of them has its own peculiar property.[59]

[Footnote 58: Plato, Protag. pp. 328 E--329 B. [Greek: plê\n smikro/n
ti/ moi e)mpodô/n, o(\ dê=lon o(/ti Prôtago/ras r(a|di/ôs
e)pekdida/xei. . . . smikrou= tinos e)ndeê/s ei)mi pa/nt' e)/chein],
&c.]

[Footnote 59: Plato, Protag, pp. 329-330.]

[Side-note: Whether justice is just, and holiness holy?
How far justice is like to holiness? Sokrates protests against an
answer, "If you please".]

_Sokr._--Now let us examine what sort of thing each of these
parts is. Tell me--is justice some thing, or no thing? I think it is
some thing: are you of the same opinion?[60] _Prot._--Yes.
_Sokr._--Now this thing which you call _justice_: is it
itself just or unjust? I should say that it was just: what do you
say?[61] _Prot._--I think so too. _Sokr._--Holiness also is
some thing: is the thing called _holiness_, itself holy or
unholy? As for me, if any one were to ask me the question, I should
reply--Of course it is: nothing else can well be holy, if holiness
itself be not holy. Would you say the same?
_Prot._--Unquestionably. _Sokr._--Justice being admitted to be just,
and holiness to be holy--do not you think that justice also is holy,
and that holiness is just? If so, how can you reconcile that with your
former declaration, that no one of the parts of virtue is like any
other part? _Prot._--I do not altogether admit that justice is
holy, and that holiness is just. But the matter is of little moment:
if you please, let both of them stand as admitted. _Sokr._--Not
so:[62] I do not want the debate to turn upon an "If you please": You
and I are the debaters, and we shall determine the debate best
without "Ifs". _Prot._--I say then that justice and holiness are
indeed, in a certain way, like each other; so also there is a point
of analogy between white and black,[63] hard and soft, and between
many other things which no one would pronounce to be like generally.
_Sokr._--Do you think then that justice and holiness have only a
small point of analogy between them? _Prot._--Not exactly so:
but I do not concur with you when you declare that one is like the
other. _Sokr._--Well then! since you seem to follow with
some repugnance this line of argument, let us enter upon another.[64]

[Footnote 60: Plato, Protag. p. 330 B. [Greek: koinê=| skepsô/metha
_poi=o/n ti au)tô=n e)stin e(/kaston_. prô=ton me\n to\
toio/nde; ê( dikaiosu/nê pra=gma/ ti/ e)stin? ê)\ ou)de\n pra=gma?
e)moi\ me\n ga\r dokei=; ti/ de\ soi/?]]

[Footnote 61: Plato, Protag. p. 330 C. [Greek: tou=to to\ pra=gma o(/
ô)noma/sate a)/rti, ê( dikaiosu/nê, au)to\ tou=to di/kaio/n e)stin
ê)\ a)/dikon?]]

[Footnote 62: Plato, Protag. p. 331 C. [Greek: ei) ga\r bou/lei,
e)/stô ê(mi=n kai\ dikaiosu/nê o(/sion kai\ o(sio/tês di/kaion. Mê/
moi, ê(=n d' e)gô/; ou)de\n ga\r de/omai to\ "ei/ bou/lei" tou=to
kai\ "_ei) soi dokei=_" e)le/gchesthai, a)ll' e)me/ te kai\
se/.]

This passage seems intended to illustrate the indifference of
Protagoras for dialectic forms and strict accuracy of discussion. The
[Greek: a)kribologi/a] of Sokrates and Plato was not merely
unfamiliar but even distasteful to rhetorical and practical men.
Protagoras is made to exhibit himself as thinking the distinctions
drawn by Sokrates too nice, not worth attending to. Many of the
contemporaries of both shared this opinion. One purpose of our
dialogue is to bring such antitheses into view.]

[Footnote 63: Plat. Prot. p. 331 D.]

[Footnote 64: Plat. Prot. p. 332 A.]

[Side-note: Intelligence and moderation are identical, because
they have the same contrary.]

Sokrates then attempts to show that intelligence and moderation are
identical with each other ([Greek: sophi/a] and [Greek:
sôphrosu/nê]). The proof which he produces, elicited by several
questions, is--that both the one and the other are contrary to folly
([Greek: a)phrosu/nê]), and, that as a general rule, nothing can have
more than one single contrary.[65]

[Footnote 65: Plat. Protag. p. 332.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Insufficient reasons given by Sokrates. He seldom
cares to distinguish different meanings of the same term.]

Sokrates thus seems to himself to have made much progress in proving
all the names of different virtues to be names of one and the same
thing. Moderation and intelligence are shown to be the same: justice
and holiness had before been shown to be nearly the same:[66] though
we must recollect that this last point had not been admitted by
Protagoras. It must be confessed however that neither the one nor the
other is proved by any conclusive reasons. In laying down the
maxim--that nothing can have more than one single contrary--Plato seems
to have forgotten that the same term may be used in two different
senses. Because the term folly ([Greek: a)phrosu/nê]), is used
sometimes to denote the opposite of moderation ([Greek:
sôphrosu/nê]), sometimes the opposite of intelligence ([Greek:
sophi/a]), it does not follow that moderation and intelligence are
the same thing.[67] Nor does he furnish more satisfactory proof of
the other point, _viz._: That holiness and justice are the same,
or as much alike as possible. The intermediate position which is
assumed to form the proof, _viz._: That holiness is holy, and
that justice is just--is either tautological, or unmeaning; and
cannot serve as a real proof of any thing. It is indeed so futile,
that if it were found in the mouth of Protagoras and not in that
of Sokrates, commentators would probably have cited it as an
illustration of the futilities of the Sophists. As yet therefore
little has been done to elucidate the important question to which
Sokrates addresses himself--What is the extent of analogy between the
different virtues? Are they at bottom one and the same thing under
different names? In what does the analogy or the sameness consist?

[Footnote 66: Plato, Protag. p. 338 B. [Greek: sche/don ti tau)to\n
o)/n.]]

[Footnote 67: Aristotle would probably have avoided such a mistake as
this. One important point (as I have already remarked, vol. ii. p.
170) in which he is superior to Plato is, in being far more careful
to distinguish the different meanings of the same word--[Greek: ta\
pollachô=s lego/mena]. Plato rarely troubles himself to notice such
distinction, and seems indeed generally unaware of it. He constantly
ridicules Prodikus, who tried to distinguish words apparently
synonymous.]

[Side-note: Protagoras is puzzled, and becomes irritated.]

But though little progress has been made in determining the question
mooted by Sokrates, enough has been done to discompose and mortify
Protagoras. The general tenor of the dialogue is, to depict this man,
so eloquent in popular and continuous exposition, as destitute of the
analytical acumen requisite to meet cross-examination, and of
promptitude for dealing with new aspects of the case, on the very
subjects which form the theme of his eloquence. He finds himself
brought round, by a series of short questions, to a conclusion
which--whether conclusively proved or not--is proved in a manner binding
upon him, since he has admitted all the antecedent premisses. He
becomes dissatisfied with himself, answers with increasing
reluctance,[68] and is at last so provoked as to break out of the
limits imposed upon a respondent.

[Footnote 68: Plato, Protag. pp. 333 B, 335 A.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Sokrates presses Protagoras farther. His purpose
is, to test opinions and not persons. Protagoras answers with angry
prolixity.]

Meanwhile Sokrates pursues his examination, with intent to prove that
justice ([Greek: dikaiosu/nê]) and moderation ([Greek: sôphrosu/nê])
are identical. Does a man who acts unjustly conduct himself with
moderation? I should be ashamed (replies Protagoras) to answer in the
affirmative, though many people say so. _Sokr._--It is
indifferent to me whether you yourself think so or not, provided only
you consent to make answer. What I principally examine is the opinion
itself: though it follows perhaps as a consequence, that I the
questioner, and the respondent along with me, undergo examination at
the same time.[69] You answer then (though without adopting the
opinion) that men who act unjustly sometimes behave with moderation,
or with intelligence: that is, that they follow a wise policy in
committing injustice. _Prot._--Be it so. _Sokr._--You admit
too that there exist certain things called good things. Are those
things good, which are profitable to mankind? _Prot._--By Zeus,
I call some things good, even though they be not profitable to men
(replies Protagoras, with increasing acrimony).[70] _Sokr._--Do
you mean those things which are not profitable to any _man_, or
those which are not profitable to any creature whatever? Do you call
these latter _good_ also? _Prot._--Not at all: but there
are many things profitable to men, yet unprofitable or hurtful to
different animals. Good is of a character exceedingly diversified and
heterogeneous.[71]

[Footnote 69: Plato, Protag. p. 333 C. [Greek: to\n ga\r lo/gon
e)/gôge ma/lista e)xeta/zô, sumbai/nei me/ntoi i)/sôs kai\ e)me\ to\n
e)rôtô=nta kai\ to\n e)rôtô/menon e)xeta/zesthai.]

Here again we find Plato drawing special attention to the conditions
of dialectic debate.]

[Footnote 70: Plato, Protag. p. 333 E.]

[Footnote 71: Plato, Protag. p. 334 B. [Greek: Ou(/tô de\ poiki/lon
ti/ e)sti to\ a)gatho\n kai\ pantodapo/n], &c.

The explanation here given by Protagoras of _good_ is the same
as that which is given by the historical Sokrates himself in the
Xenophontic Memorabilia (iii. 8). Things called good are diverse in
the highest degree; but they are all called _good_ because they
all contribute in some way to human security, relief, comfort, or
prosperity. To one or other of these ends _good_, in all its
multifarious forms, is relative.]

[Side-note: Remonstrance of Sokrates against long answers as
inconsistent with the laws of dialogue. Protagoras persists. Sokrates
rises to depart.]

Protagoras is represented as giving this answer at considerable
length, and in a rhetorical manner, so as to elicit applause from the
hearers.[72] Upon this Sokrates replies, "I am a man of short memory,
and if any one speaks at length, I forget what he has said. If you
wish me to follow you, I must entreat you to make shorter answers."
_Prot._--What do you mean by asking me to make shorter answers?
Do you mean shorter than the case requires? _Sokr._--No,
certainly not. _Prot._--But who is to be judge of the brevity
necessary, you or I? _Sokr._--I have understood that you profess
to be master and teacher both of long speech and of short speech:
what I beg is, that you will employ only short speech, if you expect
me to follow you. _Prot._--Why, Sokrates, I have carried on many
debates in my time; and if, as you ask me now, I had always talked
just as my opponent wished, I should never have acquired any
reputation at all. _Sokr._--Be it so: in that case I must
retire; for as to long speaking, I am incompetent: I can neither make
long speeches, nor follow them.[73]

[Footnote 72: Plato, Protag. p. 334 D.]

[Footnote 73: Plato, Prot. pp. 334 E, 335 A-C.]

[Side-note: Interference of Kallias to get the debate
continued. Promiscuous conversation. Alkibiades declares that
Protagoras ought to acknowledge superiority of Sokrates in dialogue.]

Here Sokrates rises to depart; but Kallias, the master of the house,
detains him, and expresses an earnest wish that the debate may be
continued. A promiscuous conversation ensues, in which most persons
present take part. Alkibiades, as the champion of Sokrates, gives,
what seems really to be the key of the dialogue, when he says--"Sokrates
admits that he has no capacity for long speaking, and that he is no
match therein for Protagoras. But as to dialectic debate, or
administering and resisting cross-examination, I should be surprised
if any one were a match for him. If Protagoras admits that on this
point he is inferior, Sokrates requires no more: if he does not, let
him continue the debate: but he must not lengthen his answers so that
hearers lose the thread of the subject."

[Side-note: Claim of a special _locus standi_ and
professorship for Dialectic, apart from Rhetoric.]

This remark of Alkibiades, speaking altogether as a vehement partisan
of Sokrates, brings to view at least one purpose--if not the main
purpose--of Plato in the dialogue. "Sokrates acknowledges the
superiority of Protagoras in rhetoric: if Protagoras acknowledges the
superiority of Sokrates in dialectic, Sokrates is satisfied."[74] An
express _locus standi_ is here claimed for dialectic, and a
recognised superiority for its professors on their own ground.
Protagoras professes to be master both of long speech and of short
speech: but in the last he must recognise a superior.

[Footnote 74: Plat. Prot. p. 336 C-D.]

[Side-note: Sokrates is prevailed upon to continue, and
invites Protagoras to question him.]

Kritias, Prodikus, and Hippias all speak (each in a manner of his
own) deprecating marked partisanship on either side, exhorting both
parties to moderation, and insisting that the conversation shall be
continued. At length Sokrates consents to remain, yet on condition
that Protagoras shall confine himself within the limits of the
dialectic procedure. Protagoras (he says) shall first question me as
long as he pleases: when he has finished, I will question him. The
Sophist, though at first reluctant, is constrained, by the instance
of those around, to accede to this proposition.[75]

[Footnote 75: Plat. Prot. pp. 337-338.]

[Side-note: Protagoras extols the importance of knowing
the works of the poets, and questions about parts of a song of
Simonides. Dissenting opinions about the interpretation of the song.]

For the purpose of questioning, Protagoras selects a song of
Simonides: prefacing it with a remark, that the most important
accomplishment of a cultivated man consists in being thorough master
of the works of the poets, so as to understand and appreciate them
correctly, and answer all questions respecting them.[76] Sokrates
intimates that he knows and admires the song: upon which Protagoras
proceeds to point out two passages in it which contradict each other,
and asks how Sokrates can explain or justify such contradiction.[77]
The latter is at first embarrassed, and invokes the aid of Prodikus;
who interferes to uphold the consistency of his fellow-citizen
Simonides, but is made to speak (as elsewhere by Plato) in a stupid
and ridiculous manner. After a desultory string of remarks,[78] with
disputed interpretation of particular phrases and passages of the
song, but without promise of any result--Sokrates offers to give an
exposition of the general purpose of the whole song, in order that
the company may see how far he has advanced in that accomplishment
which Protagoras had so emphatically extolled--complete mastery of
the works of the poets.[79]

[Footnote 76: Plat. Prot. p. 339 A. [Greek: ê(gou=mai e)gô\ a)ndri\
paidei/as me/giston me/ros ei)=nai, peri\ e)pô=n deino\n ei)=nai.]]

[Footnote 77: Plat. Prot. p. 339 C-D.]

[Footnote 78: Plat. Prot. pp. 340-341.]

[Footnote 79: Plat. Prot. p. 342 A. [Greek: ei) bou/lei labei=n mou
pei=ran o(/pôs e)/chô, o(\ su\ le/geis tou=to, peri\ e)pô=n.]]

[Side-note: Long speech of Sokrates, expounding the purpose of
the song, and laying down an ironical theory about the numerous
concealed sophists at Krete and Sparta, masters of short speech.]

He then proceeds to deliver a long harangue, the commencement of
which appears to be a sort of counter-part and parody of the first
speech delivered by Protagoras in this dialogue. That Sophist had
represented that the sophistical art was ancient:[80] and that
the poets, from Homer downward, were Sophists, but dreaded the odium
of the name, and professed a different avocation with another title.
Sokrates here tells us that philosophy was more ancient still in
Krete and Sparta, and that there were more Sophists (he does not
distinguish between the Sophist and the philosopher), female as well
as male, in those regions, than anywhere else: but that they
concealed their name and profession, for fear that others should copy
them and acquire the like eminence:[81] that they pretended to
devote themselves altogether to arms and gymnastic--a pretence
whereby (he says) all the other Greeks were really deluded. The
special characteristic of these philosophers or Sophists was, short
and emphatic speech--epigram shot in at the seasonable moment, and
thoroughly prostrating an opponent.[82] The Seven Wise Men, among
whom Pittakus was one, were philosophers on this type, of supreme
excellence: which they showed by inscribing their memorable brief
aphorisms at Delphi. So great was the celebrity which Pittakus
acquired by his aphorism, that Simonides the poet became jealous, and
composed this song altogether for the purpose of discrediting him.
Having stated this general view, Sokrates illustrates it by going
through the song, with exposition and criticism of several different
passages.[83] As soon as Sokrates has concluded, Hippias[84]
compliments him, and says that he too has a lecture ready prepared on
the same song: which he would willingly deliver: but Alkibiades and
the rest beg him to postpone it.

[Footnote 80: Plat. Prot. pp. 316-317.]

[Footnote 81: Plat. Prot. p. 342.]

[Footnote 82: Plat. Prot. p. 342 E, 343 B-C. [Greek: O(/ti ou(=tos o(
tro/pos ê)=n tô=n palaiô=n tê=s philosophi/as, brachulogi/a tis
Lakônikê/.]]

[Footnote 83: Plat. Prot. pp. 344-347.]

[Footnote 84: Plat. Prot. p. 347.]

[Side-note: Character of this speech--its connection with the
dialogue, and its general purpose. Sokrates inferior to Protagoras in
continuous speech.]

No remark is made by any one present, either upon the circumstance
that Sokrates, after protesting against long speeches, has here
delivered one longer by far than the first speech of Protagoras, and
more than half as long as the second, which contains a large
theory--nor upon the sort of interpretation that he bestows upon the
Simonidean song. That interpretation is so strange and forced--so
violent in distorting the meaning of the poet--so evidently
predetermined by the resolution to find Platonic metaphysics in a
lyric effusion addressed to a Thessalian prince[85]--that if such an
exposition had been found under the name of Protagoras, critics
would have dwelt upon it as an additional proof of dishonest
perversions by the Sophists.[86] It appears as if Plato, intending in
this dialogue to set out the contrast between long or continuous
speech (sophistical, rhetorical, poetical) represented by Protagoras,
and short, interrogatory speech (dialectical) represented by
Sokrates--having moreover composed for Protagoras in the earlier part
of the dialogue, an harangue claiming venerable antiquity for his own
accomplishment--has thought it right to compose for Sokrates a
pleading with like purpose, to put the two accomplishments on a par.
And if that pleading includes both pointless irony and misplaced
comparisons (especially what is said about the Spartans)--we must
remember that Sokrates has expressly renounced all competition with
Protagoras in continuous speech, and that he is here handling the
weapon in which he is confessedly inferior. Plato secures a decisive
triumph to dialectic, and to Sokrates as representing it: but he
seems content here to leave Sokrates on the lower ground as a
rhetorician.

[Footnote 85: Especially his explanation of [Greek: e(kô\n e)rdê=|]
(p. 345 D.). Heyne (Opuscula, i. p. 160) remarks upon the strange
interpretation given by Sokrates of the Simonidean song. Compare
Plato in Lysis, p. 212 E, and in Alkib. ii. p. 147 D. In both these
cases, Sokrates cites passages of poetry, assigning to them a sense
which their authors plainly did not intend them to bear. Heindorf in
his note on the Lysis (l. c.) observes--"Videlicet, ut exeat
sententia, quam Solon ne somniavit quidem, versuum horum structuram,
neglecto plané sermonis usu, hanc statuit.--Cujusmodi
interpretationis aliud est luculentum exemplum in Alcib. ii. p. 147
D."

See also Heindorf's notes on the Charmidês, p. 163 B; Lachês, p. 191
B; and Lysis, p. 214 D.

M. Boeckh observes (ad Pindar. Isthm. v. p. 528) respecting an
allusion made by Pindar to Hesiod--

"Num malé intellexit poeta intelligentissimus perspicua verba
Hesiodi? Non credo: sed bene sciens, consulto alium sensum intulit,
suo consilio accommodatum! Simile exemplum offert gravissimus auctor
Plato Theætet. p. 155 D." Stallbaum in his note on the Theætêtus
adopts this remark of Boeckh. Groen van Prinsterer gives a similar
opinion. (Prosopographia Platonica, p. 17.)]

[Footnote 86: K. F. Hermann observes (Gesch. der Plat. Philos, p.
460) that Sokrates, in his interpretation of the Simonidean song,
shows that he can play the Sophist as well as other people can.]

[Side-note: Sokrates depreciates the value of debates on the
poets. Their meaning is always disputed, and you can never ask from
themselves what it is. Protagoras consents reluctantly to resume the
task of answering.]

Moreover, when Sokrates intends to show himself off as a master of
poetical lore ([Greek: peri\ e)pô=n deino\s]), he at the same time
claims a right of interpreting the poets in his own way. He considers
the poets either as persons divinely inspired, who speak fine things
without rational understanding (we have seen this in the Apology and
the Ion)--or as men of superior wisdom, who deliver valuable truth
lying beneath the surface, and not discernible by vulgar eyes. Both
these views differ from that of literal interpretation, which is here
represented by Protagoras and Prodikus. And these two Sophists are
here contrasted with Sokrates as interpreters of the poets.
Protagoras and Prodikus look upon poetical compositions as sources of
instruction: and seek to interpret them literally, as an
intelligent hearer would have understood them when they were sung or
recited for the first time. Towards that end, discrimination of the
usual or grammatical meaning of words was indispensable. Sokrates, on
the contrary, disregards the literal interpretation, derides verbal
distinctions as useless, or twists them into harmony with his own
purpose: Simonides and other poets are considered as superior men,
and even as inspired men in whose verses wisdom and virtue must be
embodied and discoverable[87]--only that they are given in an obscure
and enigmatical manner: requiring to be extracted by the divination
of the philosopher, who alone knows what wisdom and virtue are. It is
for the philosopher to show his ingenuity by detecting the traces of
them. This is what Sokrates does with the song of Simonides. He
discovers in it supposed underlying thoughts ([Greek:
u(ponoi/as]):[88] distinctions of Platonic Metaphysics (between
[Greek: ei)=nai] and [Greek: gene/sthai]), and principles of Platonic
Ethics ([Greek: ou)dei\s e(/kô kako/s])--he proceeds to point out
passages in which they are to be found, and explains the song
conformably to them, in spite of much violence to the obvious meaning
and verbal structure.[89] But though Sokrates accepts, when required,
the task of discussing what is said by the poets, and deals with them
according to his own point of view--yet he presently lets us see that
they are witnesses called into court by his opponent and not by
himself. Alkibiades urges that the debate which had been interrupted
shall be resumed and Sokrates himself requests Protagoras to consent.
"To debate about the compositions of poets" (says Sokrates), "is to
proceed as silly and common-place men do at their banquets: where
they cannot pass the time without hiring musical or dancing girls.
Noble and well-educated guests, on the contrary, can find enough to
interest them in their own conversation, even if they drink ever so
much wine.[90] Men such as we are, do not require to be amused by
singers nor to talk about the poets, whom no one can ask what they
mean; and who, when cited by different speakers, are affirmed by one
to mean one thing, and by another to mean something else, without any
decisive authority to appeal to. Such men as you and I ought to lay
aside the poets, and test each other by colloquy of our own. If you
wish to persist in questioning, I am ready to answer: if not, consent
to answer me, and let us bring the interrupted debate to a
close."[91]

[Footnote 87: See Plato, Phædrus, p. 245 A-B; Apol. p. 22 B-C; Ion,
pp. 533-534.

Compare the distinction drawn in Timæus, p. 72 A-B, between the
[Greek: ma/ntis] and the [Greek: prophê/tês].]

[Footnote 88: About the [Greek: u(po/noiai] ascribed to the poets,
see Repub. ii. p. 378 D.; Xen. Sympos. iii. 6; and F. A. Wolf,
Prolegom. Homer. p. clxii.-clxiv.

F. A. Wolf remarks, respecting the various allegorical
interpretations of Homer and other Greek poets--

"Sed nec prioribus illis, sive allegorica et anagogica somnia sua
ipsi crediderunt, sive ab aliis duntaxat credi voluerunt, idonea
deest excusatio. Ita enim ratio comparata est, ut libris, quos a
teneris statim annis cognoscimus, omnes propé nostras nostræque
ætatis opiniones subjiciamus: ac si illi jampridem populari usu
consecrati sunt, ipsa obstat veneratio, quominus in iis absurda et
ridicula inesse credamus. Lenimus ergo atque adeo ornamus
interpretando, quicquid proprio sensu non ferendum videtur. Atque ita
factum est omni tempore in libris iis, qui pro sacris habiti sunt."

The distinction was similar in character, and even more marked in
respect of earnest reciprocal antipathy, between the different
schools of the Jews in Alexandria and Palestine about the
interpretation of the Pentateuch. 1. Those who interpreted literally,
[Greek: kata\ tê\n r(êtê\n dia/noian]. 2. Those who set aside the
literal interpretation, and explained the text upon a philosophy of
their own, above the reach of the vulgar (Eusebius, Præp. Ev. viii.
10). Some admitted both the two interpretations, side by side.

Respecting these allegorising schools of the Hellenistic Jews, from
Aristobulus (150 B.C.) down to Philo, see the learned and
valuable work of Gfrörer--_Philo und die Jüdisch.-Alexandr.
Theosophie_, vol. i. pp. 84-86, ii. p. 356 seq.]

[Footnote 89: Plat. Prot. p. 345.]

[Footnote 90: Plato, Prot. p. 347 D. [Greek: ka)\n ma/nu polu\n
oi)=non pi/ôsin]--a phrase which will be found suitably illustrated
by the persistent dialectic of Sokrates, even at the close of the
Platonic Symposion, after he has swallowed an incredible quantity of
wine.]

[Footnote 91: Plat. Prot. pp. 347-348. This remark--that the poet may
be interpreted in many different ways, and that you cannot produce
him in court to declare or defend his own meaning--is highly
significant, in regard to the value set by Sokrates on living
conversation and dialectic.]

[Side-note: Purpose of Sokrates to sift difficulties which he
really feels in his own mind. Importance of a colloquial companion
for this purpose.]

In spite of this appeal, Protagoras is still unwilling to resume, and
is only forced to do so by a stinging taunt from Alkibiades, enforced
by requests from Kallias and others. He is depicted as afraid of
Sokrates, who, as soon as consent is given, recommences the
discussion by saying--"Do not think, Protagoras, that I have any
other purpose in debating, except to sift through and through, in
conjunction with you, difficulties which puzzle my own mind. Two of
us together can do more in this way than any one singly.[92]

[Footnote 92: Plat. Prot. p. 348 C. [Greek: mê\ oi)/ou diale/gesthai
me/ soi a)/llo ti boulo/menon ê)\ a)\ au)to\s a)porô=, e(ka/stote
tau=ta diaske/psasthai.]

The remark here given should be carefully noted in appreciating the
Sokratic frame of mind. The cross-examination which he bestows, is
not that of one who himself knows--and who only gets up artificial
difficulties to ascertain whether others know as much as he does. On
the contrary, it proceeds from one who is himself puzzled; and
that which puzzles him he states to others, and debates with others,
as affording the best chance of clearing up his own ideas and
obtaining a solution.

The grand purpose with Sokrates is to bring into clear daylight the
difficulties which impede the construction of philosophy or "reasoned
truth," and to sift them thoroughly, instead of slurring them over or
hiding them.]

"We are all more fertile and suggestive, with regard to thought,
word, and deed, when we act in couples. If a man strikes out anything
new by himself, he immediately goes about looking for a companion to
whom he can communicate it, and with whom he can jointly review it.
Moreover, you are the best man that I know for this purpose,
especially on the subject of virtue: for you are not only virtuous
yourself, but you can make others so likewise, and you proclaim
yourself a teacher of virtue more publicly than any one has ever done
before. Whom can I find so competent as you, for questioning and
communication on these very subjects?"[93]

[Footnote 93: Plato, Protag. pp. 348-349.]

[Side-note: The interrupted debate is resumed. Protagoras says
that courage differs materially from the other branches of virtue.]

After this eulogy on dialectic conversation (illustrating still
farther the main purpose of the dialogue), Sokrates resumes the
argument as it stood when interrupted. _Sokr._--You,
Protagoras, said that intelligence, moderation, justice, holiness,
courage, were all parts of virtue; but each different from the
others, and each having a separate essence and properties of its own.
Do you still adhere to that opinion? _Prot._--I now think that
the first four are tolerably like and akin to each other, but that
courage is very greatly different from all the four. The proof is,
that you will find many men pre-eminent for courage, but thoroughly
unjust, unholy, intemperate, and stupid.[94] _Sokr._--Do you
consider that all virtue, and each separate part of it, is fine and
honourable? _Prot._--I consider it in the highest degree fine
and honourable: I must be mad to think otherwise.[95]

[Footnote 94: Plato, Protag. p, 349 D. [Greek: ta\ me\n te/ttara
au)tô=n e)pieikô=s paraplê/sia a)llê/lois e)sti/n, ê( de\ a)ndrei/a
pa/nu polu\ diaphe/ron pa/ntôn tou/tôn.]]

[Footnote 95: Plato, Protag. p. 349 E. [Greek: ka/lliston me\n ou)=n,
ei) mê\ mai/nomai/ ge. o(/lon pou kalo\n ô(s oi(=o/n te ma/lista.]

It is not unimportant to notice such declarations as this, put by
Plato into the mouth of Protagoras. They tend to show that Plato did
not seek (as many of his commentators do) to depict Protagoras as a
corruptor of the public mind.]

[Side-note: Sokrates argues to prove that courage consists in
knowledge or intelligence. Protagoras does not admit this. Sokrates
changes his attack.]

Sokrates then shows that the courageous men are confident men,
forward in dashing at dangers, which people in general will not
affront: that men who dive with confidence into the water, are those
who know how to swim; men who go into battle with confidence as
horse-soldiers or light infantry, are those who understand their
profession as such. If any men embark in these dangers, without such
preliminary knowledge, do you consider them men of courage? Not at
all (says Protagoras), they are madmen: courage would be a
dishonourable thing, if _they_ were reckoned courageous.[96]
Then (replies Sokrates) upon this reasoning, those who face dangers
confidently, with preliminary knowledge, are courageous: those who do
so without it, are madmen. Courage therefore must consist in
knowledge or intelligence?[97] Protagoras declines to admit this,
drawing a distinction somewhat confused:[98] upon which Sokrates
approaches the same argument from a different point.

[Footnote 96: Plato, Protag. p. 350 B. [Greek: Ai)schro\n me/nt'
a)\n, e)/phê, ei)/ê, ê( a)ndrei/a; e)pei\ ou(=toi/ ge maino/menoi/
ei)sin.]]

[Footnote 97: Plato, Protag. p. 350 C.]

[Footnote 98: Plato, Protag. pp. 350-351.]

[Side-note: Identity of the pleasurable with the good--of the
painful with the evil. Sokrates maintains it. Protagoras denies.
Debate.]

_Sokr._--You say that some men live well, others badly. Do you
think that a man lives well if he lives in pain and distress?
_Prot._--No. _Sokr._--But if he passes his life pleasurably
until its close, does he not then appear to you to have lived well?
_Prot._--I think so. _Sokr._--To live pleasurably therefore
is good: to live disagreeably is evil. _Prot._--Yes: at least
provided he lives taking pleasure in fine or honourable things.[99]
_Sokr._--What! do you concur with the generality of people in
calling some pleasurable things evil, and some painful things good?
_Prot._--That is my opinion. _Sokr._--But are not all
pleasurable things, so far forth as pleasurable, to that extent good,
unless some consequences of a different sort result from them? And
again, subject to the like limitation, are not all painful things
evil, so far forth as they are painful? _Prot._--To that
question, absolutely as you put it, I do not know whether I can reply
affirmatively--that all pleasurable things are good, and all painful
things evil. I think it safer--with reference not merely to the
present answer, but to my manner of life generally--to say, that
there are some pleasurable things which are good, others which are
not good--some painful things which are evil, others which are not
evil: again, some which are neither, neither good nor evil.[100]
_Sokr._--You call those things pleasurable, which either partake
of the nature of pleasure, or cause pleasure? _
Prot._--Unquestionably. _Sokr._--When I ask whether pleasurable things
are not good, in so far forth as pleasurable--I ask in other words,
whether pleasure itself be not good? _Prot._--As you observed
before, Sokrates,[101] let us examine the question on each side, to
see whether the pleasurable and the good be really the same.

[Footnote 99: Plat. Prot. p. 351 C. [Greek: To\ me\n a)/ra ê(de/ôs
zê=n, a)gatho/n, to\ d' a)êdô=s, kako/n? Ei)/per toi=s kaloi=s g',
e)/phê, zô/|ê ê(do/menos.]]

[Footnote 100: Plato, Protag. p. 351 D. [Greek: a)lla/ moi dokei= ou)
mo/non pro\s tê\n nu=n a)po/krisin e)moi\ a)sphale/steron ei)=nai
a)pokri/nasthtai, _a)lla\ kai\ pro\s pa/nta to\n a)/llon bi/on to\n
e)mo/n_, o(/ti e)/sti me\n a)\ tô=n ê(de/ôn ou)k e)/stin a)gatha/,
e)/sti d' au)= kai\ a(\ tô=n a)niarô=n ou)k e)sti kaka/, e)/sti d'
a(\ e)/sti, kai\ tri/ton a(\ ou)de/tera, ou)/te kaka\ ou)/t'
a)gatha/.]

These words strengthen farther what I remarked in a recent note,
about the character which Plato wished to depict in Protagoras, so
different from what is imputed to that Sophist by the Platonic
commentators.]

[Footnote 101: Plato, Protag. p. 351 E. [Greek: ô(/sper su\ le/geis,
e(ka/stote, ô)= Sô/krates, skopô/metha au)to/.]

This is an allusion to the words used by Sokrates not long
before,--[Greek: a(\ au)to\s a)porô= e(ka/stote tau=ta
diaske/psasthai], p. 348 C.]

[Side-note: Enquiry about knowledge. Is it the dominant agency
in the mind? Or is it overcome frequently by other agencies, pleasure
or pain? Both agree that knowledge is dominant.]

_Sokr._--Let us penetrate from the surface to the interior of
the question.[102] What is your opinion about knowledge? Do
you share the opinion of mankind generally about it, as you do about
pleasure and pain? Mankind regard knowledge as something neither
strong nor directive nor dominant. Often (they say), when knowledge
is in a man, it is not knowledge which governs him, but something
else--passion, pleasure, pain, love, fear--all or any of which
overpower knowledge, and drag it round about in their train like a
slave. Are you of the common opinion on this point also?[103] Or do
you believe that knowledge is an honourable thing, and made to
govern man: and that when once a man knows what good and evil things
are, he will not be over-ruled by any other motive whatever, so as to
do other things than what are enjoined by such knowledge--his own
intelligence being a sufficient defence to him?[104]
_Prot._--The last opinion is what I hold. To me, above all others,
it would be disgraceful not to proclaim that knowledge or intelligence
was the governing element of human affairs.

[Footnote 102: Plato, Protag. p. 352 A.]

[Footnote 103: Plato, Protag. p. 352 B-C. [Greek: po/teron kai\
tou=to/ soi dokei= ô(/sper toi=s polloi=s a)nthrô/pois ê)\ a)/llôs?
. . . dianoou/menoi peri\ tê=s e)pistê/mês ô(/sper peri\ a)ndrapo/don,
perielkome/nês u(po\ tô=n a)/llôn a(pa/ntôn.] Aristotle in the
Nikomachean Ethics cites and criticises the opinion of Sokrates,
wherein the latter affirmed the irresistible supremacy of knowledge,
when really possessed, over all passions and desires. Aristotle cites
it with the express phraseology and illustration contained in this
passage of the Protagoras. [Greek: E)pista/menon me\n ou)=n ou)/
phasi/ tines oi(=o/n te ei)=nai [a)krateu/esthai]. deino\n ga/r,
e)pistê/mês e)nou/sês, ô(s ô)/|eto Sôkra/tês, a)/llo ti kratei=n,
kai\ perie/lkein au)tê\n ô(/sper a)ndra/podon. Sôkra/tês me\n ga\r
o(/lôs e)ma/cheto pro\s to\n lo/gon, ô(s ou)k ou)/sês a)krasi/as;
ou)the/na ga\r u(polamba/nonta, pra/ttein para\ to\ be/ltiston,
a)lla\ di' a)/gnoian] (Ethic. N. vii. 2, vii. 3, p. 1145, b. 24). The
same metaphor [Greek: perie/lketai e)pistê/mê] is again ascribed to
Sokrates by Aristotle, a little farther on in the same treatise, p.
1147, b. 15.

We see from hence that when Aristotle comments upon _the doctrine
of Sokrates_, what he here means is, the doctrine of the Platonic
Sokrates in the Protagoras; the citation of this particular metaphor
establishes the identity.

In another passage of the Nikom. Eth., Aristotle also cites a fact
respecting the Sophist Protagoras, which fact is mentioned in the
Platonic dialogue Protagoras--respecting the manner in which that
Sophist allowed his pupils to assess their own fee for his teaching
(Ethic. Nik. ix. 1, 1164, a. 25).]

[Footnote 104: Plato, Protag. p. 352 C. [Greek: a)ll' i(kanê\n
ei)=nai tê\n phro/nêsin boêthei=n tô=| a)nthrô/pô|.]]

[Side-note: Mistake of supposing that men act contrary to
knowledge. We never call pleasures evils, except when they entail a
preponderance of pain, or a disappointment of greater pleasures.]

_Sokr._--You speak well and truly. But you are aware that most
men are of a different opinion. They affirm that many who know what
is best, act against their own knowledge, overcome by pleasure or by
pain. _Prot._--Most men think so: incorrectly, in my judgment,
as they say many other things besides.[105] _Sokr._--When they
say that a man, being overcome by food or drink or other temptations,
will do things which he knows to be evil, we must ask them, On what
ground do you call these things evil? Is it because they impart
pleasure at the moment, or because they prepare disease, poverty, and
other such things, for the future?[106] Most men would reply, I
think, that they called these things evil not on account of the
present pleasure which the things produced, but on account of their
ulterior consequences--poverty and disease being both of them
distressing? _Prot._--Most men would say this. _Sokr._--It
would be admitted then that these things were evil for no other
reason, than because they ended in pain and in privation of
pleasure.[107] _Prot._--Certainly. _Sokr._--Again, when it
is said that some good things are painful, such things are meant as
gymnastic exercises, military expeditions, medical treatment. Now no
one will say that these things are good because of the immediate
suffering which they occasion, but because of the ulterior results of
health, wealth, and security, which we obtain by them. Thus,
these also are good for no other reason, than because they end in
pleasures, or in relief or prevention of pain.[108] Or can you
indicate any other end, to which men look when they call these
matters evil? _Prot._--No other end can be indicated.

[Footnote 105: Plato, Protag. pp. 352-353.]

[Footnote 106: Plato, Protag. p. 353 D. [Greek: ponêra\ de\ au)ta\
pê=| phate ei)=nai? po/teron o(/ti tê\n ê(donê\n tau/tên e)n tô=|
parachrê=ma pare/chei kai\ ê(du/ e)stin e(/kaston au)tô=n, ê)\ o(/ti
ei)s to\n u(/steron chro/non no/sous te poiei= kai\ peni/as kai\
a)/lla toiau=ta polla\ paraskeua/zei?]]

[Footnote 107: Plato, Protag. p. 353 E. [Greek: Ou)kou=n phai/netai.
. . . di' ou)de\n a)/llo tau=ta kaka\ o)/nta, ê)\ dio/ti ei)s a)ni/as
te a)poteleuta=| kai\ a)/llôn ê(donô=n a)posterei=?]]

[Footnote 108: Plato, Protag. p. 354 B-C. [Greek: Tau=ta de\ a)gatha/
e)sti di' a)/llo ti ê)\ o(/ti ei)s ê(dona\s a)poteleuta=| kai\ lupô=n
a)pallaga\s kai\ a)potropa/s? ê)\ e)/chete/ ti a)/llo te/los le/gein,
ei)s o(\ a)poble/psantes au)ta\ a)gatha\ kalei=te, a)ll' ê)\ ê(dona/s
te kai\ lu/pas? ou)k a)\n phai=en, ô(s e)gô)=|mai. . . . Ou)kou=n tê\n
me\n ê(donê\n diô/kete ô(s a)gatho\n o)/n, tê\n de\ lu/pên pheu/gete
ô(s kako/n?]]

[Side-note: Pleasure is the only good--pain the only evil. No
man does evil voluntarily, knowing it to be evil. Difference between
pleasures present and future--resolves itself into pleasure and
pain.]

_Sokr._--It thus appears that you pursue pleasure as good, and
avoid pain as evil. Pleasure is what you think good: pain is what you
think evil: for even pleasure itself appears to you evil, when it
either deprives you of pleasures greater than itself, or entails upon
you pains outweighing itself. Is there any other reason, or any other
ulterior end, to which you look when you pronounce pleasure to be
evil? If there be any other between reason, or any other end, tell us
what it is.[109] _Prot._--There is none whatever. _Sokr._--The
case is similar about pains: you call pain good, when it
preserves you from greater pains, or procures for you a future
balance of pleasure. If there be any other end to which you look when
you call pain good, tell us what it is. _Prot._--You speak
truly. _Sokr._--If I am asked why I insist so much on the topic
now before us, I shall reply, that it is no easy matter to explain
what is meant by being overcome by pleasure; and that the whole proof
hinges upon this point--whether there is any other good than
pleasure, or any other evil than pain; and whether it be not
sufficient, that we should go through life pleasurably and without
pains.[110] If this be sufficient, and if no other good or evil can
be pointed out, which does not end in pleasures and pains, mark the
consequences. Good and evil being identical with pleasurable and
painful, it is ridiculous to say that a man does evil voluntarily,
knowing it to be evil, under the overpowering influence of pleasure:
that is, under the overpowering influence of good.[111] How can
it be wrong, that a man should yield to the influence of good? It
never can be wrong, except in this case--when the good obtained is of
smaller amount than the consequent good forfeited or the consequent
evil entailed. What other exchangeable value can there be between
pleasures and pains, except in the ratio of quantity--greater or
less, more or fewer?[112] If an objector tells me that there is a
material difference between pleasures and pains of the moment, and
pleasures and pains postponed to a future time, I ask him in reply,
Is there any other difference, except in pleasure and pain? An
intelligent man ought to put them both in the scale, the pleasures
and the pains, the present and the future, so as to determine the
balance. Weighing pleasures against pleasures, he ought to prefer the
more and the greater: weighing pains against pains, the fewer and the
less. If pleasures against pains, then when the latter outweigh the
former, reckoning distant as well as near, he ought to abstain from
the act: when the pleasures outweigh, he ought to do it.
_Prot._--The objectors could have nothing to say against
this.[113]

[Footnote 109: Plato, Protag, p. 354 D. [Greek: e)pei\ ei) kat'
a)/llo ti au)to\ to\ chai/rein kako\n kalei=te kai\ ei)s a)/llo ti
te/los a)poble/psantes, e)/choite a)\n kai\ ê(mi=n ei)pei=n; a)ll'
ou)ch e(/xete. Ou)d' e)moi\ dokou=sin, e)/phê o( Prôtago/ras.]]

[Footnote 110: Plato, Protag. p. 354 E. [Greek: e)/peita e)n tou/tô|
ei)si\ pa=sai ai( a)podei/xeis; a)ll' e)/ti kai\ nu=n a)nathe/sthai
e)/xestin, ei) pê| e)/chete a)/llo ti pha/nai ei)=nai to\ a)gatho\n
ê)\ tê\n ê(donê/n, ê)\ to\ kako\n a)/llo ti ê)\ tê\n a)ni/an, ê)\
a)rkei= u(mi=n to\ ê(de/ôs katabiô=nai to\n bi/on a)/neu lupô=n?]]

[Footnote 111: Plato, Protag. p. 355 C.]

[Footnote 112: Plato, Protag. p. 356 A. [Greek: kai\ ti/s a)/llê
a)xi/a ê(donê=| pro\s lu/pôn e)sti\n a)ll' ê)\ u(perbolê\ a)llê/lôn
kai\ e)/lleipsis? tau=ta d' e)sti\ mei/zô te kai\ smikro/tera
gigno/mena a)llê/lôn, kai\ plei/ô kai\ e)la/ttô, kai\ ma=llon kai\
ê(=tton.]]

[Footnote 113: Plato, Protag. p. 356 C.]

[Side-note: Necessary resort to the measuring art for choosing
pleasures rightly--all the security of our lives depend upon it.]

_Sokr._--Well then--I shall tell them farther--you know that the
same magnitude, and the same voice, appears to you greater when near
than when distant. Now, if all our well-doing depended upon our
choosing the magnitudes really greater and avoiding those really
less, where would the security of our life be found? In the art of
mensuration, or in the apparent impression?[114] Would not the latter
lead us astray, causing us to vacillate and judge badly in our choice
between great and little, with frequent repentance afterwards? Would
not the art of mensuration set aside these false appearances, and by
revealing to us the truth, impart tranquillity to our minds and
security to our lives? Would not the objectors themselves
acknowledge that there was no other safety, except in the art of
mensuration? _Prot._--They would acknowledge it. _Sokr._--Again,
If the good conduct of our lives depended on the choice of odd
and even, and in distinguishing rightly the greater from the less,
whether far or near, would not our safety reside in knowledge, and in
a certain knowledge of mensuration too, in Arithmetic?
_Prot._--They would concede to you that also. _Sokr._--Well then, my
friends, since the security of our lives has been found to depend on
the right choice of pleasure and pain--between the more and fewer,
greater and less, nearer and farther--does it not come to a simple
estimate of excess, deficiency, and equality between them? in other
words, to mensuration, art, or science?[115] What kind of art or
science it is, we will enquire another time: for the purpose of our
argument, enough has been done when we have shown that it _is_
science.

[Footnote 114: Plato, Protag. p. 356 D. [Greek: ei) ou)=n e)n tou/tô|
ê(mi=n ê)=n to\ eu)= pra/ttein, e)n tô=| ta\ me\n mega/la mê/kê kai\
pra/ttein kai\ lamba/nein, ta\ de\ smikra\ kai\ pheu/gein kai\ mê\
pra/ttein, ti/s a)\n ê(mi=n sôtêri/a e)pha/nê tou= bi/ou? a)=ra ê(
metrêtikê\ te/chnê, ê)\ ê( tou= phainome/nou du/namis? . . . A)=r' a)\n
o(mologoi=en oi( a)/nthrôpoi pro\s tau=ta ê(ma=s tê\n metrêtikê\n
sô/zein a)\n te/chnên, ê)\ a)/llên?]]

[Footnote 115: Plato, Protag. p. 357 A-v. [Greek: e)peidê\ de\
ê(donê=s te kai\ lu/pês e)n o)rthê=| tê=| ai(re/sei e)pha/nê
_ê(mi=n ê( sôtêri/a tou= bi/ou ou)=sa, tou= te ple/onos_ kai\
e(la/ttonos kai\ mei/zonos kai\ smikrote/ron kai\ por)r(ôte/rô kai\
e)ggute/rô, a)=ra prô=ton me\n ou) metrêtikê\ phai/netai, u(perbolê=s
te kai\ e)ndei/as ou)=sa kai\ i)so/têtos pro\s a)llê/las ske/psis?
A)ll' a)na/gkê. E)pei\ de\ metrêtikê/, a)na/gkê| dê/pou te/chnê kai\
e)pistê/mê.]]

[Side-note: To do wrong, overcome by pleasure, is only a bad
phrase for describing what is really a case of grave ignorance.]

For when _we_ (Protagoras and Sokrates) affirmed, that nothing
was more powerful than science or knowledge, and that this, in
whatsoever minds it existed, prevailed over pleasure and every thing
else--_you_ (the supposed objectors) maintained, on the
contrary, that pleasure often prevailed over knowledge even in the
instructed man: and you called upon us to explain, upon our
principles, what that mental affection was, which people called,
being overcome by the seduction of pleasure. We have now shown you
that this mental affection is nothing else but ignorance, and the
gravest ignorance. You have admitted that those who go wrong in the
choice of pleasures and pains--that is, in the choice of good and
evil things--go wrong from want of knowledge, of the knowledge or
science of mensuration. The wrong deed done from want of knowledge,
is done through ignorance. What you call being overcome by pleasure
is thus, the gravest ignorance; which these Sophists, Protagoras,
Prodikus, and Hippias, engage to cure: but you (the objectors whom we
now address) not believing it to be ignorance, or perhaps
unwilling to pay them their fees, refuse to visit them, and therefore
go on doing ill, both privately and publicly.[116]

[Footnote 116: Plato, Protag. p. 357 E.]

[Side-note: Reasoning of Sokrates assented to by all. Actions
which conduct to pleasures or freedom from pain, are honourable.]

Now then, Protagoras, Prodikus, and Hippias (continues Sokrates), I
turn to you, and ask, whether you account my reasoning true or false?
(All of them pronounced it to be surpassingly true.)
_Sokr._--You all agree, then, all three, that the pleasurable is good,
and that the painful is evil:[117] for I take no account at present of
the verbal distinctions of Prodikus, discriminating between the
_pleasurable_, the _delightful_, and the _enjoyable_.
If this be so, are not all those actions, which conduct to a life of
pleasure or to a life free from pain, honourable? and is not the
honourable deed, good and profitable?[118] (In this, all persons
present concurred.) If then the pleasurable is good, no one ever does
anything, when he either knows or believes other things in his power
to be better. To be inferior to yourself is nothing else than
ignorance: to be superior to yourself, is nothing else than wisdom.
Ignorance consists in holding false opinions, and in being deceived
respecting matters of high importance. (Agreed by all.) Accordingly,
no one willingly enters upon courses which are evil, or which he
believes to be evil; nor is it in the nature of man to enter upon
what he thinks evil courses, in preference to good. When a man is
compelled to make choice between two evils, no one will take the
greater when he might take the less.[119] (Agreed to by all three.)
Farther, no one will affront things of which he is afraid, when other
things are open to him, of which he is not afraid: for fear is an
expectation of evil, so that what a man fears, he of course thinks to
be an evil,--and will not approach it willingly. (Agreed.)[120]

[Footnote 117: Plato, Protag. p. 358 A. [Greek: u(perphuô=s e)do/kei
a(/pasin a)lêthê= ei)=nai ta\ ei)rême/na. O(mologei=te a)/ra, ê)=n d'
e)gô/, to\ me\n ê(du\ a)gatho\n ei)=nai, to\ de\ a)niaro\n kako/n.]]

[Footnote 118: Plato, Protag. p. 358 B. [Greek: ai( e)pi\ tou/tou
pra/xeis a(/pasai e)pi\ tou= a)lu/pôs zê=n kai\ ê)de/ôs, a)=r' ou)
kalai/? kai\ to\ kalo\n e)/rgon, a)gatho/n te kai\ ô)phe/limon?]]

[Footnote 119: Plato, Protag. p. 358 C-D. [Greek: e)pi/ ge ta\ kaka\
ou)dei\s e(kô\n e)/rchetai, ou)de\ e)pi\ a(\ oi)/etai kaka\ ei)=nai,
ou)d' e)sti\ tou=to, ô(s e)/oiken, e)n a)nthrô/pou phu/sei, e)pi\ a(\
oi)/etai kaka\ ei)=nai e)the/lein i)e/nai a)nti\ tô=n a)gathô=n;
o(/tan te a)nagka/sthê| duoi=n kakoi=n to\ e(/teron ai)rei=sthai,
ou)dei\s to\ mei=zon ai(rê/setai, e)xo\n to\ e)/latton.]]

[Footnote 120: Plato, Protag. p. 358 E.]

[Side-note: Explanation of courage. It consists in a wise
estimate of things terrible and not terrible.]

_Sokr._--Let us now revert to the explanation of courage, given
by Protagoras. He said that four out of the five parts of virtue were
tolerably similar; but that courage differed greatly from all of
them. And he affirmed that there were men distinguished for courage;
yet at the same time eminently unjust, immoderate, unholy, and
stupid. He said, too, that the courageous men were men to attempt
things which timid men would not approach. Now, Protagoras, what are
these things which the courageous men alone are prepared to attempt?
Will they attempt terrible things, believing them to be terrible?
_Prot._--That is impossible, as you have shown just now.
_Sokr._--No one will enter upon that which he believes to be
terrible,--or, in other words, will go into evil knowing it to be
evil: a man who does so is inferior to himself--and this, as we have
agreed, is ignorance, or the contrary of knowledge. All men, both
timid and brave, attempt things upon which they have a good heart: in
this respect, the things which the timid and the brave go at, are the
same.[121] _Prot._--How can this be? The things which the timid
and the brave go at or affront, are quite contrary: for example, the
latter are willing to go to war, which the former are not.
_Sokr._--Is it honourable to go to war, or dishonourable?
_Prot._--Honourable. _Sokr._--If it be honourable, it must
also be good:[122] for we have agreed, in the preceding debate, that
all honourable things were good. _Prot._--You speak truly.[123]
I at least always persist in thinking so. _Sokr._--Which of the
two is it, who (you say) are unwilling to go into war; it being an
honourable and good thing? _Prot._--The cowards. _Sokr._--But
if going to war be an honourable and good thing, it is also
pleasurable? _Prot._--Certainly that has been admitted.[124]
_Sokr._--Is it then knowingly that cowards refuse to go into
war, which is both more honourable, better, and more pleasurable?
_Prot._--We cannot say so, without contradicting our preceding
admissions. _Sokr._--What about the courageous man? does not he
affront or go at what is more honourable, better, and more
pleasurable? _Prot._--It cannot be denied. _Sokr._--Courageous
men then, generally, are those whose fears, when they are
afraid, are honourable and good--not dishonourable or bad: and whose
confidence, when they feel confident, is also honourable and
good?[125] On the contrary, cowards, impudent men, and madmen, both
fear, and feel confidence, on dishonourable occasions?
_Prot._--Agreed. _Sokr._--When they thus view with confidence things
dishonourable and evil, is it from any other reason than from
ignorance and stupidity? Are they not cowards from stupidity, or a
stupid estimate of things terrible? And is it not in this ignorance,
or stupid estimate of things terrible, and things not terrible--that
cowardice consists? Lastly,[126]--courage being the opposite of
cowardice--is it not in the knowledge, or wise estimate, of things
terrible and things not terrible, that courage consists?

[Footnote 121: Plato, Protag. p. 359 D. [Greek: e)pi\ me\n a(\ deina\
ê(gei=tai ei)=nai ou)dei\s e)/rchetai, e)peidê\ to\ ê(/ttô ei)=nai
e(autou= eu(re/thê a)mathi/a ou)=sa. Ô(molo/gei. A)lla\ mê\n e)pi\
a(/ ge thar)r(ou=si pa/ntes au)= e)/rchontai, kai\ deiloi\ kai\
a)ndrei=oi, kai\ tau/tê| ge e)pi\ ta\ au)ta\ e)/rchontai oi( deiloi/
te kai\ oi( a)ndrei=oi.]]

[Footnote 122: Plato, Protag. p. 359 E. [Greek: po/teron kalo\n o(\n
i)e/nai (ei)s to\n po/lemon) ê)\ ai)schro/n? Kalo/n, e)/phê.
Ou)kou=n, ei)/per kalo/n, kai\ a)gatho\n ô(mologê/samen e)n toi=s
e)/mprosthen; ta\s ga\r kala\s pra/xeis a(pa/sas a)gatha\s
ô(mologê/samen?]]

[Footnote 123: Plato, Protag. p. 359 E. [Greek: A)lêthê= le/geis,
kai\ a)ei\ e)/moige dokei= ou(/tôs.]

This answer, put into the mouth of Protagoras, affords another proof
that Plato did not intend to impute to him the character which many
commentators impute.]

[Footnote 124: Plato, Protag. p. 360 A. [Greek: Ou)kou=n, ê)\n d'
e)gô/, ei)/per kalo\n kai\ a)gatho/n, kai\ ê(du/? Ô(molo/gêtai gou=n,
e)/phê.]]

[Footnote 125: Plato, Protag. p. 360 B. [Greek: Ou)kou=n o(/lôs oi(
a)ndrei=oi ou)k ai)schrou\s pho/bous phobou=ntai, o(/tav phobô=ntai,
ou)de\ ai)schra\ tha/r)r(ê tha/r)r(ou=sin? . . . Ei) de\ mê\ ai)schra/,
a)=r' ou) kala/? . . . Ei) de\ kala/, kai\ a)gatha/?]]

[Footnote 126: Plato, Protag. p. 360 D. [Greek: Ou)kou=n ê( tô=n
deinôn kai\ mê\ deinô=n a)mathi/a deili/a a)\n ei)/ê? . . . Ê( sophi/a
a)/ra tô=n deinô=n kai\ mê\ deinô=n, a)ndrei/a e)sti/n, e)nanti/a
ou)=sa tê=| tou/tôn a)mathi/a|?]]

[Side-note: Reluctance of Protagoras to continue answering.
Close of the discussion. Sokrates declares that the subject is still
in confusion, and that he wishes to debate it again with Protagoras.
Amicable reply of Protagoras.]

Protagoras is described as answering the last few questions with
increasing reluctance. But at this final question, he declines
altogether to answer, or even to imply assent by a gesture.[127]
_Sokr._--Why will you not answer my question, either
affirmatively or negatively? _Prot._--Finish the exposition by
yourself. _Sokr._--I will only ask you one more question. Do you
still think, as you said before, that there are some men extremely
stupid, but extremely courageous? _Prot._--You seem to be
obstinately bent on making me answer: I will therefore comply with
your wish: I say that according to our previous admissions, it
appears to me impossible. _Sokr._--I have no other motive for
questioning you thus, except the wish to investigate how the truth
stands respecting virtue and what virtue is in itself.[128] To
determine this, is the way to elucidate the question which you
and I first debated at length:--I, affirming that virtue was not
teachable--you, that it was teachable. The issue of our conversation
renders both of us ridiculous. For I, who denied virtue to be
teachable, have shown that it consists altogether in knowledge, which
is the most teachable of all things: while Protagoras, who affirmed
that it was teachable, has tried to show that it consisted in every
thing rather than knowledge: on which supposition it would be hardly
teachable at all. I therefore, seeing all these questions sadly
confused and turned upside down, am beyond measure anxious to clear
them up;[129] and should be glad, conjointly with you, to go through
the whole investigation--First, what Virtue is,--Next, whether it is
teachable or not. It is with a provident anxiety for the conduct of
my own life that I undertake this research, and I should be delighted
to have you as a coadjutor.[130] _Prot._--I commend your
earnestness, Sokrates, and your manner of conducting discussion. I
think myself not a bad man in other respects: and as to jealousy, I
have as little of it as any one. For I have always said of you, that
I admire you much more than any man of my acquaintance--decidedly
more than any man of your own age. It would not surprise me, if you
became one day illustrious for wisdom.

[Footnote 127: Plato, Protag. p. 360 D. [Greek: ou)ke/ti e)ntau=tha
ou)/t' e)pineu=sai ê)the/lêsen, e)si/ga te.]]

[Footnote 128: Plato, Protag. p. 360-361. [Greek: Ou)/toi a)/llou
e(/neka e)rôtô= pa/nta tau=ta, ê)\ ske/psasthai boulo/menos pô=s pot'
e)/chei ta\ peri\ tê=s a)retê=s, kai\ _ti/ pot' e)sti\n au)to\ ê(
a)retê/_. Oi)=da ga\r o(/ti tou/tou phanerou= genome/nou ma/list'
a)\n kata/dêlon ge/noito e)kei=no, peri\ ou)= e)gô/ te kai\ su\
makro\n lo/gon e(ka/teros a)petei/namen, e)gô\ me\n le/gôn, ô(s ou)
didakto\n a)retê/, su\ d', ô(s didakto/n.]]

[Footnote 129: Plato, Protag. p. 361 C. [Greek: e)gô\ ou)=n pa/nta
tau=ta kathorô=n a)/nô ka/tô taratto/mena deinô=s, pa=san prothumi/an
e)/chô kataphanê= au)ta\ gene/sthai, kai\ bouloi/mên a)\n _tau=ta
diexeltho/ntas ê(ma=s e)xelthei=n kai\ e)pi\ tê\n a)retê\n o(/ ti
e)/stin_.]]

[Footnote 130: Plato, Protag. p. 361 D. [Greek: promêthou/menos
u(pe\r tou= bi/ou tou= e)mautou= panto/s.]]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Remarks on the dialogue. It closes without the
least allusion to Hippokrates.]

Such is the end of this long and interesting dialogue.[131] We remark
with some surprise that it closes without any mention of Hippokrates,
and without a word addressed to him respecting his anxious request
for admission to the society of Protagoras: though such request had
been presented at the beginning, with much emphasis, as the sole
motive for the intervention of Sokrates. Upon this point[132]
the dialogue is open to the same criticism as that which Plato (in
the Phædrus) bestows on the discourse of Lysias: requiring that every
discourse shall be like a living organism, neither headless nor
footless, but having extremities and a middle piece adapted to each
other.

[Footnote 131: Most critics treat the Protagoras as a composition of
Plato's younger years--what they call his _first period_--before
the death of Sokrates. They fix different years, from 407
B.C. (Ast) down to 402 B.C. I do not agree with
this view. I can admit no dialogue earlier than 399 B.C.:
and I consider the Protagoras to belong to Plato's full maturity.]

[Footnote 132: Plato, Phædrus, p. 264 C. [Greek: dei=n pa/nta lo/gon
ô(/sper zô=on sunesta/nai, sô=ma/ ti e)/chonta au)to\n au(tou=, ô/ste
mê/te a)ke/phalon ei)=nai mê/te a)/poun], &c.]

[Side-note: Two distinct aspects of ethics and politics
exhibited: one under the name of Protagoras; the other, under that of
Sokrates.]

In our review of this dialogue, we have found first, towards the
beginning, an expository discourse from Protagoras, describing the
maintenance and propagation of virtue in an established community:
next, towards the close, an expository string of interrogatories by
Sokrates, destined to establish the identity of Good with
Pleasurable, Evil with Painful; and the indispensable supremacy of
the calculating or measuring science, as the tutelary guide of human
life. Of the first, I speak (like other critics) as the discourse of
Protagoras: of the second, as the theory of Sokrates. But I must
again remind the reader, that both the one and the other are
compositions of Plato; both alike are offspring of his ingenious and
productive imagination. Protagoras is not the author of that which
appears here under his name: and when we read the disparaging
epithets which many critics affix to his discourse, we must recollect
that these epithets, if they were well-founded, would have no real
application to the historical Protagoras, but only to Plato himself.
He has set forth two aspects, distinct and in part opposing, of
ethics and politics: and he has provided a worthy champion for each.
Philosophy, or "reasoned truth," if it be attainable at all, cannot
most certainly be attained without such many-sided handling: still
less can that which Plato calls knowledge be attained--or such
command of philosophy as will enable a man to stand a Sokratic
cross-examination in it.

[Side-note: Order of ethical problems, as conceived by
Sokrates.]

In the last speech of Sokrates in the dialogue,[133] we find him
proclaiming, that the first of all problems to be solved was, What
virtue really is? upon which there prevails serious confusion of
opinions. It was a second question--important, yet still second and
presupposing the solution of the first--Whether virtue is teachable?
We noticed the same judgment as to the order of the two
questions delivered by Sokrates in the Menon.[134]

[Footnote 133: Plato, Protag. p. 361 C.]

[Footnote 134: See the last preceding chapter of this volume, p.
242.**

Upon this order, necessarily required, of the two questions,
Schleiermacher has a pertinent remark in his general Einleitung to
the works of Plato, p. 26. Eberhard (he says) affirms that the end
proposed by Plato in his dialogues was to form the minds of the noble
Athenian youth, so as to make them virtuous citizens. Schleiermacher
controverts the position of Eberhard; maintaining "that this is far
too subordinate a standing-point for philosophy,--besides that it is
reasoning in a circle, since philosophy has first to determine what
the virtue of a citizen is".]

[Side-note: Difference of method between him and Protagoras
flows from this difference of order. Protagoras assumes what virtue
is, without enquiry.]

Now the conception of ethical questions in this order--the reluctance
to deal with the second until the first has been fully debated and
settled--is one fundamental characteristic of Sokrates. The
difference of method, between him and Protagoras, flows from this
prior difference between them in fundamental conception. What virtue
is, Protagoras neither defines nor analyses, nor submits to debate.
He manifests no consciousness of the necessity of analysis: he
accepts the ground already prepared for him by King Nomos: he thus
proceeds as if the first step had been made sure, and takes his
departure from hypotheses of which he renders no account--as the
Platonic Sokrates complains of the geometers for doing.[135] To
Protagoras, social or political virtue is a known and familiar datum,
about which no one can mistake: which must be possessed, in greater
or less measure, by every man, as a condition of the existence of
society: which every individual has an interest in promoting in all
his neighbours: and which every one therefore teaches and enforces
upon every one else. It is a matter of common sense or common
sentiment, and thus stands in contrast with the special professional
accomplishments; which are confined only to a few--and the
possessors, teachers, and learners of which are each an assignable
section of the society. The parts or branches of virtue are, in like
manner, assumed by him as known, in their relations to each other and
to the whole. This persuasion of knowledge, without preliminary
investigation, he adopts from the general public, with whom he is in
communion of sentiment. What they accept and enforce as virtue, he
accepts and enforces also.

[Footnote 135: See suprà, vol. i. ch. viii. p. 358 and ch. xvii.** p.
136, respecting these remarks of Plato on the geometers.]

[Side-note: Method of Protagoras. Continuous lectures
addressed to established public sentiments with which he is in
harmony.]

Again, the method pursued by Protagoras, is one suitable to a teacher
who has jumped over this first step; who assumes virtue, as something
fixed in the public sentiments--and addresses himself to those
sentiments, ready-made as he finds them. He expands and illustrates
them in continuous lectures of some length, which fill both the ears
and minds of the listener--"Spartam nactus es, hanc exorna": he
describes their growth, propagation, and working in the community: he
gives interesting comments on the poets, eulogising the admired
heroes who form the theme of their verses, and enlarging on their
admonitions. Moreover, while resting altogether upon the authority of
King Nomos, he points out the best jewel in the crown of that
potentate; the great social fact of punishment prospective,
rationally apportioned, and employed altogether for preventing and
deterring--instead of being a mere retrospective impulse, vindictive
or retributive for the past. He describes instructively the machinery
operative in the community for ensuring obedience to what they think
right: he teaches, in his eloquent expositions and interpretations,
the same morality, public and private, that every one else teaches:
while he can perform the work of teaching, somewhat more effectively
than they. Lastly, his method is essentially showy and popular;
intended for numerous assemblies, reproducing the established creeds
and sentiments of those assemblies, to their satisfaction and
admiration. He is prepared to be met and answered in his own way, by
opposing speakers; and he conceives himself more than a match for
such rivals. He professes also to possess the art of short
conversation or discussion. But in the exercise of this art, he runs
almost involuntarily into his more characteristic endowment of
continuous speech: besides that the points which he raises for
discussion assume all the fundamental principles, and turn only upon
such applications of those principles as are admitted by most persons
to be open questions, not foreclosed by a peremptory orthodoxy.

[Side-note: Method of Sokrates. Dwells upon that part of the
problem which Protagoras had left out.]

Upon all these points, Sokrates is the formal antithesis of
Protagoras. He disclaims altogether the capacities to which that
Sophist lays claim. Not only he cannot teach virtue, but he professes
not to know what it is, nor whether it be teachable at all, He
starts from a different point of view: not considering virtue as a
known datum, or as an universal postulate, but assimilating it to a
special craft or accomplishment, in which a few practitioners suffice
for the entire public: requiring that in this capacity it shall be
defined, and its practitioners and teachers pointed out. He has no
common ground with Protagoras; for the difficulties which he moots
are just such as the common consciousness (and Protagoras along with
it) overleaps or supposes to be settled. His first requirement,
advanced under the modest guise of a small doubt[136] which
Protagoras must certainly be competent to remove, is, to know--What
virtue is? What are the separate parts of virtue--justice,
moderation, holiness, &c.? What is the relation which they bear
to each other and to the whole--virtue? Are they homogeneous,
differing only in quantity or has each of them its own specific
essence and peculiarity?[137] Respecting virtue as a whole, we must
recollect, Protagoras had discoursed eloquently and confidently, as
of a matter perfectly known. He is now called back as it were to meet
an attack in the rear: to answer questions which he had never
considered, and which had never even presented themselves to him as
questions. At first he replies as if the questions offered no
difficulty;[138] sometimes he does not feel their importance, so that
it seems to him a matter of indifference whether he replies in the
affirmative or negative.[139] But he finds himself brought round, by
a series of questions, to assent to conclusions which he nevertheless
thinks untrue, and which are certainly unwelcome. Accordingly, he
becomes more and more disgusted with the process of analytical
interrogation: and at length answers with such impatience and
prolixity, that the interrogation can no longer be prosecuted. Here
comes in the break--the remonstrance of Sokrates--and the mediation
of the by-standers.

[Footnote 136: Plato, Protag. p. 328 E. [Greek: plê\n smikro/n ti/
moi e)mpodô/n, o(/ dê=lon o(/ti Prôtago/ras r(a|di/ôs e)pekdida/xei],
&c.]

[Footnote 137: Respecting Ariston of Chios, Diogenes Laertius tells
us--[Greek: A)reta\s d' ou)/te polla\s ei)sê=gen, ô(s o( Zê/nôn,
ou)/te mi/an polloi=s o)no/masin kaloume/nên--a)lla\ kai\ to\ pro\s
ti/ pôs e)/chein] (Diog. Laert. vii. 161).]

[Footnote 138: Plato, Protag. p. 329 D. [Greek: A)lla\ r(a/|dion
tou=to/ g', e)/phê, a)pokri/nasthai], &c.]

[Footnote 139: Plato, Protag. p. 321 D. [Greek: ei) ga\r bou/lei,
e)/stô ê(mi=n kai\ dikaiosu/nê o(/sion kai\ o(sio/tês di/kaion. Mê/
moi, ê)=n d' e)gô/; ou)de\n ga\r de/omai to\ "_ei) bou/lei_"
tou=to kai\ "_ei) soi dokei=_" e)le/gchesthai, a)ll' e)me/ te
kai\ se/.]]

[Side-note: Antithesis between the eloquent lecturer and
the analytical cross-examiner.]

It is this antithesis between the eloquent popular lecturer, and the
analytical enquirer and cross-examiner, which the dialogue seems
mainly intended to set forth. Protagoras professes to know that which
he neither knows, nor has ever tried to probe to the bottom. Upon
this false persuasion of knowledge, the Sokratic Elenchus is brought
to bear. We are made to see how strange, repugnant, and perplexing,
is the process of analysis to this eloquent expositor: how
incompetent he is to go through it without confusion: how little he
can define his own terms, or determine the limits of those notions on
which he is perpetually descanting.

[Side-note: Protagoras not intended to be always in the wrong,
though he is described as brought to a contradiction.]

It is not that Protagoras is proved to be wrong (I speak now of this
early part of the conversation, between chapters 51-62--pp. 329-335)
in the substantive ground which he takes. I do not at all believe (as
many critics either affirm or imply) that Plato intended all which he
in the composed under the name of Protagoras to be vile perversion of
truth, with nothing but empty words and exorbitant pretensions. I do
not even believe that Plato intended all those observations, to which
the name of Protagoras is prefixed, to be accounted silly--while all
that is assigned to Sokrates,[140] is admirable sense and acuteness.
It is by no means certain that Plato intended to be understood as
himself endorsing the opinions which he ascribes everywhere to
Sokrates: and it is quite certain that he does not always make the
Sokrates of one dialogue consistent with the Sokrates of another. For
the purpose of showing the incapacity of the respondent to satisfy
the exigencies of analysis, we need not necessarily suppose that the
conclusion to which the questions conduct should be a true one. If
the respondent be brought, through his own admissions, to a
contradiction, this is enough to prove that he did not know the
subject deeply enough to make the proper answers and distinctions.

[Footnote 140: Schöne, in his Commentary on the Protagoras, is of
opinion that a good part of Plato's own doctrine is given under the
name of Protagoras (Ueber den Protag. von Platon, p. 180 seq.).]

[Side-note: Affirmation of Protagoras about courage is
affirmed by Plato himself elsewhere.]

But whatever may have been the intention of Plato, if we look at the
fact, we shall find that what he has assigned to Sokrates is not
always true, nor what he has given to Protagoras, always false.
The positions laid down by the latter--That many men are courageous,
but unjust: that various persons are just, without being wise and
intelligent: that he who possesses one virtue, does not of necessity
possess all:[141]--are not only in conformity with the common
opinion, but are quite true, though Sokrates is made to dispute them.
Moreover, the arguments employed by Sokrates (including in those
arguments the strange propositions that justice is just, and that
holiness is holy) are certainly noway conclusive.[142] Though
Protagoras, becoming entangled in difficulties, and incapable of
maintaining his consistency against an embarrassing
cross-examination, is of course exhibited as ignorant of that which he
professes to know--the doctrine which he maintains is neither untrue
in itself, nor even shown to be apparently untrue.

[Footnote 141: Plato, Protag. p. 329 E. Protagoras is here made to
affirm that many men are courageous who are neither just, nor
temperate, nor virtuous in other respects. Sokrates contradicts the
position. But in the Treatise De Legibus (i. p. 630 B), Plato himself
says same thing as Protagoras is here made to say: at least assuming
that the Athenian speaker in De Legg. represents the sentiment of
Plato himself at the time when he composed that treatise.]

[Footnote 142: Plato, Protag. p. 330 C, p. 333 B.

To say "Justice is just," or "Holiness is holy," is indeed either
mere tautology, or else an impropriety of speech. Dr. Hutcheson
observes on an analogous case: "None can apply moral attributes to
the very faculty of perceiving moral qualities: or call his moral
Sense morally Good or Evil, any more than he calls the power of
tasting, sweet or bitter--or the power of seeing, straight or
crooked, white or black" (Hutcheson on the Passions, sect. i. p.
234).]

[Side-note: The harsh epithets applied by critics to
Protagoras are not borne out by the dialogue. He stands on the same
ground as the common consciousness.]

As to the arrogant and exorbitant pretensions which the Platonic
commentators ascribe to Protagoras, more is said than the reality
justifies. He pretends to know what virtue, justice, moderation,
courage, &c., are, and he is proved not to know. But this is what
every one else pretends to know also, and what every body else
teaches as well as he--"_Hæc Janus summus ab imo Perdocet: hæc
recinunt juvenes dictata senesque_". What he pretends to do,
beyond the general public, he really can do. He can discourse,
learnedly and eloquently, upon these received doctrines and
sentiments: he can enlist the feelings and sympathies of the public
in favour of that which he, in common with the public, believes to be
good--and against that which he and they believe to be bad: he
can thus teach virtue more effectively than others. But whether that
which is received as virtue, be really such--he has never analysed or
verified: nor does he willingly submit to the process of analysis.
Here again he is in harmony with the general public; for they hate,
as much as he does, to be dragged back to fundamentals, and forced to
explain, defend, revise, or modify, their established sentiments and
maxims: which they apply as _principia_ for deduction to
particular cases, and which they recognise as axioms whereby other
things are to be tried, not as liable to be tried themselves.
Protagoras is one of the general public, in dislike of, and
inaptitude for, analysis and dialectic discussion: while he stands
above them in his eloquence and his power of combining, illustrating,
and adorning, received doctrines. These are points of superiority,
not pretended, but real.

[Side-note: Aversion of Protagoras for dialectic. Interlude
about the song of Simonides.]

The aversion of Protagoras for dialectic discussion--after causing an
interruption of the ethical argument, and an interlude of comment on
the poet Simonides--is at length with difficulty overcome, and the
argument is then resumed. The question still continues, What is
virtue? What are the five different parts of virtue? Yet it is so far
altered that Protagoras now admits that the four parts of virtue
which Sokrates professed to have shown to be nearly identical, really
are tolerably alike: but he nevertheless contends that courage is
very different from all of them, repeating his declaration that many
men are courageous, but unjust and stupid at the same time. This
position Sokrates undertakes to refute. In doing so, he lays out one
of the largest, most distinct, and most positive theories of virtue,
which can be found in the Platonic writings.

[Side-note: Ethical view given by Sokrates worked out at
length clearly. Good and evil consist in right or wrong calculation
of pleasures and pains of the agent.]

Virtue, according to this theory, consists in a right measurement and
choice of pleasures and pains: in deciding correctly, wherever we
have an alternative, on which side lies the largest pleasure or the
least pain--and choosing the side which presents this balance. To
live pleasurably, is pronounced to be good: to live without pleasure
or in pain, is evil. Moreover, nothing but pleasure, or comparative
mitigation of pain, is good: nothing but pain is evil.[143]
Good, is identical with the greatest pleasure or least pain: evil,
with greatest pain: meaning thereby each pleasure and each pain when
looked at along with its consequences and concomitants. The grand
determining cause and condition of virtue is knowledge: the
knowledge, science, or art, of correctly measuring the comparative
value of different pleasures and pains. Such knowledge (the theory
affirms), wherever it is possessed, will be sure to command the whole
man, to dictate all his conduct, and to prevail over every temptation
of special appetite or aversion. To say that a man who knows on which
side the greatest pleasure or the least pain lies, will act against
his knowledge--is a mistake. If he acts in this way, it is plain that
he does not possess the knowledge, and that he sins through
ignorance.

[Footnote 143: The substantial identity of Good with Pleasure, of
Evil with Pain, was the doctrine of the historical Sokrates as
declared in Xenophon's Memorabilia. See, among other passages, i. 6,
8. [Greek: Tou= de\ mê\ douleu/ein gastri\ mêde\ u(/pnô| kai\
lagnei/a|, oi)/ei ti a)/llo ai)tiô/teron ei)=nai, ê)\ to\ e(/tera
e)/chein tou/tôn ê(di/ô, a(\ ou) mo/non e)n chrei/a| o)/nta
eu)phrai/nei, a)lla\ kai\ e)lpi/das pare/chonta ô)phelê/sein a)ei/?
Kai\ mê\n tou=to/ ge oi)=stha, o(/ti oi( me\n oi)o/menoi mêde\n eu)=
pra/ttein ou)k eu)phrai/nontai, oi( de\ ê(gou/menoi kalô=s
prochôrei=n e(autoi=s, ê)\ geôrgi/an ê)\ nauklêri/an ê)\ a)/ll' o(/,
ti a)\n tugcha/nôsin e)rgazo/menoi, ô(s eu)= pra/ttontes
eu)phrai/nontai. Oi)/ei ou)=n a)po\ pa/ntôn tou/tôn tosau/tên
ê(donê\n ei)=nai, o(/sên a)po\ tou= e(auto/n te ê(gei=sthai belti/ô
gi/gnesthai kai\ phi/lous a)mei/nous kta=sthai? E)gô\ toi/nun
diatelô= tau=ta nomi/zôn.]

Locke says, 'Essay on Human Understanding,' Book ii. ch. 28, "Good or
Evil is nothing but pleasure or pain to us--or that which procures
pleasure or pain to us. Moral good or evil then is only the
conformity or disagreement of our voluntary actions to some law,
whereby good or evil is drawn on us by the will and power of the
law-maker; which good or evil, pleasure or pain, attending our
observance or breach of the law, is that we call reward or punishment."

The formal distinction here taken by Locke between pleasure and that
which procures pleasure--both the one and the other being called
Good--(the like in regard to pain and evil) is not distinctly stated
by Sokrates in the Protagoras, though he says nothing inconsistent
with it: but it is distinctly stated in the Republic, ii. p. 357,
where Good is distributed under three heads. 1. That which we desire
immediately and for itself--such as Enjoyment, Innocuous pleasure. 2.
That which we desire both for itself and for its consequences--health,
intelligence, good sight or hearing, &c. 3. That which we
do not desire (perhaps even shun) for itself, but which we accept by
reason of its consequences in averting greater pains or procuring
greater pleasures.

This discrimination of the varieties of Good, given in the Republic,
is quite consistent with what is stated by Sokrates in the
Protagoras, though it is more full and precise. But it is not
consistent with what Sokrates says in the Gorgias, where he asserts a
radical dissimilarity of nature between [Greek: ê(du\] and [Greek:
a)gatho/n].]

[Side-note: Protagoras is at first opposed to this theory.]

Protagoras agrees with Sokrates in the encomiums bestowed on the
paramount importance and ascendancy of knowledge: but does not at
first agree with him in identifying good with pleasure, and evil with
pain. Upon this point, too, he is represented as agreeing in
opinion with the Many. He does not admit that to live pleasurably is
good, unless where a man takes his pleasure in honourable things. He
thinks it safer, and more consistent with his own whole life, to
maintain--That pleasurable things, or painful things, may be either
good, or evil, or indifferent, according to the particular case.

[Side-note: Reasoning of Sokrates.]

This doctrine Sokrates takes much pains to refute. He contends that
pleasurable things, so far forth as pleasurable, are always good--and
painful things, so far forth as painful, always evil. When some
pleasures are called evil, that is not on account of any thing
belonging to the pleasure itself, but because of its ulterior
consequences and concomitants, which are painful or distressing in a
degree more than countervailing the pleasure. So too, when some pains
are pronounced to be good, this is not from any peculiarity in the
pain itself, but because of its consequences and concomitants: such
pain being required as a condition to the attainment of health,
security, wealth, and other pleasures or satisfactions more than
counter-balancing. Sokrates challenges opponents to name any other
end, with reference to which things are called _good_, except
their tendency to prevent or relieve pains and to ensure a balance of
pleasure: he challenges them to name any other end, with reference to
which things are called _evil_, except their tendency to produce
pains and to intercept or destroy pleasures. In measuring pleasures
and pains against each other, there is no other difference to be
reckoned except that of greater or less, more or fewer. The
difference between near and distant, does indeed obtrude itself upon
us as a misleading element. But it is the special task of the
"measuring science" to correct this illusion--and to compare
pleasures or pains, whether near or distant, according to their real
worth: just as we learn to rectify the illusions of the sight in
regard to near and distant objects.

[Side-note: Application of that reasoning to the case of
courage.]

Sokrates proceeds to apply this general principle in correcting the
explanation of courage given by Protagoras. He shows, or tries to
show, that courage, like all the other branches of virtue, consists
in acting on a just estimate of comparative pleasures and pains. No
man affronts evil, or the alternative of greater pain, knowing it
to be such: no man therefore adventures himself in any terrible
enterprise, knowing it to be so: neither the brave nor the timid do
this. Both the brave and the timid affront that which they think not
terrible, or the least terrible of two alternatives: but they
estimate differently what is such. The former go readily to war when
required, the latter evade it. Now to go into war when required, is
honourable: being honourable, it is good: being honourable and good,
it is pleasurable. The brave know this, and enter upon it willingly:
the timid not only do not know it, but entertain the contrary
opinion, looking upon war as painful and terrible, and therefore
keeping aloof. The brave men fear what it is honourable to fear, the
cowards what it is dishonourable to fear: the former act upon the
knowledge of what is really terrible, the latter are misled by their
ignorance of it. Courage is thus, like the other virtues, a case of
accurate knowledge of comparative pleasures and pains, or of good and
evil.[144]

[Footnote 144: Compare, respecting Courage, a passage in the
Republic, iv. pp. 429 C, 430 B, which is better stated there (though
substantially the same opinion) than here in the Protagoras.

The opinion of the Platonic Sokrates may be illustrated by a sentence
from the funeral oration delivered by Periklês, Thucyd. ii. 43, fin.
[Greek: A)lgeinote/ra ga\r a)ndri/ ge phro/nêma e)/chonti ê( e)n tô=|
meta\ tou= malakisthê=nai ka/kôsis, ê)\ o( meta\ r(ô/mês kai\ koinê=s
e)lpi/dos a(/ma gigno/menos a)nai/sthêtos tha/natos]--which Dr.
Arnold thus translates in his note: "For more grievous to a man of
noble mind is the misery which comes together with cowardice, than
the unfelt death which befalls him in the midst of his strength and
hopes for the common welfare."

So again in the Phædon (p. 68) Sokrates describes the courage of the
ordinary unphilosophical citizen to consist in braving death from
fear of greater evils (which is the same view as that of Sokrates in
the Protagoras), while the philosopher is courageous on a different
principle; aspiring only to reason and intelligence, with the
pleasures attending it, he welcomes death as releasing his mind from
the obstructive companionship of the body.

The fear of disgrace and dishonour, in his own eyes and in those of
others, is more intolerable to the brave man than the fear of wounds
and death in the service of his country. See Plato, Leg. i. pp.
646-647. He is [Greek: phobero\s meta\ no/mou, meta\ di/kês], p. 647 E.
Such is the way in which both Plato and Thucydides conceive the
character of the brave citizen as compared with the coward.

It is plain that this resolves itself ultimately into a different
estimate of prospective pains; the case being one in which pleasure
is not concerned. That the pains of self-reproach and infamy in the
eyes of others are among the most agonising in the human bosom, need
hardly be remarked. At the same time the sentiments here conceived
embrace a wide field of sympathy, comprising the interests, honour,
and security, of others as well as of the individual agent.]

[Side-note: The theory which Plato here lays down is more
distinct and specific than any theory laid down in other dialogues.]

Such is the ethical theory which the Platonic Sokrates enunciates in
this dialogue, and which Protagoras and others accept. It is positive
and distinct, to a degree very unusual with Plato. We shall find that
he theorises differently in other dialogues; whether for the
better or the worse, will be hereafter seen. He declares here
explicitly that pleasure, or happiness, is the end to be pursued; and
pain, or misery, the end to be avoided: and that there is no other
end, in reference to which things can be called good or evil, except
as they tend to promote pleasure or mitigate suffering, on the one
side--to entail pain or suffering on the other. He challenges
objectors to assign any other end. And thus much is certain--that in
those other dialogues where he himself departs from the present
doctrine, he has not complied with his own challenge. Nowhere has he
specified a different end. In other dialogues, as well as in the
Protagoras, Plato has insisted on the necessity of a science or art
of calculation: but in no other dialogue has he told us distinctly
what are the items to be calculated.

[Side-note: Remarks on the theory here laid down by Sokrates.
It is too narrow, and exclusively prudential.]

I perfectly agree with the doctrine laid down by Sokrates in the
Protagoras, that pain or suffering is the End to be avoided or
lessened as far as possible--and pleasure or happiness the End to be
pursued as far as attainable--by intelligent forethought and
comparison: that there is no other intelligible standard of
reference, for application of the terms Good and Evil, except the
tendency to produce happiness or misery: and that if this standard be
rejected, ethical debate loses all standard for rational discussion,
and becomes only an enunciation of the different sentiments,
authoritative and self-justifying, prevalent in each community. But
the End just mentioned is highly complex, and care must be taken to
conceive it in its full comprehension. Herein I conceive the argument
of Sokrates (in the Protagoras) to be incomplete. It carries
attention only to a part of the truth, keeping out of sight, though
not excluding, the remainder. It considers each man as an individual,
determining good or evil for himself by calculating his own pleasures
and pains: as a prudent, temperate, and courageous agent, but neither
as just nor beneficent. It omits to take account of him as a member
of a society, composed of many others akin or co-ordinate with
himself. Now it is the purpose of an ethical or political reasoner
(such as Plato both professes to be and really is) to study the means
of happiness, not simply for the agent himself, but for that
agent together with others around him--for the members of the
community generally.[145] The Platonic Sokrates says this himself in
the Republic: and accordingly, he there treats of other points which
are not touched upon by Sokrates in the Protagoras. He proclaims that
the happiness of each citizen must be sought only by means consistent
with the security, and to a certain extent with the happiness, of
others: he provides as far as practicable that all shall derive their
pleasures and pains from the same causes: common pleasures, and
common pains, to all.[146] The doctrine of Sokrates in the Protagoras
requires to be enlarged so as to comprehend these other important
elements. Since the conduct of every agent affects the happiness of
others, he must be called upon to take account of its consequences
under both aspects, especially where it goes to inflict hurt or
privation upon others. Good and evil depend upon that scientific
computation and comparison of pleasures and pains which Sokrates in
the Protagoras prescribes: but the computation must include, to a
certain extent, the pleasures and pains (security and rightful
expectations) of others besides the agent himself, implicated in the
consequences of his acts.[147]

[Footnote 145: Plato, Republ. iv. pp. 420-421, v. p. 466 A.]

[Footnote 146: Plato, Republ. v. pp. 462 A-B-D, 464 A-D.

Throughout the first of these passages we see [Greek: a)gatho\n] used
as the equivalent of [Greek: ê(donê/], [Greek: kako\n] as the
equivalent of [Greek: lu/pê].]

[Footnote 147: See, especially on this point, the brief but valuable
Tract on Utilitarianism by Mr. John Stuart Mill. In page 16 of that
work attention is called to the fact, that in Utilitarianism the
standard is not the greatest happiness of the agent himself alone,
but the greatest amount of happiness altogether. So that we cannot
with exactness call the doctrine of Sokrates, in his conversation
with Protagoras, "the theory of Utilitarianism," as Mr. Mill calls it
in page 1.]

[Side-note: Comparison with the Republic.]

As to this point, we shall find the Platonic Sokrates not always
correct, nor even consistent with himself. This will appear
especially when we come to see the account which he gives of Justice
in the Republic. In that branch of the Ethical End, a direct regard
to the security of others comes into the foreground. For in an act of
injustice, the prominent characteristic is that of harm, done to
others--though that is not the whole, since the security of the agent
himself is implicated with that of others in the general fulfilment
of these obligations. It is this primary regard to others, and
secondary regard to self, implicated in one complex feeling--which
distinguishes justice from prudence. The Platonic Sokrates in
the Republic (though his language is not always clear) does not admit
this; but considers justice as a branch of prudence, necessary to
ensure the happiness of the individual agent himself.

[Side-note: The discourse of Protagoras brings out an
important part of the whole case, which is omitted in the analysis by
Sokrates.]

Now in the Protagoras, what the Platonic Sokrates dwells upon (in the
argument which I have been considering) is prudence, temperance,
courage: little or nothing is said about justice: there was therefore
the less necessity for insisting on that prominent
reference to the security of others (besides the agent himself) which
justice involves. If, however, we turn back to the earlier part of
the dialogue, to the speech delivered by Protagoras, we see justice
brought into the foreground. It is not indeed handled analytically
(which is not the manner of that Sophist), nor is it resolved into
regard to pleasure and pain, happiness and misery: but it is
announced as a social sentiment indispensably and reciprocally
necessary from every man towards every other ([Greek: di/kê--ai)dô\s]),
distinguishable from those endowments which supply the
wants and multiply the comforts of the individual himself. The very
existence of the social union requires, that each man should feel a
sentiment of duties on his part towards others, and duties on their
parts towards him: or (in other words) of rights on his part to have
his interests considered by others, and rights on their parts to have
their interests considered by him. Unless this sentiment of
reciprocity--reciprocal duty and right--exist in the bosom of each
individual citizen, or at least in the large majority--no social
union could subsist. There are doubtless different degrees of the
sentiment: moreover the rights and duties may be apportioned better
or worse, more or less fairly, among the individuals of a society;
thus rendering the society more or less estimable and comfortable.
But without a certain minimum of the sentiment in each individual
bosom, even the worst constituted society could not hold together.
And it is this sentiment of reciprocity which Protagoras (in the
dialogue before us) is introduced as postulating in his declaration,
that justice and the sense of shame (unlike to professional
aptitudes) must be distributed universally and without exception
among all the members of a community. Each man must feel them,
in his conduct towards others: each man must also be able to reckon
that others will feel the like, in their behaviour towards him.[148]

[Footnote 148: Professor Bain (in his work on the Emotions and the
Will, ch. xv. On the Ethical Emotions, pp. 271-3) has given remarks
extremely pertinent to the illustration of that doctrine which Plato
has here placed under the name of Protagoras.

"The supposed uniformity of moral distinctions resolves itself into
the two following particulars. First, the common end of _public
security_, which is also individual preservation, demands certain
precautions that are everywhere very much alike, and can in no case
be dispensed with. Some sort of constituted authority to control the
individual impulses and to protect each man's person and property,
must exist wherever a number of human beings live together. The
duties springing out of this necessary arrangement are essentially
the same in all societies. . . They have a pretty uniform character
all over the globe. If the sense of the common safety were not
sufficiently strong to constitute the social tie of obedience to some
common regulations, society could not exist. . . . It is no proof of
the universal spread of a special innate faculty of moral
distinctions, but of a certain rational appreciation of what is
necessary for the very existence of every human being living in the
company of others: Doubtless, if the sad history of the human race
had been preserved in all its details, we _should have many
examples of tribes that perished from being unequal to the conception
of a social system, or to the restraints imposed by it_. We know
enough of the records of anarchy, to see how difficult it is for
human nature to comply in full with the social conditions of
security; but if this were not complied with at all, the result would
be mutual and swift destruction. . . . In the second place, mankind
have been singularly unanimous in the practice of imposing upon
individual members of societies some observances or restraints of
purely _sentimental_ origin, having no reference, direct or
indirect, to the maintenance of the social tie, with all the
safeguards implied in it. Certain maxims founded in taste, liking,
aversion, or fancy, have, in every community known to us, been raised
to the dignity of authoritative morality; being rendered (so to
speak) 'terms of communion,' and have been enforced by punishment.
. . . In the rules, founded on men's sentiments, likings, aversions,
and antipathies, there is nothing common but the fact that some one
or other of these are carried to the length of public requirement,
and mixed up in one code with the imperative duties that hold society
together."

The postulate of the Platonic Protagoras--that [Greek: di/kê] and
[Greek: ai)dô\s] must be felt to a certain extent in each man's
bosom, as a condition to the very existence of society--agrees with
the first of the two elements here distinguished by Mr. Bain, and
does not necessarily go beyond it. But the unsystematic teaching and
universal propagandism, which Protagoras describes as the agency
whereby virtue is communicated, applies alike to both the two
elements distinguished by Mr. Bain: to the factitious exigencies of
King Nomos, as well as to his tutelary control. It is this mixed mass
that the Sokratic analysis is brought to examine.]

[Side-note: The Ethical End, as implied in the discourse of
Protagoras, involves a direct regard to the pleasures and pains of
other persons besides the agent himself.]

If we thus compare the Ethical End, as implied, though not explicitly
laid down, by Protagoras in the earlier part of the dialogue,--and as
laid down by Sokrates in the later part--we shall see that while
Sokrates restricts it to a true comparative estimate of the pains and
pleasures of the agent himself, Protagoras enlarges it so as to
include a direct reference to those of others also, coupled with an
expectation of the like reference on the part of others.[149]
Sokrates is satisfied with requiring from each person calculating
prudence for his own pleasures and pains: while Protagoras proclaims
that after this attribute had been obtained by man, and individual
wants supplied, still there was a farther element necessary in the
calculation--the social sentiment or reciprocity of regard implanted
in every one's bosom: without this the human race would have
perished. Prudence and skill will suffice for an isolated existence;
but if men are to live and act in social communion, the services as
well as the requirements of each man must be shaped, in a certain
measure, with a direct view to the security of others as well as to
his own.

[Footnote 149: Plato, Protag. pp. 321-322.]

In my judgment, the Ethical End, exclusively self-regarding, here
laid down by Sokrates, is too narrow. And if we turn to other
Platonic dialogues, we shall find Sokrates still represented as
proclaiming a self-regarding Ethical End, though not the same as what
we read in the Protagoras. In the Gorgias, Republic, Phædon, &c.,
we shall find him discountenancing the calculation (recommended in
the Protagoras) of pleasures and pains against each other, as
greater, more certain, durable, &c., and insisting that all shall
be estimated according as they bear on the general condition or
health of the mind, which he assimilates to the general condition or
health of the body. The health of the body, considered as an End to
be pursued, is essentially self-regarding: so also is the health of
the mind. I shall touch upon this farther when I consider the
above-mentioned dialogues: at present, I only remark that they agree
with the Sokrates of the Protagoras in assuming a self-regarding Ethical
End, though they do not agree with him in describing what that End
should be.

[Side-note: Plato's reasoning in the dialogue is not clear or
satisfactory, especially about courage.]

The application which Sokrates makes (in the Protagoras) of his own
assumed Ethical End to the explanation of courage, is certainly
confused and unsatisfactory. And indeed, we may farther remark that
the general result at which Plato seems to be aiming in this
dialogue, viz.: That all the different virtues are at the bottom one
and the same, and that he who possesses one of them must also
possess the remainder--cannot be made out even upon his own
assumptions. Though it be true that all the virtues depend upon
correct calculation, yet as each of them applies to a different set
of circumstances and different disturbing and misleading causes, the
same man who calculates well under one set of circumstances, may
calculate badly under others. The position laid down by Protagoras,
that men are often courageous but unjust--just, but not wise--is
noway refuted by Plato. Nor is it even inconsistent with Plato's own
theory, though he seems to think it so.

[Side-note: Doctrine of Stallbaum and other critics is not
correct. That the analysis here ascribed to Sokrates is not intended
by Plato as serious, but as a mockery of the sophists.]

Some of the Platonic commentators maintain,[150] that the doctrine
here explicitly laid down and illustrated by Sokrates, _viz._:
the essential identity of the pleasurable with the good, of the
painful with the evil--is to be regarded as not serious, but as taken
up in jest for the purpose of mocking and humiliating Protagoras.
Such an hypothesis appears to me untenable; contradicted by the whole
tenor of the dialogue. Throughout all the Platonic compositions,
there is nowhere to be found any train of argument more direct, more
serious, and more elaborate, than that by which Sokrates here proves
the identity of good with pleasure, of pain with evil (p. 351 to
end). Protagoras begins by denying it, and is only compelled to
accept the conclusion against his own will, by the series of
questions which he cannot otherwise answer.[151] Sokrates admits that
the bulk of mankind are also opposed to it: but he establishes it
with an ingenuity which is pronounced to be triumphant by all the
hearers around.[152] The commentators are at liberty to impeach
the reasoning as unsound; but to set it aside as mere banter and
mockery, is preposterous. Assume it even to be intended as
mockery--assume that Sokrates is mystifying the hearers, by a string of
delusive queries, to make out a thesis which he knows to be untrue
and silly--how can the mockery fall upon Protagoras, who denies the
thesis from the beginning?[153] The irony, if it were irony, would be
misplaced and absurd.

[Footnote 150: See Brandis, Gesch. d. Griech.-Röm., Phil. Part ii.
sect. 114, note 3 p. 458; Stallbaum, Prolegom. ad Protag.
pp. 15-33-34.

So too Ficinus says in his Argumentum to the Protagoras: (p. 765)
"Tum vero de bono et malo multa tractantur. Siquidem prudentia est
scientia eligendi boni, malique vitandi. Ambigitur autem utrum bonum
malumque idem sit penitus quod et voluptas et dolor. _Neque
affirmatur id quidem omnino, neque manifesté omnino negatur._ De
hoc enim in Gorgiâ Phileboque et alibi," &c.

When a critic composes an Argument to the Protagoras, he is surely
under obligation to report faithfully and exactly what is declared by
Sokrates _in the Protagoras_, whether it be consistent or not
with the Gorgias and Philêbus. Yet here we find Ficinus
misrepresenting the Protagoras, in order to force it into harmony
with the other two.]

[Footnote 151: This is so directly stated that I am surprised to find
Zeller (among many other critics) announcing that Plato here accepts
for the occasion the _Standpunkt_ of his enemies (Philos. der
Griech. vol. ii. p. 380, ed. 2nd).]

[Footnote 152: Plato, Protag. p. 358 A. [Greek: u(perphuô=s e)do/kei
a(/pasin a)lêthê= ei)=nai ta\ ei)rême/na.]]

[Footnote 153: When Stallbaum asserts that the thesis is taken up by
Sokrates as one which was maintained by Protagoras and the other
Sophists (Proleg. p. 33), he says what is distinctly at variance with
the dialogue, p. 351.

Schleiermacher maintains that this same thesis (the fundamental
identity of good with pleasure, evil with pain) is altogether
"unsokratic and unplatonic"; that it is handled here by Sokrates in a
manner visibly ironical (sichtbar ironisch); that the purpose of the
argument is to show the stupidity of Protagoras, who is puzzled and
imposed upon by such obvious fallacies (Einleitung zum Protag. 230,
bottom of p. 232), and who is made to exhibit (so Schleiermacher
says, Einl. zum Gorgias, p. 14) a string of ludicrous absurdities.

Upon this I have to remark first, that if the stupidity of Protagoras
is intended to be shown up, that of all the other persons present
must be equally manifested; for all of them assent emphatically, at
the close, to the thesis as having been proved (Prot. p. 358 A):
next, that I am unable to see either the absurdities of Protagoras or
the irony of Sokrates, which Schleiermacher asserts to be so visible.
The argument of Sokrates is as serious and elaborate as any thing
which we read in Plato. Schleiermacher seems to me to misconceive
altogether (not only here but also in his Einleitung zum Gorgias, p.
10) the concluding argument of Sokrates in the Protagoras. To
describe the identity between [Greek: ê(du\] and [Greek: a)gatho\n]
as a "scheinbare Voraussetzung" is to depart from the plain meaning
of words.

Again, Steinhart contends that Sokrates assumes this doctrine
(identity of pleasure with good, pain with evil), "not as his own
opinion, but only hypothetically, with a sarcastic side-glance at the
absurd consequences which many deduced from it--only as the received
world-morality, as the opinion of the majority" (Einleit. zum Protag.
p. 419). How Steinhart can find proof of this in the dialogue, I am
at a loss to understand. The dialogue presents to us Sokrates
introducing the opinion as his own, against that of Protagoras and
against that of the multitude (p. 351 C). On hearing this opposition
from Protagoras, Sokrates invites him to an investigation, whether
the opinion be just; Sokrates then conducts the investigation
himself, along with Protagoras, at considerable length, and
ultimately brings out the doctrine as proved, with the assent of all
present.

These forced interpretations are resorted to, because the critics
cannot bear to see the Platonic Sokrates maintaining a thesis
substantially the same as that of Eudoxus and Epikurus. Upon this
point, K. F. Hermann is more moderate than the others; he admits the
thesis to be seriously maintained in the dialogue--states that it was
really the opinion of the historical Sokrates--and adds that it was
also the opinion of Plato himself during his early Sokratic stadium,
when the Protagoras (as he thinks) was composed (Gesch. und Syst. der
Plat. Phil. pp. 462-463).

Most of the critics agree in considering the Protagoras to be one of
Plato's earlier dialogues, about 403 B.C. Ast even refers it
to 407 B.C. when Plato was about twenty-one years of age. I
have already given my reasons for believing that none of the Platonic
dialogues were composed before 399 B.C. The Protagoras
belongs, in my opinion, to Plato's most perfect and mature period.]

[Side-note: Grounds of that doctrine. Their insufficiency.]

The commentators resort to this hypothesis, partly because the
doctrine in question is one which they disapprove--partly
because doctrines inconsistent with it are maintained in other
Platonic dialogues. These are the same two reasons upon which, in
other cases, various dialogues have been rejected as not genuine
works of Plato. The first of the two reasons is plainly irrelevant:
we must accept what Plato gives us, whether we assent to it or not.
The second reason also, I think, proves little. The dialogues are
distinct compositions, written each with its own circumstances and
purpose: we have no right to require that they shall be all
consistent with each other in doctrine, especially when we look to
the long philosophical career of Plato. To suppose that the elaborate
reasoning of Sokrates in the latter portion of the Protagoras is mere
irony, intended to mystify both Protagoras himself and all the
by-standers, who accept it as earnest and convincing--appears to me far
less reasonable than the admission, that the dialectic pleading
ascribed to Sokrates in one dialogue is inconsistent with that
assigned to him in another.

[Side-note: Subject is professedly still left unsettled at the
close of the dialogue.]

Though there is every mark of seriousness, and no mark of irony, in
this reasoning of Sokrates, yet we must remember that he does not
profess to leave the subject settled at the close of the dialogue. On
the contrary, he declares himself to be in a state of puzzle and
perplexity. The question, proposed at the outset, Whether virtue is
teachable? remains undecided.



CHAPTER XXIV.

GORGIAS.


[Side-note: Persons who debate in the Gorgias. Celebrity of the
historical Gorgias.]

Aristotle, in one of his lost dialogues, made honourable mention of a
Corinthian cultivator, who, on reading the Platonic Gorgias, was
smitten with such vehement admiration, that he abandoned his fields
and his vines, came to Athens forthwith, and committed himself to the
tuition of Plato.[1] How much of reality there may be in this
anecdote, we cannot say: but the Gorgias itself is well calculated to
justify such warm admiration. It opens with a discussion on the
nature and purpose of Rhetoric, but is gradually enlarged so as to
include a comparison of the various schemes of life, and an outline
of positive ethical theory. It is carried on by Sokrates with three
distinct interlocutors--Gorgias, Polus, and Kalliklês; but I must
again remind the reader that all the four are only spokesmen prompted
by Plato himself.[2] It may indeed be considered almost as three
distinct dialogues, connected by a loose thread. The historical
Gorgias, a native of Leontini in Sicily, was the most celebrated of
the Grecian rhetors; an elderly man during Plato's youth. He paid
visits to different cities in all parts of Greece, and gave lessons
in rhetoric to numerous pupils, chiefly young men of ambitious
aspirations.[3]

[Footnote 1: Themistius, Or. xxiii. p. 356, Dindorf. [Greek: O( de\
geôrgo\s o( Kori/nthios tô=| Gorgi/a| xuggeno/menos--ou)k au)tô=|
e)kei/nô| Gorgi/a|, a)lla\ tô=| lo/gô| o(\n Pla/tôn e)/grapsen e)p'
e)le/gchô| tou= sophistou=--au)ti/ka a)phei\s to\n a)/gron kai\ tou\s
a)mpe/lous, Pla/tôni u(pe/thêke tê\n psuchê\n kai\ ta\ e)kei/nou
e)spei/reto kai\ e)phuteu/eto; kai\ ou(=to/s e)stin o(\n tima=|
A)ristote/lês e)n tô=| dialo/gô| tô=| Korinthi/ô|.]]

[Footnote 2: Aristeides, Orat. xlvi. p. 387, Dindorf. [Greek: Ti/s
ga\r ou)k oi)=den, o(/ti kai\ o( Sôkra/tês kai\ o( Kalliklê=s kai\ o(
Gorgi/as kai\ o( Pô=los, pa/nta tau=t' e)sti\ Pla/tôn, pro\s to\
dokou=n au)tô=| tre/pôn tou\s lo/gous?] Though Aristeides asks
reasonably enough, Who is ignorant of this?--the remarks of Stallbaum
and others often imply forgetfulness of it.]

[Footnote 3: Schleiermacher (Einleitung zum Gorgias, vol. iii. p. 22)
is of opinion that Plato composed the Gorgias shortly after returning
from his first voyage to Sicily, 387 B.C.

I shall not contradict this: but I see nothing to prove it. At the
same time, Schleiermacher assumes as certain that Aristophanes in the
Ekklesiazusæ alludes to the doctrines published by Plato in his
Republic (Einleitung zum Gorgias, p. 20). Putting these two
statements together, the Gorgias would be later in date of
composition than the Republic, which I hardly think probable.
However, I do not at all believe that Aristophanes in the
Ekklesiazusæ makes any allusion to the Republic of Plato. Nor shall I
believe, until some evidence is produced, that the Republic was
composed at so early a date as 390 B.C.]

[Side-note: Introductory circumstances of the dialogue.
Polus and Kalliklês.]

Sokrates and Chærephon are described as intending to come to a
rhetorical lecture of Gorgias, but as having been accidentally
detained so as not to arrive until just after it has been finished,
with brilliant success. Kalliklês, however, the host and friend of
Gorgias, promises that the rhetor will readily answer any questions
put by Sokrates; which Gorgias himself confirms, observing at the
same time that no one had asked him any new question for many years
past.[4] Sokrates accordingly asks Gorgias what his profession is?
what it is that he teaches? what is the definition of rhetoric? Not
receiving a satisfactory answer, Sokrates furnishes a definition of
his own: out of which grow two arguments of wide ethical bearing:
carried on by Sokrates, the first against Polus, the second against
Kalliklês. Both these two are represented as voluble speakers, of
confident temper, regarding the acquisition of political power and
oratorical celebrity as the grand objects of life. Polus had even
composed a work on Rhetoric, of which we know nothing: but the tone
of this dialogue would seem to indicate (as far as we can judge from
such evidence) that the style of the work was affected, and the
temper of the author flippant.

[Footnote 4: Plato, Gorg. pp. 447-448 A. The dialogue is supposed to
be carried on in the presence of many persons, seemingly belonging to
the auditory of the lecture which Gorgias has just finished, p. 455
C.]

[Side-note: Purpose of Sokrates in questioning. Conditions of a
good definition.]

Here, as in the other dialogues above noticed, the avowed aim of
Sokrates is--first, to exclude long speaking--next, to get the
question accurately conceived, and answered in an appropriate manner.
Specimens are given of unsuitable and inaccurate answers, which
Sokrates corrects. The conditions of a good definition are made plain
by contrast with bad ones; which either include much more than the
thing defined, or set forth what is accessory and occasional in place
of what is essential and constant. These tentatives and gropings to
find a definition are always instructive, and must have been
especially so in the Platonic age, when logical distinctions had
never yet been made a subject of separate attention or analysis.

[Side-note: Questions about the definition of Rhetoric. It is
the artisan of persuasion.]

About what is Rhetoric as a cognition concerned, Gorgias?
_Gorg._--About words or discourses. _Sokr._--About what
discourses? such as inform sick men how they are to get well?
_Gorg._--No. _Sokr._--It is not about all discourses?
_Gorg._--It makes men competent to speak: of course therefore
also to think, upon the matters on which they speak.[5]
_Sokr._--But the medical and gymnastic arts do this likewise, each
with reference to its respective subject: what then is the difference
between them and Rhetoric? _Gorg._--The difference is, that each
of these other arts tends mainly towards some actual work or
performance, to which the discourses, when required at all, are
subsidiary: but Rhetoric accomplishes every thing by discourses
alone.[6] _Sokr._--But the same may be said about arithmetic,
geometry, and other sciences. How are they distinguished from
Rhetoric? You must tell me upon what matters the discourses with
which Rhetoric is conversant turn; just as you would tell me, if I
asked the like question about arithmetic or astronomy.
_Gorg._--The discourses, with which Rhetoric is conversant, turn upon
the greatest of all human affairs. _Sokr._--But this too, Gorgias,
is indistinct and equivocal. Every man, the physician, the gymnast,
the money-maker, thinks his own object and his own affairs the
greatest of all.[7] _Gorg._--The function of Rhetoric, is to
persuade assembled multitudes, and thus to secure what are in truth
the greatest benefits: freedom to the city, political command to the
speaker.[8] _Sokr._--Rhetoric is then the artisan of persuasion.
Its single purpose is to produce persuasion in the minds of hearers?
_Gorg._--It is so.

[Footnote 5: Plato, Gorgias, p. 449 E. [Greek: Ou)kou=n peri\ ô(=nper
le/gein, kai\ phronei=n? Pô=s ga\r ou)/?]]

[Footnote 6: Plato, Gorgias, p. 450 B-C. [Greek: tê=s r(êtorikê=s
. . . . pa=sa ê( pra=xis kai\ ê( ku/rôsis dia\ lo/gôn e)sti/n . . . .]]

[Footnote 7: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 451-452.]

[Footnote 8: Plato, Gorgias, p. 452 D. [Greek: O(/per e)/sti tê=|
a)lêthei/a| me/giston a)gatho/n, kai\ ai)/tion, a)/ma me\n
e)leutheri/as au)toi=s toi=s a)nthrô/pois, a)/ma de\ tou= a)/llôn
a)/rchein e)n tê=| au(tou= po/lei e(ka/stô|.]]

[Side-note: The Rhetor produces belief without knowledge. Upon
what matters is he competent to advise?]

_Sokr._--But are there not other persons besides the Rhetor, who
produce persuasion? Does not the arithmetical teacher, and every
other teacher, produce persuasion? How does the Rhetor differ
from them? What mode of persuasion does he bring about? Persuasion
about what? _Gorg._--I reply--it is that persuasion which is
brought about in Dikasteries, and other assembled multitudes--and
which relates to just and unjust.[9] _Sokr._--You recognise that
to have learnt and to know any matter, is one thing--to believe it,
is another: that knowledge and belief are different--knowledge being
always true, belief sometimes false? _Gorg._--Yes. _Sokr._--We
must then distinguish two sorts of persuasion: one carrying with
it knowledge--the other belief without knowledge. Which of the two
does the Rhetor bring about? _Gorg._--That which produces belief
without knowledge. He can teach nothing. _Sokr._--Well, then,
Gorgias, on what matters will the Rhetor be competent to advise? When
the people are deliberating about the choice of generals or
physicians, about the construction of docks, about practical
questions of any kind--there will be in each case a special man
informed and competent to teach or give counsel, while the Rhetor is
not competent. Upon what then can the Rhetor advise--upon just and
unjust--nothing else?[10]

[Footnote 9: Plato, Gorgias, p. 454 B.]

[Footnote 10: Plato, Gorgias, p. 455 D.]

[Side-note: The Rhetor can persuade the people upon any matter,
even against the opinion of the special expert. He appears to know,
among the ignorant.]

The Rhetor (says Gorgias) or accomplished public speaker, will give
advice about all the matters that you name, and others besides. He
will persuade the people and carry them along with him, even against
the opinion of the special _Expert_. He will talk more
persuasively than the craftsman about matters of the craftsman's own
business. The power of the Rhetor is thus very great: but he ought to
use it, like all other powers, for just and honest purposes; not to
abuse it for wrong and oppression. If he does the latter, the misdeed
is his own, and not the fault of his teacher, who gave his lessons
with a view that they should be turned to proper use. If a man, who
has learnt the use of arms, employs them to commit murder, this abuse
ought not to be imputed to his master of arms.[11]

[Footnote 11: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 456-457.]

You mean (replies Sokrates) that he, who has learnt Rhetoric from
you, will become competent not to teach, but to persuade the
multitude:--that is, competent among the ignorant. He has acquired an
engine of persuasion; so that he will appear, when addressing the
ignorant, to know more than those who really do know.[12]

[Footnote 12: Plato, Gorgias, p. 459 B. [Greek: Ou)kou=n kai\ peri\
ta\s a)/llas a(pa/sas te/chnas ô(sau/tôs e)/chei o( r(ê/tôr kai\ ê(
r(êtorikê/; au)ta\ me\n ta\ pra/gmata ou)de\n dei= au)tê\n ei)de/nai
o(/pôs e)/chei, mêchanê\n de/ tina peithou=s eu(rêke/nai, ô(/ste
phai/nesthai toi=s ou)k ei)do/si ma=llon ei)de/nai tô=n ei)do/tôn.]]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Gorgias is now made to contradict himself. Polus
takes up the debate with Sokrates.]

Thus far, the conversation is carried on between Sokrates and
Gorgias. But the latter is now made to contradict himself--apparently
rather than really--for the argument whereby Sokrates reduces him to
a contradiction, is not tenable, unless we admit the Platonic
doctrine that the man who has learnt just and unjust, may be relied
on to act as a just man;[13] in other words, that virtue consists in
knowledge.

[Footnote 13: Plato, Gorgias, p. 460 B. [Greek: o( ta\ di/kaia
memathêkô/s, di/kaios]. Aristotle notices this confusion of Sokrates,
who falls into it also in the conversation with Euthydemus, Xenoph.
Memorab. iv. 2, 20, iii. 9, 5.]

[Side-note: Polemical tone of Sokrates. At the instance of
Polus he gives his own definition of rhetoric. It is no art, but an
empirical knack of catering for the immediate pleasure of hearers,
analogous to cookery. It is a branch under the general head
flattery.]

Polus now interferes and takes up the conversation: challenging
Sokrates to furnish what _he_ thinks the proper definition of
Rhetoric. Sokrates obeys, in a tone of pungent polemic. Rhetoric (he
says) is no art at all, but an empirical knack of catering for the
pleasure and favour of hearers; analogous to cookery.[14] It is a
talent falling under the general aptitude called Flattery; possessed
by some bold spirits, who are forward in divining and adapting
themselves to the temper of the public.[15] It is not honourable, but
a mean pursuit, like cookery. It is the shadow or false imitation of
a branch of the political art.[16] In reference both to the body and
the mind, there are two different conditions: one, a condition really
and truly good--the other, good only in fallacious appearance,
and not so in reality. To produce, and to verify, the really good
condition of the body, there are two specially qualified professions,
the gymnast or trainer and the physician: in regard to the mind, the
function of the trainer is performed by the law-giving power, that of
the physician by the judicial power. Law-making, and adjudicating,
are both branches of the political art, and when put together make up
the whole of it. Gymnastic and medicine train and doctor the body
towards its really best condition: law-making and adjudicating do the
same in regard to the mind. To each of the four, there corresponds a
sham counterpart or mimic, a branch under the general head
_flattery_--taking no account of what is really best, but only
of that which is most agreeable for the moment, and by this trick
recommending itself to a fallacious esteem.[17] Thus Cosmetic, or
Ornamental Trickery, is the counterfeit of Gymnastic; and Cookery the
counterfeit of Medicine. Cookery studies only what is immediately
agreeable to the body, without considering whether it be good or
wholesome: and does this moreover, without any truly scientific
process of observation or inference, but simply by an empirical
process of memory or analogy. But Medicine examines, and that too by
scientific method, only what is good and wholesome for the body,
whether agreeable or not. Amidst ignorant men, Cookery slips in as
the counterfeit of medicine; pretending to know what food is
_good_ for the body, while it really knows only what food is
_agreeable_. In like manner, the artifices of ornament dress up
the body to a false appearance of that vigour and symmetry, which
Gymnastics impart to it really and intrinsically.

[Footnote 14: Plato, Gorgias, p. 462 C. [Greek: e)mpeiri/a . . . .
cha/rito/s tinos kai\ ê(donê=s a)pergasi/as]. In the Philêbus (pp.
55-56) Sokrates treats [Greek: i)atrikê\] differently, as falling
short of the idea of [Greek: te/chnê], and coming much nearer to what
is here called [Greek: e)mpeiri/a] or [Greek: stochastikê/].
Asklepiades was displeased with the Thracian Dionysius for calling
[Greek: grammatikê\] by the name of [Greek: e)mpeiri/a] instead of
[Greek: te/chnê]: see Sextus Empiric. adv. Grammat. s. 57-72, p. 615,
Bekk.]

[Footnote 15: Plato, Gorgias, p. 463 A. [Greek: dokei= moi ei)=nai/
ti e)pitê/deuma, techniko\n me\n ou)/, psuchê=s de\ stochastikê=s
kai\ a)ndrei/as kai\ phu/sei deinê=s prosomilei=n toi=s a)nthrô/pois;
kalô= de\ au)tou= e)gô\ to\ kepha/laion _kolakei/an_.]]

[Footnote 16: Plato, Gorgias, p. 463 D. [Greek: politikê=s mori/ou
ei)/dôlon].]

[Footnote 17: Plato, Gorgias, p. 464 C. [Greek: tetta/rôn dê\ tou/tôn
ou)sô=n, kai\ a)ei\ pro\s to\ be/ltiston therapeuousô=n, tô=n me\n
to\ sô=ma, tô=n de\ tê\n psuchê/n, ê( kolakeutikê\ ai)sthome/nê, ou)
gnou=sa le/gô a)lla\ stochasame/nê, te/tracha e(autê\n dianei/masa,
u(podu=sa u(po\ e(/kaston tô=n mori/ôn, prospoiei=tai ei)=nai tou=to
o(/per u(pe/du; kai\ tou= me\n belti/stou ou)de\n phronti/zei, tô=|
de\ a)ei\ ê(di/stô| thêreu/etai tê\n a)/noian kai\ e)xapata=|, ô(/ste
dokei= plei/stou a)xi/a ei)=nai.]]

[Side-note: Distinction between the true arts which aim at the
good of the body and mind--and the counterfeit arts, which pretend to
the same, but in reality aim at immediate pleasure.]

The same analogies hold in regard to the mind. Sophistic is the
shadow or counterfeit of law-giving: Rhetoric, of judging or
adjudicating. The lawgiver and the judge aim at what is good for the
mind: the Sophist and the Rhetor aim at what is agreeable to it. This
distinction between them (continues Sokrates) is true and real:
though it often happens that the Sophist is, both by himself and by
others, confounded with and mistaken for the lawgiver, because he
deals with the same topics and occurrences: and the Rhetor, in the
same manner, is confounded with the judge.[18] The Sophist and the
Rhetor, addressing themselves to the present relish of an
undiscerning public, are enabled to usurp the functions and the
credit of their more severe and far-sighted rivals.

[Footnote 18: Plato, Gorgias, p. 465 C. [Greek: die/stêke me\n ou(/tô
phu/sei; a(/te de\ e)ggu\s o)/ntôn, phu/rontai e)n tô=| au)tô=| kai\
peri\ tau)ta\ sophistai\ kai\ r(ê/tores, kai\ ou)k e)/chousin o(/, ti
chrê/sôntai ou)/te au)toi\ e(autoi=s ou)/te oi( a)/lloi a)/nthrôpoi
tou/tois.]

It seems to me that the persons whom Plato here designates as being
confounded together are, the Sophist with the lawgiver, the Rhetor
with the judge or dikast; which is shown by the allusion, three lines
farther on, to the confusion between the cook and the physician.
Heindorf supposes that the persons designated as being confounded
are, the Sophist with the Rhetor; which I cannot think to be the
meaning of Plato.]

[Side-note: Questions of Polus. Sokrates denies that the
Rhetors have any real power, because they do nothing which they
really wish.]

This is the definition given by Sokrates of Rhetoric and of the
Rhetor. Polus then asks him: You say that Rhetoric is a branch of
Flattery: Do you think that good Rhetors are considered as flatterers
in their respective cities? _Sokr._--I do not think that[19]
they are considered at all. _Polus._--How! not considered? Do
not good Rhetors possess great power in their respective cities?
_Sokr._--No: if you understand the possession of power as a good
thing for the possessor. _Polus._--I do understand it so.
_Sokr._--Then I say that the Rhetors possess nothing beyond the
very minimum of power. _Polus._--How can that be? Do not they,
like despots, kill, impoverish, and expel any one whom they please?
_Sokr._--I admit that both Rhetors and Despots can do what seems
good to themselves, and can bring penalties of death, poverty, or
exile upon others: but I say that nevertheless they have no
power, because they can do nothing which they really wish.[20]

[Footnote 19: Plat. Gorg. p. 466 B. _Polus._ [Greek: A)=r'
ou)=n dokou=si/ soi ô(s ko/lakes e)n tai=s po/lesi phau=loi
nomi/zesthai oi( a)gathoi\ r(ê/tores? . . . . ] _Sokr._ [Greek:
Ou)de\ nomi/zesthai e)/moige dokou=sin.]

The play on words here--for I see nothing else in it--can be
expressed in English as well as in Greek. It has very little
pertinence; because, as a matter of fact, the Rhetors certainly had
considerable importance, whether they deserved it or not. How little
Plato cared to make his comparisons harmonise with the fact, may be
seen by what immediately follows--where he compares the Rhetors to
Despots? and puts in the mouth of Polus the assertion that they kill
or banish any one whom they choose.]

[Footnote 20: Plato, Gorgias, p. 466 E. [Greek: ou)de\n ga\r poiei=n
ô(=n bou/lontai, ô(s e)/pos ei)pei=n; poiei=n me/ntoi o(\, ti a)\n
au)toi=s do/xê| be/ltiston ei)=nai.]]

[Side-note: All men wish for what is good for them. Despots
and Rhetors, when they kill any one, do so because they think it good
for them. If it be really not good, they do not do what they will,
and therefore have no real power.]

That which men wish (Sokrates lays down as a general proposition) is
to obtain good, and to escape evil. Each separate act which they
perform, is performed not with a view to its own special result, but
with a view to these constant and paramount ends. Good things, or
profitable things (for Sokrates alternates the phrases as
equivalent), are wisdom, health, wealth, and other such things. Evil
things are the contraries of these.[21] Many things are in themselves
neither good nor evil, but may become one or the other, according to
circumstances--such as stones, wood, the acts of sitting still or
moving, &c. When we do any of these indifferent acts, it is with
a view to the pursuit of good, or to the avoidance of evil: we do not
wish for the act, we wish for its good or profitable results. We do
every thing for the sake of good: and if the results are really good
or profitable, we accomplish what we wish: if the contrary, not. Now,
Despots and Rhetors, when they kill or banish or impoverish any one,
do so because they think it will be better for them, or
profitable.[22] If it be good for them, they do what they wish: if
evil for them, they do the contrary of what they wish and therefore
have no power.

[Footnote 21: Plato, Gorgias, p. 467 E. [Greek: Ou)kou=n le/geis
ei)=nai a)gatho\n me\n sophi/an te kai\ u(gi/eian kai\ plou=ton kai\
ta)/lla ta\ toiau=ta, kaka\ de\ ta)nanti/a tou/tôn? E)/gôge.]]

[Footnote 22: Plato, Gorgias, p. 468 B-C. [Greek: ou)kou=n kai\
a)pokti/nnumen, ei)/ tin' a)pokti/nnumen, . . . . oi)o/menoi a)/meinon
ei)=nai ê(mi=n tau=ta ê)\ mê/? . . . e(/nek' a)/ra tou= a)gathou=
a(/panta tau=ta poiou=sin oi( poiou=ntes . . . . e)a\n me\n ô)phe/lima
ê)=| tau=ta, boulo/metha pra/ttein au)ta/; blabera\ de\ o)/nta, ou)
boulo/metha. . . . . ta\ ga\r a)gatha\ boulo/metha, ô(=s phê\|s su/],
&c.]

To do evil (continues Sokrates), is the worst thing that can happen
to any one; the evil-doer is the most miserable and pitiable of men.
The person who suffers evil is unfortunate, and is to be pitied; but
much less unfortunate and less to be pitied than the evil-doer. If I
have a concealed dagger in the public market-place, I can kill any
one whom I choose: but this is no good to me, nor is it a proof of
great power, because I shall be forthwith taken up and punished. The
result is not profitable, but hurtful: therefore the act is not
good, nor is the power to do it either good or desirable.[23] It is
sometimes good to kill, banish, or impoverish--sometimes bad. It is
good when you do it justly: bad, when you do it unjustly.[24]

[Footnote 23: Plato, Gorgias, p. 469-470.]

[Footnote 24: Plato, Gorgias, p. 470 C.]

[Side-note: Comparison of Archelaus, usurping despot of
Macedonia--Polus affirms that Archelaus is happy, and that every one
thinks so--Sokrates admits that every one thinks so, but nevertheless
denies it.]

_Polus._--A child can refute such doctrine. You have heard of
Archelaus King of Macedonia. Is he, in your opinion, happy or
miserable? _Sokr._--I do not know: I have never been in his
society. _Polus._--Cannot you tell without that, whether he is
happy or not? _Sokr._--No, certainly not. _Polus._--Then
you will not call even the Great King happy? _Sokr._--No: I do
not know how he stands in respect to education and justice.
_Polus._--What! does all happiness consist in that?
_Sokr._--I say that it does. I maintain that the good and
honourable man or woman is happy: the unjust and wicked,
miserable.[25] _Polus._--Then Archelaus is miserable, according
to your doctrine? _Sokr._--Assuredly, if he is wicked.
_Polus._--Wicked, of course; since he has committed enormous
crimes: but he has obtained complete kingly power in Macedonia. Is
there any Athenian, yourself included, who would not rather be
Archelaus than any other man in Macedonia?[26] _Sokr._--All the
public, with Nikias, Perikles, and the most eminent men among them,
will agree with you in declaring Archelaus to be happy. I alone do
not agree with you. You, like a Rhetor, intend to overwhelm me and
gain your cause, by calling a multitude of witnesses: I shall prove
my case without calling any other witness than yourself.[27] Do you
think that Archelaus would have been a happy man, if he had been
defeated in his conspiracy and punished? _Polus._--Certainly
not: he would then have been very miserable. _Sokr._--Here again
I differ from you: I think that Archelaus, or any other wicked man,
is under all circumstances miserable; but he is less miserable, if
afterwards punished, than he would be if unpunished and
successful.[28] _Polus._--How say you? If a man, unjustly
conspiring to become despot, be captured, subjected to torture,
mutilated, with his eyes burnt out and with many other outrages
inflicted, not only upon himself but upon his wife and children--do
you say that he will be more happy than if he succeeded in his
enterprise, and passed his life in possession of undisputed authority
over his city--envied and extolled as happy, by citizens and
strangers alike?[29] _Sokr._--More happy, I shall not say: for
in both cases he will be miserable; but he will be less miserable on
the former supposition.

[Footnote 25: Plato, Gorgias, p. 470 E.]

[Footnote 26: Plato, Gorgias, p. 471 B-C.]

[Footnote 27: Plato, Gorgias, p. 472 B. [Greek: A)ll' e)gô/ soi ei)=s
ô)\n ou)ch o(mologô=. . . . e)gô\ de\ a)\n mê\ se\ au)to\n e(/na o)/nta
ma/rtura para/schômai o(mologou=nta peri\ ô(=n le/gô, ou)de\n
oi)=mai a)/xion lo/gou pepera/nthai peri\ ô(=n a)\n ê(mi=n o( lo/gos
ê)=|; oi)=mai de\ ou)de\ soi/, e)a\n mê\ e)gô/ soi marturô= ei(=s
ô)\n mo/nos, tou\s d' a)/llous pa/ntas tou/tous chai/rein e)a=|s.]]

[Footnote 28: Plato, Gorgias, p. 473 C.]

[Footnote 29: Plato, Gorgias, p. 473 D.]

[Side-note: Sokrates maintains--1. That it is a greater evil
to do wrong, than to suffer wrong. 2. That if a man has done wrong,
it is better for him to be punished than to remain unpunished.]

_Sokr._--Which of the two is worst: to do wrong, or to suffer
wrong? _Polus._--To suffer wrong. _Sokr._--Which of the two
is the most disgraceful? _Polus._--To do wrong. _Sokr._--If
more ugly and disgraceful, is it not then worse? _Polus._--By no
means. _Sokr._--You do not think then that the good--and the
fine or honourable--are one and the same; nor the bad--and the ugly
or disgraceful? _Polus._--No: certainly not. _Sokr._--How
is this? Are not all fine or honourable things, such as bodies,
colours, figures, voices, pursuits, &c., so denominated from some
common property? Are not fine bodies said to be fine, either from
rendering some useful service, or from affording some pleasure to the
spectator who contemplates them?[30] And are not figures, colours,
voices, laws, sciences, &c., called fine or honourable for the
same reason, either for their agreeableness or their usefulness, or
both? _Polus._--Certainly: your definition of the fine or
honourable, by reference to pleasure, or to good, is satisfactory.
_Sokr._--Of course therefore the ugly or disgraceful must be
defined by the contrary, by reference to pain or to evil?
_Polus._--Doubtless.[31] _Sokr._--If therefore one thing be
finer or more honourable than another, this is because it
surpasses the other either in pleasure, or in profit: if one thing be
more ugly or disgraceful than another, it must surpass that other
either in pain, or in evil? _Polus._--Yes.

[Footnote 30: Plat. Gorg. p. 474 D. [Greek: e)a\n e)n tô=|
theôrei=sthai chai/rein poiê=| tou\s theôrou=ntas?]]

[Footnote 31: Plato, Gorgias, p. 474 E. _Sokr._ [Greek: Kai\
mê\n ta/ ge kata\ tou\s no/mous kai\ ta\ e)pitêdeu/mata, ou) dê/pou
e)kto\s tou/tôn e)sti\ ta\ kala/, tou= ê)\ _ô)phe/lima ei)=nai ê)\
ê(de/a ê)\_ a)mpho/tera.] _Pol._ [Greek: Ou)k e)/moige
dokei=.] _Sokr._ [Greek: Ou)kou=n kai\ tô=n mathêma/tôn ka/llos
ô(sau/tôs?] _Pol._ [Greek: Pa/nu ge; kai\ kalô=s ge nu=n
o(rizei, _ê(donê=| te kai\ a)gathô=|_ o(rizo/menos to\ kalo/n.]
_Sokr._ [Greek: Ou)kou=n to\ ai)schro\n tô=| e)nanti/ô|,
_lu/pê| te kai\ kakô=|_?] _Pol._ [Greek: A)na/gkê.]

A little farther on [Greek: blabê\] is used as equivalent to [Greek:
kako/n]. These words--[Greek: kalo/n, ai)schro/n]--(very difficult to
translate properly) introduce a reference to the feeling or judgment
of spectators, or of an undefined public, not concerned either as
agents or sufferers.]

[Side-note: Sokrates offers proof--Definition of Pulchrum and
Turpe--Proof of the first point.]

_Sokr._--Well, then! what did you say about doing wrong and
suffering wrong? You said that to suffer wrong was the worst of the
two, but to do wrong was the most ugly or disgraceful. Now, if to do
wrong be more disgraceful than to suffer wrong, this must be because
it has a preponderance either of pain or of evil?
_Polus._--Undoubtedly. _Sokr._--Has it a preponderance of pain? Does
the doer of wrong endure more pain than the sufferer?
_Polus._--Certainly not. _Sokr._--Then it must have a preponderance
of evil? _Polus._--Yes. _Sokr._--To do wrong therefore is
worse than to suffer wrong, as well as more disgraceful?
_Polus._--It appears so. _Sokr._--Since therefore it is
both worse and more disgraceful, I was right in affirming that
neither you, nor I, nor any one else, would choose to do wrong in
preference to suffering wrong. _Polus._--So it seems.[32]

[Footnote 32: Plato, Gorgias, p. 475 C-D.]

[Side-note: Proof of the second point.]

_Sokr._--Now let us take the second point--Whether it be the
greatest evil for the wrong-doer to be punished, or whether it be not
a still greater evil for him to remain unpunished. If punished, the
wrong-doer is of course punished justly; and are not all just things
fine or honourable, in so far as they are just? _Polus._--I
think so. _Sokr._--When a man does anything, must there not be
some correlate which suffers; and must it not suffer in a way
corresponding to what the doer does? Thus if any one strikes, there
must also be something stricken: and if he strikes quickly or
violently, there must be something which is stricken quickly or
violently. And so, if any one burns or cuts, there must be something
burnt or cut. As the agent acts, so the patient suffers.
_Polus._--Yes. _Sokr._--Now if a man be punished for wrong
doing, he suffers what is just, and the punisher does what is just?
_Polus._--He does. _Sokr._--You admitted that all just
things were honourable: therefore the agent does what is honourable,
the patient suffers what is honourable.[33] But if honourable, it
must be either agreeable--or good and profitable. In this case,
it is certainly not agreeable: it must therefore be good and
profitable. The wrong-doer therefore, when punished, suffers what is
good and is profited. _Polus._--Yes.[34] _Sokr._--In what
manner is he profited? It is, as I presume, by becoming better in his
mind--by being relieved from badness of mind.
_Polus._--Probably. _Sokr._--Is not this badness of mind the greatest
evil? In regard to wealth, the special badness is poverty: in regard
to the body, it is weakness, sickness, deformity, &c.: in regard
to the mind, it is ignorance, injustice, cowardice, &c. Is not
injustice, and other badness of mind, the most disgraceful of the
three? _Polus._--Decidedly. _Sokr._--If it be most
disgraceful, it must therefore be the worst. _Polus._--How?
_Sokr._--It must (as we before agreed) have the greatest
preponderance either of pain, or of hurt and evil. But the
preponderance is not in pain: for no one will say that the being
unjust and intemperate and ignorant, is more painful than being poor
and sick. The preponderance must therefore be great in hurt and evil.
Mental badness is therefore a greater evil than either poverty, or
disease and bodily deformity. It is the greatest of human evils.
_Polus._--It appears so.[35]

[Footnote 33: See Aristotle, Rhet. i. 9, p. 1366, b. 30, where the
contrary of this opinion is maintained, and maintained with truth.]

[Footnote 34: Plato, Gorgias, p. 476 D-E.]

[Footnote 35: Plato, Gorgias, p. 477 E.]

[Side-note: The criminal labours under a mental distemper,
which though not painful, is a capital evil. Punishment is the only
cure for him. To be punished is best for him.]

_Sokr._--The money-making art is, that which relieves us from
poverty: the medical art, from sickness and weakness: the judicial or
punitory, from injustice and wickedness of mind. Of these three
relieving forces, which is the most honourable? _Polus._--The
last, by far. _Sokr._--If most honourable, it confers either
most pleasure or most profit? _Polus._--Yes. _Sokr._--Now,
to go through medical treatment is not agreeable; but it answers to a
man to undergo the pain, in order to get rid of a great evil, and to
become well. He would be a happier man, if he were never sick: he is
less miserable by undergoing the painful treatment and becoming well,
than if he underwent no treatment and remained sick. Just so the man
who is mentally bad: the happiest man is he who never becomes so; but
if a man has become so, the next best course for him is, to undergo
punishment and to get rid of the evil. The worst lot of all is, that
of him who remains mentally bad, without ever getting rid of
badness.[36]

[Footnote 36: Plato, Gorgias, p. 478 D-E.]

[Side-note: Misery of the Despot who is never punished. If our
friend has done wrong, we ought to get him punished: if our enemy, we
ought to keep him unpunished.]

This last, Polus (continues Sokrates), is the condition of Archelaus,
and of despots and Rhetors generally. They possess power which
enables them, after they have committed injustice, to guard
themselves against being punished: which is just as if a sick man
were to pride himself upon having taken precautions against being
cured. They see the pain of the cure, but they are blind to the
profit of it; they are ignorant how much more miserable it is to have
an unhealthy and unjust mind than an unhealthy body.[37] There is
therefore little use in Rhetoric: for our first object ought to be,
to avoid doing wrong: our next object, if we have done wrong, not to
resist or elude punishment by skilful defence, but to present
ourselves voluntarily and invite it: and if our friends or relatives
have done wrong, far from helping to defend them, we ought ourselves
to accuse them, and to invoke punishment upon them also.[38] On the
other hand, as to our enemy, we ought undoubtedly to take precautions
against suffering any wrong from him ourselves: but if he has done
wrong to others, we ought to do all we can, by word or deed, not to
bring him to punishment, but to prevent him from suffering punishment
or making compensation: so that he may live as long as possible in
impunity.[39] These are the purposes towards which rhetoric is
serviceable. For one who intends to do no wrong, it seems of no great
use.[40]

[Footnote 37: Plato, Gorgias, p. 479 B. [Greek: to\ a)lgeino\n
au)tou= kathora=|n, pro\s de\ to\ ô)phe/limon tuphlô=s e)/chein, kai\
a)gnoei=n o(/sô| a)thliô/tero/n e)sti mê\ u(giou=s sô/matos mê\
u(giei= psuchê=| sunoikei=n, a)lla\ sathra=| kai\ a)di/kô| kai\
a)nosi/ô|.]]

[Footnote 38: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 480 C, 508 B. [Greek: katêgorête/on
ei)/ê kai\ au(tou= kai\ ui(e/os kai\ e(tai/ron, e)a/n ti a)dikê=|],
&c.

Plato might have put this argument into the mouth of Euthyphron as a
reason for indicting his own father on the charge of murder: as I
have already observed in reviewing the Euthyphron, which see above,
vol. i. ch. xi., p. 442.]

[Footnote 39: Plato, Gorgias, p. 481 A. [Greek: e)a\n de\ a)/llon
a)dikê=| o( e)chthro/s, panti\ tro/pô| paraskeuaste/on kai\
pra/ttonta kai\ le/gonta, o(/pôs mê\ dô=| di/kên. . . . e)a/n te
chrusi/on ê(rpakô\s ê)=| polu/, mê\ a)podidô=| tou=to, a)ll' e)/chôn
a)nali/skêtai . . . a)di/kôs kai\ a)the/ôs], &c.]

[Footnote 40: Plato, Gorgias, p. 481.]


* * * * *


This dialogue between Sokrates and Polus exhibits a
representation of Platonic Ethics longer and more continuous
than is usual in the dialogues. I have therefore given a tolerably
copious abridgment of it, and shall now proceed to comment upon its
reasoning.

[Side-note: Argument of Sokrates paradoxical--Doubt expressed
by Kallikles whether he means it seriously.]

The whole tenor of its assumptions, as well as the conclusions in
which it ends, are so repugnant to received opinions, that Polus,
even while compelled to assent, treats it as a paradox: while
Kallikles, who now takes up the argument, begins by asking from
Chærephon--"Is Sokrates really in earnest, or is he only
jesting?"[41] Sokrates himself admits that he stands almost alone. He
has nothing to rely upon, except the consistency of his dialectics--and
the verdict of philosophy.[42] This however is a matter of little
moment, in discussing the truth and value of the reasoning, except in
so far as it involves an appeal to the judgment of the public as a
matter of fact. Plato follows out the train of reasoning--which at
the time presents itself to his mind as conclusive, or at least as
plausible--whether he may agree or disagree with others.

[Footnote 41: Plato, Gorgias, p. 481.]

[Footnote 42: Plato, Gorgias, p. 482.]

[Side-note: Principle laid down by Sokrates--That every one
acts with a view to the attainment of happiness and avoidance of
misery.]

Plato has ranked the Rhetor in the same category as the Despot: a
classification upon which I shall say something presently. But
throughout the part of the dialogue just extracted, he treats the
original question about Rhetoric as part of a much larger ethical
question.[43] Every one (argues Sokrates) wishes for the attainment
of good and for the avoidance of evil. Every one performs each
separate act with a view not to its own immediate end, but to one or
other of these permanent ends. In so far as he attains them, he is
happy: in so far as he either fails in attaining the good, or incurs
the evil, he is unhappy or miserable. The good and honourable man or
woman is happy, the unjust and wicked is miserable. Power acquired or
employed unjustly, is no boon to the possessor: for he does not
thereby obtain what he really wishes, good or happiness; but incurs
the contrary, evil and misery. The man who does wrong is more
miserable than he who suffers wrong: but the most miserable of all is
he who does wrong and then remains unpunished for it.[44]

[Footnote 43: I may be told that this comparison is first made by
Polus (p. 466 C), and that Sokrates only takes it up from him to
comment upon. True, but the speech of Polus is just as much the
composition of Plato as that of Sokrates. Many readers of Plato are
apt to forget this.]

[Footnote 44: Isokrates, in his Panathenaic Oration (Or. xii. sect.
126, pp. 257-347), alludes to the same thesis as this here advanced
by Plato, treating it as one which all men of sense would reject, and
which none but a few men pretending to be wise would
proclaim--[Greek: a(/per a(/pantes me\n a)\n oi( nou=n e)/chontes
e)/lointo kai\ boulêthei=en, o)li/goi de/ tines tô=n prospoioume/nôn
ei)=nai sophô=n, e)rôtêthe/ntes ou)k a)\n phê/saien.]

In this last phrase Isokrates probably has Plato in his mind, though
without pronouncing the name.]

Polus, on the other hand, contends, that Archelaus, who has "waded
through slaughter" to the throne of Macedonia, is a happy man both in
his own feelings and in those of every one else, envied and admired
by the world generally: That to say--Archelaus would have been more
happy, or less miserable, if he had failed in his enterprise and had
been put to death under cruel torture--is an untenable paradox.

[Side-note: Peculiar view taken by Plato of Good--Evil--Happiness.]

The issue here turns, and the force of Plato's argument rests
(assuming Sokrates to speak the real sentiments of Plato), upon
the peculiar sense which he gives to the words
Good--Evil--Happiness:--different from the sense in which they are
conceived by mankind generally, and which is here followed by Polus.
It is possible that to minds like Sokrates and Plato, the idea of
themselves committing enormous crimes for ambitious purposes might be
the most intolerable of all ideas, worse to contemplate than any amount of
suffering: moreover, that if they could conceive themselves as having been
thus guilty, the sequel the least intolerable for them to imagine would
be one of expiatory pain. This, taken as the personal sentiment of
Plato, admits of no reply. But when he attempts to convert this
subjective judgment into an objective conclusion binding on all, he
fails of success, and misleads himself by equivocal language.

[Side-note: Contrast of the usual meaning of these words, with
the Platonic meaning.]

Plato distinguishes two general objects of human desire, and two of
human aversion. 1. The immediate, and generally transient,
object--Pleasure or the Pleasurable--Pain or the Painful. 2. The distant,
ulterior, and more permanent object--Good or the profitable--Evil or
the hurtful.--In the attainment of Good and avoidance of Evil
consists happiness. But now comes the important question--In what
sense are we to understand the words Good and Evil? What did
Plato mean by them? Did he mean the same as mankind generally? Have
mankind generally one uniform meaning? In answer to this question, we
must say, that neither Plato, nor mankind generally, are consistent
or unanimous in their use of the words: and that Plato sometimes
approximates to, sometimes diverges from, the more usual meaning.
Plato does not here tell us clearly what he himself means by Good and
Evil: he specifies no objective or external mark by which we may know
it: we learn only, that Good is a mental perfection--Evil a mental
taint--answering to indescribable but characteristic sentiments in
Plato's own mind, and only negatively determined by this
circumstance--That they have no reference either to pleasure or pain.
In the vulgar sense, Good stands distinguished from pleasure (or
relief from pain), and Evil from pain (or loss of pleasure), as the
remote, the causal, the lasting from the present, the product, the
transient. Good and Evil are explained by enumerating all the things
so called, of which enumeration Plato gives a partial specimen in
this dialogue: elsewhere he dwells upon what he calls the Idea of
Good, of which I shall speak more fully hereafter. Having said that
all men aim at good, he gives, as examples of good things--Wisdom,
Health, Wealth, and other such things: while the contrary of these,
Stupidity, Sickness, Poverty, are evil things: the list of course
might be much enlarged. Taking Good and Evil generally to denote the
common property of each of these lists, it is true that men perform a
large portion of their acts with a view to attain the former and
avoid the latter:--that the approach which they make to happiness
depends, speaking generally, upon the success which attends their
exertions for the attainment of and avoidance of these permanent
ends: and moreover that these ends have their ultimate reference to
each man's own feelings.

But this meaning of Good is no longer preserved, when Sokrates
proceeds to prove that the triumphant usurper Archelaus is the most
miserable of men, and that to do wrong with impunity is the greatest
of all evils.

[Side-note: Examination of the proof given by Sokrates--Inconsistency
between the general answer of Polus and his previous
declarations--Law and Nature.]

Sokrates provides a basis for his intended proof by asking Polus,[45]
which of the two is most disgraceful--To do wrong--or to suffer
wrong? Polus answers--To do wrong: and this answer is
inconsistent with what he had previously said about Archelaus. That
prince, though a wrong-doer on the largest scale, has been declared
by Polus to be an object of his supreme envy and admiration: while
Sokrates also admits that this is the sentiment of almost all
mankind, except himself. To be consistent with such an assertion,
Polus ought to have answered the contrary of what he does answer,
when the general question is afterwards put to him: or at least he
ought to have said--"Sometimes the one, sometimes the other". But
this he is ashamed to do, as we shall find Kallikles intimating at a
subsequent stage of the dialogue:[46] because of King Nomos, or the
established habit of the community--who feel that society rests upon
a sentiment of reciprocal right and obligation animating every one,
and require that violations of that sentiment shall be marked with
censure in general words, however widely the critical feeling may
depart from such censure in particular cases.[47] Polus is forced to
make profession of a faith, which neither he nor others (except
Sokrates with a few companions) universally or consistently apply. To
bring such a force to bear upon the opponent, was one of the known
artifices of dialecticians:[48] and Sokrates makes it his point of
departure, to prove the unparalleled misery of Archelaus.

[Footnote 45: Plat. Gorg. p. 474 C.]

[Footnote 46: Plat. Gorg. p. 482 C. To maintain that [Greek: to\
a)dikei=n be/ltion tou= a)dikei=sthai] was an [Greek: a)/doxos
u(po/thesis]--one which it was [Greek: chei/ronos ê)/thous
e(le/sthai]: which therefore Aristotle advises the dialectician not
to defend (Aristot. Topic. viii. 156, 6-15).]

[Footnote 47: This portion of the Gorgias may receive illustration
from the third chapter (pp. 99-101) of Adam Smith's Theory of Moral
Sentiments, entitled, "Of the corruption of our moral sentiments,
which is occasioned by the disposition to admire the rich and great,
and to neglect or despise persons of poor and mean condition". He
says--"The disposition to admire and almost to worship the rich and
the powerful, and to despise, or at least to neglect, persons of poor
and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and maintain
the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same
time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our
moral sentiments. . . . They are the wise and the virtuous chiefly--a
select, though I am afraid, a small party--who are the real and
steady admirers of wisdom and virtue. The great mob of mankind are
the admirers and worshippers--and what may seem more extraordinary,
most frequently the disinterested admirers and worshippers--of wealth
and greatness. . . . . It is scarce _agreeable to good morals_, or
even to good language, perhaps, to say that mere wealth and
greatness, abstracted from merit and virtue, deserve our respect. We
must acknowledge, however, that they _almost constantly obtain
it_: and _that they may therefore in a certain sense be
considered as the natural objects of it_."

Now Archelaus is a most conspicuous example of this disposition of
the mass of mankind to worship and admire, disinterestedly, power and
greatness: and the language used by Adam Smith in the last sentence
illustrates the conversation of Sokrates, Polus, and Kalliklês. Adam
Smith admits that energetic proceedings, ending in great power, such
as those of Archelaus, obtain honour and worship from the vast
majority of disinterested spectators: and that, therefore they are in
a certain sense the _natural objects_ of such a sentiment
([Greek: kata\ phu/sin]). But if the question be put to him, Whether
such proceedings, with such a position, are _worthy of honour_,
he is constrained by good morals ([Greek: kata\ no/mon]) to reply in
the negative. It is true that Adam Smith numbers himself with the
small minority, while Polus shares the opinion of the large majority.
But what is required by King Nomos must be professed even by
dissentients, unless they possess the unbending resolution of
Sokrates.]

[Footnote 48: Aristot. De Soph. Elench. pp. 172-173, where he
contrasts the opinions which men must make a show of holding, with
those which they really do--[Greek: ai( phanerai\ do/xai--ai(
a)phanei=s, a)pokekrumme/nai, do/xai.]]

[Side-note: The definition of Pulchrum and Turpe, given by
Sokrates, will not hold.]

He proceeds to define Pulchrum and Turpe ([Greek:
kalo\n-ai)schro/n]). When we recollect the Hippias Major, in which
dialogue many definitions of Pulchrum were canvassed and all rejected,
so that the search ended in total disappointment--we are surprised to
see that Sokrates hits off at once a definition satisfactory both to
himself and Polus: and we are the more surprised, because the
definition here admitted without a remark, is in substance one of
those shown to be untenable in the Hippias Major.[49] It depends upon
the actual argumentative purpose which Plato has in hand, whether he
chooses to multiply objections and give them effect--or to ignore
them altogether. But the definition which he here proposes, even if
assumed as incontestable, fails altogether to sustain the conclusion
that he draws from it. He defines Pulchrum to be that which either
confers pleasure upon the spectator when he contemplates it, or
produces ulterior profit or good--we must presume profit to the
spectator, or to him along with others--at any rate it is not said
_to whom_. He next defines the ugly and disgraceful ([Greek: to\
ai)schro\n]) as comprehending both the painful and the hurtful or
evil. If then (he argues) to do wrong is more ugly and disgraceful
than to suffer wrong, this must be either because it is more painful--or
because it is more hurtful, more evil (worse). It certainly is
not more painful: therefore it must be worse.

[Footnote 49: Plat. Hipp. Maj. pp. 45-46. See above, vol. ii. ch.
xiii.]

[Side-note: Worse or better--for whom? The argument of
Sokrates does not specify. If understood in the sense necessary for
his inference, the definition would be inadmissible.]

But worse, for whom? For the spectators, who declare the proceedings
of Archelaus to be disgraceful? For the persons who suffer by his
proceedings? Or for Archelaus himself? It is the last of the three
which Sokrates undertakes to prove: but his definition does not
help him to the proof. Turpe is defined to be either what causes
immediate pain to the spectator, or ulterior hurt--to whom? If we say
to the spectator--the definition will not serve as a ground of
inference to the condition of the agent contemplated. If on the other
hand, we say--to the agent--the definition so understood becomes
inadmissible: as well for other reasons, as because there are a great
many Turpia which are not agents at all, and which the definition
therefore would not include. Either therefore the definition given by
Sokrates is a bad one--or it will not sustain his conclusion. And
thus, on this very important argument, where Sokrates admits that he
stands alone, and where therefore the proof would need to be doubly
cogent--an argument too where the great cause (so Adam Smith terms
it) of the corruption of men's moral sentiments has to be
combated--Sokrates has nothing to produce except premisses alike
far-fetched and irrelevant. What increases our regret is, that the real
arguments establishing the turpitude of Archelaus and his acts are obvious
enough, if you look for them in the right direction. You discover
nothing while your eye is fixed on Archelaus himself: far from
presenting any indications of misery, which Sokrates professes to
discover, he has gained much of what men admire as good wherever they
see it. But when you turn to the persons whom he has killed,
banished, or ruined--to the mass of suffering which he has inflicted--and
to the widespread insecurity which such acts of successful
iniquity spread through all societies where they become known--there
is no lack of argument to justify that sentiment which prompts a
reflecting spectator to brand him as a disgraceful man. This argument
however is here altogether neglected by Plato. Here, as elsewhere, he
looks only at the self-regarding side of Ethics.

[Side-note: Plato applies to every one a standard of happiness
and misery peculiar to himself. His view about the conduct of
Archelaus is just, but he does not give the true reasons for it.]

Sokrates proceeds next to prove--That the wrong-doer who remains
unpunished is more miserable than if he were punished. The wrong-doer
(he argues) when punished suffers what is just: but all just things
are honourable: therefore he suffers what is honourable. But all
honourable things are so called because they are either agreeable, or
profitable, or both together. Punishment is certainly not agreeable:
it must therefore be profitable or good. Accordingly the
wrong-doer when justly punished suffers what is profitable or good. He
is benefited, by being relieved of mental evil or wickedness, which is
a worse evil than either bodily sickness or poverty. In proportion to
the magnitude of this evil, is the value of the relief which removes
it, and the superior misery of the unpunished wrong-doer who
continues to live under it.[50]

[Footnote 50: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 477-478.]

Upon this argument, I make the same remark as upon that immediately
preceding. We are not expressly told, whether good, evil, happiness,
misery, &c., refer to the agent alone or to others also: but the
general tenor implies that the agent alone is meant. And in this
sense, Plato does not make out his case. He establishes an arbitrary
standard of his own, recognised only by a few followers, and
altogether differing from the ordinary standard, to test and compare
happiness and misery. The successful criminal, Archelaus himself, far
from feeling any such intense misery as Plato describes, is satisfied
and proud of his position, which most others also account an object
of envy. This is not disputed by Plato himself. And in the face of
this fact, it is fruitless as well as illogical to attempt to prove,
by an elaborate process of deductive reasoning, that Archelaus
_must_ be miserable. That step of Plato's reasoning, in which he
asserts, that the wrong-doer when justly punished suffers what is
profitable or good--is only true if you take in (what Plato omits to
mention) the interests of society as well as those of the agent. His
punishment is certainly profitable to (conducive to the security and
well being of) society: it may possibly be also profitable to
himself, but very frequently it is not so. The conclusion brought out
by Plato, therefore, while contradicted by the fact, involves also a
fallacy in the reasoning process.

[Side-note: If the reasoning of Plato were true, the point of
view in which punishment is considered would be reversed.]

Throughout the whole of this dialogue, Plato intimates decidedly how
great a paradox the doctrine maintained by Sokrates must appear: how
diametrically it was opposed to the opinion not merely of the less
informed multitude, but of the wiser and more reflecting citizen--even
such a man as Nikias. Indeed it is literally exact--what
Plato here puts into the mouth of Kallikles--that if the doctrine
here advocated by Sokrates were true, the whole of social life would
be turned upside down.[51] If, for example, it were true, as Plato
contends,--That every man who commits a crime, takes upon him thereby
a terrible and lasting distemper, incurable except by the application
of punishment, which is the specific remedy in the case--every theory
of punishment would, literally speaking, be turned upside down. The
great discouragement from crime would then consist in the fear of
that formidable distemper with which the criminal was sure to
inoculate himself: and punishment, instead of being (as it is now
considered, and as Plato himself represents it in the Protagoras) the
great discouragement to the commission of crime, would operate in the
contrary direction. It would be the means of removing or impairing
the great real discouragement to crime: and a wise legislator would
hesitate to inflict it. This would be nothing less than a reversal of
the most universally accepted political or social precepts (as
Kallikles is made to express himself).

[Footnote 51: Plato, Gorg. p. 481 C. _Kall._--[Greek: ei) me\n
ga\r spouda/zeis te kai\ tugcha/nei tau=ta a)lêthê= o)/nta a(\
le/geis, a)/llo ti ê)\ ê(mô=n o( bi/os a)natetramme/nos a)\n ei)/ê
tô=n a)nthrô/pôn, kai\ pa/nta ta\ e)nanti/a pra/ttomen, ê)\ a(\
dei=?]]

[Side-note: Plato pushes too far the analogy between mental
distemper and bodily distemper--Material difference between the
two--Distemper must be felt by the distempered persons.]

It will indeed be at once seen, that the taint or distemper with
which Archelaus is supposed to inoculate himself, when he commits
signal crime--is a pure fancy or poetical metaphor on the part of
Plato himself.[52] A distemper must imply something painful,
enfeebling, disabling, to the individual who feels it: there is no
other meaning: we cannot recognise a distemper, which does not make
itself felt in any way by the distempered person. Plato is misled by
his ever-repeated analogy between bodily health and mental health:
real, on some points--not real on others. When a man is in bad bodily
health, his sensations warn him of it at once. He suffers pain,
discomfort, or disabilities, which leave no doubt as to the
fact: though he may not know either the precise cause, or the
appropriate remedy. Conversely, in the absence of any such warnings,
and in the presence of certain positive sensations, he knows himself
to be in tolerable or good health. If Sokrates and Archelaus were
both in good bodily health, or both in bad bodily health, each would
be made aware of the fact by analogous evidences. But by what measure
are we to determine _when_ a man is in a good or bad mental
state? By his own feelings? In that case, Archelaus and Sokrates are
in a mental state equally good: each is satisfied with his own. By
the judgment of by-standers? Archelaus will then be the better of the
two: at least his admirers and enviers will outnumber those of
Sokrates. By my judgment? If my opinion is asked, I agree with
Sokrates: though not on the grounds which he here urges, but on other
grounds. Who is to be the ultimate referee--the interests or security
of other persons, who have suffered or are likely to suffer by
Archelaus, being by the supposition left out of view?

[Footnote 52: The disposition of Plato to build argument on a
metaphor is often shown. Aristotle remarks it of him in respect to
his theory of Ideas; and Aristotle in his Topica gives several
precepts in regard to the general tendency--precepts enjoining
disputants to be on their guard against it in dialectic discussion
(Topica, iv. 123, a. 33, vi. 139-140)--[Greek: pa=n ga\r a)saphe\s
to\ kata\ metaphora\n lego/menon], &c.]

Polus is now dismissed as vanquished, after having been forced,
against his will, to concede--That the doer of wrong is more
miserable than the sufferer: That he is more miserable, if
unpunished,--less so, if punished: That a triumphant criminal on a
great scale, like Archelaus, is the most miserable of men.

[Side-note: Kallikles begins to argue against Sokrates--he
takes a distinction between Just by Law and Just by nature--Reply of
Sokrates, that there is no variance between the two, properly
understood.]

Here, then, we commence with Kallikles: who interposes, to take up
the debate with Sokrates. Polus (says Kallikles), from deference to
the opinions of mankind, has erroneously conceded the point--That it
is more disgraceful to do wrong, than to suffer wrong. This is indeed
true (continues Kallikles), according to what is just by law or
convention, that is, according to the general sentiment of mankind:
but it is not true, according to justice by nature, or natural
justice. Nature and Law are here opposed.[53] The justice of Nature
is, that among men (as among other animals) the strong individual
should govern and strip the weak, taking and keeping as much as he
can grasp. But this justice will not suit the weak, who are the
many, and who defeat it by establishing a different justice--justice
according to law--to curb the strong man, and prevent him from having
more than his fair share.[54] The many, feeling their own weakness,
and thankful if they can only secure a fair and equal division, make
laws and turn the current of praise and blame for their own
protection, in order to deter the strong man from that encroachment
and oppression to which he is disposed. _The just according to
law_ is thus a tutelary institution, established by the weak to
defend themselves against _the just according to nature_. Nature
measures right by might, and by nothing else: so that according to
the right of nature, suffering wrong is more disgraceful than doing
wrong. Hêraklês takes from Geryon his cattle, by the right of nature
or of the strongest, without either sale or gift.[55]

[Footnote 53: Plato, Gorgias, p. 482 E. [Greek: ô(s ta\ polla\ de\
tau=ta e)nanti/a a)llê/lois e)sti/n, ê(/ te phu/sis kai\ o(
no/mos.]]

[Footnote 54: Plato, Gorgias, p. 483 B. [Greek: a)ll', oi)=mai, oi(
tithe/menoi tou\s no/mous oi( a)sthenei=s a)/nthrôpoi/ ei)si kai\ oi(
polloi\. Pro\s au(tou\s ou)=n kai\ to\ au)toi=s sumphe/ron tou/s te
no/mous ti/thentai kai\ tou\s e)pai/nous e)painou=si kai\ tou\s
pso/gous pse/gousin, e)kphobou=nte/s te tou\s e)r)r(ômeneste/rous
tô=n a)nthrô/pôn kai\ dunatou\s o)/ntas ple/on e)/chein, i(/na mê\
au)tô=n ple/on e)/chôsin, le/gousin ô(s ai)schro\n kai\ a)/dikon to\
pleonektei=n, kai\ tou=to e)sti to\ a)dikei=n, to\ zêtei=n tô=n
a)/llôn ple/on e)/chein; a)gapô=si ga/r, oi)=mai, au)toi\ a)\n to\
i)/son e)/chôsi phaulo/teroi o)/ntes.]]

[Footnote 55: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 484-488.]

But (rejoins Sokrates) the many are by nature stronger than the one;
since, as you yourself say, they make and enforce laws to restrain
him and defeat his projects. Therefore, since the many are the
strongest, the right which they establish is the right of (or by)
nature. And the many, as you admit, declare themselves in favour of
the answer given by Polus--That to do wrong is more disgraceful than
to suffer wrong.[56] Right by nature, and right by institution,
sanction it alike.

[Footnote 56: Plato, Gorgias, p. 488 D-E.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: What Kalliklês says is not to be taken as a sample
of the teachings of Athenian sophists. Kalliklês--rhetor and
politician.]

Several commentators have contended, that the doctrine which Plato
here puts into the mouth of Kalliklês was taught by the Sophists at
Athens: who are said to have inculcated on their hearers that true
wisdom and morality consisted in acting upon the right of the
strongest and taking whatever they could get, without any regard to
law or justice. I have already endeavoured to show, in my
History of Greece, that the Sophists cannot be shown to have taught
either this doctrine, or any other common doctrine: that one at least
among them (Prodikus) taught a doctrine inconsistent with it: and
that while all of them agreed in trying to impart rhetorical
accomplishments, or the power of handling political, ethical,
judicial, matters in a manner suitable for the Athenian public--each
had his own way of doing this. Kalliklês is not presented by Plato as
a Sophist, but as a Rhetor aspiring to active political influence;
and taking a small dose of philosophy, among the preparations for
that end.[57] He depreciates the Sophists as much as the
philosophers, and in fact rather more.[58] Moreover Plato represents
him as adapting himself, with accommodating subservience, to the
Athenian public assembly, and saying or unsaying exactly as they
manifested their opinion.[59] Now the Athenian public assembly would
repudiate indignantly all this pretended right of the strongest, if
any orator thought fit to put it forward as over-ruling established
right and law. Any aspiring or subservient orator, such as Kalliklês
is described, would know better than to address them in this strain.
The language which Plato puts into the mouth of Kalliklês is noway
consistent with the attribute which he also ascribes to him--slavish
deference to the judgments of the Athenian Dêmos.

[Footnote 57: Plato, Gorgias, p. 487 C, 485.]

[Footnote 58: Plato, Gorgias, p. 520 A.]

[Footnote 59: Plato, Gorgias, p. 481-482.]

[Side-note: Uncertainty of referring to Nature as an
authority. It may be pleaded in favour of opposite theories. The
theory of Kalliklês is made to appear repulsive by the language in
which he expresses it.]

Kalliklês is made to speak like one who sympathises with the right of
the strongest, and who decorates such iniquity with the name and
authority of that which he calls Nature. But this only shows the
uncertainty of referring to Nature as an authority.[60] It may be
pleaded in favour of different and opposite theories. Nature prompts
the strong man to take from weaker men what will gratify his desires:
Nature also prompts these weaker men to defeat him and protect
themselves by the best means in their power. The many are
weaker, taken individually--stronger taken collectively: hence they
resort to defensive combination, established rules, and collective
authority.[61] The right created on one side, and the opposite right
created on the other, flow alike from Nature: that is, from
propensities and principles natural, and deeply seated, in the human
mind. The authority of Nature, considered as an enunciation of actual
and wide-spread facts, may be pleaded for both alike. But a man's
sympathy and approbation may go either with the one or the other; and
he may choose to stamp that which he approves, with the name of
Nature as a personified law-maker. This is what is here done by
Kalliklês as Plato exhibits him.[62] He sympathises with, and
approves, the powerful individual. Now the greater portion of mankind
are, and always have been, governed upon this despotic principle, and
brought up to respect it: while many, even of those who dislike
Kalliklês because they regard him as the representative of
Athenian democracy (to which however his proclaimed sentiments stand
pointedly opposed), when they come across a great man or so-called
hero, such as Alexander or Napoleon, applaud the most exorbitant
ambition if successful, and if accompanied by military genius and
energy--regarding communities as made for little else except to serve
as his instruments, subjects, and worshippers. Such are represented
as the sympathies of Kalliklês: but those of the Athenians went with
the second of the two rights--and mine go with it also. And though
the language which Plato puts into the mouth of Kalliklês, in
describing this second right, abounds in contemptuous rhetoric,
proclaiming offensively the individual weakness of the multitude[63]--yet
this very fact is at once the most solid and most respectable
foundation on which rights and obligations can be based. The
establishment of them is indispensable, and is felt as indispensable,
to procure security for the community: whereby the strong man whom
Kalliklês extols as the favourite of Nature, may be tamed by
discipline and censure, so as to accommodate his own behaviour to
this equitable arrangement.[64] Plato himself, in his Republic,[65]
traces the generation of a city to the fact that each man
individually taken is not self-sufficing, but stands in need of many
things: it is no less true, that each man stands also in fear of many
things, especially of depredations from animals, and depredations
from powerful individuals of his own species. In the mythe of
Protagoras,[66] we have fears from hostile animals--in the speech
here ascribed to Kalliklês, we have fears from hostile strong
men--assigned as the generating cause, both of political communion and
of established rights and obligations to protect it.

[Footnote 60: Aristotle (Sophist. Elench. 12, p. 173, a. 10) makes
allusion to this argument of Kalliklês in the Gorgias, and notices it
as a frequent point made by disputants in Dialectics--to insist on
the contradiction between the Just according to Nature and the Just
according to Law: which contradiction (Aristotle says) all the
ancients recognised as a real one ([Greek: oi( a)rchai=oi pa/ntes
ô)/|onto sumbai/nein]). It was doubtless a point on which the
Dialectician might find much to say on either side.]

[Footnote 61: In the conversation between Sokrates and Kritobulus,
one of the best in Xenophon's Memorabilia (ii. 6, 21), respecting the
conditions on which friendship depends, we find Sokrates clearly
stating that the causes of friendship and the causes of enmity,
though different and opposite, nevertheless both exist _by
nature_. [Greek: A)ll' e)/chei me/n, e)/phê o( Sôkra/tês,
poiki/lôs pôs tau=ta: Phu/sei ga\r e)/chousin oi( a)/nthrôpoi ta\
me\n philika/--de/ontai/ te ga\r a)llê/lôn, kai\ e)leou=si, kai\
sunergou=ntes ô)phelou=ntai, kai\ tou=to sunie/ntes cha/rin
e)/chousin a)llê/lois--ta\ de\ polemika/--ta/ te ga\r au)ta\ kala\
kai\ ê(de/a nomi/zontes u(pe\r tou/tôn ma/chontai kai\
dichognômonou=ntes e)nantiou=ntai; polemiko\n de\ kai\ e)/ris kai\
o)rgê/, kai\ dusmene\s me\n o( tou= pleonektei=n e)/rôs, misêto\n de\
o( phtho/nos. A)ll' o(/môs dia\ tou/tôn pa/ntôn ê( phili/a
diaduome/nê suna/ptei tou\s kalou/s te ka)gathou/s], &c.

We read in the speech of Hermokrates the Syracusan, at the congress
of Gela in Sicily, when exhorting the Sicilians to unite for the
purpose of repelling the ambitious schemes of Athens, Thucyd. iv. 61:
[Greek: kai\ tou\s me\n A)thênai/ous tau=ta pleonektei=n te kai\
pronoei=sthai pollê\ xuggnô/mê, kai\ ou) toi=s a)/rchein boulome/nois
me/mphomai a)lla\ toi=s u(pakou/ein e(toimote/rois ou)=si; _
pe/phuke ga\r to\ a)nthrô/peion dia\ panto\s a)/rchein me\n tou=
ei)/kontos, phula/ssesthai de\ to\ e)pio/n_. o(/soi de\
gignô/skontes au)ta\ mê\ o)rthô=s proskopou=men, mêde\ tou=to/ tis
presbu/taton ê(/kei kri/nas, to\ koinô=s phobero\n a(/pantas eu)=
the/sthai, a(marta/nomen.] A like sentiment is pronounced by the
Athenian envoys in their debate with the Melians, Thuc. v. 105:
[Greek: ê(gou/metha ga\r to/ te thei=on do/xê|, to\ a)nthrô/peio/n te
saphô=s dia\ panto/s, u(po\ _phu/seôs a)nagkai/as_, ou)= a)\n
kratê=|, a)/rchein.] Some of the Platonic critics would have us
believe that this last-cited sentiment emanates from the corrupt
teaching of Athenian Sophists: but Hermokrates the Syracusan had
nothing to do with Athenian Sophists.]

[Footnote 62: Respecting the vague and indeterminate phrases--Natural
Justice, Natural Right, Law of Nature--see Mr. Austin's Province of
Jurisprudence Determined, p. 160, ed. 2nd. [Jurisp., 4th ed, pp. 179,
591-2], and Sir H. S. Maine's Ancient Law, chapters iii. and iv.

Among the assertions made about the Athenian Sophists, it is said by
some commentators that they denied altogether any Just or Unjust by
_nature_--that they recognised no Just or Unjust, except by
_law or convention_.

To say that the _Sophists_ (speaking of them collectively)
either affirmed or denied anything, is, in my judgment, incorrect.
Certain persons are alluded to by Plato (Theætêt. 172 B) as adopting
partially the doctrine of Protagoras (_Homo Mensura_) and as
denying altogether the Just by _nature_.

In another Platonic passage (Protagor. 337) which is also cited as
contributing to prove that the Sophists denied [Greek: to\ di/kaion
phu/sei]--nothing at all is said about [Greek: to\ di/kaion]. Hippias
the Sophist is there introduced as endeavouring to appease the angry
feeling between Protagoras and Sokrates by reminding them, "I am of
opinion that we all (_i.e._ men of literature and study) are
kinsmen, friends, and fellow-citizens by _nature_ though not by
_law_: for law, the despot of mankind, carries many things by
force, contrary to nature". The remark is very appropriate from one
who is trying to restore good feeling between literary disputants:
and the cosmopolitan character of literature is now so familiar a
theme, that I am surprised to find Heindorf (in his note) making it
an occasion for throwing the usual censure upon the Sophist, because
some of them distinguished Nature from the Laws, and despised the
latter in comparison with the former.

Kalliklês here, in the Gorgias, maintains an opinion not only
different from, but inconsistent with, the opinion alluded to above
in the Theætêtus, 172 B. The persons noticed in the Theætêtus
said--There is no Natural Justice: no Justice, except Justice by Law.
Kalliklês says--There is a Natural Justice quite distinct from (and
which he esteems more than) Justice by Law: he then explains what he
believes Natural Justice to be--That the strong man should take what
he pleases from the weak.

Though these two opinions are really inconsistent with each other,
yet we see Plato in the Leges (x. 889 E, 890 A) alluding to them both
as the same creed, held and defended by the same men; whom he
denounces with extreme acrimony. Who they were, he does not name; he
does not mention [Greek: sophistai/], but calls them [Greek: a)ndrô=n
sophô=n, i)diôtô=n te kai\ poiêtô=n].

We see, in the third chapter of Sir H. S. Maine's excellent work on
Ancient Law, the meaning of these phrases--Natural Justice, Law of
Nature. It designated or included "a set of legal principles entitled
to supersede the existing laws, on the ground of intrinsic
superiority". It denoted an ideal condition of society, supposed to
be much better than what actually prevailed. This at least seems to
have been the meaning which began to attach to it in the time of
Plato and Aristotle. What this ideal perfection of human society was,
varied in the minds of different speakers. In each speaker's mind the
word and sentiment was much the same, though the objects to which it
attached were often different. Empedokles proclaims in solemn and
emphatic language that the Law of Nature peremptorily forbids us to
kill any animal. (Aristot. Rhetor. i. 13, 1373 b. 15.) Plato makes
out to his own satisfaction, that his Republic is thoroughly in
harmony with the Law of Nature: and he insists especially on this
harmony, in the very point which even the Platonic critics admit to
be wrong--that is, in regard to the training of women and the
relations of the sexes (Republic, v. 456 C, 466 D). We learn from
Plato himself that the propositions of the Republic were thoroughly
adverse to what other persons reverenced as the Law of Nature.

In the notes of Beck and Heindorf on Protagor. p. 337 we read,
"Hippias præ cæteris Sophistis contempsit leges, iisque opposuit
Naturam. Naturam legibus plures certé Sophistarum opposuisse, easque
præ illâ contempsisse, multis veterum locis constat." Now this
allegation is more applicable to Plato than to the Sophists. Plato
speaks with the most unmeasured contempt of existing communities and
their laws: the scheme of his Republic, radically departing from them
as it does, shows what he considered as required by the exigencies of
human nature. Both the Stoics and the Epikureans extolled what they
called the Law of Nature above any laws actually existing.

The other charge made against the Sophists (quite opposite, yet
sometimes advanced by the same critics) is, that they recognised no
Just by Nature, but only Just by Law: _i.e._ all the actual laws
and customs considered as binding in each different community. This
is what Plato ascribes to some persons (Sophists or not) in the
Theætêtus, p. 172. But in this sense it is not exact to call
Kalliklês (as Heindorf does, Protagor. p. 337) "germanus ille
Sophistarum alumnus in Gorgià Callicles," nor to affirm (with
Schleiermacher, Einleit. zum Theætêt. p. 183) that Plato meant to
refute Aristippus under the name of Kallikles, Aristippus maintaining
that there was no Just by Nature, but only Just by Law or
Convention.]

[Footnote 63: Plato, Gorgias, p. 483 B, p. 492 A. [Greek: oi(
polloi\, a)pokrupto/menoi tê\n e(autô=n a)dunami/an], &c.]

[Footnote 64: Plato, Gorgias, p. 483 E.]

[Footnote 65: Plato, Republic, ii. p. 369 B. [Greek: o(/ti tugcha/nei
ê(mô=n e(/kastos ou)k au)tarkê\s ô)/n, a)lla\ pollô=n e)ndeê/s.]]

[Footnote 66: Plato, Protag. p. 322 B.]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Sokrates maintains that self-command and
moderation is requisite for the strong man as well as for others.
Kalliklês defends the negative.]

Kalliklês now explains, that by _stronger_ men, he means better,
wiser, braver men. It is they (he says) who ought, according to right
by nature, to rule over others and to have larger shares than others.
_Sokr._--Ought they not to rule themselves as well as
others:[67] to control their own pleasures and desires: to be sober
and temperate? _Kall._--No, they would be foolish if they did.
The weak multitude must do so; and there grows up accordingly among
_them_ a sentiment which requires such self-restraint from all.
But it is the privilege of the superior few to be exempt from this
necessity. The right of nature authorises them to have the largest
desires, since their courage and ability furnish means to satisfy the
desires. It would be silly if a king's son or a despot were to limit
himself to the same measure of enjoyment with which a poor citizen
must be content; and worse than silly if he did not enrich his
friends in preference to his enemies. He need not care for that
public law and censure which must reign paramount over each man among
the many. A full swing of enjoyment, if a man has power to procure
and maintain it, is virtue as well as happiness.[68]

[Footnote 67: Plato, Gorgias, p. 491 D.]

[Footnote 68: Plato, Gorgias, p. 492 A-C.]

[Side-note: Whether the largest measure of desires is good for
a man, provided he has the means of satisfying them? Whether all
varieties of desire are good? Whether the pleasurable and the good
are identical?]

_Sokr._--I think on the contrary that a sober and moderate life,
regulated according to present means and circumstances, is better
than a life of immoderate indulgence.[69] _Kall._--The man who
has no desires will have no pleasure, and will live like a stone. The
more the desires, provided they can all be satisfied, the happier a
man will be. _Sokr._--You mean that a man shall be continually
hungry, and continually satisfying his hunger: continually thirsty,
and satisfying his thirst; and so forth. _Kall._--By having and
by satisfying those and all other desires, a man will enjoy
happiness. _Sokr._--Do you mean to include all varieties of
desire and satisfaction of desire: such for example as itching and
scratching yourself:[70] and other bodily appetites which might be
named? _Kall._--Such things are not fit for discussion.
_Sokr._--It is you who drive me to mention them, by laying down
the principle, that men who enjoy, be the enjoyment of what sort it
may, are happy; and by not distinguishing what pleasures are
good and what are evil. Tell me again, do you think that the
pleasurable and the good are identical? Or are there any pleasurable
things which are not good?[71] _Kall._--I think that the
pleasurable and the good are the same.

[Footnote 69: Plato, Gorgias, p. 493 C. [Greek: e)a/n pôs oi(=o/s t'
ô)= pei=sai metathe/sthai kai\ a)nti\ tou= a)plê/stôs kai\
a)kola/stôs e)/chontos bi/ou to\n kosmi/ôs kai\ toi=s a)ei\ parou=sin
i(kanô=s kai\ e)xarkou/ntôs e)/chonta bi/on e(le/sthai.]]

[Footnote 70: Plato, Gorg. p. 494 E.]

[Footnote 71: Plato, Gorg. pp. 494-495. [Greek: ê)= ga\r e)gô\ a)/gô
e)ntau=tha, ê)\ e)kei=nos o(\s a)\n phê=| a)ne/dên ou(/tô tou\s
chai/rontas, o(/pôs a)\n chairôsin, eu)dai/monas ei)=nai, kai\ mê\
diori/zêtai tô=n ê(donô=n o(poi=ai a)gathai\ kai\ kakai/? a)ll' e)/ti
kai\ nu=n le/ge, po/teron phê\| ei)=nai to\ au)to\ ê(du\ kai\
a)gatho/n, ê)\ ei)=nai ti tô=n ê(de/ôn o(\ ou)k e)/stin a)gatho/n?]]

[Side-note: Kalliklês maintains that pleasurable and good are
identical. Sokrates refutes him. Some pleasures are good, others bad.
A scientific adviser is required to discriminate them.]

Upon this question the discussion now turns: whether pleasure and
good are the same, or whether there are not some pleasures good,
others bad. By a string of questions much protracted, but subtle
rather than conclusive, Sokrates proves that pleasure is not the same
as good--that there are such things as bad pleasures and good pains.
And Kalliklês admits that some pleasures are better, others
worse.[72] Profitable pleasures are good: hurtful pleasures are bad.
Thus the pleasures of eating and drinking are good, if they impart to
us health and strength--bad, if they produce sickness and weakness.
We ought to choose the good pleasures and pains, and avoid the bad
ones. It is not every man who is competent to distinguish what
pleasures are good, and what are bad. A scientific and skilful
adviser, judging upon general principles, is required to make this
distinction.[73]

[Footnote 72: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 496-499.]

[Footnote 73: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 499-500. [Greek: A)=r' ou)=n
panto\s a)ndro/s e)stin e)kle/xasthai poi=a a)gatha\ tô=n ê(de/ôn
e)sti\ kai\ o(poi=a kaka/, ê)= technikou= dei= ei)s e(/kaston?
Technikou=.]]


* * * * *


[Side-note: Contradiction between Sokrates in the Gorgias, and
Sokrates in the Protagoras.]

This debate between Sokrates and Kalliklês, respecting the "Quomodo
vivendum est,"[74] deserves attention on more than one account. In
the first place, the relation which Sokrates is here made to declare
between the two pairs of general terms, Pleasurable--Good:
Painful--Evil: is the direct reverse of that which he both declares
and demonstrates in the Protagoras. In that dialogue, the Sophist
Protagoras is represented as holding an opinion very like that which
is maintained by Sokrates in the Gorgias. But Sokrates (in the
Protagoras) refutes him by an elaborate argument; and demonstrates
that pleasure and good (also pain and evil) are names for the same
fundamental ideas under different circumstances: pleasurable and
painful referring only to the sensation of the present moment--while
good and evil include, besides, an estimate of its future
consequences and accompaniments, both pleasurable and painful, and
represent the result of such calculation. In the Gorgias, Sokrates
demonstrates the contrary, by an argument equally elaborate but not
equally convincing. He impugns a doctrine advocated by Kalliklês, and
in impugning it, proclaims a marked antithesis and even repugnance
between the pleasurable and the good, the painful and the evil:
rejecting the fundamental identity of the two, which he advocates in
the Protagoras, as if it were a disgraceful heresy.

[Footnote 74: Plato, Gorgias, p. 492 D. [Greek: i(/na tô=| o)/nti
kata/dêlon ge/nêtai, pô=s biôte/on], &c. 500 C: [Greek: o(/ntina
chrê\ tro/pon zê=|n.]]

[Side-note: Views of critics about this contradiction.]

The subject evidently presented itself to Plato in two different ways
at different times. Which of the two is earliest, we have no means of
deciding. The commentators, who favour generally the view taken in
the Gorgias, treat the Protagoras as a juvenile and erroneous
production: sometimes, with still less reason, they represent
Sokrates as arguing in that dialogue, from the principles of his
opponents, not from his own. For my part, without knowing whether the
Protagoras or the Gorgias is the earliest, I think the Protagoras an
equally finished composition, and I consider that the views which
Sokrates is made to propound in it, respecting pleasure and good, are
decidedly nearer to the truth.

[Side-note: Comparison and appreciation of the reasoning of
Sokrates in both dialogues.]

That in the list of pleasures there are some which it is proper to
avoid,--and in the list of pains, some which it is proper to accept
or invite--is a doctrine maintained by Sokrates alike in both the
dialogues. Why? Because some pleasures are good, others bad: some
pains bad, others good--says Sokrates in the Gorgias. The same too is
said by Sokrates in the Protagoras; but then, he there explains what
he means by the appellation. All pleasure (he there says), so far as
it goes, is good--all pain is bad. But there are some pleasures which
cannot be enjoyed without debarring us from greater pleasures or
entailing upon us greater pains: on that ground therefore, such
pleasures are bad. So again, there are some pains, the suffering
of which is a condition indispensable to our escaping greater pains,
or to our enjoying greater pleasures: such pains therefore are good.
Thus this apparent exception does not really contradict, but
confirms, the general doctrine--That there is no good but the
pleasurable, and the elimination of pain--and no evil except the
painful, or the privation of pleasure. Good and evil have no
reference except to pleasures and pains; but the terms imply, in each
particular case, an estimate and comparison of future pleasurable and
painful consequences, and express the result of such comparison. "You
call enjoyment itself evil" (says Sokrates in the Protagoras),[75]
"when it deprives us of greater pleasures or entails upon us greater
pains. If you have any other ground, or look to any other end, in
calling it evil, you may tell us what that end is; but you will not
be able to tell us. So too, you say that pain is a good, when it
relieves us from greater pains, or when it is necessary as the
antecedent cause of greater pleasures. If you have any other end in
view, when you call pain good, you may tell us what that end is; but
you will not be able to tell us."[76]

[Footnote 75: Plato, Protagoras,** p. 354 D. [Greek: e)pei/, ei) kat'
a)/llo ti au)to\ to\ chai/rein kako\n kalei=te kai\ ei)s a)/llo ti
te/los a)poble/psantes, e)/choite a)\n kai\ ê(mi=n ei)pei=n; a)ll'
ou)ch e(/xete. . . . e)pei\ ei) pro\s a)/llo ti te/los a)poble/pete,
o(/tan kalê=te au)to\ to\ lupei=sthai a)gatho/n, ê)\ pro\s o(\ e)gô\
le/gô, e)/chete ê(mi=n ei)pein; a)ll' ou)ch e(/xete.]]

[Footnote 76: In a remarkable passage of the De Legibus, Plato denies
all essential distinction between Good and Pleasure, and all reality
of Good apart from Pleasure (Legg. ii. pp. 662-663). [Greek: ei) d'
au)= to\n dikaio/taton eu)daimone/staton a)pophai/noito bi/on
ei)=nai, zêtoi= pou pa=s a)\n o( a)kou/ôn, oi)=mai, ti/ pot' e)n
au)tô=| to\ tê=s ê(donê=s krei=tton a)gatho/n te kai\ kalo\n o(
no/mos e)no\n e)painei=? ti/ ga\r dê\ dikai/ô| chôrizo/menon ê(donê=s
a)gatho\n a)\n ge/noito?]

Plato goes on to argue as follows: Even though it were not true, as I
affirm it to be, that the life of justice is a life of pleasure, and
the life of injustice a life of pain--still the law-giver must
proclaim this proposition as a useful falsehood, and compel every one
to chime in with it. Otherwise the youth will have no motive to just
conduct. For no one will willingly consent to obey any recommendation
from which he does not expect more pleasure than pain; [Greek:
ou)dei\s ga\r a)\n e(/kôn e)/theloi pei/thesthai pra/ttein tou=to
o(/, tô| mê\ to\ chai/rein tou= lupei=sthai ple/on e(/petai] (663
B).]

[Side-note: Distinct statement in the Protagoras. What are
good and evil, and upon what principles the scientific adviser is to
proceed in discriminating them. No such distinct statement in the
Gorgias.]

In the Gorgias, too, Sokrates declares that some pleasures are good,
others bad--some pains bad, others good. But here he stops. He does
not fulfil the reasonable demand urged by Sokrates in the Protagoras--"If
you make such a distinction, explain the ground on which you
make it, and the end to which you look". The distinction in the
Gorgias stands without any assigned ground or end to rest upon. And
this want is the more sensibly felt, when we read in the same
dialogue, that--"It is not every man who can distinguish the good
pleasures from the bad: a scientific man, proceeding on principle, is
needed for the purpose".[77] But upon what criterion is the
scientific man to proceed? Of what properties is he to take account,
in pronouncing one pleasure to be bad, another good--or one pain to
be bad and another good--the estimate of consequences, measured in
future pleasures and pains, being by the supposition excluded? No
information is given. The problem set to the scientific man is one of
which all the quantities are unknown. Now Sokrates in the
Protagoras[78] also lays it down, that a scientific or rational
calculation must be had, and a mind competent to such calculation
must be postulated, to decide which pleasures are bad or fit to be
rejected--which pains are good, or proper to be endured. But then he
clearly specifies the elements which alone are to be taken into the
calculation--_viz._, the future pleasures and pains accompanying
or dependent upon each with the estimate of their comparative
magnitude and durability. The theory of this calculation is clear and
intelligible: though in many particular cases, the data necessary for
making it, and the means of comparing them, may be very imperfectly
accessible.

[Footnote 77: Plato, Gorgias, p. 500 A. [Greek: A)=r' ou)=n panto\s
a)ndro/s** e)stin e)kle/xasthai poi=a a)/gatha\ tô=n ê(de/ôn
e)sti\ kai\ o(poi=a kaka/? ê)\ technikou= dei= ei)s e(/kaston?
Technikou=.]]

[Footnote 78: Plato, Protagoras, pp. 357 B, 356 E.]

[Side-note: Modern ethical theories. Intuition. Moral sense--not
recognised by Plato in either of the dialogues.]

According to various ethical theories, which have chiefly obtained
currency in modern times, the distinction--between pleasures good or
fit to be enjoyed, and pleasures bad or unfit to be enjoyed--is
determined for us by a moral sense or intuition: by a simple,
peculiar, sentiment of right and wrong, or a conscience, which
springs up within us ready-made, and decides on such matters without
appeal; so that a man has only to look into his own heart for a
solution. We need not take account of this hypothesis, in reviewing
Plato's philosophy: for he evidently does not proceed upon it. He
expressly affirms, in the Gorgias as well as in the Protagoras, that
the question is one requiring science or knowledge to determine it,
and upon which none but the man of science or _expert_
([Greek: techniko\s]) is a competent judge.

[Side-note: In both dialogues the doctrine of Sokrates is
self-regarding as respects the agent: not considering the pleasures
and pains of other persons, so far as affected by the agent.]

Moreover, there is another point common to both the two dialogues,
deserving of notice. I have already remarked when reviewing the
doctrine of Sokrates in the Protagoras, that it appears to me
seriously defective, inasmuch as it takes into account the pleasures
and pains of the agent only, and omits the pleasures and pains of
other persons affected by his conduct. But this is not less true
respecting the doctrine of Sokrates in the Gorgias: for whatever
criterion he may there have in his mind to determine which among our
pleasures are bad, it is certainly not this--that the agent in
procuring them is obliged to hurt others. For the example which
Sokrates cites as specially illustrating the class of bad
pleasures--_viz._, the pleasure of scratching an itching part of the
body[79]--is one in which no others besides the agent are concerned.
As in the Protagoras, so in the Gorgias--Plato in laying down his
rule of life, admits into the theory only what concerns the agent
himself, and makes no direct reference to the happiness of others as
affected by the agent's behaviour.

[Footnote 79: The Sokrates of the Protagoras would have reckoned this
among the bad pleasures, because the discomfort and distress of body
out of which it arises more than countervail the pleasure.]

[Side-note: Points wherein the doctrine of the two dialogues
is in substance the same, but differing in classification.]

There are however various points of analogy between the Protagoras
and the Gorgias, which will enable us, after tracing them out, to
measure the amount of substantial difference between them; I speak of
the reasoning of Sokrates in each. Thus, in the Protagoras,[80]
Sokrates ranks health, strength, preservation of the community,
wealth, command, &c., under the general head of Good things, but
expressly on the ground that they are the producing causes and
conditions of pleasures and of exemption from pains: he also ranks
sickness and poverty under the head of Evil things, as productive
causes of pain and suffering. In the Gorgias also, he numbers wisdom,
health, strength, perfection of body, riches, &c., among Good
things or profitable things[81]--(which two words he treats as
equivalent)--and their contraries as Evil things. Now he does
not expressly say here (as in the Protagoras) that these things are
_good_, because they are productive causes of pleasure or
exemption from pain: but such assumption must evidently be supplied
in order to make the reasoning valid. For upon what pretence can any
one pronounce strength, health, riches, to be _good_--and
helplessness, sickness, poverty, to be _evil_--if no reference
be admitted to pleasures and pains? Sokrates in the Gorgias[82]
declares that the pleasures of eating and drinking are good, in so
far as they impart health and strength to the body--evil, in so far
as they produce a contrary effect. Sokrates in the Protagoras reasons
in the same way--but with this difference--that he would count the
pleasure of the repast itself as one item of good: enhancing the
amount of good where the future consequences are beneficial,
diminishing the amount of evil where the future consequences are
Unfavourable: while Sokrates in the Gorgias excludes immediate
pleasure from the list of good things, and immediate pain from the
list of evil things.

[Footnote 80: Plato, Protagor. pp. 353 D, 354 A.]

[Footnote 81: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 467-468-499.]

[Footnote 82: Plato, Gorgias, p. 499 D.]

This last exclusion renders the theory in the Gorgias untenable and
inconsistent. If present pleasure be not admitted as an item of good
so far as it goes--then neither can the future and consequent
aggregates of pleasure, nor the causes of them, be admitted as good.
So likewise, if present pain be no evil, future pain cannot be
allowed to rank as an evil.[83]

[Footnote 83: Compare a passage in the Republic (ii. p. 357) where
Sokrates gives (or accepts, as given by Glaukon) a description of
Good much more coincident with the Protagoras than with the Gorgias.
The common property of all Good is to be desired or loved; and there
are three varieties of it--1. That which we desire for itself, and
for its own sake, apart from all ulterior consequences, such as
innocuous pleasures or enjoyments. 2. That which we desire both for
itself and for its ulterior consequences, such as good health, good
vision, good sense, &c. 3. That which we do not desire--nay,
which we perhaps hate or shun, _per se_: but which we
nevertheless desire and invite, in connection with and for the sake
of ulterior consequences: such as gymnastic training, medical
treatment when we are sick, labour in our trade or profession.

Here Plato admits the immediately pleasurable _per se_ as one
variety of good, always assuming that it is not countervailed by
consequences or accompaniments of a painful character. This is the
doctrine of the Protagoras, as distinguished from the Gorgias, where
Sokrates sets pleasure in marked opposition to good.]

[Side-note: Kalliklês, whom Sokrates refutes in the Gorgias,
maintains a different argument from that which Sokrates combats in
the Protagoras.]

Each of the two dialogues, which I am now comparing, is in truth an
independent composition: in each, Sokrates has a distinct argument to
combat; and in the latest of the two (whichever that was), no heed is
taken of the argumentation in the earlier. In the Protagoras, he
exalts the dignity and paramount force of knowledge or prudence: if a
man knows how to calculate pleasures and pains, he will be sure to
choose the result which involves the greater pleasure or the less
pain, on the whole: to say that he is overpowered by immediate
pleasure or pain into making a bad choice, is a wrong description--the
real fact being, that he is deficient in the proper knowledge how
to choose. In the Gorgias, the doctrine assigned to Kalliklês and
impugned by Sokrates is something very different. That justice,
temperance, self-restraint, are indeed indispensable to the happiness
of ordinary men; but if there be any one individual, so immensely
superior in force as to trample down and make slaves of the rest,
this one man would be a fool if he restrained himself: having the
means of gratifying all his appetites, the more appetites he has, the
more enjoyments will he have and the greater happiness.[84]
Observe--that Kalliklês applies this doctrine only to the one omnipotent
despot: to all other members of society, he maintains that
self-restraint is essential. This is the doctrine which Sokrates in the
Gorgias undertakes to refute, by denying community of nature between
the pleasurable and the good--between the painful and the evil.

[Footnote 84: Plato, Gorgias, p. 492 B.]

[Side-note: The refutation of Kalliklês by Sokrates in the
Gorgias, is unsuccessful--it is only so far successful as he adopts
unintentionally the doctrine of Sokrates in the Protagoras.]

To me his refutation appears altogether unsuccessful, and the
position upon which he rests it incorrect. The only parts of the
refutation really forcible, are those in which he unconsciously
relinquishes this position, and slides into the doctrine of the
Protagoras. Upon this latter doctrine, a refutation might be
grounded: you may show that even an omnipotent despot (regard for the
comfort of others being excluded by the hypothesis) will gain by
limiting the gratification of his appetites to-day so as not to spoil
his appetites of tomorrow. Even in his case, prudential restraint is
required, though his motives for it would be much less than in the
case of ordinary social men. But Good, as laid down by Plato in the
Gorgias, entirely disconnected from pleasure--and Evil, entirely
disconnected from pain--have no application to this supposed despot.
He has no desire for such Platonic Good--no aversion for such
Platonic Evil. His happiness is not diminished by missing the former
or incurring the latter. In fact, one of the cardinal principles of
Plato's ethical philosophy, which he frequently asserts both in this
dialogue and elsewhere,[85]--That every man desires Good, and acts
for the sake of obtaining Good, and avoiding Evil--becomes untrue, if
you conceive Good and Evil according to the Gorgias, as having no
reference to pleasure or the avoidance of pain: untrue, not merely in
regard to a despot under these exceptional conditions, but in regard
to the large majority of social men. They desire to obtain Good and
avoid Evil, in the sense of the Protagoras: but not in the sense of
the Gorgias.[86] Sokrates himself proclaims in this dialogue: "I and
philosophy stand opposed to Kalliklês and the Athenian public. What I
desire is, to reason consistently with myself." That is, to speak the
language of Sokrates in the Protagoras--"To me, Sokrates, the
consciousness of inconsistency with myself and of an unworthy
character, the loss of my own self-esteem and the pungency of my own
self-reproach, are the greatest of all pains: greater than those
which you, Kalliklês, and the Athenians generally, seek to avoid at
all price and urge me also to avoid at all price--poverty, political
nullity, exposure to false accusation, &c."[87] The noble
scheme of life, here recommended by Sokrates, may be correctly
described according to the theory of the Protagoras: without any
resort to the paradox of the Gorgias, that Good has no kindred or
reference to Pleasure, nor Evil to Pain.

[Footnote 85: Plato, Gorgias, pp. 467 C, 499 E.]

[Footnote 86: The reasoning of Plato in the Gorgias, respecting this
matter, rests upon an equivocal phrase. The Greek phrase [Greek: eu)=
pra/ttein] has two meanings; it means _recté agere_, to act
rightly; and it also means _felicem esse_, to be happy. There is
a corresponding double sense in [Greek: kakô=s pra/ttein]. Heindorf
has well noticed the fallacious reasoning founded by Plato on this
double sense. We read in the Gorgias, p. 507 C: [Greek: a)na/gkê to\n
sô/phrona, di/kaion o)/nta kai\ a)ndrei=on kai\ o(/sion, a)gatho\n
a)/ndra ei)=nai tele/ôs, to\n de\ a)gatho\n ei)= te kai\ kalô=s
pra/ttein a)\ a)\n pra/ttê|, to\n d' eu)= pra/ttonta maka/rio/n te
kai\ eu)dai/mona ei)=nai, to\n de\ ponêro\n kai\ kakô=s pra/ttonta
a)/thlion.] Upon which Heindorf remarks, citing a note of Routh, who
says, "Vix enim potest credi, Platonem duplici sensu verborum [Greek:
eu)= pra/ttein] ad argumentum probandum abuti voluisse, quæ fallacia
esset amphiboliæ". "Non meminerat" (says Heindorf) "vir doctus
ceteros in Platone locos, ubi eodem modo ex duplici illâ potestate
argumentatio ducitur, cujusmodi plura attulimus ad Charmidem, 42, p.
172 A." Heindorf observes, on the Charmidês l. c.: "Argumenti hujus
vim positam apparet in duplici dictionis [Greek: eu)= pra/ttein]
significatu: quum vulgo sit _felicem esse_, non _recté
facere_. Hoc aliaque ejusdem generis sæpius sic ansam præbuerunt
sophismatis magis quam justi syllogismi." Heindorf then refers to
analogous passages in Plato, Repub. i. p. 354 A: Alkib. i. p. 116 B,
p. 134 A. A similar fallacy is found in Aristotle, Politic. vii. i.
p. 1323, a. 17, b. 32--[Greek: a)/rista ga\r pra/ttein prosê/kei
tou\s a)/rista politeuome/nous--a)du/naton de\ kalô=s pra/ttein toi=s
mê\ ta\ kala\ pra/ttousin.] This fallacy is recognised and properly
commented on as a "logisches Wortspiel," by Bernays, in his
instructive