Plato: The Man and His Work, Part II.

By A. E. Taylor

XI. The Republic

The Republic is at once too long a work, and too well known by numerous excellent summaries and commentaries, to require or permit analysis on the scale we have found necessary in dealing with the Phaedo or Protagoras. We must be content to presume the student’s acquaintance with its contents, and to offer some general considerations of the relation of its main theses to one another and to those of dialogues already examined.

To begin with, it is desirable to have a definite conception of the assumed date of the conversation and the character of the historical background presupposed. It should be clear that Athens is supposed to be still, to all appearance at any rate, at the height of her imperial splendour and strength.1 Also, the time is apparently one of profound peace. No reference is made to military operations; though the company consists mainly of young men of military age, no explanation of their presence at home is offered. Yet Plato’s two elder brothers, Adimantus and Glaucon, who are both young men, have already distinguished themselves in a battle near Megara (368c), which can hardly be any other than that of the year 424 (Thucydides. iv. 72). We have to add that the sophist Thrasymachus is assumed to be at the height of his fame, and we know that he was already prominent enough to be made the butt of a jest in the first play of Aristophanes, produced in the year 427 (Aristophanes, Frogs. 198). Similarly, the tone of Socrates’ initial remarks about old age as an unknown road on which he will yet have to travel shows that we are to think of him as still very far from the age (sixty) at which a man officially became a γέρων (old man) at Athens. Damonides of Oea is referred to at 400b as still alive, and since we have the evidence of Isocrates for the statement that he “educated” Pericles, we cannot suppose him to have been born much, if at all, later than the year 500. All these considerations, taken together, suggest that the supposed date of the conversation must be about the time of the |264| peace of Nicias (421 B.C.) or the preceding truce of 422. It is important to remember that Athens came out of the Archidamian war, though not quite on the terms she might have got, but for the folly of the democratic leaders after Sphacteria (425), far and away the richest and most powerful of the combatant states, with the main of her empire intact. For purposes of illustration the student should read by the side of the Republic, the Wasps and Peace of Aristophanes, as illustrative of the conditions of the time. Socrates must be thought of as being no more than middle-aged, somewhere about fifty years old, and we must bear in mind that it was at most a couple of years before that Aristophanes had brought him on the stage in the Clouds. Plato himself would be a mere child of some five to seven years.

There is nothing in the dialogue to support any of the fanciful modern speculations about a possible “earlier edition” without the central books which discuss the character and education of the “philosopher-kings” or the possible existence of the first book by itself as a “dialogue of search.” On the contrary, the appearances are all in favour of regarding the whole as having been planned as a whole. It is not until we come to the sixth book that we are in sight of the “goodness” which is one and the same thing with knowledge; the goodness of the “guardians” of Republic ii-iv has been carefully marked as remaining all along at the level of “opinion.” It rises no higher than loyalty to a sound national tradition taken on trust, and is thus so far on a level with the “popular” goodness of the Phaedo, though the tradition in this case is that of a morally sounder society than that of Athens, or of any existing Greek πόλις.2 Hence it is inconceivable that Plato should ever have composed a Republic which ignored the central points of Socratic ethics. The first book, again, serves its present purpose as an introduction to the whole work perfectly. In outline, all the main ideas which underlie the description of the ideal man and the ideal society are there, the conception of the life of measure (in the argument about πλεονεξία), the thought of happiness as dependent on “function” or vocation, and the rest; but all are stated, as they should be in an Introduction, in their abstract form; their real significance only becomes apparent as they are clothed with concrete detail in the full-length picture of the good man and the good community. To me it is inconceivable that Republic i. should ever have been planned except as the introduction to a work covering the ground of the Republic as we have it.3

“There is no distinction, except one of convenience, between morals and politics. The laws of right are the same for classes and cities as for individual men. But one must add that these laws are primarily laws of personal morality; politics is founded on ethics, not ethics on politics.”

|265| It has sometimes been asked whether the Republic is to be regarded as a contribution to ethics or to politics. Is its subject “righteousness” or is it the “ideal” state? The answer is that from the point of view of Socrates and Plato there is no distinction, except one of convenience, between morals and politics. The laws of right are the same for classes and cities as for individual men. But one must add that these laws are primarily laws of personal morality; politics is founded on ethics, not ethics on politics. The primary question raised in the Republic and finally answered at its close is a strictly ethical one, What is the rule of right by which a man ought to regulate his life? And it should be noted that the first simple answer offered to the question, that of Cephalus and Polemarchus, makes no reference at all to the πόλις and its νόμοι, and this, no doubt, is why it is put into the mouths of speakers who were not Athenian πολιται but protected aliens. The political reference is brought into the dialogue in the first instance by Thrasymachus, who insists on treating morality as a mere product and reflex of the habit of obedience to a political ϰρειττον (better) or “sovereign.” Socrates finds it necessary to keep this political reference in view throughout his own argument, but he is careful to explain that the reason for studying the public life of classes and communities is simply that we see the principles of right and wrong “writ large” in them; we study the “larger letters” in order to make out the smaller by their aid. All through, the ultimate question is that raised by Glaucon and Adimantus, what right and wrong are “in the soul of the possessor.” This comes out most clearly of all in the part of the work which is written with most palpable passion, the accounts of the degenerate types of city and men. Each defective constitution is studied and the tone of public life fostered by it noted, in order that we may learn by this light to read the heart of the individual man. We see the real moral flaw in the outwardly decent man who regards becoming and remaining “well-off” as the finest thing in life, by considering the quality of national life in a merchant-city, like Carthage, where the “merchant-prince” is dominant and gives the tone to the whole community, and so on. The Republic, which opens with an old man’s remarks about approaching death and apprehension of what may come after death, and ends with a myth of judgment, has all through for its central theme a question more intimate than that of the best form of government or the most eugenic system of propagation; its question is, How does a man attain or forfeit eternal salvation? For good or |266| bad, it is intensely “other-worldly.” Man has a soul which can attain everlasting beatitude, and this beatitude it is the great business of life to attain. The social institutions or the education which fit him to attain it are the right institutions or education; ail others are wrong. The “philosopher” is the man who has found the way which leads to this beatitude. At the same time, no man lives to himself, and the man who is advancing to beatitude himself is inevitably animated by the spirit of a missionary to the community at large. Hence the philosopher cannot be true to himself without being a philosopher-king; he cannot win salvation without bringing it down to his society. That is how the Republic views the relation between ethics and statesmanship.

The fundamental issue is raised in the introductory book with great artistic skill. From the simple observations of old Cephalus about the tranquility with which a man conscious of no undischarged obligations can look forward to whatever the unseen world may have to bring, Socrates takes the opportunity to raise the question what δικαιοσύνη, taken in the sense of the supreme rule of right — “morality” as we might say — is. What is the rule by which a man should order the whole of his life? Before we can embark on the question seriously, we need to be satisfied that it is not already answered for us by the ordinary current moral maxims of the decent man; that there really is a problem to be solved. Next we have to see that the theories in vogue among the superficially “enlightened,” which pretend to answer the question in a revolutionary way, are hopelessly incoherent. Only when we have seen that neither current convention nor current anti-conventionalism has any solution of the problem are we in a position to raise it and answer it by the true method. Thus there are three points of view to be considered: that of the unphilosophical decent representative of current convention, sustained by Cephalus and his son Polemarchus; that of the “new morality,” represented by Thrasymachus; and that of sober philosophical thinking, represented by Socrates.

As to the first point of view, that of decent acquiescence in a respectable convention which has never been criticised, we note, and this may serve as a corrective to exaggerations about the extent to which “the Greeks” identified morality with the νόμος of a “city,” that Plato has deliberately chosen as the exponent of moral convention a representative who, as a μέτοικος, naturally makes no appeal to the “city” and its usages; the rule of Cephalus is specially characteristic not of a πόλις but of a profession, and a profession which in all ages has enjoyed the reputation of sound and homely rectitude. The old man’s morality is just that which is characteristic of the honorable merchant of all places. “Right” according to him, means “giving to every man his own, and speaking the truth,” i.e. a man is to honor his business obligations and his word is to “be as good as his bond”; the man who acts thus has discharged the whole duty of man. The point of the conversation |267| begun between Socrates and Cephalus, and continued with Polemarchus as respondent, is merely that this simple rule for business transactions cannot be regarded as a supreme principle of morality for two reasons, (1) There are cases where to adhere to the letter of it would be felt at once to be a violation of the spirit of right; (2) if you do try to put it into the form of a universal principle by explaining that “giving a man his own” means “treating him as he deserves,” “giving him his due,” however you understand the words “a man’s due,” you get again a morally bad principle.4 Against Polemarchus, who thinks that morality can be reduced to “giving every one his duev in the sense of being a thoroughly valuable friend to your friends and a dangerous enemy to your foes (a working morality expressed in the “gnomic” verses of Solon and Theognis), it has to be shown that to make such a principle of conduct acceptable to a decent man’s conscience, we must at least take our “friends” and “foes” to mean “the good” and “the bad” respectively, and that, even then, the principle is condemned by the fact that it makes it one half of morality to “do evil” to some one. The argument equally disposes incidentally of the “sophistic” conception of “goodness” as a kind of special accomplishment by showing: (1) that in any definite situation in life, the “accomplishment” needed to confer the benefit demanded by that situation is some kind of skill other than “goodness”; and (2) that all these accomplishments can be put to a morally bad, as well as to a morally good, use. Virtue, for example, will not make a man the best of all advisers about an investment, and the knowledge which does make a man a good counsellor on such a matter also makes him a very dangerous adviser, if he chooses to use it for a fraudulent end. This prepares us to discover later on that though “goodness” in the end is knowledge and nothing but knowledge, it is something quite different from the “arts” or “accomplishments” with which the professional “teachers of goodness” confound it.

When we come to the anti-conventional “immoralism” of the “enlightenment” it is important to remark that Thrasymachus is made to overstate the position; as Glaucon says, at the opening of the second book, he has bungled the case. (As we know of no reason why Plato should misrepresent a prominent man of the preceding generation, the violence and exaggeration is presumably a genuine characteristic of the actual Thrasymachus, and it is used |268| mainly for humorous effect. Thrasymachus, like modern authors whom one could name, must not be taken to mean all he says too seriously. Bluster is a mannerism with him, as it is in fact with some successful advocates. The serious statement of the immoralist case is reserved for Glaucon.) As Thrasymachus states the case, there is really no such thing as moral obligation. What men call “right” is “the interest of the superior” (In this phrase, τὸ κρειττον is to be taken as neuter, and what is meant is “the sovereign” in a community.) The theory is that right or morality is a synonym for conformity to νόμος (the institutions and traditions of the community). But these institutions have been originally imposed on the community by the “sovereign” purely with a view to his own benefit, and the only reason why they should be respected is that the “sovereign” has the power to make you suffer if you do not respect them. Hence, unlike Hobbes, Thrasymachus feels no need to justify the absolutism of the “sovereign” by appeal to the “social contract” by which he has been invested with his sovereign powers; since he does not regard “right” as having any meaning, he has not to show that the sovereign has any right to obedience; it is sufficient to observe that his power to enforce obedience is guaranteed by the simple fact that he is the sovereign. Like the imaginary prehistoric kings and priests of Rousseau or Shelley, he has succeeded in imposing his will on the community and there is nothing more to be said. In practice this theory would work out exactly like that of Callicles in the Gorgias, but there is the important difference that, in theory, the two immoralists start from opposite assumptions. Callicles is a partisan of φύσις who honestly believes that in the “order of things” the strong man has a genuine right to take full advantage of his strength; Thrasymachus is pushing the opposite view of all morality as mere “convention” to an extreme. The evidence for his theory is, in the first instance, simply the fact that all governments make “high treason,” the subversion of the sovereign, the gravest crime. The first care of every government is to ensure the constitution, whatever it is, against revolution. By pure confusion of thought the safeguarding of the constitution is then identified with the safeguarding of the private interests of the particular persons who happen at any moment to be exercising the function of sovereignty. Subsequently an appeal is made to the familiar facts about the “seamy side” of political and private life, the unscrupulosity and self-seeking of politicians, and the readiness of private men to cheat one another and the community, to job for their families and the like, when the chance offers. It would be easy to show that the indictment is drawn up with careful reference to features of contemporary Athenian life, but the reasoning of Thrasymachus rests on the further assumption that the seamy side of life is its only side; life is robbing and being robbed, cheating and being cheated, and nothing else. This is, after all, not an impartial picture even of a society groaning under the rule of a tyrant or a demagogue, and |269| when Socrates comes to reply, he also finds no difficulty in appealing to equally “real” facts of a very different kind, e.g. the fact that a politician expects to get some sort of remuneration for his work, which shows that the work itself is not necessarily a “paying” thing. Even in the world as it is, the “strong man’s” life is not all getting and no giving.

The fact is that Thrasymachus, like Mr. Shaw or Mr. Chesterton, has the journalist’s trick of facile exaggeration. He is too good a journalist to be an esprit juste, and the consequence is that he lands himself in a dilemma. If his “sovereign” who has a view only to the interests of “number one” is meant to be an actual person or body of persons, it is obvious, as Socrates says, that he is not infallible. It is not true that the moral code and the institutions of any society are simply adapted to gratify the personal desires of the sovereign who, according to Thrasymachus, devises them, or to further his interests; judged by that standard, every existing set of νόμοι is full of blunders.5 But if you assume that the sovereign is always alive to his own interests and always embodies them in his regulations, your sovereign is a creature of theory, an “ideal” and you lay yourself open at once to the line of argument adopted by Socrates to show that his worth depends on fulfilling a social function, independently of the question whether he gets any private advantage from his position or not. The “new morality” of Thrasymachus must therefore stand or fall on its own merits as an ethical theory; it derives no real support from his speculations about the origin of government in the strong man’s “will to power.”

“Socrates is guided by the Pythagorean analogy between tuned string,
healthy body and healthy mind, which is the key to
half the best thought of the Greek moralists.”

On the argument by which Socrates meets the strictly ethical assertion that “conventional” morality is a mere expression of the low intelligence and weakness of the “herd,” all I wish to remark here is that he is guided throughout by the Pythagorean analogy between tuned string, healthy body and healthy mind, which is the key to half the best thought of the Greek moralists. The immoralist’s case is really disposed of in principle by the often misunderstood argument about πλεονεξία (avarice) (Republic i. 349b-350c). The reasoning already contains in germ the whole doctrine of the “right mean” afterward developed in the Philebus and the Ethics of Aristotle. The point is that in all applications of intelligence to the conduct of activity of any kind, the supreme wisdom is to know just where to stop, and to stop just there and nowhere else. |270| The “wise man,” like the musician or the physician, knows what the fool or the quack never knows, “how much is enough.” The mistake common to the fool in the management of life and the bungler tuning a musical instrument or treating a sick man, is that they believe in the adage that you “can’t have too much of a good thing.” On the strength of this misleading faith, one ruins his instrument, another kills his patient, and the third spoils his own life. There is a “just right” in all the affairs of life, and to go beyond it is to spoil your performance, and consequently to miss “happiness.” Once grasped, this point leads on to the other that the “just right” in any performance means the adequate discharge of function, and that happiness, in turn, depends on discharge of function. The introduction to the Republic thus leads us up to precisely the teleological conception of the rule of conduct from which Butler starts in the Preface to his Sermons. “Happiness” depends on “conformity to our nature as active beings.” What “active principles” that nature comprises and how they are organized into a “system” we learn in the immediately following books.

With the opening of the second book, we are introduced to the genuine version of the immoralist doctrine of which Thrasymachus had given a mere exaggeration, the theory that regard for moral rules is a pis aller {last resort}, though one which is unfortunately unavoidable by ordinary humanity. The theory is often referred to as that of Glaucon and Adimantus, but it should be noted that Adimantus takes no part in the statement of the theory and that Glaucon, who does explain it fully, is careful to dissociate himself from it; it is given as a speculation widely current in educated circles of the time of the Archidamian war and supported by specious though, as Glaucon holds, unsound arguments. His own position is simply that of an advocate speaking from his brief. He undertakes to make an effective defense of the case which Thrasymachus had mismanaged, in order that it may really be disproved, not merely dismissed without thorough examination of its real merits. The important feature of his argument is not so much the well-known statement of the “social contract” theory of the origin of moral codes as the analysis of existing morality to which the historical speculation is meant to lead up. The point is that “men practice the rules of right not because they choose, but because they cannot help themselves.” At heart everyone is set simply on gratifying his own passions, but you will best succeed in doing this by having the fear of your fellow-men before your eyes and abstaining from aggression on them. If you get the chance to gratify your passions without moral scruples, and can be sure not to be found out and made to suffer, you would be a fool not to benefit by your opportunity. This is the point of the imaginative fiction about the “ring of Gyges.” {A magical ring that conferred invisibility.} The real fact which gives the sting to the fiction is simply that we all know that there is no human virtue which would not be deteriorated by confidence of immunity from |271| detection. None of us could safely be trusted to come through the ordeal with our characters undepraved. We are all prone to lower our standard when we believe that there is no eye, human or divine, upon us. There can be little doubt that a theory of this kind, which amounts to the view suggested as possible by Kant that no single human act has ever been done simply “from duty” was a current one in the age of Socrates, and we can even name one of the sources upon which Plato is presumably drawing. The theory attempts to combine in one formula the two rival conceptions of “nature” and “convention” as regulative of action. It amounts to saying that there is a morality of unscrupulous egoism which is that of “nature” and is practiced by us all when we are safe from detection, and another and very different “morality of convention,” a morality of mutual respect for “claims and counter-claims” which we are obliged to conform to, so far as our behavior is exposed to the inspection of our fellows. This doctrine is taught in so many words in a long fragment, discovered at Oxyrhynchus, of Socrates’ contemporary and rival, Antiphon the “sophist.” (Oxyrhynchus Papyri, XI, no. 1364.) According to Antiphon, the “wise man” who means to make a success of life, will practice “conventional justice” when he believes that his conduct will be observed by others, but will fall back on “natural justice” whenever he can be sure of not being found out. This is exactly the position Glaucon means to urge in his apologue. What he wants Socrates to prove is that the conception of the two rival moralities is a false one; that mutual respect of rights is the true morality of “nature” as much as of “convention,” the course of conduct suitable to “our nature as agents.” The proof is supplied in the end by the doctrine of the “parts of the soul” in Republic iv, exactly as Butler attempts to supply a similar proof of the same thesis by his account of the hierarchy of the “active principles” in his three Sermons on Human Nature.

The contribution of Adimantus to the discussion is that he places the argument for regarding respect for the rights of one’s neighbor as a mere cover for self-seeking on a basis independent of all speculations about moral origins. The tone of his speech is carefully differentiated from that of Glaucon. Glaucon, as he himself admits, is simply making the ablest forensic defense he can of his case, and can jest about the gusto with which he has thrown himself into the cause of a dubious client; Adimantus speaks from the heart in a vein of unmistakable moral indignation. He complains not of the speculations of dashing advanced thinkers, but of the low grounds on which the defense of morality is based by the very parties who might be presumed to have it most at heart. Parents who are sincerely anxious that their sons should grow up to be honest and honorable men regularly recommend virtue simply on the ground of its value as a means to worldly success and enjoyment; they never dwell on the intrinsic worth of virtue |272| itself. On the contrary, their habitual insistence on the hardness of the path of virtue and the pleasantness of vicious courses suggests that they think virtue in itself no true good. And the poets all speak the same language. When you come to the representatives of religion, who might be expected to take the highest line, you find that they are worst of all. They terrify the sinner by their stories of judgment to come, but only as a preliminary step to assuring him that they will, for a small consideration, make his peace with Heaven by easy ritual performances and sacraments which involve no change of heart. The whole influence of religion and education seems to be thrown into the scale against a genuine inward morality, and this is a much more serious matter than the speculations of a few clever men about the “original contract” and the motives which prompted it. We need a new religion and a new educational system. (We must, of course, note that the indictment of religion is throughout aimed not at the official cult us of the city, but at the Orphic and similar sects; the vehemence with which Adimantus speaks seems to indicate an intense personal hostility to these debased “salvationists” which is presumably a real trait of the man’s character.)

The effect of the two speeches, taken in conjunction, is to impose on Socrates the task of indicating, by a sound analysis of human nature, the real foundations of morality in the very constitution of man, and of showing how education and religion can be, and ought to be, made allies, not enemies, of a sound morality. This, we may say, is the simple theme of the whole of the rest of the dialogue. Some comments may be offered on the various stages of the demonstration. The theme has already been propounded in the demand of Glaucon that it shall be made clear how “justice” and “injustice” respectively affect the inner life of their possessor, independently of any sanctions, human or divine. It is to the answer to this question that Socrates is really addressing himself in the picture of an ideally good man living in an ideal relation to society, which culminates in the description, given in Books VI-VII, of the philosopher-king, his functions in society, and the discipline by which he is fitted for their discharge, as well as by the briefer studies, in Books VIII and IX, of increasing degeneration from the true type of manhood. The answer to Adimantus, so far as his indictment of education is concerned, has to be found in the account of the training of the young into worthy moral character by a right appeal, through literature and art, to the imagination (Books III-IV); his attack on immoral religion may be said to be the direct occasion both of the regulation of early “nursery tales” with which Socrates opens his scheme of reform in Book II, and of the magnificent myth of judgment with which the dialogue closes, itself a specimen of the way in which the religious imagination may be made the most potent reinforcement of a noble rule of life. In dealing with the details of the positive contributions of the dialogue to both politics and religion, it is necessary to observe some caution, if we are to |273| avoid specious misunderstandings. We must remember all through that the political problem of the right organization of a state is avowedly introduced not on its own account, but because we see human virtue and vice “writ large” in the conduct of a state or a political party, and may thus detect in the community the real moral significance of much that would escape our notice if we only studied humanity in the individual.6 Hence we shall probably be misunderstanding if we imagine, as has sometimes been imagined, that either Socrates or Plato is seriously proposing a detailed new constitution for Athens, and still more if we imagine that either would have approved of the introduction of the new constitution by revolution into a society wholly unprepared to receive it. The most we are entitled to say about any of the detailed proposals of the Republic is that Plato presents them as what, according to Socrates, is most in accord with the moral nature of man, and may therefore be expected to be approximately realised in a thoroughly sound condition of society.

(1) In the impressive picture given in Books II-IV of the working of the principle of specialization of function according to vocation, which will ultimately turn out to be the foundation of all “justice” there are one or two points which have perhaps not received sufficient attention, and may therefore be briefly noted.

I think it is clear that we must not take the description of the three successive stages through which Socrates’ community passes as meant to convey any speculation about the beginnings of civilization. The “first city” is already on the right side of the line which separates civilization from barbarism. Its inhabitants are already agriculturists, permanently cultivating a fixed territory; they are at home in the working of metals, and in some respects they exhibit an advance in economic organization on the Athens of the Periclean age. (Thus they have their clothes made by a distinct class of artisans, not woven in the house by the women of the family, as was still largely the custom at Athens.) The notion that we are reading a satire on Antisthenes and the “return to nature” is merely ludicrous. What is really described is, in the main, the condition of a normal πόλις where the citizens are farming-folk. To me it seems clear that, so far as Plato has any particular historical development before his mind, he is thinking of what Athens itself had been before the period of victory and expansion which made her an imperial city and the center of a world-wide sea-borne commerce. (This is suggested almost irresistibly by the assumption that even the “first city” like Athens, requires to import a good many of its necessaries from elsewhere, |274| and consequently contains merchants and sailors, and is already producing for the foreign market.) In the description of the steps by which this little society expands and becomes a city with a multitude of artificial wants, and trades which minister to them, thus acquiring a “superfluous population” which must somehow be provided for, we can hardly see anything but a conscious reflection of the actual expansion of Attica under Cimon and Pericles.

(2) We must, of course, note that not all the artificial wants which arise in the city as it becomes “luxurious” are meant to be condemned. Even the demand for delicacies for the table is an indication that the standard of living is rising, and all social students know that a rise in this standard is by no means an entirely unwholesome thing. It is more significant that one of the chief features of the development is the growth of professions like those of the actor and the impresario. People are beginning to feel the need of amusement, and this means, of course, that they are becoming conscious that they have minds, which need to be fed no less than their bodies. Presumably the reason why Socrates could not look for “justice” in the community of farmers, but has to wait for the “luxurious city” to come into existence and be reformed, is precisely that the members of the first society would hardly be alive to the fact that they have souls at all; they could not feel the need for a daily supply of any bread but that which perishes; they have no “social problem.”

(3) It has been asked why, when over-population leads to an acute social problem, aggressive warfare rather than colonization should be assumed as the only way out of the difficulty. The answer, of course, is simple. In the first place, peaceful colonization of derelict territories had never been a feasible procedure for a Greek city. The founders of the ancient and famous cities we call the “Greek colonies” had regularly had to wrest their sites from previous occupants not much inferior to themselves in “culture.” There was no America or Australia in the Mediterranean basin. And in the second, Socrates knows his countrymen and is well aware that a Greek “surplus population” would not be likely to transport itself across the seas in quest of a new home so long as there was a fair chance of a successful inroad on its neighbors. He is, as he says, not discussing the morality of the proceeding; he is merely noting that it is what the city would, in fact, do. (In theory, to be sure, it was a commonplace that an aggressive war of expansion is not a iustum bellum {war theory}.) And the point he wishes to insist on is the perfectly sound one, that the experience of having to make common sacrifices and face common dangers in war, just or unjust (but when did any nation throw its soul into the prosecution of a war which it seriously believed to be unjust?), does more to generate self-devotion in citizens than any other. War gives the social reformer his chance, for the double reason that it produces the temper which is willing to live hard, make sacrifices, and submit to discipline, and, when it is hard contested and |275| the issue doubtful, it makes the necessity for sacrifice and submission pressing and patent. We who have lived through the events of 1914-1918 should be able to understand this from our own experience.

(4) It is unhappily customary to make two bad mistakes about the nature of the reconstituted social structure which, in Socrates’ narrative, emerges from the experience provided by a great war. It is called a “system of caste,” and the matter is then made worse by calling the δημιουργοί who form the third of Socrates’ social classes, “the working class,” or “the industrial class.” The immediate consequence is that the social and political theory of the Republic suffers a complete travesty, due to the unconscious influence of ideas derived from our experience of modern “industrialism.” To guard against misconceptions of this kind, we must, in the first place, be clear on the point that there is no system of “caste” in the Republic. The characteristic of “caste” is that one is born into it, and that once born into a caste it is impossible to rise above it. You may forfeit your caste in various ways, as a Brahmin does by crossing the seas, but no one can become a Brahmin if he is not born one. Now Socrates believes, rightly or wrongly, that heredity is a powerful force in the intellectual and moral sphere; as a general rule, a man will find his natural place in the “class” to which his parents belong (all the more, no doubt, as procreation is to be placed under careful “eugenic” regulations). But the rule has its notable exceptions: there are those who prove quite unfitted for the work of the class into which they are born, and those who show themselves qualified to take their place in a higher class. Hence it is part of Socrates’ idea that the early life of the individual shall be under close and constant surveillance, and subjected to repeated tests of character and intelligence. There is to be every opportunity for the discovery and degradation of the unworthy and the promotion of the worthy; no one is to be ensured by the accident of birth in a particular social status, and no one is to be excluded by it from rising to the highest eminence. This qualification of the principle of heredity by the antithetic principle of the “open career” for ability and character is absolutely destructive of “caste.” The philosopher-kings or the soldiers of the Socratic state are no more a “caste” than Napoleon’s marshals. And, in the second place, the δημιουργοί do not correspond to what we call the “artisan” or “working” class, i.e. to wage-earners or persons who maintain themselves by selling their labour. They include our wage-earners, but they also include the great bulk of what we should call the civilian population, independently of economic status. The thought underlying the distinction of the three classes has primarily nothing to do with economic status. It is simply that in any full-grown society, you may distinguish three types of social service. There is a small section which serves the community directly by directing its public life, making rules and regulations and controlling policy. These are the “complete” or “full-grown” guardians. There is necessarily |276| an executive arm, whose business it is to support the directive action of the first class by the necessary physical force against enemies from without and malcontents and offenders from within, the army and police. It is this body which Socrates calls by the name ἐπίκουροι, and it should be noted that he selects the word not merely for the appropriateness of its literal sense (“helpers,” “auxiliaries”), but because it was, as we can see e.g. from Herodotus, the technical name for the trained professional body-guard of monarchs, and therefore indicates the important point that the “executive” of the Socratic State is a carefully trained professional fighting force, not an amateur constabulary or militia. The associations of the word are the same as those of such an English expression as “the Guards” and Socrates does not scruple to apply to his ἐπίκουροι the opprobrious name by which such permanent professional soldiers were called in Greek democracies, which objected on principle to their existence. They are, like the Ionian and Carian soldiers of an Amasis, μισθωτοί (“mercenaries,” Republic iv. 419a-420a), except for two considerations — that they are citizens, not aliens, and that the only μισθός they get is their “keep” These two classes are distinguished by the fact that they are the only direct “servants of the public.” What remains is the whole bulk of the “civilian population” with the exception of the “guardians” — every one who does not directly serve the public either as a statesman or as a soldier or policeman. Thus the δημιουργοί include not only all the so-called “working class,” but the whole body of professional men, and the whole class of employers of labor. Since the two superior classes are expressly forbidden to have any kind of property, personally or as classes, it follows that the whole “capital” of the State is in the hands of the δημιουργοί. A “merchant prince,” under such a classification, is just as much one of the “industrials” as his clerks and office-boys. Much purely perverse criticism of the scheme would have been obviated if this simple consideration had been duly kept in mind.

“Neither socialism nor communism is to be found in the Republic.
…A man’s character and work in life will be spoiled equally by the possession
of irresponsible wealth, with no adequate social duties attached to it,
and by a penury which breaks his spirit and forces him to do bad
and scamped work in order to keep himself alive.”

(5) An immediate consequence is that, in spite of all that has been said about the “socialism” or “communism” of the Republic, there is really neither socialism nor communism to be found in the work. The current confusions on the point are probably due mainly to the mistaken notion that the emphatic demand of Book IV (Republic iv. 421d ff.) for the banishment of “wealth” and “penury” from society must be the proposal of a communist, or at least of a socialist. This assumption is, on the face of it, absurd. The point made in Book IV. is simply that a man’s character and work in life will be spoiled equally by the possession of irresponsible wealth, with no adequate social duties attached to it, and by a penury which breaks his spirit and forces him to do bad and scamped work in order to keep himself alive. A man may be aware of these dangers without adopting either the socialist or the communist theory of the right economic organization of society. In point of fact, |277| nothing much is said in the book about the economic organization of the only class who have any economic function at all, the δημιουργοί, but the implication of what is said is that there are differences of wealth among them, and that the “means of production and distribution” are individually owned and operated. In Book VIII it is carefully indicated that one of the first signs of the degeneration of the ideal State into a “timocracy” is the acquisition of real and personal property by the two superior classes (they “appropriate lands and houses,” viii. 547b), but nothing is said of the first introduction of private property among the δημιουργοί, who thus must be presumed to have enjoyed it all along. There are other more general considerations which point to the same conclusion. For one thing, both pure communism and “State monopoly” of the means of production are so alien to the system of a Greek πόλις — the “State ownership” of the silver mines at Laurium was an exception at Athens — that Socrates could not be presumed to be contemplating either, unless he expressly explained himself. For another, it is clear that agriculture is the assumed economic foundation of the life of his city, and agriculture is just the pursuit to which a “socialistic” economic system is least easy of application. Collectivism is historically an ideal of the “proletariat” of great towns; the farmer has always been tenacious of the very different ideal of peasant ownership. And it is noticeable that in the Laws Plato declares himself for peasant ownership in its extreme form. The citizens there not merely own their “holdings” but own them as their inalienable patrimonies, and “common cultivation” is expressly forbidden (v. 740a-b). We may fairly take it that if he had intended to represent his master as advocating views of a radically different type, he would have made the point unmistakable. Hence, it seems to me that we must recognize that the economic organization of the ideal city of the Republic is definitely “individualistic.” Yet we must not suppose that Plato is in any sense putting Socrates forward as a conscious “anti-socialist.” The real object of the one restriction of ownership on which the dialogue insists as fundamental, the prohibition of all property to the direct servants of the State, is not economic. The purpose is the same as that of the still more emphatic prohibition of family life, the elimination of the conflict between public duty and personal interest. What Socrates wants, as Bosanquet has said, is simply to divorce political power from financial influence. Wealth is to have no political influence in his society; it is “plutocracy,” not individual ownership, which he is determined to suppress. His rulers are much more in the position of a medieval military monastic order than in that of a collectivist bureaucracy.

(6) It may not be unnecessary to remark that, as there is no socialism, there is also no “community of women” in the Republic. If the reader will take the trouble to work out the consequences of the regulations prescribed for the mating of the guardians, he will find that the impulses of sex and the family affections connected with them |278| are subjected to much severer restraint than any which has ever been adopted by a Christian society. It is plain that the governing classes, to whom the regulations are meant to apply, are expected to find no gratification for the sexual impulses except on the solemn occasions when they are called on to beget offspring for the State. The extension of the duties of the “guardian” to both sexes of itself carries the consequence that these occasions arise only at long intervals; and the self-denial implied in the acceptance of such a rule of life might prove to be even severer than that imposed on the monk by his vow of chastity, for the very reason that the inhibition has to be broken through at the time when the State so commands. Indeed, the overwhelming probability is that if any society should attempt to enforce on any part of itself regulations of the kind proposed in the Republic, the attempt would fall just because of their intolerable severity. No actual ruling class would be likely to consent to the absolute elimination of the affections of the family circle from its own life, even if it were prepared to reduce the gratification of the physical impulses of sex to the contemplated minimum. The true criticism on the whole treatment of sex in the Republic is that, like all non-Christian moralists, rigorist or relaxed, Socrates very much underestimates the significance of sex for the whole of the spiritual life. Whatever we may think on this point, it is important to remember that at any rate the general principles which underlie the treatment of the position of women in Republic v. are no personal “development” of Plato’s; they belong to the actual Socrates. Aeschines, in the remains of his Aspasia, agrees with Plato in representing the philosopher as insisting that “the goodness of a woman is the same as that of a man,” and illustrating the thesis by the political abilities of Aspasia and the military achievements of the Persian “Amazon” Rhodogyne.7 Hence the thought that the duties of statesmanship and warfare should be extended to women must be regarded as strictly Socratic, and the rest of the proposals of Republic v. are no more than necessary consequences of this position. If they are to be rejected, we must refute the assumption on which they are based, that the distinction of sex is one which only affects the individual in respect to the part to be played in contributing to procreation and the rearing of a new generation; we must be prepared to hold that the difference goes deeper and modifies the whole spiritual life profoundly.

(7) There are one or two remarks which may be made about the plan of moral and religious training laid down in Books II and III, as supplementary to the many excellent studies of this part of the dialogue already in existence. We note that in the proposed purification of the stories by which religious impressions are to be communicated to the very young, it is not merely, nor even mainly, the Homeric mythology to which exception is taken. The crowning offenders are Hesiod and the other theogonists who have related |279| stories of the violent subversion of older dynasties of gods by younger. This would, of course, include the Orphicists; Socrates has not forgotten that it was they against whom the denunciation of Adimantus had been more specially directed. It is even more instructive to observe that the attack on tragedy as propagating false religious conceptions is directly aimed at Aeschylus, who has often been mistaken in modern times for an exponent of the religion of simple-minded Athenians. This means two things. It means that to the Periclean age, even as late as the time of the peace of Nicias, Aeschylus was still the great representative of tragedy, in spite of the popularity and renown of Sophocles, who was clearly thought of, as he is thought of in Aristophanes’ Frogs, as a follower, though a worthy follower, of the great originator of tragedy. If Sophocles had in his own day already been recognized as “the mellow glory of the Attic stage,” it would be a mystery why nothing is said of the very unsatisfactory part played by the gods in such a work as the King Oedipus. It also means that Socrates is alive to the fact that Aeschylus is no old-fashioned, simple-minded worshipper of Apollo of Delphi, or the Olympians generally. In fact, a “blasphemy” against Apollo is precisely one of the counts brought against him. If it is “atheism” to represent the Olympians as practicing a questionable morality, Aeschylus, in spite of Dr. Verrall, is just as much an “atheist” as Euripides, and Socrates rightly makes the point.8

(8) Most of the specific criticisms contained in the discussion of the educational employment of poetry and music are, naturally enough, negative. Socrates clearly holds quite strongly that the tendency of the art of his own time is to a love of a relaxed and formless complexity and variety for its own sake, and he thinks it necessary, in the interests of character, as well as of taste, to revert to austerer and more “classical” standards. It is important to remember that these strictures are put into the mouth of Socrates, speaking not later than the peace of Nicias.

We must not, then, suppose that they are aimed at epigoni (offspring) of a later generation. It is not the floridity of Timotheus or Agathon which is the object of attack, but the art of the Periclean age. We are only throwing dust in our own eyes if we suppose that Socrates wants merely to repress the cheap music-hall and the garish melodrama, or the equivalents of freak movements like Dada. He is seriously proposing to censure just what we consider the imperishable contributions of Athens to the art and literature of the world, because he holds that they have tendencies which are |280| unfavourable to the highest development of moral personality. The magnitude of the sacrifice is the true measure of the value he ascribes to the end for which he purposes to make it. We shall not appreciate his position unless we understand quite clearly that he is in downright earnest with the consideration that the connexion between aesthetic taste and morality is so close that whatever tends to ennoble our aesthetic taste directly tends to elevate our character, and whatever tends to foster a “taste” for the debased in art tends equally to deprave a man’s whole moral being. Whether we share this conviction or not, the recognition that Socrates holds it with as little qualification as Ruskin is the key to the understanding of the whole discussion of early education. We are allowed also to see incidentally that the suggested reforms in “musical” education are not meant to be limited to the censure of what is debased. It is meant that the young “guardian” is to be subjected from the first to the positive influences of lofty art of every description. (Painting, embroidery, architecture, and certain “minor arts” — one naturally thinks of the characteristic Athenian art of pottery as an example — are expressly specified, Republic iii. 401a ff.) The growing boy or girl is to live in an environment of beauty, and the appreciation of the beauty of the environment is expected to lead insensibly to appreciation of whatever is morally lovely and of good report in conduct and character. To Socrates’ mind the moral employment of such epithets as “fair,” “foul,” “graceful,” “graceless,” is no mere metaphor, but a genuine analogy based on the fact that all sensible beauty is itself the expression and shadow of an inward beauty of character.9

(9) Since the whole of the early education contemplated in the Republic is based on an appeal to taste and imagination, it follows that, as Socrates is careful to insist, the “goodness” it produces, though it will be quite sufficient for every class except the statesmen, is not the true and philosophic goodness of which the Phaedo speaks. As we are carefully reminded, the self-devotion of even the fighting force of the reformed city is founded on “opinion,” not on knowledge; their virtue is absolute loyalty to a sound tradition which they have imbibed from their “social environment,” not loyalty to the claims of a summum bonum grasped by personal insight. Thus the virtue described and analysed in Book IV is still “popular virtue”; its superiority over the goodness of the average Athenian, the respectability we have heard Protagoras preaching, is due simply to the superiority of the “social tradition” of the Socratic city over that of Periclean democracy. There is thus a double reason |281| why we are bound to regard the picture of philosophers and their philosophic virtue drawn in the central books as an essential part of the argument, and to reject any speculations which treat this part of the Republic as an afterthought. The account of that supreme goodness which is indistinguishable from knowledge is absolutely necessary in any presentation of Socratic ethics. And again, since the statesmen of the Republic have to control and conserve the national traditions, they must have a goodness which is not simply the product of those conditions themselves. There would be no point in subjecting the good soldier to the control of a higher authority if the loyalty to established tradition which is the soldier’s point of honor were the highest moral principle attainable. In a Republic without the central books, Sparta would have to figure not as an example of the second-best, but as the ideal community itself, whereas the whole point of the description of the “timocracy” in Book VIII is that a State like Sparta, where the qualities of the mere soldier and sportsman are regarded as a moral ideal, has taken the first fatal step towards complete moral anarchy and, in the ordinary course of things, must be expected to take those which follow in due succession.

Recognition that the whole account of the virtues given in Republic iv. is thus provisional should save us from attaching too much importance to the famous doctrine of the “three parts” of the soul. We must be careful to understand that this doctrine does not profess to be original nor to be a piece of scientific psychology. We have already found it presupposed as something known in educated circles in the Gorgias and Phaedo, and have seen reason to think that it is Pythagorean in origin, as Posidonius is known to have maintained,10 and directly connected with the theory of the “three lives.” This means that we are to take it primarily as a working account of “active principles” or “springs of action,” which sufficiently describes the leading types of “goodness” as goodness can be exhibited in any form short of the highest. The scheme will thus be excellently applicable to the goodness of the ἐπίκουροι (epicurians), for their life is still a form, though the worthiest form, of the φιλότιμος βίος (conscientious life). Loyalty to “honor,” “chivalry,” “ambition” (though a wholly unselfish ambition), is the utmost we demand of them; the life of duty remains for the best of them a struggle between a “higher” and a “lower,” though a struggle in which the “higher” regularly wins, and this justifies our recognition of a plurality of “parts of the soul” in them. It will be characteristic of their experience that there should be conflicts of “desire” with the tradition of loyalty, and that chivalrous sentiment should be required to act as the reinforcement of loyalty to tradition in the conflict. But the familiar Socratic doctrine is that the “philosopher” who has directly gazed for himself on that supreme good of which the Symposium has told us, necessarily desires the good he has beheld; to him “disobedience to the heavenly vision” |282| would be impossible, exactly as in Christian theology sinful volition is held to be impossible to the saints who actually enjoy the beatific vision of God. Hence it must follow that, as a description of the moral life of the philosopher, the doctrine of the distinct “parts” of the soul becomes increasingly impossible as he makes progress towards the goal at which his activity is consciously directed. This is why the last word of Socrates on the doctrine is to remind us that it may be necessary to revise it when we have grasped the truth of the “divinity” of the soul (Republic x. 611b ff.), and why we are told, when it is first introduced, that we must not expect to arrive at exact and certain truth by the line of inquiry we are now pursuing (iv. 435d).11 I do not think it needful to say more about the doctrine here, than to utter a word of warning against two possible misunderstandings. We must avoid every temptation to find a parallel between the “parts” or “figures” in the soul and the modern doctrine of the “three aspects” of a complete “mental process” (cognition, conation (volition), feeling). Plato is not talking about “aspects” of this kind, but about rival springs of action, and the doctrine, as presented in the Republic, has no reference to anything but action and “active principles” or “determining motives.” Also we must not make the blunder of trying to identify the θυμοειδές with “will” (spirited). From the Socratic point of view, will cannot be distinguished from the judgment “this is good,” and this judgment is always, of course, a deliverance of the λογιστικόν (logical). But the λογιστικόν may pronounce a true judgment, or it may be led into a false one under the influence of present appetite or of anger or ambition, or again, it may only be saved from false judgment because the “sense of honor” comes into collision with the promptings of appetite. To look in the scheme of the Republic for some facultas electiva, intervening between the formation of a judgment of “practical thinking” and the ensuing action, would be to misunderstand its whole character.

(10) We see then why there can never have been a “first Republic” including the “guardians” and the scheme for their early education, but without the philosopher-king and his training in hard scientific thinking. The philosopher-king is doubly demanded as the only adequate embodiment of the Socratic conception of goodness, and also as the authority whose personal insight into good creates the public tradition by which the rest of society is to live. To do full justice to the conception we must not forget that Socrates’ statesmen are expected to combine two |283| characters which are not often united. They are to be original scientific thinkers of the first order, but equally, they are to be “saints.” In the account of the character which will be demanded of them and the natural endowments it presupposes, we hear, indeed, of the qualifications we also should demand of a scientific genius — intellectual quickness, retentive memory and the like — but we hear as much, if not more, of what we should regard as moral qualifications for sainthood, which may be wanting to a man without impairing his eminence in science. How serious Socrates is with this side of the matter is shown by the fact that his philosophers are to be selected exclusively from the best specimens of young people who have come out preeminently successful from the hard discipline by which the fighting-force is made. The “auxiliary” himself, as described in the earlier books, is expected to have all the moral elevation of Wordsworth’s “Happy Warrior” and the “Happy Warrior” is, in turn, only the raw material out of which years of hard intellectual labour will make the philosophic statesman. If we lose sight of either half of this ideal we shall form a sadly defective notion of what the Republic means by a “philosopher.” By thinking only of the sainthood, we might come to imagine that the philosopher is a kind of Yogi, bent on a selfish absorption into the divine calm of the Absolute; it would then be a mystery why he is to be trained for his vocation by years of severe mathematical study, and again why, when he has at last descried the vision of the good, he should at once be made to devote all his powers, throughout the prime of his life, to the work of government. If we think only of the science, and say merely that what is aimed at is that the highest intellectual attainments shall be employed in the business of governing the world, we shall be forgetting that many of the most eminent men of science would have been disqualified for the supreme position in Socrates’ city by defects of character. From the point of view of intellectual eminence we could think, perhaps, of no names so illustrious as those of Galileo and Newton. But it may be taken as certain that both would, by the Socratic standard, be relegated to the class of δημιουργοί (warriors). The moral cheapness of the one man’s character, the vein of small egotism in the other’s, would debar them from being so much as ἐπίκουροι. What we need to understand clearly is that Socrates holds firmly to two positions at once — the position that only a moral hero or saint is fit to be a supreme ruler of men, and the further position that discipline in sheer hard thinking, which can only be won by personal service of science, is the immediate and indispensable path to the direct vision of good which makes the saint or hero. We are clearly here on Pythagorean ground. The underlying thought is just that which seems to have been distinctive of Pythagoras, the thought that “salvation” or “purification” of the soul is to be achieved by science (μαθήματα), not by a ritual of ceremonial holiness; the philosopher-kings embody the same ideal which had inspired the Pythagorean communities when |284| they set to work to capture the government of the cities of Magna Graecia. There is no reason to doubt that the actual Socrates, whose standing complaint against Athenian democracy in the dialogues is that it has no respect, in matters of right and wrong, for the authority of the “man who knows,” shared these ideas. They are avowed by Plato himself in his correspondence, where they figure as the true explanation of his apparently Quixotic attempt to make Dionysius II into a possible constitutional monarch by an education in mathematics. No doubt Plato and his friends were expecting from science something more than it has to give, but, as Professor Burnet has said, their proceedings are unintelligible unless we understand that the expectation was passionately sincere.

How preoccupation with science was expected to ennoble character (provided that only the right type of person is allowed to meddle with it), we see most readily by comparing the courage pronounced in Book IV to be all that is wanted of the ἐπίκουροι with the still higher type of courage declared in Book VI to be part of the character of the philosopher. The “courage” demanded of the good soldier, in whose make-up θυμός plays the leading part, was defined as steadfast loyalty in the face of perils and seductions to the right opinions inculcated in him by education. Its foundation is thus allegiance to a code of honor held with such passion that no fear of pain or death and no bait that can be offered to cupidity is able to overcome it. Clearly a courage like this will carry a man “over the top” make him volunteer for a desperate enterprise, or win him a V.C. But there are situations in life which make a demand for a still higher degree of fortitude. It is matter of experience that a V.C. may not be equal to the task of duty imposed, for example, on a priest whose business it is to tend daily the last hours of the victims of some foul pestilence in a plague-smitten city. Or again a brave soldier, who will face deadly peril when his “blood is up” and the eyes of his comrades and his commander are on him, may not have the nerve of the scientific man who will quietly inoculate himself with some loathsome disorder to study its symptoms, or try the effects of some new and powerful anesthetic upon himself, in order to decide on its possible utility in medicine. This is the sort of courage of which Socrates speaks as only possible to a man who “knows” the relative insignificance of the duration of any individual personal life from his habitual “contemplation of all time and all existence.” We should, probably, prefer, both in the case of the priest and in the case of the man of science, to speak of “faith,” but the point is that, in both cases, the agent is inspired by an absolutely assured personal conviction about the universal order and his own place in it. Without this absolute assurance of conviction, one is never wholly free from liability to illusion about one’s own personal importance, and so never quite a free man. Because Socrates holds that the sciences form a ladder which leads up in the end to the vision of the |285| “Good” as the clue to the whole scheme of existence, he looks to science, as its supreme service, to make us thus at last completely free men. From this point of view, clearly in the soul of the man who “knows” the “parts” (μόρια) or “figures” (εἴδη) which have been distinguishable at a lower level of moral development will be finally fused. His life will have only one spring of action or active principle, his vision of the supreme good itself. The forms of virtue, at its highest level, will therefore lose their distinction. It might be possible for the average good civilian, or even for the good soldier of the State, to be characterized by one form of goodness more than by another. This is what is meant by the assignment of different virtues as characteristic to different sections of the community. It is not meant that so long as the shop-keeper or the farmer is “temperate” it does not matter whether he is a coward. He could not be a good man at all, if he were that, and a society in which no one had any courage except the members of the army and police would be morally in a bad way. But fighting is not the civilian’s trade. He will be none the less a valuable member of society as a shop-keeper or a farmer because he has not been trained to show all the pluck and presence of mind which would win a D.S.O. or a V.C., though the State would succumb in the hour of peril if its fighting-arm had no more martial courage than the average civilian. But if a man is inspired in all the acts of his life by the vision of the supreme good, he will be equal to all the emergencies of life alike; in having one virtue, he will necessarily have all. Substitute for “the good” God, and the principle of the unity of the virtues takes on the familiar form Ama et fac quod vis (Love and do what you want). (11) The conception of science as the road to vision of the good leads us at once to consideration of the central metaphysical doctrine of the Republic, the doctrine of the “form of Good” (ἰδέα τἀγαθου). As is usual when the forms are mentioned in a Platonic dialogue, their reality is neither explained nor proved. It is taken for granted that the company in the house of Polemarchus, or at least Glaucon and Adimantus who conduct the discussion with Socrates, know quite well what the theory means and will not dispute its truth. It is assumed also as known to every one that the mathematical sciences are concerned with forms; forms are the objects which we get to know from mathematics, though the mathematician leads us up to acquaintance with them by starting from the sensible “figures” which he employs as helps to our imagination. So far, we are told nothing we have not learned from the Phaedo. But there are two points of the first importance on which the Republic adds to that dialogue, (a) We now hear of a certain supreme “form,” the “good” or “form of Good” which is the supreme object of the philosopher’s study. We learn that, over and beyond the recognized mathematical studies, there is a still more ultimate discipline, “dialectic,” and that it is the function of “dialectic” to lead directly to this vision of the “good.” Further, we are told |286| that this “good” is something Socrates cannot describe; it is not "reality or being" but “on the other side” of both, though it is the source of all the reality (ἀλήθεια) and being (οὐσίά) of everything, (b) The procedure of the mathematical sciences is criticised and contrasted with that of “dialectic” with a view to explaining just why the ideal of science is realised in dialectic and in dialectic alone. Both points call for some special consideration.

(a) The Forms (ἰδέαι) in the Republic. From the Phaedo, among other dialogues, we gather that there is a form corresponding to each “universal” predicate which can be significantly affirmed of a variety of logical subjects. The same thing is explicitly said in the Republic (vi. 507b, x. 596a); in the latter place the "form of bed or table" is given as an example. (This seems at variance with the well-known statement of Aristotle that “we” — i.e. the Platonists — deny that there are “forms” of artificial things,12 but we must remember that Aristotle is speaking of the doctrine as elaborated in the Academy, not of the position ascribed to Socrates in the dialogues.) But in the Republic we learn that there is a “Form of Good” which is to the objects of knowledge and to knowing itself what the sun is to visible objects and to sight. This is then further explained by saying that the sun both makes the colours we see and supplies the eye with the source of all its seeing. In the same way, the “good” supplies the objects of scientific knowledge with their being (οὐσία) and renders them knowable. And as the sun is neither the colours we see nor the eye which sees them, so the “good” is something even more exalted than “being.”13 Later on, we find that the sciences form a hierarchy which has its culmination in the actual apprehension of this transcendent “good” (Republic vii. 532a). Now, since it is assumed in the Republic that scientific knowledge is knowledge of forms, the objects which are thus said to derive their being from “the good” must clearly mean the whole body of the forms. The “good” thus holds a preeminence among forms, and strictly speaking, it might be doubtful whether we ought to call it a “form” any more than we can call the sun a colour. At least, all the other forms must be manifestations or expressions of it. In the Phaedo nothing was said which would warrant this treatment of the forms as a hierarchy or ordered series with a first member of such a unique |287| character; they appeared rather to be a vast plurality of which all the members stand on the same footing. Hence it is intelligible that the view should have been taken that the “good” of the Republic represents a Platonic development going far beyond anything we can attribute to Socrates himself. I think, however, that we must be careful not to exaggerate on this point. There can, at least, be no doubt that the “form of good” is identical with the supreme Beauty, the vision of which is represented in the Symposium as the goal of the pilgrimage of the philosophic lover. Hence, though it is true that the name “form of good” occurs nowhere but in the central section of the Republic, it would not be true to say that the object named does not appear in the Symposium with much the same character. Again, though the Phaedo does not name the “form of good,” the phrase εἰδος τᾀγαθου is verbally no more than a periphrase for τὸ ἀγαθὸν (“the good”), just as similar periphrases occur constantly with the words φύσις, δύναμις, in Plato.14 And it is in the Phaedo itself that we are told of Socrates’ conviction that the ἀγαθὀν καὶ δέον (the "good and the ought") is the principle which “holds everything together,” and thus the cause of all order in the universe.15 The statements of the Republic merely make the implications of this passage of the Phaedo a little more explicit. If the good is the universal cause, it obviously must have just the character the Republic ascribes to it. Hence Professor Burnet seems to be right in holding that what is said of the “form of good” is strictly within the limits of Socratism, and that this explains the point of contact between Socrates and an Eleatic like Euclides of Megara (Greek Philosophy, Part I, 168-170). That Socrates finds himself unable to speak of this form of good except negatively, and that he can only characterize it positively by an imperfect analogy, is inevitable from the nature of the case. The same thing may be seen in any philosophy which does not simply deny or ignore the “Absolute” or supreme source of all reality. Because this source is ex hypothesi a source of all reality, you are bound to insist that it transcends, and is thus “wholly other” than, every particular real thing; every predicate you affirm of it belongs properly to some of its effects in contradistinction from others and can therefore only be asserted of the supreme source “analogically” and with the warning that the analogy is imperfect and would mislead if pressed unduly. At the same time, because it is the source of all reality, every predicate which expresses a “positive perfection” must, in its degree, characterize the source of all “perfections” and must be ascribed to it “analogically.” All we gain by knowledge of the “detail” of the universe must add to and enrich our conception |288| of the source of reality, and yet we can never “comprehend” or completely “rationalise” that source. It remains, when all is said, an unexhausted and surprising “mystery.” Hence the necessity Christian theology has always felt itself under, of incorporating the profound agnosticism of the “negative way” or “way of remotion,” in itself and the grotesque aberrations into which it has always fallen in the hands of second-rate theologians who have attempted to know God as one may know the “general conic.” Hence also the tension between the affirmative and the negative moments in a metaphysic like that of Mr. Bradley. Hence equally the inevitable failure of "positive science" to complete its task of explaining everything. To explain everything would mean to get completely rid of all elements of “bare fact” to deduce the whole detail of existence from a body of “laws” perhaps from a single “law,” in themselves (or itself) “evident to the intellect,” as Descartes tried to deduce physics from geometry, because geometry appeared to him to involve no postulates which are not immediately “evident” as true. In fact, we only “rationalise” nature, in the sense of eliminating “bare fact” for which no explanation is forthcoming, at one point by reintroducing it somewhere else, as M. Meyerson has insisted in his series of illuminating works on the philosophy of the sciences. And it is just because science is under this restriction that its interest is perennial; if we could ever expect to "complete" it, we should have to anticipate a time when it would no longer interest us. Science is eternally progressive just because it is always tentative.16

“Science is eternally progressive just because it is always tentative.”
{Hence science can never be ‘settled.’}

The language used in the Republic of the “form of Good,” as the last paragraph has suggested, at once raises the question whether or not this form can be identified with God, of whom language of the same kind is used by Christian theologians and philosophers. We cannot answer this important question correctly except by making a distinctio sometimes forgotten. If the question means “is the Form of Good another name for the God recognized in the Platonic philosophy?” the answer must be definitely No, for the reason given by Burnet, that the good is a form, whereas God is not a form but a “soul,” the supremely good soul. When we come to deal with the Laws, we shall see the importance for Plato’s own thought of this distinction. It is just because his God is not a form that God can play the part the Platonic philosophy assigns to Him. But if we mean “is the Good spoken of in the Republic identical with what Christian divines and philosophers have meant |289| by God?” the answer must be modified. In one most important respect it is. The distinguishing characteristic of the “form of Good” is that it is the transcendent source of all the reality and intelligibility of everything other than itself. Thus it is exactly what is meant in Christian philosophy by the ens realissimum, and is rightly regarded as distinct from and transcendent of the whole system of its effects or manifestations. And, as in the ens realissimum of Christian philosophers, so in the “form of Good” the distinction, valid everywhere else, between essentia and esse, So-Sein and Sein, falls away. In other language, it transcends the distinction, too often treated as absolute, between value and existence. It is the supreme value and the source of all other value, and at the same time it is, though “beyond being,” the source of all existence. This explains why, when a man at last comes in sight of it at the culmination of his studies in “dialectic,” it is supposed to be grasped by direct vision, and for that reason is strictly “ineffable.” Neither Plato nor anyone else could tell another man what the good is, because it can only be apprehended by the most incommunicable and intimate personal insight. Thus, as it seems to me, metaphysically the Form of Good is what Christian philosophy has meant by God, and nothing else. From the Christian standpoint, the one comment which would suggest itself is that since, on Socrates’ own showing, the distinction between essence and existence falls away in the good, it should not properly be called one of the forms at all, and hence Socrates and Plato are not fully alive to the significance of their own thought when they speak of a “God” who is a ψυχή and thus on a lower level of “reality” than the good. Their form of theism is only necessitated because, in fact though not in words, they are still haunted by a feeling that the good is, after all, a “value” or an essentia, and needs some intermediate link to connect it up with the hierarchy of “realities” or “existents.” On this point the last word of Greek constructive thought was said not by Plato but by Plotinus and Proclus. (Of course, also, we must remember that a specifically Christian philosophy is determined in its attitude towards the theistic problem by the fact that Christianity is an historical religion. It starts with the fact of the “Word made flesh” itself a coalescence of existence and value, and to preserve its Christian character, it is bound to be true to that starting-point in its whole metaphysical construction.)

(b) The Criticism of the Sciences. In studying the criticism Socrates passes upon the sciences and his theory about their limitations, we must not be misled by the fact that he deals throughout only with the various branches of mathematics as recognized in the fifth century. This was inevitable because he had before him no other examples of systematic and organized knowledge. In principle what he has to say is readily applicable to the whole great body of more “concrete” sciences which has grown up since his own day. If we speak of his comments as a criticism on the |290| mathematical method, we must understand the phrase “mathematical method” in the same wide sense in which it is to be understood in reading Descartes, as meaning simply the method which aims at knowing exactly what its initial assumptions mean, and at deducing their implications exactly and in the right order. This is the method of all genuine science whatsoever; there is nothing in it, as Descartes rightly insisted, which involves any restriction to the special subject-matter, “number and quantity” (and, in fact, pure mathematics themselves have long ago outgrown the restriction). The point of the criticisms is that the μαθήματα themselves do not and cannot succeed in being absolutely true to the ideal of method they set before themselves. This is why we find that if we are to pursue the path of science to the end, we are driven to recognize the reality of “dialectic” as the crowning science of all sciences, and to demand that the existing μαθήματα shall themselves be reconstituted on a more certain basis by the light of the dialectician’s results. The recognition of this necessity may well belong to the actual Socrates, since the most sensational thing in the whole history of fifth-century science had been the demonstration by the dialectician Zeno that the postulates of mathematics, as hitherto prosecuted by the Pythagoreans, contradict one another.17 To save mathematical science in the face of Zeno’s arguments it became necessary in the fourth century to reconstruct the whole system, and the reconstruction is preserved for us in the Elements of Euclid. The men by whom the actual reconstruction was done, Eudoxus, Theaetetus, and their companions, so far as they are known to us, were all associates of Plato himself in the Academy, and it is quite certain that this revision of the accepted first principles of mathematics was one of the chief problems to which the school devoted itself. In the Republic, which is concerned with the fifth century, we naturally hear nothing about the way in which the difficulty was subsequently met, but we are allowed to hear of the imminent need that the work should be done.

The main thought is quite simple. In all the sciences the objects we are really studying are objects which we have to think but cannot see or perceive by any of our senses. Yet the sciences throughout direct attention to these objects, which are, in fact, forms, by appealing in the first instance to sense. The geometer draws a figure which he calls a “square” and a line which he calls |291| its “diagonal.” But when he demonstrates a proposition about the square and its diagonal, the objects of which he is speaking are not this visible figure and this visible line but the square and the diagonal, and these, of course, we do not see except “with the mind’s eye” (vi. 510d-e). (It would not even be true to say, like Berkeley, that what he is talking about is this visible figure and an indefinite plurality of others which are “like” it, for the simple reason that we can construct no visible figure at all which exactly answers to his definition of a “square.”) Further, all through his reasoning the geometer or arithmetician depends on certain “postulates” (ὑποθέσεις) of which he “gives no account” (λόγος), such as the “postulate” that every number is either odd or even, or that there are just three kinds of angle. It is meant that these postulates are neither immediately self-evident, nor is any proof given of them. They are “synthetic” in Kant’s sense of the word, and they are assumed without proof (vi. 510c-d). Thus there are two initial restrictions on the thinking of the mathematicians, as represented by the existing state of their science. They depend upon sensible things like diagrams as sources of suggestion, though not as the objects of their demonstrations. What cannot be “illustrated” or “represented” to the eye falls outside the scope of their science. And they make no attempt to reach real self-evidence in their initial postulates. They show that their theorems follow by logical necessity from a group of unproved premisses, but they do not undertake to show that there is any necessity to admit these premisses themselves. Thus the whole body of conclusions is left, so to say, hanging in the air. The geometer’s “results” in the end rest on a tacit agreement (ὁμολογία) between himself and his pupil or reader that the question whether his assumptions are justifiable shall not be asked. In strictness we cannot call the results “knowledge” so long as the assumptions from which they have been deduced are thus left unexamined (vii. 533c).18

This suggests to us at once the possibility and necessity of a higher and more rigorous science, “dialectic.” Such a science would differ from the sciences in vogue in two ways: (1) it would treat the initial postulates of the sciences as mere starting-points to be used for the discovery of some more ultimate premisses which are not “postulated,” but strictly self-luminous and evident (ἀνυπόθετα), a real “principle of everything,” and when it had |292| discovered such a principle (or principles), it would then deduce the consequences which follow; (2) and in this movement no appeal would be made to sensible aids to the imagination, the double process of ascent to the “starting-point of everything” and descent again from it would advance from “forms by means of forms to forms and terminate upon them” (vi. 511b-c). In fact, we may even say that “dialectic” would “destroy” (ἀναιρεῖν) the postulates of the existing sciences (τὰς ὑποθέσεις ἀναιρουσα, vii. 533c), that is, it would deprive them of the character of ultimate postulates by showing that — so far as they are not actually false, as they may turn out to be — they are consequences of still more ultimate truths.

In this account of the aims of dialectic we recognize at once the method described in the Phaedo as that of σκέψις ἐν λόγοις (logical studies) on which Socrates had fallen back after his disillusionment about Anaxagoras. Only here the special emphasis is thrown on just that side of the dialectic method which the immediate purposes of the Phaedo permitted us to dismiss in a single sentence. We are contemplating the procedure there said to be necessary if anyone disputes an initial “postulate.” In that case, the Phaedo told us, our “postulate” will require to be itself deduced as a consequence from one more ultimate, and the process will have to be repeated until we come to a postulate which all parties are content to accept. In the last resort this would, of course, involve deduction from some principle which can be seen to possess unquestionable internal necessity. Thus, so far, the Republic agrees exactly with the Phaedo about the task of “dialectic,” except that it lays special stress on just that part of it which had not to be taken into account in the Phaedo because the company there were all willing to admit the doctrine of forms as a “postulate” without demanding any justification of it. It is clear from the Republic that if a disputant should refuse to make this admission, the theory of forms itself would require to be examined in the same way in which the postulates of the mathematician von Fach are to be investigated. In the one passage of the dialogues where any such examination is made, it is not put into the mouth of Socrates but into that of the Pythagorean Timaeus (Timaeus 51b 7 ff.).

Though Socrates naturally confines himself to criticisms of the sciences which had attained some degree of organization in his own day, it is obvious that they would apply with equal force to any others. Physics, chemistry, biology, economics are all full of undefined “primitive notions” and undemonstrated assumptions, and it is part of the work of the students of these sciences themselves to make a steady effort to ascertain just what their untested presuppositions are, and to consider how far they are really required, and how far they form a consistent system. The progress made by pure mathematics in the last half-century has largely consisted in a more accurate and complete statement of the “primitive notions” and “indemonstrable postulates” of the science and the |293| elimination of numerous conscious or tacit “postulates” as actually false. Thus, for example, the process by which the Infinitesimal Calculus has been purged of bad logic and false assumptions, or the development of “non-Euclidean geometry,” is an excellent illustration of the self-criticism and self-correction of thought which Socrates and Plato call “dialectic.” Socrates’ complaint (vii. 533c) about the mathematician who gives the name of science to a procedure in which the starting-point is something one does not know, and the conclusion and the intermediate steps “combinations of things one does not know,” would be a perfectly correct description of the contents of any average text-book of the Calculus in vogue seventy years ago. And it is manifest that the same sort of scrutiny is required by such notions as “force,” “acceleration,” “atomicity,” “evolution,” “price.” They are all inevitably in practical use long before the sciences which employ them have formulated any very precise account of their meaning, and the progress of science as science (as distinct from its application to “commerce”) consists very largely in the steady correction of our first crude attempts to explain what we mean by them. The physicist of today may, like Democritus, make the “atomic structure of matter” a foundation-stone of his science, but he means by his “atom” something Democritus would not have recognized as “atomic” at all. Similarly we all talk of the “evolution” of species, but the view that new species originate by sudden and considerable “mutations,” if established, would change the whole character of the special “Darwinian” postulate about the character of the process; it would involve exactly what Socrates means by a “destruction” of the postulate. Thus, so far, we may say that what the Republic calls “dialectic” is, in principle, simply the rigorous and unremitting task of steady scrutiny of the indefinables and indemonstrables of the sciences, and that, in particular, his ideal, so far as the sciences with which he is directly concerned goes, is just that reduction of mathematics to rigorous deduction from expressly formulated logical premisses by exactly specified logical methods of which the work of Peano, Frege, Whitehead, and Russell has given us a magnificent example.

But the “reduction of all pure mathematics to logic” is only a part, and not the most important part, of what the Republic understands by “dialectic.” Such a unification of the sciences as the Republic contemplates would require a combination of the reduction of mathematics to logic with the Cartesian reduction of the natural sciences to geometry. When the task was finished, no proposition asserting “matter of fact,” devoid of internal necessity, should appear anywhere among the premisses from which our conclusions are ultimately drawn. The first principles to which the dialectician traces back all our knowledge ought to exhibit a self-evident necessity, so that science would end by transforming all “truths of fact” into what Leibniz called “truths of reason.” This involves a still more significant extension of the range of |294| “science.” It implies that in a completed philosophy the distinctions between value and fact, essentia and esse, So-sein and Sein are transcended. The man who has attained “wisdom” would see that the reason why anything is, and the reason why it is what it is, are both to be found in the character of an ens realissimum of which it is self-evident that it is and that it is what it is, a self-explanatory “supreme being” This is why dialectic is said to culminate in direct apprehension of “the good” as the source of both existence and character. The thought is that all science in the end can be transformed into a sort of “algebra,” but an algebra which is, as Burnet says, teleological. The demand for such a science is, in fact, already contained by implication in the remark of Socrates in the Phaedo that he hoped to find in Anaxagoras a solution of the problem of the shape and position of the earth based on proof that “it is best” that it should have just that shape and position and no other (Phaedo 97d-e). When a modern biologist explains the structure of an organism by the notion of “adaptation” to its environment he is thus using on a small scale the principle which the Republic would make the supreme universal principle of all scientific explanation whatsoever. Only, of course, the biological conception of “adaptation” stops short with a relative best; the particular environment of a particular species is taken as (relatively) constant and independent; the “best” realised in the development of the species is adequate adaptation to that given environment. When the principle is made universal, the “best” becomes an ethical and absolute best, since no place is left for an “environment” of everything. The “goodness of God,” or its equivalent, takes the place of the fixed “environment” as that to which the structure of things is conceived as “adapted.”

We need not suppose that Plato imagined this programme for the completion of science as capable of actual execution by human beings. We have learned from the Symposium that “philosophy” itself is a life of progress, it is not those who are already in possession of “wisdom,” but those who are endeavouring after it, who philosophize. The Timaeus reminds us with almost wearisome repetition that, in physical science in particular, all our results are inevitably provisional, the best we can reach with our present lights, and that we must be prepared to see them all superseded or modified. One of the standing contrasts between Plato and his great disciple Aristotle is just that this sense of the provisionality and progressiveness of science is so prominent in the one and so absent from the other. Plato never assumes, as Aristotle was so apt to assume, that he can do the world’s scientific thinking for it once for all. This apparent finality, which made Aristotle so attractive to the thinkers of the thirteenth century, who were just recovering the thought of “Nature” as a field for study on her own account, makes the real value of Aristotle’s science rather difficult for us to appreciate today. Plato was far too true to the Socratic conception of the insignificance of human knowledge by |295| comparison with the vastness of the scientific problem to fall into the vein of cheap and easy dogmatism. But though the final “rationalisation” of things may be an unattainable goal, there is no reason why we should not try to get as near to the goal as we can. If we cannot expel the element of “brute fact” for which we can see no reason from science, we may try, and we ought to try, to reduce it to a minimum. We cannot completely “mathematize” human knowledge, but the more we can mathematize it, the better. We shall see, when we come to speak of Plato’s oral teaching in the Academy, how earnestly he set himself to carry out the programme by getting behind the mere assumption of the forms as the last word in philosophy, and deducing the forms themselves from the “good.”

(c) It should be unnecessary to dwell on the point that, with all his devotion to this demand for a critical metaphysic of the sciences, Plato is no champion of a mere vita contemplativa divorced from practical social activity. One could not even say that he, like Kant, conceives of “speculative” and “practical” reason as active in two distinct spheres of which one is subordinated to the other. To his mind, the two spheres are inseparable. The unification of science is only possible to one who is illuminated by the vision of the Good which is the principle of the unification, and the Good is only seen by the man who lives it. Hence the demand that the “philosopher” shall devote the best years of his working life to the arduous practice of governing, in all its details great or small, is only the other side of the conviction that without the “heroic"” character no one will ever rise to the supreme rank in science itself. The “philosopher” is necessarily a missionary and a sort of lesser Providence to mankind because, on Socratic principles, the “good” cannot be seen without drawing all who see it into its service. The “philosophers’” social activity is all the more effective that it is not pursued directly for its own sake, in the spirit of the well-meaning but tiresome persons of our own day who take up “social work” as they might take up typewriting or civil engineering, but issues naturally and inevitably, as a sort of “by-product,” from their aspiration after something else, just as the “great inventions” of modern times regularly issue from the discoveries of men who were not thinking at all of the applications of science to convenience and commerce, or as art, literature, social life have all owed an incalculable debt to St. Francis and his “little brethren,” who never gave a thought to any of them.

(12) This desultory chapter may be brought to an end by a few remarks on the impressive picture of Republic viii-ix about the stages of progressive degeneration through which personal and national character pass as the true ideal of life falls more completely out of view. It should be obvious that the primary interest of these sketches is throughout ethical, not political. The “imperfect” constitutions are examined in order to throw light on the different phases of personal human sinfulness, not in the interests of a theory |296| of political institutions. We see the sinfulness of even “honorable” ambition or “business principles,” when they are made the mainspring of a man’s life, more clearly by considering the type of national character exhibited by a community in which these motives determine the character of national life. Socrates is still adhering to his declared purpose of using the “larger letters” to decipher the smaller. In the sketches themselves, Socrates is all through “drawing with his eye on the object.” We are told in so many words that Sparta has furnished the model for the picture of the second-best society, where education is neglected and the highest moral ideal is to display the character of a good fighting-man and sportsman, i.e. the society in which “honorable ambition” the pursuit of the cursus honorum, is thought the supreme virtue. As mankind go, a community of this kind is not a bad one; it is morally in a much healthier state than a society where every one regards “getting rich” as the great aim in life, and the “merchant prince” is the national hero. Rome, in its better days, would be an example of the kind of society intended, no less than Sparta. The point of Socrates’ criticism is that when “ambition” becomes master instead of servant, it is not likely to remain “honorable” ambition, ambition to “serve.” From the first, the ambition of the “timocratic” State has not been aspiration to be preeminent in the best things; at their best, the Spartans made a very poor contribution to the positive pursuit of the highest life. When they were not at their best, their “ambition” took the form of mere devotion to military success; and at their worst, they were mere aspirants to the exercise of power and the accumulation of the wealth to be got by “empire,” as the “timocratic man,” in his old age, degenerates into the kind of character who is greedy of the power money will give him. It ought to have been impossible to find any idealization of Sparta in the picture. As I have written elsewhere, it would be truer to say that in the Republic we discern the shadows of the third-century ephors and of Nabis behind the “respectable” figure of Agesilaus.

It is generally admitted that the picture of the “democratic” city where every one does as he pleases, and the most typical of citizens is the gifted amateur who plays, as the mood takes him, at every kind of life from that of the voluptuary to that of the ascetic — a sort of Goethe, in fact — is a humorous satire on Athenian life and manners. Of course we should be alive to the further point that the satire would be wholly beside the mark if directed against the drab and decent bourgeois Athens of Plato’s manhood. The burlesque is aimed directly against the Imperial democracy of the spacious days of Pericles when Athens was a busy home of world-commerce and the “new learning.” If we read the description side by side with the famous Funeral Oration in Thucydides, we shall see at once that the very notes of Athenian life which Pericles there selects as evidence of its superiority are carefully dwelt upon by Socrates for the opposite purpose of proving that, for all its |297| surface brilliancy, such a life is at bottom so diseased that society is on the verge of complete collapse. I, at least, cannot avoid the conviction that Socrates sees in just what must have been the great charm of Athens for men like Sophocles, Protagoras, Herodotus — its apparently inexhaustible variety and freshness — the unmistakable “symptoms of the end.”19 (Perhaps he was not very far wrong. What would probably have been the issue of the Periclean age if Alcibiades, the incarnation of its energy and versatility, had returned triumphant from the subjugation of Sicily? One may “hazard a wide solution.”)

We are given no hint of the source from which the picture of the intermediate society, where wealth is the great title to admiration and “merchant princes” control the national destiny, is taken. But I do not doubt that we can name the State which Plato has in mind. When we remember that, as we see from allusions in the Laws and in Aristotle’s Politics,20 there were just three cities whose constitutions impressed Greek thinkers by their appearance of being framed on definite principles — Sparta, Crete, and Carthage. I think it may safely be assumed that Carthage has supplied the hints for the Venice or Amsterdam of the Republic, just as we may presume that Socrates has the Carthaginians more than anyone else in found in the earlier passage where he remarks on the exceptional aptitude of “Phoenicians” for commerce. The subsequent history of Carthage during the first two Punic wars affords an interesting commentary on what is said about the internal dissensions which paralyze the “oligarchical city” On the concluding argument, by which the life of respect for right is pronounced far superior in happiness to the life of sating one’s cupidities and ambitions,21 there is no need to say much. The reasoning is that we have already met in the Gorgias, and turns on the application of the medical formula of “depletion and recovery from depletion” to the moral life. The “passions,” like the physical appetites of hunger and thirst, are capable of no permanent and progressive satisfaction. You feed full today, but tomorrow finds you as hungry again as though today had never been. What you mistake for happiness has been only the temporary arrest of a “depletion” On the other hand, what you gain in knowledge |298| and goodness is not won today to be “excreted” by the time tomorrow is upon you. It is permanently acquired. It is not with character and intellect as it is with bodily health, which is a mere balance between antithetic processes of waste and repair; character and intellect are κτήματα ἐς αἰεί. This is the reason for the distinction between the “false” pleasures of sensuality and ambition and the “true” pleasures of the philosophic life. The former are “false,” not in the sense that they are not really felt, but in the sense that they are not what they promise to be. “Alle Lust will Ewigkeit,” but no Ewigkeit is to be got out of the βίος φιλοσώματος or the βίος φιλότιμος, a truth which no special pleading for Hedonism can explain away. I will add one final caution against possible misinterpretation. Plato credits the "three lives" with distinctive pleasures, much as Mill talks of a distinction of “higher” and “lower” in pleasure (Republic, 582a-e). But he gives a rational reason for his preference of the “philosopher’s” pleasure where Mill gives an absurd one. Mill tries to persuade his readers that a jury of pleasure-tasters devoid of all moral principle would be unanimous in preferring the philosopher’s pleasures, or, alternatively, that the dissentients may be disabled as no genuine connoisseurs.22 Plato gives the right reason for the preference, that the issue is one which must be decided by "intelligence," and it is just intelligence which the philosopher has and his rivals have not. This is what John Grote also meant when he said that Mill’s argument is based on a misconception of our reason for attaching weight to the philosopher’s verdict. We go to him not as Mill assumes, for evidence, but for authority.23

See further:
Nettleship, R. L. “Lectures on the Republic of Plato,” vol. ii. of
  Philosophical Remains; Plato’s Conception of Goodness and the Good;
  The Theory of Education in Plato’s Republic
in Hellenica II, 61-165.
Natorp, P. Platons Ideenlehre, 175-215.
Ritter, C. Platon, ii. 3-39, 554-641 al.; Platons Staat, Darstel lung des Inhalts.
  Stuttgart, 1909.
Raeder, H. Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 181-245.
Barker, E. Greek Political Theory: Plato and his Predecessors, 145-268.
Stewart, J. A. Myths of Plato, 133-172; “Myth of Er” 471-474;
  “Myth of the Earth-born”; Plato’s Doctrine of Ideas, 47-62.
Shorey, P. Plato’s Republic. (London and New York,
  Vol. I 1930, Vol. II 1935.)
Dies, A. Introduction to the edition of the dialogue in the
  Collection des Universite’s de France. (Paris, 1932.)

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1^ This is made especially clear by the tone of the satire on democracy viii. 557 ff., where it is unmistakably the powerful, opulent, and formidable democracy of the Archidamian war that Socrates is depicting. The year 411, assumed as the dramatic date by some commentators, is about the worst of all possible choices. It is rendered impossible by the fact that in the Republic, Cephalus, the father of Polemarchus and Lysias, is still alive, though an old man. The date is thus before his death and the removal of his sons to Thurii, whence they returned, after a good number of years, to Athens in 411 (Vita Lysiae, c. 1).

2^ This is why in Book IV. the virtues, as practiced in the “reformed” city, are still distinguishable, so that different virtues are most specially prominent in different sections of society, and, again, why we are told at iv. 430c 3 that the account just given of courage is adequate only as a description of “citizen” courage, and may have to be revised later on. The “unity of the virtues” only emerges in Republic vi. when we come to discuss the character of the “philosopher-king.”

3^ The only specious argument for an earlier Urstaat is that, at the beginning of the Timaeus, where Socrates is made to recapitulate the contents of the Republic (Timaeus 18a-19a), nothing is said about the philosopher-kings and their education. Nothing, however, is said about the account of the “imperfect” types of men and societies in Republic viii. ix. either. The silence of the Timaeus about everything which follows Republic v. can be explained conjecturally in more ways than one. The simplest explanation is that the real purpose of the recapitulation is to serve as an introduction to the projected but unfinished Critias. Any explanation of the facts must remain conjectural, since Plato wrote only the opening pages of the projected Critias, and we do not know how he meant to develop the story.

4^ The apparent triviality of the examples chosen by Socrates to illustrate his point is only apparent. He takes simple illustrations, as Professor Burnet has said, because the issue at stake is most readily seen in such cases. Thus, e.g., the question whether one should return a weapon to a lunatic because it is his raises the problem whether it is the duty of a banker to honor all the cheques of a wealthy senile client, or of a solicitor to take his instructions for a manifestly insane will without any warning to his family; and these are questions of moment, not only for the casuist but for the legislator. Grotius has to begin with precisely the same kind of elementary example when he wants to discuss the problems connected with international good faith in the De iure belli et pacis.

5^ For example, on Thrasymachus’ theory, the δημος, which is the stronger κρειττον at Athens, must be supposed to have adopted the institution of ostracism in the interests of the δημος, as a safeguard against would-be "dictators." But in actual working the institution favours the aspirant to a dictatorship by giving him a chance to remove the natural leaders of a “constitutional opposition.” The selection of magistrates by lot, again, must be supposed to have been adopted to equalize the chances of the citizens; but, as its ancient critics said, it may work the wrong way, since it gives the μισόδημος as good a chance of office as anyone else, whereas he would be handicapped under an elective system by his known or suspected hostility to the constitution.

6^ For example, punctuality is what is commonly considered a “minor social virtue.” A man is not thought much the worse of, if he is always late at an appointment. But when we see how the issue of a campaign or even of a war may be affected, if expected reinforcements arrive just a little too late, we are reminded that it is a dangerous thing to call any virtue a “minor” one. The contemplation of the “large letters” teaches us not to despise “minute particulars.”

7^ See the fragments of the Aspasia collated in H. Dittmar’s Aeschines von Sphettos. 275-283.

8^ It would be singularly unlikely that Aeschylus, who had fought at Marathon, should feel any particular devotion to a god who had “medized” all through the Persian wars. That he felt none is surely proved by the part Apollo is made to play all through the Orestean trilogy. The so-called naivete of Aeschylus, like that of Herodotus, is a product of consummate art. In one important passage where the poet really is expressing personal religious conviction he is at pains to tell us that “popular orthodoxy” is against him (Agamemnon 757, δίχα δ᾽ ἄλλων μονόφρων εἰμί).

9^ Besides painting, embroidery, and architecture, the Republic (i.e.) mentions weaving, the manufacture of all “vessels” or “furniture” (σκευων), and appears to allude to gardening. There would be plenty of room in Socrates’ city for the arts of design, if there is not much left for the poet and dramatist. It is an interesting question whether Socrates may not be right in what is his evident conviction that the greatest art does require a certain austerity and severe restriction in the matter of its vehicles of expression. I suggest the question without wishing to answer it.

10^ Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy3, 296 n. 2.

11^ The suggestion is that in the man who achieves his eternal salvation, the elements of “mettle” and “concupiscence” are, so to say, transubstantiated, swallowed up in intellect. (Of course this “intellect” would not be a “cold, neutral” apprehension of truth, but an intellect on fire with intellectual “passion,” a white-hot intelligence.) The same suggestion is made more openly in the Timaeus (69c ff.). Since we cannot suppose the Pythagorean Timaeus to have learned about the “tripartite soul” for the first time from the conversation of Socrates two days before, the fact that he makes a point of the doctrine indicates that Plato regards it as Pythagorean.

12^ Metaphysics, A. 991b 6, M. 1080a 6.

13^ Republic vi. 508b-509b. For the full understanding of the analogy with the sun it is necessary to understand the theory of colour-vision implied which is fully expounded in the Timaeus. A colour is itself a kind of “flame” (Timaeus, 67c ff.), and the immediate organ of the sight by which it is apprehended is also itself a fire, like that of the sun, which is contained in the eye and issues forth from it in the act of vision (ibid. 45b ff.). Thus the sun, as the source of light, actually is also the source both of colour and of colour-vision. The well-known Neoplatonist formula that νους and τὰ νοητά taken together as inseparable proceed immediately from the supreme reality “the One” is a perfectly correct transcript of the doctrine of the Republic into the terminology of technical metaphysics.

14^ To take the first examples which come to hand: Phaedo, 98a 2, αίτίας ἄλλο εἰδος = another cause; Phaedrus, 246d 6, ἡ πτερου δύναμις = “a wing”; Timaeus, 70d 8, τὴν του σώματος φύσιν = the body.

15^ The physicists are accused (Phaedo 99c 5) of falsely thinking that τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ δέον συνέχει οὐδέν. As one might say, "they forget that obligation is the ligature" which connects all things.

16^ The last word on the question whether the philosophy of the Republic and the dialogues generally is “rationalism” or not is briefly this. If we could fully comprehend “the good” we should see directly that it is through and through intelligible, and the only object which is wholly and perfectly intelligible; as we never can comprehend it completely, there is, in fact, always something mysterious, not yet understood, about it. It is free from all self-contradiction, but it always contains “surprises” for us. We can “see into it” to some extent, and it is the philosopher’s duty to see further and further into it; but you will never “see through it.”

17^ To take one of the simplest examples: you cannot advance a step in elementary geometry without recognizing that any terminated straight line can be bisected, and there is no doubt that the Pythagorean geometers made the assumption. But it is also one of their assumptions that points are “units having position.” If this is so, since a “unit” cannot be split, when I “bisect AB at C”; C cannot be a “point of AB,” and, in fact, cannot be a “point” at all. Thus one at least of the assumptions, “a straight line can be bisected at a point,” “a point is a unit having position,” must be false. But the Pythagorean geometer cannot see his way to do without either. All Zeno’s “antinomies” are of this type.

18^ We may readily supply further examples in illustration of the two points on which Socrates dwells. Thus the notion that the visible diagram is either the object about which the geometer reasons, or at any rate, a necessary source of suggestion, is dispelled by the elementary consideration that e.g. a work on Conics commonly begins with propositions about the properties of the "general conic." But you cannot draw even a rough diagram of a "general conic." So the other point is well illustrated by the labour spent for centuries on trying to show that what we now know to be the arbitrary Euclidean postulate of parallels (that non-intersecting straight lines in the same piano are equidistant) is a necessity of thought.

19^ Cf. V. Soloviev’s saying that “visible and accelerated progress is a symptom of the end.”

20^ Aristotle, Politics B 11 (1272b 24 ff.; note that Aristotle too comments on the “plutocracy” of the Carthaginian scheme, and plutocracy is what is meant by "oligarchy" in the Republic). For a reference to Carthage in the Laws, see Laws, 674a, written, no doubt, after Plato’s association with affairs in Sicily had made Carthage very much of an actuality to him. Commerce made Carthage an object of interest to Athens in the Periclean age (Aristophanes’ Knights, 174), and it has been plausibly suggested that the great plague of the third year of the Archidamian war was brought to Athens from Carthage by infected merchandise.

21^ Republic, ix. 583b ff. Cf.

“‘Mete unto wombe and worn be eek unto mete, Shall God destroyen bothe,’ as Paulus seith.”

22^ Mill’s plea is a perfect example of the kind of argument the Greeks called a λόγος ἀντιστρέφων, i.e. one which makes for neither party, because it can be equally well applied by the other. If the sage disables the judgment of the profligate on the plea that he must have lost the taste for the “higher pleasures” before he can prefer the lower, the profligate can equally retort on the sage with the adage about sour grapes. “You have taken to philosophy,” he may say, “because you are physically too old to enjoy debauchery.”

23^ Examination of the Utilitarian Philosophy, p. 47.

XII. The Phaedrus

The Phaedrus1 presents a double difficulty to the student of Plato’s work as a whole. What is its proper place in the series of the dialogues? And what is its purpose? Is it, as it professes to be, a discussion of the principles upon which "rhetoric" (prose style) may be made into a "science," or is its real subject Eros? Is Plato primarily concerned with the question of the use and abuse of sexual passion, or are the speeches Socrates delivers on this topic merely examples of the right and the wrong use of persuasive eloquence?

The first question, on examination, proves capable of being narrowed down to one which we may regard as of minor importance. No serious student of Platonic style now defends the singular theory of some critics in classical antiquity that the prominence of Eros in the dialogue and the loaded rhetoric of Socrates’ encomium on him prove the work to be a youthful writing, perhaps the earliest of all the dialogues.2 It is matter of common agreement that, on stylistic grounds, the dialogue cannot be placed earlier than those works of Plato’s maturity as a writer with which we have been dealing in the last four chapters; it cannot be far removed from the great quadrilateral in point of date. But there still remains the question whether it may be earlier than some of these four, or whether it is later than all of them. In particular, we have to ask whether the Phaedrus is earlier or later than the Republic. Arguments from stylometry cannot be wholly trusted in this case, since it is manifest that many of the peculiarities of language are due to deliberate imitation. On the whole, the stylometrists appear to be satisfied that the Phaedrus is the later of the two works, and this view is plausibly supported by the contention urged by H. Raeder, that some of the details of the mythical part of the dialogue are hardly intelligible except on the assumption that its readers would be familiar with Republic v. and the concluding myth of Republic x. I do not myself find the argument conclusive.3 On the other hand, |300| as we shall see in the next chapter, there is convincing reason for thinking that the Theaetetus, which pretty certainly opens the group of dialogues of Plato’s later life, was not written until about twenty years after the Republic and its immediate fellows, and it is perhaps hard to believe that so great a writer as Plato was absolutely silent through so long a period. Hence I have nothing to set against the conclusions of recent eminent scholars on the point, and would merely remark that the priority of the Republic is not absolutely demonstrable, and also that, in view of the difference in spirit between Republic and Theaetetus, we must fairly suppose the Phaedrus, if the composition falls in the interval between those two dialogues, to have been written early rather than late in the interval.

The other problem is more difficult, and I would recommend the reader to suspend his judgment on it until he has followed our analysis of the dialogue. My own opinion is on the side of those who regard the right use of "rhetoric" as the main topic, for the following simple reason. In Socrates, with whom the "tendance of the soul" was the great business of life, it is quite intelligible that a discussion of the use of rhetoric or anything else should be found to lead up to the great issues of conduct. If the real subject of the Phaedrus were sexual love, it is hard to see how its elaborate discussion of the possibility of applying a scientific psychology of the emotions to the creation of a genuine art of persuasion, or its examination of the defects of Lysias as a writer, can be anything but the purest irrelevance.

In structure the dialogue is of the simplest type. Socrates falls in with Phaedrus who is, under medical advice, taking a constitutional in the country outside the city walls, and, for the sake of his company, joins him, departing for once from his preference for the streets of the town. He soon persuades Phaedrus to sit down by the bank of the Ilissus under the shade of a plane tree; the conversation which ensues takes place here and is strictly tete-a-tete. As for the supposed date of the conversation, it can be approximately fixed by the opening sentences. Lysias, who figures as a mere lad in the Republic, is now at the height of his fame as a writer of λόγοι (228a), and is living at Athens (227b). We may add the further detail that Polemarchus is also alive and, according to Socrates, "has betaken himself to philosophy" (257b), also that Isocrates, though still young, is already rivaling Lysias in his profession; Socrates anticipates that he may either throw Lysias and all former professors of it into the shade, or even aspire to a still higher calling, |301| for "there really is philosophy in him" (279a). The conversation thus falls at some date between 411, when Polemarchus and Lysias returned to Athens from Thurii, and the year of anarchy, 404-3, when Polemarchus fell a victim to the "Thirty." The tradition was that Isocrates was some seven years older than Plato, so that his birth would fall about 435 B.C.; as he survived the battle of Chaeronea (338 B.C.), he cannot well have been born much if any earlier; hence he would be about twenty-four in 411 and thirty-one in the "year of anarchy." A date intermediate between 411 and 404 is thus required by the supposed facts. We note then that Phaedrus must now be between five and twelve years older than when we met him in the Symposium; no lad (for he figured in the Protagoras), but a man at least approaching forty;4 Socrates is a γέρων, a man of at least sixty and perhaps more.

When Socrates falls in with Phaedrus, the time of day is already close on noon (this explains why the pair so soon take rest under the plane-tree). Phaedrus has spent the early morning listening to a brilliant and paradoxical λόγος — we should call it an essay — by Lysias in defense of the thesis that a lad should be kinder to a wooer who is not "in love" than to one who is. He has the written text with him, and Socrates professes to believe that he is taking his solitary stroll for the express purpose of getting it by heart. The main point of the short and playful conversation between Socrates and Phaedrus as they make their way to the place they have chosen for their siesta (227-230) is to pitch the ethical key for what is to follow. Socrates is not interested in the "rationalisation of myths" like that of Boreas and Orithyia, because he is preoccupied with a graver problem, that of learning to "know himself"; he is indifferent to the charms of the country, because the trees, unlike the men he meets in the streets, can "teach him nothing" that bears on this supreme topic, the moral being of man. These remarks prepare us for the moral earnestness with which the merits of Lysias’s essay and the possibilities of rhetoric are to be treated in the body of the dialogue.

The Essay of Lysias (230e-234c). It has been disputed whether the discourse Phaedrus proceeds to read is an authentic composition of Lysias or a brilliant imitation of his style by Plato himself. There is no evidence either way, but for my own part, I feel that we must agree with those scholars, including Lysias’ latest editor, Hude, who regard the essay as genuine. No one doubts Plato’s ability to compose a λόγος for Lysias with perfect fidelity to the style of the supposed author. But, since the dialogue ends with severe and formal censure of Lysias, founded on a searching criticism of the λόγος, I find it difficult to believe that the document is an invention. It would be self-stultifying to publish a severe criticism of a well-known author based on an imitation of him which the critic had composed for his own purposes and could |302| not expect readers to take as authentic. One might as well suppose that Berkeley could have made the point he wants to make in Alciphron about the false glitter and shallowness of Shaftesbury by composing an imitation of the Characteristics. Plato’s purpose, like Berkeley’s, demands that the attack should be made on work which is both genuine and admired by the circles whose literary and moral false taste is to be exposed. Hude seems to me fully justified in printing the discourse as part of his text of Lysias.

The thesis of Lysias, we must remember, would be an offensive paradox even to the section of Athenian society which practiced "unnatural" aberrations. The fashionable theory was that the relations in question are ennobled when they are inspired by genuine "romantic" attachment, but not otherwise, as is taken for granted by the encomiasts of them in the Symposium. To suffer the advances of an ἐραστής from calculations of advantage was regarded as the basest thing a Greek lad could do. For a modern parallel to the paradox we might imagine a clever essay written to show that Tom Jones’s conduct towards Lady Bellaston is morally more innocent than his affair with Molly Seagrim. We must not suppose that Lysias intends his argument to be taken seriously. He simply means to exhibit his cleverness by showing how good a case he can make out for the worst conduct, much as a clever writer today might amuse himself and his readers by an essay on the moral elevation of a bomb-throwing "Communist" But there are theses which cannot be defended and arguments which cannot be employed, even in jest, without revealing deep-seated moral depravity or insensibility; the kind of cleverness which sustains such theses by the use of such arguments is a real moral danger to the community and requires to be countered, as it is by Socrates, with better morality and superior wit.

The discourse may be summarized very briefly; it is throughout an appeal to considerations of "utility" in the most sordid sense of the word. One is likely to make one’s price much more effectively out of a suitor who is a cold sensualist. Romantic love has its fits of repentance and its lovers’ quarrels; it changes its object, and when it does so, it passes into hate and scorn. It imperils reputation, since the romantic suitor "blabs" of his success, while the business-like sensualist knows how to hold his tongue. The "lover" is notoriously jealous and tries to monopolize his beloved; the cool sensualist does not object to going shares with rivals recommended by their wealth or other qualities.5 The "lover" is attracted by physical charm before he has considered the suitability of the connexion in other respects; the man who is not "in love" chooses carefully. The lover’s judgment is blinded by his passion, and this makes him the worst of confidants and advisers. He flatters one’s weaknesses and quarrels with one’s better qualities. On all these grounds it is absurd to expect solid and lasting advantage from one’s complaisances towards him. (Manifestly such a |303| discourse, apart from the moral turpitude which pervades it, is really a failure, considered merely as a defense of its thesis. Lysias gives a number of excellent reasons for thinking that it is bad to "grant favours to a lover"; he has given no reason for thinking that it may not be as bad, or worse, to grant them to a sensual "man of the world." The speech is thus, judged by any reasonable standard, bad rhetoric, as well as bad ethics, a point which Socrates will not be slow to make.)

Socrates professes at first to have paid no attention to the matter of the discourse. He was attending wholly to its stylistic qualities, and these even Lysias himself could hardly approve, since it was full of empty repetition and tautology. The mere recollection of what poets like Sappho and Anacreon have said about love would enable a man to make a much better speech on the same theme. Lysias has in fact shown no "invention" in his essay; he has merely dwelt on one obvious point, the "blindness" and irrationality of the lover’s passion, a point no one could miss. The whole merit of his performance, if it has any, must be looked for in the arrangement (διάθεσις) of this commonplace material. Phaedrus himself admits this (236a-b), but challenges Socrates, if he can, to treat the same theme (ὑπόθεσις), the admitted "madness" of the lover’s passion, better than Lysias has done. Socrates accepts the challenge, with a prayer to the Muses to make up for his well-known ignorance by the aid of their "inspiration." With this preface he makes a rival speech on the theme, only carefully introducing one slight but significant modification. The supposed speaker, in his discourse, is to be not a cold-blooded sensualist making a disgraceful "business proposition," but a "lover" astute enough to cloak his passion under an appearance of indifference. (This gives Socrates a double advantage over Lysias. He safeguards his own character by abstaining from even a playful defense of a morally disgraceful thesis, and he leaves himself free, if he pleases, to urge subsequently that the apparent reasonability of the speech is only the simulated rationality of a madman, since the client into whose mouth it is put is really inspired all the time by "romantic" unreason.)

First Speech of Socrates — Thesis: It Is Bad to Listen to the Blandishments of a "Lover". (237b-241d) — The first requisite for all sound deliberation is to know the real character of the object about which we are deliberating. Since the question is whether one should yield to a lover, we must start by understanding what "love" is, and what it aims at, and whether it is for our good or for our harm. "Love" is, of course, a desire or craving for something. Now there are two principal types of desire — the "inborn" craving for the pleasant, and the desire for the "best," which is not inborn, but has to be acquired, and is based on judgment (δόξα) — and there is often a clash between the two. The victory of judgment (δόξα) in this conflict over appetitive craving is what we call sophrosyne; the victory of appetite over our judgment of good |304| we call "lust" or "passion" (ὔβρις). "Love" (ἔρως, sexual passion) is one special variety of ὔβρις or "lust." It is the prevalence of violent desire for the pleasant uninformed by rational judgment of good, when aroused by physical beauty (238c). The question before us, then, is whether it is for the benefit or for the hurt of the party who has aroused such a passion to gratify it. And here, Socrates says, he will give the rein to an almost "poetical" eloquence with which he feels himself inspired beyond his ordinary, perhaps by the surroundings in which he is speaking. (The artificial graces of Lysias are to be met by the "unstudied eloquence" of the "heart.")

The "lover," being a slave to his pleasures, will, of course, desire his beloved to be the pliant minister to them, and will hate everything which makes him less subservient, and gives him any kind of personal independence. Now wisdom, valour, even ready wit and eloquence themselves, tend to give one an independent personality, and for that reason a "lover" will object to them in the object of his passion. His jealousy will prompt him to exclude the beloved from all intercourse which would "make a man" of him, and above all from "divine philosophy." The last thing he will desire is that his "minion’s" charm for himself should be endangered by the acquisition of intelligent and manly qualities of soul. In the next place, he will resent the acquisition of hardy and manly physical qualities such as make one of worth in "war and other necessities"; he will deliberately, for his own pleasure, try to keep the ἐρώμενος to a soft and effeminate course of life. Finally, he will be anxious to isolate his victim from all the influences of family affections; he will object to his having any financial independence, or to his marrying and forming a family of his own, since he resents whatever tends to emancipate the victim from the position of mere minister to his own selfish pleasure. Thus the "lover" is an enemy to the good alike of the victim’s soul, of his body, and of his estate. (We see that Socrates’ pretence of being carried out of himself on a flood of "inspired" eloquence must not be taken too seriously. He is deliberately observing the rules of arrangement which Lysias had neglected. His theme is nominally that of Lysias, the jealous and petulant selfishness of the "lover." But he has carefully articulated his argument and avoided vain repetition by grouping the effects of the lover’s jealousy on his victim under the heads of mind, body, estate. This has given him further the opening for lifting the whole argument to a worthier moral level by insisting on the supreme importance of the moral goods which are jeopardized by complaisance. Considered simply as an example of effective pleading, Socrates’ speech has thus stylistic advantages over that of Lysias which far outweigh his neglect of the verbal graces and prettinesses of the other.)

The speech ends with a further consideration. Connexion with an ἐραστής has been shown to be productive of evil to mind, body, and fortune. We may add, as a minor point, that besides |305| being "harmful," it is also not even pleasant. Association with a flatterer or a kept mistress is also hurtful, but the palliative can be urged that, at any rate, these are "pleasant vices." But in the connexion of the ἐραστής with his victim, the victim does not even get the pleasure; such as it is, it is all on the side of the other party; the victim’s position is intolerable, and he only sustains it on the strength of promises of solid advantages, which the "lover" will not implement, when once he has had his wicked will and sated himself. The "love" of the ἐραστής is thus the proverbial love of the wolf for the lamb.

Even Phaedrus can see that this discourse, though it gives good reasons against bestowing favours on a "lover" does nothing to advance the plea of the suitor who is not "in love." Socrates, who, of course, did not mean to act as advocate for such a client, suggests that it would be enough to add that such a person is in all respects the very opposite of the lover whose faults we have exposed. He is about to take his leave of Phaedrus with this remark, when "the divine sign" checks him. He professes to understand this as a warning that, since Eros is a god, he has committed an impiety by denouncing him and must purge himself of his contempt by a palinode, as Stesichorus did when he had blasphemed Helen. If a real gentleman had overheard either the speech of Lysias or that which Socrates has just delivered, he would have imagined that he was listening to persons brought up among "common sailors," incapable of understanding what a free man means by "love." Thus the point of the "palinode" is to be that it is a recantation of the identification of ἔρως with a brutal physical appetite (241d-243e).6

Second Speech of Socrates (244a-256e) — The True Psychology of Love. — The ground on which we have so far maintained that it is better to associate with one who is not in love than with a "lover" is that the lover is "beside himself" (μαίνεται), but the man who is not in love retains his sanity, and sanity is better than "madness." This is the proposition we are now to recant. It would be true if there were only one kind of frenzy, common madness. But there is an inspired "frenzy" which is productive of good we could not equally obtain in a state of sanity and control of ourselves. One of its forms is prophecy; the priestess of Delphi, who predicts in a state of "exaltation," is far superior as a prophet to diviners who predict the future by calculations based on the flight of birds and similar omens; a second form is the "exaltation" of the authors of "purifications" and "initiations," "founders of |306| religions" as we should say; a third is the inspiration of the poet. No one who attempts to compose poetry in a state of "sanity" by rules of art ever achieves anything great (244a-245e). The madness of the lover, as we shall find, is a fourth form of this divine "frenzy" which is so much wiser than the wisdom of the world.7 We intend to show, that, if the lover is mad, his madness is an inspiration from heaven and may be a great blessing. To prove this we must lay down the principles of a sound psychology; we must see what is the nature, and what the actions and passions of the soul.

In the first place, the soul is immortal (245c), a statement which means to a Greek that it is divine. The proof of this is that whatever is always in motion is immortal, and the soul is always in motion. The minor premiss of this syllogism is again proved thus. The soul is the source and initiator of its own motions; its motions are not communicated from without, but spontaneously originated from within. Thus they were never started by anything else, and, as the soul itself is the first fountain of them, they can never come to an end. If the soul could come to an end, there would be an end of nature and becoming universally (245e) — a statement which implies that souls are the only things which can move from within, and so the only possible sources of movement. The soul may thus be rigorously defined as "that which moves itself" (246a).8 But |307| what is the character of this "self-moving" source of all movement? For our purposes, we may content ourselves with an analogy. It is like a charioteer with a pair of winged steeds, forming a single living whole.9 In the case of the gods, driver and horses are all as good as they can possibly be; in the human soul, the driver has to manage two horses of different strain, and this is what makes his task so difficult. While the horses keep their wings, they travel round the circuit of heaven and the soul "administers" the Cosmos. But they may lose their wings and fall to earth; the soul then acquires an earthly body which seems to be able to move itself (though it is really moved by the soul within it), and it is this complex of body and soul which we call the mortal "animal." By analogy we come commonly to think of God (falsely) as a being with a soul and body which are never separated by death (246d).

(We see at once that we are dealing in a parable with the "three parts" of the soul; the driver is judgment, the two horses are "honor" or "mettle" and "appetite." If we press the details, they imply that all three "parts" are present not only in the soul which has not yet put on the garment of the flesh, but in the gods, who are never embodied at all. This would be quite at variance with the hints of the Republic and the express teaching of the Timaeus. But it is not really permissible to extract metaphysics from mythical details which are necessitated by simple regard for the coherency of the pictorial representation.)

The myth proceeds to describe the life of all souls under the image of a great festal procession. The souls progress, under the leadership of the gods, round the whole compass of the heavens, maintaining the universal order of things. The goal of the whole pilgrimage is reached by an ascent to a region outside the whole heaven, "the plain of reality," where the procession pauses and enjoys a Sabbath rest in the contemplation of "bodiless reality, without figure, colour, or tangible quality" (in other words the forms); this is the true home of souls, and the source of their spiritual food. Thus the thought is that it is in the strength of this pure contemplation that gods and men alike execute the practical task of establishing and maintaining natural and moral order in the realm of mutability and becoming. Like Moses they make everything after the pattern they have seen "in the mount." The gods, of course, achieve this "steep ascent of heaven" with complete success; they actually conduct their living chariots out of the whole region of "nature" to the goal outside it. With men it is otherwise. The best of them only succeed for a time in getting their heads above the visible region, and attaining a glimpse of |308| what lies wholly beyond it, and then redescend. The worse are thrown into complete confusion by the restiveness of the horse of inferior strain and the unskillfulness of the horseman. Their horses lose their wings, and horses and horseman sink to earth, not to regain their old place until the wings of the soul have grown afresh. The magnitude of the fall is shown by the kind of life which the now incarnate soul leads in the body. Those who have "seen most" become philosophers, lovers of beauty, musical men or lovers; then follow in descending order, law-abiding kings and soldiers, men of affairs and business, athletes and physicians, prophets and "initiators," poets and artists, mechanics and farmers, professional sophists and demagogues, tyrants. The rule which applies to all is that after each life a man receives the rewards of the deeds done in the body. None may recover his wings and return to the place from which he fell until ten thousand years are over, except one who chooses to live the life of the "philosopher or philosophic lover" three times in succession. For such a man the ten thousand years are reduced to three thousand.10 For others the scheme includes, like that of the Republic, reincarnations in animal as well as in human bodies, but no soul can finally recover its wings after such a degradation until it has once more been reincarnated in human form, for the recovery of the soul’s wings is only effected by recollection of the things of which the soul caught a glimpse when it was following the great procession of the gods, and it is only man to whom the experiences of sense suggest these recollections. A man in whom these recollections are being awakened is popularly thought "distracted" from his loss of interest in the things other men take seriously, but he is really "inspired" (ἐνθουσιάζων).(ἐνθουσιάζων).11

Now our sensible experiences only suggest few and faint images of righteousness and temperance and the other forms, but beauty is much more impressively adumbrated in sense-experience, and the effect of the experience in awakening "recollection" is therefore exceptionally startling. In the soul which has all but lost the impression of heavenly beauty, the effect of its earthly adumbration is to provoke "brutal" appetite (τετράωοδος νόμον, 250e) for intercourse with the beautiful body. But in a soul fresh from deep contemplation of spiritual beauty, the sight of earthly beauty |309| arouses religious awe and worship; the soul’s wings begin to sprout, and this process, like the getting of teeth, is a mingled one of uneasiness with intervals of relief, pain in the absence of the beloved, rest and pleasure in his company. Hence the lover gladly forsakes all other society, neglects his property, and throws convention to the wind, so long as he can win the society in which he is getting his heart’s desire. Men call this "being in love"; it is really growing one’s spiritual wings again (250d-252c). What sort of person will provoke this passion is a matter of the lover’s peculiar temperament. In the best type of man the qualities which awaken it are "love of wisdom" and a "commanding personality" (252e); others are attracted by different gifts. In every case the "lover" aims at moulding the being he "idolizes" into the more and more perfect image of the "god" whom both serve, and the affection between them grows with every fresh step of the process (252c-253c).

But we must remember what we said about the difference in strain between the horses of the human soul. The better horse is modest and chivalrous, a "thorough-bred"; the worse horse is a "bolter." So when the charioteer is wrapt in the contemplation of the beloved, the better horse modestly holds himself in, but the worse "bolts," in spite of rein and whip, from lust after carnal delight. The worse horse may be often "pulled to his haunches," but he persists in his struggles, and the time of really fierce temptation comes when the passion which began on one side is reciprocated on the other. If the temptation is successfully resisted, the pair have won one out of the three "Olympic victories" necessary to release them from incarnation in the flesh. Henceforward they have mastered the evil in themselves and won their freedom. But if their lives are directed only to the second-best, "honor, in the place of the first-best, "wisdom," the evil horse may get his way in an unguarded moment, and then there will be other such moments in their lives, though not many, as their conduct has not commended itself to their "whole souls." Their attachment will be real, but not so real as that of the pair who have won the mastery over themselves. At death, they are still "wingless" though "desirous to be winged," and even this is a gain. It is at least a beginning of the journey heavenwards, and the rest will come (253a-256d).12

This, then, is what association with a true lover may bestow; intimate relations with the man who is "not in love" lead to a meanness of soul, falsely taken for a virtue, and a nine-thousand-years’ period of "folly," spent on and under the earth. May Eros accept this recantation, grant Socrates not to lose his "skill in matters of love," and punish Lysias by converting him, as his |310| brother Polemarchus has already been converted, to philosophy (256e-257b).13

Phaedrus is delighted with the fine speech to which he has just listened. Lysias himself could hardly match it. Perhaps he would not try; he is a touchy man and was recently gravely offended by a politician who had called him a mere "writer of speeches" in depreciation. But, says Socrates, politicians who affect to despise "discourse-writing" are only disguising envy under the mask of contempt. They are vain enough of the decrees they propose and carry, and what is a decree but the record of a "discourse" to which the author has prefixed the names of its admirers, "the council" or "the people"? And how much vainer a man is when his "discourses" are preserved in perpetuity as the "laws" of a State. Clearly, if there is any discredit it is not in composing discourses, but in composing them ill. And this raises the whole question, what is good writing? (258d). This is the sort of problem which it gives an educated man real pleasure to discuss. If we neglect it and prefer to sleep out the warm noon-tide, the cicadae over our heads may carry our bad report to their patrons the Muses.14 Accordingly, we now find ourselves launched on a serious inquiry into the problem of style. What is a good style?

The Principles of Style (259e-278b). — (Nominally the question under discussion is that of the canons of a sound rhetoric, but we shall see that it rapidly expands into a consideration of the character of "style" in literature in general. A speaker or writer has a case of which he wishes to convince his hearer or reader. The question is what principles may be laid down for the presentation of this case in the way which will be most effective. Thus the considerations urged by Socrates bear as much on the written exposition of a subject in an essay or a treatise as upon the spoken presentation of it to an audience. The reason for approaching the topic primarily from the side of spoken discourse is simply that, in the age of Socrates, there was no serious prose literature in existence. The one still extant prose work of importance of an earlier date than the supposed conversation between Socrates and Phaedrus was the book of Herodotus. The "preSocratic philosophers" had, indeed, attempted to state their views about φύσις in a sort of prose; the Periclean age saw the first written manuals of "rhetoric" and medicine, and the first written discussions of ethical and political problems. But the writers of τέχναι made no pretensions to style, and their compositions were not regarded as "literature." Literary prose, as a vehicle for the artistic expression of reflection upon life, was the creation of Isocrates, |311| and at the assumed date of the conversation, Isocrates is still simply a composer of speeches to be delivered in the law-courts.)

It would seem obvious that the first prerequisite of a really good "discourse" is that the deliverer of it should know the truth about his subject. Yet the accepted view is that this is unnecessary. To compose a telling speech you need not know what are the δίκαια, the "rights and wrongs of the case"; you need only know what the audience who are to decide the issue think right and wrong. You win your case by appeal to the "prejudices of your hearers." But this view will not bear examination. It would be a comic situation if Phaedrus, being under the impression that the word "horse" means a donkey, should be persuaded by a discourse on the usefulness of the horse in war to provide himself with a donkey15 against his next campaign. It would be worse than comical if a public man with a persuasive tongue confused evil with good and led the community to embark on a policy based on the confusion. This would not be statesmanship, but the reverse of it. Possibly, however, the professors of rhetoric might reply that they do not claim for their art that it can teach us the principles of good and evil, but simply that even if you know these principles, you will not be able to turn your knowledge to account in practice unless you also follow their precepts.16 Thus sound knowledge of good and evil would be an indispensable prerequisite for statesmanship, but mastery of the technical rules of rhetoric would be necessary for the statesman who needs to convince the public. So far as it goes this is a fair defense of rhetoric, — on one condition. The condition is that the rules in question form a real τέχνη or "art" the application of real scientific knowledge to practice. But there is a view that they are nothing of the kind; "persuasion" is a mere empirical "knack" (πριβή) for which no rules can be laid down, and there is no "art of speaking" distinct from the knowledge of the true facts about the subject-matter of the discourses. This view demands consideration (259e-261a).

May we not define rhetoric as verbal "sorcery" (ψυχαγωγία)17 whether practiced in the courts, in other public gatherings, or in private life, and whether the issues on which it is employed are grave or trivial? The writers on the subject, it is true, generally confine the sphere of the art to public discourses before law-courts and popular assemblies; but they forget that such a restriction would amount to excluding Zeno and his paradoxes from consideration. |312| This would be a bad mistake. Zeno, like the speakers in the courts or the ecclesia, is a controversialist. Just as a skilled political or forensic pleader can make us think the same course or the same case just or unjust at his pleasure, Zeno makes us accept or deny the same proposition in the mathematics as he pleases. Rhetoric is thus universally skill in controversy. Success in it depends on ability to establish resemblances or similarities and to expose resemblances which have been tacitly presupposed by the antagonist18 (261e). Now we are most readily led astray in cases where the dissimilarity between two things is apparently slight, and therefore a man who wants to confuse others but avoid being misled himself, as the controversialist does, needs to know what are the real similarities and dissimilarities between things, and this makes it ridiculous to talk of an "art of discourse" which can be divorced from "knowledge of the real" (262c). We may illustrate the point from the discourse of Lysias with which we have been concerned. Lysias is discussing the question whether a "lover" is a blessing or a curse. Now "love" is not, like "iron" or "silver" a word with a definite and undisputed meaning. Different persons understand very different things by the name. It is idle to ask whether a "lover" is a blessing or not, unless we begin by defining "love." Lysias never explains what he means; in his opening sentence he introduces the word "lover" without any explanation. The ambiguity thus introduced into his speech is definitely an offence against art, a violation of a law of good style. He begins where he ought to have ended.19 Socrates was better inspired by the local deities, since he opened his speech by the required definition.

A second grave fault in style is that there is no recognizable order in the discourse of Lysias. It is not the consistent development of a theme and has no organic structure. There is no discoverable reason why the various points of the speech might not have been made in a wholly different order. But a good discourse ought to have a definite organic structure, just like a living creature. There should be a definite plan underlying it which would be ruined if you inverted the order of its paragraphs. (Socrates puts his finger on the defect which, above all others, is the most glaring fault of the bad stylist, neglect of the logical sequence of the parts of his essay or the chapters of his book.) Here again the discourse with which the Nymphs inspired Socrates presents an instructive contrast. It began by saying what "love" is, a kind of "madness" or "frenzy." Next it distinguished two main types of |313| madness, that due to human disease and that due to divinely sent "exaltation" above everyday "conventionalities." Then it went on to make a further subdivision of divine "exaltation" itself, and so to distinguish the "exaltation" of the lover from that of the "seer," the "poet" and the founder of a religion, and ended with an imaginative hymn in praise of Eros (264b-265c). Much of what we said was, perhaps, sportive, but there are two points about the method we followed which are of serious importance. When any subject is to be expounded, it is vitally important to define it, and to define it one must be able to "collect" its disiecta membra into a single "pattern" (ἰδέα), as we did when we reduced all the manifestations of "love" under the one head of "distraction" (παράνοια (paranoia)). But it is no less important, when we have got our single "pattern" to "divide" it again rightly into sub-patterns, like a skilful carver who disjoints an animal at the proper articulations. This was what we tried to do when we went on to distinguish a "sinister" or left-hand and a "right-hand" distraction, and then carefully subdivided both again along the proper lines, so that we were left with a "sinister" love which we were entitled to denounce and a clearly discriminated "right-hand" or "divine" love which was eulogized as the source of the greatest blessings. (It was just this process of first "collecting" the definition and then making a scientific subdivision of the definitum on a proper fundamentum divisionis which enabled us to give a rational justification for our answer and our approbation.) Socrates is devoted to this method of combined "composition" and "division," and is ready to follow the steps of the "dialectician" who possesses it, as those of a god. Thus we are brought to the conclusion that "dialectic is philosophy" in the wide sense in which that word means the capacity for seeing the real affinities in things, and so grouping them in well-defined genera; and detecting the differences which mark off different species within the genus, is the first requisite of a masterly style. To be a true stylist, you must have a clear view of your subject as a whole, and be able to articulate it aright (265c-266a).

Phaedrus agrees that this is a good account of "dialectic," and that Socrates has a correct conception of a "scientific style." But Thrasymachus and the other teachers of prose style have not the qualities we have described. What they mean by "rhetorical style" is something different. They mean, in fact, the arrangement of the parts of a "discourse" on a certain model which they prescribe, but which has nothing to do with the kind of logical structure just described. To use technical terms, they say, e.g., that a good speech must have its exordium (προοίμιον); then you must go on to the narration (διήγησις), which relates what you allege to be the facts of the case; next to the production of the depositions (μαρτυρίαι) of witnesses; then to a consideration of the presumptions (τεκμήρια) and plausibilities (εἰκότα); and there are many other subdivisions. (The precise meaning of the technical terms is in |314| many cases uncertain, since some of them were not preserved in the later manuals of the art, and even of those which are preserved, we cannot be certain that they already had their later meanings as early as the fifth century. The reader may consult the notes in Thompson’s edition of the dialogue.) Gorgias and his master Tisias insist on the importance of a dexterous art of exaggeration and extenuation; Polus and Protagoras before him on grace and appropriateness of verbal phrasing. We need not follow them into all these details, but we must test the worth of their theory of style as a whole; perhaps its texture will look very loose if we view it in a clear light (266c-268a).

Suppose a man claimed to be a physician on the ground that he knew recipes for raising and lowering the body’s temperature, producing a vomit and an evacuation and the like, would specialists like our friend Eryximachus admit his claim? If he did not know also in what patients, when, and with what violence to produce these effects, they would say at once that he did not know medicine. So Sophocles or Euripides would say to anyone who knew how to make single speeches effectively but not how to construct an artistic whole out of them, "You may understand the preliminaries to play-making, but you don’t know how to make a play." So Pericles, we may be sure, would have told us urbanely that a man who has learned the devices of the textbooks has only learned the preliminaries to "rhetoric." The art consists in knowing how and when to use the various devices to effect (πιθανως) and to make your discourse into a real whole (268a-269c).20

Admittedly this cannot be learned from any of the law-books: how then should a man set himself to acquire a really persuasive style? To begin with, he must have a natural gift of expression, or he will be wasting time in trying to cultivate a barren soil. If he has the natural gift, its cultivation demands both knowledge and practice (μελέτη), and is thus not wholly a matter of "art." In so far as it does depend on knowledge and thus is an "art" Lysias and Thrasymachus have misconceived the kind of knowledge required. What it is may be suggested to us by the facts about Pericles, the most effective of all our great orators. Over and above his natural gift of speech (πρὸς τῳ εὐφυὴς είναι, 270a), Pericles had the advantage of early association with Anaxagoras. This gave him a certain largeness of mental outlook which makes itself felt in his political oratory.21 The great stylist, in fact, needs |315| to build on the same foundations as the great physician. If a man is to be more than a mere empiric in medicine, as we may see from the teaching of Hippocrates, he needs a scientific knowledge of the body, which can hardly be acquired without a knowledge of "nature" as a whole. He must know whether the human body is composed of one single ingredient or of many, and, in either case, he must further know how the substance or substances composing the human body are affected by each and all of the substances which medicine employs in its pharmacopoeia. Without this scientific basis, medicine would be a mere "fumbling in the dark."22 The same thing is true of the "orator." He is trying to produce healthy convictions in the minds of his audience by discourses exactly as the physician produces healthy conditions in their bodies by his prescriptions. Hence anyone who undertakes to teach the art of persuasion needs first of all to have a thoroughly scientific knowledge of the mind. He must know what are its components and exactly how each type of discourse will affect them. In a word, he must have a sound psychology of human nature. Thus he must understand what different temperaments there are among his auditors, what different types of "discourses" there are, and why such and such a type of "discourse" appeals to such and such a temperament. And this is not all. The effective speaker, like the successful physician, must have skill in diagnosis. He must be able in practice to judge rapidly and surely of the temperament of an actual audience and the type of appeal which will go home to them. Only when he has thus diagnosed his hearers’ temperaments and decided on the right kind of appeal to make will he be in a position to apply the rules given in the hand-books for producing the kind of effect which will be opportune (269d-272b).

The road to oratorical success we have described is, no doubt, a long and difficult one; but can the writers of the handbooks really show us an easier short cut? We know that, as has been already mentioned, they often say the "speaker" or "stylist" need not concern himself with realities or "truths"; he need only aim at being plausible, and, indeed, should often prefer plausibility to truth. Thus if he is employed in a case where a plucky little man has beaten a stronger but cowardly man, he would, speaking |316| for the defense, dwell on the improbability that the small man should have attacked a bigger man, or, if he spoke for the prosecution, he would try to suggest that there had been a concerted assault by several assailants. In either case, the real facts of the situation are just what the clever advocate would take care to keep dark. But we must retort once more that one can only judge of the "plausibilities" in proportion as one knows the real facts. (The advocate may rely on distortion of the facts, but he must know what they are if he is to distort them in a really plausible way.) So we adhere to our view that it is a long and a hard task to acquire the art of a persuasive style. The time and labour required would be disproportionate if one’s object were merely to make an impression on one’s fellow-mortals, and not, as it ought to be, to make our words, like our deeds, acceptable to God. (That would, of course, be the aim of a true statesman, who employs his knowledge of human temperaments and the way in which they may be appealed to, to enlist his fellow-citizens in the prosecution of good and the avoidance of evil.) This is, in substance, all we have to say about the principles of an art of style. It must be based on a masterly knowledge of the subject-matter dealt with and an equally masterly knowledge of the psychology of the hearers (or readers) addressed, combined with a natural gift of language (272c-274b).

We may now turn to the question, suggested by the sneer of the unnamed politician about Lysias (257c, whether it is a proper thing to perpetuate one’s discourses in writing. Socrates professes to have heard a story — Phaedrus prefers to think that he is inventing it — that, in the old days when Egypt was governed by gods, the god Thoth invented the art of writing and recommended it to Amon,23 who then ruled at Thebes, as a device which would make the Egyptians wiser and improve their memories. Amon reproved him, on the ground that written records tend to make us neglect the cultivation of memory by making it unnecessary, and to fill men with an empty conceit of their own wisdom. They think they know a great deal which they have merely read without understanding and without any abiding effect on their minds. The art of writing does not act as a substitute for memory; it merely provides us with memoranda — convenient means of refreshing our memory from time to time. A book is like a picture. The figures of the picture may actually "look alive," but they cannot speak. So the words and sentences in a written book look full of wisdom, but if you question the book about its meaning, you can get no reply. A "discourse" once written down, comes into the hands of the unintelligent, as well as of the intelligent, and is exposed to misinterpretation. If it is to be rightly understood, it needs the living voice of the author to explain and defend it. Thus the written discourse is at best a lifeless image of the living thought which is |317| written "in the soul of him who understands it." A gardener may, for amusement, force flowers in a "garden of Adonis,"24 but he takes care to sow the seeds of crops about which he is in earnest in the appropriate soil and to wait months for their maturing. So the man who is in earnest about raising the fruit of righteousness and goodness will not trust to forcing it by writing his deepest convictions in ink; he will trust to the slow and steady cultivation of them in his own soul, and in those of others with whom he is in constant personal contact. When he commits his thoughts to writing, it will be partly as a memorandum against the "forgetfulness of his old age," partly because such literature affords a worthy form of entertainment in our hours of relaxation. So we may tell Lysias — and we might say the same thing to Homer and the poets, or to Solon and the "composers" of laws — that if any of them has really understood what his "works" can effect and what they cannot, and how secondary a place they hold by comparison with his living thought such a man has a claim to a very different name from that of λογογράφος; he is a true "philosopher." but if he really has nothing better to give mankind than the painfully elaborated phrases and clauses of his writings, he deserves to be called a mere poet or speech-writer or "law-writer."25 The man ought always to be greater than his book or poem or code (274b-278e).

This conviction that a man’s personality ought to be greater than his literary "work," and, in particular, that the true philosopher is a great personality whose very deepest thoughts are those which he cannot set down "in black and white," was one Plato held strongly and retained to the end of his life.26 It explains why he never attempted to put in writing any of his own profoundest metaphysical speculations. They were the fruit of a "way of life," and, to be understood, presupposed the living of the same life on the part of the recipient. To record them for the world at large would have been merely to court dangerous misunderstanding. Even so, Carlyle, as the jest has it, wrote thirty-seven volumes to persuade the world that silence is golden. Naturally he could not tell us the secret of the "golden silence." That could only be told to a man with the soul of a second Carlyle, and such a man would discover the secret without needing to read the thirty-seven volumes.

|318| Epilogue (278c-279c). — Has Socrates any message for his friend Isocrates, the younger rival of Lysias? He can only conjecture what the young man’s development will be, but he believes that Isocrates has better natural endowments and a nobler temper of soul than Lysias. Probably, if he continues in his present profession, he will outdistance all rivals and competitors, and it may be that he will be led "by a diviner impulse" to still higher things, for there really is a "strain of philosophy" in him.

Nothing remains now but that Socrates should take leave of the spot where he has spent his hour of siesta with a brief prayer to Pan and its other tutelary spirits. His prayer is that "he may become fair in the inward man, and that the outer man may be conformable to the inward; that he may regard wisdom as the true riches and that his wealth may be such as none but the temperate can carry." Thus the prayer is for good of mind, body, and fortune, and is worded in a way to remind us of the Socratic estimate of the relative importance of the three.

There is no real need to enter into the idle questions which have been raised about the significance of the allusions to Isocrates. What is said is strictly true and appropriate to the assumed situation. Isocrates certainly had greater parts than Lysias and stood on a higher intellectual and moral level. He showed his superiority in parts by becoming the real creator of literary prose style, and his superiority in character by deserting "speech-writing" for the foundation of a school for the training of the young for public life. However defective Plato may have thought the training he gave, the simple fact that it was based on a generous Pan-Hellenism, and that Isocrates was the recognized mouthpiece of this Pan-Hellenism among the publicists of his age, fully explains Plato’s ascribing to Socrates the remark, quite likely enough to have been actually made, that there was a strain of philosophy in the man. There can be no doubt about the historical fact of the influence of Socrates on Isocrates.27 As to the alleged "feud" between Isocrates and Plato, of which much has been made by some modern writers, there is really no evidence for it. The frequent expressions in Isocrates’ writings depreciatory of "science" and "eristic" as a propaedeutic for the statesman are, indeed, pretty clearly meant specially for the Academy, but the attempts to find sarcastic rejoinders in Plato to these little acerbities have not really been successful, and the ingenuity devoted to these attempts seems to me to have been simply wasted. After all, Plato and Isocrates had a good deal in common in their views on practical politics, and they were neither Alexandrian literati nor German Professors. We in this country can quite understand how two eminent men can differ in their |319| philosophical programmes without becoming personal enemies, or how the bigger man of the two can afford to take an occasional "rap over the knuckles" from the lesser in good part. (No one supposes, for example, that Shakespeare’s relations with Ben Jonson were disturbed by Ben’s occasional quips.) Hence I cannot but agree with Professor Burnet in thinking that the tradition followed by Cicero, which represents Plato and Isocrates as being on personally friendly terms, is likely to be the true one.28

In taking leave of the Phaedrus, we may note that while it supplements the Gorgias in its conclusions about the value of "style," it modifies nothing that was said in the earlier dialogue. The moral condemnation pronounced on the use of eloquent speech to pervert facts and produce false impressions remains the same. So does the verdict that the sort of thing the professional teachers from Tisias to Thrasymachus profess to expound is not a science but a mere "trick" or "knack" (and therefore cannot be conveyed, as they professed to convey it, by "lessons"). In adding that a thorough knowledge of a subject-matter and a sound knowledge of the psychology of the public addressed furnish a really scientific basis for a worthy and effective style, Plato is saying nothing inconsistent with the results of the Gorgias. There is thus no sufficient ground for thinking that the teaching of the Phaedrus represents a later "development" from the more "Socratic" position of the Gorgias. Socrates cannot have lived in the Athens of the Archidamian war and the subsequent twenty years without having had occasion to turn his thoughts to the problem of the value of "rhetorical" style, and there is no reason why he should not actually have reached the conclusions of the Phaedrus, though naturally we cannot prove that he had.

See further:
Thompson, W. H. Plato’s Phaedrus.
Robin, L. Phedre. Collection des Universites de France, Paris. 1933.
Ritter, C. Platon, ii. 39-62; Platons Dialog Phaidros 2, pp. 1-280.
Raeder, H. Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 245-279.

Natorp. Platons Ideenlehre, 52-87.
Stewart, J. A. Myths of Plato, 306-396 Phaedrus Myth;
  Plato’s Doctrine of Ideas, 62-65 and Part II.
Dies, A. Autour de Platon II, 400-449.

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1^ On the problems connected with the dialogue, see inter cetera Thompson, Phaedrus, Introduction; C. Ritter, Platon, i. 256; H. Raeder, Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 245 ff.

2^ Diogenes Laertius (iii, 25) mentions the theory; Olympiodorus repeats the story as a fact.

3^ Raeder sees in the mention of the "journey of a thousand years" on which the soul enters after each incarnation (Phaedrus, 249a) a reference to the fuller explanation in the Republic (615a). This is inconclusive, since the period seems in both cases to be taken over from current Orphic mythology. So the reference to the "lots" which play a part in assigning a new body to the soul (Phaedrus, 249b) need not be to Republic 617d, since the κληροι (lots) appear to be Orphic (Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy 3, 190 ii. 3). Still less convincing is the argument that the Phaedrus tacitly presupposes the doctrine of the "parts of the soul" expounded in Republic iv., since this is equally true of the Gorgias, as we have seen, and the doctrine appears to be a piece of fifth-century Pythagoreanism. Raeder’s other arguments are complicated by the assumption that the dialogue contains a polemic against Isocrates. On this vide infra.

4^ The same point is taken by Parmentier, Bulletin de l’ association Guillaume, No. 10, p. 4.

5^ Like our own Charles II, to take an actual example.

6^ The definition of ἔρως from which the speech of Socrates started was correct in the sense that it is a true definition of what Lysias had called ἔρως in formulating his thesis. Hence it was rightly adopted also by Socrates for the immediate purpose of showing how the same thesis might have been treated with less superficiality and without idle repetition. But, as we shall see, it is not in fact an adequate account of even guilty and degraded human "love," to call it a craving for a certain physical "exoneration." (Even an unholy love — if it is "love" at all — is the pollution of a high sacrament.)

7^ To appreciate this doctrine aright, we must neither forget the habitual "irony" of Socrates nor exaggerate it. The key to his meaning is given by his well-known theory about the poets. He found the poets unable to explain in bald prose what they meant by their finest passages, or how they came by them. Hence he classes them among the persons who think they have a knowledge which they really have not. They are not alive, whatever they may suppose, to the full significance of their best work. He does not, of course, mean to suggest either that the great things in Sophocles or Euripides are not really great, or that great poetry may be nonsense. It means more than the poet himself in his "uninspired" hours could tell you, and this shows that some influence which the poet cannot wholly control has been speaking through him. In the same way, though it is part of his irony to dwell on the alleged benefits conferred on men by the trance-utterances of the Pythia or the "purifications" devised by abnormal and eccentric "religious geniuses" it is quite consistent with his habitual attitude to "things divine" that he should suppose a higher power to use such vehicles for revealing the future, and admit the real healing effects of some "initiations" and "purifications" on the body and mind. The great defect he finds in poetry as in μαντική is just that the spirits of the prophets are not subject to the prophets. Hence you cannot depend on the Pythia’s predictions, and hence also the great poet is apt to decline into bathos or nonsense as much as the Shadwell to deviate (occasionally) into sense.

8^ This argument, in an expanded form, is reproduced in the Laws, as we shall see, and treated there as the sufficient proof both of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. Unlike the arguments of the Phaedo it has no special connexion with the theory of the forms. But it would be rash to say that its introduction shows that we are dealing with a post-Socratic development of Plato’s own thought, since in principle the argument is that of Alcmaeon of Crotona that the soul is immortal because it "is like immortal things, and is like them in the point that it is always in motion" (Aristotle de Anima, 405a 30). Hence the argument must have been well known to Socrates, who alludes to the views of Alcmaeon about the brain as familiar to himself in the autobiographical narrative of the Phaedo.

9^ Phaedrus 246a, ἐοικέτω δὴ συμφύτῳ δυνάμει ὑποπτέρου ζεύγους τε καὶ ἡνιόχου. Συμφύτῳ here should mean, as the word regularly does in Plato, literally concretae, "grown together into one." It is inserted in order to insist on the unity of the individual mind. We are to think of the driver and his horses as a single organism.

10^ Thus the scheme is the same as that of the myth of Er in the Republic. The assumption is that the normal extreme limit of human life is a hundred years. Reincarnations take place once in a thousand years in order that the rewards and punishments at the end of each incarnation may be on a tenfold scale. The privilege of escape from the wheel after three incarnations and the hope that in general it will be achieved after ten, are not mentioned in the Republic, but I suspect Orphic origin for part at any rate of this. Empedocles fixes the soul’s period of exile from heaven at 30,000 "seasons" (Fr. 115, Ritter and Preller, Historia Philosophiae Graecae (9th edition), 1913, 181), and we may suspect that he is reckoning three ωραι periods to the year, ἔαρ (spring), θέρος (summer), χειμών (winter). On the details of the Phaedrus myth the student should consult the full commentary in Stewart’s Myths of Plato.

11^ Cf. Browning’s Epistle of Karshish with its treatment of Lazarus as "the madman" or St. Paul’s language about the "foolishness" of the Cross.

12^ The power and insight with which this account of the conflict between the spirit and the flesh is written should not mislead us into supposing that it must be concealed autobiography. Comparison with what Alcibiades says in the Symposium about the relations between himself as a boy and Socrates suggests that the model for Plato’s picture of the lover who has come through the severest temptation unsmirched is to be found in Socrates and his behavior to the beautiful and petulant boy.

13^ The point of the remark about Polemarchus is unknown. Had he, as would be quite possible, fallen in with some belated survivor of the downfall of the Pythagoreans during his years in Italy? E.g. with Philolaus?

14^ Note the allusion in 259d to the saying familiar from the Phaedo that philosophy is the μεγίστη μουσική (highest music). It is assumed that the saying is already current; hence we cannot be far wrong in supposing that its origin was Pythagorean.

15^ The implication is that Phaedrus is still a rich man; he would have to serve in the cavalry, if called out, and thus belongs to the class of ωεντακοσιο-μέδιμνοι or that of ίππης.

16^ This, we may remind ourselves, is actually the view taken by Gorgias in the dialogue called after him. He disclaims any pretense to be able to "teach goodness."

17^ The word "sorcery" should be understood in its literal sense of "spirit-raising." The eloquent speaker deals with the ψυχαί of the audience as the sorcerer does with the ghosts he raises and lays; he puts a "spell" on you. So we hear in our modern slang of "wizards" and "spell-binders" in public life.

18^ Cf. the appeals to "precedents" which are so common a feature of both forensic and political oratory. The παράδειγμα, which Aristotle calls a "rhetorician’s form of induction" (Analytics Posterior. A, 71a 9) is just the "appeal to precedent."

19^ The right order of thought would be to say first what the passion "love" is, then to consider how it will affect the man who is dominated by it, and last of all to ask whether these effects will make him a better influence in a lad’s life than the man who is not "in love." Lysias begins with this last question, and never raises the others.

20^ Note that Euripides is definitely associated here with Sophocles (268c). Both are assumed to be living and accessible. Hence we should date the conversation before the final departure of Euripides from Athens (408 or 407). The reference to Eryximachus and his father (268a) shows that if they are the persons of the same names who were implicated in the scandal of 415, it had not such serious consequences for them as it had for some of their circle.

21^ Of course, the allusion is half playful. The suggestion is that Pericles turned to account in practical statesmanship the Anaxagorean physical speculations about the sovereignty of νους; he made mens agitat molem (mind moves the mass) into a political principle (270a, 5).

22^ Plato is thinking mainly of the doctrine of the four fundamental "humors" (blood, phlegm, red bile, black bile) on which the Coan school of medicine built up its humoral pathology, and is arguing that the physician must have a scientific knowledge of the action of each substance in the pharmacopoeia on each of these "humors." The counterpart would be a scientific knowledge of the "active principles," as Butler calls them, in the human mind and the way in which each may be stimulated or inhibited by the appropriate type of verbal appeal. The particular Hippocratean work alluded to is, perhaps, the περὶ φύσιος ἀνθρώπου, where the humoral pathology is expressly expounded. But see the discussion of Die’s, Autour de Platon, 30 ff. The sure and rapid gauging of the temper of the audience, on which he rightly insists as all-important, is just the sort of thing of which there can be no τέχνη. No rules can be given for it; it is a matter of αἴοθησις (271e).

23^ Plato calls him Thamus, but the mention of Thebes shows what Egyptian god he has in mind. Is the name Thamus, which has perplexed the commentators, due to a presumably willful confusion with the Syrian Thammuz?

24^ As we should say, "in a hot-house." The horti Adonidis were pots in which flowers were rapidly forced, to die again equally rapidly.

25^ λογογράφον (278e 2) cannot mean "writer of music." The word appears to be used nowhere else in literature. Here it obviously means a "codemaker," and the point is that if a man like Solon really exhausted all his wisdom in the mere excogitation of the clauses of a code of laws, so that in personal intercourse he merely talked his own code, as some writers are said to talk their own books, he deserves to be spoken of with disparagement. The word is invented to convey the same sort of depreciation as λογογράφος.

26^ Compare the insistence on the point in Epinomis vii. 341c-342a, 343e-344d, where the imagery and language seem directly reminiscent of our dialogue.

27^ On this see Burnet, Greek Philosophy, Part I, 215-219; "Socratic Doctrine of the Soul," in Proceedings of the British Academy, 1915-16, p. 235 ff. So the point of Isocrates’ comments on the attack on Socrates by Polycrates is that Socrates was as absurd a theme for invective as Busiris for eulogy. Polycrates showed his silliness by denouncing a man of exemplary virtue no less than by eulogizing a monster (Isocrates xi. 4).

28^ Cicero, Orator, xiii. 42, "me autem qui Isocratem non diligunt una cum Socrate et Platone errare patiantur." Cf. Diogenes Laert. III, 8, where we are told that the Peripatetic Praxiphanes wrote a dialogue in which Isocrates figured as the guest of Plato. The theory of a rivalry has no ancient tradition behind it. This is the more significant that the rivalry between Aristotle and the school of Isocrates is quite well attested (Cicero, de Oratore, iii. 35, 141, Orator, xix. 62). I should suppose that Plato’s purpose in ending the dialogue with a marked compliment to Isocrates is to show that it is not as a polemic against him.

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It seems possible to date the composition of the Theaetetus more precisely than that of any other Platonic dialogue. For the main discussion is introduced by a short preliminary conversation between the Megarians, Euclides and Terpsion, whom we met in the Phaedo as members of the inner Socratic circle. Terpsion relates that he has just met Theaetetus of Athens, who is being conveyed home from the Athenian camp at Corinth after a battle, wounded and suffering severely from dysentery. The thought of the loss such a man will be to the world reminds Euclides that Socrates had once met Theaetetus, just before his own death, and had prophesied a distinguished future for the lad. Euclides professes to have heard all about this from Socrates himself; he was so struck that he at once wrote out memoranda of what Socrates had told him, and afterward corrected and enlarged them with the help of Socrates himself.

Since much stress is laid on the point that Theaetetus, who is called a distinguished "man" by Terpsion (142b) was a mere "lad" in the year 399, it is clear that the battle from which Theaetetus, as the whole tone of the Prologue implies, was carried home to die, must fall a good while later. As Dr. Eva Sachs has shown,1 the known engagement which best satisfies the implied conditions is that of the year 369, in which Epaminondas broke through the Athenian and Spartan lines on Mt. Oneion.2 Manifestly the dialogue was written as a tribute to the memory of Theaetetus, shortly after his death, which Euclides and Terpsion regard as certainly impending. This brings us to 368 or the beginning of 367 as the date of its completion. Thus, as Burnet points out, it must have been finished on the very eve of Plato’s departure from Athens to throw himself into his great political adventure at Syracuse, and probably with full consciousness that he was, for the time, about to abandon the studious life for that of affairs.

Several points in the introduction call for remark, (1) When Euclides explains that, to avoid tediousness, he has adopted the |321| directly dramatic form of narration (143b-c), we must, of course, understand that this is really Plato’s explanation of his abandonment of the method adopted in all the great dialogues of his literary prime (except the Phaedrus). Henceforth, with a possible exception for the Parmenides, we shall find him returning to the simply dramatic method of his earliest writings.3 This is, no doubt, because in these later works the old interest in reproducing a living picture of Socrates and his contemporaries has at last yielded pretty completely to the more philosophical interest of developing the subject-matter. The Theaetetus is the latest dialogue in which the personality of Socrates is made prominent. (2) The stress laid on the prophetic insight shown by Socrates in his estimate of the lad Theaetetus seems unintelligible, unless we are to take the meeting of the lad and the old philosopher, and the forecast made by the latter, as genuine historical facts. They are just the sort of facts which might properly be made the most of in a work meant as a "tribute" to the memory of Theaetetus. (3) Euclides’ account of the way in which he worked up his narrative, with the help of Socrates himself, may be a fiction, but Plato evidently thought it a natural fiction. We may fairly infer that admirers of Socrates actually took down such notes of striking conversations, and that Plato himself may have used such records, made by himself or others, as material for his Socratic dialogues. In the present case, by appealing to the record of Euclides he contrives to let us know that he was not himself actually present when Socrates met Theaetetus, though we might otherwise have expected him to be there. Possibly this is explained by the illness which also kept him away from the death-scene of the Master a few weeks later. (4) The introduction of Euclides and Terpsion into the narrative, like the preoccupation with the personality of Parmenides and Zeno in the Parmenides, and the appearance of a "visitor from Elea" as chief speaker in the two later dialogues, which are made to continue the conversation of the Theaetetus, shows that we have reached a period in Plato’s life when his special interest is to define his attitude towards the Megarian developments of Eleaticism. This is a matter which will call for consideration more particularly when we go on to deal with the Parmenides and Sophistes. We shall find Plato in these dialogues taking up an attitude of decided hostility to the one-sided intellectualism of the school as tending to pervert philosophy into a mere barren sporting with "abstractions." The same attitude is shown in our dialogue by the emphatic recognition of the contribution of sensation to real knowledge. By virtually dedicating the dialogue to his old friend Euclides,4 |322| Plato gives us to understand that his growing dissatisfaction with the contemporary "Megarians" implies no change in his sentiments towards the founder of the school, an old and faithful member of the group who had been lifelong admirers of Socrates.

The main conversation is dated very shortly before the famous trial of 399, as we see from the concluding sentence (210d), where Socrates explains that he has to attend at the office of the "king" to put in his answer to the indictment of Meletus. The parties present, besides Socrates, are the Pythagorean geometer Theodorus, the lad Theaetetus, his companion the younger Socrates (147d), who is a "mute personage," and possibly one or two other unnamed lads. The scene is an unnamed palaestra (144c), possibly that in the Lyceum. We learn in the course of the dialogue that Theodorus comes from Cyrene, and that he is a friend and admirer of the now deceased Protagoras, though he professes to be strictly a mathematician, wholly unversed in the methods and terminology of contemporary Athenian "philosophy" (146b, 165a). That he belonged to the Pythagorean order is indicated by the appearance of his name in the list of Pythagoreans given by Iamblichus (Vita Pythagoras. xxxvi. 267). A notice preserved by Proclus in his commentary on the First Book of Euclid’s Elements (Friedlein, p. 66) shows that Eudemus in his History of Mathematics ranked Theodorus with Hippocrates of Chios as one of the greatest of fifth-century geometers. Xenophon (Memorabilia iv. 2, 10) mentions him in a way which implies that Socrates knew him, though this may be only Xenophon’s inference from our dialogue. Theaetetus, it is important to remember, was a member of Plato’s Academy and one of the very first mathematicians of the fourth century. Eudemus, as we see from Pro clus (loc. cit.), named him along with Archytas and Leodamas as one of the three prominent geometers of the fourth century. From notices in the Scholia to Euclid’s Elements and elsewhere, we gather that he was one of the first mathematicians to begin the systematic study of the types of "quadratic surd" worked out to its completion in Euclid’s Tenth Book, and he is still more often referred to as the geometer who completed the theory of the "regular solids," by adding to the three known to the Pythagoreans (tetrahedron, cube, dodecahedron) the remaining two (octahedron, icosahedron).5 {A quadratic surd is an irrational number that is the square root of a rational number.}

Though the dramatic power of the Theaetetus is still remarkable, it has features which show that we are near the point at which |323| dialogue will become a mere conventional form for what is in reality an essay on a set theme. The theme is propounded at the beginning of the discussion and is then pursued, except for one remarkable digression, owned to be such by the author himself, with a system and strictness we have not yet met in any of the major dialogues. The Socratic cross-questioning is becoming a conscious pursuit of the "critical" method, brought to bear on a single determinate problem. This makes the analysis of the dialogue unusually easy to follow.

Introduction (143d-151e). The problem to be discussed is still made to arise, in the fashion of the Protagoras or Republic, apparently almost by accident. In the old way, Socrates is made to speak of his interest in the young and to ask Theodorus whether any of the lads of Athens have struck him as showing remarkable promise. Theodorus says that there is one whose remarkable combination of quick intelligence, perseverance, and modesty afford grounds for hoping very great things of him, Theaetetus. It is curious that this remarkable boy has a quaint physical resemblance to Socrates himself. This gives Socrates his opening. He calls Theaetetus out of the group of lads who are anointing themselves after their exercises and begins a conversation with him. Theodorus, he says, has just made a remark about our facial resemblance. As Theodorus is not a portrait-painter, such a remark from him is not very important. But as he is an eminent man of science, his opinion about our mental endowments carries weight. Hence Socrates would be glad to discover whether the lad’s mental gifts really bear out the very high commendation they have just received. He will put this to the test by asking a question. Theaetetus is learning geometry and other things from Theodorus. Now to learn means to be acquiring knowledge. But what exactly is knowledge? Can Theaetetus offer any answer to this question, one which has often perplexed Socrates himself? The lad begins, as Plato so often makes an interlocutor do, by an enumeration. Geometry and the other things taught by Theodorus are knowledge; so is shoe-making or carpentry.

Of course, as Socrates points out, this is no answer to the question. To answer the question what knowledge is by saying that shoe-making is knowledge only amounts to saying that knowing how to make shoes is knowledge. Knowing how to make furniture is also knowledge. Our problem is to say what we mean by the "knowing" which appears as a "determinable" in both these statements. Theaetetus seizes the point at once, since it makes the problem under consideration the same in type with a mathematical one which he and the younger Socrates have just solved. That problem was to find a common formula for what we call, in our modern terminology, "quadratic surds" or "irrational square |324| roots." As stated by Theaetetus, the question is treated, exactly as it is in Euclid, as one about "lines" (γραμμαί). You cannot construct a straight line commensurable with your unit of length, such that the square upon it is 3 or 5 or 7 or 11 or 13 or 17 times the area of the square on the unit line. But you can devise a general formula for all these cases as follows. We may divide the integers into two classes: those which are the product of two equal factors (4, 9, 16, etc.), and those which are not (e.g. 6, 8). We may then call the first class "square" and the second "oblong" numbers. This enables us to make a correlated division of all terminated straight lines. If the area of the square described on such a straight line can be represented, in terms of the area of the square on a unit line by a number which is the product of two equal factors, we call the line in question a "length" (μηκος); if this area is represented by a number which is not the product of two equal factors, we call the corresponding line a "power." Lines of the first class are all commensurable with one another, since they are all "measured" by our standard unit of length; lines of the second class have no common measure, but the areas of the squares on them have (e.g. √3 and √5 have no common measure, but an area of 3 square feet and one of 5 square feet have one, namely, the square on a line 1 foot long). This is why the lines of the second class are called "powers"; they are not themselves commensurable with one another but their "second powers" are commensurable.6 Thus, since every terminated straight line under consideration belongs to one and only one of these two classes, Theaetetus has succeeded, by the use of dichotomy, in strictly defining the class which we should call "quadratic surds" (148b).

Socrates is delighted with this achievement, and only wishes Theaetetus to apply the same ability to determining the class of "sciences" or "knowledges," by bringing them all under one common determinable (148d). Theaetetus is eager to solve the problem, but does not feel equal to the task, though he cannot persuade himself to let it drop from his mind. This shows that Theaetetus is "pregnant" with a thought which he cannot successfully bring to the birth. Now Socrates, like his mother, practices the obstetric art, not, like her, on the bodies of women, but on the souls of men. He has no spiritual offspring of his own to bear, as midwives are no longer fruitful when they enter on their profession.7 But he has great skill in assisting at the birth of a younger man’s thoughts, and in discerning whether they are healthy and well formed or |325| sickly and misshapen. This discernment is the more necessary that the offspring of the mind, unlike that of the body, are sometimes mere fantastic "ghosts" (εἴδωλα) of thoughts.8 Socrates is like his mother in another respect. Midwives are excellent match-makers, since their professional skill makes them good judges of the physical suitability of a couple to one another. So Socrates has often judged shrewdly that some of the young men who have frequented his company are not really "pregnant" with thoughts at present, and in such cases he has found mates for them in whose society they have ceased to be barren, such as Prodicus.9 He has now an occasion for the practice of his gift. He will help Theaetetus’ spiritual first-born into the world, and then we will try it, to see whether it is a genuine thought or a mere "changeling" (149e-151d).

First Definition of Knowledge (151e-186e)

Knowledge and Sensation: The Theory Stated (151e-160d). With this encouragement Theaetetus attempts a first definition. A man who knows a thing "perceives" the thing he knows (as our own proverb says, "seeing is believing"). So we may say, as a first suggestion, that "knowledge (ἐπιστήμη) is just perception" (αἴσθησις).10 This would seem to be only another way of saying what Protagoras expressed by the formula that "man is the measure." Theaetetus, who has often read Protagoras (152a), agrees with Socrates that Protagoras meant by this that "what appears to me, is to me; what appears to you, is to you." In fact, "I perceive this" = "this appears to me" = "this is so to me" (152b). "Sense" (αἴσθησις) is thus always apprehension of something which is (του ὄντος), and is infallible, and therefore is the same thing as certain knowledge (ἐπιστήμη) (152c).

We should note very carefully exactly what is the theory here ascribed to Protagoras. (That the interpretation of his dictum is the correct interpretation, or at least that supposed by his readers at large to be correct, is clear, since it is assumed that all the parties to the conversation are quite familiar with the context of the saying, and not one of them suggests that there can be any mistake about its meaning.) The view Plato ascribes to Protagoras is not "subjectivism." It is not suggested that "what appears to me" is a "mental modification" of myself. The theory is strictly realistic; it is assumed that "what appears to me" is never a "mere appearance" but always "that which is," "reality." But Protagoras denies that there is a common real world which can be known by two percipients. Reality itself is individual in the sense that I live in a private world known only to me, you in another private world known only to you. Thus if I say the wind is unpleasantly hot and you that it is disagreeably chilly, we both speak the truth, for each of us is speaking of a "real" wind, but of a "real" wind which belongs to that private world to which he, and only he, has access. No two of these private worlds have a single constituent in common, and that is precisely why it can be held that each of us is infallible about his own private world. Protagoras is not denying the genuine "objectivity" of each man’s private world; his equation of "appears to me" with "is, is real, to me" is meant to insist on this objectivity. But he denies the reality of the "common environment" presupposed by "intra-subjective intercourse." His thesis is strictly metaphysical, not psychological.

But now, how if Protagoras really meant something more elaborate than this, and explained his meaning more fully to his intimates "in secret," though he gave the world at large only this one hint of it? There is a "far from contemptible" (οὐ φαυλος) view which we might regard as implied by the Protagorean dictum, and it is as follows.11 All truth is strictly relative. Nothing, e.g., is big or hot "absolutely," but only "big" or "hot" relatively to some standard of comparison.

If you selected your standard differently, the same thing could truly be said to be "small" or "cold," relatively to the new standard. This applies even to existential propositions. You cannot say absolutely "this is," any more than you can say "this is so." You can only say "this is, is real" relatively to something else. For the very word "is" is a misnomer. The things we speak of as "existing" are really events which "happen" as a consequence of movements; movement is the only thing which is ultimately real in the universe, as all the "wise," with the solitary exception of Parmenides, seem to have held from time immemorial. All life, bodily or mental, is movement and activity; cessation of movement is lethargy, stagnation, death (152c-153d). Now apply this to the case of anything we perceive by sense, e.g. a white expanse. We must not say that the white we see is "in" a body outside our own, nor yet that it is "in" our own eye. It is not anywhere. The truth is that what we call our "eye" and what we call the "outside world" are simply two sets of motions. When they come into contact and interfere with one another, something "happens" (γίγνεται) momentarily as a consequence of this interference, and this something is the colour, which is thus neither "within" us nor "without" us, but is just the joint product of two factors, the system of motions which are outside the organism and the system of motions which are the eye (153e).12 This explains at once why each of us lives in a strictly private world. Any change in either of the causal factors, the "motions" in the larger world and the "motions" in the organism, may affect their joint product, and therefore a man and a dog will not see the same colours, nor a man in health the same colours as a man out of health. If the perceived quality, "hot," "white," or what not, were simply an affection of "that by which we measure or apprehend," i.e. of our own organism or "sensibility," it ought not to be modified by changes in anything else (as, in fact, it is by, e.g., variations in illumination);13 if it were simply a character of "that which is measured or apprehended" (the external object), it should similarly be unaffected by changes internal to the organism (but, in fact, it is affected by them). The facts thus show that the perceived world is a function of two variables, my special organism and its environment; hence it is necessarily a "private" world (154b).

Before we can judge such a theory on its merits we need a further clarification of our thoughts. On the "private-world" theory, six dice will not only "appear" but "be" at once "many" and "few": "many," if a group of four is my standard of comparison, "few" if my standard is a dozen. Reflection on such cases leads us irresistibly to make three affirmations which seem to be self-evident and yet not all mutually compatible: (1) nothing can become greater in bulk or number except by being augmented |328| (αὐξηθέν); (2) that to which nothing has been added and from which nothing has been subtracted has been neither augmented nor diminished; (3) what once was not but now is must have "come to be" in the interval (i.e. there has been a transitional process of "coming into being" 155b).14

Yet the case of the dice, or the case in which Socrates is one year taller than Theaetetus but the next shorter, seems to create a difficulty. In this last case, Theaetetus has grown, but Socrates has neither grown nor shrunk. He is now, what he was not last year, "shorter," and yet there has been no process of "coming to be shorter." How are we to explain the paradox? We cannot explain it at all to a corporealist who denies the reality of acts and processes and the invisible generally. But it might be explained y the theory of certain more refined (κομψότεροι) persons, whose secret Socrates offers to disclose (156a). Their theory is this. As has been already suggested, the only reality is motion. There are two types of motion, the active and the passive. The mutual friction or interference (τριψις) of an active and a passive motion regularly gives rise to a twin product, "sense" + "sensible quality" and neither of these is ever to be found without its "twin." And this twin product is itself, again, a pair of movements, though of movements more rapid than those which gave rise to it. Thus, to apply the theory to the case of vision, you have first two "slower" causative "movements" (the "active" movement here is supposed to be the "event" which is the visual apparatus, the "passive" is the event we call the environment); when there is an "interference" of these two motions, in that very process there emerge two correlated "quicker" movements, neither of which ever exists without the other,15 "vision in act" and "seen colour." Thus the couple "seeing eye" and "colour seen" are themselves a dual more "rapid" event produced as an effect by the mutual interference of the two "slower" causal movements. It follows that all predication is strictly relative. The "causal" motions themselves are strictly relative to one another, each is "active" or "passive" only in relation to its correlate; and similarly in the "effect" the seen colour is seen only by this "seeing eye," and this "seeing eye" sees only this colour. "Being" is thus a strictly relative term. To speak accurately, we ought never to say "x is," but "x is, relatively to y"; if we omit the qualification, it is only because of an inveterate linguistic bad habit. Socrates does not |329| commit himself to this theory of "absolute becoming," any more than to any other, but he has stated it because we cannot dispose of the assertion that "is" = "appears to me" without deciding this still more fundamental question (158d).

We note that the difference between the Protagorean formula and the doctrine now given as that of certain unnamed "fine wits" is that the first is a piece of "epistemology," the second is ontology, and professes to give the grounds for the individualistic or "solipsist" epistemology. The proposition that my perceived world only exists for me, and that it is meaningless to ask whether your "world" and "mine" can contain one and the same object, is only one special consequence of the much more far-reaching doctrine that "is" itself has no meaning unless one adds the qualification "relatively to." It is now being asserted not merely that perceived qualities only exist "for" the percipient who is aware of them, and he is only "percipient" of just these qualities, but that the correlated active and passive "slower" movements, thing and environment, only are relatively to one another. (Thus, e.g., the statement that a particle A exists would actually mean that A interacts in a certain way with B and C, and so on for B and C themselves.) This is why the doctrine described here cannot be disposed of in the summary way in which Mr. Bradley has disposed of the "phenomenalism" of many modern scientific men in Appearance and Reality. The persons of whom Mr. Bradley is thinking have really not got behind the restricted doctrine of the "relativity" of perceived quality to percipient. At the back of their minds there is still the notion that both percipient and perceived quality are effects of something which, though not itself perceived, is, or is real in an absolute sense, and thus they are easily convicted of inconsistency with themselves. But the theory we are now dealing with asserts that the "slower motions," assumed by the victims of Mr. Bradley’s dialectic to be simply "real," are themselves purely relative, each such "active" motion being relative to a specific "passive" motion and vice versa. It is thus not open to the criticism that it regards anything whatever, perceptible or imperceptible, as simply real; "this is real" is, on this view, always an incomplete statement which, as it stands, is strictly devoid of significance.

It is not clear from what quarter Socrates is supposed to have learned the theory. He is clearly not inventing it, since he represents it as the "secret" of certain refined wits. Nor do I think it likely that Plato has devised the whole thing for himself simply as a metaphysic which might be urged, and in fact would have to be urged, by a far-seeing defender of the Protagorean formula. The insistence on motion as the only reality at once suggests a Heraclitean influence, and the elaborate kinematic working out of the thought further suggests that the κομψοί (fashionable) of whom Socrates is thinking are persons with a strong mathematical interest. If we had more information than we have about the curious blend of |330| Heracliteanism and Pythagorean mathematics represented in our tradition by the stories told of the mysterious Hippasus, we might be able to say something more definite. From Plato’s own point of view, the theory would be perfectly acceptable as an account of "pure" sensation; but we must remember that, as it is part of the object of the dialogue to show, no piece of knowledge, not even the crudest statement about present fact, ever is a mere deliverance of sensation.

With this general metaphysical theory as a presupposition, we could now dispose of the superficial objection to Protagoras that some "appearances" — those of dreams, delirium, fever — are deceptive. The world of the sleeper or the fever-patient is as real to him, while his dream or fever lasts, as the world of the man awake and in health is to him. And it is not true to say that there is any conflict between the way in which the world appears to one and the same percipient, according as he is awake or asleep, ill or well. On the theory, the "twin-product," sensation + sensed quality is a function of the complex, organism + environment. But it is an immediate consequence that, since a sleeping or delirious organism is different from a waking or healthy organism, the result of interaction with environment must be different. Socrates asleep is different from Socrates awake in important organic respects, and, on the theory we are considering there is no "self" or "percipient" but the organism as it is at the moment. Thus the sensa of Socrates asleep are real relatively to Socrates asleep, exactly as those of Socrates awake are real relatively to Socrates awake, and it would be abandoning the whole theory of the relativity of "being" to judge of the reality of the sensa of Socrates asleep by reference to those of Socrates awake (157e-160c). The sensa of any percipient organism at any moment are relative to the state of that organism at that moment, and to nothing else, just as that organism at that moment is relative to those sensa and to nothing else. (The esse of the organism at the moment t, we may say, is to perceive the sensa it perceives at that moment; the esse of those sensa is to be perceived by it at that moment; neither organism nor sensa have any further reality.) Consequently the "world" of any percipient at any moment is private to that percipient and that moment. "My perception is inerrant, for it is relative to my world (ἐμὴ οὐσία) at that moment."16 Thus the theory we have stated justifies the Heracliteans in saying that all is motion, Protagoras in saying that "man" is the measure," and Theaetetus in saying that sense is knowledge (160d-e). |331|

The Theory Examined – First Criticism (160e-165e). – The thought of which Theaetetus was in labour has now been fairly brought into the world, Our next task is to consider whether it is a genuine piece of thinking or only a "changeling." To give the lad breathing-time for recollection, Theodoras partially takes his place as respondent while Socrates raises a number of critical doubts, (a) How does Protagoras justify his selection of man in particular as the "measure"? The theory would equally warrant the statement that any creature — a pig, a baboon, or a tadpole — is the "measure" provided only that it is sentient, (b) If each of us is the "measure" of reality and unreality in his own world, where has Protagoras any advantage over his pupils? How can he claim to correct a pupil’s views about the reality of a world which, on the theory, is private to the pupil and relative to the pupil as its "measure"? (The very attempt implies, contrary to the theory, that there is a "world" of some kind common to Protagoras and the pupil, and that Protagoras is a better "measure" of it than the other.) Was the professional career of Protagoras a prolonged practical joke? Protagoras might, however, fairly say that this sort of "criticism" is mere caricature.17 We must examine the proposed identification of sense-perception with knowledge in dead earnest. So we go on to ask (c) whether when we hear foreigners speaking their own language we also know "what they are saying," or whether when a person who cannot read sees a written page he knows what is written on it. The only possible answer is that in such a case one does know what one actually hears or sees, the pitch of the syllables or the shape and colour of the letters, but one does not know the meaning of the foreign vocables or the written words. (Thus the formula knowing = perceiving by the senses will not cover the case of knowing the meaning of such symbols; their meaning can neither be heard nor seen.) (d) Suppose a man has seen something and then shuts his eyes, but still remembers what he saw. He no longer sees it, but can we say that he does not know what he has seen and still remembers? There is real point in these questions, but we must take care not to "crow" over Protagoras and his theory prematurely. If he were alive, he would probably have known how to make a telling rejoinder to such cavils. As he is dead and has no one to represent him, we must try to act as his advocates ourselves, and to plead the cause as effectively as we can (164e-165a).18 If we are to press mere verbal points, any |332| ἀντιλογικός could quite easily make many more formidable than those we have made ourselves, without ever coming to close quarters with Protagoras’ real thought.

Socrates’ Proposed Defense of Protagoras (166a-168c). Protagoras might fairly say that he would not have been affected by the question about memory which puzzled a lad like Theaetetus. He would have exposed the absurdity of talking about memory as if it meant the "persistence" of the state of the organism in which it was at the moment of stimulation. He would have insisted on the point that, according to his theory, each of us is not one percipient but a different percipient with every change in the state of his organism. And he would have urged that it is for his opponent to refute him directly by proving either that a man’s "senses" (αἴσθησις) are not private to himself, or, alternatively, that, granting this position, the sense-object which "appears" or "is" need not be private.19

Meanwhile, the thesis of Protagoras remains untouched. Each percipient has his own strictly personal and private world; it is not merely his "apparent" world, but a real, though private, world. And yet there is a difference between the wise man and his neighbors, a practical difference. The wise man is one who can influence another so that the other man’s private world, which appears and really is bad, is made to appear and be good (166d). Thus the abnormal perceptions of the diseased organism are as much a disclosure of reality as the normal perceptions of the healthy. The physician does not attempt to argue the patient into denying their reality. He subjects the patient to a regimen which brings his perceptions into accord with those of his fellow-men, and thus makes them "wholesome" or "useful," whereas they were, before treatment, dangerous and unwholesome. So the "sophist," who is the physician of the soul, aims not at giving a pupil "truer views" — that would be impossible, if the pupil is the "measure" of his own real world — but at giving him "better" and more wholesome views of life (166d-167c). The defense made by Socrates for Protagoras thus amounts to crediting him with a "pragmatist" view. Any one belief, actually held, is as "true" as any other, but some sensations and some ways of thinking are "better" that is, "more useful his practice" than others. It is implied, though not actually said, that the "useful" way of perceiving and thinking is that |333| which agrees with the perception and thought of your "social environment," since it is only such agreement which makes concerted action possible. To be gravely "eccentric" in your perceptions or your moral convictions puts you into the class of the insane and makes practical co-operation with your neighbors impossible. The root of the matter is that, though the notion of a "common" natural or moral world is, strictly speaking, a fiction, it is a fiction which is necessary to life. The practical urgencies of life require that my private world and your private world should not be very dissimilar. If they are sufficiently alike, by a useful fiction we can act "as if" we had a common world; where the divergence is too great to admit of this fiction, when I call black what you call white, one of us needs a physician for the body or the soul. By altering the state of the percipient, the physician, according to the Protagorean theory itself, necessarily also alters the character of his "world."

Since Socrates offers this interpretation as a substitute for an "official" exegesis, it is clear that it cannot have been given by Protagoras himself; since it is welcomed by Protagoras’ old admirer Theodoras, we may infer that it is offered as a fair and honest attempt to explain what Protagoras meant, on the assumption that he was a man of intelligence and that his doctrine was intended to be compatible with his claims for himself as a practical teacher. So far as I can see, it is not only offered in good faith, but is about the best defense which can be made for the view that the "common" world is strictly the creation of the "intersubjective intercourse" on which all practical co-operation depends. Against modern statements of pragmatism it has the advantage that it does not attempt the task of equating "true" with "practically useful"; it simply sets aside the distinction between "true" and "false" as irrelevant to human life, and replaces it by the obviously relevant distinction between "useful" and "harmful." Our attention is thus concentrated on the fundamental question whether the abolition of the distinction of true from false really leaves this all-important practical distinction between useful and harmful standing or not. This ultimate issue is so serious that we cannot allow the case for the pragmatist to be prejudiced by being left to the championship of a boy, even if he is, like Theaetetus, a boy of genius; Theodoras must take the defense on himself (168c-169e).20 |334|

Second Examination of the Protagorean Thesis (169d-172c, 176c-179b). The task now before us is to examine the "pragmatist" philosophy on its own merits. The examination falls into two sections, between which the famous panegyric on the life of devotion to "useless science" is inserted, admittedly as a digression. It strikes us at once, as a common experience, that every one knows there are some things about which he thinks himself wiser than others and other things about which he thinks others wiser than himself (170a-b). Every one admits that there are things about which he is ignorant and incompetent and needs to be taught or directed. And by "wisdom" and "ignorance" men suppose themselves to mean true and false belief (δόξα) respectively. According to the thesis of Protagoras, this belief that some of my beliefs are true and others false, being one of my beliefs, must be true. It must be true, since it is a belief, that there are things of which a given man is not the "measure." This is a direct consequence of Protagoras’ own principle, and yet it contradicts that principle. And the worst of it is that if there is one point on which everyone, even those who would most readily concede that any one man’s sensations are just as veridical as any other’s, is agreed, it is that when you come to the question what is wholesome or hurtful, each of us is not equally the "measure" for himself. That is just why we need the expert physician (171e). So in moral matters, even those who hold that there is no common standard of right and wrong, but that "right" means simply for any community what that community agrees in approving, never think that "expediency" is a purely relative matter. No one holds that the expedient is what a given community thinks expedient, though many persons hold that right is just whatever the community happens to think right. Everyone holds that there is a common standard of expediency (172b). These considerations are meant to lead up to the conclusion that the plausible "pragmatist" substitution of the "useful" for the "true" as the criterion of value in beliefs fails at its central point. It refutes itself by presupposing that the value of the belief "this is useful" itself must be estimated by reference to a standard of "truth." "It is true that this practice is useful" cannot simply mean "it is useful to believe that this practice is useful." The full development of the thought is postponed for a moment by the introduction of the eulogy of the contemplative life.

Digression – The Contemplative Life (172c-176c). How far the pragmatist criterion is from being self-evident or universally accepted we may see by contrasting the whole attitude towards life of the philosopher or true man of science with that of the "man of affairs," and the man of law. The former is free where the latter is a slave,21 as we can see by comparing the style of their "discourses." |335| The one can follow up his thoughts wherever they lead; time is no object to him, and the length of an argument no obstacle, so long as it leads him to the "reality." The other has to plead with a time-limit and under a double control. He must speak "to his brief" — his opponent will take care of that and he must adapt himself to the prejudices of his "lord and master," the court, or he may have to pay dear for it, and thus cannot afford to have a single-minded eye to simple truth. The other is free, as we are at this moment, to follow up any line of thought which seems promising; he is the master, not the slave, of his "case." Hence the violent contrast between the whole characters of the typical thinker and the typical "practical man." The former, in an extreme case, barely knows where the law-courts and places of public assembly are, or what is being done in them; he belongs to no political "club" and cares as little about the social as about the serious side of such institutions. He knows nothing of the current political and social gossip, and is not even alive to his own deficiency. You might say that, while his body is here in Athens, his mind freely roams over the universe as its domain. When he is dragged down into the world of petty local affairs, proceeded against in the courts for example, he is lost in such a strange situation, and the practical man sets him down as an absent-minded fool. He cannot make a telling invective because he is quite unaware of the personal scandals which furnish the appropriate matter. He is equally ineffective in eulogy, since the topics of the ordinary eulogy, the subject’s illustrious descent and splendid wealth, are unimpressive to him. The biggest estate seems a little thing to one who is accustomed to think in terms of the spaces of astronomy, and the finest pedigree laughable to one who knows how many kings and how many beggars there must be in every genealogy, if we could only trace it back through unrecorded generations. Hence the popular contempt of him as a man who is so wrapt up in his star-gazing that he cannot see what is under his nose.

But from the philosopher’s point of view, the brilliant practical man is equally absurd. Take him away from the field of small personal concerns and set him to think about the ultimate issues of life, what are right and wrong, what are human happiness and misery, and how is the one to be found and the other shunned — in a word, take him out of the realm of the temporal into the eternal, and he is helpless in "discourse," for all his forensic "acumen."

This conflict between opposing standards of valuation is inherent in "mortality," and that is the very reason why the man who means to be happy must make it his supreme aim to "escape" from mortality. The only way of escape is "to become assimilated |336| to God as wholly as may be, to exchange temporality for eternity. And "assimilation" means becoming "righteous and pious and wise." The difficulty is to convince men that the real reason for this pursuit of goodness is not the advantage of a reputation for goodness, but the fact that goodness and wisdom make us like God and therefore constitute real "manhood," and confer the only real happiness.

The whole passage recalls, and is obviously meant to recall, the spiritual mood and even the phraseology of the Gorgias and Phaedo. But its connexion with the present argument is loose, and hardly amounts to more than this, that the worldly man’s estimate of the philosopher and the philosopher’s estimate of him furnish the best proof that there is no single accepted standard of valuation. The most natural way of accounting for the presence of the digression is that of Burnet, that it is an expression of the mood in which Plato is contemplating his own coming absorption in the necessarily largely uncongenial mundane life of the Syracusan court. The ideal of the world-renouncing pure "scientist" had never been his own; his early ambitions had been definitely political, and his mature conviction was that the gifts of the philosopher ought to be consecrated to the work of practical administration, but we can readily understand that he would have a keen sense of the sacrifice he was making to public duty and the pettiness of the personalities and problems with which he was now called to mix himself up (Greek Philosophy, Part I pp. 244-5). It would be a bad mistake, though the mistake has been made, to find in so splendid a passage a polemic against the aims of his older rival Isocrates. Whatever the limitations of Isocrates were, Plato must have sympathized with his attempt to give his pupils at least a broader and nobler outlook on the problems of public life than that of the mere party-man of a little Greek πόλις; the whole picture of the "man of affairs" who is pitted against the philosopher suggests in its details an admirer of Antiphon or Thrasymachus rather than a figure from the school of Isocrates, the last place where the cult of "successful unrighteousness" would be likely to be in favour.

Second Criticism of the Protagorean Thesis Concluded (176c-179b). To return — We had just said that though the thinkers who identify reality with change and those who teach that "what appears to anyone is for him the reality," are ready enough to extend these formulae to right and wrong, no one seriously contends that what a city agrees to regard as good or useful must really be so, so long as the agreement continues. Everyone recognizes that what is really good or profitable is so independently of the beliefs which may be entertained about it. Now this suggests a generalization of the problem raised by the saying of Protagoras. When a city makes regulations to ensure good or advantage, it is acting with a view to the future. So we may ask, granting that the Homo mensura formula is valid for convictions about the present, |337| is it also valid for convictions about the future? If a man feels hot, he is hot. Soit; but if a man believes that he is going to have a fever with a "temperature," while his physician denies it, what then? In such a case the physician’s forecast is certainly a better "measure" of what is going to be the layman’s "reality" than the layman’s opinion. So the best "measure" of the sweetness or dryness of next autumn’s vintage is the husbandman; a skilled cook’s judgment about the enjoyment a company will receive from the dishes he has prepared is sounder than their own. Protagoras would be a better judge than one of us about the effect of a speech one of us was going to deliver. Generally, whenever a future issue is in question, the specialist will be the best "measure" of other men’s experiences as well as his own. The Homo mensura formula thus is invalid in all cases where there is a reference to future experiences. And this rids us of the doctrine that any and every belief is true, which is, moreover, self-refuting, since it implies its own contradictory. But we have still to examine the metaphysical theory which is the foundation of the dictum that actual present sensation and the judgments (δόξαι) based on it are always true.

Final Refutation of the Identification of Knowledge with Sense-perception (179d-186e). The complete examination of the theory that actual present sense-perception is knowledge demands a consideration of the already mentioned metaphysical theory that nothing is real but movement. We cannot get any coherent statement of the grounds for this theory from its official representatives, the Heracliteans, who disdain connected exposition and affect to speak in cryptic aphorisms; we must try what we can make of the doctrine for ourselves (179e-180c). We must remember, too, that Melissus and Parmenides maintain the very opposite — that what is is one and unmoving. A complete examination would involve studying the views both of the "men of flux" (the ρέοντες) and of the "faction of the one-and-all" (the του ὅλος στασιωται); it might end by carrying us over into one of the camps, or by leaving us in the comically presumptuous position of standing alone against both parties. Still we must make the venture, and we will begin by considering the Heraclitean view (180c-181b).

Everything is always in motion: what is the precise sense of this? There are two easily distinguishable types of "motion": (a) one which includes translation and rotation, which we will call locomotion (φορά); (b) another illustrated by the transition from youth to age, from black to white, from hard to soft; we will call it alteration (ἀλλοίωσις). Is it meant, then, that everything is at every moment changing both its position and its quality, or only that each thing is at every moment exhibiting one or other of these changes? If the statement that there is no rest or stability in the world at all is meant strictly, we must take the former interpretation. Nothing ever keeps the same quality for the tiniest interval, any more than it retains the same position (181e). Otherwise there would be some sort of stability about things.

|338| Let us bear this in mind and remember also the further details, which are part of this same theory, of the way in which the mutual interference of two of the "slower" motions gives rise to the twin effect sensation + sensible quality. The theory was that when two such "slower" motions meet, the result is a definite process of sensation + a definite sensible quality, e.g. a "seeing of white"+ "white seen." But if nothing has any permanency, there is no such definite process of seeing white, and no such definite white seen. The process of seeing white itself is at any moment turning into some other process, and the white seen is turning into some other quality. We must not even speak of "colour-vision" and "colour" since both process and quality are always turning into something else. It will be no more true to say at any moment that a man is seeing or having sensation of some other kind than that he is not having it, and therefore, if sensing is knowing, it will never be more true to say that a man is knowing than to say that he is not knowing. The safest answer to any question would be to say, "It is so and it is not so," but even this is more than we should be really warranted in saying, since the very word "so" implies a determination which, on the theory, never exists (183b). These considerations dispose finally of both statements: that every one is the "measure," and that knowledge is sensation. Both must be false, if the theory of absolute "fluidity" on which they themselves rest is to be upheld. Theaetetus would like to proceed now to consider the rival Eleatic theory that "nothing happens," there is no "fluidity" at all. But his wishes must not be indulged. Socrates met Parmenides, who was then an old man, in his own youth and was powerfully impressed by his "noble depth."22b If we discussed his view, we should very likely misunderstand it, the examination would have to be very long and searching, and we should be diverted from our present task, which is to practice "spiritual obstetrics" on Theaetetus (184b).

Socrates now enters on a line of thought which is by far the most important contribution the dialogue has as yet made to the solution of its problem. He calls attention to the, so far neglected, distinction between sensation and thought, or judgment. We can point out the bodily instruments which a man uses in seeing, hearing, touching. He sees with his eyes, hears with his ears, and so forth. Or to be still more accurate, since it is always the man, that is his ψυχή, which sees and hears, we should do well to say rather that he sees and hears through his eyes and ears (184d).23 Eyes, ears, and the rest of the body are not the agents in perception but the implements (ὄργαναa) of it — the first appearance of the word "organ" in this sense. For each "implement" there is what Aristotle was later to call its "proper" (ἴδιον) sensible. None can do the work of another. Colour can only be taken in by the channel of the eye, sound through the ear. But if a man is thinking about two such sensibles of different senses, comparing and discriminating them, or counting them as "two" pronouncing them like or unlike, asserting that they are "really there," the soul is considering the matter "by herself" (αὐτὴ δι̉ αὐτης) without the employment of a bodily "implement" (185d).24 If we try to make a list of the determinations of an object which are thus made "without any bodily organ," we have to reckon among them not only "reality" (οὐσία), number, sameness, difference, likeness and unlikeness, but good and bad, right and wrong (186a). Thus the ultimate categories of value, like those of "fact," are apprehended by thought, not by sense. In fact, they are asserted as the result of reflection, comparison, and discrimination: this explains why animals are as capable of sensation as men, and babies as adults (186c), but sound convictions about "reality and value" (οὐσία and ὠφέλεια) are only attained by us with time and pains and education. Now we cannot have knowledge without apprehension of a "reality" (οὐσία) which is known. Hence it follows that "knowledge" is not to be sought for in the affections of our sensibility (τοις παθήμασι) but in the mind’s reflection upon them (ἐν τω περὶ ἐκείνων, 186d). And this finally proves that knowledge is not the same thing as sensation (ibid. b).

Second Definition: Knowledge Is True Judgment (187b-200c)

The common name for the process of reflection, comparison, and discrimination to which the occurrence of our sensations gives rise is "belief" or "judgment" (δόξα, τὸ δοξάζειν). The word δόξα is being used here in a way characteristic of Plato’s later dialogues. In his earlier writing δόξα had commonly been thought of as contrasted with ἐπιστήμη; it had meant "belief," with the implication that the belief is a mistaken one, or at any rate a doubtful one; in our dialogue, and henceforward, the meaning is judgment, intellectual conviction in general, without any suggestion of disparagement. This is one of the many indications that a chief difference |340| between mature Platonism and the Socraticism out of which it developed is that the former attributes a decidedly higher value to beliefs which do not reach the level of demonstrated "science," that is, to our "empirical knowledge" of the sensible world. We must not suggest that judgment is knowledge, since there are such things as false judgments. But we may take it as an amended definition that knowledge is true judgment (187b).

If we are to examine the truth of this statement, we must begin by considering the difficulty suggested by the old arguments which have been used to show that a false judgment is impossible. The old argument, which we have met in the Euthydemus, was that either you know what you are judging about or you do not. If you do know, you cannot judge falsely; and if you do not, you cannot make any judgment at all, because your mind is a mere blank about that of which you "know nothing." The point has now to be considered elaborately with a view to discovering the specific character of true judgments. If a man knows both A and B, it would seem that he cannot mistake one for the other; if he knows A but not B, how can he compare A with the merely unknown? If both A and B are unknown, is not the impossibility of a confusion even greater (188a-c). Perhaps we may avoid these difficulties if we say that a false judgment is a belief in "what is not" (188d), thus avoiding all reference to "knowing" in our definition.25 But the "unreal" (τὸ μὴ ὄν), it may be said, is just nothing at all, and you can no more think and yet think nothing than you can see and yet see nothing. To think or believe is always to think or believe something; to think nothing is all one with not thinking at all. (Just as Parmenides had long ago declared that "what is not" can neither be thought nor spoken of.) This consideration leads us to try a third explanation of what we mean by a false judgment. We mean thinking that one reality (one ὄν) is some other reality, thinking that something is other than it is (ἀλλοδοξία) (mistaking one thing for another); false thinking is thus the mental confusion of one reality with another (189c), e.g. thinking that "fair is foul and foul is fair." In the Sophistes we shall find that this is the true account of the matter and can be successfully defended against the Eleatic dialectic. But the defense will depend on recognizing that the Eleatic metaphysic itself requires a grave modification; there is a sense in which "the unreal" can be both thought and spoken of. In our dialogue Socrates is not allowed to probe the question to the bottom; he has already explained that he is not prepared at present to examine Eleaticism as a metaphysical theory. He contents himself therefore with raising the question within what limits the "confusion" of one reality with another would seem to be possible.

|341| To understand the very possibility of such a confusion, we must begin by recognizing that thinking is a kind of argument (λόγος) in which the mind carries on a debate within itself, asking itself a question and answering its own query. The judgment, once formulated, is the verdict or conclusion which puts an end to this internal dispute (190a). In what conditions is it possible for this verdict to involve "confusion" of one thing with another? At first sight, the old dilemma about the impossibility of confusing a thing you "know" either with something else which you "know" or with something you do not "know" appears equally formidable when you substitute the word "believe" or "think" for "know" (190b-191a). But we seem to have been wrong in admitting the premisses of the dilemma. Clearly a man who "knows" Socrates might mistake an "unknown" stranger for Socrates, if he saw the stranger in the distance. The hard and fast distinction between "what I know" and "what I do not know" is false to fact and rests on the deliberate ignoring of the consideration that there is such a thing as "learning," "getting to know" something one did not know before (191c). Let us consider the nature of this process.

We may represent the process figuratively thus. There is something in each of us like a wax block prepared to receive the "impressions" of signets of all kinds; the quality of the wax is very different in different persons. We may regard sensation as a process in which an object stamps an impression of itself on the wax (the whole of the traditional language about "impressions" and "ideas" is ultimately derived from this passage).26 How definite this impress is and how long it will remain undeformed depends on the original quality of the wax. So long as the impress remains, we may say that a man has memory and knowledge (191d). Now consider the case of a man who "knows" the impresses left on the block, and at the same time is attending to his present sensations. We may say that the confusion with which we have identified error can only arise in one specific way. If I "know both Theodorus and Theaetetus and am simply thinking about one of them, I cannot confuse him with the other. If I "know" only one of them, I cannot confuse him in thought with the other, who is wholly unknown to me. If I neither "know" nor am |342| actually seeing either, confusion of thought is impossible. It can only come in in one case; when I "know" both parties, and so have the "impressions" made by past perception of both still remaining in the waxen block, but also am actually seeing both or one of the two, I may try to "fit" the new "impression" or "impressions" into the old "imprints" and may fit them into the wrong ones. That is, I may make an error in recognition, like that of the man who tries to put his foot into the wrong shoe. Thus "false judgment" will depend on mistaken recognition, and consequently will only be possible when there is a misinterpretation of an actually present sensation. Such misinterpretation may be caused by any of the defects of memory symbolized by the various defects which make a given block of wax unsuitable to receive a clear-cut impression, or to retain it permanently, or to receive many such distinct impressions without crowding and superposition of one on another. The result is that error cannot arise in sensation taken by itself, nor in thought taken by itself, but only "in the conjunction of sensation with thought" (195d). I.e. a false judgment is always a misinterpretation of present sensation, from which it would seem that true judgment, which the definition under consideration identifies with knowledge, is always the correct interpretation of present sensation by thought.

On reflection, however, this theory proves to be unsatisfactory in spite of its attractiveness. For it is not the fact that all error is misinterpretation of present sensation. A man may falsely think that 7+5 =11, and most men do make arithmetical errors of this kind in operating with big numbers. And they do not make such mistakes only when they are counting things present to their senses, but when they are simply thinking of numbers and numerical relations. Thus error (and by consequence true judgment) cannot be restricted to the interpretation of present sensations. There may be false (and also true) judgments where the "sensible" does not figure as a constituent of the judgment at all (195d-196b). Thus our simile of the waxen block has not done what we hoped it would for us. (It has the merit of taking into account the facts of learning and forgetting, ignored in the crude old argument against the possibility of "false beliefs," but it leaves the possibility of sheer intellectual error where it found it.27

To cover the case of purely intellectual error we must amend our account of ἀλλοδοξία, and this may be done if we borrow a hint from a current statement about knowledge. (It is true that a mere "disputant for victory" would deny our right to use any such statement while we are still in quest of a definition of knowledge, but the fault, if it is one, is inevitable, and we have committed |343| it already every time we have used such phrases as "we know that …" "we understand that …" and the like.) Knowing is commonly said to be the "having" of knowledge (197b). But we might improve on this statement by distinguishing "possession" and "having." A man may "possess" or "own" a cloak without actually "having it on." So possibly a man may "possess" knowledge without "having" it. In fact, we may distinguish "possession" from "having in use." A man who has caught and caged a multitude of wild birds "possesses" them all, but may not actually have any one of them in hand, though he can "put his hand" on one when he wants it (197c). Let us then introduce a new simile. The mind is like an aviary; when we are babies the aviary is empty (Locke’s "empty cabinet"); each new piece of knowledge we acquire is like a wild bird caught and caged. But actual knowing is like putting our hand on the bird we want and taking it out of the cage. Now a man may put his hand on the wrong bird instead of the one he wants, since the captured birds are alive and can fly about in the cage. So we may "possess" a certain knowledge, and yet when we want to use it, we may not be able to recapture it, we may capture the wrong piece of knowledge, and this will be the case of the man who makes a false judgment (197d-199c).

Clearly the new suggestion has advanced the argument. As Socrates says, the distinction between knowledge in possession and knowledge in use has relieved us of the old difficulty that false judgment seems to involve both knowing and not knowing the same thing; there is no difficulty in admitting that a man "possesses" what he cannot lay his hand on. We may add (1) that a comparison of "beliefs" with living creatures is psychologically much sounder than the old comparison with "impresses" made once for all on a block of wax; judgment is a living process, not the mere retention of a stamp left on the mind once for all; (2) that the distinction made here is the starting-point for the more extended antithesis of "potentiality" and "actuality"28 in which Aristotle was to find the universal explanation of movement and becoming; (3) that the formula no longer requires us to confine the possibility of error to the interpretation of present sensation.

But there is still a grave unsolved difficulty. Error is now said to be due to a wrong "use" of knowledge which we already have in possession. If this is so, a man’s knowledge is the direct source of his false judgments; he only confuses A with B because he possesses "knowledge" of them both. At this rate, might we not equally say that error may be the cause of knowledge, or blindness of vision? (This difficulty is perhaps not meant to be taken wholly |344| seriously. It is true that the more you "know," in the sense of "having the knowledge in possession," the graver are the errors to which you are exposed. As Mr. Chesterton says somewhere, "a man must know a great deal to be always wrong." Really grave error is regularly due to the misuse of wide knowledge. But the point is not really examined. Socrates’ object is simply to prelude to a much more real difficulty.)

Theaetetus suggests that we might elude this difficulty by modifying our image. We might say that there are "ignorances" as well as "pieces of knowledge" in the aviary, and that the man who makes a false judgment is putting his hand on an "ignorance." But if that is so, since he really believes his false judgment, he must suppose the "ignorance" to be a piece of knowledge. And this gives an opening to the eristic for raising the old problem once more. Can a man who knows what knowledge and ignorance are confuse one with the other? And if he does not know what both are, how can he confuse something he knows with something of which he is quite unaware, or one thing of which he is unaware with another of which he is equally unaware? If we try to meet our opponent by suggesting that there is a "knowledge of the difference between knowledge and ignorance" which is a sort of knowledge of the second order, and that false judgment arises from inability to put one’s hand on this knowledge, we shall clearly be involved in an impossible "infinite regress" (200c). Thus the point which Socrates is labouring is the sound one that it is impossible to have a psychological criterion of true and false beliefs.

Independently of this impossibility of a criterion, there is an obvious objection to the identification of knowledge with a "true belief." A man may be induced to hold a belief which in fact is true not by proof but by persuasive dexterous special pleading.29 Thus the court which is led by clever advocacy to find a man guilty of an act of dishonesty cannot be said to know that he has committed the crime; to know that, they would require to have seen the act committed. But if the man had really committed the act, the court has a "true belief" about him. This proves beyond all dispute that there is true belief which is not knowledge. The importance of the point may become plainer if we put it in a rather more modern way, What the illustration shows is that there is a real and significant difference between "historical" and "scientific" truths. History is not, and never can be, a department of "demonstrative science."

Third Definition – Knowledge Is "True Judgment Accompanied by Discourse" (201d-210d)

Possibly the difficulty just raised may be turned. As Theaetetus says, he had forgotten to specify that a true judgment, to be |345| knowledge, must be accompanied by "discourse" (λόγος). If there are any objects of which there is no "discourse," they will not be objects of knowledge, though we may have true judgment about them. At least, so Theaetetus has heard from some one whom he does not name. The point of the correction is to distinguish between "simple apprehension" and apprehension attended by "discourse," and to deny the name "knowledge" to simple apprehension. Thus the passage is the source of the familiar Aristotelian and mediaeval doctrine that the "complex enunciation" or proposition, is the unit of knowledge, as well as of the notion of "thought" as "discursive." We note also, at once, that the theory suggested has a remarkable prima facie resemblance to that put forward by Socrates himself in the Meno, where it was said that "beliefs" are converted into knowledge when they are "secured" (αἰτίας λογισμᾳ), by a "computation of the grounds" for them. In our dialogue, Socrates says that he too has a dream to tell. He seems to have heard "in a dream" that there are certain elementa (στοιχεια) which are the ABC of nature, all other things being "syllables," complexes of these "letters." The "letters" can be simply apprehended and named, but we can say nothing about them, can predicate nothing of them, since to attribute any predicate to them would be admitting complexity in them (contrary to the hypothesis). The complexes composed of these letters have a λόγος, since you can analyse the complex back into its simple constituents, just as you can spell a syllable. The complexes then are "knowable and rational" (ρητά) f but their elements are not; they have to be seized by direct simple apprehension (are αἰσθητά). Knowledge, "grounded belief," is always of the complex. Probably this theory is the same as that of which Theaetetus had heard (201d-202c). We are not told anything of the authorship of this interesting theory, which has its counterparts in our own day, though it is plain that it is not being invented by Plato. Where it comes from we can only guess. The atomists have been thought of, but without much probability. The question which Socrates goes on to raise, whether a "syllable" is nothing but its components or a new unity, would have no significance for persons who disbelieved in the reality of all "composition," and is not a natural criticism to address to them. It would be more reasonable to think of the doctrine of Empedocles, which admits of genuine "chemical" composition. From his point of view, the "four roots" correspond exactly to the ABC of the book of Nature, bone, flesh, and other tissues to "syllables," and organisms composed of these tissues to complete words. But the employment of the epithet ρηταί ("expressible") to describe the "syllables" of Nature’s language suggests also mathematical connexions of some kind. Thus I should be inclined to attribute the theory to some Pythagorean of the type who were trying in the later part of the fifth century to find room within their own doctrine for the "four roots" and the Empedoclean |346| biology.30 But why is Socrates said only to have heard of the theory "in a dream"? Possibly because the person who is responsible for it had only produced it after the death of Socrates, or because it only became known at Athens after that date, and therefore some apology has to be offered for making Socrates speak of it. Hence, when we remember the precisely parallel doctrine attributed by Theophrastus to the Pythagorean Ecphantus of Syracuse, it is natural to suspect with Burnet that the reference is to him.31

The analogy from letters and syllables is specious, but we must examine it more closely. It is true that the first syllable of Socrates’ name, the syllable So, has a certain λόγος. You can say that it is S and o the letter S has no such λόγος. You can make statements about it, e.g. that it is a "hissing" sound, but you cannot explain the sound by analysing it into components. But now arises a difficult question. Is the syllable So simply the sounds or signs S and o, taken in that order, or is it a new unity of a type different from that of its "component" sounds or symbols? If you take the first view, that So is just "S and o," then it seems ridiculous to say that a man can "know" "S and o," and yet neither know S nor know o. On the second view, So is itself a unity, and has not really S and o as "constituent" parts. Hence the syllable should, like the single letter, be an object of simple apprehension, and therefore, on the proposed definition, not an object of knowledge (202d-205e). Besides, the experience of our own early schooldays seems to show that we learned to recognize syllables simply by learning to recognize the letters of which they are composed; this tells forcibly against the view that "syllables" can be known when their component "letters" are not known (206a-c).

Apart from the question of the soundness of this analogy from letters and syllables, what may we suppose to be meant by λόγος ("discourse") in the statement that knowledge is "a true judgment accompanied by discourse? Three, and only three, possible meanings occur to us. (a) "discourse" may mean actual uttered speech made up of nouns and verbs. This, however, cannot be the meaning intended, for any true judgment can be expressed in speech, even if it is not entitled to rank as knowledge (206d). (b) Or the meaning might be a complete enumeration of the component "parts" of the thing thought about. Hesiod says that a hundred planks go to a wagon. You and I cannot name more than a few of them: is it meant, then, that we have only a "true judgment" about a wagon, but should know what a wagon is, if we could name all the hundred? The objection to this interpretation is that we cannot say that a man really knows a complex unless he can recognize its components not merely as components of that |347| complex, but when they recur in another setting. E.g., we should not say that a man "knew" how to spell the syllable The, if he wrote it correctly in spelling the name of Theaetetus but wrongly when he had to spell the name Theodoras. And a man might be liable to make the same sort of blunder about each of the remaining syllables, and yet might spell the one name Theaetetus right. Thus he would have enumerated all its letters correctly and yet would have mere "right judgment" not knowledge (208b). (c) Or was it meant that a true judgment about a thing becomes knowledge when you add to it the discourse which indicates the character which distinguishes that thing from every other thing? Is knowledge a true judgment accompanied by a statement of the differentia (διαφορά, διαφορότης) of the subject of the judgment?[32] This account looks as though it ought to be true, but when you examine it closely it is as perplexing as theatrical stage-paintings seen from close quarters. How can I have a "true judgment" about Theaetetus at all, if I AM not alive to the distinctive individual characters which mark off Theaetetus from every one else? If I AM unaware of them, how can my judgment be said to be about Theaetetus rather than about Theodoras or any man you please? Thus it would seem that to make a true judgment about Theaetetus, I must already have the differentia of Theaetetus in mind. Then what is added when this true judgment is converted into knowledge by the addition of the "discourse" of the differentia? It cannot be meant that we are to add a "true judgment" of the differentia to our existing true judgment, for we must clearly have possessed that in order to make a true judgment about Theaetetus. And to say that what is meant is that we reach knowledge when we not merely think but actually know the differentia amounts to the circular definition that "knowledge is true judgment plus knowledge of the differentia" (208c-210e).

Thus our dialogue of search ends formally with a negative conclusion. Three suggestions have been made and all found untenable. Theaetetus has no further suggestion of which to be delivered. If he should ever find himself pregnant with any further suggestions in future, we must examine them in the same fashion. It is not the function of Socrates to make any positive contribution to knowledge, and besides it is time that he went to the "king’s" office to make his formal reply to the indictment preferred by Meletus (210b-d).

The Theaetetus has thus been true to type as a Socratic dialogue in ending with no avowed results. But negatively we have reached a series of results of the highest importance. We have disposed of the identification of knowledge with sensation or any form of simple apprehension. We have also seen that pure relativism is untenable alike in the theory of knowledge and in metaphysics. It may be added that it has been at least forcibly suggested by the tenor of the whole argument that all the proposed definitions have failed precisely because each of them has attempted to provide a psychological criterion of knowledge, and no such psychological criterion is possible. The most important positive |348| result of the discussion is probably the recognition that the discovery of the great categories both of existence and value is the work of thought, "the soul by herself without any instrument." We may note also the appearance for the first time of a whole series of technical terms of the first importance: "quality" (ωοιότης), "organ" of perception (ὄργανον), "criterion" (ϰριτήριον), "differentia" (διαφορά, διαφορότης). Also we see the very fundamental problems connected with the notion of "simple apprehension" and the difference between "acquaintance" and "knowledge about" coming into prominence and receiving illustration, though without the formulation of a definite result.

Possibly the most striking feature of the whole dialogue is its silence on a matter about which we should have expected to hear something. Plato has written a long and elaborate discussion of knowledge without making a single reference to the doctrine of forms, though we might have thought it almost impossible for him to keep it out of the argument against relativism. A similar silence may be said to occur in all the dialogues we still have to examine. The forms are mentioned only in two of them: the Parmenides, where the doctrine is said to be that of Socrates in his early years and is criticised by Parmenides and Zeno, and the Timaeus, where it is put into the mouth of a fifth-century Pythagorean. I do not see how to account for these facts on the view that Plato had himself originated the doctrine and regarded it as his special contribution to philosophy. If we trust his own accounts of the matter, we shall find it most natural to suppose that in the earlier dialogues, which speak of the forms, Plato has not yet developed a doctrine which he feels to be specifically his own; he is reproducing the common inheritance of Socratic men. If that is so, the silence about the forms in the Theaetetus may mean either that when he wrote that dialogue he was feeling the necessity for a "Platonic" doctrine which had not yet been definitely worked out, or else that he had already arrived at the results Aristotle always assumes to be the Platonic teaching, and felt that they were so definitely his own that dramatic verisimilitude would be outraged by putting them into the mouth of Socrates.

See further:
Burnet. Greek Philosophy, Part I, 234-253.
Campbell, L. The Theaetetus of Plato 2. Oxford, 1883.
Ritter, C. Platon, ii. 96-120; Gedankengang und Grundan schauungen
  von Platos Theatet
in appendix to Untersuch ungen ueber
Stuttgart, 1888.
Raeder, H. Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 279-297.
Diels, H. Elementum. Leipzig, 1899.
Dies, A. Autour de Platon, 450-452.
Stewart, J. A. Plato’s Doctrine of Ideas, 65-68.
Natorp, P. Platons Ideenlehre, 88-116.
Sachs, E. de Theaeteto Atheniensi. 1914.

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1^ In her dissertation de Theaeteto Atheniensi (Berlin, 1914), which finally disposes of Natorp’s singular theory that the dialogue is a juvenile work.

2^ Xenophon, Hellenica, vii. i, 41; Bury, History of Greece, p. 608. The engagement appears to have been a trivial one, but even trivial engagements involve casualties. Theaetetus apparently owed his death more to dysentery than to his wounds (142b).

3^ On the question whether the Parmenides is earlier or later than the Theaetetus, see the next chapter. In any case, they must be nearly contemporary. Probably the difficulty of keeping up the indirect method in the Parmenides was the immediate occasion for its abandonment.

4^ Euclides can hardly be assumed to have died in the interval between 369 and 367. That would be too much of a coincidence.

5^ There is a little difficulty here. The meaning of the statement must be that the fifth-century geometers already knew the constructions for the inscription of three of the figures in the sphere: Theaetetus added the constructions for the remaining two and thus completed the doctrine of Euclid, Elements, xiii. But Plato definitely attributes to the Pythagorean Timaeus a knowledge of all five regular solids (and this is why these solids were known in antiquity as the "figures of Plato"). Careful reading, however, will show that Timaeus is never allowed to mention the inscribing of the octahedron and icosahedron in the sphere, as he does that of the tetrahedron and dodecahedron. This seems to me confirmation of the tradition that these construction were unknown in the fifth century.

6^ The use of the word δύναμις in this sense of "quadratic surd" was presumably an experiment in language which did not perpetuate itself. The name for the "quadratic surds" which became technical in the Academy and has passed thence into Euclid and later mathematics generally, is εὐθειαι δυνάμει σύμμετροι, straight lines whose squares have a common measure (Euclid Elements, x. Def. 3).

7^ Note that it is implied in the comparison that Socrates had not always been spiritually "past procreation," any more than his own mother had always been barren.

8^ The suggestion is that if — as is not the case — a woman sometimes gave birth to a real child and sometimes to a "changeling," the midwife’s task would become even more responsible than it is. She would have to decide in a given case whether the offspring should be cast away. The passage lends no support to the erroneous popular theory of infanticide as a feature of Athenian life.

9^ The transparent irony of this passage has actually been missed by some of the zealots for the "sophists." It is the minds which Socrates judges to be barren, the persons on whom his own endeavours would be thrown away, i.e. the second-rate, whom he hands over to Prodicus and his likes. That the conception of the obstetrics of the soul is a genuine Socratic fancy is shown by the allusion in Aristophanes’ Clouds, 137 ff.

10^ I render αἴσθησις in this statement by "perception," rather than by "sensation," since it is not clear to me that Theaetetus is at first using the word with the specific meaning of discernment by sense. Until Socrates leads him to make his statement more precise, he seems to me to be employing αἴσθάνεοθαι (to feel, perceive) in the fashion of the preSocratics, for direct apprehension of any kind, whether sensuous or not. What a man is directly apprehending he is sure of (ὲπίσταται). For this sense of ὲπίστασθαι cf. Heraclitus. Fr. 35 (Bywater), τουτον ἐπίστανται πλειστα είδέναι, "they feel sure he — sc. Hesiod — was so wise." That αἴσθησις is meant at first to include all immediate conviction is shown by the introduction of the argument about numwwserical propositions, 154c ff.

11^ Theaetetus 512c-d. Since Socrates suggests that this doctrine was only told by Protagoras to his followers "in a mystery," sub sigillo (ἐν άπορρήτῳ, clandestinely), clearly nothing of the kind can have been found in his book. The suggestion is that if you think out all that is really implied in the Homo mensura formula, you will be led to the metaphysical theory now to be expounded.

12^ We shall see later on that this is not a complete account of the matter. The "product" of the two motions is itself a motion, and this motion has two aspects. The "seeing eye" is as much a momentary event as the seen colour. As to the terminology of 153e, the active motion (τὸ προσβάλλον) must be conceived as that of the eye’s own "visual ray" issuing out of the eyeball; the passive (τὸ προσβάλλον) is what we commonly call the "external" object on which this supposed visual ray impinges. We should think more naturally of reflected light striking on the retina as the προσβάλλον, but Plato always presupposes the Empedoclean conception of seeing as effected by a "searchlight" thrown out by the eye into the world around us.

13^ In 154b, τὸ παραμετρούμενον is simply a paraphrase for αἴσθησις (sensation). Socrates inserts the παραμετρούμενον simply to echo the curious use of the word in the formula of Protagoras.

14^ Note that we have here in outline the fundamental thought of the Aristotelian doctrine about "generation" and "corruption." The ἀπορίαι connected with the problem are one of the topics of the Parmenides (155e-157b).

15^ Thus the theory is closely analogous to Aristotle’s doctrine that in actual perception the αἴσθησις and the αἰσθητόν (perception, understanding and discernment by the sense and the intellect) are, while the perception lasts, one and the same. The important difference is that in the account given here, both the αἰσθητόν and the αἰσθανόμενον (perception and apprehensions by the senses) only exist actually during the process of perception; apart from the process, "eye" and "colour" only are "potentially." On Aristotle’s theory, this is true of the "seeing eye," but not of the seen colour.

16^ 160c, ἀληθὴς ἄρα έμοί ἡ έμἡ ἄἴσθησις — της γὰρ ἐμης οὐσίας ἀεί έστιν, where note (a) that ἀεί means not "always" but "at each moment," "at a given moment," and (b) that ἡ έμἡ οὐσία does not mean "my own being," as though the thought were that what I perceive is a "subjective" πάθος or state of my own body or mind, but "the reality which is mine," a real world of objects which is my own private world. The crux of the whole theory is that it is an attempt to insist at once on the objectivity of the world I perceive and on its purely private character.

17^ Theaetetus 162d-e. This might be, but need not be, a hint that there had been attempts to discredit the formula of Protagoras by caricatures of this kind. But I think it very rash to indulge in conjectures about Antisthenes to whom I can discover no certain allusions in Plato as the author of the arguments. The ἀντιλογικοί were a fairly numerous class, and we may suppose that many of them exercised their wit on so tempting a theme. Protagoras would have an easy retort to the first of the four objections. A tadpole is quite a good "measure" of the "world" with which the tadpole has to concern itself.

18^ The personification of the "discourse" of Protagoras as an "orphan" whose natural guardians are neglecting their duties lends no colour to the silly legend about the prosecution of Protagoras and the destruction of his book. Socrates is merely jesting over the reluctance of Theodorus to commit himself to a "non-professional" controversy. Theodorus is called the natural guardian of the orphan simply because he professes to be an old friend and admirer of its author. The image, of course, implies that the book of Protagoras had not been destroyed, but had survived its "father." Only, no one will venture on an "official" defense of it.

19^ Theaetetus 166c. In this alternative, the first position, that each man’s αἴσθησις are "private," cannot be contested. I see with my own eyes, and no other man can see with them, any more than I can see with his eyes. Thus the issue between realism and "absolute phenomenalism" is rightly made to be just whether two men, each using his own private senses, can perceive an object which is "common" to both of them.

20^ It may be advisable to warn some readers again against the really wanton attempt to find a hidden attack on Antisthenes in the pleasantries interchanged between Socrates and Theodorus at 169b. Theodorus compares Socrates with Antaeus, who compelled every one to wrestle with him, merely because Socrates is so insistent on dragging Theodorus himself into a philosophical argument he would rather decline. This leads naturally to the mention of Heracles as the person who finally vanquished Antaeus. It is needless to look for any more recondite reason for the allusion. And it is still more needless to suppose that when Socrates speaks of the numerous Heraclesea with whom he has had stiff "bouts" he is thinking of his own friend and companion. It is to be hoped that we shall hear less in the future of the imaginary "feud" of Plato with Antisthenes since Wilamowitz has uttered his timely protest against this Antisthenes-Legende.

21^ Theaetetus 172d. The distinctive mark of the "free man" is that all his time is σχολή, "leisure," "free time," "his own time." The "life of business" is not "free" because in business a man’s time is not "his own"; it is engrossed by the demands of those whom he serves — his customers, patrons, clients, "the public." The thought reappears in Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics, where the best life for man is identified with the "noble use of leisure," and the standard in education is made fitness to prepare the recipient to make this right use of his "leisure."

22^ Theaetetus 183e. There is a similar reference to this encounter at Sophistes 217c, and the Parmenides professes to be a third-hand report of it. It seems to me that the emphatic way in which the impression made on the youthful Socrates is insisted on in both references shows us that Plato wishes us to regard the meeting as a real fact, and there is no reason why it should not be one (see Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy 3. p. 168, n. 3).

23^ The point of the distinction here made between that with which (ῴ) and that through which (δἰ οὐ) we see and hear can be better expressed in English differently. It might be made by objecting to the accuracy of the expressions "the eye sees," "the ear hears," and the like, on the ground that they obscure the point that both seeing and hearing are functions of a unitary central consciousness. This is what Socrates means by saying that there are not a group of αἴσθησις seated inside a man, like the warriors in the fabled "wooden horse" of Troy.

24^ It does not occur to Socrates to consider the view, afterward taken by Aristotle, that some at any rate of the functions enumerated here might be discharged by a "common sensorium" (κοινὸν αἰσθητήριον), placed by Aristotle in the heart.

25^ The difficulty it is intended to avoid by the new formulation arises from the ambiguity of the word εἰδέναι, which may mean either "to be acquainted with" or "to know about." It is suggested in effect that we may eliminate the ambiguity by recourse to metaphysics; we will say that false belief is belief in something "unreal" (in a μὴ ὄν). But, as we shall see, this at once raises the Eleatic problem how it is possible to think the "unreal" at all.

26^ In particular, the Aristotelian description of perception as a process in which the soul "receives the forms of sensibilia without their matter, as the wax receives the shape of the iron signet-ring without the metal," is seen at once to be directly based on the simile of the wax block, which is consequently the far-away source of the whole medieval doctrine of "sensible" and "intelligible" species. Note that the suggested theory is a psychologizing version of the doctrine that "knowledge is recollection." The first stamping of the wax with a wholly novel pattern gives "acquaintance"; ἐωιστήμη arises when the wax is stamped with the pattern a second time and the pattern is "recognized" as already familiar. The whole argument would have been easier to follow if Attic, like Ionic, had possessed the word εἴδησις, which might then have been specialized to mean "acquaintance." Plato can discriminate οἰδα from ἐωίσταμαι, but he has no verbal noun which stands to οἰδα as ἐωίστήμη to ἐωίσταμαι.

27^ The one criticism I should feel inclined to pass on Burnet’s analysis of the dialogue (Greek Philosophy, Part I, 237-253) is that he seems to make Plato into a Kantian by ascribing to him the view that all knowledge contains as a constituent a factor supplied by the "manifold of sense." This seems to me to miss the point of the illustration from false judgments in arithmetic.

28^ That the distinction between the actual and the potential is primarily due to the Academy seems to be further indicated by its appearance as something needing no explanation in Aristotle’s Protrepticus (Fr. 52, Rose), which is shown by the considerable remaining fragments of it to have been an eloquent exposition of Platonism and was probably written during Plato’s lifetime (Jaeger, Aristoteles, c. 4).

29^ The same point reappears at Timaeus 51e, where it is put into the mouth of Timaeus of Locri. Presumably it is not specially Socratic nor Platonic.

30^ Philolaus is now known to have been a Pythagorean of this type (Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy 3, 277 ff.), and it is just this combination of Pythagorean mathematics with the biology and medicine of Empedocles which is expounded at length in Plato’s Timaeus.

31^ For the doctrine of Ecphantus see Diels, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (The Fragments of the Presocratics) 3, i. 340-341. The historical reality of Ecphantus is, as Diels says, guaranteed by the fact that our notices of him come from Theophrastus, who could not well have been mistaken on the point. Whether he belongs to the fifth or the fourth century is not clear.

32^ The first occurrence of the word in the sense which Aristotle was to stereotype as a technicality of logic.

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XIV. Parmenides

It is most probable that the Parmenides and the Theaetetus were composed almost simultaneously. The Parmenides cannot well be a decidedly earlier work than the other, since it exhibits the same interest in Eleaticism and its great founder Parmenides; it cannot well be later, since it is the best example in Plato of that cumbrousness of the indirectly reported dialogue form which is mentioned in the Theaetetus as the reason for return to the simpler type of the earliest dialogues. Indeed, it may well be that it was just the difficulty of keeping up in the Parmenides the fiction that the whole is recited by a speaker to whom it had been formerly recited by a second person, who in his turn had heard it from a third, which led Plato to renounce this type of composition for the future. It had been useful so long as his purpose had been largely dramatic, but was found to be worse than useless for works in which the main interest lies in the analysis and criticism of ideas.

The dialogue has always been regarded as an exceptionally puzzling one, and the most divergent views have been held about its main purpose. Yet if we attend to certain plain hints, given by Plato himself, we may find that his object is indicated with unusual clearness. The general scheme of the dialogue is this. It falls into two parts of unequal length. In the first and briefer part (126a-135c) Socrates is represented as a very young man expounding his newly formulated theory of the "participation" of sensible things in forms to the great Parmenides and his famous scholar Zeno; Parmenides subjects the theory to a series of criticisms which look annihilating and to which Socrates offers no reply. Still he maintains that philosophy cannot dispense with the conception of the forms. The weakness of Socrates is that, being very young, he is attempting to philosophize without a sufficient logical discipline in considering all the consequences which follow from the acceptance or denial of a fundamental "hypothesis." In the second part of the dialogue (136a-166c), Parmenides illustrates the kind of logical discipline he has in mind by taking for examination his own thesis that "Reality is One" or that "things are a Unity." He apparently shows in a series of antithetical "antinomies" that whether this thesis is affirmed or denied, the consequence is that a host of pairs of contradictory |350| statements may either be simultaneously affirmed or simultaneously denied. In either case, of course, the principle of Contradiction has been violated. The dialogue ends without a word of comment on this portentous result.

Now it is quite certain that Plato never dreamed of denying the law of Contradiction; Aristotle would certainly have said something on the point if that had been so.1 We get a clue to Plato’s real drift when he makes Parmenides say (135d) that the method of which he is about to give an example is that of Zeno, the inventor of "antinomies." This remark is clearly meant to send us back to the earlier sentences (128c-d) in which Zeno has been made to explain the real intention of his own famous puzzles. His purpose, he says, was simply to retort on opponents who said that the Parmenidean doctrine "reality is one" leads to paradoxical conclusions by showing that their rival "hypothesis" that "reality is many" leads to still worse paradoxes. If we interpret the Parmenides, as we clearly ought to do, in the light of these broad hints, we shall see that it is constructed on the same pattern as the paradoxes of Zeno. A series of attempts to show that the Socratic "hypothesis" of forms leads to impossible results is retorted upon by an elaborate attempt to show that the Eleatic hypothesis is in still worse case. It is not safe even to mention it, for whether you assert it or deny it, in either case a clever formal logician can compel you to admit either that all assertions whatsoever are true or alternatively that they are all false.

It follows then that the objections urged against the doctrine of sensible things as "partaking of" forms are not Plato’s own, and are not meant as a serious criticism by himself either of Socrates or of his own earlier theories. They correspond to the objections against Parmenides which Zeno had in view in composing his own work. In other words, we are directed to regard these criticisms as coming from opponents of the theory of "participation." And since Plato’s imitation of the Zenonian method takes the form of raising still worse puzzles about the consequences of the Eleatic doctrine, it is clear who these opponents must be. We must look for them among the formal logicians of the school of Megara who were the continuators of Eleaticism. It is in strict keeping with this interpretation that the main point of the objections made by Parmenides to Socrates is not to raise difficulties about the reality of the forms. That he seems to concede. What he criticises is |351| the view of Socrates that sensible things "partake" of the forms, and so have a kind of secondary reality. This is exactly as it should be if the critics Plato has in view are the Eleatics of Megara. From their point of view, the great fault of the doctrine expounded in the Phaedo, Republic, and other dialogues is that it allows any kind of reality at all to the objects of sense. Plato does not, in the dialogue, offer any answer to these extreme "idealists"; he simply sets himself to show that two can play at the game of abstract formal logic, and that he can, if he pleases, play the game better than its professed champions. Their own methods may be applied to their own fundamental doctrine; let them see how they will like the result.

If this is the right way to understand the dialogue, and Plato seems to tell us that it is, it follows that the Parmenides is, all through, an elaborate jeu d’esprit, and that all interpretations based on taking it for anything else (including an earlier one by the present writer), are mistaken in principle. It equally follows that the ironical spirit of the work must not be forgotten in dealing with isolated passages. E.g., when Parmenides gravely censures Socrates for refusing to believe in forms of mud and dirt, and says that he will get the better of such a prejudice when he grows older and more philosophical (130e), we must understand the remark to be a piece of polite irony. In Parmenides’ mouth, it can only mean that a man who is going to admit any kind of reality in sensible things ought to be prepared to "go the whole hog" and nothing more. Presumably the remark is a reproduction of actual Megarian criticism. It tells us nothing of Plato’s own thought. More than any other Platonic work of any considerable compass, the Parmenides bears throughout the stamp of being an "occasional" composition. Its purpose is to "have some fun" with Monists who regard the sensible as illusion, and very little more.

There are several interesting points to be noted in connexion with the introductory narrative. The otherwise unknown speaker, Cephalus, who recites the dialogue, is a citizen of Clazomenae, the native town of Anaxagoras. It is not said where he is speaking or to whom, but apparently the scene is in one of the Ionian cities. The assumption is that he had gone to Athens expressly to learn the true story of the meeting between Socrates and the great Eleatics from the only surviving person who could relate it, Plato’s own half-brother Antiphon, son of Perictione by her second husband, the well-known statesman Pyrilampes. Antiphon could tell the tale accurately because he had often heard it when he was younger, from Pythodorus. (The person meant is the well-known Pythodorus, son of Isolochus, prominent in the Archidamian war, whom the writer of the Alcibiades I names as an actual pupil of Zeno.) Pythodorus had been the host of Parmenides and Zeno on their visit to Athens at the time of the great Panathenaea in a year when Socrates was still "very young." It follows from all this that we are to suppose the meeting of Socrates with the Eleatic |352| philosophers to have taken place about 450 B.C., nearly a quarter of a century before Plato’s own birth. The visit of Cephalus and his friends to Antiphon must be supposed, as Proclus said, to be after the death of Socrates. The recital of Antiphon was needed precisely because all the persons who had been present at the original meeting were dead.

Why does Plato make this unparalleled assumption that a conversation of Socrates is being repeated outside Athens, after Socrates’ death and a good half-century after the holding of the conversation? Clearly, by insisting on the early date of the conversation, and the fact that no one is living who could check the third-hand report of what passed, he frees himself from responsibility for the strict accuracy of his narrative. If we find the conversation so à propos to present-day Megarianism, well, we only know what Socrates and Parmenides said from a second-hand story told by Antiphon, a younger man than Plato himself, and who will go bail for Antiphon? I think it ought also to be said that the tale of the anxiety of the Ionian philosophers to hear Antiphon’s story justifies an inference. Why the lonians of Asia Minor should feel this interest is obvious. They would be members of the school founded in Ionia by Anaxagoras on his removal from Athens; Socrates, the favourite pupil of Anaxagoras’ successor Archelaus, would in any case be an object of interest to such a group. That Plato thinks it a plausible fiction that their interest should lead them to visit Athens in order to gather a true account of events fifty years old seems only explicable on the supposition that the encounter of Socrates with the great Eleatics was a real historical fact and, for philosophical circles, a memorable one, as an encounter between two great chess-players or gamblers is memorable for persons interested in chess or gaming.

The situation at the opening of the conversation is this. Zeno has just been reading aloud his famous work containing the antinomies for which he is still remembered. Socrates fastens on one of them, an argument which has not survived and of which the precise sense is uncertain, to the effect that "if things are many, they must be like and must also be unlike, but this is absurd," as an example of the rest. He proposes to regard the whole work as intended to establish the thesis of Parmenides by disproving its contradictory. Parmenides says "reality is one," Zeno that "reality is not many." Zeno accepts the statement with the minor correction that his object was not to prove the Parmenidean thesis, but simply to silence its critics by showing that their own rival "hypothesis" has even more impossible consequences than those they urge against Parmenides (127d-128e). Socrates then suggests that if we will only accept the doctrine of forms and the participation of things in forms, there is really no paradox in saying that the same "things" may "partake" at once of the form of likeness and of that of unlikeness, and so be at once like and unlike. But it would be a real and intolerable paradox (τέρας) to hold that |353| unlikeness can be predicated of the form of likeness or likeness of the form of unlike. So it is intelligible enough that a sensible thing, my body, for example, should be one body out of the six or seven human bodies present in this room and also have many members. But it would be quite another thing to hold that Unity is many or Plurality one (129a-130a). Parmenides and Zeno are both impressed by the ability of Socrates, and Parmenides at once asks him whether the theory is original. "Did you make this distinction between forms and things which partake of them αὐτός?" — "for yourself," "out of your own head" (130b)? Parmenides asks the question, as Proclus says, because it might be that Socrates had "heard of" some such distinction from some one else. The noticeable thing is that it is not the doctrine that there are "intelligible" forms which strikes Parmenides as novel; the original point which impresses him is that Socrates holds that the things we see and handle "participate in" the forms. None of the difficulties he intends to raise arises from the belief that there are forms; the difficulties all concern the relation of "participation" by which the sensible thing is connected with a form. It is the reality of the "phenomenal" world which he, as an Eleatic, finds a stumbling-block. The conclusion to which his criticism is meant to conduct us is the double one (a) that unless we admit the reality of the forms, there is an end of all philosophy; if we do admit it, the form cannot be "present in" sensible things, and these must therefore be simply unreal (135a-c).2 This is precisely the position of Euclides and his friends, who taught that "reality is one; the ’other’ is unreal" (Aristocles ap. Eusebius. Praeparatio Evangelica, xiv. 17; Ritter and Preller, Historia Philosophiae Graecae (9th edition), 1913, 289). Hence we shall expect to find that the arguments urged against Socrates by Parmenides are theirs also.

I may summarize these arguments the more briefly that they are admirably dealt with by Professor Burnet in Greek Philosophy, Part I, 253-264, and other writers on the philosophy of Plato. I have attempted a complete discussion of their weight and derivation elsewhere in "Parmenides, Zeno, and Socrates," Philosophical Studies, pp. 28-90, whither I may refer a reader desirous of further information.

Parmenides begins by raising the question what precisely is the content of the world of forms. Socrates professes himself certain that there are forms corresponding to the fundamental notions of ethics — Right (δίκαιον), Good (αγαθόν), Noble (καλόν); he is doubtful about forms of organisms and physical things (Man, Fire, Water); in the case of such things as mud, dirt, hair — i.e. |354| sensible things which do not appear to have a recognizable type of structure — he is inclined to think that there are no forms. In these cases there is no reality beyond "what we see." But he is not quite sure that consistency would not demand forms of these too, though he is afraid the admission might lead him into "abysmal nonsense" (130b-d). What he means by this "nonsense" we can see, as Burnet suggests, by the notices preserved to us of the arbitrary fashion in which the Pythagorean Eurytus attempted to assign "numbers" to man, horse, and other things. The main point is, that though Socrates is not certain about the contents of the system of forms, the forms of which he is most certain are those which correspond to our ethical ideals. (Since we can define these as the mathematician defines his "figures" they must have the same kind of reality as that the geometer ascribes to his figures.)

The theory then is that all the "particulars" of which a common predicate is affirmed owe their possession of that predicate to their "participation" in the corresponding form, and Parmenides sets himself to show that, however we understand this relation of "participation," we are led to consequences which are logically absurd. This is exactly the line of reasoning adopted by Zeno for the confutation of the Pythagorean mathematicians who assume that "reality is many." The argument may be analysed as follows:

(a) If a form is "in" each of a number of things, either the whole of it is "in" each of them, or only part of it is "in" each. In the first case the form itself being as a whole "in" each of several separate things is "outside" itself (i.e. it is, after all, many and not one, contrary to the Socratic thesis of its unity). In the second case, the form is divisible (μεριστόν), and thus becomes many by division just as, on the alternative view, it becomes many by multiplication; the whole form is thus "in" no one of the things called after it, and thus they are not really entitled to the "common name" (131a-e). Thus we have an apparent reductio ad absurdum of the "hypothesis" of "participation"; it permits of only two alternative interpretations and you are led, by a slightly different route, to the same denial of the hypothesis itself, whichever alternative you adopt. The hypothesis is thus "self-refuting." (The precise meaning of the reasoning by which the second of the alternatives is refuted in the special case of the form "magnitude" is obscure, but seems to be this. If you say that one thing is bigger than another in virtue of the presence in it of a "part" of the form of "magnitude," less than the whole of the form, you are maintaining in effect that there is such a relation as "not quite bigger than." Thus you are committed to holding that, e.g., if A and B are segments of a straight line, the relation between them may be that A is "not quite longer" than, or "nearly longer" than B, and this is manifestly nonsense. So, in the case of the form of "smallness," you are committed to the view that it would be significant to say that "A is nearly smaller than B, but not quite |355| smaller." But this is senseless. Either A is quite smaller than B or it is not smaller at all. If there is any departure from strict equality, either A is definitely greater than B or it is definitely less than B, a perfectly valid argument against the notion of strictly "infinitesimal" differences, which is exactly on a par with the argument of Zeno against the view of the point as a "vanishing" magnitude.) We note, of course, that the reasoning is not directed against the reality of forms, but against the assumption that a form can be "in" or "present to" something which is not a form.

(b) The reason and the only reason for Socrates’ doctrine is the assumption that when several things have a common predicate, it is assumed that there is a single determinate reality (the form) denoted by this predicate. But it ought to follow that, since the common predicate can be affirmed of the form itself, there must be a second form "present" alike to the first form and the things which "participate" in it, and similarly, by the same reason, a third, and so on in indefinitum. Thus there must be no one single form of, e.g., magnitude, but a simply infinite series of forms of magnitude; thus, once more, the Socratic theory is shown to be self-refuting, and again it is the asserted "presence" of forms to things which has created the difficulty (132a-b).

In strict logic this reasoning is not conclusive, since it turns on a confusion between a predication and the assertion of an identity. E.g. David and Jonathan are a pair of friends, Orestes and Pylades are another pair. Both pairs have something in common, the cardinal number 2, which is the number of the members of each. But the number 2 is not itself a pair; it is a number, and cannot be said to have a number. Since Plato’s object is merely to rehearse the objections of Eleatics to the Socratic doctrine in order to over-trump them by showing that their own methods can be turned with even more effect against their own theories, we need not suppose that he was unaware of this logical flaw, though he has no occasion to expose it. He had already made Socrates himself in the Republic (597c) remark in passing that if you once surrender the absolute unity of the form by admitting that there can be two forms of the same thing, you are committed to the "infinite regress." We may reasonably infer that this kind of reasoning was already current in Socrates’ own lifetime, not invented for the first time after his death by Eleatic critics of the positions ascribed to him in the Platonic dialogues. Hence I think it unlikely that this particular difficulty has anything to do with the difficulty urged, as Alexander of Aphrodisias tells us, by Polyxenus the Megarian against the doctrine of "participation." As I understand the statements of Alexander, the point of Polyxenus was that on the Platonic theory there ought to be not only visible men, like Socrates and Plato, and a form of man, but also a "third" man, intermediate between the two, exactly as, on the Platonic theory itself, there are certain "mathematical objects" intermediate between the form of |356| circularity and the visible diagram drawn on a black-board.3 I think also that when Aristotle talks of the "third man" as a difficulty to which the doctrine of forms leads us,4 he is always intending to refer to this last-mentioned argument and not, as is commonly supposed, to the "indefinite regress." I have tried to argue the point fully in the essay already referred to (Philosophical Studies, pp. 52-69; Zeno, and Socrates, pp. 255-270).

(c) At this point Socrates suggests a way of escape from the difficulty about the unity of the form. How if a form is really a "thought" (νόημα) and therefore is not "in" things at all, but "in our minds" (ἐν ψυχαις)? We could then maintain its unity without exposing ourselves to either of the lines of argument (a) and (b). Parmenides, however, has a reply based on the principle which is employed in his own poem as the foundation of his criticism of all his precursors. You cannot think without thinking of something — that is, of something real (to think of nothing would be equivalent to not thinking at all); this something is some one determinate thing which "that thought thinks, as being there in all the instances." In other words, what the thought thinks is always a form. (E.g., when you think of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, you think some definite predicate about them, such as, e.g., that they are all men, and thus we are back at our old position. You are thinking of man as a form "present" to the three.) What then, on this view that a form is a thought, can the "presence" of the form to the thing mean? Does it mean that a thing is a complex of thoughts and that everything thinks? Or would you admit that there are "thoughts which do not think"? (132b-c).

Once more, the difficulty is one not about the reality of the form but about the possibility of the "presence" of it to something |357| which is not a form. Socrates has just suggested that the form or universal may be just a "thought in our minds," a way of looking at things. The theory is, in fact, that historically known to us as Nominalism, though Conceptualism would be a better name for it. It treats a "significant universal" simply as a point of view from which the mind contrives to look at a plurality of things with a single glance. We find it convenient, as making for "economy of mental effort," to look at Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, all together as "instances of the universal man"; according to the theory, the employment of this common name "man" only expresses the fact that we have effected this economy and nothing more; what is common to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, is simply that we have succeeded in viewing them together and have therefore given them the common name. Parmenides’ objection is, in principle, that the name remains insignificant unless there really is a "common nature" which justifies the common name. But if the common "nature" is a "thought in our minds," then the things which are said to have this common nature must be just complexes of thoughts, and we shall have to say that everything whatever thinks, or, alternatively, since in any case a thing is assumed to be a complex of forms, and forms have been declared to be thoughts, that there are "thoughts which do not think" ἀνόητα νοήματα. The suggested Conceptualism, it should be noted, would be just as fatal to Aristotelianism as to Platonism. On the Aristotelian view, though there are no universals ante res, there are universals in rebus, and it is only because there are universals in rebus that there are also universals in the intellectus of the scientific thinker. As against the Conceptualism which, like that of Mach or Karl Pearson, denies that universals exist at all except in intellectu, where they are merely labour-saving devices, "conceptual shorthand," the rejoinder of Parmenides seems decisive. As to the source of this Conceptualism, it is not easy to say anything with confidence. The best suggestion known to me is that made ad loc. by Grote.5 who calls attention to a statement of Simplicius (commenting on Aristotle Categories, 8b 25) that the "school of Eretria" maintained that "qualities" are ψιλαὶ ἔννοιαι, "mere thoughts," "mere notions." Since Menedemus of Eretria and his followers were famous formal logicians and agreed with the Eleatics of Megara in objecting to negative predication (Diogenes Laertius ii. 135), it seems to me that Grote is probably on the right track, and that we are still dealing with a criticism on the theory of forms derived from Eleatic sources.

(d) Socrates next falls back on what Aristotle regarded as the Pythagorean formula for the relation between form and thing. The form is an archetype or model (ωαράδειγμα), the other things called by its name are likenesses (ὁμοιώμασατα) of it, so that the relation between sensible thing and form is that the "thing" is a |358| "copy" of the form. (This would, apparently, save the unity of the form by suggesting that there may be many "imitations" of one form just as there may be many copies of the same original.) Parmenides again argues that the theory refutes itself. For "resemblance" is a symmetrical relation. If A is like B, B is also like A. It follows that the form must be like the things which "resemble it." And, since the theory itself explains the likeness of one thing to another by the existence of a common archetype of both, we must account for the likeness of form to "thing" by postulating a more ultimate archetype of both, and so on in indefinitum (132d-133a).

As before, the difficulty really arises from a fallacy. As Proclus rightly says, the relation of copy to original is not simply one of likeness. (It is in fact a relation of resemblance + derivation, and this relation is not symmetrical. My reflection in the glass is a reflection of my face, but my face is not a reflection of it.) It should be specially remarked that the suggestion that the relation between form and "thing" is one of "likeness" is not offered as an alternative to the doctrine of "participation," but as a further specification of its precise meaning (132d 3, ἡ μέθεξις αὕτη … των εἰδων οὐκ ἄλλη τις ἢ εἰκασθηναι αὐτοις), and that Parmenides meets both formulae with precisely the same objection that they appear to involve the "indefinite regress."

(e) The gravest difficulty of all has yet to be faced. It is that the recognition of two "worlds," presupposed by Socrates, a world of forms and an "other" world of "things" which somehow "partake" of the forms, leads direct to complete scepticism (133a-135c). For the world of which each of us is a member is ex hypothesi not the world of forms, but the "other" world (since it had been observed at the outset that each of us is a man, none of us is the "form of man"). Consequently the relations between forms will belong exclusively to the world or system of related forms; corresponding relations of which "we" are terms will belong to "our world" and will have their correlates within "our world." There will be a relation between "master" as such and "servant" as such, and the terms of this will be the form of master and the form of servant. But each of us will be master or servant to another man, and the relation between this pair will fall outside the world of forms; it will connect one man with another man, not with a form. So the correlate of the form of knowledge will be Reality as such. But the correlate of our knowledge will be such reality as the objects of our world possess. And it is admitted that "our" knowledge is not the form of knowledge (that is, the knowledge we have is partial and imperfect). Its counterpart therefore is not the completely real. We are precluded from knowing what real good is, for the counterpart of a merely relative and partial knowledge must be a relative and partial reality. And we may invert the argument with even more startling results. God, at any rate, might be supposed to possess "absolute" or "perfect" |359| knowledge. But, by our previous reasoning, it follows that God knows nothing of our imperfectly real world. And in the same ray, we may deny the rule of God over us, on the ground that the correlate of human subject is human superior. In a word, the consequence of a theory of two distinct "worlds" or "orders" will be that every relation falls wholly within one of the two; here can be no relation connecting a member of the one world with member of the other. (In the mouth of an Eleatic, of course, his means that one of the two "worlds" is an illusion, and that one is the supposed "sensible world." Parmenides, who wrote the words, ταὐτὸ γὰρ ἔστι νοεῖν τε καὶ εἶναι, "it is the same thing which can be thought of and can be," has no intention of surrendering the "intelligible" world, and any interpretation of the Parmenides which assumes that its object is to discredit the reality of the intelligible is necessarily false).

Yet to deny the reality of forms is destructive of thought itself, since it amounts to a denial of the possibility of definite knowledge, if Socrates has been badly perplexed by the discussion which has just been closed, it is because, in his zeal, he has attempted to enunciate his doctrine about forms without a sufficient preparatory discipline in arid and apparently "useless "formal logic. The kind of discipline required may be exemplified by Zeno’s famous antinomies, but needs to go even beyond them. Zeno had attempted to prove the thesis that "reality is many" self-refuting any showing that it can be made to lead to pairs of contradictory conclusions. For a really searching investigation it is not enough to ask what follows from the assertion of a thesis, but also what follows from the denial of it. E.g. Zeno should have asked not merely, "If things are many, what can be asserted about the many things, and what about the unit, and about the relation of the two?" But also, "If things are not many, what follows about plurality, the unit, and their relations?" (It was not enough to argue that the consequences of Pluralism are self-contradictory; the same issue should have been raised about the consequences of denying Pluralism.) Complete investigation of any proposed philosophical principle demands this twofold consideration of the implications both of its assertion and of its denial (135b-136c).

In these remarks, which effect a transition to the second half of the dialogue, there are two interesting implications. If Parmenides ascribes the helplessness of the young Socrates in face of the difficulties just raised to want of training in formal logic, we may infer that the suggestion is that the apparently formidable arguments are themselves fallacious and would be seen to be so by a more practiced logician. That is, the fault of Plato’s Megarian critics is not that they are logicians, but that they are not logical enough. If we are only thorough enough with our logic, the alleged logical objections to the metaphysic of forms will vanish of themselves, It seems further to be meant that the particular fault of these logicians is one-sidedness. They scrutinize the consequences of the |360| Socratic and Platonic assertion of the "participation" of sensible things in forms, but they forget to consider whether the denial of the assertion may not involve worse antinomies than those they have detected in the Platonic dialogues. Plato is, in fact, suggesting that he knows how to play the game of formal logic according to the rules even better than the famous professionals themselves. Beyond these significant hints that what we need is not less but more logic, the dialogue provides no solution of the problem it has raised.

In the second part of the dialogue Parmenides consents to give an elaborate example of the kind of logical method he has been recommending, choosing as the respondent to his questions the youngest member of the party, Aristoteles, on the ground that his very youth will be a guarantee that his answers will be given without finesse of any kind. The thesis selected for examination is, naturally enough, Parmenides’ own principle that "reality is one." (136c-137c. It is significant that he speaks of the whole proceeding as an elaborate "game" (παιδιά), a plain hint that the antinomies now to follow are not to be taken quite seriously, and that we must not be surprised if there is a touch of conscious "sophistry" about some of them. In fact, it is incredible that Plato should not have known that some of them are pure fallacies. But, as his purpose is simply to show that the methods of his critics can be made to recoil on themselves, it is strictly fair that he should play their game by their own rules. Any kind of reasoning they permit themselves is equally permissible in a "skit" upon them.)

According to the programme already laid down by Parmenides, we should expect to find him raising four problems: (1) if the real is one, what can be asserted about this one real? (2) if the real is one, what can be said about "the many"? (3) if the real is not one, what can be said about the one? (4) if the real is not one, what can be said about the many? But by a further refinement, each of these questions is raised twice over, the purpose being to show that on either assumption (that the real is one or that it is not one) you can make it appear at pleasure either that contradictory predicates can be both affirmed or both denied alike of the one and of the many. Thus we get altogether eight arguments forming four "antinomies" — two in which the subject of both thesis and antithesis is the one, and two in which it is the many. The issue is that the apparent dilemma to which Socrates had been reduced at the end of the first part of the dialogue, that knowledge of the real is equally impossible with or without his theory about forms and "participation" is more than matched by the dilemma offered to the Eleatics, and maliciously offered through the mouth of their own founder Parmenides professing to be applying their own peculiar method, that, whether you accept or reject their Monism, you must either simultaneously assert or simultaneously deny both members of an indefinite series of contradictory pairs of propositions.

|361| The formal arrangement of the eight "hypotheses" is this:

A{ I. If the real is one, nothing whatever can be asserted of it
A{ II. If the real is one, everything can be asserted of it

B{ III. If the real is one, everything can be asserted of
  "things other than the one" (157b-159b).
B{ IV. If the real is one, nothing can be asserted of
  "things other than the one" (159b-160b).

C{ V. If the one is unreal, everything can be asserted of it
C{ VI. If the one is unreal, nothing at all can be asserted of it

D{ VII. If the one is unreal, everything can be asserted about
  "things other than the one" (164b-165e)
D{ VIII. If the one is unreal, nothing can be asserted about anything

It would be taking Plato’s metaphysical jest too gravely to make a minute examination of all the details of these bewildering arguments. It will be sufficient to point out the peculiar character of the dialectical method employed and to summarize the results. The peculiarities of the method are dictated by the consideration that it is avowedly a parody of that of Zeno. Now Zeno’s special trick of fence, a perfectly legitimate one, was to turn one-half of the assumed "postulates" of his opponents against the other half. This is the secret, for example, of the famous "paradoxes" about motion. The double assumption of the geometers whom Zeno is criticising is that (a) any finite segment of a straight line can be bisected, (b) such a segment is a path between two end-points which are finite minima of magnitude. The geometers cannot give up (a) without ruining their whole scientific edifice; they cannot give up (b) without destroying the parallelism between geometry and arithmetic which is part of their system. Zeno turns (a) against (b). From (a) it follows at once that there must be an endless series of points intermediate between any two given "end-points" and this is fatal to the view that the point has a finite magnitude. His reasoning silences his opponents because they are not prepared to surrender (a) by admitting the existence of "indivisible lines" nor yet to give up (b) by regarding the point as a geometrical zero. In exactly the same way, the "hypothesis" of the Eleatics — "if It is one" or "if there is One" — as they understand it, really covers two assumptions — (a) unity is real, (b) reality is unity; Plato’s trick is to play off one of these assumptions against the other. This will come out more clearly if we compare the main positions of the antithetical members of each "antinomy."

A. I. "It is one;" therefore, "it" is not many, and therefore is not a whole and has no parts. Ergo it has neither beginning, middle, nor last part. Ergo it is unbounded (ἄωειρον) and has no figure (σχημα). "It" has no place, since it cannot be "in" anything. Ergo "it" cannot change its place, nor can it change its quality without ceasing to be one. Thus "it" cannot move. Nor yet can it be "at rest" since we have seen that it cannot be "in" any place at all, and therefore not "in the same place where it was." It cannot be identical with or other than anything. For it cannot be identical with anything but itself, nor yet different from itself. Nor can it be different from something "other" than itself. If it were, it would be different from the other in virtue of some point of difference; thus it would have two characters at once: it would be one and also "different" from something in some specific way. That is, it would "be" two things at once, whereas, by hypothesis, it is one and only one. So again, it cannot be identical with itself. For "to be one" and "to be identical with" are not the same. Once more, if "it" were "identical with itself" it would have two characters, unity and identity, and so would be two and not one. For similar reasons, "it" can neither be like nor unlike itself or anything else. Again, it can be neither equal nor unequal to itself or to anything else. For terms are equal when they are of "the same measures" (τῶν αὐτῶν μέτρων, 140b). And "it," as we have seen, cannot be "the same with anything in any respect and yet remain one. Nor can it be unequal to anything. That would mean that it has "more" or "fewer" measures than something, and therefore that it has parts.

So it can have no temporal predicates. It cannot be contemporary with, nor more nor less ancient than itself or anything else (the reasoning being exactly like that just used about equality and inequality). It cannot, then, be in time at all. For we may say of whatever occupies time, but of nothing else, that (a) it is at any moment "becoming older" than itself and also "becoming younger" than itself; and (b) that its existence fills just the duration it does, and neither more nor less, and so it is "simultaneous with," "of the same age as" itself. Since neither statement can be made about the one, it cannot be "in time." Therefore, we must not say of it, "it was," "it became," "it will be," "it will come to be," since all these expressions involve reference to past or future, that is, to time. But the very word "is" or "comes to be" also involves a reference to time, to present time. And therefore we may not say of "it" that "it is" or "it becomes," since "it" is not in time at all. But if we cannot say "is" of the one, we cannot ascribe being to it. It must be nonexistent. And if it is nonexistent, it cannot even be one, for to be one, it would have to be. But what is nothing at all can neither be named, spoken of, thought of, known, nor perceived by the senses. Thus we actually deduce from the proposition "it is one" the conclusion that nothing whatsoever can be thought or said about "it."

It has been asked what the "it" presupposed as the subject |368| of the thesis "it is one" is. The answer, as the character of the reasoning shows, is "anything whatever which is conceived to be a mere undifferentiated unity admitting no plurality whatsoever." The argument is that all affirmation implies plurality of some kind, possibility of distinguishing. If there is anything which is such a mere undifferentiated unity that there are no distinctions within it, you cannot even affirm of it that it is one. It is the "hypothesis of the Eleatics that their "One," which is the only thing there is, is just such a bare unit, and this hypothesis is self-refuting. We note then, that in I, in the hypothesis "if there is one," the emphasis falls on the unity of reality, not on the reality of unity. The assumption is that "what is is one," not that "something which is one is." The work of turning that part of the Eleatic "hypothesis" against the other is undertaken in II.

II. If the one is (ἕν εἰ ἔστιν), it "partakes of" being. It has two distinct characters; it is, and it is one. Thus it has "parts" (or, as we should say, distinct "aspects"). Unity and existence are parts, or constituents of "the existing one," which is therefore a whole. And each of these "parts," on inspection, is found to have itself the same two "parts." Each is a constituent of the "existing one" and each is one such constituent. The "existing one" is thus an infinite manifold (ἄπειρον πλῆθος). Again, unity is different from existence, and difference is itself something different from both existence and unity. Here then are several terms — unity, existence, difference — which can be grouped into pairs. Each pair has a number — the number 2. We have thus established the existence of the numbers 1 and 2, and the addition of 1 and 2 establishes the existence of 3. We can then go on, by addition and multiplication, to establish the existence of the whole integer-series as a direct consequence of the existence of "the one." Being thus has an infinite plurality of parts, and each of these parts is one part; there are as many units as there are "parts" of being. Thus not only "being" but "unity" itself turns out to be infinitely many.

Since parts are parts of a whole, they are contained by the whole and thus have a bound (πέρας). The "existing one," then, is not only indefinitely many or boundless, but is also bounded, and therefore has first, last, and intermediate parts — beginning, middle, and end. Thus it has a shape or form (σχῆμα) of some kind. It is "in" itself, for all the parts are in the whole, and "the one" is at once "all the parts" and "the whole." But equally the whole is not in the parts, either singly or taken together. To be in them all, it would have to be in each singly, and that is impossible. But it must be somewhere, if it is anything, and, as it cannot be "in itself," it must be "in" something else. Thus, considered as "all the parts," it is in itself; considered as "the whole," it is in something not itself. Since it is "in itself" and so in one place (ἐν ἑνί) it is at rest; but since it is "always in something else," it cannot be at rest, and so is moving. The one is neither a part of |364| itself nor related to itself as whole to part, nor different from itself; hence it is identical with itself. But, as we said, it is also outside itself, and therefore different from itself. Of course, also it is different from the things which are other than itself. But it is also identical with these other things. For there can be no difference in what is "the same." Hence "difference" can never be "in" anything, for, if it were so for the smallest fraction of a moment, it would be, for that time, "in the same thing." Hence the things which are not the one are not different from the one. Nor do they "partake" of it; for then they would not be "not one" but, "in a sense, one." So they are not a whole of which the one is a part. And they are not parts of the one. The only possibility left is that they are identical with the one.

The one is different from other things, and they are neither more nor less different from it, but to a "like" degree. Thus the one and other things are alike because different. But if difference implies likeness, identity will imply unlikeness, and the one and other things have just been shown to be identical. Therefore, because identical, they are unlike. And yet again, in so far as two terms have the same predicate they are alike, and in so far as they have different predicates they are unlike. So the one and other things will be alike because identical, and unlike because different. And since the one has been shown to be both identical with and different from itself, it must be both like and unlike itself.

Since the one is both "in" itself and "in" other things, it will have contact with itself and with them. But things which are in contact must occupy adjoining regions (ἐϕεξῆς κεῖσθαι), and that which is one cannot occupy two adjoining regions. Hence the one is not in contact with itself. But once more, nothing has contact with itself, and if there are to be n contacts, there must be n + 1 things in contact. Now the "things other than the one" cannot have any number, since what has a number "partakes of unity." There can therefore be no contact between the one and other things, since contact implies number.

Again, the one is at once equal to and unequal to itself and to "other things." (a) If a is > b, this means that the form of μέγεθο, greatness is in a relatively to b, and the form of σμικρότης, smallness in b relatively to a; if a is to be absolutely small or large, this means that the form smallness or greatness is "in" a. But neither greatness nor smallness can be "in" the one as a whole or in any part of it. For if smallness is in the one as a whole it is equal with the one, and if it "envelops" it it is greater than the one; in either case the form smallness would be "doing the function" of the different form ἰσότης, equal or greatness. And the same reasoning applies if we suppose smallness to be in any one part of the one. We may argue in the same way, mutatis mutandis, about greatness. Thus smallness and greatness cannot be "in" anything whatever, and it follows that nothing, except the form of greatness, can be "greater than" anything, and nothing except the form of smallness "less than" anything. |365| Hence neither the one nor what is other than the one can be greater or smaller than the other, and therefore they must be equal. For the same reason, the one can be neither greater nor smaller than itself, and is therefore equal to itself, (b) Since the one is "in" itself, it contains and is contained by itself, and thus must be, as container greater, as contained less than, itself. Further, there is nothing outside the one and things other than the one. And whatever is must be somewhere, and consequently the one and "the others" must be in each other reciprocally, and therefore each of these terms is at once greater and less than the other. And therefore also the one will be metrically of "equal," "more numerous," "fewer" measures, and so numerically equal with, higher and lower than, itself and "the others."

Once more, "if there is one," the one is. And is expresses present participation of being. Hence the one is "in time." And time "goes on" (πορεύεται). Hence the one is always getting older than itself as time goes on, and therefore, since "older" always has "younger" as its correlate, it is always getting younger than itself also. And at any moment in this process, it is both older and younger than itself. And yet it fills the same duration as itself, neither more nor less, and so neither is nor grows older nor younger than itself. Again, before there can be several things, there must be one to start with. Hence the "one" must have come to be before "the others"; it must be more ancient than "the other things." Yet we proved that the one has "parts," beginning, middle, end. Its beginning must have come to be before itself; the one itself will not be there until its end also comes to be. Thus the one is the last thing to come to be; everything else is more ancient than the one. But, after all, each "part" of the one is one part, and thus whenever anything comes to be, the one comes to be, and the one thus comes to be contemporaneously with everything else. Next, if one thing is older or younger than another, the interval in age between the two never grows greater or less. So we may say that the one is more ancient or more recent than other things, but never grows more ancient or more recent. And yet, though the one has been "in being" (γέγονε) longer than "the others," the difference between their respective ages is steadily being relatively diminished as time goes on, and we may therefore say that, in so far as the one is more ancient than "the others," it steadily becomes less ancient relatively to them, and they more ancient relatively to it. But, in so far as it is less ancient than "the others," it is steadily growing, relatively to them, older, and they, relatively to it, younger. And finally, in so far as a time-interval remains the interval it is, the one is neither becoming more nor becoming less ancient than anything else.

In conclusion, the one, "partaking of time," has past, present, future. It was, is, will be, was becoming, is becoming, will become. It stands, has stood, will stand, in various relations. There can be knowledge of it, belief about it, perception of it, and therefore it |366| can be named, described, and, generally, everything which was denied in I. must be affirmed.

Appendix (155e-157b). — The one, then, both is and is not, and its being is "in time." It is during some intervals, during others it is not, since it cannot be said to be and not to be at once. It must pass through transitions from being to not-being and from not-being to being. It undergoes aggregation and disgregation, assimilation and dissimilation, augmentation and diminution. It begins to move and ceases to move. So these reversals of the sense of a process must also be "in time." And yet they cannot be "in time"; the reversal must be strictly instantaneous, occupying no time, however paradoxical we may find the conception of an instant (τὸ εξαίφνης) which is strictly without duration. At the instant of the reversal of sense, both members of a pair of antithetic processes must be denied of the one. At such an instant, it is not "coming to be" nor yet "passing away," neither being aggregated nor being disgregated, neither being assimilated nor dissimilated. As with states, so with processes; both members of an antithesis must be asserted of the one and both must be denied.

Perhaps the most striking feature of this argument to our own minds is this introduction at its close of the notion of an unextended "instant" Plato is plainly stating exactly the paradoxes which beset the founders of the Calculus when they took the notion of the "infinitesimal" seriously and mistakenly supposed that the Calculus really deals either with infinitesimal increments or with ratios between infinitesimals. But the subtlety of some parts of the long development must not blind us to the fact that most of the reasoning throughout II is purely sophistical and much of it clearly consciously sophistical, and that the fallacies committed are mostly of a very obvious kind, such as equivocation between "each" and "all collectively." Plato can and does, in this very dialogue, when it suits his purpose, expose the very confusions in question and therefore must not be supposed to be serious when he commits them. It is enough for his purpose to perplex the "eristics" (debaters) by availing himself of fallacies of the kind which they habitually commit in their own argumentation. His parody of their elenchus is also an exposure of it. The one important point to keep in mind is that the conclusions to which he is led by his application of the Eleatic methods to the Eleatic "hypothesis" are not meant to be asserted as his own. They are simply what happens to the "hypothesis" if you make the Eleatic criticise himself by his own methods. If we wish to know what Plato himself thought of the Eleatic thesis, we must turn from the Parmenides to the Sophistes, where he is really criticising it by the rules of a logic which is his own. For the present it is enough to remark that, just as in I, the emphasis was laid on the unity of "what is," with the consequence that being itself has to be denied of it, so in II the emphasis is laid on its reality, with the consequence that the unity of the one has to be simultaneously affirmed and denied. So far, and no further, the |367| paradoxes of the Parmenides prelude to the positive results of the Sophistes.

III. If the one is, what of "other things"? Since they are "other" things, they are not the one; yet they must "partake of" it. For they must have parts (if they had not, they would be just "the one"), and therefore parts of one complete whole. And each of these parts must again be itself one definite part of the one whole. The "other things" are therefore a manifold or aggregate (πλείω). They must be a numerically infinite manifold, since each "part" participates in unity and therefore is not itself, in its own nature, one. And yet, in the act of participating in unity, each part is "bounded" or "limited" or "determinate" relatively to the whole and to any other part; "something arises in it" which constitutes a bound (πέρας). The "other things" are thus at once infinitely numerous and also bounded. In so far as all are "unlimited," each is like every other, and again each is like every other in exhibiting "limit." But in so far as each is at once unlimited and limited, each is unlike itself and the rest, and by similar reasoning we may show that all the antithetical pairs of predicates canvassed in I and II may be both affirmed and denied of the "other" things.

IV. But let us consider the same question once more. "The one" and "the others" form a complete disjunction. Neither is the other, and there is no tertium quid. They are thus completely "separated" (χωρίς). And what is strictly one can have no "parts." From these two premisses it follows that neither the one as a whole, nor a "part" of it, can be in "the others." They cannot participate in it in any sense. There is no unity in them, and therefore they are not even a manifold (πολλά), and have no number. They are, after all, not "both like and unlike" one another; if they were, each of them would have in it two opposed forms, and would thus "partake of two," whereas we have just seen that none of them can even "partake of one," and therefore we must also deny that either member of the alternative "like-unlike" can be asserted of "the others." The same kind of reasoning will show that no predicates at all can be asserted of them.

III and IV thus answer in inverted order to I and II In III, as in II, the emphasis falls on the reality of the Eleatic ὂν ἕν, in IV. as in L, on its unity. III proves for τὰ ἄλλα (the others) what II had proved for τὸ ἕν undertakes to prove of them what I had established for τὸ ἕν. The total result of I-IV is summed up for us at 160b 2: "If the one is, the one is everything and is nothing at all, relatively alike to itself and to ’the others.’"

V. We come to the second half of the complete dialectical investigation proposed at 136a-b. If the one is not, what follows? When a man says "if the one is not," or "if magnitude is not," or generally "if x is not," he is making an intelligible supposition. Whether we say that "the one" is or that it is not, we mean the |368| same thing by "one" in both cases, and we mean something definite. So we may put our question in the form, "If the one is not, what must be true of it?" (τί χρὴ εἰναι). It must be knowable, or the statement "there is no one," "the one does not exist," would have no sense. "The others" must be different from it, and it from them. Thus we must be able to call the one "that" or "this" and to ascribe relations to it. We must not say that it is, but we are bound to say that it "partakes of" many things (has many predicates). It is unlike anything else, but like itself. It is not equal to τὰ ἄλλα, for then it would be like them; hence it is unequal to them, and therefore has magnitude, is greater and less. But whatever is greater than x and less than y is equal to something. Thus the one must, after all, be equal to something. It must also have being of some kind (μετέχειν πη οὐσίας), because we can ascribe true predicates to it, just as "what is" must partake of not-being, since it "is not" whatever can be truly denied of it, so "what is not" must in a sense be, since "it is" whatever can be significantly predicated of it. And since the "nonexistent one" thus both is and is not, it must pass from one of these conditions to the other and so change. It must exhibit motion. But again, it is nowhere, and thus cannot change its place, nor rotate, nor suffer change in quality (for if it did, it could no longer be "the one"). Thus it has no motion, and so is at rest. But it is also moving and therefore does change in quality, for whatever has moved "is no longer as it was but otherwise." The one, then, alters and does not alter, and so at once "comes to be" and "passes away" and does neither. Everything can be affirmed of it and everything denied. (Thus V corresponds to II; all that had been proved of the one in II on the assumption that the one is, is proved of it in V on the assumption that it is not.)

VI. And yet again, "if the one is not," that means that being is wholly denied of it. The denial is absolute and must be understood without qualification. If the one is not, it cannot come to be, nor pass out of being, since it can neither get nor lose what is, ex hypothesi, wholly foreign to it. Neither can it alter in any way, for the same reason, and therefore it cannot move. Nor can it be at rest, for to be at rest is to be "in the same place" at successive times. It can have no predicates or relations, for if it had any, it would be whatever you truly assert of it. Hence it cannot be known, thought of, perceived, spoken of, or named. (Thus what was proved about the one in I. on the assumption that it exists, is now proved on the assumption that it does not exist. In either case nothing can be affirmed or denied of it.)

VII. "If the one is not" what must be said of "the others"? — They must be "other than" and therefore different (ἕτερα) from something or we could not call them "the others." As there is no "one" from which they could differ, they must be different from one another. They must also be different infinite assemblages (ὄγκοι), not different units, since, ex hypothesi, there is no unit. |369| Each of them must be an infinite assemblage, different from the rest of these assemblages, which falsely seems on a distant view to be one single thing. Since each such assemblage seems to be one thing, there will seem to be a definite number of them, and there will seem to be a least among them, though this again will seem to be many and numerous by comparison with its own components. Each assemblage will be bounded by others (will have a πέρας), but will have in itself neither first term, middle, nor last term (i.e. each assemblage will be an infinite series without end-terms, and every component of it will be another assemblage of the same type). Thus each will seem to be both bounded and unbounded, to be like or unlike any other, according as we take a distant or a near view of it. (In general, all that III had said of τὰ ἄλλα will appear to be true of them.)

VIII. And yet, to go over the ground for a last time, "if there is no one," τὰ ἄλλα obviously cannot be one. And they cannot be many, for then each of the many would be one. They must be zeros, and no multitude can be constructed out of zeros. And they do not even seem to be one or to be many. By hypothesis, "the unit" is just nothing at all, and hence nothing can even seem to be a unit; a fortiori nothing can seem to be many, a collection of units. By carrying the thought out it would follow that τὰ ἄλλα have none of the positive or negative determinations we have ascribed to them, and do not even seem to have any. Nothing can be thought or said of them, (a conclusion which answers to that drawn in IV). Thus we may summarize the result of our whole series of antinomies by saying that "whether the one is or is not, it and ’the others’ alike, are and seem to be, and also are not and do not seem to be, all sorts of things (πάντα), relatively both to themselves and to one another" (166c 2).

In the four discussions which take for their point of departure the non-existence of the "one" or "unit," even more obviously than in those which have preceded, the ultimate source of our perplexities is the ambiguity of the word "is." We get contradictory results according as "is" is taken to be the symbol of predication (Peano’s ε), or that of existence (Peano’s ∃,7 there exists). Many of the inferences turn simply on this confusion of a predication with what we now call an "existential proposition." It is legitimate parody to employ this fallacy, because, as we can see from the remains of the poem of Parmenides, the whole point of Eleaticism lies in ignoring the distinction. To make it clear, and to show that Eleaticism had ignored it, is, in fact, the main purpose of Plato’s Sophistes. So long as he is merely undertaking to show that the Eleatic logic would be even more damaging to the Eleatic "postulate" than to the Socratic postulate of μέθεξις, he is fully entitled |370| to avail himself of the double-edged tools of his opponents. It does not follow that Plato himself was not alive to the ambiguity when he wrote the Parmenides and only discovered it in the interval between the composition of that dialogue and of the Sophistes. The presumption from the skillful way in which he makes or ignores the distinction in the Parmenides just as it suits his immediate purpose is that his own logical doctrine is already complete in his own mind; the parody of Megarian dialectic probably serves a double purpose. It provides a highly enjoyable philosophical jest, and also provokes the thoughtful mind, by the manifest impossibility of the conclusions reached, to reflections which may prompt the reader to discover the sources of the trouble for himself, without waiting to have them explained to him by Plato. More than any other dialogue the Parmenides has the appearance of being written for a rather circumscribed group of readers; it was presumably meant to amuse the literary circles but to fructify in the students of the Academy.

See further:
Burnet. Greek Philosophy, Part I., 253-272.
Ritter, C. Platon, ii. 63-96; Platons Dialogs, 1-24. Stuttgart, 1903.
Raeder, H. Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 297-317.
Natorp, P. Platons Ideenlehre, 215-217.
Apelt, O. Beiträge zur Geschichte der griechischen Philosophie,
  3-66. Leipzig, 1891.
Stewart, J. A. Plato’s Doctrine of Ideas, 68-84.
Stallbaum, G. Platonis Parmenides. Leipzig, 1848.
Waddell, W. The "Parmenides" of Plato. Glasgow, 1894.
Wahl, J. Etude sur le Parmenide de Platon. Paris 1926.
Dies, A. Platon, Parmenide, vi-xix, 1-53. Paris, 1923.
Robin, L. Platon, 119-140.
Hardie, W. F. R. A Study in Plato. Oxford, 1936.
Taylor, A. E. "Parmenides, Zeno and Socrates," Philosophical
London, 1934, pp. 28-90.
Taylor, A. E. Plato’s Parmenides. Oxford, 1934.
Lee, H. P. D. Zeno of Elea. Cambridge, 1936.
Tannery, P. Pour I’Histoire de la Science Hellene, ed. 2,
  by A. Dies, Paris, 1930, c. x. Zenon d’Elee.

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1^ Cf. Aristotle. Metaphysics 1005b 25, where it is mentioned that "some persons" suppose Heraclitus to deny the principle of contradiction, "but it does not follow necessarily that a man means what he says." Ibid. 1007b 22, the "argument of Protagoras" would lead to the denial of the principle, as is argued at length at 1009a 6 ff. Heraclitus and Protagoras are the only eminent men named in the course of the argument, and of them Aristotle only says that by pressing, in one case, the thinker’s mere words and, in the other, the consequence of his thesis, you could reach this result. He means that neither really intended to reject this "most certain of all principles." If he supposed the antinomies of the Parmenides to be meant seriously, he would have been bound to refer to the point in this context.

2^ This is, in fact, the position of the historical Parmenides himself. His "one" is, no doubt, corporeal; it is a solid homogeneous sphere. But our eyes and ears do not show us anything of the kind. Hence the apparent "things" which they disclose to us must be pure illusion. Though the "one" is corporeal, we only apprehend it by thinking. Its sole reality is deduced by Parmenides from what he regards as the postulates of coherent thought.

3^ Thus we can distinguish (1) the circle of which we give the equation in analytical geometry, (2) the terrestrial equator, (3) the black line on a terrestrial globe which stands for the equator. (1) is the form, (2) is an invisible perfect "instance" of the form, (3) a visible and imperfect embodiment of the form. On Polyxenus see Early Greek Philosophy, Part I, pp. 254, 259-260. It has been suggested that the difficulties urged by Parmenides were originally raised against Plato himself by his pupil Aristotle, and that it is in acknowledgment of this that the Aristotle who was afterward one of the "Thirty" figures as a character in the dialogue and is made the respondent throughout the second part. The fancy must be rejected for the following reasons: (1) Aristotle only entered the Academy in the year 367, the very year of Plato’s departure for Syracuse, as a mere lad. It may even be doubted whether he can have held any personal intercourse with Plato until after the end of Plato’s first visit to Dionysius II; (2) the one real point of contact between the Aristotelian criticism of Plato and the Parmenides is the supposed identity of the τρίτος ἄνθρωωος with the argument from the "regress." If the two are not identical, this point of contact disappears. Even if they are, the very fact that Aristotle refers to the argument by such a nickname indicates that it was something already familiar. (3) As has been finally established by Jaeger in his Aristoteles, Aristotle’s divergence from the Academy on the doctrine of forms was first indicated in the work περὶ φιλοσοφίας shortly after Plato’s death. His earlier works, so far as we know them (Eudemus, Protrepticus), are wholly Platonic in spirit.

4^ Metaphysics 990b 15 ff. = 1079a 11 ff., 1039a 2 ff., 1059b 8 ff.; S.E. 178b 36.

5^ Grote, Plato and the other Companions of Socrates (ed. 1885), vol. iii. 74 ii. 2

6^ The main argument ends at 155e 3. What follows down to 157b 5 is an appended special development which would, in a modern writing, be relegated to a note.

7^ There is, of course, a further confusion of both with the symbol of identity (=). The proposition A is an a is treated on occasion as implying both A exists and A is identical with a. Not to mention the further refinement that existence also appears to be itself a vox equivoca.

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XV. Sophistes — Politicus

The dialogues which we have still to consider all reveal themselves, by steady approximation to the style characteristic of the Laws, as belonging to the latest period of Plato’s activity as a writer. In particular they all agree linguistically in the adoption of a number of the stylistic graces of Isocrates, particularly the artificial avoidance of hiatus, a thing quite new in the prose of Plato. They also agree, as regards their form, in two important respects. All of them are formal expositions of doctrine by a leading character speaking with authority; the part of the other speakers is merely to assent, and there is no longer any thoroughly dramatic eliciting of truth from the clash of mind with mind; in every case, except that of the Philebus where there is a good reason for the exception, Socrates is allowed to fall into the background, and in the Laws he is absent. To account for so marked a change in manner even from the Theaetetus and Parmenides, it seems necessary to suppose a reasonably long interval of interruption in Plato’s literary activity, and if, as we have seen reason to think, the Theaetetus was composed just before Plato’s visit to Syracuse in the year 367, we can account for the interruption by the known facts of his life. From 367 down to at least 361-360, the year of Plato’s second and longer sojourn with Dionysius II and his final resolution to take no further direct part in the affairs of Syracuse, he must have been too fully occupied in other ways to have much time for composition. We must probably, therefore, think of this whole group of latest dialogues as written in the thirteen last years of Plato’s life, 360-348/7. Since the Sophistes and Politicus attach themselves outwardly to the Theaetetus, and the former, in fact, contains the critical examination of Eleatic principles which that dialogue had half promised, it is reasonable to hold, as most recent critics do, that the Sophistes opens the series. The curious state of the text of the Laws — it is not permissible to account for it by the arbitrary assumption that our MSS are less trustworthy for the Laws than for other works — seems to show that the work had never received the author’s final revision. Thus Plato’s activity as a writer has no assignable terminus ad quem earlier than his death. Beyond this, we have no special evidence by which to date the composition of the individual dialogues. The main thing which is clear about the whole group is that Plato felt that the |372| logical, cosmological, and juristic matter with which they deal could not be handled by Socrates without a gross violation of historical truth; hence the selection of other characters to play the principal part, except in the Philebus, which deals with the same ethical problems we have already met in the Gorgias and Republic as the "speciality" of Socrates.1

In a biography of Plato it would be necessary to dwell at some length on the precise character of his experiences at Syracuse, as illustrated by his extant correspondence with Dionysius and Dion. I must be content to refer the reader for all details to the excellent accounts of Grote2 and E. Meyer,3 and the shorter narrative of Professor Burnet.4 The chief points which have to be borne in mind are these. Plato’s interposition in Syracusan affairs had from the first a very practical object. The immediate political necessity was to secure the future of Greek civilization in Sicily and the West against the double peril that the work of Dionysius I might be undone by the aggressions of Carthage, or that, under a successor unequal to the position, the Oscans or Samnites whom that vigorous ruler had employed might usurp the sovereignty of Syracuse for themselves. The project of Dion and Plato was clearly that Dionysius II should first be educated into statesmanship himself, and should then use his position to convert the real though informal "tyranny" at Syracuse into a constitutional monarchy embracing the cities which Dionysius I had subdued, and strong enough to hold both the Carthaginians and the Italians at bay. The hope of making a scientific statesman out of Dionysius II appears not to have survived Plato’s experiences of 367/6, and, indeed, had always, according to Epistle vii., been a very remote hope; the more modest anticipation that the personal feud between Dionysius and Dion might be accommodated and that constitutional monarchy might at least get its chance, though an imperfect chance, took Plato back once more to Syracuse in 361. It even outlasted his final disillusionment about Dionysius, as we see from the fact that most of the correspondence with that monarch belongs to the time after Plato’s last departure from Syracuse. For the years between 367/6 and 361/360 we have only one contemporary document (Epistle xiii.). The suspicions which have been felt about the letter have been based entirely on its contents; linguistically it is above suspicion. One or two of the objections commonly raised are curiously captious. It is said, absurdly enough, that the reference to Plato’s mother as still living, and to the existence of four |373| great-nieces whom he, as their most well-to-do kinsman, may be legally required to portion, are ludicrous. Yet it is a fact that old ladies do sometimes live to be centenarians, especially when they belong to families of marked longevity, and that elderly men sometimes have a number of young nieces. Plato has even been thought incapable of estimating the expense of his mother’s anticipated death and funeral at ten minae, on the ground that in the Laws he limits such expenses to one mina; as though Plato and his mother were living in the Cretan colony for which the Laws professes to legislate.

Read without misconceptions of this kind, the document is a natural one enough, and highly creditable to the writer. Apart from references to certain small commissions undertaken by Plato at the request of Dionysius, and from an introduction to him of Helicon, who had studied under Eudoxus and Polyxenus as well as in the school of Isocrates, as a man who could be serviceable to him in his studies,5 the writer is chiefly concerned with a friendly settling of accounts, such as was inevitable in the situation. Plato must have been put to considerable expense and inconvenience in removing himself for months to Syracuse; he is anxious to be as little beholden to Dionysius in return as possible, but thinks it reasonable that he should receive what assistance he may need in meeting the impending expense of burying his mother and portioning the eldest of his grand-nieces, who is on the point of marrying her uncle Speusippus.6 Dionysius had also undertaken to defray the expenses of his voyage to Syracuse.

Apart from this settlement of accounts between the parties, the letter deals with two other matters. Dionysius had employed Plato’s offices in attempting to obtain a credit on the Aeginetan banker Andromedes, who declined to make any advance, on the ground that he had found it difficult to recover advances made to Dionysius I. Application in another quarter was more successful, and Plato takes the opportunity to administer a courteous homily to the young king on the importance of prompt discharge of money obligations and attention to one’s accounts. The details of the transaction in question are only hinted at, but it can hardly have been concerned simply with the personal settlement between Dionysius and Plato. More probably Dionysius wanted a credit for his own purposes, and found it difficult to obtain one from bankers who had known his father as an unsatisfactory customer. This would explain the emphasis laid in the letter on the necessity to a monarch of a good financial reputation.

|374| There is also a cryptic reference to the relations between Dionysius and Dion, who was at the moment living in a sort of real, but not technical, banishment at Athens. The writer says that he has not actually approached Dion about a certain matter, but his judgment is that he would take the business very ill, if it were proposed; in general, Dion’s attitude to Dionysius is reasonably amicable. Probably the matter, about which Dionysius had clearly asked for a confidential opinion, may be his own desire that Dion should dissolve his marriage with Arete, aunt of Dionysius. This would be a way of showing that he had no sinister designs on the "tyranny" of Syracuse, and, in fact, when Dionysius became more suspicious, the marriage was forcibly dissolved without Dion’s consent. We may fairly take it that Dionysius would have preferred a "parting by mutual consent" and had asked Plato’s opinion on the matter. If so, Plato’s reply amounts to a tactful disapproval of the project. There is nothing discreditable to him either in his being consulted or in the response that the suggestion of such an arrangement would gravely embitter Dion’s feelings.7

Sophistes — Politicus.

Though the main interest of the Sophistes is logical, that of the Politicus political, outwardly the two form a single whole, and both are externally linked more loosely with the Theaetetus. The assumption is that we are still in the spring of the year 399. The personages of the Theaetdus have reassembled, as had been suggested in the last words of that dialogue (210d 3), but Theodorus has brought a friend with him, an Eleatic pupil of Parmenides and Zeno, who is — the words imply that one would not have expected it — a really profound "philosopher." After a brief initial conversation this Eleatic visitor takes the conduct of the conversation into his own hands; Socrates and Theodorus relapse into what is all but unbroken silence. The Eleatic remains throughout anonymous, and in this respect stands alone among the characters in Plato, but for the other example of the Athenian who plays the leading part in the Laws. We could hardly be told more plainly that these two personages are purely fictitious; the object of the fiction seems to be that, as they have no historical character to sustain, they may be used freely as simple mouthpieces for the views of their creator. No one doubts that this is the case with the Athenian of the Laws. We are not entitled to say that he is meant precisely as a portrait of Plato by himself, but he is certainly meant to represent the ethics and politics of the Academy. Our Eleatic, too, turns out to be a respectful but exceedingly outspoken critic of the main thesis of his nominal teacher, Parmenides. The suggestion plainly |375| is that, in spite of all divergences, it is Plato, and not the professed Eleatics of Megara, who is the true spiritual heir of Parmenides. One of the objects of the Sophistes in particular is to justify this claim.

Formally there is a further link between the Sophistes and the Polilicus. The question propounded at the opening of the Sophistes is whether sophist, statesman, philosopher, are three different names for the same person, or three names for two types of person, or names for three different types.8 The answer of the "Eleatic" is that the three characters are all distinct. The object of the two dialogues is ostensibly to prove this by defining first the sophist and then the statesman; both definitions are obtained by elaborate and repeated use of the characteristically Academic method of subdivision of a genus (εῖδος) into its constituent species. The method itself has consequently to be explained and illustrated by simple and half-playful examples. Incidentally this explains what might at first seem a strange feature of the Politicus. We can understand the silence of Socrates in the Sophistes, where the logical matter of the discussion takes us far away from the circle of ideas commonly represented by Plato as familiar to him. But the problems of politics are precisely those in which the Socrates of the Gorgias and Republic had been peculiarly interested, and we might have expected that here he would be given his old part of chief speaker. What makes this impossible is not so much the particular character of the results arrived at, though they do depart to a marked degree from the uncompromising "idealism" of the Republic, but the necessity of employing the precisely formulated "method of division." The peculiarity of both dialogues is that each has thus a double function. Each has certain definite results to be arrived at; each is meant, at the same time, independently of its special conclusions, to be an elaborate exercise in the careful employment of logical method. As far as "results" go, we might say that the object of the one is to explain the true character of a significant negative proposition, of the other to justify "constitutionalism" in politics. But we must not allow ourselves to forget that both have further the common purpose of presenting us with an "essay in philosophical and scientific method." Hence the chief speaker in both must be a logician; it is because the speaker is a "formal logician," with a sounder logic than that of the Eleatics of Megara, that he is represented as the true continuator of Parmenides and |376| Zeno. The true cure for the "antinomies" of the "eristic" is not to desert logic for some method more "varied and flexible" but to be more in earnest with it.

I. The Sophistes — The opening words of the dialogue show us how keenly Plato feels that the Megarian formal logic is a departure from the genuine Socratic spirit of pursuit of real truth. He is greatly relieved to learn that the Eleatic friend of Theodorus is a "truly philosophic soul"; from his antecedents he had expected rather to find in him a θεὸς ἐλεγκτικός, a "fiend" in constructing dilemmas, (like those of the Parmenides). But the true philosopher is not always easy to recognize; he is taken sometimes for a sophist, sometimes for a statesman, and sometimes for a downright madman. Now this raises the question whether the philosopher, the sophist, the statesman, are three distinct characters, or two, or possibly are all the same. The genuine Eleatic tradition is that they are three distinct types, though it is hard to define the precise differences between them (217b). The Eleatic undertakes, if Theaetetus will act as respondent, to attempt a precise delineation of one of the three types, the sophist, though he warns his audience that the discussion will be long and tedious, a distinct hint that the name "sophist" will be found to stand for something less readily recognizable than the familiar type of the fifth-century teacher of "goodness." We discover, as the dialogue proceeds, that the persons meant are, in fact, the Megarian pedants of an uncritical formal logic. They are "sophists" not genuine philosophers, precisely because they have never subjected the principles on which their own logic rests to a thorough critical scrutiny. (In fact, they are "dogmatists" in Kant’s sense of the word.) This special use of the word σοφιστής is a real innovation in terminology, though its adoption by Aristotle, who regarded his Megarian opponents as conscious tricksters, has given rise to the modern conception of sophistry as the deliberate abuse of logic. The length of the discussion is due to the difficulty of analysing so elusive a thing as the spirit of uncritical logical formalism.

Illustration of Method (218d-221c). — Our problem, then, is to frame a satisfactory definition, and it is to be solved by a method characteristic of Plato and the Academy, the method of accurate logical division of a genus into its constituent species. As this method was definitely a creation of Plato and his immediate followers, it is necessary to explain and illustrate it for the reader by applying it to a simple and familiar case; Plato chooses that of the angler. Of course, as Burnet has said, the example is half-playful; the very baldness of the illustration chosen is an advantage since the simplest and most obvious illustrations are the best for the purpose of setting the principle of the procedure in the clearest light. In practice the use of the method in the Academy led to results of great importance. Thus the tenth book of Euclid’s Elements, that great repertory of demonstrated propositions about "quadratic surds" is at bottom concerned with the attempt to |377| make a systematic classification of such expressions, The vast zoological work of Aristotle, again, belongs mainly to the years before he had finally separated himself from the Academy, and thus has to be taken in connexion with the similar, though no doubt inferior, work in the same field of Speusippus and other Academics, and their starting-point, as we can see from the remaining fragments of the book of Speusippus on Homologies, was the search for a satisfactory classificatory system. The Laws again offers us repeated examples of the importance of the same problem in the field of jurisprudence and political theory. The services rendered to science by Plato’s elaboration of the method of division have to be measured by results of this kind, not by the easy examples furnished to the "general reader" in the Sophistes and Politicus.

In principle the procedure is this. If we wish to define a species x, we begin by taking some wider and familiar class a, of which x is clearly one subdivision. We then devise a division of the whole class a into two mutually exclusive sub-classes b and c, distinguished by the fact that b possesses, while c lacks, some characteristic β which we know to be found in x. We call b the right-hand, c the left-hand, division of a. We now leave the left-hand division c out of consideration, and proceed to subdivide the right-hand division b on the same principle as before, and this process is repeated until we come to a right-hand "division" which we see on inspection to coincide with x. If we now assign the original wider class a, and enumerate in order the successive characters by which each of the successive right-hand divisions has been marked off, we have a complete characterization of x; x has been defined. The Aristotelian rule of definition by "genus and difference, or differences is simply the condensation of this Academic method into a formula; a still more exact reproduction of it has been given in our own times in W. E. Johnson’s account of the progressive determination of a "determinable" (Logic, i. xi). It is, of course, presupposed that we are already adequately acquainted with the "determinable" or "genus" a itself, and that, at each step in its further determination, we have the "gumption" to select as the character constitutive of the new "right-hand" division one which is relevant to the specification of x and also itself admits of further "division"; finally that we recognize the point at which the process can stop because x has now been sufficiently specified. The satisfaction of these conditions depends on our native acumen and our acquaintance with the subject-matter, and no rules can be given for it, precisely as no rules can be given for the discovery of a promising explanatory hypothesis. The method, like all scientific methods, will not work in vacuo. This is what Aristotle seems to ignore in his depreciatory remarks about the "method of divisions" (Analytics Prior, A 46a 31 ff.). He complains that the method involves a petitio principii [circular argument]. From man is an animal, an animal either is mortal or is immortal, it does not follow that man is mortal, but only that man either is mortal or is immortal; and so with the other |378| successive steps of the division, so that nothing is really proved when the division has reached its end. As a criticism of Plato, the complaint misses its mark. When we are told in the Sophistes that hunters capture their prey either by snaring or by wounding, and that the angler is a hunter who makes his capture by wounding, we are presumed to know from our acquaintance with the facts of life that a rod and line are not a snare; there is no intention to prove the point by making the division. We are as much entitled to draw on our general stock of information for guidance as we are to go to the same source for our information that the Duke of Wellington is a man when we infer his mortality from the admitted mortality of men. Neither the syllogism nor any other formal logical device can enable us to dispense with first-hand acquaintance with facts. Possibly some members of the Academy may have overlooked this limitation in their enthusiasm for their own method, but Aristotle seems equally to be forgetting for the moment that his own method of syllogism is subject to precisely the same conditions.

Definition of the Sophist (221c-237a)

The actual "division" by which the definition of angling is obtained need not detain us long. So far as it is anything more than a simple illustration of the method to be adopted in characterizing the sophist, its further point lies in the playful suggestion of certain unpleasing features which we shall rediscover in the sophist himself, who is also, among other things, a kind of "angler." The division itself may be graphically represented by the following tree:


of making – of acquiring

of acquiring by consent – of capture

of open capture – of stealthy capture = hunting

of lifeless things – of living things

of terrestrial animals – of animals which live in a fluid

of birds – of fishes

fishing by nets – fishing by striking

by night – by daylight

by a stroke from above – by a stroke from below = angling.

|379| By a summing up of the "differences" constitutive of the successive "right-hand" divisions we get the definition that angling is an art of acquiring by stealthy capture creatures which inhabit the water, the capture being made by daylight, by a stroke delivered from below. We might, of course, have carried the division further, but our acquaintance with the facts makes this superfluous. It is a linguistic fact that we give the name angling to every procedure which has the characteristics enumerated and to no other.

We now proceed to apply this method several times over to the sophist. (Thus Plato is fully alive to the point that the same species may be determined by the division of different genera, the same term may have more than one adequate definition; relevancy to the purpose in hand will be the principle which guides us in the selection of a genus to be divided. Each of the successive divisions is meant to throw some one characteristic of the sophist into strong relief.)

(a) We might follow the precise example we have just chosen down to the point where we divided the art of hunting living things, and then turn our attention to the left-hand division of this. For the sophist is a hunter of "civilized living beings" that is, of men. He hunts them, not like kings, pirates, and kidnappers, by violence, but by the arts of persuasion. Persuasion may be practiced in public, or, as the sophist practices it, on individuals. And the persuading may be done by one who gives a present (the lover), or by one who takes a fee. And the fee may be taken for making one’s self agreeable and amusing (as in the case of the κόλαξ or "parasite") or got by promising to impart "goodness." This gives us a possible definition of the sophist as a professional of the art of hunting rich young men individually for a cash payment, on the pretense of educating them (223b). Thus the points brought out are the sophist’s commercialism, the unreality of his "wisdom," and his suspicious family likeness to the "parasite."

(b) The sophist, however, has more guises than one. We might detect him again if we started by dividing the left-hand branch of the art of acquisition, namely, acquisition by exchange, and then subdivided exchange into exchange of presents and exchange of commodities (ἀλλακτική). Exchange of commodities again includes the transactions of the man who sells his own produce and those of the middleman who sells that of others. And middlemen may be engaged either in the home retail traffic (καπηλική) or in interstate trade (ἐμπορική). One branch of such interstate trade is traffic in mental wares (ψυχεμπορική), serious or trifling. Under this head falls interstate traffic in sciences (μαθήματα), and one form of this traffic is the selling of scientific knowledge of "goodness." This enables us to define the sophist again as a retail exporter of the knowledge of goodness (224d), though we must add that he sometimes retails his merchandise in the home market, and occasionally even manufactures some of it himself. As before, |380| stress is laid on the commercialism of this peddling of spiritual wares for a living, and a new point is introduced by the suggestion that the "ideas" which the sophist sells are usually not his own, but come to him "secondhand."

(c) Yet again, we might diverge from our original division at a different point. We spoke of an art of acquisition by open capture. We may, if we please, divide this into two branches, competition and combat. (Plato is thinking of competition for prizes in the great games, at the Dionysia, and the like.) And combat may be physical or mental; the latter being contention, of which "discourses" (λόγοι) are the weapons. When the "discourses" employed are question and answer, we call this sort of contention disputation, and disputation about right and wrong (περὶ δικαίων αὐτων καὶ ἀδίκων) carried on under regular rules of the game is what we call eristic. When eristic is practiced for gain, it is sophistry. Thus the sophist now appears as a man who makes a paying business of contentious disputation about right and wrong (226a). He invents insincere paradoxes about morality for gain.

(d) We have not done with him even now. Making an entirely new start, we observe that there are a host of familiar occupations which are all alike in being ways of separating different materials from one another. Now some of these separate like from like, others aim at separating a better from a worse, and all these we may group together under the common rubric of purifying or refining. Purification or refining, again, may be either of the body or of the soul. And purification of the soul itself may be of two kinds, since there are two "vices" which affect the soul: spiritual disease and spiritual deformity (αἰσχος), villainy, "wickedness" as it is commonly called, and mere ignorance (ἄγνοια). The soul is purified from wickedness by justice, "the art of discipline"; from ignorance by teaching (διδασκαλική = persuasion that teaches). But "there are different kinds of ignorance and correspondingly different kinds of teaching. The worst form of ignorance is the self-conceit which believes itself to know what it does not know; the teaching which purifies from this is what we mean by παιδεία, "education," "culture" and all other teaching is merely subservient to it (229d). There are, again, two forms of παιδεία. There is the old-fashioned method of the pѐre de famille who relies for success on rebuke, mingled with exhortation; this we may call admonition (νουθετητική). But some of us are convinced by reflection that all error is involuntary, and that no one can be expected to "learn better" until he has been convinced that as yet he does not know. They adopt the milder method of trying to convince the man who has a false conceit of his wisdom by asking questions which lead him to discover his ignorance for himself and to feel the longing for knowledge (230b-e). We cannot well give the name sophist to those who practice this kind of teaching (which is, in fact, the familiar "obstetric" of Socrates); the title would perhaps be too high an |381| honor for them.9 There is a certain resemblance between the eristic and these dialecticians, but it is such a resemblance as that of the wolf to the high-bred dog. Still, for the sake of argument, let us waive this scruple and define the sophist once more as a professional of the art of purifying the soul from its false conceit of wisdom (231b). (Here, of course, it at last becomes clear what quarry Plato is hunting. The definitions already suggested would cover Protagoras and his rivals; the specialization of the sophists’ method to "contention by question and answer" definitely indicates that the persons meant are inferior imitators of the Socratic dialectic who abuse its resources for a purpose which Plato regards as at bottom commercial.)

(e) We have still not gone quite to the root of the matter. The sophist has exhibited the guises successively of: (i) a paid hunter of rich youths; (2) an exporter of spiritual lore; (3) a retailer of such lore in the home market; (4) a small manufacturer of it; (5) an "athlete" of controversy; (6) a "refiner" of convictions which are hostile to knowledge (though his title to this last distinction is not uncontested). To penetrate deeper we must ask what one calling there is which can masquerade in all these guises (233a). The answer is suggested by the consideration that, as we have seen, the sophist is, among other things, an ἀντιλογικός, a pitter of discourse against discourse, a contradiction-monger. He undertakes to discover antinomies everywhere — in divinity, in nature, in morals and politics — and writes books explaining how the specialist in all these departments can be reduced to silence. Now obviously one man cannot really be an "expert" in all knowledge. The secret or miracle (θαυμα) of sophistry lies in contriving to appear to be such a universal expert. A clever illusionist might delude children into the belief that he can make anything and everything by showing them pictures of all sorts of things at a sufficient distance. (If a child were young enough, it would, e.g., take the men and horses in a cinema picture for real animals.) Why then should there not be an analogous art of illusion by means of discourses which imposes "imitations" of truth on the youthful mind? May we not say that at bottom the sophist is an "imitator" and |382| "illusionist" (γόης or "wizard" (θαυματοποιός, 235b). This yields us a new "division." The sophist’s "illusionism" is clearly a branch of εἰδωλοποιική, the art of making images. But there are two kinds of "images." Some are "likenesses" (εἰκόνες), exact reproductions of an original in all its proportions and colouring. But in some cases, as in that of the makers of "colossal" figures, the artist has to distort the real proportions to get a result which will look right when seen from below;10 we may call his product a "phantasm" (a deceptive reproduction), to distinguish it from an exact likeness. The question then arises whether the sophist’s product is a "likeness" or a "phantasm" of truth. If we say that it is a "phantasm," a distorted reproduction of a reality, we commit ourselves to the view that there are such things as false appearances, false discourses, false beliefs. We are assuming that there can be an "unreal something," that "what is not" can be.11 This has always been felt to be a paradox, ever since Parmenides called attention to the difficulty, and we must therefore examine the question to the bottom (237a-b). This leads us straight up to what, though formally a digression, is materially the main topic of the dialogue.

Criticism of Eleaticism (237b-249d). — The difficulty must first be fairly stated. If we say seriously "x is not," it seems clear that the subject of the statement x cannot be anything that is (an ὄν), and therefore cannot be a "somewhat" (τὶ), since "somewhat" always means a "being," an "existent." Hence he who speaks of "what is not" seems to be speaking about "nothing." Yet can we say that he is "saying nothing" (making an "unmeaning noise," 237e)? This is bad, but there is worse behind. If we are to talk about "non-entity" at all, we must do so either in the singular (μὴ ὄν) or in the plural (μὴ ὄντα). But mere non-entity can have no predicates, and so neither unity nor plurality can be significantly asserted of it. Hence it seems we can neither think nor speak of it at all (238c). Yet in the very act of saying that "it is unthinkable," by using the word "it" we are talking of nonentity as though it were one thing (239a). It seems then that we must say nothing whatever about "what is not," and this ruins our attempt to characterize the sophist as an artist in illusion. He would argue that an illusion is "what is not," and therefore that "maker of an illusion" is a meaningless sound. Unless the sophist really "takes us in" by producing a false belief in us, there is no illusion, and if he succeeds for a moment in producing the illusion, a false belief must be something real; but, as we have just seen, that is what the sophist will not admit. He will say that |383| in calling a belief "false" we are involving ourselves in the contradictions we have just exposed. If we are to defend ourselves against this attack, we shall have, with all respect, to correct the fundamental principle of the great Parmenides, to say that "what is not in a way is, and what is, also, in a sense is not (241d)." If the Eleatic principle "what is is, what is not is not" is maintained in all its rigour, there can be no such thing as a "likeness" or "image" and no "false beliefs."

We may say that Parmenides and all the early thinkers have dealt with the problem too light-heartedly, almost as though they were merely "telling a fairy-tale" (μυθον (mython), 242c). Some of them have said that what is is three things (?Pherecydes); another (?Archelaus),12 that it is two, e.g. the hot and the cold, or the moist and the dry; Xenophanes, and our own school of Elea, that it is one. Heraclitus and Empedocles say that it is both one and many: the "austerer" Heraclitus that it is both at once, the "laxer" Empedocles that it is each by turns. Every one of them is too anxious to get on with his story to trouble himself about our ability to follow him (242c-243a). But if we look into the matter, these different statements about what is are just as puzzling as we have found the current statements about what is not. We have to ask what these thinkers really meant by being (243d). When a man says, e.g., that "the hot and the cold are" and are all that there is, he says of each of them that it is, and thus he means by "being" something, and one something, which is different both from "being hot" and from "being cold" (243d-e) (he is making a "synthetic" judgment). So the Eleatic who says that "there is just one thing," can hardly mean that "one" and "being" are just two equivalent names for the same thing; if he means what he says, he cannot well admit that there are names, since no name is a name for itself (244b-d). Parmenides complicates matters still more when he talks of "what is" as a whole. He implies that it has parts, but how can this be if it is "just one"? If "wholeness" is a character of the one, then there are two significant terms, "one" and "whole," and not merely one; if "wholeness" is a significant term but "what is" is not a whole, it is not something, and so there is something wanting in "what is." If "wholeness" means nothing at all, there is the additional complication that "what is" cannot even come to be, for "whatever has come to be in every case has come to be as a whole."13 Thus we see that the theory of those who |384| draw this precise and fine line of distinction between "what is" and "what is not" involves difficulties about being quite as serious as any of those raised by the Eleatics about "what is not" (245e).

To complete our survey of the difficulties about being, let us consider what "the other side"14 have to say about it. This "other side" falls into two main sections who are at loggerheads with one another, like the giants with the gods in the old tale. The "giants" insist that nothing is but what can be laid hold of and felt; "being" and "body" are the same thing. The other party maintain that real being consists of "intelligible bodiless forms" and that the bodies which their opponents regard as the only being are "becoming" not "being." We need not say much about the thesis of the "materialists" but we may imagine them to be at any rate so far better than they actually are as to deign to answer our questions civilly. We will then ask them whether there is not such a thing as a soul; whether some souls are not righteous and wise, others wicked and foolish. If they say Yes, as they must, we shall ask whether this does not imply that wisdom and the other "virtues" are something, and whether they are anything that can be seen or handled. Even if they try to save themselves by saying that the soul is a kind of body, they will hardly venture to say that wisdom is a body, nor yet to say that it is nothing at all, though a genuine and persistent materialist would have to take this second alternative. We shall have gained our point with any of them who will admit that anything whatever can be and yet not be a body. To put it most simply, we shall ask them to admit no more than this, that anything which has any "power" however slight, of acting or being acted upon, certainly is — in fact, that "what is" is δύναμις ("force," power), active or passive (245e-247e).

It is not clear precisely what persons are meant by the "giants" of materialism. They are certainly not atomists, as has sometimes been fancied. The atomists who insisted on the reality of the ἀναφὴς φύσις (vacuum) cannot be classed among persons who say that only what can be seen and felt is. Nor could Theaetetus say, as he does (246b), that he has met "lots" of these men; he would not meet many disciples of Leucippus, to say nothing of Democritus, in the Athens of 399 B.C. It seems to me most probable that Plato has in view the crass unthinking corporealism of the "average man" rather than the doctrine of any particular "school." We must also be careful not to make the mistake of taking the proposed definition of "being" as "force" for one seriously intended by Plato. It is given simply as one which the materialist could be led to concede if he were willing to reflect, and we are warned that, on further consideration, we might think better of it. |385| The point is simply that the "materialist" who uses the notion of a "force" has already surrendered his materialism.

We have now to consider the view of the "friends of forms," the immaterialists already referred to. They hold that "becoming" and "being" are sharply contra-distinguished. Our body is in touch with "becoming" through sense-perception; our mind in touch with real and unchanging "being" through thought (248a). We have to ask them what they mean by "being in touch with." Do they mean "acting or being acted on by a force"? Theaetetus may not be able to say, but the Eleatic speaker is familiar with the persons who are being criticised, and consequently knows that they would reject the statement. So far from accepting the identification of being with "the power to act or be acted on" they would say that both action and passion belong to the realm of "becoming"; "being" neither acts nor is acted on.15 But we shall then ask them whether they do not admit that "being" is known by the mind, and whether "being known" is not being acted on" and knowing, acting. To be consistent, they will have to deny both statements. If "being" is acted on in being known, it πάσχει ("has something done to it"), and therefore is "moved," and it is not true that being is simply "quiescent" (ἠρεμοῡν, 248e).

We cannot seriously think that "what utterly is," the perfectly real, neither thinks nor lives, or that it thinks but does not live. If it thinks and is alive, it must have a soul, and if it has a soul, it cannot stand everlastingly still; it must have movement. If mind is to be real, there must be both motion and variety and also rest and uniformity in things (248e-249d).

It has been a much-discussed question who are the thinkers to whom the dialogue ascribes the doctrine just criticised. From the statement of their theory, it is clear that they are extreme dualists, who regard "being" and "becoming" as absolutely sundered. They then identify "becoming" with the sensible world, and consequently hold that the sensible world has no real existence. To put the same thing from the epistemological standpoint, they deny that sensation has any cognitive value, or plays any part in the apprehension of truth. This shows that the reference cannot be to the type of theory ascribed to Socrates in the Phaedo and Republic. The whole point of the doctrine of "participation" of sensible things in forms was just to break down the absolute severance between a real world of being" and an illusory world of "becoming," by ascribing a partial and secondary reality to the sensible. So the doctrine of "recollection" was intended to assign sensation a genuine, if a humble, part in the process of reaching truth; sensation is, on that theory, just what "suggests" or "calls into our minds" the thought of the forms. A fortiori, |386| if the criticism is not aimed at Socrates, it is not directed against Plato’s "earlier self" or disciples, if there were any, who retained a doctrine which Plato had once held, but had outgrown. Nor, again, can the persons meant be Euclides and his friends at Megara. They were strict rationalistic monists who did not admit the existence of even an "illusory" world of "becoming," and regarded themselves as Eleatics, whereas the "friends of forms" are one of two groups who have both been carefully distinguished at 245e from the Eleatic monists. The one hint of their identity is given by the Eleatic visitor when he says (248b) that Theaetetus probably will not know their views, but he is acquainted with them himself διὰ συνήθειαν, because he has lived with the men in question. As the speaker is certainly an Italian Eleatic — he refers to his own personal recollections of Parmenides (237a) — we must plainly look to Italy for these rationalistic dualists. Hence Proclus is pretty likely to be right when he says that the persons meant are "wise men in Italy" whom he also calls Pythagoreans, especially, as Burnet remarks, since he makes the statement without any discussion as though it were the recognized traditional interpretation.16 The Pythagorean formula that "things are numbers" would readily lend itself to development along these lines.

The Meaning of Significant Denial – The Platonic Categories (249e-259e). — So far we have reached the result that though movement and rest are contraries, both of them certainly are. There is movement and there is rest, and when I say "rest is," I do not mean that rest is motion, nor when I say that "motion is" do I mean that motion is rest. Motion, rest, being, are all distinct, and being embraces both of the others; though it is neither of them. It thus seems as difficult to say what "being" is the name for, as we found it to say what "what is not" is the name for. If we can answer the one question we shall probably find that we have learned how to answer the other (250e-251a).17

Every one knows that we are always making assertions about, e.g., a man, in which we do not confine ourselves to the statement that "a man is a man," but say something further about his complexion, his shape, size, good or bad qualities, and the like, and in all these cases we are saying that a man is not one thing only, but at the same time many (not merely a man, but ruddy, tall, lanky, patient, etc.). Raw lads and men who have begun their thinking too late in life18 fasten eagerly on such "synthetic" propositions, |387| and declare them to be absurd, on the ground that they all imply that one can be many and many one. They plume themselves on the discovery that only identical propositions can be true. This is the thesis we have really to combat (251c-d).

If we consider the three concepts being, rest, motion, there are just three logical possibilities: (a) that they all "partake in" one another, i.e. any one can be predicated of any other; (b) that none of them can be conjoined with any other, i.e. none can be predicated of another; (c) that some of them can be predicated of ("partake in") others. We can reject (b) at once, since it would forbid us to say both that there is motion and that there is rest. This would make an end of the views alike of Heracliteans, Eleatics, "friends of forms" as well as of all the physicists who account for things as due to the aggregation and disgregation of "elements," whether infinite in number (Anaxagoras) or finite (Empedocles). The theory is actually self-refuting, since you cannot state it without using such words and phrases as "is," "apart from everything else," "by itself," and the like (252c). You cannot even deny the possibility of "synthetic judgments" except by making such a judgment. The proposition "only identical propositions are true" is not itself an identity; (a) is an even more absurd theory, since it would require us to affirm that rest is motion and motion rest (252d). Thus the only possible alternative is (c) that some "concepts" will "combine" and others will not (252e), just as some letters can be combined to form syllables, others cannot.

This illustration suggests a further point of supreme importance. Vowels hold a "favoured position" among the elementary sounds of language. Every syllable must contain a vowel, and the vowels are thus the "connecting links" which make syllabic composition possible. There is a special art (τέχνη, art or craft), that of the "teacher of letters," which considers what combinations of consonants by the help of a vowel are possible and what are not, just as another art, music, considers what combinations of notes of different pitch will make a tune and what will not.19 So there clearly must be a science which considers what "concepts" will "blend" so as to give rise to "discourses" (λόγοι = speeches) and what will not, and again whether there is a class of concepts which, like the vowels in spelling, make all combinations possible, and another class which gives rise to distinctions (253c). Thus logic is here, for the first time in literature, contemplated as an autonomous science with the task of ascertaining the supreme principles of affirmative and negative propositions (the combinations and "separations"), But this task of dividing things rightly according to their "kinds," detecting one "form" (idea = form, appearance) where it is disguised by complication with others, and distinguishing several which form a single complex, is precisely that of "dialectic." Thus we have unexpectedly identified the true philosopher before |388| we have come to an end with our identification of the sophist. The philosopher is the dialectician who knows how to find the many in the one and the one in the many (253a-e). We had already been told much the same thing by Socrates in the Phaedrus, but there is an important point in which the problem now under discussion marks a great advance on the theories ascribed to Socrates in the earlier dialogues. In them, the combinations or complications considered seem always to be the "things" of the everyday world of sense. The sensible "thing" had been treated in the Phaedo and Republic as a sort of complex "partaking" at once in a plurality of forms — in fact, as a bundle of "universals." Each form had been spoken of as something independent of every other, and the only "combination" of several forms contemplated had been their simultaneous "presence" in the same αἰσθητόν (sense). Or, to put the same thing from the opposite point of view, the question had never been raised, what constitutes the particularity of the particular thing. Plato is now raising a different issue. We are to see that forms as such can "combine," so that you can predicate one "universal" of another, and it is the special function of the new science Plato is contemplating to specify the lines on which such combination is possible. The doctrine of forms as known to us from the "Socratic" dialogues throws no light on this problem, and this, no doubt, is why it is never referred to in our dialogue. It is not that it is disavowed, or even called in question, but that it is simply not relevant to the issues which Plato now finds himself called on to face. We might, perhaps, say that the language of the Phaedrus about the dialectician’s task of seeing the one in the many and the many in the one, if followed up, raises precisely the same question. But the Phaedrus is, to all appearance, one of the very latest "Socratic" dialogues, and Plato is probably there on the verge of straining the limits of historical accuracy.

We cannot now work out the whole inquiry into the "communion" between forms, but we may deal with it for the special case of a few of the most important and all-pervading. As we have said, "being," "motion" "rest," are three of these universalissima or μέγιστα γένη (greatest kinds). Two of them — rest and motion — refuse to combine. But the third will combine with both of the two, since both motion and rest are. Moreover, each of the three is distinct or different (ἕτερον (another)) from the other two, but identical with itself. And difference and identity, again, are neither motion nor rest. Nor is either of them the same as "being." We ascribe being alike to motion and to rest, but this is not to assert that motion is identical with rest. For "different from" is always a relative term, whereas being has an absolute sense.20 Thus we have five, not merely |389| three, Forms (εἴδη or γένη, both words are used interchangeably) to consider — being, motion, rest, identity, difference. Difference manifestly pervades all the others, for each of them is different from the rest, and so "partakes of the form of different" (254b-255e).

Let us now consider the relations between these five all-pervading forms. (It is never said that the list of the universalia universalissima is complete, though later Platonists, like Plotinus in Ennead vi. 1-3, treat them as a complete list of Platonic "highest universals," or categories.) Motion is not rest, nor rest motion. But both are and are identical with themselves, and thus "partake" (μετέχει) of being and identity, and also, since each is different from the other, of difference. Thus we can say, e.g., that motion is — it is motion; but also is not — it is not rest. But in just the same way we can say that motion "partakes of" being and so is — there is such a thing as motion; but motion is not identical with being, and in that sense we may say that it is not, i.e. it is not-being. The same line of thought shows that "not-being" may be asserted of all the five forms already enumerated, even of being itself, since each of them is different from any of the others, and thus is not any of the others (255e-257a).

Now these considerations enable us to dismiss the difficulties which have been raised about "not-being." When we say that something "is not so-and-so," by the not-being here asserted we do not mean the "opposite" (ἐναντίον (against, versus)) of what is but only something different from what is. "A is not x" does not mean that A is nothing at all, but only that it is something other than anything which is x (257b-c). Not-beautiful, for example, is the name not of nothing but of all the things other than the things which are beautiful. And the things which are not-beautiful are just as truly as those which are beautiful. The "not-large" is, every whit as much as the "large" the "not-right" as much as the "right." In making a denial we are not asserting an antithesis between nothing and something, but an opposition of something and something else different from it (258b). We may say, then, that "not-being" is as real and has as definite a character as being. This is our answer to Parmenides. We have not merely succeeded in doing what he forbade, asserting significantly that "what is not, is"; we have actually discovered what it is. It is "the different" (τὸ θάτερον, the one, the other of two), and since everything is different from all other things, we may say boldly that "not-being" is thoroughly real (ὄντως ὄν, 257b-258e). Henceforth we shall not give ourselves any further concern about the alleged paradox that "what is not" is that unthinkable thing "the absurd," the "opposite" of what is. It is childishly easy to see that any thing is different from other things and so may be said to be "what is not"; the true difficulty is to determine the precise limits of the identity and difference to be found among things (259d).

Application of Our Result to the Problem of "False Opinion": Final Definition of the Sophist (260a-268c). — Our identification of "not-being" with difference shows that "not-being" itself is a pervasive and categorial feature in things. We have now to consider whether this pervasive characteristic can "combine" with discourse and belief (δόξα). If it cannot, if we cannot say or think "what is not" falsehood of speech or thought will not be possible, and consequently there will be no such thing as error or illusory belief, and no "resemblances," "likenesses" or "phantasms" all of which seem to be what they are not. The sophist’s last retreat will be to the position that at any rate discourse and belief will not "blend" with "what is not": there is no such "complex" as utterance of or belief in what is not, and therefore no such art as the fabrication of "phantasms." This is the position from which we have now to dislodge him (261a). Let us begin by an analysis of discourse. Just as not all combinations of letters yield a syllable, not all complexes of forms a concept, so not all combinations of words yield a significant discourse. The words of a language fall in the main into two great classes: nouns (ὀνόματα) and verbs (ῥήματα). The verbs are vocal symbols of actions (πράξεις), the nouns are the names of the agents in these actions. A string of verbs, e.g. "walks, runs, sleeps," is not a λόγος or significant statement, neither is a string of nouns, e.g. "lion, deer, horse." The simplest discourse, the unit in discourse, is the complex of a noun and a verb, e.g. "a man learns." Here not only is something named, but something is signified (262d). Further, a discourse or statement must be "of" or "about" something and it must have a certain "quality," must be ποιός τις (which, who). Thus, take the two statements, "Theaetetus is sitting down," "Theaetetus, to whom I AM now speaking, is flying." The "quality" of the first statement is that it is true, of the second that it is false, for Theaetetus is not at this moment flying but sitting21 (263b). And both the statements are about Theaetetus, the false statement no less than the true. A statement which was not about (or "of") some subject would not be a statement at all (263c). Thus some complexes of nouns and verbs are false. Now thinking is an internal conversation in which the mind asks itself a question; belief or judgment (δόξα) is the statement, affirmative or negative, in which the mind answers its own question, without audible words. Sometimes the internal conversation is accompanied by sensation, and then we call it "fantasy" (i.e. when the debate of the mind is started by the attempt to interpret a present sensation). Hence, from the possibility of false statement or discourse follows the equal possibility of false belief or judgment and false "phantasy" (erroneous interpretation of sensation, |391| 264a-b). A false belief that Theaetetus is now flying is not a belief about nothing at all but a belief about Theaetetus which asserts of him that he is performing a definite πράξεις different from that which he is in fact performing. This disposes of the old objection to our assumption that there are "images" and "phantasms" and so we may go back to our attempt to define sophistry as a branch of the art of making images (264c). We now proceed to divide the making of images more carefully.

We said that we could divide it into the making of accurate likenesses (ikόnes) and the making of inaccurate images (φαντάσματα, phantasms), both of which are forms of "imitation." Let us reconsider this more in detail. The making of imitations is a branch of creative art, as distinguished from the arts of acquisition, as we said long ago. We may now divide creative art into divine creative art and human creative art. The difference is that God (not, as the thoughtless say, unintelligent "nature") creates all real things without any preexisting material (πρόερον οὐκ ὄντα, 265c);22 man’s "creating" only originates fresh combinations of materials thus created by God. Next we may take a new principle of division, and subdivide both divine and human creation into creation of actualities and creation of images.23 The images created by God are such things as dreams, shadows thrown by a light, reflections in a polished surface; those created by man are pictures of things made by man (houses, etc.), and the like. Here we bring in again our former and now justified subdivision of images. Man-made "images" are either accurate likenesses or phantasms. Phantasms again are of two kinds: those produced by tools of some kind (like the painter’s brush), and those for which the producer acts as his own tool, as when another man (e.g. an actor) imitates the physical bearing or the tone of voice of Theaetetus by his own facial gestures and his own voice, and this kind of imitation is what we call mimicry (μίμησις = mimesis, to imitate). Mimicry, again, is twofold. A man may know what he is mimicking or he may not know it. Many persons who have no knowledge of the true figure (σχημα) of justice or goodness generally try to make their speech and action exhibit the appearance of what they fancy to be goodness and justice, and some of them succeed in conveying the impression they are aiming at. This is a plain case of mimicry by a man who does not know (267d). There is no recognized name for this specific "mimicry by the man who does not know," so we coin one for the moment and call it δοξομιμητική |392| ("counterfeiting"). But there are also two varieties of the art of counterfeiting. The maker of the sham may honestly believe that he knows the reality which, in fact, he does not know. Or he may have an uneasy suspicion all the time that he does not really know what he poses as knowing (268a). In the second case he is an "ironical imitator," a conscious "humbug" as well as a mere counterfeiter — in fact, an impostor. The professional sophist has had too much practice in "discourse" to be a mere honest pretender; he must have his suspicions of the unsoundness of his own "discourse," and thus his "art" falls under the head of conscious counterfeiting — imposture or charlatanism. Only one further distinction remains. The charlatan may practice his imposture in lengthy discourses before a public audience, or he may employ brief discourses with an individual in which he tries to make his interlocutor contradict himself. The one type of impostor is the δημολογικός, the dishonest "spell-binder" passing himself off for a statesman; the other is the sophist who counterfeits the "wise man," more than half knowing himself to be a fraud (268c).

One closing remark may be made on the main result of the whole dialogue. Plato’s solution of the old puzzle about "what is not" and the later paradox, grafted on it, of the impossibility of error, turns, as we see, on distinguishing what we should call the use of "is" as the logical copula, or sign of assertion, from the existential sense of "is." To us the distinction may seem almost trivial, but it only seems so because the work of making it has been done so thoroughly, once for all, in the Sophistes. Though Plato lets us see that he thought the ordinary Megarian a good deal of a conscious impostor, the difficulty about the possibility of error and of significant denial was a perfectly serious one with its originators and remained so until the ambiguity had been thoroughly cleared up. It is impossible to overestimate the service to both logic and metaphysics rendered by Plato’s painstaking and searching examination. We shall realise the magnitude of the issue better if we are careful to remember that, as Plato himself knew, the problem is at bottom one which affects all assertion. His point is that all significant propositions are "synthetic," in the sense that they are more than assertions of the equivalence of two sets of verbal symbols, and that they are all "functions" of an "argument" which is "not null." This would be a mere paradox if there were no other sense of "is" than the existential. We can see that a completed logic would have to carry the work of distinction further than it is carried in the dialogue. Notably the "is" which asserts the identity of the object denoted by two different descriptions (e.g. "the victor at Pharsalia is the consul of the year 59 B.C.") needs to be distinguished both from the "copula" and the existential "is." But the first step and the hardest to take is the recognition of the "copula" and its functions for what they are. Since the Sophistes takes this step for the first time, it is not too much to say that it definitely originates scientific logic.

II. The Politicus. — We must deal much more briefly with the application of the method of division to the definition of the statesman. We may be content, now that we have grasped the principle of the method, to concentrate our attention in the main on the solid result it is used to establish. Plato’s real purpose in the dialogue is much less merely to continue his lesson in logical method than to deal with a fundamental problem in the theory of government on which men’s minds even now continue to be divided. The issue is whether, as the actual world goes, "personal rule" or impersonal "constitutionalism" is the better for mankind, and Plato means to decide definitely for constitutionalism and, in particular, to commend "limited monarchy." His reading of the facts of the political situation is that monarchy has to be revived, as it was in fact revived by Philip, Alexander, and their successors, but that whether it is to be a great blessing or a great curse will depend on the question whether it is revived as constitutional monarchy or as irresponsible autocracy. Democracy, with all the defects it has shown at Athens, is the most tolerable form of government where there is no fixed "law of the constitution," autocracy the most intolerable; where there is such a fixed law, a monarch is a better head of the executive and administrative than either a select "oligarchy" or a "town’s meeting."

In form, the dialogue is a continuation of the Sophistes, with one change in personnel. Theaetetus is present as a silent character, but, to save him from undue fatigue, his place as respondent is taken by his companion, a lad named Socrates, who has been present without speaking through the Theaetetus and Sophistes. (The great Socrates, as in the Sophistes, is completely silent but for one or two opening remarks.) The "younger" Socrates has been introduced by one phrase in the Theaetetus (147d 1) as studying mathematics in company with Theodorus and Theaetetus. He is known to have been an original member of the Academy. There is one further reference to him in a letter belonging to the later years of Plato’s life, usually condemned by the editors as spurious, though for no obvious reasons (Epinomis x. 358e). We learn there only that he is in poor health at the time of writing. Aristotle mentions him once (Metaphysics B 1036b 25) in a way which shows that he belonged to the Academic group reproached elsewhere by Aristotle for their "pam-mathematicism."24 I think it all but certain that it is he, not the |394| great philosopher, to whom Aristotle’s practice has given a spurious immortality as a "logical example."25

The dialogue begins (257a-267c) with an attempt to characterize the science or art (τέχνη, ἐπιστήμη) of the king or statesman (πολιτική, βασιλκή) by assigning it a place in the classification of the sciences. Some "sciences" merely provide us with knowledge, others, including all the industrial arts, produce results embodied in material objects (σώματα). So we begin by dividing sciences into the practical (πρακτικαί) and the purely cognitive (γνωστικαί). The science of the statesman involves little or nothing in the way of manual activity; it consists wholly or mainly in mental insight. Thus we class it as cognitive (259c). But there are two kinds of cognitive sciences. Some of them are concerned merely with apprehending truths, and may be called critical (arithmetic is an example); others issue directions or orders for the right performance of actions, and may be called directive (ἐπιτακτικαί), and the science of the statesman is of this kind (260c). Again, some of the arts which direct merely pass on instructions which do not originate with the practitioner (as a "herald" communicates the directions of his commander), others give sovereign directions, are sovereignly directive (αὐτεπιτακτικαί, 260e). Among these we may distinguish those which have the sovereign direction of the production of living beings from those which are concerned with the production of lifeless things (like the science of the master-builder). This puts the king, or statesman, in the class of persons exercising sovereign control over the production and nurture (τροφή) of animals. Next, there is a distinction between the groom, who exercises this calling on a single animal, and the herdsman who practices it upon a whole herd or flock; the statesman, like the latter, has a flock or herd to deal with (261d.).

We are thus on the point of identifying the ruler with the shepherd of a human flock (a metaphor as familiar to the Greeks from their recollections of Homer as it is to us from the language of Old Testament prophecy). But it would be a violation of the rules of method to divide "herds" at once into herds of men and herds of other animals. We must observe the rule that a division must proceed in regular order from the highest to the lowest classes, not make sudden leaps. It is unscientific to single out mankind as one class and to throw all the rest of the animal world, irrespective of all differences of structure, into the one ill-constituted group "other animals" just as it would be unscientific to divide mankind into Greeks and "barbarians" (262d) or integers into "the number 10,000" and "all other numbers." A reflective crane might be |395| supposed just as reasonably to divide animals into "cranes" and "brutes" (263d). We must take care to avoid constituting infimae species so long as our division permits of being continued. Animals may be divided into the "wild" and the "domesticated" (τιθασόν, 264a), domesticated animals into the aquatic and the terrestrial (the tame fishes of Egypt belong to the one class; our familiar domestic quadrupeds, domesticated geese, and the like to the other). The terrestrial, again, are either birds which fly or beasts which walk. From this point we may proceed by either of two alternative routes, a longer or a shorter, to the same result. The longer route is to divide "gregarious domesticated beasts" into the horned and the hornless, the hornless once more into those which can be "crossed" and those which cannot, and the last group into quadruped and biped (266b) (or, alternatively, we might have divided the hornless class into those with undivided and those with divided hoof). A division like this has a comic side to it; it ranks that most dignified of beings, a king, much on a level with a swine-herd. But science has no concern with our conventions about dignity, and is anxious only to get at the true facts (266d). The shorter procedure would be to divide "gregarious domestic animals" into quadrupeds and bipeds. Since observation teaches us that man is the only wingless biped, we might then divide the bipeds into winged and wingless, with the same result as before (266e).

The effect of our division then is to define the statesman as a kind of herdsman of gregarious animals, with a trade of the same kind as the cow-keeper or the pig-drover, except that his herd consists of unusually "kittle" beasts. But there is a difficulty of which such a definition takes no account. In the case of the statesman there are a goodly number of rivals who might challenge this description. Farmers, corn-dealers, physicians, professors of "gymnastic" might all urge that the definition "raiser of the human herd" applies to themselves as much as to the ruler. This difficulty does not arise in the other analogous cases of the shepherd, ox-herd, swine-herd, because every one of them is at once breeder, feeder, and physician of his herd. As this is not the case with the ruler of men, there must be something faulty about the classification we have followed; our business is next to see where the error has come in. We may get a hint from a tale we all heard as children, the story that the sun reversed his daily path in horror when Thyestes started the series of crimes which disgraced the line of Pelops by stealing the "golden lamb" (268e).

The imaginative myth which now follows (268e-274e) is built up on the basis of ideas of which we may find traces in the early cosmogonists, combined with fancies known to have been specially affected by the Pythagoreans. From the cosmogonists we have the notion of a past "golden age" before Zeus had dethroned Cronus; many of the details about this age of gold seem to be "Hesiodic." The conception of the life of the universe as an |396| alternation of half-cycles with opposite senses is most familiar to us from the fragments of Empedocles; the thought of the world as a ship sailing over the stormy waters of the ἄωειρον (infinite) is specifically Pythagorean,26 though, no doubt, both Empedocles and the Pythagoreans were availing themselves of the suggestions of prescientific cosmologists. Thus dramatic propriety is observed by making the Eleatic visitor utilize for his story precisely the materials which would be specially familiar to a native of Magna Graecia. The tale is told simply to make an immediate point. It is wrong on principle to take any part of it as scientific cosmology meant seriously by Plato, and to attempt, like Adam, the impossible task of fitting the story into that of the Timaeus. In outline the story runs as follows. The tale of the sun’s return on his track, like much of the existing mythology, is a fragment of a very ancient tradition about the transition from the age of Cronus to the age of Zeus. The whole may be reconstructed thus. Only God has complete immortality. The universe as a whole, being corporeal, cannot be quite immutable, but makes the nearest approximation it can to immutability by alternately revolving round the same axis in opposite senses. There are periods when God himself is at the helm of the world-ship with his hand on the rudder, and there are alternate periods when he "retires" to his look-out (περιωπή, 272e) and leaves the ship to follow its own course. The immediate result is a complete reversal of sense of all biological as well as cosmological processes. Life runs backward, in "looking-glass" fashion. The reversal of sense is attended by gigantic cosmic catastrophes, but when the first confusion is over, the ship settles down once more to a uniform course, though with a reversed sense; at first the regularity of its processes is almost as complete as when God was steering. But as time goes on, the world "forgets God, its Maker" and the irregularities due to the "lusts" inherent in its bodily frame accumulate; all regularity is on the point of vanishing, the ship nearly founders in the "sea" of the "infinite," when God puts his hand to the tiller again, and once more reverses the sense of the cosmic movements.

The stories of the golden age, when men lived peacefully, without agriculture, clothes, or laws, are reminiscences of the condition of the world "under Cronus," when God was actually steering the ship, and acting literally as the "shepherd" of mankind, with departmental gods under him as "deputy shepherds." Our own age, that of Zeus, belongs to the period when the world is left to itself, |397| and is separated from the "golden age" by the catastrophic reversal of all motions. At this reversal the gods withdrew from their immediate direction of the human flock. Mankind were left naked, needy, uncontrolled; all our arts of industry and government have been slowly acquired in the gradual conquest of nature. (The "noble savage" is thus not a figure in our history; he belongs to a world where men are born as full-grown out of the earth and "live backwards.")27

Were the men of the golden age really happier than ourselves who belong to the "iron time"? It depends on the use they made of their immunity from the struggle with nature for physical existence. If they used their freedom from the cares of life to glean wisdom from the beasts and one another, no doubt they were happier. If they used it merely to fill themselves with meat and drink, and to tell idle stories to the beasts and one another, we know what to think about that kind of life (272c).

The moral of the story is that our attempt to define the statesman as the "shepherd of men" has involved two errors — one serious, the other comparatively light. The serious error is that we have confused the work of a statesman in our historical world with that of one of the gods of the "age of Cronus." They actually "fed" their flock; the statesman of the historical world does not. The minor fault was that we said truly that the statesman is a ruler, but made no attempt to specify the kind of "rule" he exercises. We ought to have reserved the work of "feeding and breeding" the flock for a god; of the statesman, who is a man among men, we should have said more modestly that his business is the "tendance" (ἐπιμέλεια, θεραπεία) of the flock (275b-276b). (The object of the remark is to eliminate the "superman" from serious political theory, and so to strike at the root of the worship of the "man who can," the autocrat or dictator paternally managing the rest of mankind without the need of direction or control by law.) If we had made this clear, we should not have found the provision-dealers and others claiming that our description was as applicable to them as to the statesman. As to the other fault, it arises from overlooking an important step in our division. We forgot that the "feeding," or, as we now propose to say, the "tendance," may be either forced on the flock (βίαιον) or freely accepted by them (ἐκούσιον). This is what makes all the difference between the true "king" and the "tyrant" or "usurper." The "tyrant" |398| forces his tendance on his subjects; the "king" is the freely accepted ruler of freemen, a "free tender of free bipeds" (276e).

Yet we must not be too much in a hurry to accept this as an adequate account of statesmanship. We have, it may be, drawn the outline of our portrait of the statesman correctly, but we still have to get the colouring of the picture right (277a-c). To explain what we mean by this, we shall do well to illustrate our point by a familiar example. And before we do this, we may even illustrate the use of examples by a preliminary example. This preliminary example shall be taken from the way in which small children are taught their letters. At first they may be given a set of very simple syllables which they soon read off exactly. But they still make mistakes in recognizing these very same combinations when they meet with them elsewhere. We correct their mistakes by making them compare the combinations they have misread with the standard alphabet or syllabary they have already mastered. This is their exemplar; the purpose of repeatedly referring them back to it is to make them able to detect unerringly any combination given them when they meet with it again in a new setting. This is the function of every example (277c-278d).

Now for our example of the kind of discrimination which will be necessary, if we are to distinguish the statesman’s "tendance" of the community from all cognate or analogous occupations. We may take it from the humble industry of weaving woolen garments. If we set to work to distinguish the weaver’s industry from every other, a series of obvious "divisions" — we need not repeat them, though Plato gives them — soon leads us to the result that it is the industry of fashioning defenses against climate and weather by the intertexture of wools (279b-280d). But this statement, though true, is not sufficiently precise. If we described the weaver as occupied with the "tendance" of clothes, wool-carders, fullers, stitchers, and others, to say nothing of the makers of the implements they all use, might put in a claim to be called "weavers." If we are to avoid this difficulty, we must, in the first place, distinguish carefully between the art which actually makes a thing, and those which only contribute in a subsidiary way to its production — the principal and the subordinate arts (281d-e). Next, among principal "arts" concerned with clothes, we must set aside those which have to do with cleansing, repairing, and adorning the material; this is "tendance of clothes but not the kind of tendance exercised by the weaver (282c). Next, if we consider the work of actually making the clothes, which we will call "working in wool" (ταλασιουργική), we can divide it into two kinds, each of which may be subdivided again. Part of the work consists in separation of the composite (the carding of the wool is an illustration); part consists in combining the separate into one. And this work of combining may take either of two forms, twisting or interlacing (282d). Both the warp and the woof of the intended web are made by twisting (or spinning), the one being spun closer and |399| the other less close; the weaving is the subsequent interlacing of the threads of warp and woof to make the web (283a). We might, of course, have made so simple a statement without going through the tedious series of divisions which have led up to it. They might be thought superfluous and unduly prolix. This leads us into a digression on the true standard of proportion in discourse generally (283c).

We may distinguish two kinds of measurement (μετρητική) and two standards of measure — one extrinsic and relative, the other intrinsic and absolute (the actual names are mine, not Plato’s). We may measure things as great and small simply by reference to one another, or by reference to the standard of τὸ μέτριον (moderate), the right amount, or, as it is also expressed, in words meant to sound paradoxical, κατὰ τὴν τὴς γενέσεως ἀναγκαίαν οὐσίαν ("by the standard of the being which is indispensable to the production" 283d). (The meaning is, to take a simple example, that a teaspoonful of a liquid may be "very little" by comparison with a bucketful; but it is dreadfully "too much," a dreadful "overdose," if the liquid contains a concentrated poison, medicinal in minute doses.) The arts and their products, for example both statesmanship and the art of weaving, of which we have just spoken, are constantly employing this standard of the "just proportionate" in estimating excess and defect; it is by adhering to it that "all good things" are produced and preserved. To demonstrate the reality of this intrinsic standard of measurement might prove as long a business as we found it to demonstrate the reality of "what is not," and, as we do not wish to be led too far away from our immediate topic, it is sufficient for our purpose to point out that unless we recognize it we shall have to deny the very possibility of applying science to the regulation of action (284a-d). (This thought of a "just right mean" and its significance for action will meet us again still more prominently in the Philebus. From the use made of it in the Ethics it has come to be spoken of familiarly as the Aristotelian principle of the Mean. In justice to both Aristotle and Plato it is necessary to point out that the whole doctrine is Platonic, and that Aristotle never makes any claim to its authorship, though he is careful to call attention, throughout the Ethics, to the points on which he believes himself to be correcting Plato and the Academy.)

Thus the sciences generally fell into two classes — those which measure numbers, lengths, areas, velocities, etc., against one another, and those which take as the standard of their measurements the right mean (μέτριον), the appropriate (πρέπον), the seasonable (καιρός), the morally necessary (δέον). The saying that "all science is measurement" is only true on the condition that we remember this distinction between two kinds of measurement. (Thus Plato combines the view that "science is measurement" with strict adherence to the principle of the absoluteness of moral and aesthetic values.) As an illustration of the point, we |400| cannot answer the question whether the disquisitions of the present conversation or of yesterday’s are "excessively long" except by considering that our primary object has not been to define the weaver’s work or even the statesman’s, but to train our souls in the accurate apprehension of the most important realities those which are incorporeal and unseen. If this purpose could not have been equally effected by a quicker method, our longest digressions cannot be said to have been "too long" (284e-287b).

We now return to the main argument. The example has impressed it on us that in defining a science it is indispensable to discriminate it from others which are (a) subsidiary to it; (b) analogous, but not identical with it. We must try to make this double discrimination for the case of the statesman (287b-305d).

Arts or callings subsidiary to a principal "art" will, with a little forcing, come under one of the following heads:

  1. Those which make the instruments used by the principal art as its implements;
  2. Those which make vessels for the safe keeping of products of all kinds;
  3. Those which make stands and vehicles (ὀχήματα)
  4. Those which make coverings and defenses of all kinds;
  5. Those which ornament and embellish a product, and make it tasteful — arts of "play";
  6. Those which fabricate what the principal art uses as its "raw material";
  7. Those which provide nutriment of all kinds (287c-289c).

If we add one other branch of art, "the rearing of herds" already often mentioned, this classification will cover all our "property" (κτήματα), except slaves and personal servants (i.e. except those human "chattels" who directly assist a man, in a subordinate way, in the actual living of his life). (The thought is that the only piece of "property" which cannot be reckoned, roughly speaking, under the head of "implements" or "provisions," is the "chattel" who is also your assistant in the work of living. You could not well apply to the services of your confidential clerk — who at Athens would have been your "property" — the formula that his business is to make, or to take care of, that which you use. He really is, in his degree, contributing to the actual "tendance" of your soul.) Thus there is the same sort of analogy between the work of the king and that of a personal servant or slave as between the work of the weaver and that of the carder or spinner. The person whom it would be most excusable to mistake for the king — the irony is characteristically Platonic — is the "menial" (289c). For all his pomp and circumstance, the king really is very much like a "menial servant."

We should expect, then, that the most plausible false pretender to the functions of the king would be some class of menials. On inspection we find, however, that most menials never dream of advancing such pretensions. If we extend the range of the term |401| to include all who render "personal services" we may bring seers (μάντεις) and priests under it; both seer and priest are "messengers" or "errand-runners" of a sort (290c-d). Now we are getting on the track of the pretender we wish to detect. Seers and priests are persons of self-importance and "prestige" as we see from many examples, particularly from that of Egypt, where it is a rule that the king must be a priest. But the pretender whom it is hardest to distinguish from the true statesman or king is a rather different creature, who, like the sophist, has many disguises, and may, in fact, be said to be the greatest "wizard" (γόης) and sophist of all (291c). What he really is we may discover from the following considerations.

There are three well-known types of government: monarchy (the rule of a single person), oligarchy (rule by a small select group), democracy (rule by the general citizen body). But we may add that the first two have two forms, so that the whole number of types should be reckoned as five. The single person may rule in accord with law and with the consent of the ruled,28 or he may rule by mere force, without law; in the first case we call him a monarch, in the second a "tyrant" (dictator, usurper). So the rule of the few, based on law, is aristocracy; the lawless rule of the few by mere force is oligarchy. Democracy commonly retains the name whether it is based on law or on mere force (291d-292a). This is the current popular classification of forms of government. (It is, in fact, that regularly insisted on by Isocrates, a good representative of "popular culture.") But is the classification really scientific? We have already seen that kingship or ruling is a directive science. The one relevant distinction between claimants to be rulers is therefore their possession or want of this science, not the distinctions between rule by the rich and rule by the poor, rule by fewer or more persons, on which the current classification is founded (292c). Now real knowledge of the science of ruling men is a very rare thing — rarer even than first-rate knowledge of draughts, though even that is rare enough. The number of genuine statesmen must be exceedingly few (293a). Those few, because they have scientific knowledge of principles, will be. true kings or statesmen, whether they exercise their profession with the popular consent or not, with a written law as a control or not, just as the man who knows the science of medicine is the true physician whether his patients like his treatment, whether he follows the prescriptions of a textbook, or not (293a-b). In any case, he, and only he, does the work of the physician, preserves the bodily health of the patients he "tends." So the one ideally right form of statesmanship is rule by the man who has true scientific knowledge about the "tendance of the soul," |402| and makes the souls of the citizens healthy, be his methods what they may (293e).

Yet it is a hard saying that it is indifferent whether government is carried on by law or without it, and our position requires further examination. Legislation is, in a sense, part of the work of a statesman, and yet the ideally best thing would be the supremacy not of the laws but of the embodied wisdom of the true king. For no law can be trusted to produce the best effects in every case; this is impossible, since the law cannot take account of the infinite variations of individual character, situation, and circumstance. Any law will give rise to "hard cases" (294b-c). Why, then, is legislation indispensable? Because it is impossible for the ruler, who is a man with the limitations of humanity, to give individual direction in each of the countless cases which have to be considered. He has to fall back on giving general directions which will suit the "average" man and the "average" situation (295a).

Now suppose that, over and beyond this, any practitioner of a directive science, e.g. a physician, were compelled to absent himself from his patients for long and frequent intervals, how would he meet the risk of their forgetting his directions? He would provide them with written memoranda of the regimen they were to follow in his absence; but if he came back sooner than he had expected, he would have no scruple about changing these written regulations if the case demanded it. So the true statesman, if he could return after an absence, would have no scruple in modifying his institutions and regulations for similar reasons, nor a second true statesman in changing those of a first (295e). It is popularly said that an innovation in the laws is permissible if the proposer can persuade the city to adopt it, but not otherwise. Yet we should not say that a medical man who insisted on breaking through a written rule of treatment when he thought it necessary to do so had committed a fault in medical treatment because the patient had objected to the departure from the "books"; so if a statesman makes the citizens better men by forcing them to innovate on their written and inherited laws, we must not say that he has committed a fault in his science, a "crime or a "wrong" (296c). Nor does a man’s claim to make such innovations depend on superior wealth; the one and only relevant qualification is his wisdom and goodness. If he has these qualifications, he is entitled to save the "vessel of the State" as his goodness and wisdom direct, just as an actual pilot shapes his course by his living "art," not by a written rule. The wise ruler has only one rule which is inviolable, the rule of doing what is wise and right (τὸ μετὰ νου καὶ τέχνης δικαιότατον, 297b) ("following the dictates of mind and art"). The one perfect "form of government" would be government by the living insight of such an ideal ruler; all others are mere imperfect "imitations," of varying degrees of merit.

In the absence of such an ideal ruler, that is, in the actual circumstances of human life, the best course is the very one we have just pronounced absurd where the ideal ruler is presupposed. The |403| laws ought to be absolutely sovereign, and violation of them should be a capital crime in a public man (297e). We may illustrate the point by recurring to the examples of the navigator and the physician. It is quite true that the competent navigator or physician frequently puts us to grave inconvenience and discomfort, and actually expects to be paid for doing so. But if this led us to make a rule that no one should practice these callings αὐτοκράτωρ (with full authority), but that anyone who pleased might follow them on the condition of always adhering to regulations approved by a public assembly of laymen, we should get very strange results, and still stranger, if we further went on to appoint our practitioners annually by lot or by a property qualification, and required them, at the end of the year, under heavy penalties, to satisfy a court that they had infringed none of the regulations (298a-299b). If we went the further length of enacting that anyone who made a new discovery in these or any other of the practical sciences might be prosecuted as a traitor and "corrupter of youth," and put to death if convicted, there would soon be an end of science and of life itself (299b-e). But the case would be even worse if the courts entrusted with the enforcement of the supposed regulations were not expected to follow any regulations themselves, but were free to give their verdicts as personal considerations prompted (300a). After all, there was some experience (πειρα) which suggested these rules, and some intelligence employed in getting them generally accepted; they were not the expression of mere individual greed or vanity or caprice.

The laws are at least an approximate "imitation" of the principles on which the living ideal "king" would act. As we said, such a man would refuse to be bound by formulae when they do not really apply. In this one respect of departing from formula and precedent, the politicians who disregard the law are like the true statesman. But, since they are by hypothesis ignorant of the principles of statesmanship, they imitate his "innovations" badly they depart from law and precedent in the wrong cases and for wrong reasons. In any community where the ruler is not the ideal scientific statesman, and that means in every society where the "sovereign" is a body of several men, and most, if not all, when he is one man, the law ought to be absolutely paramount (301a). (This means that we must eliminate from "practical politics" the "rule of the saints" at which the Pythagorean brotherhood had aimed in the cities of Magna Graecia. The infallible ruler would be a god or a superman. Supermen are not found in the historical world; there, the sovereignty of law is the succedaneum for an actual theocracy, as is further explained in the fourth book of the Laws.)

These considerations explain why in actual fact we find five, not merely three, distinguishable forms of government. When the "well-to-do" govern with strict regard for law we have aristocracy; when they disregard law, oligarchy. One person ruling with |404| reverence for law is so near an imitation of the ideal statesman that we give him the same name of king. When he "pretends to act, like the true statesman, always for the best, unhampered by regulations," but is really inspired by ignorance and lust, we call him a tyrant. Democracy receives one and the same name, whether it rests on a fundamental law or not. Since the perfect scientific statesman is not met in actual life, and his place has to be taken by very imperfect laws which must not be contravened, it is not surprising that the public life of states should be as unsatisfactory as it is; the real marvel is that some of them exhibit as much vitality and permanence as they do (302a).

It is an important, if not strictly relevant, question which of these various constitutions is least unsatisfactory. We may say at once that monarchy, the rule of a single person, is the best of all, if it is strictly subject to good fundamental laws; in the form of sheer personal rule without laws, "tyranny," it is worst of all. As for the "rule of a few," it is "middling"; the rule of the multitude, from the inevitable subdivision of the sovereign power, is weakest of all for good or evil. Thus, where there is a fundamental law, monarchy is the best constitution, aristocracy the second, democracy the worst; where caprice rules instead of law, democracy is least bad, oligarchy worse, despotism worst of all. (There is likely to be more "fundamental decency" in a big crowd than in a little "ring," and least of all in an uncontrolled autocrat, 302b-303b.)

We can now at last say who are the serious pretenders to the name of the statesman or king, from whom it is so important to discriminate him. They are the men of affairs in the imperfect constitutions, who delude themselves and their admirers into false belief in their practical wisdom; they call themselves πολιτικοί (statesmen), but are really στασιαστικοί (party politicians). These are the supreme "wizards" and "sophists" of the world (303c).

We have now, so to say, purged away all the dross from our concept of statesmanship; only good ore is left. But as "adamant," itself a precious thing, is separated from gold in the last stages of the process of refining, so we have still to distinguish statesmanship from the tasks of the soldier, the judge, the preacher of righteousness who "persuades men" into goodness by the noble use of eloquence. Reflection satisfies us that the business of the statesman is not to persuade or to win battles, but to decide whether persuasion or enforcement shall be adopted, whether war shall be made or not. So his business is not to administer the laws but to make the laws which the courts then administer. Each of the callings just mentioned has charge of one action, the proper performance of which is its contribution to the "tendance" of the city; the statesman’s superior function is to control and coordinate all these inferior activities (303d-305e). His task is to weave together all classes in the State into the one fabric of the life of the whole.

Just as a web is made by the inter-texture of the stiffer threads |405| of the warp and the softer of the woof, so the garment of national life or character has corresponding components: there are the harder and sturdier and the softer and gentler temperaments, as material. Speaking generally, there are two main types of temperament — the adventurous, keen, and masculine, and the quiet and gentle. The very "virtues" of the two are, in a way, opposed; that of the one is valour, that of the other modesty and orderliness (σωφροςύνη = sophrosyne). And either, carried to the extreme and untempered by the other, degenerates, the one into harshness, violence, and fury, the other into softness and sloth. If the life of a society permanently takes its tone from the predominance of the softer type, it begins by being unambitious, peaceful, and neighborly, but there is the risk that, for sheer want of grit and backbone, the city will end by being enslaved; where the adventurous, ambitious type prevail, the same result is likely to follow from the hostilities in which such a society is sure to be entangled by its aggressiveness (308a). The task of true statesmanship is just to weave these two contrasted strains well and deftly together. The true statesman would begin by a careful testing of the temperaments in the State; he would then demand that the educator should train the characters of the young, so as to make them into the right kind of material from which to weave the fabric of a sound public life, as the weaver of cloth looks to the carder and others to provide him with properly prepared yarn (308d). Thoroughly intractable temperaments would be excluded by death and banishment, or at least reduced to the status of slavery (309a).

The statesman then proceeds to give instruction for the interweaving of the threads he has selected, the characters who can be trained into the combination of valour with sophrosyne. He will regard as the threads of his warp the temperaments in which the original bias is to action and adventure, as the threads of the woof the tamer and quieter. The actual weaving of the two together is a double process; the "everlasting" in the souls of the citizens will be knit by a "divine" bond, the merely "animal" by a "human." The "divine" bond is constituted by "true and assured beliefs" about good and right, bad and wrong. These the statesman will look to the educator to provide. The effect of such an education is to make the naturally daring soul gentler by teaching it respect for the rights of others, and to develop the natural orderliness of the quiet and unambitious into sophrosyne and wisdom. This education, which corrects the bias of each type, is the "divine" bond which most effectively produces unity of life and character, but it will only produce its full effect in the finest souls. The "human" and inferior way of producing unity in the society is to take care that marriages are contracted on the right principles.

At present, to say nothing of marriages based on equality in fortune or rank, the tendency is for persons of the same type of temperament to mate with one another, the adventurous with the adventurous, the quiet with the quiet. But this is a false principle, |406| and militates against real unity of spirit in the community. The right principle would be that persons in whom either bias is present should be mated with partners of the other bias. This would not only prevent the society from falling outwardly into two groups without close relations, but would lead to a canceling out of one-sided bias in the children of the marriage, and so make for the permanent continuance of the type of citizen whom we must have if the community is to endure. The main necessity is to provide by the right kind of education that both "temperamental" types shall have the same convictions about good and evil; if this is once attained, the further unification of the community by proper regulations about marriage and the like is an easy task (309b-311a). When the fabric has been thus duly woven, it only remains for the statesman to constitute the officials necessary for the administration. Where a single official is required, he will take care to select one who exhibits the union of the two strains of temperament of which we have spoken. Where a board has to be constituted, he will see that both types are properly represented, so that the energy and vigour of one part of its members tempers and is tempered by the gentleness and caution of the other part (311a-b). This is how the science of the statesman directs and controls the construction of the most glorious of all fabrics, the garment of a righteous and happy national life.

It will be observed that the dialogue is peculiarly rich, apart from its immediate political teaching, in ideas which have passed over into the substance of Aristotelian ethics. Thus, in addition to the conception of the "intrinsic" standard of the Right Mean, we may mention the distinction between Cognitive and Practical Science, which corresponds to Aristotle’s fundamental distinction between Theoretical and Practical Philosophy;29 the conception of the relation of a directive," or, as Aristotle says, "architectonic" science to its subordinate disciplines, together with the specification of the two marks of the "directive" science — that it uses what its subordinate disciplines make, and that it superintends and regulates their practitioners; the conception of the science of the statesman — Politics — as being, in virtue of its concern with the production of the good life for the community, the single supreme directive practical science; the insistence upon education, which provides the statesman with his proximate raw material, men and women with the right type of character, as the most important of all the disciplines subservient to statesmanship. All these conceptions happen to be more familiar to us from the Ethics and Politics than from the Politicus, but it is from the Politicus that |407| Aristotle took them, as is shown by the frequency with which he echoes his master’s phraseology and repeats his illustrations.

See further:
Burnet. Greek Philosophy, Part I., 273-301; Platonism. 1928, c. 5.
Ritter, C. Platon, ii. 120-165, 185-258, 642-657; Platons Dialoge, 25-67;
  Neue Untersuchungen ueber Platon, 1-94.
Raeder, H. Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 317-354.
Natorp, P. Platons Ideenlehre, 271-296, 331-338.
Apelt, O. Platonische Aufsatze, 238-290. 1912.
Apelt, O. Platonis Sophista. Leipzig, 1897.
Stewart, J. A. Plato’s Doctrine of Ideas, 84-91; Myths of Plato, 173-211
  The Politicus Myth.
Dies, A. Autour de Platon, ii., 352-399, 450-522.
Barker, E. Greek Political Theory: Plato and his Predecessors, 276-291.
Campbell, L. Sophistes and Politicus of Plato. Oxford, 1867.
Dies, A. Platon, Le Sophiste, Paris, 1925, and Platon, Politique Paris, 1935.
Cornford, F. H. Plato’s Theory of Knowledge.
  Translation of Theaetetus and Sophistes with
  Commentary, London, 1935.
Stenzel, J. Zahl und Gestalt bei Platon und Aristoteles, 10-23, 126-133. Leipzig, 1924.
And for the history of Plato’s relations with Dion and Dionysius II, the full treatment in Meyer, E. Geschichte des Altertums, v. 497-528.

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1^ The Sophistes and Politicus would have to be dated earlier if E. Meyer and others were justified in identifying them with the διαιρέσεις spoken of in Epinomis xiii as sent with that letter to Dionysius (i.e. in 366 or at latest 365). But the way in which these διαιρέσεις are mentioned (op. cit. 360b) should show that the reference is not to works of Plato, but to specimens or samples of "divisions" (πέμπω σοι των διαρεσέων — partitive genitive).

2^ History of Greece, chapters lxxxiv-lxxxv.

3^ Geschichte des Altertums, v. 497-528.

4^ Greek Philosophy, Part I., 294-301.

5^ Helicon would thus represent at once the political ideas of Isocrates, the mathematics of Eudoxus and the formal logic, of Megara.

6^ The request is not, as often supposed, for portions for all the nieces. Plato asks to be helped, if necessary, to portion the eldest niece, now on the point of marrying. He mentions the portioning of the others, one of whom is an infant, simply as possible future contingencies. The dowry he thinks necessary, thirty minae, is not, as some have supposed, a large one, but, as the letter says, a "moderate" or "middle-class" portion, as will be seen by reference to contemporary speeches for the courts which deal with these matters.

7^ There is no question of a private plot between Plato and Dionysius against Dion’s family happiness. The dissolution of a "royal" marriage, if that is really the matter in question, is an "affair of state." and it would be quite proper in a young monarch to ask confidential advice on such a point. Plato’s answer is plainly meant as a strong dissuasive.

8^ Thus the question arises, Did Plato intend to devote a further dialogue to the character of the "philosopher," and if he did, must we suppose that he abandoned his design, or are we to identify the Philosopher with some existing dialogue? In antiquity some persons thought of the Epinomis (Diogenes Laertius Vita Platonis, 60; so, doubtfully, Raeder, Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 354). Moderns have thought of the Parmenides (Stallbaum, at one time, Zeller), Phaedo (Schleiermacher), Republic vi-vii. (Spengel), Symposium (Schleiermacher). Chronological reasons, even if there were no others, make all these suggestions impossible except the first. This also seems excluded by the impossibility of regarding the Epinomis as anything but a part of the Laws.

9^ 231a 3, μὴ μεῑζον αὐτοῑς προσάπτωμεν γέρας. Ostensibly the remark is ironical. Socrates, for example, who made it a point in his defense that he had never professed to be able to "educate men," would say that he had never aspired to so fine a name as σοφιστής. But the suggestion is intended that the practitioner of the Socratic method is the "philosopher" whom it is the nominal purpose of the dialogue to distinguish from the sophist. φιλόσοφος, as we have learned from the Symposium, is a less assuming designation than σοφος (or its equivalent σοφιστής), but the character is the loftier. (Campbell’s interpretation in loc. cit. that "the sophist seems scarce worthy of so high a dignity" seems to me to miss the irony and to be grammatically impossible.) The connexion of 231a with what follows in 231b is simply that the speaker proposes, for the time being, to disregard the scruple he has just raised and to define the sophist in terms which are really applicable only to the true dialectician. This is, as we are to see, irony. He professes for the moment to take the eristic at his own valuation. The expression ἡ γένει γενναία σοφιστική (the sophistry of noble lineage) (231b 7), which has been oddly misunderstood, is meant merely to point the irony.

10^ Plato’s example (235e) is that in the case of the colossal work of art, the upper parts (the head of the statue, the capital of the column, etc.) must be made larger in proportion than it really should be if it is to look duly proportioned when seen from the ground.

11^ And if you try to get over the difficulty by saying that the illusion is really something, it is a "real illusion" he will merely reply that "real illusion" = "real unreality" (240b).

12^ Or is the reference to some Pythagorean cosmology? In any case, the "opposites" are those which play the chief part in the various Ionian cosmologies.

13^ τὸ γενόμενον ἀεὶ γέγονεν ὄλον, 245d 4. The meaning is that a γένεσις or process of "being evolved" is, at any moment of its duration, unfinished, a process to a goal not yet reached. So long as the process is still going on, that of which it is the "evolution" is not yet there. When it is there, the process is over and complete. That process is finished. This is the principle used by Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics x. to prove that a feeling of pleasure is not a γένεσις. Note the way in which this short section of the Sophistes assumes and recapitulates the difficulties already developed in the second part of the Parmenides.

14^ τοὺς ἄλλως λέγοντας, 245e 8. Since they are opposed to the διακριβολογούμενοι, i.e. the Eleatics, this "other side" must be pluralists of various kinds; the men of Megara cannot be included among them, as they were always regarded in antiquity as Eleatics of a kind, and are, of course, among the διακριβολογούμενοι περὶ ὄντος. This point is important.

15^ 248c 7-9. The view suggested is that acting and being acted on, both involve process and change: hence neither can be found in the realm of eternal and changeless being.

16^ Proclus in Parmenides, p. 562 Stallbaum (Cousin, iv. 149); Greek Philosophy, Part I, 91 n. i, 280.

17^ This means, to use language more familiar to ourselves, that if we can solve the question, What is implied by an affirmative "synthetic" proposition? the answer will also solve the problem about significant denial. The upshot of the whole discussion is to be a general theory of the conditions of significant non-identical assertion.

18^ I can see no allusion to Antisthenes in the use of the adjective ὀψιμαθής (opimath = late to learning) (251b 6). There is no reason why he should be dragged into the discussion, and, as he had been a pupil of Gorgias (Diogenes Laertius vi. I.), the epithet ὀψιμαθής is really not quite applicable to him.

19^ The reference is, of course, to permissible and unpermitted melodic intervals, not to the construction of "chords." Thus the parallel between γραμματική (grammar) and μουσική (music) is kept exact.

20^ 255d 3-7. The meaning is, that I cannot intelligibly say "x is different" without specifying some y from which x differs. But I can intelligibly say not only that "x is a z," but that "x is," "there is an x." To this absolute sense of "is" there is no corresponding sense of "is different." See Campbell’s note, loc. cit.

21^ I cannot agree here with Burnet (Greek Philosophy, Part I, 287 n.) that what is meant by the quality of propositions is tense. It is clear from 263b 2-3 that the speaker means "truth-value," as has usually been supposed. His point is that the two statements about Theaetetus have opposed "quality"; but both of them have the same tense. For a similar reference to "true" and "false" as the "qualities" of propositions, which Burnet has overlooked, see Philebus, 37b 10-c2.

22^ The language, perhaps, must not be unduly pressed, but it proves at least that the idea of "creation ex nihilo" was quite intelligible to Plato.

23^ The language of 266a 1 about the division in πλάτος (breadth) presupposes this diagram):

Divine creation of actualities.
Divine creation of images.
Human creation of actualities.
Human creation of images.

24^ The statement of Aristotle is that "the younger Socrates" used to regard the "material" constituent in the human organism as falling completely outside the definition of man, exactly as the bronze of which a disc is made falls outside the definition of circle. Aristotle’s own view is that there is a difference in this respect between a "physical" and a mathematical definition. It is indispensable to mention in the "physical" definition the fact that the material constituents in which the formula is embodied are such-and-such. (Just as it would be no adequate definition of water to say that it is "two units of something with one of another": you must specify that the two units are units of hydrogen, and the one a unit of oxygen.)

25^ This seems to be proved by the illustration of Topics 160b 28 ff., where it is supposed that "if Socrates is sitting, he is writing." Obviously the allusion is to a scene in the lecture-room; Socrates is one of the audience and it is wrongly inferred that he must be taking notes of the lecture. So the common examples, S. is λευκός (pale)," "is μουσικός." are not naturally understood of the famous Socrates. He is not likely to have been "pallid"; it is impossible to see an allusion to the Phaedo in his "sitting" and his "music."

26^ For the "world-ship" see Early Greek Philosophy, III.294, with notes in loc. cit. On the whole "myth" cf. Stewart, The Myths of Plato, 173-211; Adam, Republic of Plato, ii. 295 ff. As to the "sea," see Politicus, 273e 1, where the true reading is not τόπον, as given by MSS. and editors, but πόντον. This is not a conjecture of Stallbaum, but the best authenticated text, as it is the only reading recognized by Proclus, who frequently refers to the passage. The variant τόπον is senseless, but may be ancient, since it appears at Plotinus, Enneads i. 8, 13, ἐν τῳ της ἀνομοιότητος τόπῳ — a passage where the metaphor of the ship is missing, unless, indeed, Plotinus also wrote πόντῳ, as is just possible.

27^ The humorous zest of the description of life in the days when it began with old age and ended with babyhood ought of itself to prevent us from taking the story seriously. The cosmological story of Timaeus is given, not indeed as science, but as a "likely story," and Plato is careful, for that reason, to allow no such extravagances in it. We may reasonably infer that Plato regards the whole conception of the happiness of the alleged "state of nature" as a mere unhistorical fancy. In the real world to which we belong, man has painfully fought his way up out of hunger, nakedness, and savagery. The state of nature" dreamed of by sentimentalists belongs to the unhistorical world where animals talk. Adam (loc. cit.) is an example of the danger of reading Plato without a sense of humor.

28^ It is assumed that government resting on a law of the constitution is the same thing as government by consent of the governed. This is in accord with the current view that νόμος is συνθήκη πολιτων ("the convention of the citizens") (citizens accord). It is not meant that anything like the original formal "social compact" has ever passed.

29^ There is the difference that Aristotle, unlike Plato, insists that Politics is a practical science. This is a mere verbal difference. Plato’s reason for calling it cognitive is that, though it deals with ωράξεις, its work is not manipulative, but the giving of directions, an intellectual task. Aristotle’s real reason for denying Politics the name of "theoretical" science is that he is preoccupied, in a way in which Plato is not, by his distinction between necessary and contingent subject-matter.

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XVI. The Philebus

In the Philebus we are once more dealing with "practice," and more specifically with "individual" morality. The dialogue is a straightforward discussion of the question whether the "good for man" can be identified either with pleasure or with the life of thought. Socrates once more takes the part of chief speaker, a place given him in no other dialogue later than the Theaetetus. The explanation of this is no doubt, as Burnet has said, that the subject-matter, the application of Pythagorean "categories" to problems of conduct, is precisely that which Plato represents as having always been his chief interest. I think it significant that, as we shall see, all through the discussion the "categories" with which Socrates works are the Pythagorean concepts of the Unbounded, the Limit, and their synthesis. We know from Aristotle that one of the characteristic divergences of Plato from the Pythagoreans was that he substituted for their antithesis of the Boundless and the Limit that of the Boundless, conceived as "unbounded in both directions" (the Great-and-Small), and the One.1 (On the Pythagorean view, the One, or Unit, was the simplest synthesis of the Boundless with Limit.) It is clear, since Aristotle never hints at any change in Plato’s teaching, that the doctrine he calls Platonic must have been taught in the Academy as early as his own arrival there in 367; the Philebus is certainly one of the latest works of Plato’s life, and must have been written years after 367, but it still uses the Pythagorean, not the Platonic, antithesis. I can see no explanation except the simple one that for the purposes of the discussion the Pythagorean categories are satisfactory, and that Plato is unwilling to make Socrates expound what he knows to be a novelty of his own.

There are no data for determining the relative dates of composition of Philebus, Timaeus, Laws. Presumably the composition of the Laws was going on when the other two were written. The dramatic date of the conversation cannot be fixed, except that from Philebus 58a 7 we see that it is later than the first visit of Gorgias to Athens; the scene is also left unspecified, though it is, no doubt, "somewhere in (or about) Athens. The two young men who figure as interlocutors, Protarchus and Philebus, are entirely |409| unknown to us.2 Socrates addresses the former as "son of Callias," but the name Callias was a common one, and we cannot say what Callias is meant, except that it cannot be Socrates’ acquaintance Callias the "millionaire" whose children were mere boys at the time of Socrates’ trial (Apology, 20a).

If we know so little about the date of the dialogue, we seem able to say much more definitely than for most of the dialogues what were the circumstances which occasioned its composition. The object of the discussion is to examine two rival theses about the “good”: (a) that it is pleasure (ἡδονή), (b) that it is "thinking" τὀ φρνειν, τὀ νοειν. The way in which the theses are formulated at the outset (11b) suggests at once that we are dealing with a quaestio disputata within a regular philosophical school. When we find that the purpose of the dialogue is to criticise both, to dismiss both as inadequate, and to suggest a via media, the impression naturally arises that Plato, as head of the Academy, is acting as "moderator" in a dispute within his own school. The evidence of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics seems to convert the possibility into a certainty. As is well known, Aristotle there deals twice over with the problem of the relation between good and pleasure. In the discussion of the seventh book, he starts with an anti-Hedonist thesis that pleasure is not good at all, examines the arguments adduced by its defenders, and urges that they are so inconclusive that they do not even prove that pleasure is not the supreme good.

“{Aristotle’s} arguments are all taken from Platonic dialogues,
including the Philebus itself, but employed to prove something
different from the conclusions drawn in Plato.”

The arguments are all taken from Platonic dialogues, including the Philebus itself, but employed to prove something different from the conclusions drawn in Plato. Since one of these is that "pleasure must be bad, because it hinders thought" — a misrepresentation of the argument of Phaedo 66a ff. — the persons who advanced them clearly held that the good is "thinking" (τὀ φρονειν), the thesis pitted against the identification of good with pleasure at the opening of our dialogue. Aristotle incidentally mentions among their arguments the contention that pleasure cannot be the good because pleasure and pain are both bad things which a wise man avoids, and names the author of the doctrine, Speusippus.3 In the second discussion of the subject, he also tells us who the person who identified "the good" with pleasure was; it was the famous |410| mathematician Eudoxus, and his argument was precisely that which is hinted at in the opening words of the Philebus (11b 5) and alluded to again at its close (67b 1), that pleasure is the one end which all living things instinctively and spontaneously pursue (Nicomachean Ethics 1172b 9-15). These references seem to make it certain that the issue discussed in the dialogue is one which had actually divided the members of the Academy, the question what is really meant by the Platonic "form of Good." One party thinks that it means pleasure, the other that it means thought.4e The attitude taken by Plato in the dialogue to this discussion is, to all intents and purposes, precisely that of the "moderator" in the schools of the Middle Ages "determining" a quaestio disputata. The arguments produced by both parties arc reviewed and weighed, and the balance is struck between the disputants. It is decided that the issue shall be narrowed down to a consideration of the "good for man" in particular. When the question has thus been delimited, it is "determined" by the answer that neither pleasure alone nor thought alone is the “good” or best life for men; the best life must include both thought and grateful feeling; bat of the two, thought is the "predominant partner." This is, in fact, the conclusion to which the discussion is made to lead; it is also the verdict given on the same issue in Aristotle’s Ethics, which owe more of their inspiration to the Philebus than to any other Platonic dialogue.

The Question Propounded (11a-20b).— What is "the good"? Philebus has an answer to this question: "pleasure, joy, delight," this is the good for all living creatures. Socrates disputes this: "thought, intelligence, memory, true judgment," are better than pleasure "for all who can share in them" (11b). Thus Philebus originally makes an assertion not simply about the good for man in particular, but about good universal, "the" good. Socrates commits himself to no assertion about good universal, but asserts that for an intelligent being, like man, there is something better than pleasure, namely, the exercise of intelligence. If we are to decide between those conflicting views, we must at least agree on the sense to be put on the phrase, "the good for man." We may take it that both of us mean by this phrase "a condition and state (ἕξις καὶ διάθεσις) of soul which can make any man’s life happy" (11d).5 The question is whether pleasure, or again, thought, or possibly something better than either, is that "state and condition." |411| In this last case, we should have to say that neither pleasant feeling nor thought is, by itself, the good for man, but we should still have to say that whichever of the two is most akin to the complete good for man is the better of them (11e). (These remarks foreshadow the coming conclusion that the "good for man" includes both components, but that thought is the more valuable of the two.)

Now "pleasure" is a word with many shades of meaning. A "life of pleasure" often means a vicious life, yet we say that the continent man finds his very continence pleasant; we talk of the "pleasures" of folly and extravagant daydreams, but we also say that the "thinking man" finds his thinking pleasant. Thus there may be pleasures of many kinds, and we have no right to assume that all must be good (12d). You may say, as the Hedonist does, that the difference of which Socrates speaks is a difference in the sources from which pleasure is derived, not in the pleasure yielded, but this would be evading the real issue. All pleasant experiences agree in being pleasant, just as all coloured surfaces agree in being coloured. But there are more or less marked colour-contrasts also. Why then may there not be pleasure-contrasts within the genus pleasure? If there are, this will be a reason for hesitating to ascribe the predicate good to all pleasures.

"Pleasure is good" is, in fact, a synthetic proposition (13a), and therefore we cannot assume the impossibility of regarding some pleasures as good, but others as bad. They are all, of course, pleasant, but pleasantness might be present both in good and in bad experiences. Similarly, if we consider the rival thesis, that thought is "the good" we can see that it is one thing to make the analytic propositions "science is science," "knowledge is knowledge," another to say that "science (or knowledge) is good." If there are a plurality of "sciences," or other activities of intellect, some of them may conceivably be good, others bad (14a). Thus we see that our present discussion raises the old and eternally recurring problem of the one and the many (14c).

One form of this problem may now be regarded as long ago disposed of, the ancient difficulty of the possession of many qualities or parts by the same individual (14d-e). This was the form in which the problem had arisen, e.g. in the Phaedo; presumably Plato means that the solution given there is sufficient to dispose of the question. The case which still needs investigation is that in which the "one" is not a thing which comes into or passes out of being, but belongs to the non-phenomenal order. This case gives rise to three questions: (a) whether there really are such non-phenomenal "units"; (b) how we are to reconcile their unity with their reality or being;6 (c) how we can think of such units as being at |412| once one and many. (This last question is manifestly the same which has met us in the Sophistes, the problem of the "communion" of a form itself with other forms.) These are the problems which still give rise to vehement discussion (15a-c).

We certainly cannot evade these problems; they are perpetually turning up in all our "discourses" and we must meet them as best we can (15d-16b). There is no better way of dealing with them than that of which Socrates has always been a lover. (Compare the way in which he speaks in the Phaedrus of his reverence for the true dialectician who knows how to "divide" a subject rightly.) There was long ago a Prometheus — Pythagoras is the person meant — who revealed the art by which such problems may be treated. His followers have handed down to us the tradition that "whatever is at any time said to be" is composed of the constituents limit and the unlimited. No matter what subject we study, we can find these elements in it. We can always find a single form (the allusion is to the Pythagorean doctrine that the "unit" is the first combination of limit and unlimited) — and on inspection we shall, with care, be able to discover two, or three, or some other number of definite further forms included in it. We should next take each of these forms and look for a definite number of forms included in them, and continue this process as long as fresh forms are to be found. It is only when we can no longer repeat the process that we should let things "go to infinity." In this way, the only way worthy of a dialectician, we shall discover not only that every form is at once one and infinitely many, but also how many it is (16c-17a). (That is, we must not be content to say, for example, that animal, or anything else, is one kind and also that there are an indefinite number of animals; we must attempt to make a logical division which will show us exactly what and how many species of animals we can distinguish. It is only when we have reached an infima species incapable of further logical subdivision that we may consider the indefinite multiplicity of individuals. So long as you can go on with the logical division, each genus has not an indefinite plurality but a determinate number of constituents.) Thus the grammarian must not say that articulate sound is in a sense one, and yet that there are "any number" of different articulate sounds; he must know how many distinct sounds his alphabet has to represent. To do this he has to divide articulate sounds into vowels and consonants, and the consonants again into "stops" and "sonants" It is only if he finds that these classes cannot be subdivided into sub-classes that he may then enumerate the individual vowels, stops, or sonants. Thus definite number (the number of the constituent species and sub-species) is everywhere the intermediate link between the one genus and its indefinitely numerous members (17b-18d).

We must apply this consideration of method to our special moral problem. Before we can decide whether all pleasure or all thinking is good or not, we must know not only that pleasure is one |413| and knowledge one, and again that there are "ever so many" pleasures and forms of knowledge, but also how many there are. The question is, in fact, whether we can discover distinct "forms" or "kinds" (εἴδη) of pleasure or of thinking, and hew many. But this is a long and perplexing inquiry, and Protarchus would be glad if Socrates could find some way of deciding the immediate question whether thinking is better than pleasure without raising this more fundamental issue (20a-b).

Preliminary Delimitation of the Problem – Neither Pleasure nor Thought Alone Is the Good for Man (20c-22c). — Socrates, as we shall see, has no serious intention of allowing the question whether there are "kinds" of pleasure to be shirked. But we can get rid of one of the issues raised without going so deep into the matter. He seems to remember hearing — perhaps in a dream — that "the good" is neither pleasure nor thought, but something better than both. If that should be true, we can, at any rate, dispose of the doctrine that pleasure is the good, and we can deal with this point without going into the question about "kinds" of pleasure (20c), if we can agree on certain "notes"7 characteristic of the supreme good and find that pleasures do not exhibit these notes. Obviously it is a note of the good that it is something "finished" or "complete" (τέλεον), and consequently that it is "sufficient" (ἱκανόν), and finally, therefore, that it is the one thing and the whole of the thing at which any creature which apprehends it ever aims, the whole and complete fulfillment of desire (20d).8 We may thus make it a criterion of the good for man that it is what any one of us who knows what it is would choose in preference to anything else, and would be completely satisfied by. Judged by this criterion, neither pleasure nor "thought" can be that good. Even a professed Hedonist would not choose by preference a life simply made up of moments of intense pleasurable feeling and nothing else. He would want to be aware that he is feeling pleasure in the present, to remember that he has felt it in the past, and to anticipate that he will feel it in the future. Thus he would demand intellectual activity as well as feeling to make him happy; a life all feeling would be that of an oyster rather than of a man. The same thing is true about a life which is all thinking and no feeling. No man would choose a life of mere intellectual activity entirely neutral in feeling-tone. Any man would prefer a "mixed" life, which contains both "thought" and pleasant feeling. The "mixed life" is thus better for man than the unmixed. A life of "unmixed" feeling would only be "complete" and "sufficient" for a brute, or perhaps a plant; a life of "unmixed" intellect may perhaps be suitable to |414| God, but not to man. The good for man must exhibit both factors. But the real problem of our dialogue still remains. Does the "mixed life" owe its goodness primarily to the presence of thought in it, or to the presence of pleasant feeling? Which is preponderantly the cause of its goodness? Socrates must not expect to be "let off" this discussion, and to deal with it we shall require to follow a long and difficult line of thought. This brings us to the main argument of the dialogue.

The Relative Significance and Place of Pleasure and Thought in the Good for Man (23c-66d) — Formal Character of Each (23c-30e). — Anything which is actual can be placed in one of four classes: (a) infinite or unbounded (τὸ ἄπειρον); (b) limit (πέρας); (c) the "mixture" or combination of both these constituents; (d) the cause which brings them together (23c-e). To explain a little more precisely: "temperature" or, in the Greek phrase, "hotter and colder," is an example of what we mean by (a). We can call it "infinite" or "boundless" because anything can always be made hotter or colder than it is; there is no temperature which is the maximum or minimum conceivable, and again, if you have two different degrees of temperature, you can insert between them an endless number of intermediate temperatures different from both. Since temperature may be increased or diminished, we may also call it a "great and small" or "a less and more" (a μέγα καὶ μικρόν), and this, as we know from Aristotle, was Plato’s own name for what the Pythagoreans, whose language Socrates is using in our dialogue, called the ἄπειρον. And what we can say about temperature, we can equally say about everything which allows of indefinite variation in magnitude or in degree, admits of "more and less," or such qualifications as "intense," "slight." We may thus class together all that admits of such variation under one single head as the "infinite" (24e). The "infinite" is thus what we should call quality with a continuous range.

By the "limit," again, as a single "form" we mean whatever does not admit "the more and the less," but admits such predicates as "the equal," "the double," in a word, whatever is "as an integer to an integer or a measure to a measure" (25b). The limit (πέρας) means thus precise mathematical determination, number, ratio, measure. (The last is added to cover the case of "surd" ratios, like that of 1: √2 or side of square: diagonal.)

The "mixed" class, or "mixture of the two," means a precise and definitely determined magnitude or intensity of any quality. (Thus, e.g., temperature is an ἄπειρον, 20° is a πέρας, a temperature of 20° C. is an instance of the "mixture"; rainfall is an ἄπειρον, 6 is a πέρας, but a rainfall of 6 inches is a μεικτόν, and so on,) The introduction of determination into a "more and less" is precisely what we call a genesis, or process of becoming. (E.g., to raise water to a temperature of 100 C. is the "process" of making it boil, it is also the introduction of the "limit" 100 into the ἄπειρον, temperature.)

|415| Now we note that health in the body, proper attunement in music, beauty and proportion in a body or a face, good climate, and the like, all depend on the production of definite "limit" or ratio in an ἄπειρον of some kind; departure from this proper ratio produces disease, false intervals in music, ugliness, bad climate. And the same thing holds about goodness in the soul (26b 6). The point to be made is thus that the right or sound or good state of anything is marked by definite proportion and "limit"; there may be infinitely numerous divergences from this one right proportion or equilibrium, but they are all in varying degrees bad. This is what is meant by calling the development which leads up to and stops at the production of the right proportion a γένεσις εἰς οὐσίαν, a development leading to a stable being (26d). The point is that the physician producing health in his patient, for example, may do so by steadily increasing the proportion of the "dry," or again of the "moist," in the invalid, but he does not aim at increasing this beyond limits. There is a definite ratio of the "hot" to the "cold," or of the "moist" to the "dry," which is characteristic of health. When the genesis set up by the physician’s treatment has secured this ratio, he dismisses the patient. Health once attained, you don’t make the man healthier in indefinitum by passing further and further beyond the "limit"; you would only give him a new disease instead of the old one. This explains why we shall be told directly that all the good things in life belong to this class of the "mixed."

As for the "cause," we mean by it the agent which sets up such a process as we have described, τὸ ποιουν (26e). We have therefore to distinguish it both from that which it produces, the process or genesis, and that which "subserves it for the process," the "matter" of the process. The process we have already referred to our third class; the "matter" of the process is just the factors which are brought into combination, the unlimited and limit. This is why we had to add the fourth class to the other three. We note here that the account of the "mixed" class is the direct source of the "right mean" in Aristotle’s Ethics. "Moral" goodness, according to Aristotle’s familiar account in Nicomachean Ethics ii., is a fixed and habitual right "mean" or proportion in our appetitions and tempers, and the process of becoming good is one of "qualifying" them, i.e. training them to exhibit just the proportion demanded by the "right rule" (ὀρθὸς λόγος).9 Thus it is just such a process of γένεσις εἰς οὐσίαν, as has just been described, the ἄπειρον in the case being the indefinite degrees of frequency and intensity which tempers and appetitions admit, and the πέρας the exact degree demanded by the "right rule."

|416| Now let us apply what we have just said to our particular problem. We see that the "mixed life," including both intellectual activity and agreeable feeling, on the face of it, falls in our third class, because it has these two distinct factors. (It is intended to hint at the result to be established later, that the two factors need to be combined according to definite law and proportion.) But what about the life of pleasure recommended by Philebus, which consisted in having as much pleasure and as intense pleasure as you can get? Pleasure, and again pain, clearly belong to the class of the "infinite," since neither, in its own nature, has a minimum or a maximum (27e). Philebus thinks that it is this impossibility of ever exhausting the possibilities of pleasure which makes it so good. But you might also say that it is the same impossibility of exhausting those of pain which makes pain so bad (28a). Hence it is clear that the mere indefinite range of pleasure is no proof of its goodness. What, again, about the "intelligence" (νους), knowledge, wisdom, preferred by Socrates? Into what class does this fall? (28a). We are agreed to reject the theory that the course of the universe is random (εἰκη, 28d), and to agree with the traditional belief that it is directed by a supreme wisdom (φρόνησις) and intelligence (νους) in every particular. Now when we look at our own constitution, we see that the materials of which our body is made are only small parcels of the great cosmic masses of similar materials, and that these constituents are found in a much higher degree of purity from other ingredients elsewhere in the universe than in our bodies. The "fire" in us10 is small in bulk and "impure" in substance by comparison with the fire in the sun. And again the "fire" or "water" in us is fed and kept up by that in the larger world (29c). And generally our little body is fed by the mass of body without us (29e). By analogy, we may infer that since there is soul in us, it too comes from a greater and brighter soul in the universe. Also, we see in our own case that when things are amiss with the body, it is the intelligence, resident in the soul, which re-establishes order by means of the medical art. So we may reasonably hold that in the universe at large, the same holds good. The order in it is due to intelligence (νους), and intelligence is only found in souls. So we may hold that there are superhuman souls, and that it is their intelligence which is the cause of cosmic order (30d). And we may answer the question now before us by saying that νους (intelligence) belongs to the fourth of our classes, the class of "the cause of the mixture" (30e).11

|417| There has been a great deal of discussion on the point of the place to be assigned to the forms, as we know them from earlier dialogues, in the classification of the Philebus.12 No one has imagined that they could be reckoned as examples of the ἄπειρον, but different scholars have placed them in each of the other three classes. I do not propose to spend much time on the problem, since it seems plain that the fourfold classification has been devised with a view to a problem where the forms are not specially relevant, and the true solution is thus that they find no place in this classification. We must not look for them in the class of the "cause," since cause has been explicitly equated with agent, and it is quite certain that the forms of the Phaedo and Republic are not agents. (At least, we could only ascribe agency to the "form of Good," and that, as Socrates’ difficulty in speaking of it shows, holds a unique place in the scheme.) Limit, again, has been defined in a way which shows that it means specifically mathematical ratio. Hence, though, in a way, the forms may be said, as defining and determining the character of the sensibles which "partake" them, to function as "limits," they must not be identified with the πέρας of this dialogue. Again, though this is a matter which must not be discussed until we reach our final chapter, it is plain from Aristotle’s allusions13 that, according to the doctrine taught in the Academy as early as 367-6, the forms, "man," "animal," and the rest actually contain two factors, a "great-and-small" and a limiting factor, "the one" or "unit." So far they resemble the "mixed class" of our dialogue, and Professor H. Jackson did right to call attention to this. But all the examples of the "mixed" class in the Philebus are taken from the world of "events," and the forms clearly are not "mixtures" of that kind. Not to dwell on the further point that the πέρας of the Philebus stands for any definite ratio, whereas the πέρας element in the forms, according to Aristotle, was the "one," and the "one" in the Philebus is only spoken of as equivalent to any genus regarded as a single whole. It is clear that the line of thought which leads to the classification in the Philebus brings us nearer to what Aristotle knew as the central doctrine of Platonism than anything else in Plato’s writings. But it seems equally clear that Plato’s final thought is not disclosed even here. From his own language in Epistle vii. we may infer that he never intended the reading of a written work to do more than supply hints which might put a really original mind in the position to discover his thought after a great deal of hard personal thinking, and that he did not expect even as much as this apart |418| from the actual daily contact of the student’s living mind with his own.14 Hence I shall defer anything I have to say about the central mystery of the Platonic philosophy for consideration in a final chapter. Provisionally, I will merely say what is quite obvious, that, viewed in their relation to the things which "partake" of them, the forms, as we have so far met with them, act as an element of "limit" and determination, but that, as the recognition in the Sophistes of a "communion" of forms, as such, with one another shows, this is quite consistent with the view that a form which functions as a "limit" should itself also be analysable into a combination of an "unlimited" and a "limit."

The Psychology of Pleasure and Pain (31a-53c). — We have seen to what class pleasure and pain themselves belong; they are ἄπειρα. We must next consider "that in which they arise" (the subject of them), and the πάθος, or state of things, which gives rise to them, in other words, the actual conditions of their occurrence. To begin with pleasure. "That in which pleasure (or pain) arises "is always a living creature, the creature which feels the pleasure (or pain), and as such it belongs to the" class of the mixture," since its organism is a complex of a plurality of ingredients (31c). The way in which they arise, the πάθη which occasion them, are that "when the attunement (that is, the proper balance between the ingredients of the organism) in an animal is disturbed, pain is felt, and when it is restored after disturbance, pleasure is felt." Disturbance of organic equilibrium is attended by pain, restoration of the equilibrium by pleasure 31d-e). Thus when the body is unduly heated or chilled, we have a λύσις της φύςεως disturbance of the normal organic equilibrium, and it is painful; the antithetic process of recovering the normal temperature, which is a return to the οὐσία (the "natural state"), is pleasant. This defines for us one kind or form (εῖδος) of pleasure, namely, the agreeable processes of return to the normal condition of the organism after disturbance, or, as the defenders of the same type of theory in modern times usually say, the process of recovery from organic waste (22a-b).15 Next, there is a second "form" or "kind" of pleasure which depends on processes purely mental, and is not attended by either disturbance or recovery of the balance in the organism. A simple example is that the mental anticipation of a painful disturbance of the organic balance is itself painful, the expectation of the agreeable antithetic recovery from disturbance is itself pleasant, and in these cases there is no actual accompanying organic process, the pleasure and pain belong in a special way to "the soul by herself" (320). These are the two distinct εῖδος of pleasure and pain it is necessary to begin by discriminating, if |419| we are to judge soundly on the question whether all pleasures are good.

Next, if there are antithetic processes of disturbance and recovery of the organic balance, and these are respectively painful and pleasant, there must also be an intermediate case, that in which the balance is maintained without deflection in either direction, and this, on our theory, must be neutral in respect of feeling-tone, neither pleasant nor painful (32e). This would be the condition, so far as feeling-tone is concerned, of the life of thought unmixed with pleasure or pain already spoken of, and there is no impossibility in the notion that there might be such a life, a life of permanent maintenance of equilibrium. Very possibly it is the life appropriate to a god (33b) and so the best of all. But we are discussing a different matter, the part which thought and pleasant feeling should play in the life of men like ourselves (for whom such an existence without any rhythmic alternation is out of the question). For our purposes, we must pursue the psychology of the second class of pleasures and pains further. They are all dependent on memory (since, of course, without memory we could have no anticipations), and this makes it necessary to explain briefly what memory is and what sensation itself is. We may say that some bodily processes die away before they can reach the soul, but others penetrate to the soul: the first we may call unconscious; the second are conscious. This enables us to define sensation as a movement (κίνησις) which affects the body and soul together (κοινη, 34a). Memory (i.e. primary memory) is the retention (σωτηρία) of sensation as thus defined (ibid.); and, finally, recollection (ἀνάμνησις) is the recovery (reproduction) by the soul "by herself" of a lost memory or sensation (34b-c). These considerations will make it clearer what we mean by a "purely mental" pleasure, and also throw light on the nature of desire (ἐπιθυμία, 34e). To understand what desire is, we may consider it in its simplest form, such as hunger or thirst. A thirsty man desires, or lusts after drink. To speak more precisely, the thirsty man is in a state of depletion, his organism has been depleted of its normal supply of liquid, What he really desires is not simply "drink," but to be "filled up" with the liquid he will drink. (He desires not the water, but the drinking of it.) Thus he actually is in one state (a state of depletion), but desires the antithetic state (the corresponding repletion). To desire to drink the thirsty man must "apprehend" (ἐφάπτεσθαι) repletion. He does not "apprehend" it with his body. That is just what is undergoing the unnatural depletion, and it cannot be passing through two antithetic processes at once. Thus it must be with his soul that he "apprehends the repletion he lusts after. The importance of the example is that it shows that (in spite of popular language), there is really no such state as a "bodily" desire or lust. All desiring is a state of soul (35c), since desire is endeavour towards the opposite of the present state of the organism, and it is in virtue of memory that this "opposite" is apprehended. |420| These considerations show that all impulse and desire belong to the soul.

They also suggest an important problem. When a man is actually in a state of pain due to organic "depletion," but remembers and thinks of the pleasant experiences which would remove the depletion, can we say that his condition is either purely painful or wholly pleasant? If he despaired of ever realising the anticipation of "filling up" no doubt, he would be doubly wretched, but suppose he is feeling the painful depletion but expecting the repletion (like a really hungry man who expects to be fed)? The anticipation that his want will be removed is pleasant, but the felt want must surely be painful, and thus it appears that we must say that, in the case assumed, the experience is a mixed one, pleasurable and painful at once (36b).

(The conception of "mixed" states which are half pleasant, half painful, is so characteristic of Plato and so important in itself that it cannot be passed over without some comment. Hedonists naturally refuse to accept it, since it is quite inconsistent with the treatment of pain as equivalent to subtraction of pleasure which lies at the root of the Hedonic calculus. They have, accordingly, to explain the facts to which Plato appeals in one or other of two ways. They have to hold that the total feeling-tone of any moment of life is either simply pleasant or simply painful. It is then open to them either to interpret the facts about still unsatisfied craving by holding that the experience is one of rapid alternation between pleasure and pain, or by holding that it is, according to circumstances, one of a low degree of pleasure, or one of pain, though of a moderate degree of pain. Neither view seems to me to be in accord with fact. When I AM genuinely and acutely thirsty, e.g. in the course of a long tramp in hot weather, but confidently anticipating arrival at a place of refreshment in an hour’s time, it is not the fact that I oscillate rapidly between pure misery and pure delight according as my attention is directed to my present condition or to the condition I anticipate; nor yet is it true that I AM continuously feeling a qualified pleasure or a qualified pain. I certainly feel the tension between the pleasant anticipation and the actual pang of thirst in a single pulse of experience. And there is no real difficulty in understanding why this is so, if we remember that the physical correlate of my mental condition is made up of a great complex of neural excitations. No one of the constituent neural excitations can have two antithetic senses at once, but the complex may perfectly well contain elements with opposite senses. Hence it seems to me that Plato’s doctrine of "mixed states," which coincides with the standing thought of great poets about the "unrest which men miscall delight," is strictly true to the facts of common experience, and that the criticisms leveled against it are all based on false simplification of the facts.)

True and False Pleasure (36c-53c). — We have thus distinguished two "kinds" of pleasures: (a) those directly due to an |421| actual organic process of recovery of equilibrium or repair of waste; (b) those dependent on mental anticipation, where no such actual organic process is taking place. The recognition of this second class at once suggests a further question of first-rate ethical importance: Can we admit of a second and different distinction of pleasures (and pains) as true and false, real and merely apparent? (36c). In other words, when we come to the valuation of pleasures as ingredients in the good for man, must we make any deduction for the "illusoriness of some of them? This is the vital distinction for the Platonic ethics; it is to lead up to and justify it that the whole psychological discussion has been introduced. Protarchus denies the validity of the distinction. Beliefs or judgments can be true or false, but not feelings (36d). Hedonists, like Grote, have naturally taken his side and argued that Socrates is merely in the wrong in making the distinction. For, it is argued, a pleasure or a pain is exactly what it is felt to be; its esse is simply the fact of its being felt. If I feel pleased or pained, I AM having pleasure or pain; if I feel greatly pleased, I AM having a great pleasure; the pleasure always exists when it is felt, and it is always just as great as it is felt to be. This reasoning, however, is irrelevant to Socrates’ contention. He is not asking whether I AM pleased when I feel pleased, or greatly pleased when I feel greatly pleased; he is asking whether I AM always pleased when I think I AM pleased, or intensely pleased when I think I AM intensely pleased, and this is a perfectly reasonable question, and, as he says, one which needs careful examination. To put it simply, the issue is this: Is the excitement in an exciting experience a true measure of its pleasantness?16 May not the excitingness of an experience lead to an over-estimate of its pleasantness? To answer this question, we need to make a considerable apparent digression.

There is such a process as judging, and such a process as feeling pleased. When we judge, we make a judgment about something, and when we feel pleased, we are pleased with something. And a judgment does not cease to be an actual judgment because it is false; similarly a false feeling of pleasure would still be an actual feeling of pleasure (37b). (This last remark, of itself, shows that Plato has no intention of denying that a "false" pleasure is a pleasure; it is its worth, not its actuality, which is in question.) The question is whether pleasure and pain, like judgment, permit of the qualifications true and false. They certainly permit of some qualifications, such as "great," "small," "intense"; and Protarchus |422| allows that they may permit of the further qualification "bad." But he denies that a pleasure can be said, like a judgment, to be "erroneous" or false (37e); if, as often happens, a false belief yields us pleasure, the falsity belongs to the belief, not to the pleasure.

Let us look at the facts. Pleasure and pain sometimes accompany true beliefs or judgments, sometimes false. Now these beliefs may be regarded as answers given by the soul to questions which she has put to herself; sometimes the answer is right, sometimes it is wrong. We have, so to say, a scribe and a painter within our souls. The interpretation of present sensation by the aid of memory involved in all perception is the work of the scribe writing "discourses" in the soul; the painter (imagination) designs illustrations (εἰκόνες) to the scribe’s text (39d-e), and his pictures may be called true or false "imaginings" according to the truth or falsity of the "discourse" they illustrate. These discourses and pictures concern the future as well as the present or the past; we are all through life full of "fancies" (ἐλπίδες) about the future, and when we anticipate pleasure or pain to come, we take an "anticipatory" pleasure or pain, which has already been classed as strictly "mental" in entertaining such expectations (39d-e). This is true of good and bad men alike, but, since the good are "dear to God," their pleasant anticipations are commonly fulfilled, those of the bad are not (40a-b). (The good man gets pleasure in anticipating sequences which are in accord with the order God maintains in the world; the bad man gets his pleasure from daydreams of sudden enrichment and other events which do not come about in the "world as God made it.") Thus the bad man’s pleasure in his anticipations is as actual as the good man’s, but the good man, as a rule, gets the pleasure which he anticipates, the bad man does not. This affords one sense in which the bad man may be said to have false, or unreal, pleasures; he derives present pleasure from anticipations which will not be realised, and this pleasure may rightly be said to be deceptive, a caricature of true pleasure, and the same argument will apply to pains due to anticipation (40c) as well as to emotions — fear, anger, and the like — generally (40e). Like beliefs, all these states may have a foundation in reality or may have none. Now the goodness of a belief lies in its truth, and its badness in its falsity; only true beliefs are good, and only false beliefs are bad. (For, of course, the raison d’etre of a belief is that it should be true; that is what every belief aims at being.) May we not say then that the badness of bad pleasures — Protarchus has allowed that there are such states — is simply falsity and nothing else? a bad pleasure means a "false" or "deceptive" pleasure.

Protarchus is unconvinced. There may be "wicked" (πονηραί) pleasures or pains, but pleasures and pains are not made wicked by being "false." We will, however, reserve the consideration of wicked or sinful pleasures for a moment, and call attention to a second sense in which it might be possible to speak of many |423| pleasures as "false" (41a-b). Consider once more the case already mentioned of unsatisfied appetite, where the soul is craving for the removal of a state of painful organic want now present in the body. In this case we simultaneously apprehend the present painful want and the pleasant anticipated reaction against it. "The body supplies us with a certain feeling, and the soul desires the opposite condition" (41c). And both pleasure and pain admit of "the more and the less." Hence the problem constantly arises how to estimate the painfulness of the present state against the pleasurableness of the desired "opposite condition" (or, again, the pleasureableness of the present state against the painfulness of the "opposite"). In making such estimates we are always liable to errors of perspective; the anticipated "opposite" is overestimated by contrast. We expect the coming pleasure to be greater than it will really prove to be, by contrast with the present pain, and an expected pain is over-estimated in the same way by contrast with present pleasure (41e-42c). There is thus an element of illusion in all such cases, which must be allowed for before our estimate of anticipated pleasure or pain can be admitted as correct.

The illusion is still more marked in other cases. As we said before, disturbance of the organic balance is painful, restoration of the balance is pleasant. But suppose the organism is undergoing neither process. It is true that many of the wise deny that this case actually occurs; they say that "everything is always flowing either up or down" or, in Leibniz’s phrase, that the "pendulum never is at rest." But they must concede at least that we are not always conscious of its oscillations. Small oscillations either way are "infinitesimal." It is only considerable oscillations which are attended by pleasure and pain (43c). Thus we have to admit the possibility of a life which is neither pleasant nor painful, but just painless. There are persons who actually say that this painless life is the "most pleasant" of all (44a). But this statement cannot be strictly true. To feel no pain is manifestly not the same thing as to feel pleasure, though this is the thesis of the real "enemies of Philebus," the downright anti-Hedonists. These anti-Hedonists are eminent scientific persons, who maintain that there really is no such thing as a pleasure and that the experience Philebus and his friends call pleasure is merely "relief from pain" (44c).17 Though we cannot accept this doctrine, which is really due to the scorn of fastidious souls for vulgar pleasures, it will yield us a useful hint towards the discovery of the kind of pleasures which deserve to be called "true" (44d). Their thought is this. If we want to |424| understand any "form" or quality, we do well to study it in its extreme and most marked manifestations. So, if we want to know what pleasure really is, we ought to start by considering the most vehement and violent pleasures. But these — this is given as the reasoning of the anti-Hedonists — are the pleasures connected with the body (45a). Now such pleasures are found in their most exciting degree not in health, but in disease. The delight of refreshing thirst with a cool draught, for example, is much more intense when one is suffering the heat of a raging fever than at another time, because the preceding want (ἔνδεια) or craving is so much more violent. We are not arguing, of course, that pleasures are more numerous in disease than in health; our point is that they are more violent and exciting (45c). And so the life of "sin" (ὕβρις) is marked by violent and exciting pleasures which make a man "beside himself"; the life of virtue by moderate pleasures, regulated by the rule of "nothing too much" (45d-e). The most exciting and violent pleasures, as well as the most violent pains, are to be found in the diseased or bad body or soul.

Now let us consider one or two examples of these exciting experiences. A man who has an itching spot on his body gets great enjoyment from scratching or chafing it; but, of course, he is only stimulated to do so by the irritation of the itching. This is typical of a host of experiences which language calls "bitter-sweet." They depend on a tension between antithetic processes; these processes may be both bodily, or one may be bodily and the other purely mental, or both may be mental. In all cases the violently exciting character of the experience depends on the tension. There must be a highly painful factor in order that the rebound may be intensely pleasant (46b-c). (Thus the difference between this case and that of the "illusions of perspective" already mentioned is that the element of contrast and antithetical tension is now an ingredient in the actual concrete single experience.) The point, then, is that in such a "mixed" experience, there may be an exact balance of pleasurable and painful ingredients, so that, exciting as it is, its "net pleasure value" would be nil, or pleasure may predominate, or pain may predominate. But in no case is the "pleasure value" simply measured by the intensity of the excitement, and the "ticklish" person, for example, who gets so excited when he is tickled that he says he is "dying with pleasure" is not really getting anything like the "quantity of pleasure" he supposes. For the intensity of the excitement is due to the simultaneous contrast between the fully stimulated region of the skin and a neighboring region which is uneasily aching for similar stimulation, 46d-47b). Here is a plain case where a man’s own estimate of the pleasure he is getting is erroneous. The cases of tension already mentioned, where the antithesis is between the actual condition of the body and a mentally anticipated "opposite" condition, may, of course, give rise to the same "mixture" of pleasure with pain and the same errors in estimation (47c).

|425| There is still a third case where both factors in the tension belong to the soul. There are a whole range of painfully toned emotions — anger, fear, malice, and others — and we know, and the poets constantly tell us that, though they are painfully toned, to give them full expression may be pleasant. To let yourself go, when you are angry, Homer says, is sweeter than honey (47d-e), and it is possible to revel in lamentation. So people in the theatre enjoy a sensational tragedy which sets them crying for the distresses of the hero (48a). Our feelings, when we see a comedy, are a still subtler example of a "mixed" state, half painful, half pleasant. This leads Plato to indulge in an acute psychological analysis of the emotion aroused by comedy. We have just spoken of φθόνος (malice) as an unpleasantly toned emotion, and yet by malice we mean "being pleased by the misfortunes of our neighbor". Now ignorance and folly are certainly misfortunes. But what is it which amuses us in a "comic situation"? A certain kind of badness (πονηρία) in the comic character, namely, want of "self-knowledge." (It is the discrepancy between his real character or situation and his own estimate of them which makes him "comic.") "Ignorance of self may be: (1) ignorance of one’s financial position, as when a man fancies himself richer than he is; (2) ignorance of one’s physical defects, as when a man has an empty conceit of his beauty or strength; (3) ignorance of the state of one’s soul, especially a false conceit of one’s own wisdom (49a). All these states are bad, but we may make a distinction. They may be accompanied with feebleness or they may not. In the former case a man’s vain conceit of self does not lead to any serious harm to anyone, and is merely "funny"; in the latter it is not funny, but dangerous. It is the "harmless self-conceit" of the hero which we find comic and laugh at (49a-c).

Now to explain why the feeling this spectacle rouses in the audience is "mixed." It might seem that it is wrong to enjoy the misfortunes of our friends; yet we do find self-conceit in persons we like "funny," when, as has just been explained, it is quite harmless. (The connexion with comedy, I take it, is that, if we are to enjoy a comedy, we must feel that we "like" the person who is being exposed, for all his failings. If we could not find him likeable, the comedy would cease to be comic, as Tartuffe does, for the simple reason that we detest Tartuffe seriously.) Thus our sense of the "comic" is a kind of malice (φθόνος), and this is, in its nature, a painful emotion; yet our laughter shows that we are enjoying the experience, which must therefore be a "mixed" one (49e-50a). (The observation appears true and subtle; when, for example, we see Malvolio on the stage, there is an element of the painful in our mirth. It is, in a way, humiliating to see another man "make such a fool of himself." If the absurdity were carried a little further, or the exhibition of it a little more prolonged, the painful would distinctly predominate. Even as it is, we can detect its presence by a careful examination of our feelings.) Now this |426| is true also of the "tragedy and comedy" of actual life; the situations of real life are constantly provoking emotional reactions in which the painful and the pleasing are blended, no less than the situations in a stage-play. We may take it as certain then that the fusing of the pleasant and the painful in a single experience occurs where the sources of both factors lie in the soul, no less than where the source of one or both is in the body (50b-e).

We may now consider the question what experiences are purely pleasant without any admixture of painfulness. On our general theory of the connexion of feeling-tone with organic process, we can see at once that in any case where a "subliminal" or unconscious process of "depletion" is followed by a conscious process of "repletion," there will be an experience which is wholly pleasant. This may explain the case of the pure aesthetic pleasure we get from the contemplation of pattern (σχήματα), colour (χρώματα), tone (φθόγγοι), and the great majority of odours (51a-b).18 These pleasures are not preceded by a painful sense of craving, like those of the satisfaction of hunger or thirst, and do not owe any part of their apparent intensity to contrast; they are "pure" in the sense of being pleasant through and through, without any admixture of painfulness. We may suppose that they correspond to processes of organic repletion after depletion, but that the depletion has been insensible.19 We must note, however, that we are not referring here to pleasure got by seeing "patterns which are likenesses of animals or the like, where the pleasure arises from our perception of the resemblance of the copy to the original, but strictly to the pleasure we take in geometrical form as such, and the same remark applies to the pleasantness of colours and sounds, and still more to odours (51c-e).20

Again the "intellectual pleasure" which we get from the "sciences" (μαθήματα) is of this "unmixed" kind. There is no felt pain antecedent to it; merely not to possess geometrical knowledge, for example, is not painful as hunger is painful; and again, the process of forgetting something we have learned is not attended by pain. Of course it may be disagreeable to find that we have forgotten something which it would now be advantageous to know, but the process of forgetting itself is not painful, as the process of growing hungry again, after we have eaten, is (52a-b).

|427| By comparison of these now discriminated types of pleasures, we can see that the "mixed" type, which depend on antecedent painful craving, are marked by violence and "want of measure," and exhibit the fluctuations of the "more and less"; the "unmixed" type, on the other hand, exhibit "restriction by measure," are "moderate in intensity" (52c). But we may make a further distinction between the two types. They differ in "truth" or "genuineness" (ἀλήθεια). Just as a small expanse of white colour, for example, if it is a pure white, with no admixture, is more truly white than a vast expanse which is not equally pure, so even a "small" pleasure which is pleasure through and through, is more truly pleasure, deserves that name better, than a "big" pleasure which is mixed throughout with its opposite, pain (52d-53c). I.e. the highly exciting experiences which are commonly reckoned the "greatest pleasures" since their exciting character actually depends on tension and contrast with a painful factor equally indispensable to the effect, are not the "truest to type." It is the "moderate" pleasures, preceded by no painful craving and independent of internal tension, which are pleasant through and through, and thus deserve the name of pleasures most completely. It is in this sense that Plato speaks of this class as "true," of the others as "false" or "deceptive" pleasures. The first are what they are taken to be; the others are, to a large extent, something different from what men take them to be.

The Metaphysics of Pleasure — Can it be an End? (53c-55c). — We may remind ourselves of a second doctrine of the "wits" (κομψοί), which we shall find suggestive. They say that pleasure is always a "process of becoming" (γένεσις; that it has no stable and determinate being (οὐσία, 53c). That is, the theory is that pleasure is an accompaniment of transitions, incompleted developments. It is felt while the development is going on, but falls away when the definite and permanent goal of the "evolution" is reached. We must not be misled into identifying the "wits" of this passage with the third-century Cyrenaics who called pleasure a "gentle motion," nor have we any right to ascribe their doctrine by anticipation to the elder Aristippus. We meet it again in Aristotle’s Ethics, where one of the string of arguments against the goodness of pleasure, all taken from recognizable passages in Plato, is said (1152b 13) to be that "every pleasure is a sensible transition (or development) into a natural condition" (γένεσις εἰς φύσις αἰσθητή), an obvious allusion to the section of the Philebus we are now considering. We may take this as an indication that the κομψοί to whom the doctrine is due are the anti-Hedonist party in the Academy, a view which, as we shall see, is borne out by the language of Aristotle in dismissing their doctrine. The thought arises by a natural, though illegitimate, extension of the depletion-repletion formula to cover all cases of pleasures. On this theory, the good, healthy, or normal state is, of course, that of balance or equilibrium; pain and pleasure are both felt only when there is a |428| departure from this ideal condition — pain while the process of depletion is going on, pleasure while that of repletion, restoration of the balance, is happening. The natural end or goal of this "repletion" is the establishment of an equilibrium, and the best that could befall a man is that the equilibrium, once restored, should be permanent. But, on this theory, pleasure is only felt during the "filling-up" by which we approach this best condition. When we have reached it and are steadily persisting in it, there is no longer any process of "filling-up" and consequently no pleasure. Pleasure attends our progress to the “good” but not our fruition of it; that will be the "neutral condition," painless but not pleasurable. This is what is meant by the view that pleasure is always "becoming," never is "being."

We can now express this thought in a general formula. The end or goal is always of more worth and dignity than the means or road to it. The means is "for the sake of" the end, not the end for the sake of the means. And a process which culminates in the establishment of a permanent condition is to that condition as means to end. Thus the processes of shipbuilding and all the appliances and raw material they employ are "for the sake of" what comes out of them, the vessel. (E.g. the naval architect’s skill, his implements, the timbers of which he makes the vessel, all of them only have worth because the vessel itself has worth — in this case, an "economic" worth (54c).21 If pleasure is a "becoming," then it must be relative to an end in which it culminates, must be the coming-to-be of something. That something will be in the μοίρᾳ or category of the good, i.e. will have "intrinsic value." But the end and the process by which it is reached are never in the same category, and therefore, on the hypothesis, pleasure will not be a good. The "wits" from whom we have borrowed this suggestion will therefore think it ridiculous to say that life is not worth having without pleasure. This would amount to saying that life is worth having when it is an alternation of aspiring after a good we have not yet attained and losing one we have attained, but not when it is the fruition of present good (54c-55a).

We note that Socrates is not made to accept the doctrine that pleasure is only felt in the transition from an "unnatural" to the "normal state" as his own. He clearly does not accept it without reserve (as Spinoza does in his definitions of laetitia and tristitia, Ethics, iii. Appendix, def. 2, 3). He cannot do so because he holds, as we shall see, that some pleasures, the "pure" or "unmixed" class, are themselves good, whereas the theory under criticism, as he is careful to point out, compels us to hold that no pleasure is good, since no pleasure, according to it, can be an end. The criticism of Aristotle on the theory is based on the same conviction of the |429| goodness of these unmixed pleasures, and is one of the most valuable things in the Ethics. As he points out, even the pleasures of "repletion" cannot be proved not to be good, or even the good, by this line of reasoning. For what gives rise to the feeling of pleasure which accompanies return to the "normal state" after disturbance, is not the process of return itself, but the successful reassertion of the activities of the organism which were not affected by the disturbance. The "filling-up" only gives rise to the pleasure accidentally because it is attended with removal of an inhibition. The thought is that the feeling-tone of normal organic life is itself pleasant. A disturbance of the "balance" partially inhibits function. Recovery from the inhibition is pleasant because it is the successful reassertion of a normal activity which has persisted, though under inhibition, all through the antecedent "depletion." Hence we need to correct the proposed definition of pleasure as "sensible transition to a natural state" into "unimpeded exercise of a natural activity." The pleasure-giving process is not a "coming-to-be" (γένεσις) but the discharge in act (ἐνέργεια) of an already developed function (Nicomachean Ethics 1153a 7-14). The insistence on the difference between the two kinds of process, "coming-to-be" and "activity" is a correction of first-rate importance in the Academic terminology. We need not suppose that Aristotle is correcting Plato’s views about the worth of pleasures, which, in fact, agree with his own. It is Speusippus and Xenocrates, not Plato, whose anti-Hedonism he is criticising, though he rightly notes that the want of a word like his own ἐνέργεια makes it easy for the Academic to employ this unconvincing argument against the goodness of pleasures.

We may add the further consideration that it is a paradox to hold that all goods are mental, that pleasant feeling is the only mental good, and, by consequence, that, e.g., beauty and strength, valour, temperance, intelligence, have no inherent value, and that a man’s intrinsic worth depends on the question how much pleasure he is feeling (55b). This, we see, is a valid argument against the Hedonist, independently of the worth of the contention that all pleasure is a genesis.

The Intellectual Values (55c-59d). — We have seen that there are two types of pleasures, the "pure" and the "mixed," and we shall expect to find that they have different values for human life. We must now consider intellectual activities and their worth in the same way. As with pleasures, so with forms of knowledge, we have to discover which are "truest to type," most fully deserving to be called knowledge. We may begin by dividing "knowledges" or "sciences" into those which have to do with making things, the "industrial" arts (χειροτεχνικαὶ ἐπιστημαι), and those which are περὶ παιδείαν καὶ τροφήν, have to do with the cultivation of the soul itself, the "cultural" arts and sciences. (This is, in effect, the Aristotelian distinction between "theory" and "practice.") We may begin by considering the "industrial," |430| manual, or operative arts themselves, and ask whether some of them do not contain more, others less, of genuine knowledge, so that we can introduce again the distinction between "purer" and "more mixed" forms of knowledge. We see at once that if we eliminated from the industrial arts all that they derive from the exact knowledge of number, measure, weight, very little which we can call knowledge would be left. What these arts contain beyond the application of number, weight, and measure is little more than empirical guess-work. We see the presence of this empirical factor in such callings as those of the musician (who has largely to depend on his "ear"), the practising physician, the soldier; we might fairly say that there is more genuine science in the builder’s business than in any of these professions, because he is so much more concerned with the exact processes of measuring, so dependent at every point on his implements of precision, plumb-line, compass, and the rest. So we will divide these crafts into a more exact and scientific class of which building is the type, and a less exact, of which music is typical (55c-56c). (The notion of "exact" science seems to be definitely formulated here for the first time in literature; the thought is that of Kant, that every branch of knowledge contains just as much science as it contains mathematics.)

Again, if we consider the "exact" sciences themselves, we have to make a similar distinction. There are two "arithmetics": that of the "many," and the much more scientific arithmetic of the "philosopher." The former operates with "concrete" and very unequal units, such as one man, one army, one ox, and disregards the fact that the men, oxen, armies, counted may be unequal; the other operates with units which are absolutely and in every way equal — in fact, with numbers, not with numbered things. So there are two forms of "mensuration": the loose measurement of the architect or the retail trader, and the accurate measurement of the geometer and calculator.22 Thus one "knowledge," no less than one pleasure, may be "purer," truer to type, than another. The "exact" forms of knowledge which are concerned with number, measure, weight, are much more exact and "truer" than all others, and the "philosopher’s" or "theorist’s" arithmetic and geometry are much more exact and true than those of the mechanician or engineer (56d-57e). And we cannot, without blushing, deny that dialectic, whose business it is to study the absolutely real and the eternal, must insist on a still more rigid standard of exactness and truth than any other kind of knowledge. It must be still more intolerant of mere approximation than any other science. Gorgias, to be sure, used to claim the first place among the sciences for rhetoric, on the ground that it can secure |431| the voluntary services of the professionals of all the rest. We need not quarrel with him about this. Our question is not what "art" has the highest prestige or the greatest utility-value, but simply which sets up the most severe standard of truth and accuracy, and there can be no doubt about the claims of dialectic in this particular. Most of the "arts" are content to build on δόξαι, contested beliefs, and even the cosmologists confine their attention to "actual fact" what "happens"; absolutely exact knowledge of actual fact is never to be had; there is always an element of the incalculable and contingent about it. The knowledge which is through and through knowledge must therefore be "abstract"; that is the price it pays for its exactness. It must be concerned with the non-temporal (57d-59d).

The Formal Structure of the Good Life (59e-66d). — The best life for men, we saw, must be a blend of two constituents — intelligent activity and pleasant feeling. We have now examined each genus of the two apart, and distinguished in each a variety which is truer, and one which is less true, to type. We have now to consider on what principle the two ingredients should be blended. What will be the formula which appears as the πέρας in this "mixture"? Our task is like that of the man who mixes the ingredients of a sweet drink; pleasure is the honey for our mixture, intelligent thought the water; the problem is to mingle them in just the right proportion (61c). It would be rash to assume that we shall succeed in doing this by simply blending every form of pleasure with every form of "thought"; we need to proceed more cautiously. It will be prudent to begin by considering first those pleasures and those forms of knowledge which we have found to be most genuine, most true to type (ἀληθέστατα); if we find that the blend does not completely satisfy our original condition that the “good” must be "sufficient" all a man’s life requires, we can then consider admitting the inferior pleasures and arts into the mixture (61e). There can be no dispute about stipulating that the good is to include all knowledge of the "truer" type, the exact knowledge of the timeless things; we shall certainly require for the best life a knowledge of "righteousness itself" and the intelligence to use the knowledge, and the same considerations will apply to all such knowledge of the "absolute." But will this be enough for the purposes of life? If a man is to live a life among men, he must have some at least of the inferior knowledge which is inexact. A man who knew only the "absolute" and exact lines and circles of the geometer, but knew nothing of the rough approximations to them with which life presents us, would not even know how to find his way home. (As we might say, a chemical balance is a beautiful thing, but it won’t do to weigh your butter and cheese in.) So the intervals we make on our musical instruments are only approximations, they are not "true"; but a man must be conversant with them, as well as with the mathematical theory of harmonics, unless he is to go through life with none but the "unheard" melodies for |432| his companions. In fact, we may reasonably let in the whole crowd of second-class knowledges; some of them we really need if we are to live as men among men, and none of them will do us any harm, if we have the superior knowledge too, and so are not in danger of mistaking the rough approximation for something better (62a-d).

Thus we have let all the "water" go into the bowl in which the draught of "happiness" is to be brewed. We must now consider what we are to do with the "honey." Here, again, it will be safer to consider the "unmixed" pleasures first and the "mixed," which, as we have seen, are not wholly true to type, afterward. It is clear that we shall not be able to let in all this second class without reflection. If there are any of them which are "unavoidable" (ἀναλκαια, sc. such as arise directly from the functions of sound and healthy life themselves), they must, of course, be admitted. But whether we can admit all the rest depends on the question whether all pleasures, like all knowledges, are profitable, or, at worst, harmless (63a). To decide this question we may ask the pleasures themselves whether they would prefer to keep house with all wisdom and knowledge, or by themselves. We may be sure (since we have seen that the best life is the "mixed" one) that the pleasures would reply that it is not good to live alone, and that the best companion with whom to keep house would be "knowledge of all things and in especial of ourselves" (63c).

Now we put the same question to the various knowledges. "Do you need the company of pleasure?" "In particular, do you need, over and above our class of true pleasures, the company of the intense and violent pleasures? "knowledge would say that, so far from desiring these exciting pleasures, she finds them a perpetual hindrance; they vex the souls in which she has taken up her abode with mad frenzies, and destroy her offspring by producing forgetfulness and neglect. She would claim kinship with Socrates’ class of "true" and "unmixed" pleasures; of the rest — those which are "mixed" satisfactions — she would accept such as accompany health and a sober mind and any form of goodness, but reject those of "folly and badness" in general, as obviously unfit to find a place in such a "blend" as we are contemplating (63d-64a).23 There is only one further ingredient for which we must stipulate — ἀλήθεια, "truth," "reality," "genuineness." If this is left out, the result of the blending itself will not be real or genuine. (The bearing of this remark is a little obscure, but it is probably meant to lead up to the next stage of the argument, the consideration of the relative importance to be laid on the different constituents of the "mixed life" for man and the assigning of the first place in it to its rational structure, the last, to the "harmless" pleasures.

We have now tracked down the good, so to say, to its very |433| doors. It only remains to discriminate the relative values of its various ingredients and so to answer the question we have been considering so long, whether intelligence or pleasure is more akin to the principle or cause which makes the good life so satisfactory to us all (64c). We may say at once that what makes any mixture or blend a good one is measure and proportion (μέτρον, ἡ τον συμμέτρου φύσις). Neglect of the rule of due proportion makes a "mixture" unstable and vitiates the components. Where the rule is neglected, you get not a genuine "mixture" but a mere "mess." The good is thus a form of the beautiful (καλόν), for measure and proportion are the secret of all beauty (64c-e). We may thus take measure or proportion (συμμετρία, symmetry), beauty, and truth (or reality, ἀλήθεια) as three "forms" (ἰδέαι) or "notes" found in the good and say that the goodness of our "mixture" is due to the presence of this trinity in unity (65c). Our business is now to confront first intelligence and then pleasure successively with these three distinguishable but inseparable notes of the good. Let us begin with the note of ἀλήθεια (truth, genuineness). Pleasure is the "hollowest" (ἀλαζονίστατον) of all things, i.e. it promises to be so much more satisfactory than it proves to be; the illusoriness of the "pleasures of sex" is a notorious case in point. Intelligence (νους) is either the same thing as ἀλήθεια, or, at any rate, it is the most "genuine" thing in the world (the least illusory, 65c-d). Next, as to the note of "measure": pleasure notoriously tends to wild excess; there is nothing more "measured" than intelligence and science (65d). And finally, as to beauty. There is no uncomeliness (οὐδὲν αἰσχρόν) in wisdom and intelligence, but the intensest pleasures are so unseemly that we think the spectacle of a man who is indulging in them is either ridiculous or disgraceful. We are actually ashamed to see such a sight, and think that it ought to be covered by darkness (66a).

We may now draw our conclusion. Pleasure is neither the best nor the second-best thing. We must give the first place to "measure, the measured, that which is ‘in place’" (τὸ καίριον);24 the second to proportion, beauty, completeness (τὸ σύμμετρον καὶ καλὸν καὶ τὸ τέλεον καὶ ἱκανόν; the third to intelligence and wisdom (νους καὶ φρόνησις); the fourth to "sciences and arts and true convictions" (ἐπιστημαι καὶ τέχναι καὶ δόξαι ὀρθαί) the fifth to the class of pleasures, whether involving actual sensation or not, which have no pain mixed with them (the "pure" pleasures of the discussion): we stop short, like Orpheus, with the sixth "generation" (66a-d).25

|434| (For the precise meaning of this enumeration I would refer the reader to Appendix B in Mr. R. G. Bury’s edition of the dialogue. I understand the passage in a way which is, I suppose, much the same as Mr. Bury’s. Measure, proportion, rational structure are mentioned first because they have a cosmic significance; they are found in the "great world" without, no less than in the lesser world of man’s soul, and they are the "notes" of good, wherever found. Then ἐπιστημαι and "pure" pleasures are mentioned, in that order, because they are the two aspects in which rational structure and law show themselves in human mental life, and ἐπιστημαι are put first, because we have just seen that intelligence is "more akin to" rational structure, reveals it more manifestly and clearly than feeling. There is no question of introducing into the good for man any constituents beyond the two which have been contemplated all along, intellectual activity and grateful feeling.)

Formal Epilogue to the Discussion (66d-67b). — Philebus had originally said that the good for us is the plenitude of pleasure (ἡδονὴ πασα καὶ παντελής), Socrates that "intelligence" (νους) is at any rate (γε) a far better thing for man’s life than pleasure. We long ago convinced ourselves that neither can be the whole of human good, since neither would be "all-satisfying," apart from the other. But our investigation has shown us that "intelligence" is at any rate infinitely (μυρίῳ) more closely related to the "victor" (the "mixed life" which proved to be the best of all for a man) than pleasure. (The point is that though the best life includes both elements, it is the element of rationality which gives it its specific character. A man is not a creature who uses an intellect to contrive ingenious devices for getting pleasures, but a creature who finds it pleasant to practice intellectual activities. Hume’s view that in action reason "is and ought to be the slave of the passions" just inverts the true relation. Human "passions" should be the servants of intelligence.) Pleasure is not the good, even though all the horses and oxen of the world should say it is, with the assent of the "many" who think the "lusts of beasts" better evidence than the discourses of philosophers (67b).

The last sentence obviously alludes, in its reference to the θηρίων ἔρωτας, to the argument of Eudoxus, afterward adopted by Epicurus, that pleasure must be "the good" because it is that which "all living creatures" pursue when left to themselves (Nicomachean Ethics x. 1172b 9 ff.). The supposed unmannerly reference to Aristippus in the remark about the "horses" (ἵπποι) is a mere unhistorical fancy. Even if Aristippus had been aimed at in the criticism of Hedonism, such an allusion would be impossible, for the simple reason that the leading anti-Hedonist of the Academy, Speusippus, |435| whose views we have found Plato expressly reproducing in two places, had a "horse" in his name too.

See further:
Burnet. Greek Philosophy, Part I., 324-332.
Ritter, C. Platon, ii. 165-258, 497-554; Platons Dialog, 68-97;
  Neue Untersuchungen ueber Platon, 95-173.
Raeder, H. Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 357-374.
Natorp, P. Platons Ideenlehre, 296-331.
Nettleship, R. L. Plato’s Conception of Goodness and the Good.
  Works, i. 307-336.
Baeumker, C. Das Problem der Materie in der Griechischen Philosophie,
  193-196. 1890.
Poste, E. The "Philebus" of Plato. Oxford, 1860.
Bury, R. G. The "Philebus" of Plato. Cambridge, 1897.
Dies, A. Autour de Platon, ii., 385-399.
Stewart, J. A. Plato’s Doctrine of Ideas, 92-100.
Robin, L. Platon, c. iv.

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1^ Metaphysics A 987b 25, τὸ δ̉ ἀντὶ του ἀωείρου ὡς ἑνὸς δυάδα ωοιησαι καὶ τὸ ἄωειρον ἐκ μεγάλου καὶ μικρου, τουτ̉ ἴδιον.

2^ It is assumed that there is also a considerable number of young men who form a silent audience (16a 4). Socrates is even said to be granting the party a συνουσία (intercourse) (19c 5), a word which has the suggestion of a formal "lecture" or conference. It is clear, in spite of the opposite view of some editors, that Philebus, who is almost silent throughout the dialogue, is a mere lad, much more immature in mind than Protarchus. This explains the touch of petulance about his declaration (12a) that nothing will ever persuade him out of his Hedonism. His worship of ἡδονή (pleasure) is just a boy’s zest for the joie de vivre.

3^ Nicomachean Ethics 1153b 5. Speusippus argued that the badness of pain does not prove the goodness of pleasure; both are opposed to the "good," as "the greater" and "the less" are both opposed to "the equal." I.e. the good condition is absence of both pleasurable and painful excitement. Hence the point that "the good man pursues not the pleasant but the painless" (Nicomachean Ethics 1152b 15) will be part of his argument.

4^ Few scholars would now make the old mistake, which unfortunately persists in some of the best expositions of the dialogue, of supposing the Hedonists and anti-Hedonists aimed at to be Cyrenaics and Cynics respectively.

5^ This is the definition of Aristotle also, except that Aristotle holds that the true genus of happiness is not ἕξις (state) but ἐνέργεια (activity). This is a valuable correction of the language of the Academy, but no more than a correction of their language. Aristotle never suggests that Plato, or any member of the Academy, meant that the “good” is a mere passive state. He blames their terminology for not marking the difference between such a "state" and an "activity."

6^ Philebus 15b 2-4. The wording of this second question is a little obscure, but the meaning seems to be made plain if we read the words in the light of the "antinomies" of the Parmenides. When we try to think of an ὄν ἔν, a real unit, we seem driven either to deny its unity in order to maintain its reality, or to deny its reality in order to save its unity. This is also how Burnet takes the words (Greek Philosophy, Part I., 326, n. 2).

7^ I use the word much as Newman uses it when he talks of the "notes of the true Church.

8^ These same notes are adopted by Aristotle from the dialogue as the characters which must be exhibited by the "good for man" (Nicomachean Ethics 1097a 25 ff.). The λόγος of which it is there said that it "comes to the same thing" as Aristotle’s own is the Academic theory of the "good for man," as given in the Philebus.

9^ The ὀρθὸς λόγος itself is Platonic too, and appears to come from Laws, 659d, where education is said to be the "drawing and attracting of children to the right discourse (ὀρθὸς λόγος) uttered by the law." That Aristotle was influenced by this passage is shown by his allusion to it as excellently said by Plato at Nicomachean Ethics 1104b 12.

10^ Plato may be thinking, e.g., of the "animal heat" of the organism and its dependence on a proper supply of solar warmth, but more probably his allusion is to the theory, adopted in the Republic and Timaeus, that the immediate organ of vision is itself a ray of light issuing from the eye, and is itself derived from the sun’s light.

11^ I have given the general sense of the passage from 30a 8 to 30e 3 without going into the question of precise reading and interpretation of particular phrases. I think Plato clearly means to identify (νους) with the "cause of the mixture." This is not inconsistent with his view that the good for man is not νους. It is clear from the Republic (506b) that the general question whether the good can be knowledge or pleasure is older than the speculations of Speusippus and Eudoxus. What is distinctive in the Philebus is the appeal to psychology as relevant to the issue.

12^ See Burnet, Greek Philosophy, Part I, 332; R. G. Bury, Philebus, pp. lxiv-lxxiv; H. Jackson, Journal of Philology, x. 253 ff.; Raeder, Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 370 ff.

13^ Cf. e.g., Aristotle Metaphysics 987B 18-27.

14^ Epinomis vii. 340c-e, 341c-e, 343e-344d.

15^ Like Aristotle, Plato confines the waste-and-repair, or depletion-repletion theory of pain and pleasure to the case of pains and pleasures connected with the body and its needs. He does not regard it as applicable to pain and pleasure generally. For a criticism of this type of theory, when extended to all pains and pleasures, see Stout’s Analytic Psychology, ii. c. 12.

16^ The question is vital, since the "intensity" regarded by all Hedonists as a dimension of pleasure or pain is primarily a character of the situation by which we are pleased or pained. We can only measure the intensity of the pleasantness or painfulness by measuring the intensity of an objective feature of the situation, and this makes it all-important to know whether such a measurement can be implicitly trusted. For example, the satisfaction of the impulses of sex is normally an intense organic excitement, but is its pleasantness equally intense?

17^ Philebus, 44b 9, καὶ μάλα δεινοὺς λεγομένους τὰ περὶ φύσιν. ("… As we said just now, three states, or that there are only two—pain, which is an evil to mankind, and freedom from pain, which is of itself a good and is called pleasure.") The words are enough to prove that neither Antisthenes nor Diogenes is meant. They could not be called δεινοὶ περὶ φύσιν. But the phrase exactly fits the anti-Hedonists of the Academy — Speusippus, Xenocrates, and their followers. The reference is probably rather to their views about forms and numbers, discussed in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, than to such things as the works of Speusippus on zoological classification. It is meant that they are διαλεκτικοί.

18^ He says "most" odours, of course, to exclude the case of those, e.g., of articles of food, or those which indicate to the male animal the proximity of a female. The pleasantness of these would depend on a previous sense of unsatisfied want.

19^ Timaeus expressly teaches that this is the case (Timaeus 64a-65b).

20^ I do not take this to mean that Plato regards the pleasure we get from seeing the "faithfulness" of a picture to its original as aesthetically illegitimate. His purpose is simply to exclude from the list of unmixed pleasures any which depend on a previous sense of want for their existence or their intensity. Thus the degree of pleasure got from contemplating a "nude" clearly may be affected by unsatisfied sexual desire in the beholder; the pleasure with which we hear the sound of a beloved voice will often depend for its intensity on a preexisting longing to hear that voice again.

21^ The φάρμακα of 54c 1 are, of course, the paints employed for coating the sides of the vessel, etc. So the ὔλη mentioned along with the "tools" does not mean "raw material" in general, but the "timber" from which the planks of the ship are made.

22^ The simple man who undertook to settle the value of π by fitting a string round a disc, unrolling it, and measuring it with a measuring-stick was confusing the "tradesman’s" mensuration, which is always rough approximation, with the geometer’s, which must be accurate within a known and very precise "standard of approximation."

23^ Thus a place would be found in the "good for man" for all the pleasure which attends the healthy and morally virtuous satisfactions of bodily appetite." It is not expected that the best man shall not enjoy his dinner when he is hungry. But dinners are not things he cares supremely about.

24^ The concluding words of 66a 8 are the worst textual crux in Plato. The mischief is in the ἀίδιον. Burnet’s suggestion τήν ᾱ (= πρώτην) ἰδέαν is highly attractive, or conceivably we might read ἀίτίαν, rendering, "you may say that … the cause has been hunted down in the region of μέτρξν, M. Diès holds that W supports a variant ὁπόσα τοιαυτα, χρή νομίζειν τινὰ ἣδιον ἥρησθαι. But is ἣδιον quite in place here?

25^ This might mean that the moderate satisfactions of appetite, which we expect to find in the sixth place, are excluded from the “good” (on the ground that they are not actually good but merely harmless). As they were admitted at 63e, however, the meaning may be that the "sixth degree" is actually counted in as the lowest and last. This makes the allusion to "Orpheus" (Fr. 14, Kern) more apt. The theogonic poet quoted must have described his "sixth generation" of deities as well as the preceding five.

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XVII. Timaeus and Critias

The Timaeus stands alone among the Platonic dialogues in being devoted to cosmology and natural science. Owing to the fact that the first two-thirds of it were continuously preserved through the "dark ages" in the Latin version and with the commentary of Chalcidius, it was the one Greek philosophical work of the best age with which the west of Europe was well acquainted before the recovery of Aristotle’s metaphysical and physical writings in the thirteenth century; it thus furnished the earlier Middle Ages with their standing general scheme of the natural world. In the present volume it is impossible to deal with the contents of the dialogue in any detail; I have tried to perform the task in my Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus (Oxford, 1928), with which the later commentary of Professor Cornford (Plato’s Cosmology, London, 1937) should be compared.

The date of composition cannot be precisely determined. There is no external evidence, and the internal evidence of style only serves to show that the dialogue belongs to the last period of Plato’s authorship; thus we must place the composition at some time after the Sophistes, i.e. within the years 360-347. It is quite uncertain, so far as I can see, whether we should regard the Timaeus or the Philebus as the later work. As to the date of the imagined conversation I think it is possible to be more precise. We have to consider (a) the internal evidence of the Timaeus itself, (b) the evidence supplied by the Republic, (a) The interlocutors in the dialogue are Socrates, Timaeus, Critias, and Hermocrates. Of Timaeus nothing is known except what we learn from Plato, that he is a Locrian from South Italy, with a career of eminence in both science and politics behind him (20a). From the fact that the doctrine he is made to expound is recognizably a version of Pythagoreanism in which the biology and medicine of Empedocles is grafted on the original Pythagorean mathematics, we can really have no doubt that he is meant to be a Pythagorean of the same type as the more famous Philolaus. This suggests that he is at least as old a man as Socrates, and that we may perhaps connect what we are told of the magistracies he has filled with the facts about Pythagorean political ascendancy in Magna Graecia in the first half of the fifth century.1 Hermocrates is plainly the famous |437| Syracusan best known by the prominent part he played in the defense of Syracuse against the Athenian Armada of 415. Socrates implies (20a) that Hermocrates is still a man with his career before him, and bases his estimate of him on the general report. This shows that Hermocrates is a stranger at Athens and indicates that the conversation is presumably to be dated not too long after the "pan-Sicilian Congress" at Gela in 425, where Hermocrates seems to have first made his reputation (Thucydides iv. 58).2 Critias is certainly not, as all writers before Professor Burnet have assumed, Critias the so-called "oligarch" who figured in the usurping government of 404-3. He has already distinguished himself in science and politics (20a), and he refers pointedly to his own extreme old age and the way in which he remembers the distant events of his childhood, though he can hardly recollect what he has been told yesterday (26b). He also says that his great-grandfather was a friend and connexion of Solon (20e), and that he himself, as a boy of ten years old, used to sing the verses of Solon, which were then a "novelty" (21b). All this shows that the Critias meant is the grandfather of the "oligarch," Plato’s own great-grandfather. Even so we have to suppose him, at the date of the dialogue, to be extremely old. (b) The Timaeus unmistakably announces itself as in a way a continuation of the Republic. Socrates opens the dialogue by recalling the main heads of what he had said "yesterday" to the present company (17a-19a), and the recapitulation coincides exactly with the contents of Republic i-v. Thus we seem directed to date the discourse of Timaeus two days after the conversation in the house of Polemarchus.3 If we were right in our view of the dramatic date of the Republic, this brings us to the time of the peace of Nicias or very shortly before it, the year 422 or 421. Such a date fits all the indications of the Timaeus itself. It enables |438| us to understand that the boyhood of old Critias would fall immediately after the expulsion of the Pisistratidae from Athens, and we can guess why the poems of Solon would be likely to be popular and "novel" at that date. (Pisistratus and his sons are not likely to have encouraged the singing of them.) It also gives us a reason for the presence of a distinguished public man from Locri and another from Syracuse. Only a year or two before the peace the Athenians had sent envoys on a tour of the South Italian cities, including Locri, for the express purpose of forming a league to keep the power of Syracuse in check. A general pacification would, of course, leave a good deal to be "redd up" in the western Mediterranean. We may be sure that Timaeus did not come to Athens expressly to talk to Socrates about the creation of the world. We see also why Hermocrates is known to Socrates only by reports of his abilities and education. And it is significant that, if we are right, the date at which Socrates is represented as listening with keen interest to a cosmological lecture is only a year or two after the burlesque of him in the Clouds. This is a much more appropriate dramatic date than one later in his life. Hence I feel little doubt that it is right.

The dialogue falls into three distinct parts: (a) introductory recapitulation of the contents of Republic i-v by Socrates (17a-19b), with expression of a strong desire to see the doctrine there laid down embodied in a dramatic story of concrete achievements (19b-20c); (b) relation by Critias of the alleged heroic exploit of Athens in resisting and defeating the kings of Atlantis (20c-26d); (c) the cosmological discourse of Timaeus, which extends unbroken, but for an occasional word of assent from Socrates, to the end of the dialogue (27c-92c). We may consider these divisions in their order.

(a) Introduction (17a-20c). — There is not much on which we need make any comment. It is useless to speculate on the identity of the unnamed person who has been kept away from the conversation by indisposition and whom Timaeus agrees to replace as speaker. As Timaeus takes his place, we are no doubt to understand that he belongs to the same group of "Italian" philosophers. Philolaus, as Burnet suggests, would suit the part, or we might perhaps even think of Empedocles. Plato is merely intending a graceful expression of the debt of his dialogue to fifth-century "Italians." The most striking feature of the recapitulation of the Republic is that it covers only the ground of Books I-V. Nothing is said of the philosopher-kings and their education in mathematics and dialectic, of the Form of Good, or of the contents of Republic viii-x. I suggest that the most likely explanation of this silence is that which is also the simplest. Just so much of the Republic, and no more, is recalled as will be an appropriate basis for the story of the Athenian victory over Atlantis. Plato is quite alive to the fact that the philosopher-king is an "ideal" which has never been realised, and therefore abstains from an attempt to exhibit a society of |439| philosopher-kings in action. It is more credible that there should be an actual society at the level of that described in Republic i-v, and he feels himself equal to the vivid imaginative delineation of its performances.

The remarks with which Socrates closes his recapitulation are interesting as showing that Plato fully understood that his own hero had his definite limitations. Socrates, as he says, can give us a picture of the really healthy society, but he cannot "make the figures move" He cannot tell an actual story of the behavior of such a society in a life-like way, and the reason is that he has not enough personal experience of the work of the active statesman. He remains, after all, something of the theorist and doctrinaire (19b-e). This was, in fact, true of Socrates, and it helps to explain the fact that his influence on many of his associates was not wholly beneficial. Association with him in early life was not an unmixed good for the average lad; so far, there was just a slight basis of foundation for the distrust with which practical workers of the democratic constitution, like Anytus, regarded him.

(b) The Story of Atlantis (20c-25d). — The story told by Critias is to the effect that nine thousand years before the time of Solon Athens had enjoyed just such institutions as those described in Republic i-v. Her soil was then wonderfully rich and fertile, as it had not suffered from the denudation which has since reduced the district of Attica to a rocky skeleton. The prehistoric Athenians, strong only in public spirit and sound moral, encountered and defeated the federated kings of Atlantis, an island lying in the Atlantic outside the Straits of Gibraltar, who had already successfully overrun all Europe as far as Italy, and all Africa as far as the Egyptian border. Afterward both the prehistoric Athenian victors and the island Atlantis were overwhelmed in a single day and night of earthquake and inundation. The story only survived in the records of Egypt, where Solon heard it when on his travels.

It should be clear that this whole tale is Plato’s own invention. He could not tell us so much more plainly than he does in the Critias (113b), when he makes Critias appeal to the testimony of "family papers" as his sole evidence for the narrative. Not only the existence of the island-kingdom, but the statement that Solon had ever contemplated a poem on the subject is represented as a "family tradition"; in other words, nothing was ever really known of any such intention. It is not hard to see what the materials for the tale are. The alleged shallowness of the sea just outside the "pillars of Heracles" and perhaps tales of Carthaginian sailors about islands in the Atlantic, are the foundation for the story of the lost island; the account of its destruction is manifestly based on the facts of the great earthquake and tidal wave of the year 373 which ravaged the Achaean coast. The main conception of the successful conflict of a small and patriotic nation in arms against an invader with vast material resources and immense superiority in the art of military engineering — a point on |440| which the Critias lays great stress — is clearly suggested by the actual facts of the Athenian resistance to Darius and Xerxes. Plato has projected the events of the Persian wars backwards, magnified their scale, and thus made the moral, that numbers, wealth, and engineering skill are no match for the national spirit of a free people, the more obvious to the dull. Strictly speaking, the whole narrative has no logical connexion with the special theme of the Timaeus. Its real function is to serve as a prelude to the Critias, where the narrative now briefly summarized was to be told with full detail. As Critias puts it, at the end of his story (27a-b), the division of labour between speakers is to be that Timaeus shall now describe the formation of the world and of man, as its closing "work" Socrates is then to be understood to have explained how man is educated, and it is left for Critias to describe the heroic achievements of the men whose production has been dealt with by Timaeus and their education discussed by Socrates. Thus the logical order of the three dialogues would have been Timaeus, Republic, Critias. The express allusion in this passage to the contribution of Socrates seems to show that this definitely means the Republic, the only Platonic work where Socrates expressly discusses the question of educational method. From the absence of any reference to a discourse of Hermocrates, and the difficulty of seeing what has been left for him to discourse upon, I should infer that it was never Plato’s intention to carry the scheme beyond the Critias. Hermocrates, the youngest member of the group, was probably to be a listener, not a speaker.

(c) The Discourse of Timaeus (27c-92c). — The lecture which Timaeus now delivers covers the whole ground of natural knowledge from astronomy to pathology and psycho-physics. It will be impossible to deal with more than its most outstanding features. It starts with two fundamental positions: (a) that the sensible world, being sensible, "becomes," or, as we might say, is a world of "happenings" or "events"; (b) that whatever "becomes" has a cause, by which Timaeus means that it is the product of an agent (28a-c). The "artisan" or "craftsman" (δημιουργός) who makes the world thus comes into the story, and it is assumed that this maker is God. Now a craftsman always works with a model or archetype before him, and so we must ask whether the model on which the world has been made is itself something that has "become" or something eternal. Since the maker is the best of all causes and the thing he makes the best of all effects, clearly the model of which the sensible world is a "copy" or "likeness" (εἰκών) is eternal (29a). (In more modern language, it is meant that the natural world is not constituted by "events" only, but by events and the objects (in Professor Whitehead’s sense) situated in the events, and this is why it is intelligible and can be known.) This leads us to lay down an important canon of the degree of truth to be expected in natural science. Discourse about the fixed and unchanging archetype, or model, can be exact and final; it has the definitiveness of its |441| object: discourse about its sensible copy, which is continually varying and changing, can only be approximate. Hence in natural science, we have no right to demand more than "likely stories" i.e. in metaphysics and mathematics there can be finality; in the natural sciences we have to be content with approximate and tentative results, though our business is to make our approximations as accurate as we can (29b-d). In other words, physical science is progressive in a sense in which metaphysics and mathematics are not. (Newton’s gravitation formula may be a "first approximation" on which later physicists can improve; such a formula as cos θ = ½ (eθι l + eθι) is no "first approximation" and there is no improving on it.) This principle, that a proposition of physics is always "approximate" and that none is therefore beyond the possibility of correction, is one so important that Timaeus is careful to call repeated attention to it in connexion with the special scientific hypotheses he propounds to explain special groups of facts. A simple modern illustration would be the consideration that all actual measurements of physical magnitudes are approximate, and that no determination of such a magnitude by experimental methods can be trusted, unless it is accompanied by a statement of the "probable error." When we are told that all our natural knowledge is only a "likely story," it is not meant that we may substitute fairy tales for science; what is meant is that while we must make our results as precise as we can, we must remember that they are all liable to improvement. Our best measurements may be superseded; our most satisfactory explanatory hypotheses may always have to be modified in the light of overlooked or freshly discovered facts. What Timaeus is really trying to formulate is no fairy tale, but, as we shall see, a geometrical science of nature.

Next we may ask ourselves why the Maker produced a world at all. He was perfectly good, and for that very reason did not want to keep his goodness to himself, but to make something like himself. So he took over the whole of the "visible" which was in a condition of chaotic disorder, and made it into an ordered system, since order is better than chaos. For the same reason, he put mind (νους) into it, and, as mind can only exist in a soul (ψυχή), he gave it a soul, and thus the sensible world became "by the providence of God, a living being with soul and mind" (30b). The model in the likeness of which he made it was, of course, a νοητόν or "intelligible," something complete and whole (τέλεον), and something living. The sensible world, then, is the sensible embodiment of a living creature or organism (ζῳον) of which all other living creatures are parts. And there is only one "world" of sense (as against the Milesian tradition of the "innumerable" worlds). For the model is one, and a perfect copy of it will reproduce its uniqueness (30c-31b).

Thus, in the scheme of Timaeus, we see that the "efficient cause" of the world is thought of definitely as a "personal" God, and this "creator" or "maker" is, strictly speaking, the only God, |442| in our sense of the word, the dialogue recognizes. Later on we shall find the name θεός, (God) given both to the world itself as a whole and to certain parts or denizens of it, but this must not mislead us. These θεοί (gods) are all "created"; their raison d’etre is the will of the δημιουργός (29e, 41b), who is thus distinguished from them as God is from "creatures" in Christian theology. The formal cause of the world, however, is not God but the "intelligible living creature," the αὐτὸ ὃ ἔστι ζῳον, which God contemplates as the model for his work. The language used about this model shows that we are to think of it as a form, the "form" of an organism of which all other organisms are parts. It thus has the peculiarity that there is only one unique "sensible" which "partakes" of it.

It may naturally be asked how much of this can be conceived to be serious Platonic teaching and how much is mere imaginative symbolism? No one, of course, could answer the question precisely; possibly Plato himself could not have made a hard-and-fast distinction between philosophical content and mythical form. But one or two points are important. It would stultify the whole story to follow the example of some interpreters, who wish to find something like the philosophy of Spinoza in Plato, by making the "artisan" a mythical symbol of his "model" the νοητὸν ζῳον. This may or may not be good philosophy and theology, but it is not the thought of Plato, as we shall see more clearly when we come to deal with the doctrine of God in the Laws. God and the forms have to be kept distinct in Plato for the reason that the activity of God as producing a world "like" the forms is the one explanation Plato ever offers of the way in which the "participation" of things in forms is effected. If "God" simply meant the same thing as the forms, or as a supreme form, it would remain a mystery why there should be anything but the forms, why there should be any "becoming" at all. How far the explanation that God "makes" a world on the model of the forms was taken by Plato to be a literal statement of truth is a question that may be left to anyone who is bold enough to pronounce exactly how literally Leibniz intended his similar language about God’s "choice of the best" as the reason why the actual world is actual. The one thing which is clear from the Laws is that God, in Plato, is a "soul" not a form.

A more legitimate question is whether God in the Timaeus is quite all we mean by a "creator." Are we to take seriously the representation, which runs through the dialogue, of God’s action as the imposing of order on a preexisting chaos? Does Plato mean that the world was formed out of preexisting materials? On this point we find a discrepancy of interpretation springing up in the first generation of the Academy itself. Aristotle, as is well known, insists on finding in the Timaeus the doctrine that the world is γεννητός ("had a beginning), and is severely critical of this error, as he regards it. On the other hand, the Platonists for the most part — the Neoplatonists unanimously — adopt the view, originally propounded by Xenocrates, that the representation of |443| the world as having a beginning is adopted simply "for convenience of exposition" (διδασκαλίας χάριν), as a geometer talks of "drawing" a line, when all that he does is to point out that the existence of the line is already implied by our initial postulates.4 Thus, on their view, the account of the world, or rather its constituents, as they were before God began his work, is merely a picture of the sort of thing you would have left on your hands if you tried to do what you never can do successfully, to think away all traces of the order and structure in which God’s authorship of things reveals itself. The only two Platonists who are known to have taken Aristotle’s view on this question are Plutarch and Atticus, a writer of the Antonine age. It is significant that their attempt to take the words of Timaeus literally gets them into very grave difficulties. Since the undoubted Platonic doctrine, expounded most fully in the Laws, is that "soul" is the cause of all movements, Plutarch finds himself bound to discover in the Laws, the doctrine that there is an "evil" world-soul, which he supposes to have animated the original chaos. Though this discovery has been followed in modern times by such scholars as Zeller, it is certainly a mere "mare’s nest." The words of the Laws say no more than that, since there is disorder in the world as well as order, there must be some soul or souls other than God to cause the disorder.5 And we may be sure that Aristotle would never have been silent about a doctrine which would be, to him, sheer blasphemy, if he had known of it as a Platonic theory.

If we look at the text of the Timaeus, we shall see that at any rate Plato does not mean to say that there ever was a time before God constructed the world, since he tells us, as Aristotle allows (Physics, 251b 17, Metaphysics 1072a 1), that time and the world "began" together, God, in fact, making both of them. Thus the language which seems to imply a primitive state of pure chaos cannot be meant seriously, and so far Xenocrates seems to be right in his interpretation. (This would leave it a logical possibility that the series of events had a first member, and that the interval between the first member and the event which is my writing of these words, is a finite number of years, but I do not think any scholar acquainted with Greek thought is likely to suppose Plato to be contemplating this alternative.) Again, as will be clearer from what we shall have to say later on about the use of the notion of "necessity" it seems plain that the |444|Timaeus knows of no external limitation imposed on God’s will by conditions independent of God himself. The "maker’s" goodness is the whole and complete explanation of the very existence of the natural world. This should justify us in saying that the "Demiurge" really is thought of as a Creator in the full sense of the word. Probably Xenocrates may also have been right in taking the dialogue to imply the "eternity of the world" in the sense in which that phrase is commonly, but inaccurately, used, that the order of events never had a first member. It still remains true that, in Plato’s own more accurate terminology, the world is a όγεγονός, "something that has become" not ἀΐδιον, eternal. Even if there never was a first event, everything sensible has "emerged" as the result of a process; in the Platonic conception the world is always "in evolution," even if the evolution never began and will never come to an end. This is why the world, unlike God, has a history. It is always getting itself made; there is never a point at which it is full-made.

The story of the making we cannot here follow far into its details. Since natural things can be seen and grasped, fire (light) and earth must be among their constituents. To combine two such terms in a stable way, there must be a "mean" between them. But fire and earth are volumes and have three dimensions. Hence you cannot insert a single mean proportional between them, but need two.6 This need is met by air and water. Fire is to air what air is to water and water to earth. This playful application of the doctrine of the geometrical mean effects a transition from Pythagorean mathematics to the four "roots" of Empedocles. We shall see shortly that for Timaeus they are not "elements" (31b-32c). God used up the whole of these materials in making the world. It excretes nothing and assimilates nothing, and this secures it against age or disease. Its form was appropriately made spherical, since the sphere has the greatest volume of all bodies with the same perimeter, and is therefore the right figure for that which is to contain everything. It was given no sense-organs, since there is nothing outside itself to be apprehended, no digestive organs, as there is nothing it can take in as food, and no organs of locomotion, for it has nowhere to travel. It needed no hands, for there is nothing for it to grasp or repel. Being alive, however, it moves with the most uniform of all motions, uniform rotation on its own axis. Finally, we must add that it was animated all through with a ψυχή, and this was the generation of a "blessed god" (32c-34b).

We have begun, however, at the wrong end. We should have described first the fashioning of the world’s soul, since soul takes precedence of body in order of "production" as well as of worth |445| (since, on Plato’s view, soul initiates all movements). The world’s soul has three constituents: (a) a Being which is intermediate between that which is always "self-same" and that which "becomes and is divisible" in bodies; (b) a similarly "intermediate" kind of Sameness, and (c) of Otherness. God thus makes the soul as a tertium quid (third thing) between the eternal and the temporal.7 Next he "divided" the result in accord with the intervals of a musical scale which Timaeus describes.8 (Apparently we are to imagine a long ribbon with intervals marked on it at distances corresponding to the numbers indicated by the directions for making the notes of the scale.) Next, the ribbon was split longitudinally into two halves, which were laid cross-wise, thus +. Then each ribbon was bent into a circle so as to give two circles, in planes at right angles to one another, with double contact, like the equator and a meridian on a sphere. The outermost of these circles was called that of the Same, the innermost that of the Other. The circle of the Same was made to revolve "to the right," that of the "Other" was subdivided into seven concentric circles at unequal distances from one another, which were made to revolve with unequal velocities "to the left" (34c-36d). We learn a little later that the inclination of the two circles was made oblique (39a), so that they turn out in the end to stand for the sidereal equator and the ecliptic, their revolutions being the (apparent) diurnal revolution of the "starry heavens" and the orbits of the sun and the planets in the Zodiac respectively. It must be carefully noted that nothing is said of "spheres" and, again, that as usual in the classical period, the orbit of a heavenly body is thought of as itself revolving, like a cart-wheel, and carrying round the body which is set in it. We have heard now of the orbits of the whole and of the seven planets, but so far nothing has been said about any bodies which, as we should say, "revolve in" these orbits. We are now at last (36e) told that the creator finally constructed the body of the world "within" its soul and adapted the two; this begins the "unceasing and reasonable life" of the κόσμος (cosmos) as an organism. The circle of the Same and the Other, being circles primarily "in the soul" of the world, have an epistemological as well as an astronomical significance. Their absolutely uniform revolutions symbolize — perhaps Timaeus means that they actually embody — |446| in the one case, science of the eternal and unchanging, in the other true conviction (δόξα) about the temporal (37a-c). (We must remember that the cosmic animal is a rational animal.)

The creator next proposed to make his work even more like the model on which he had designed it. He could not make it, like its model, eternal (ἀΐδιος) (since nothing sensible can be so), but he made it as nearly eternal as he could. He devised a "moving image of eternity," which he called time. Time is to eternity as number is to unity; its absolutely uniform flow is an imperfect mirroring of the self-sameness of eternity, and time is the characteristic form of the sensible. We try to speak of the eternal as that which "was and is and is to be." But strictly, what is eternal simply "is"; we must not say that it "was" or "will be" for such language can only be used properly of what "happens." So again we say that the past is past, the future is to come, the nonexistent is nonexistent. But all such language, which ascribes being to what is mere "becoming" and even to "what is not" is unscientific 9 (37c-38b). The true state of the case is that the model eternally is, its sensible embodiment has been going on and will be going on all through time (38c). If there is to be time, there must be perceptible bodies with uniform movements to serve as measures of it, and so God devised the sun and the other "planets" and put them into the orbits provided for them by the splitting of the circle of the Other. Their order, reckoning outwards from the earth, is Moon, Sun, Hesperus, the "star of Hermes," then the three "outer" planets, for which no names are given here. The sun, Hesperus, and the "star of Hermes" have the same "period," but the two latter are in an unexplained way opposed to the sun, so that they are always catching him up and being caught up by him. The details about the apparent behavior of the others would require more time than we can spare for their description. The important points to remember are that their velocities are different, that each of them has two motions, one communicated to it by the outermost circle, that of the Same (which revolves from E. to W. with a period of twenty-four hours), another, oblique to this, and with a longer period (the planet’s "yea"), from W. to E. The result is that the actual visible movements are complicated "corkscrews" (ἕλικες, helices). Men ought to understand, as they do not, that the components of the movements of all are perpetually uniform and regular, and are "time" just as much as a lunar month, or a solar year. There is a great period, the longest of all, at the completion of which all the planets are once more, relatively to the sidereal heavens and to one another, in the same positions. "To enable them to see their way" round these circuits, a great |447| light (the sun) was kindled in the circle next but one to the earth (37c-39d).10

God had now to make the various lesser animals which were to inhabit the different regions of the universe. This was done by reproducing the various forms of organism mind discovers in the form of "living being." Of these there are four, each inhabiting its own region: gods who live in the sky, winged creatures who inhabit the air, aquatic creatures, and land-animals. The "gods" were made approximately of pure fire, given spherical form, distributed over the heaven which revolves with the circle of the Same, and given a double movement motion with the circle of the Same (i.e. a diurnal revolution), and an axial revolution of their own. (Thus the "gods" of Timaeus are simply the stars. We gather that they are self-luminous, since they are made of fire, and from comparison of the mention of their axial rotations, with the absence of any corresponding statement about the planets, we may (perhaps?) infer that the planets are not supposed to have any such rotations.) As for the earth, our mother, God made it for "a guardian and artificer of night and day, swinging (ἰλλομένην) on the path about the axis of the universe" (τὴν περὶ τὸν διὰ παντὸς πόλον τεταμένον, 40b). To describe the system further would be impossible without an actual visible model, and is irrelevant (39e-40d).

Full discussion of this astronomical passage is impossible here, but the following points should be noted, (a) There is no reference to the famous theory devised by Eudoxus within the Academy itself, which analyses the apparent movements of the heavenly bodies into combinations of axial rotations of imaginary "spheres," with a common center at the center of the earth. Timaeus never speaks of "spheres," but, in the language originated by Anaximander, of "circles," conceived to turn round like a wheel spun about its center. And though one of the motions of each true "star" is said to be "controlled by" the circle of the Same (40b), this motion is expressly ascribed to the star itself, not to an outermost "sphere." Presumably the mere fact that Timaeus is a fifth-century astronomer, speaking many years before the origination of Eudoxus’ hypothesis, sufficiently explains this. (b) The stars are not thought of, after Aristotle’s fashion, as made of a superior and "celestial" stuff. They are made of "fire," the finest quality of fire, but still the same fire to be found in ourselves and bodies round us. We cannot too carefully remember that the fateful distinction between "celestial matter" and "elementary matter" was unknown to Greek science until Aristotle introduced it as a direct consequence of his hypostatization of the purely mathematical spheres of Eudoxus into physical globes, (c) It is worthwhile also to observe the complete freedom of the whole theory from any traces of the planetary astrology which was, later on. to infest the minds of the Hellenistic age. The position of |448| the planets in the theory is a very humble one. They are not called "gods," as the stars are, and the natural interpretation of Timaeus’ language is that they are not supposed to have any "souls" of their own, but merely to be directed by the soul of the κόσμος. They serve as timepieces, and that, so far, is all. The remark of Timaeus (40d) that though their movements are all calculable, their occultations, reappearances, and conjunctions frighten "those who cannot do a sum," and are supposed to be portents, is probably meant to deride the astrological superstitions of the East, and it is amusing to note that the negative in the phrase "who cannot do a sum," preserved in A, and guaranteed by the version of Cicero, has been dropped in our other best MSS. and marked for deletion by the diorthotes (revisions) of A. In the age of our copyists, it was assumed that it is just the astronomer, who can do the sum, who is frightened by the appearances he foresees! (d) As to the astronomical theory itself, it agrees with that of Eudoxus in being one of a "double" planetary motion. Each planet is assumed to have a "proper motion" through the zodiac from W. to E., and, over and above this, to be affected by the diurnal revolution from E. to W., with the result that it is brought daily back almost, but not quite, to the position it had twenty-four hours earlier. Thus, in this view, the moon, which most successfully resists the "diurnal revolution," is the swiftest of the planets, Saturn the slowest, since the moon succeeds in getting round the zodiac in a month, Saturn takes about thirty years. Both theories thus contradict the older view, traceable back to Anaximander, that all revolutions are in the same sense. If this were so, we should have to say that the moon is left farthest behind, Saturn lags least behind the diurnal revolution.11 Since the double revolution theory is expressly employed in the myth of Er (Republic, 617a), it is pretty clearly of Pythagorean origin, and may be as old as Pythagoras himself, though this is uncertain.

(e) A much more important question is suggested by the remarks about the earth. Does Timaeus mean to ascribe a motion to the earth, or does he not? In the middle of the last century there was a sharp controversy on the point between Grote, who found the motion of the earth in the dialogue, and Boeckh, who denied it. On one point Boeckh was clearly right. Timaeus cannot mean, as Grote thought, to give the earth an axial rotation with a period of twenty-four hours, since this would conflict with his own express attribution of this period to the "circle of the Same" at 39c. If the stars were revolving round us once in twenty-four hours and the earth rotating in the opposite sense with the same period, manifestly the interval between two successive transits of the same star over the meridian would not be twenty-four hours but twelve, and we cannot suppose, as Grote suggested, that Plato may have forgotten so obvious a point. On the other hand, though nearly all later editors have followed Boeckh, it is equally plain that he must be wrong in making the earth of Timaeus motionless. His interpretation |449| is overthrown at once by restoration of the correct text of the passage (τήν περὴ τὸν διὰ παντός, ϰτλ). The τήν here can only mean τήν ὁδόν or τήν περίοδον, and is an accusative of the path traversed. Also the verb used, ἰλλομένην, is notoriously a verb of motion, and we have to add that Aristotle twice over, commenting on the passage, expressly interprets it as asserting a movement of some kind. He does not even produce any argument to show that this is what is meant, but assumes that no one will dispute the point. Hence I think we may feel fairly sure that it was the accepted exegesis of the first generation of the Academy.12 It follows that Timaeus regards the center of the universe as empty and ascribes to the earth a "to-and-fro" movement about it. This oscillatory motion we must pretty certainly take to be rectilinear, not circular or cycloidal like the movement of a pendulum-bob. This will explain why Aristotle, discussing the motion of the earth in de Caelo, B 13, distinguishes the view of Pythagoreans and certain unnamed other persons, that the earth revolves "round the center" from that of the Timaeus, that it moves "at the center."

The interpretation just given follows Professor Burnet, who is at least certainly right in insisting that the word used by Timaeus of the earth (ἰλλομένην) must stand, as Aristotle said, for a notion of some sort. Mr. Cornford has since developed a very different, and attractive explanation, according to which the meaning is that the earth, situated at the center of the universe, has a diurnal rotation in the opposite sense to that of the "circle of the same" and thus exactly compensating it (op. cit., pp. 120-124). Attractive as this view is, I still doubt whether it could have been expected to be divined by a reader with nothing before him but the bare statement that the earth ἰλλεται, "winds" or "curls," and have therefore hesitated to adapt my text to it, though I AM not confident that it may not be right after all. But it is conceivable that Timaeus may be supposed to hold that some sort of "slide" of the earth would explain one or both of two "appearances," (a) the inequality of the "seasons" into which the year is divided by the equinoxes and solstices, (b) the notorious fact that though the sun and moon are "in conjunction" every lunar month, a solar eclipse is not regularly observed at each conjunction. But I give this avowedly as a guess.13

|450| It is, in any case, improbable that the vague expression put into the mouth of Timaeus is meant to disclose Plato’s full doctrine. Theophrastus, as Plutarch has told us, related that "in his old age" Plato repented of having placed the earth at the "center," which should have been reserved for a "worthier body."14 In the chapter of the de Caelo already referred to, Aristotle, after mentioning that some of the Pythagoreans held that the earth is a planet revolving round a central luminary, adds that "many others too might accept the view that the center should not be assigned to the earth, for they think (οἴονται) that the most honorable region should belong to the most honorable body, and that fire is more honorable than earth, and the boundary than the intermediate. Now circumference and center are boundaries; so on the strength of these considerations they think that not the earth, but rather fire, is situated at the center of the sphere" (op. cit. 293a, 27-35). Aristotle does not say who these persons are, except that they are not the Pythagoreans of whom he had begun by speaking. Yet he must be speaking of actual persons, since he twice uses the phrase "they think." From what Plutarch has told us on the authority of Theophrastus, it seems to me certain that the unnamed "some" mean here, as so often in Aristotle, Plato and his followers. In that case, we have the evidence not only of Theophrastus, though that would be sufficient, but of Aristotle, that Plato "in his old age" regarded the earth as a planet revolving along with the rest round a central luminary, a view quite unlike that expounded by Timaeus. This is borne out by the evidence of an important passage in the Laws (821e-822c) where the Athenian speaker speaks of it as a truth which he has only recently learned that every planet has one and only one path (οὐ πολλὰς ἀλλὰ μίαν ἀεί). This can have only one meaning, that the speaker intends to deny the doctrine of the double or composite motion on which Timaeus insists. He must mean that the diurnal revolution is not communicated to the planets, and so is not a component of their motions; each planet has only its "proper" movement through the Zodiac. Since the appearances which prompted the double motion theory still have to be accounted for, we are driven to suppose that the "diurnal revolution" must be intended to be regarded as only apparent, being really due to a motion of the earth. The implication is that the earth is a planet revolving round an invisible central luminary in a period of twenty-four hours, as the moon is supposed to revolve round the same body in a lunar month, or the sun in a year. A little more light is thrown on the matter by a sentence of the Epinomis, a dialogue which is generally "athetized" on extremely inadequate grounds, but admitted to have been at any |451| rate composed immediately after Plato’s death by a disciple for circulation along with the Laws, and is therefore, in any case, likely to be faithful to the master’s teaching. We are there told (Epinomis 987b) that the various planets revolve in one sense and with different periods; the outermost circle revolves — we are not told with what period — in the opposite sense, "carrying the others with it, as it might seem to men who know little of such things."15 This is; of course, only an urbane way of saying that it does not "carry the others" with it, another denial of the double motion theory of Timaeus. Presumably the reason why the period of this revolution is not stated is that, now that the twenty-four hours’ period has been given to the earth, there is no reason to suppose that we know what the period of revolution of the "outermost circle" is. It must have a movement, because the world has a ψυχή; that Plato supposes its revolution to explain any particular appearance is very unlikely. We can only say that, since the periods of the planets become steadily longer as we advance farther from the "center," the period of the outermost circle is presumably a very long one.16

Plato’s own doctrine would seem, thus, to be neither that of the motionless earth, nor that of Timaeus, nor the full-blown Copernicanism which some modern admirers have read into him. He appears to attribute one motion only to the earth, a motion of revolution round an invisible center (not round the sun), with a period of twenty-four hours. The important point is not that he has a well-worked-out hypothesis, but that his scientific instinct has seized the fundamental point that a true mechanic of the heavens must start with a revolving earth; this, no doubt, is his reason for dissatisfaction with the scheme of Eudoxus, beautiful as it is. Another inference of first-rate importance is this. We clearly have no right to assume that the view ascribed to Plato by Theophrastus and apparently presupposed in the Laws was arrived at after the completion of the Timaeus. We have seen that the Timaeus and the Laws must have been in progress simultaneously. And it is hardly credible that if Plato had suddenly made so |452| startling a change in his doctrine during the time when Aristotle was a member of the Academy, Aristotle should have told us nothing about the fact. It would have been "grist to his mill" if he could have urged against the doctrine of a moving earth that Plato had been forced to hold two inconsistent theories about its motion in the course of a few years. Presumably, then, Plato held astronomical views more developed than those which he has ascribed to Timaeus at the very time he was writing the dialogue. This should help us to appreciate Plato’s real regard for historical verisimilitude and make us on our guard against over-readiness to suppose that all the theories of his Pythagorean are such as he would find himself satisfied with.

Timaeus next adds that the Creator further made a number of created gods who, unlike the stars, only show themselves when they choose, Oceanus, Tethys, Phorcys, Cronus, Rhea, and their offspring. We have no evidence for the existence of these beings except that of persons who claim to be their descendants, but we may fairly suppose these persons to know their own pedigrees (40d-e). This is, of course, satire, not, as has been sometimes supposed, a concession for safety’s sake to the religion of the State. Most of the figures named belong to the cosmogonies of poets like Orpheus and Hesiod, not to the Attic cultus, and the ironical remark that a man must always be believed about his own family-tree is aimed at poets like Orpheus and Musaeus. Timaeus, as a scientific Pythagorean, has his own reasons for not wishing to be confounded with the Orphics. The Creator now addresses the created gods, explaining that whatever is his own immediate work is imperishable. Hence for the making of creatures which are to be perishable, he will employ these created gods as his intermediaries (41a-d). He then himself makes immortal souls, in the same number as the stars, of the "seconds" and "thirds" of the mixture from which he has made the souls of the world and the stars. Each soul is conducted to its star and made to take a perspective view of the universe and its structure. It is then explained to the souls that in due process of time they are all to be born as men in the various "instruments of time" (i.e. the planets).17 If they live well in the body, they will return to their native stars; if less well, they will have to be reincarnated in the bodies of women; if that lesson is insufficient, they will be reborn as various brutes, and will never return to their "star" until they have first climbed up the scale from brute to man again.18 The souls are then sown, like seeds, in the various planets, while the created gods fashion bodies |453| for them and any additions to their souls which may be required for their life in the body (41e-42d).

We are next told something of the way in which this work was done, but the story is only given in outline, with the necessary warning that, since it has to do with the mutable, it can only be tentative (42e-47e). In making the human body, the gods first constructed the head as a suitable dwelling-place for the immortal soul, which, of course, like the soul of the κόσμος, contains the two circles of the Same and the Other. (This means that Timaeus rightly accepts the discovery of Alcmaeon of Crotona that the brain is the central organ in the sensory-motor system.) The skull was therefore made spherical, as the body of the κόσμος is spherical. The trunk and the limbs were added for the safety and convenience of the head (44c-45b). The organ of sight was then constructed. It is literally a ray of sunlight dwelling within the body and issuing out through the pupil. We thus see by an actual long-distance contact of this ray, which is a real, though temporary, member of the body, with the visible object — the theory explained by Empedocles in verses cited by Aristotle. To this account of vision Timaeus appends an explanation of sleep as produced by an equable diffusion of this internal "fire" when darkness prevents its issuing out to join its kindred fire outside us, and a brief account of mirror-vision (45b-46c). His main points at present are, however, of a different kind. He dwells on the thought that the effect of the conjunction of the soul with a body which is always "flowing," giving off waste material and taking in fresh, is to throw the movements of the "circles" in the soul into complete disorder. The movement of the circle of the Same is temporarily arrested, and that of the circle of the Other rendered irregular. Hence the thoughtlessness and confused perception and fancy of our infancy and childhood. It is only when the "flow" of the body becomes less turbid, as waste and repair come to balance one another in adult life, that the movements of the "circles" recover from the initial disturbance of birth, and men come to discretion and intelligence, and then only with the aid of "right education" (43a-44c). Also, we must be careful to remember the distinction between true causes and mere subsidiary causes (συναίτια). Any account we give of the mechanism of vision, or any other function, is a mere statement about the subsidiary or instrumental cause. The true cause, in every case, is to be sought in the good or end a function subserves. Thus the real end for which we have been given eyes, is that the spectacle of the heavenly motions may lead us to note the uniformity and regularity of days, nights, months, and years, and that reflection on this uniformity may lead us to science and philosophy, and so make the revolutions of the "circles in the head" themselves regular and uniform. And the same thing is true of hearing; its real purpose is not that we may learn to tune the strings of a lyre, but that we may learn to make our own thinking and living a spiritual melody (46c-47e).

|454| We next come to one of the most important and characteristic sections of the discourse — an outline of the principles of a geometrical science of nature. So far we have been talking about the work done by Intelligence in the construction of the sensible world. But this world is a "mixed" product, born of Intelligence (νους) and Necessity (ἀνάγκη), and we must now describe the contribution of Necessity to the whole. The relation between Intelligence and Necessity, which is also called the "errant" or "irregular" cause (πλανωμένη αἰτία), is that "for the most part" Intelligence is superior (ἄρχων (archôn), 48a), Necessity is servant, or slave, but a willing slave; Intelligence "persuades" (πείθει) Necessity. The special reason given for now studying the working of Necessity is that, unless we do so, we can give no account of the origin of the "four roots" of Empedocles, the "stuff" we have so far been assuming as there for God to form a world of. Hitherto no one has explained the structure of these bodies; they have been treated as the ABC (στοιχεια, elementa, 486) of things, though, as we shall see, they do not even deserve to be called syllables. We are now to analyse them back into something very much more primitive, and we are carefully reminded again that, from the nature of the case, our analysis can at best be tentative and "likely."

The sections which are now to follow are marked by Timaeus as the most original and important part of his whole cosmology. We shall see that they serve to connect the two main currents of scientific thought, the biological and the mathematical, by providing a geometrical construction for the "corpuscles" of the four "elements" which the biologist Empedocles had treated as the "simples" of his system. The four types of body thus constructed are then, in the Empedoclean fashion, treated as the immediate units from which the various tissues and secretions of the living body are formed by chemical composition. The result is thus that Timaeus, in the spirit of Descartes, offers us an anatomy and physiology in which the organism appears as an elaborate kinematical system; natural science is thus reduced in principle, as Descartes and Spinoza held it ought to be, to geometry. Plato is not, of course, very strictly committed by the details of speculations which he repeatedly says are provisional, but it is clear that he is in sympathy with the general attitude known today in biology as mechanistic. The human organism, as he conceives it, is a machine directed and controlled by mind or intelligence, but the machine itself is made of the same ultimate constituents as other machines and the workings of it follow the same laws as those of the rest.

It is important, if we are to approach the exposition in the right spirit, to understand what is meant by the initial distinction between the part of Intelligence and that of Necessity in the cosmic system. We must be careful not to confuse the "necessity" of which Plato is speaking with the principle of order and law. Law and order are precisely the features of the world which he assigns to intelligence as their source; we are carefully told that necessity |455| is something disorderly and irregular, the πλανωμένη αἰτια, a name probably derived, as Burnet has suggested,19 from the use of the disrespectful name πλανηται, "tramps," "vagabonds" for the heavenly bodies which seem at first sight to roam about the sky with no settled abode. Thus the Necessity of the Timaeus is something quite different from the Necessity of the myth of Er, or of the Stoics, which are personifications of the principle of rational law and order. On the other hand, Necessity is plainly not meant to be an independent, evil principle, for it is plastic to intelligence; mind "for the most part" is said to "persuade it"; its function is to be instrumental to the purposes of νους.20 The reason for introducing it into the story seems to be simply that it is impossible in science to resolve physical reality into a complex of rational laws without remainder. In the real world there is always, over and above "law" a factor of the "simply given" or "brute fact," not accounted for and to be accepted simply as given. It is the business of science never to acquiesce in the merely given, to seek to "explain" it as the consequence, in virtue of rational law, of some simpler initial "given." But, however far science may carry this procedure, it is always forced to retain some element of brute fact, the merely given, in its account of things. It is the presence in nature of this element of the given, this surd or irrational as it has sometimes been called, which Timaeus appears to be personifying in his language about Necessity. That "mind persuades necessity" is just an imaginative way of saying that by the analysis of the given datum we always can rationalise it further; we never come to a point at which the possibility of "explanation" actually ceases. But the "irrational" is always there, in the sense that explanation always leaves behind it a remainder which is the "not yet explained." When we have followed the exposition a little further, we shall discover that in the last resort this element of the irreducible and given turns out to be exactly what Professor Alexander has called the "restlessness of space-time" But, unlike Professor Alexander, Plato does not believe that the restlessness of space-time is enough to account for its elaboration into more and more rationally articulated systems; left to itself, it would be |456| merely restless; order and structure are the work of the mind of God, in whose hands necessity is plastic.

We find, then, that we need to revise our first account of the sensible world. We had already spoken of two things which need to be carefully discriminated, the intelligible archetype and its visible copy. We have now to take into account a third concept which we shall find obscure enough, that of the "receptacle" (ὑποδοχή) or "matrix" (ἐκμαγειον) in which "becoming" goes on. This receptacle or matrix of process cannot be fire or water or any of the things which the earliest philosophers had selected as the primary "boundless." Experience shows that these are constantly passing into one another; there is now fire where there was water, or water where there was fire. The various bodies are mutable and impermanent; what remains permanent under all the variations is the region or room or place where they arise and vanish. This is there and self-same under all the processes of change, and has no form or structure of its own, precisely because it is its indifference to all which makes the appearance of all within it possible. We find it hard to apprehend, because it cannot be discerned by sense; it must be thought of, but can only be thought of by a sort of "bastard reflection" (λογισμῳ τινι νόθῳ, 52b), i.e. by systematic negation, the denying of one definite determination after another. It is, in fact, "place" (χώρα). We may, incidentally, remind ourselves that each of our three principles is apprehended in a special way. We can satisfy ourselves of the reality of the forms by considering that if there were only sensible objects, science and true belief would be the same; whereas it is clear they are not. Science can only be acquired by learning (διδάχή) a true belief may be produced by "persuasion" appeal to our emotions; what we know can always be justified to the intellect (τὸ μὲν ἀεὶ μετ̉ ἀληθους λόγον), a true belief not always; we cannot be argued out of the one, we can be persuaded out of the other. Since science and true belief thus differ, their objects must be different.21 (Thus Timaeus has nothing to say in the one passage in which he discusses the forms which differs from the presentation of them in the Phaedo.) Sensible things we apprehend, of course, by sight and the rest of our senses; "place," as we have just said, by a curious kind of thinking (48e-52c).

If we try to picture the condition of things "before" the introduction of ordered structure, we have to think of the "receptacle" |457| or matrix, just described as place as agitated everywhere by irregular disturbances, random vibratory movements, and exhibiting in various regions mere rude incipient "traces" (ἴχνη) of the definite structure we know as characteristic of the various forms of body. (Thus; its general character is exactly that of the "boundless" of Anaximander, agitated by the "eternal motion," before the "opposites" have been "sifted out" and a ϰόσμος {kosmos} formed. This is, in fact, pretty clearly the historical starting-point from which Pythagorean cosmology had taken its departure).22 The first step God takes towards introducing determination and order into this indeterminate "happening" is the construction of bodies of definite geometrical structure. This brings us to the doctrine of the geometrical structure of the "corpuscles" of the "four roots" which Empedoclean biology wrongly treats as simple ultimates. The construction is effected by making a correspondence between the "four roots" and the originally Pythagorean doctrine of the regular solids which can be inscribed in the sphere (53c-56c). There are five and only five distinct types of regular solid, and four of them can be built up geometrically by starting with two ultimate simple types of triangle, which are the most beautiful, and therefore the most appropriate, of all. These two triangles are the ultimate "elements" of the Timaeus. One of them is the isosceles right-angled triangle, called by the Pythagoreans the "half-square"; the other is the triangle which can be obtained by dividing the equilateral triangle into six smaller triangles by drawing the perpendiculars from the angular points on the opposite sides, or less symmetrically, by dividing the equilateral triangle into two by a single such perpendicular. (Hence the Pythagorean name for it, the "half-triangle") Timaeus does not explain what the peculiar beauty of these triangles is, but we know independently that it lies in the fact that the ratios of the angles of the two triangles are the simplest possible. Those of the "half-square" have the ratios 1: 1: 2, those of the "half-triangle" the ratios 1: 2: 3. From the former, by a symmetrical arrangement of four such triangles about a center of position we get the square, and from a proper arrangement of six square faces, the cube. A similar symmetrical arrangement of six triangles of the second type gives us the equilateral triangle, and there are three regular solids which can be made with equilateral triangles as their faces — the tetrahedron, the octahedron, the icosahedron. For physical reasons, we take the cube as the form appropriate to a corpuscle of earth, the tetrahedron as that of a particle of fire, the other two as the forms of the particles of air and water respectively. There is still a fifth regular solid, the dodecahedron, which has twelve pentagons as its faces; but this can be constructed from neither of the elementary triangles, and has a different part to play. God employed it (55b) "for the whole, adorning it with constellations." (This |458| out the celestial sphere for purposes of astronomical description by dividing it into twelve pentagonal regions, exactly as a leather ball is made by stitching together twelve pentagonal pieces of leather.)23 It follows from the theory that a corpuscle of one of the "roots" can only be broken up along the edges of the triangles from which it has been built up. Hence, since earth is formed from a special type of triangle, it cannot be "transmutable" with any of the other three, but they are all transmutable with one another. Timaeus then proceeds to give a number of equations which determine the equivalences between the corpuscles of these "roots." Into the physical difficulties created by this table of equivalences we cannot enter here. It must be enough to have seen that the general programme contemplated is precisely that reduction of all physics to applied geometry and nothing else which is equally characteristic of Descartes.

We next have an attempt to specify the most important "varieties" of each of the four types of body and the "chemical compounds" they form with one another, and to account for the sensible qualities of all these bodies by reference to their geometrical structure, which must be passed over here (58c-68d). Its most interesting feature is a long psycho-physical account of the conditions of pleasure-pain (64a-65b), in terms of the depletion-repletion formula. The "unmixed" pleasures of sense are brought under the formula by the hypothesis that they are sudden and appreciable "repletions" of a "depletion" which has been too gentle and gradual to be propagated to the "seat of consciousness."

With the next section of the dialogue we pass definitely from physics to anatomy, physiology, and medicine (69a-87b). Again, it must be sufficient in this volume to pass over the details lightly. The main point is that the organism has been constructed throughout to minister to the soul. To fit the soul for its embodied life it had to receive two temporary and inferior additions, the "spirited" and "concupiscent" "parts" or "forms" already familiar to us from the Republic. Each of these has a central "organ" or "seat," just as the "rational" part has its seat in the brain; "spirit" is lodged in the thorax, "appetite" in the lower region of the trunk, beneath the diaphragm (69a-70e). In connexion with this least orderly and disciplined element in the soul, the liver has a specially important part to play. It is the source of visions and bad dreams |459| of all kinds, and the utterances of the "possessed" "seers" and the like are really due to a disordered liver. They can be interpreted by spokesmen (προφῆται), who are themselves not in the state of "possession" and thus given a salutary moral influence (71a-72b). The details of the anatomy and physiology have more interest for the historian of these sciences than for the student of philosophy, especially since they are all given as tentative and liable to revision. The most prominent feature of the section is the elaborate attempt (77b-79e, 80d-81e) to account (of course in a fanciful way) for respiration, the systole and diastole of the heart, digestion, all together as one vast rhythmical mechanical process with the double purpose of maintaining the vital heat of the organism and distributing nourishment through the blood to the various tissues.

The physiology is followed up by a section on pathology which makes a curious attempt at a classification of the various known diseases (82a-86a). The theory could only be properly discussed in connexion with what we know of other fifth- and fourth-century speculations on the same subject from the Hippocratean corpus and other sources. Its most outstanding feature is that it departs wholly from the lines of the Hippocratean "humoral pathology" by treating "phlegm" and "bile" not as ingredients of the organism in its normal state but as unwholesome morbid secretions. I have tried elsewhere to show reasons for supposing that Plato is deriving the doctrine from Philistion of Locri, with whom, as we see from the Epistles, he had made acquaintance at Syracuse, and that in its main outlines it is in general accord with what we know to have been the medical theory of Philolaus, though there are points of difference. If this is so, we can understand why this particular medical theory should be expounded by the Locrian Timaeus. In any case, we must not suppose that Plato has invented an amateur pathology of his own and is teaching it dogmatically. He will simply be following what he regards as respectable specialist authority.

The pathology of the body leads up to the pathology of the soul (86b-87b), and this to some regulations of physical and mental hygiene (87e-90d). Undesirable moral propensities are due very largely to physical constitutional defects; e.g. undue propensity to sexual irregularities is largely of physiological origin. The other chief cause of "badness" is education in bad social traditions. Hence Timaeus infers — not quite consistently with his own earlier insistence on personal responsibility — that those who begot and educated the transgressor are really more to blame than the transgressor himself. We must remember that he is, among other things, a medical man, and that "the profession" are prone to views of this kind. Plato may well be treating his speaker with a certain touch of irony when he makes the moral theory of Timaeus a little inconsistent with his mental pathology.

In laying down rules of hygiene, the supreme object we should |460| aim at is the correction of any disproportion between the body and the soul which animates it. This disproportion is dangerous to both body and soul. The soul which is too big for its "pigmy body" actually wears the body out, as we see in the case of so many keen political and scientific controversialists; when the body is too robust for its soul, a man too often makes the soul dull and slow by ministering to the body’s clamant appetites. The rule should be that neither body nor soul should be exercised exclusively. The student must take care to attend to his physical condition, or he will suffer for it in soul as well as body. The best kind of "motion" by which to exercise the body is active muscular exertion, and the next best easy rhythmical passive motion, like swinging, riding in a carriage, being rowed on the water. The worst kind, which may only be resorted to in case of absolute necessity, is the violent production of intestinal motions by drugs and purges (87c-89d).

A still more important topic is the hygiene of the mind which is to rule and direct the movements of the body. Timaeus cannot relevantly enter on a systematic discussion of the principles of education, but he lays down the general principle that our intelligence is the divine thing in us, and the real "guardian spirit" (δαίμων) of each of us. It has been truly said that man, whose divine part resides in the head, is like a tree with its root not in the earth, but in the sky (90a). The rule of healthy living for the soul is that this divine thing in us should "think thoughts immortal and divine," and that the merely human "parts" of the soul should "worship" and "tend" it. The true "tendance" of any creature consists in providing it with its appropriate food and "exercise (κινήσεις, 90c), and the "exercise" appropriate to the rational soul is thus "the thoughts and revolutions of the whole." The end of life is to correct the "revolutions in the head" and bring them once more into correspondence with the "tunes and revolutions" of the world-soul, in whose image they were made at first (90a-d).

The story closes with a development which should not be taken as seriously as has been done by some interpreters. Timaeus, we remember, had incorporated in his narrative the old fancy that the first men were directly sprung from the soil. Hence his physiology has taken no account of the reproductive system. This, we are now told, was only wanted in the second generation, when the second-best of the original "men" came to be reborn as women. He gives an unmistakably playful account of the modifications which had to be introduced into the physiological scheme to suit the new situation (90e-91d), and then adds more briefly that the lower animals in general were also derived by degeneration from the original human pattern, the deformation being greater or less as the souls which were to tenant the various bodies had fallen more or less short of virtue and wisdom in their first life (91d-92b). Nothing is said here of the hell and purgatory of the eschatological |461| myths of the Gorgias, Phaedo, Republic. Presumably the scientific Pythagoreans of the middle of the fifth century regarded them as no more than edifying mythology, exactly as the author of the so-called Timaeus Locrus regards Timaeus’ own statements about metamorphosis. We should pretty certainly be wrong if we took this part of the discourse as a serious speculation on the part of Plato about a possible evolution á rebours. Timaeus himself is probably meant to be less than half in earnest; as in the tale of Aristophanes in the Symposium, we are really dealing with a playful imitation of the speculation of Empedocles about the "whole-natured" and double-sexed forms with which evolution in the "period of strife" began. What Plato himself thinks of all this is sufficiently indicated when we are told in the Politicus that the "earth-born" men and the "age of Cronus do not belong to our "half of the cycle," i.e. they belong to fairy-tale, not to history.

Here our story comes at last to an end. We have now told the whole tale of the birth of this sensible world, "a visible living creature, modeled on that which is intelligible, a god displayed to sense" (92c).24

The Critias calls for no special consideration. Its declared purpose is to relate in detail the story of the defeat of the Atlantid kings, of which Critias had given the bare outline in the Timaeus. It remains, however, a bare fragment. Critias describes the topography of Attica and Athens as they were before the process of denudation which has reduced the country to a mere rocky skeleton (109b-111d), and the happy condition of the inhabitants (111e-112e). He then gives a much longer account of the island of Atlantis and its kings, the descendants of the god Posidon, their institutions, and their wonderful engineering works (118a-120d), and is about to relate how their hearts were lifted up with pride in their wealth and power, and how Zeus resolved to bring them into judgment, when the fragment breaks off, just as Zeus is about to declare his purpose to the assembled gods. The chief things which call for notice are the clear-headed way in which Plato has grasped the effects of gradual geological denudation on Attica,25 and the special stress he lays on the marvellous skill of the Atlantids in naval engineering. The description may have been inspired by a recollection of what had actually been effected at Syracuse,26 but the |462| works ascribed to the mythical kings more than sustain comparison with the greatest achievements of Roman architects and engineers. The whole account illustrates Plato’s exceptional knowledge of the technical arts and his high estimate of their possibilities. We may be sure that, if the story had been completed, one of its main points would have been the triumph of patriotism and sound moral over technical skill.

The conception of the "purpose of Zeus" seems to be an echo from epic poetry. It is hardly a mere accident that the last complete sentence of the fragment recalls the version of the Trojan story given in the Cypria, where the origin of the great war is traced to the plan of Zeus for the prevention of over-population. There may be some significance in the fact that Zeus is said to summon the divine council to his "most honorable abode" in the center of the universe.27 Since one of the names given by those Pythagoreans who believed in a "central fire" to this luminary was Διὸς φυλακή, this looks as though Critias meant to hint at that astronomical doctrine. Timaeus, as we have seen, makes the "center" empty.

See further:
Burnet. Greek Philosophy, Part I., 335-349; Platonism. 1928, c. 7.
Ritter, C. Platon, ii., 258-287 al.; Platons Dialoge, 98-158;
  Neue Untersuchungen über Platon, 174-182.
Levi, A. Il Concetto del Tempo nella Filosofia di Platone. Turin, N.D.
Stewart, J. A. Plato’s Doctrine of Ideas, 101-105;
  Myths of Plato, 259-297 (The Timaeus), 457-469.
Dies, A. Autour de Platon, ii., 522-603.
Taylor, A. E. A Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus. Oxford, 1928;
  Plato, Timaeus and Critias, translated, 1929.
Rivaud, A. Platon, Timaeus, Critias. Paris, 1925.

Friedlander, P. Platon; Eidos, Paideia, Dialogos (1928).
  Excursus II. on the city of Atlantis.
Raeder, H. Platons philosophische Entivichelung, 374-394.
Natorp, P. Platons Ideenlehre, 338-358.
Baeumker, C. Das Problem der Materie in der Griechischen Philosophie, 115-188.
Martin, T. H. Études suv le Time’e de Platon.(Paris, 1841.
Robin, L. Études sur la signification et la place de la physique dans la
  philosophie de Platon.
Paris, 1919.
Robin, L. Platon, c. v.
Cornford, F. M. Plato’s Cosmology (Timaeus translated with
Cambridge, 1937.

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1^ I cannot agree with those who dispute Plato’s intention to represent Timaeus as a Pythagorean. Everything in his doctrine can be traced back to Pythagorean sources except the use of the four Empedoclean "roots" and the equally Empedoclean sense-physiology and medicine, a point which I have tried to establish in detail elsewhere. For the evidence that Philolaus similarly combined Pythagorean mathematics with Empedoclean biology, see Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy 3 278-279, Greek Philosophy, Part I., 88-89. I have tried to add something to the evidence elsewhere. The name is not given as that of a Locrian by Iamblichus in his catalogue, but he mentions a Timaeus among the Crotoniates, and again (unless it is the same man) among the Parians, who precede the Locrians immediately in his list. This looks as though the name had been displaced by a copyist. Plato’s avoidance of the name of Pythagoras is a standing habit; it, no doubt, has to do with the disrepute into which the word was brought by the more superstitious members of the order.

2^ It is impossible to imagine the meeting as taking place after the dispatch of the Athenian fleet to Syracuse. As we know from Xenophon and Diodorus, Hermocrates was serving against Athens in the East from 413 until his descent on Sicily in 409 or 408. We cannot suppose that he would be likely to choose Athens as a place to visit in this interval, or that he could meet Socrates there on friendly terms, still less that Socrates would contrast him, at that date, as a man with a career to make, with Timaeus and Critias as men whose distinction has been already achieved.

3^ It is, however, suggested that the present discourse is held during the Panathenaea, which do not fall even within two months of the day mentioned in the Republic (the feast of Bendis). This secures us against connecting the two dialogues too closely.

4^ For Aristotle’s interpretation, see Physics, 251b 17, de Caelo, 280a 30, Metaphysics 1072 a 1. Since he comments on the fact that the dialogue makes time and the world begin together, he is presumably alive to the point that Timaeus does not ascribe a beginning to nature in the usual sense of that phrase. For the explanation of Xenocrates, see Plutarch, de Animae Procreatione in Timaeo, 1013a-b, where it is admitted that on this point the Academy in general followed Xenocrates.

5^ Laws, x. 896e, where all that is said is that, since there is disorder and "dysteleology" in the world, the perfectly good soul cannot be the only soul there is; there must be one or more faulty souls. Neither Plutarch nor Zeller had any right to manufacture an "evil world-soul" out of this straightforward rejection of Pantheism.

6^ The allusion is to the famous problem of the "duplication of the cube," connected by later anecdote with Plato’s own name. The meaning of Timaeus is clearly that no one rational "mean" can be inserted between two integers, when each is the product of three prime factors and no more.

7^ I have adopted the exegesis given by Mr. Cornford in Plato’s Cosmology as convincing, and modified these sentences accordingly.

8^ For the construction of this scale — its compass is four octaves and a sixth — see Timaeus. 356-366. Modern editors and translators in general have, in my opinion all been led into errors by exaggerated deference to Boeckh, who, in his turn, has been misled by an erroneous statement in Timaeus Locrus about the sum of the terms of the progression. That Boeckh and his followers, at least, must be wrong seems to be shown by their twice introducing into their scale the interval called the ἀποτομή or major semitone. As Proclus says, the silence of Timaeus shows that he does not intend to admit this interval, but only the minor semitone, or λειμμα, which he is careful to describe.

9^ Timaeus, we see, is not allowed to show any consciousness of the important logical results Plato had reached in the Sophistes. This is presumably because his discourse must be kept within limits imposed by the assumption that he is a fifth-century Pythagorean. All through the dialogue we need to remember that the speaker is not Plato, and that Plato need not be supposed to regard his utterances as a complete exposition of his own convictions.

10^ I.e., all the planets shine by reflected solar light, as Empedocles had taught for the case of the moon.

11^ On all this see Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy. 3, 110-111.

12^ For Aristotle’s interpretation, see de Caelo, B 293b 30 ff., and cf. ibid. 296a 26. The important point is that the grammar of the passage in the Timaeus demands a verb of motion, and that Aristotle expressly explains the word by adding καὶ κινεισθαι. That he should be mistaken, or speaking with mala fides, on such a point seems incredible. Cf. Burnet, Greek Philosophy, Part I., 348 and notes. The summary to Diogenes Laertius (iii., 75) also ascribes a motion to the earth, though wrong about its nature (κινεισθαι περὶ τὸ μέσον).

13^ On the anomaly of the seasons, see Theo Smyrnaeus, p. 153 (Hiller), and on the Metonic cycle the passages quoted in Diels, Fragmente det Vorsokratiker 3, i. 29, 9 (s.v. Oinopides). For the problem raised by the comparative rarity of visible eclipses of the sun, see Placita, ii. 29 (the explanation ascribed to the Pythagoreans and to Anaxagoras). I suspect that Timaeus may intend his sliding motion to explain why we do not see an eclipse of the sun at every new moon, nor an eclipse of the moon at every full moon, by suggesting that on most of these occasions the earth happens to be a little "out of the center."

14^ Plutarch, Quaest. Platon. 1006c, Vit. Numae, c. 11. See on this evidence Burnet, Greek Philosophy, Part I., 347.

15^ Epinomis, lc., ἄγων τοὺς ἄλλους, ὥς γε ἀνθρώποις φαίοιτ̉ ἂν ὀλίγα τούτων εἰδοσιν. If it only "appears so" to the "beginner," of course it is not so. Burnet’s insertion of οὐκ before ἄγων only makes the meaning needlessly plain at the expense of Plato’s little jest at the blunder of disciples like Aristotle, who had committed themselves to the Eudoxian view. There seems to be a deliberate rejoinder in Aristotle. Metaphysics 1073b 8, ὅτι μὲν οὐν πλείους των φερομένων αἱ φοραὶ φανερὸν τοις καὶ μετρίως ἡμμένοις· πλείους γὰρ ἕκαστον φέρεται μιας των πλανωμένων ἄστρων — just what the Laws denies.

16^ This interpretation of the testimony of Theophrastus is that of Schiaparelli, C. Ritter, and Burnet. However we understand his evidence, it is far too weighty to be simply set aside, nor do I think Mr. Cornford’s ingenious attempt to minimize its significance (Plato’s Cosmology, p. 128) happy. I think it more likely that Plato has deliberately chosen for his fifth-century astronomer phraseology which, except that it ascribes movement of some kind to the earth, is left studiously vague.

17^ The souls sown in the planets are not, of course, to be future inhabitants of the earth. They are to inhabit the planets where they are "sown." Timaeus is alluding to the Pythagorean belief that there are men and animals in the planets as well as on earth.

18^ The connexion of a soul with its "star" has nothing to do with either planetary or zodiacal astrology. The thought is simply that there is a correspondence one-to-one between the "gods" and the human denizens of the universe.

19^ Greek Philosophy, Part I., 341-346. The "necessity" of the Timaeus is not "uniform sequence." So far as sequences are "uniform" the uniformity is due to the "persuasion" of necessity by νους; that is, the uniformity is an effect and sign of the presence of rational purpose. It is the exceptional departures, the "sports" in nature, which we are to account for by the presence of a πλανωμένη αἰτια. More generally, "necessity" explains why the course of actual fact only conforms approximately to the formulae of kinematics. The "necessity" of the dialogue is thus precisely what Aristotle has taught us to call "contingency."

20^ This excludes the superficial identification of "necessity" with an evil "material principle." The doctrine that "matter" is the source of evil is wholly un-Platonic. Historically, of course, the ἀνάγκη of Timaeus connects directly with the ἄπειρον of early Pythagoreanism. It is the element of indetermination in events, the element which a Spinozistic conception of the universe persists in ignoring.

21^ There is an almost absolute equivalence of Timaeus’ analysis with that of Whitehead in his Principles of Natural Knowledge, and Concept of Nature. Whitehead’s "objects" have exactly the formal character of the ίδέαι; his account of the "ingredience of objects into events" corresponds almost verbally with that given by Timaeus of the determination of the various regions of the "receptacle" by the "ingress" and "egress" of the impresses of the forms. The "receptacle" itself only differs from "passage" in being called "space" and not "space-time." If we try to picture "passage" as it would be if there were only "events" and no "objects" ingredient in them, we get precisely the sort of account Timaeus gives of the condition of the "receptacle" before God introduced order and structure into it.

22^ For the historical connexion of Pythagorean cosmology with the scheme of Anaximander see Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy (3rd edition), 1920, 108 ff., Greek Philosophy, Part I., c. 2.

23^ The whole of this construction is Pythagorean in origin, as we see by comparison with the valuable fragment preserved at the end of the Theologumena Arithmetica from the work of Speusippus on Pythagorean Numbers (Speusippus, Fr. 4; Diels, Fragmente d. Vorsokr. 3 i. p. 303 ff.), where the relations silently presupposed by Timaeus between the angles 01 the "half-square" and "half-triangle" are explained in full. The one point where Timaeus may be going beyond results reached by the Pythagoreans is in his tacit assumption that all his five solids and no others can be inscribed in the sphere. Note that he makes a point of it that Socrates and the others are mathematicians, and so will follow him easily (53c 1).

24^ εἰκὼν τσυ νοητου, θεὁς αἰσθητός. In this sentence νοητου must not be taken, against all the rules of grammar, as masculine agreeing with an "understood" θεου, since the word θεὸς has not yet occurred in the sentence. νοητου is neuter, and we must either understand ζῴου from the preceding ζῳον, or possibly take τὸ νοητόν substantially. The v.l. ποιητου found in A is inferior to the vulgate, which is also the better supported reading, as it occurs in both F and Y.

25^ But it is said (Rivaud, Timée, p. 239) that much of the denudation of Attica ascribed by Plato to the natural cataclysm mentioned at Timaeus 25d and Critias 112a is actually the work of man.

26^ Plato is thinking also, perhaps, of the conversion of the Piraeus into a great naval harbour, but the immediate source of the description is probably what he had seen himself at Syracuse.

27^ Critias 121c 2-4. The sentence adds to the case for my view that the astronomy of Timaeus is not Plato’s, own.

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XVIII. The Laws and Epinomis

The Laws is not only the longest of all Plato’s writings; it also contains his latest and ripest thought on the subjects which he had all through his life most at heart — ethics, education, and jurisprudence. Plato’s services to the theory of education, in particular, have usually been grossly underrated, from an inexcusable neglect of the very thorough treatment given to it in what he probably himself regarded as his most important work. His theology, again, has often been misconceived in modern times, because the tenth book of the Laws is the only place in his works where it is systematically expounded. This neglect of so noble a work is perhaps to be explained by two considerations. In one respect the Laws makes a greater demand on the reader than any other Platonic writing. The dramatic element is reduced to a minimum; if one does not care for the subject-matter of the book, there is little in its manner to attract. To all intents and purposes, the work is a monologue, interrupted only by formulae of assent or requests for further explanation. Further, the purpose of the whole is severely practical, and will not appeal to a reader who cares more for metaphysics and science than for morals and politics. More than any other work of Plato, the Laws stands in direct relation to the political life of the age in which it was composed and is meant to satisfy a pressing felt need.

In the last twenty years of Plato’s life it was becoming more and more obvious that the old city-states which had been the centers of Hellenic spiritual life had had their day. Athens herself had become a second-rate power ever since the collapse of the great Syracusan expedition, as Plato knew only too well. Sparta, to whom the hegemony had passed at the end of the Decelean war, had proved wholly unfitted for such a post, and had been crushed, in a way from which she never recovered, by the brilliant successes of Epaminondas, which made Thebes for a few years a power of the first order. Meanwhile the very existence of Hellenic civilization was endangered by the encroachments of Persia in the East and Carthage in the West. It was clear that if civilization of the Hellenic type was to hold its own, none of the older city-states was in a condition to become its center. We know now that the historical solution of the problem was to be provided by the rise of the Macedonian monarchy and the achievements of Philip and Alexander. |464| But the work of Philip was only in the beginning in Plato’s last years; his appearance south of Thermopylae as the ally of Thebes against Phocis, the first manifest sign that a new power had succeeded to the hegemony of the Hellenic states, did not take place until the year after Plato’s death. In the meantime, the most striking feature of the situation was the founding of new cities or the revival of old ones. Epaminondas’ foundation of Megalopolis as a center for Arcadia is a good example of the one process, his restoration of Messene an equally good example of the other; and it is pertinent to remember that, according to Greek ideas, the first thing to be done in such a situation was to provide the new or revived community with a complete constitution and fundamental law. It was naturally the practice to call in the aid of experts in "politics" as advisers in the task. In the fifth century, Pericles had employed Protagoras in this way, to give advice on the laws to be made for Thurii; in the fourth, the Academy was constantly being asked, as a recognized society of experts in jurisprudence, to do the same sort of work. Plato himself is said to have been requested to legislate for Megalopolis, and, though he declined, work of the same kind was done by his associates for many foundations.1 Hence it was eminently desirable that men contemplating the probability of being called on to "legislate," should be provided with an example of the way in which the work should be gone about, and the Laws is meant to furnish just such an example. The assumed situation is that a new city is to be founded, and that an Athenian is invited to lend his assistance in the work. The particular situation assumed, of a city to be founded in Crete on the site of a prehistoric town, is presumably fictitious, especially if, as Wilamowitz has asserted, the topographical details show that Plato was not really acquainted with actual Cretan conditions; a fictitious situation will serve as well as a real one to illustrate the principles which have to be enforced.

The date of composition of the work cannot be very precisely fixed. But we may readily fix a terminus a quo [point of origin]. One of the chief principles on which Plato insists is that the legislator has not really done his work when he has merely enunciated an enactment and provided it with a "sanction" in the form of a penalty for nonobservance. This is like the method of an empiric "slave" doctor, treating other slaves; he merely orders a prescription to be followed under the threat of consequences if it is neglected. A great physician treating an intelligent freeman tries to enlist his patient in the work of the cure by explaining to him the principles on which the treatment rests. In the same way, a legislator should try to enlist |465| the sympathies of decent men on the side of the law by prefixing to his whole legislation and to the several main divisions of it "proems" or "preambles explaining the aims of the legislation and the reasons why its enactments are what they are, and why the penalties for transgression are what they are (Laws 719e-722a). Now in Epistle iii. 316a, Plato refers to himself as having been occupied with Dionysius at Syracuse upon "preludes" or "preambles" to the laws to be given to the cities they were proposing to form into a constitutional monarchy. Thus we may reasonably infer that the conception of legislation characteristic of the Laws was suggested by Plato’s personal experience of the Syracusan situation. The occasion to which Epistle iii. refers is probably that of Plato’s last visit to Syracuse in 361/60, though it may conceivably be that of the visit of 367/6. In either case, it is unlikely that Plato would have the leisure to plan a work of the scope of our Laws before 360, when his direct connexion with the affairs of Syracuse was over. Such a work would necessarily involve a great deal of thought and time and may well have occupied Plato more or less continuously for the remaining years of his life, though the one actual allusion to a dateable event seems to be the mention (638b) of a victory of Dionysius II over the Locrians, probably to be assigned to the year 356.

The personnel of the dialogue, if we can call it one, is exceedingly simple. There are three characters — an Athenian, left anonymous, who is the main speaker, and two minor characters, Megillus, a Spartan, and Clinias, a Cretan. All of them are old men; of the Athenian we learn that he has astronomical and mathematical knowledge, is regarded by the others as a highly suitable person to give advice on matters of jurisprudence and political science, and that he has had personal experience of association with a "tyrant" (711a). Thus his intellectual qualifications are those of a member of the Academy, and his personal experiences are modeled on Plato’s own, and to that extent we may fairly take him as standing for Plato, though we have no reason to suppose that he is drawn with any deliberate intention of self-portraiture. All we learn of the others is that the Spartan belongs to a family in which the office of proxenus (ambassador) of Athens is hereditary, and that the Cretan is connected by blood with the famous medicine-man Epimenides (642b, d). This is meant to account for the unusual readiness of both to learn from an Athenian. When the work opens we find the three old men engaged in a general conversation about the merits and purpose of the institutions of the traditional legislators of Sparta and Cnossus, Lycurgus and Minos. They propose to continue their conversation as they walk to the cave of Dicte, the legendary birthplace of Zeus. The full situation is only disclosed at the end of the third book (702b-d). It then appears that the Cretans have resolved to resettle the site of a decayed city; the making of the necessary arrangements has been left to the citizens of Cnossus, who have devolved it upon a commission of ten. Clinias, the head |466| of this commission, proposes to take the Athenian and Spartan into consultation as advisers about the legislation and the constitution generally. We have already incidentally heard that the time of the year is midsummer, so that the long day will suffice for a full discussion.

The argument of the first three books may be regarded as introductory. Plato winds his way very gradually into his subject, advancing almost imperceptibly from a problem of ethics, through educational theory, to the consideration of strictly political and juristic matter, and does not reveal his full purpose until the preparatory positions have been thoroughly secured. This method is very characteristic, and it is unfortunate that some modern readers should have appreciated it so little as to speculate about the possibility that the whole arrangement is due to the piecing together of disconnected papers by an editor. I trust that the brief analysis which follows will reveal the real march of the argument as far too carefully studied to be the result of a well-meant blunder.

Book I. What is the central purpose of the institutions of Lycurgus and Minos? The Spartan and Cretan agree that their law-givers have discovered the fundamental truth that, under all disguises, the brute hard fact about the life of a city is that it is a "war to the knife" with all rivals; almost in Hobbes’s phrase, independent cities are in a state of nature towards one another, and the state of nature is a state of real but undeclared war (πόλεμος ἀκήρυκτος). Hence the supreme good for a city is victory in this unremitting warfare, and the business of a citizen is to be, before everything, a combatant. All the institutions of Sparta and Crete are therefore rightly directed towards producing the one great virtue, efficiency in warfare, ἀνδρεία, valour. The Athenian dissents entirely from this ethic of warfare. The supreme victory for any community or any man is not victory over the foe without, but victory over self, that is, the conquest of the worser elements in the community or the individual soul by the better. And this victory is not complete when the better elements coerce or expel the worse; it is only complete when subjugation is followed by reconciliation and harmony. Peace, not war, between the components of community or individual soul is the best state; it is with a view to peace that a good legislator must make his enactments. From this point of view, wisdom, sophrosyne, justice, are the supreme virtues; mere martial valour will rank only fourth (631c). Now when we consider the Spartan system of training we see that all its peculiarities — the common meals of coarse fare, the bodily exercises and hunting, and the rough discipline in general — aim only at fostering the one virtue we have just ranked lowest among the four of the familiar quadrilateral. And, what is more, they aim at teaching only the easier and less valuable half of the one virtue.

True "manliness" or valour does not consist simply in the power |467| to face danger, pain, and weariness; it means also being able to face the seductions of pleasure without giving in to them, and this is the finer half of the virtue and the harder to learn. But Megillus himself cannot point to any training provided by the Spartan system in this part of valour (634b). The explanation is that the only way to learn to get the better of temptation is to be made to face it and overcome it. The Spartans act on this principle when they teach the young to face peril and pain bravely by exposing them to them. They avoid making them learn to face and overcome the seductions of pleasure. Indeed, the perverse sexual practices which are fostered by the "barrack-room" life of Sparta have given her a universal bad name (636b) no less than the relaxed manners of her women (637c).

A chance remark of Megillus in reply to these criticisms provides the material for the rest of the discussion of Book I. He regards it as highly creditable to Sparta that its pleasures are so few; a wine-party, for example, is an unheard-of thing (637a). This leads the Athenian into a long discussion of the practice of μέθη, the convivial use of wine. (As a mere drink with meals wine was used sparingly at Sparta, as everywhere else in Greece, for the simple reason that the water is bad.) Some communities wholly prohibit the practice, others allow anyone who pleases to indulge in it as much as he pleases and whenever he likes. Both, the Athenian thinks, are mistaken. A Spartan may urge that the Spartans beat the "wet" forces in the field whenever they meet them, but we cannot generalize by enumeration from a few instances. The issue of numberless engagements goes unrecorded, and we can point to examples on the other side, such as the victory of the toping Syracusans over the abstemious Locrians. If we are to judge of wine-drinking or any other practice we must see what can be made of it under proper regulation. Now under two important conditions — (a) that the party is presided over by a sober man who is not himself giving way to the merriment, and (b) that this president is a man of more years and experience than the rest of the party — such a gathering might have valuable social uses. In vino veritas is true in the sense that when a man is warmed with wine, he shows himself for what he is without disguise. He blurts out thoughts which he would normally keep to himself, and exhibits tempers he would normally hide. If there were a drug which would gradually produce groundless fear and apprehension, as there is not, it would enable us to make a very safe and easy test of a man’s courage. We could make him take deeper and deeper draughts of it, and watch his success in mastering his pathological alarms. We should thus be able to do without risk what, in fact, we can only do by exposing a man to actual risk, distinguish the more from the less valiant. Wine does give us such a test of a man’s sophrosyne. We can see who forgets himself least and keeps his modesty best under the artificial removal of restraints produced by the wine-cup, and, if the party is rightly conducted, there is no danger that the application of the test will have serious consequences; the subject will be a little noisy and |468| silly for the time, and that is all. It is much better to learn a man’s weakness from such a slight exposure than to have to discover it from his exposure to a grave temptation to unlawful love or the like. The practice might thus be of great value to the magistrate who wants to know what citizens he can safely trust to come well out of positions where there is opportunity for gratifying the desire for unrighteous pleasures. And to the members of the party, of course, learning to "drink their wine like gentlemen" does afford a very real drill in learning to say "no" at the right time. On these grounds the Athenian advocates the strictly regulated permission to drink wine convivially. If there is to be no regulation of such parties, he would like to see wine absolutely prohibited to the young of both sexes, soldiers in the field, servants, magistrates during their tenure of office, sea-captains, jurymen and counsellors when acting in that capacity, and "any person immediately contemplating the procreation of children" (674a-b). No doubt the main reason for the discussion is that it serves to illustrate the great principles that the better half of valour is mastery over one’s desires, and that the true way to master temptation is to stand up to it, not to make its occurrence artificially impossible.

Book II. The sentence just quoted does not occur until the end of the second book, but before we reach it, Plato has ingeniously made the problem of the right use of wine lead up to that of the use of music and poetry as a vehicle of early moral education. There is still a further valuable social service which may be derived from a proper use of wine, but before we can say what this service is, we must ask the question what right education is. To answer this, we reflect that a child’s first experience in life is acquaintance with pleasure and pain (653a), and that an education in character begins with learning to feel pleasure and pain about the right things (ibid. b). To understand how this education is to be got, we consider that a young creature cannot keep still; it is always jumping and shouting (ibid. d). In man, by the gift of God, these boundings and shoutings can be transformed into tuneful and rhythmical singing and dancing, and it is with this transformation that education begins (654a). Thus, by a liberal interpretation, the whole of the early moral training of the young, which is to begin as soon as they are sensible to melody and rhythm, can be brought under the rubric of education in the "choric" art, the art of song accompanied by the lyre and by the movements of an appropriate ballet d’action. The connexion of the discussion with the previous problem of the right use of wine is effected by a playful artifice very characteristic of Plato. It is at first assumed that, since the community as a whole must take its part in the worship of the Muses, there will be three choirs at our musical festivals — one of the boys and girls, a second of the younger, and a third of the older, men. But old men who ale "stiff in the joints" and past the feelings of frolic will naturally not find it easy to recapture the youthful spirit of gaiety which will make it natural for them to sing and dance before a |469| public audience. If they do not enter thoroughly into the spirit of the thing, there will be an awkwardness and constraint about their contribution which is specially out of place in a festival of the deities of graceful achievement. The concession to them of a proper use of wine would provide just the requisite means of recovering for the time the abandon of youth, and would be appropriate, when we remember that Dionysus, one of the gods who are patrons of song and dance, is also the giver of wine. As the argument develops, we discover that we are not to take the description of the functions of this "choir of Dionysus" quite literally. What they are really to do is to select the words and music for the songs of younger persons. They are, in fact, to be compilers of the official anthology, and the use of wine is to assist them in this task. The besetting fault of compilers of anthologies for the young is that they make their selections much too "grown-up." The middle-aged compiler’s taste is not a safe guide. Plato thinks that if he came to his work warmed with a few glasses of a generous wine, he would be more likely to escape this commonly recognized danger and to make a wiser selection.

The details of the book cannot be discussed here, but it should be noted that while the treatment proceeds on the same main principles as those laid down for the employment of music in the schoolroom in Republic iii., the whole discussion is much richer in psychological insight; no account of Plato’s views about the moral influence of music on character can possibly afford to neglect Laws ii., though many professed accounts commit the fault. For the general theory of moral education, the most significant utterances are the declaration, emphatically commended by Aristotle, that the whole problem is to teach the young to "feel pleasure and pain" rightly (653b) and that "rightly" means "in accord with the rightly uttered discourse of the law" (659d, πρὸς τὸν ὑπὸ του νόμου λόγον ὀρθὸν εἰρημένον),2 a sentence which seems to be the source from which the expression ὀρθὸς λόγος has got into the Ethics of Aristotle. We may also note the vigour of the protest against the view that "the tastes of the audience" are the standard of excellence in art (6580-6590), and the allusion to the example of Egypt as proof that it is possible to establish permanent canons of aesthetic taste (656d, e).3

With Book III, we enter on the main problem of political science, what a "city" is, and how it arises. To illustrate the way in |470| which historical development of institutions is conditioned, we imagine what would happen if a natural cataclysm destroyed the whole of a community with the exception of a few shepherds and goat-herds who escaped by the very fact that they occupied a remote and inaccessible position. They would be the rudest members of their society, and thus all the arts of civilization would be temporarily lost. It would be only very gradually that the chief industrial arts and the arts of letters would be recovered The survivors would at first live in isolated family groups in out-of-the-way places, with little or no means of intercommunication, and hardly any implements of industry. In the main, when they began to recover communication with one another, they would live, after the fashion of nomads, on the produce of their herds, without accumulating "portable property," and hence without strife and greed (679a-e). Their rule of life would be "patriarchal," each head of a house making regulations for his own household, as Homer has correctly assumed in his account of the pastoral Cyclopes (680b).

In course of time, men would pass from this "nomad life" to agriculture, and the inhabiting of some sort of "city." These settlements would naturally be made first of all in the uplands, and agriculture would bring along with it the first rude attempts at "enclosures" (681a). For defense against dangers, families would coalesce in large "houses" (like the "long houses" of the North American Indians). This would, in time, lead to an Ausgleich (balance, leveling out) of rules of life. The "large house" would develop a rule of life out of the various rules each family group brought with it into the settlement, and we might call this the first rude beginning of legislation (ibid. b-c). So we should find the first beginnings of sovereignty at the same stage in the appearance of a sort of "aristocracy" of headmen, who see that the rule of life is duly observed (681d). When the memory of the cataclysm had sufficiently died out, a further step would be taken. Men would venture to come down into the plains and build cities on a larger scale, like Homer’s Ilios (682a). With this development we find ourselves in an age of rich and powerful monarchs who can engage in serious hostilities. (It will be noted with how sure an eye Plato discerns the general character of the Greek "Middle Ages," as they are depicted for us in the Iliad, which he rightly regards as historical in its representation of the old days of "chivalry.")

The traditional story of the disasters of the return from Troy and of the Dorian conquest of the Peloponnese also has a lesson for us. The narrative of the conflicts between the returning warriors and the new generation, and of the Dorian invasion, throw light on the way in which a "world-war" changes the face of history (682d ff.). The main point, made at considerable length, is that the Dorian invaders, if they had only been wise in their generation, had the opportunity of establishing a State which could have held its own against all the Oriental monarchies, since they found |471| themselves in occupation of a new territory, had no ancient traditions or vested interests to hamper them, and so had a free hand for legislation. They must have misused their opportunity, for, though tradition says that they set up a federation of three States — Sparta, Argos, Messene — pledged to mutual support, two of the three were in course of time reduced to subjection or impotence by the third, and it is only in part, and in the one city of Sparta, that the old rule of life, which dates from the conquest and was, in fact, dictated by the position of the Dorians as invaders in the midst of an alien and hostile population, has lasted on. The great mistake made at the conquest was that, though the three kingdoms tried to ensure the permanency of their institutions by a compact that if any attempt at innovation was made in any one of the three States, the other two would help to suppress it, they did not understand the all-important principle that (691c-d) the permanent well-being of any State demands the division of the sovereign power between several parties. Concentration of the plenitude of sovereignty in the same hands is fatal. If Sparta has retained much of the old institutions it is because the "division of power" has preserved her. Providence gave an opening for this, when circumstances led to the division of the kingship between two houses; the wisdom of an ancient statesman — this certainly means Lycurgus — carried the principle further, by dividing sovereignty between the kings and the γερουσία the process was afterward completed by the institution of the ephors. Hence the Spartan constitution is, as Plato holds that a stable constitution always ought to be, a mixed one (691e-692c).

We learn the same lesson from the history of Persia and that of Athens. The principle is that, in the last resort, there are two "matrices" of constitutions — personal rule (monarchy), and democracy (popular rule, 693d). In a sound constitution both need to be blended. This was the case with the Persians under Cyrus, as well as with the Athenians of the same time. But in Persia, the element of popular control has disappeared, and government has become capricious autocracy, with the result that Persia is now only formidable on "paper," since there is no real loyalty in the subject. At Athens, respect for personal character and authority has been lost in a complete reign of the mob. The cause, in both cases, has been the same, ignorance of the true principles of education. Since the great Darius, every Persian prince has been "born in the purple" and brought up by women and eunuchs, who ruin him by gratifying all his caprices. At Athens, the mischief began when the uneducated learned to think their own opinion about music and drama as good as that of the educated, and the same delusion soon spread to political matters; the Athens of today is not really a "democracy" but a "theatrocracy" of ignorant sensation-lovers (694a-701d). In Persia, no one is taught how to command, and in Athens no one learns how to obey. The lesson of history for the intending legislator is thus that every wholesome |472| government must rest on a "division of sovereignty"; it must combine the "popular" element with "something of personal authority," or, as Plato puts it, must unite "monarchy" and "freedom." There must be somewhere a scat of authority, but authority must not degenerate into regimentation; there must be ἐλευθερία, the freedom of the individual, but not a freedom which is anarchical.

It is a good corrective to some popular misconceptions of Plato, to note the judicious way in which he employs poetry and tradition as the basis for his tentative reconstruction of prehistory, and the moderation and sobriety of the lessons he draws from history. In the main, his conception of the stages by which men pass through the nomad to the agricultural state, and from the life of the family group to that of the "city" agrees with Aristotle’s, and I might suggest that the well-known account of the "household" and "village" as the precursors of the "city" in the Politics is consciously inspired by the more detailed picture of Laws iii. In one respect, Plato is more "modern" than Aristotle or any other ancient; he, like ourselves, has a vivid sense of the enormous lapses of time and the numerous changes which must have gone to the making of society before our records begin. Alone among the Greeks, he has a genuine sense of the recency of the "historical" period of human life, and the importance of prehistory. For the theory of politics, the great feature of the book is the clear and definite enunciation of the principle of the "division of sovereign power." Lord Acton once wrote, improving on Dr. Johnson, that the first Whig was not the devil, but St. Thomas. It might be even truer to say, neither St. Thomas nor the devil, but Plato.

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The third book of the Laws ends with the statement that Clinias and his friend are actually engaged in a visit to the site of the proposed new city, and an invitation to the Athenian to assist them by continuing his discourse on legislation as they walk. In Book IV Plato proceeds at once to give us a lesson in practical constitution-making. The very first requisite is to be well informed about the topography, climate, economic resources of the State for which we are to legislate, and the character of its inhabitants. The constitution and legislation must, of course, be adapted to all these conditions; Plato is no builder of Utopias, but an extremely practical thinker. In the present case, he assumes that the territory of the imagined city is varied: it contains arable, pasture, woodland, and the like, in reasonable quantity, but it is not extremely fertile. In situation, the city is some miles from the sea, though there is a spot in its territory which would make a good harbor. It has no very near neighbors. These conditions are assumed, because without them some of the features Plato regards as most desirable in national life could not be secured. He wants his territory to be varied in order that it may be as nearly as possible self-supporting and independent of imports; he wants it not to be over-fertile, mainly in order to exclude the rise of production for the foreign market, and for much the same reasons he is glad that it should not have easy access to |473| the sea, the great highway of commerce. His objection is to the influx of large bodies of aliens engaged in trade, whose presence would be a menace to the stability of national traditions of life. (There is to be no Peiraeeus.) And he wants to exclude a big export trade also, because he does not wish the spirit of the community to be commercialized. A further danger is that, as in the case of Athens herself, the development of a sea-borne commerce will lead to the growth of a navy, and with it to the growth of aggressive "imperialism." This explains the motive for the long passage in which it is argued that, contrary to the general opinion, the rise of Athens as a sea-power has been her chief misfortune (705d-707d). This was also the opinion of Isocrates, and seems to be true, in spite of the customary glorification of Themistocles and Pericles, It was the spirit of commercialistic imperialism which led directly to the attempt of Alcibiades and his admirers to create an Athenian empire in the western Mediterranean, and it was this adventure which irretrievably ruined the Periclean democracy.4 The history of Athens explains why Plato wishes a morally healthy society to be agrarian rather than industrial, just as Ruskin, Carlyle, and Morris all wished the same thing for England. The composition of the prospective inhabitants by invitation of settlers from all over Crete and from the Peloponnese is intended to provide another advantage. As the citizens come from different quarters, they will have different original traditions, and this will mean that a legislator will not have the same dead weight of unintelligent conservatism to contend against (708d).

Now what would be the most favourable opportunity for the creation of a thoroughly sound system of laws and institutions? Though the remark seems paradoxical, the best chance would be offered by the cooperation of a thoroughly wise statesman with a "tyrant" but the tyrant would have to be young, intelligent, and endowed with unusual moral nobility (709e). The thought is that in this case the statesman would have the freest hand. He would need only to convert the autocrat to his plans, and the rest of society would follow suit, partly from loyalty, partly because the autocrat has the requisite force to constrain the malcontent. He must be young as well as intelligent, of course, if he is to be won to such an undertaking: an older man would be less easily impressed. He must have moral nobility, because he will be called on to sacrifice his own position as autocrat, if the combination of authority with "freedom" is to be effected. It is improbable that there should ever be such a conjuncture as the association in one age and place of a supreme statesman with a young autocrat of such unusual qualifications, but we cannot say that the thing is impossible (711d). So we may imagine that the condition has been realised and proceed |474| to consider what institutions the statesman with such a force at his disposal would be likely to recommend.5

If a man with a genius for statesmanship ever got this favourable opportunity of carrying his conceptions out in practice, he would, in accord with the principles already laid down, take care not to establish an "unmixed" constitution of any of the three types familiar in the Greek world. That would be to create a sovereignty of a favoured person or class over a subject class or classes. In a true "constitution" the sovereign is not class-interest, but God, and the voice by which God makes His commands known is the law. Hence the fundamental principle of good government is that the sovereign shall be not a person or a class, but impersonal law (713e). In such a society the posts of authority will be awarded for superiority not in birth, or wealth, or strength, but in wholehearted service to law. Its point of honor will be loyalty to the laws. The Athenian accordingly imagines himself to be in the position of a legislator speaking in the presence of the whole body of intending citizens, and proceeds to begin an address to them on the majesty of law (715e-718a); the opening words of this speech are, perhaps, the one "text" quoted more frequently than any other by the Platonists of later antiquity. God eternally pursues the "even tenor of his way," and Justice attends Him; he who would be happy must follow in their train with a "humbled and disciplined" spirit (ταπεινὸς καὶ κεκοσμημένος). To follow God means to be like God, who is the true "measure of all things" (716c). We" are like God so far as we follow the life of right measure.

In the life of measure reverence (τιμή) must be meted out to its various recipients in the right order, first to the gods of the upper world and our city, next to those of the underworld, then to "spirits and heroes," then to ancestors and dead parents, and last to our living parents; in honoring these last, we must remember that to support them with our substance is the least office, to minister to them with our bodies something more, to give them the affection and devotion of the soul the great thing. We cannot do too much for them while we have them with us; when they die, the most modest funeral is the most decent and honorable. At this point the discourse on the duties of life breaks off, to be resumed again in the following book. The reason for the interruption is that the speaker recollects that there are two possible types of law, a brief one and a longer. The brief type of law is that in common vogue. It consists of a command or prohibition accompanied by a "sanction" in the form of a penalty threatened for non-compliance. |475| The wise legislator will not, however, wish to overawe the subject into obedience by mere threats. He would prefer to enlist the feelings of the subjects in favour of his regulations as far as he can, leaving only the worst kind of citizen to be merely coerced. If we look at the practice of physicians of the body, we shall see that there are two types among them. There are the mere empirics, usually themselves slaves with slaves for their patients, who give a prescription magisterially with a threat that things will go ill with the patient if he disregards it. There are the eminent physicians, educated men with educated men for their patients; they explain to the patient the nature of their treatment and the purpose of their regulations and do all they can to get him to help in effecting the cure. It is their method the legislator should adopt. He should therefore prefix to his whole legislation and to the principal sections of it "preambles" explaining the purpose of his regulations and the reasons why such-and-such penalties are proper for neglect of them, and so win the sympathies of the society for whom he legislates (719c-720e). Thus, in enacting that a man shall marry before he reaches a given age or be subject to fine or loss of civil rights (ἀτιμία), he would dwell on the reason for the law, namely, that it aims at securing such immortality as is possible for the race,6 and the reason for selecting just this "sanction," namely, that the man who shirks the duty to save himself expense shall be visited in his pocket, and that the man who has done nothing to leave a younger generation behind him shall not share in the honors we expect to be shown by the younger generation to their parents (721a-d). We may therefore regard the interrupted discourse on the beings entitled to reverence and the respective degrees in which they are entitled to it, as the opening of a general preamble to our whole legislation.

Book V in its opening pages contains the continuation of the great preamble (726-734d). From reverence to parents, we proceed to the reverence or respect due to ourselves and our fellows. The rule of self-reverence is that the soul is more than the body and the body than possessions. A man must prize his soul more than his body and his body more than his "goods." We dishonor our own soul when we put bodily vigour and health or power or riches before wisdom and virtue, or when we gratify unworthy caprice or passion. We dishonor the body when we prefer wealth to health. Plato’s view is that extraordinary beauty or robustness or wealth are bad for the soul, generally speaking, no less than extraordinary ugliness, deformity, ill-health, penury. The first breeds vanity, the second gross lusts, the third idleness and luxury. In respect of advantages both of body and of fortune, |476| the middle condition is preferable to an extreme. The main rules for right relations with others are that (1) in our relations with friends and fellow-citizens, we should rate the benefits we receive from them at a higher rate than they themselves do, the services we render them at a lower; (2) in relations to the alien, especially to the suppliant, we ought to be specially careful to be on our best behavior, for nothing is so odious to man and God as taking advantage of those who are defenseless (726-730a).

Next follows an exhortation as to the spirit in which a man should conduct himself in matters where the law can lay down no specific commands or prohibitions. The supreme demand on a man is for ἀλήθεια ("genuineness") in all the relations of life — in fact, for "loyalty." A man who is not "true and loyal" is wholly untrustworthy; want of loyalty makes friendship and all the happiness of life impossible. We must lay it down that in this, and in all points of virtue, it is good to practice them yourself, better to go further and to bring the misdeeds of others to the knowledge of the authorities, best of all, actually to assist them in chastising the misdoer. We must add that rivalry in goodness of all kinds is the one form of emulation we should encourage in all our citizens, as it is the one kind of rivalry which aims not at engrossing a good to one’s self, but at communicating it as widely as possible. To the faults of others a good man should be merciful, whenever they are remediable, since he knows that "no one is bad on purpose"; he will only let his anger have its course with the incorrigible. A man must beware, too, of the deadly fault of improper partiality to one’s self. And he must repress all tendency to unrestrained emotionalism (726b-732d).

We must not forget that it is men, not gods, whom we are trying to enlist on the side of virtue. We must therefore make allowance for the universal human desire for a pleasant existence. We cannot expect men regularly to choose the noble life unless they are persuaded that it is also the pleasant. Its nobility has already been argued; Plato now proceeds to contend that, even by the rules of a Hedonic calculus, if you only state the rules correctly and work the sum right, the morally best life will be found to be also the pleasantest. The rules are that we wish to have pleasure, and not to have pain; we do not wish for a neutral condition, but we prefer it to pain. We choose a pain attended by an overbalance of pleasure, and refuse a pleasure attended by an overbalance of pain; to an exact balance of pleasure and pain we are indifferent. We have to take into account as "dimensions" of pleasure and pain "number" and "size" — i.e. frequency and duration and intensity. We wish to have a life in which, when attention has been given to all these "dimensions" the balance works out on the side of pleasure; not to have one in which the balance is on the side of pain. The life in which the balance is zero is preferable to that in which there is a balance of pain. If we consider four pairs of lives, corresponding to the four currently recognized virtues and their contrary |477| vices — the life of the temperate and that of the profligate, the life of the wise man and that of the fool, the life of the brave man and that of the coward, the morally "healthy" and the morally "morbid" life — we find that in the first member of each pair there is less excitement than in the second; the pleasures and pains are both less intense, but at the same time these pleasures are more frequent and more lasting than the pains, whereas, in the second members of the pairs, the pains are more numerous and lasting than the pleasures. Thus, in each case, the balance is on the side of pleasure in the first member of the pair, on the side of pain in the second. This is Plato’s proof that, if the calculation is fairly worked, the better life proves to be also the pleasanter. Its moral superiority, we must remember, is not identified with nor inferred from its greater pleasantness, but is taken to have been already established independently (732e-734e). This brings us to the end of our general prelude to the legislation.

There is still one more matter to be dealt with before proceeding to the legislation in detail — the creation of the necessary magistracies. The magistrates are, so to say, the warp, the rest of the citizens the woof, of the fabric we have to weave. The warp must have the stronger and tougher constitution, must be made of those elements of the population who have most strength of character and are least pliable. We begin by laying it down (737c) that the size of the community, the number of households, must be kept permanent. (We want to exclude the social revolutions which would be produced by either marked decline or marked increase in population.) We require to have just such a population as our territory will support in industry and sobriety, neither more nor fewer. If the population grows beyond this limit, it will begin to expand at the cost of wrong to its neighbors; if it falls below it, it will not be adequate to its own defense. The actual number of households will depend on the size of the territory, but, for purposes of illustration (737e), we may imagine it fixed at 5040, a number which recommends itself by the fact that it is divisible by all the integers up to 10. This is convenient, since there may be practical reasons for wishing to divide the inhabitants into administrative groups for various purposes.7

We may say at once that the very best and happiest of all societies would be one where there was no "private" interest, where even wives and children were "common" and the word "my own" never heard (739c). What we are describing now is a |478| society which is to come nearest to this ideal, an ideal only possible perhaps to beings who are more than men (θεοὶ ἢ παῖδες θεῶνis, 739d).8 For this "second city" we must lay it down that the land is not to be cultivated in common; there are to be private estates and houses, as a concession to human weakness, but the owner of a patrimony must always regard it as belonging to the "city" as much as to himself. It will be an obligation of religion that the number of "hearths" is always to be the same. A patrimony is always to descend undivided to one son, chosen by his father, who will keep up the household worship. Daughters are to be provided for by marriage, and, to ensure their marriage, there will be a law against giving or receiving dowries (742c). A man’s remaining sons will be provided for by encouraging adoption on the part of the childless or those who have been bereaved of their sons. Plato is thus aware that his scheme demands that the normal family shall be one of two children. Tendency to over-population will be counteracted by "moral suasion" (740d), or, in the last resort, by sending out colonies. (Apparently no "artificial" methods of birth-control are contemplated.) Unavoidable depopulation by epidemics and the like can be met, though reluctantly, by inviting new settlers.

It will, unfortunately, be impossible to prevent economic inequalities altogether, but they may be kept within bounds, and both penury and irresponsible wealth excluded by the following regulations. The patrimonies should be, as nearly as possible, of equal value (737c); to secure that they remain inalienable in the same family, a careful survey of the whole territory will be made and preserved in the public archives (741c). To keep out the taint of commercialism, the State will have its own currency, valueless outside its own territory, and it will be a crime in a citizen to own the coined money of a foreign city (742a).9 There shall be no lending of money on interest, and no credit (742c). The reason for this is simply that we do not wish to encourage a man to live on the automatic return of investments; we want him to be a farmer living by the labour of his own hands. Accumulation will be checked by the establishment of four economic classes, the poorest possessing nothing beyond their patrimony, the richest being allowed to possess no more than four times the yield of the patrimony. Any further increase of wealth will be escheated to the State (744d-745a). Thus wealth will have some weight, as well as character and birth, in the distribution of offices. This is regrettable, but it is a condition we cannot wholly exclude (744b).

|479| The community will be divided into twelve "tribes,"10 care being taken that the total property of the tribes is approximately equal and that their holdings are equalized. Each patrimony will be divided into a half situated nearer to and one situated farther from the town, which must have a central position, and we should be careful to see that this division is fairly made, so that, e.g., a man who has the advantage of having half his estate close to the town shall have the other half on the outskirts of the State (745b-e). In connexion with the topic of subdivisions and measurements, Plato shows his practical interest in small matters by expressly insisting on the importance of a rigid standardization of the currency and of all weights and measures (746e),11 the object being, of course, to suppress the possibility of small dishonest gains. It is an unphilosophical prejudice to suppose that the eye of the law should be blind to such things. Arithmetic is of the highest value, provided it is pursued in a spirit untainted by the commercialism of Phoenicians and Egyptians (747a-c).

Book VI brings us at last to the appointment of the various magistrates and administrative boards. We must be content here to describe the most important of these and the method by which they are constituted, as illustrative of Plato’s insight into the practical business of "representation." The most important ordinary magistracy is that of the νομοφύλακες or guardians of the constitution, a body of thirty-seven men of approved character and intelligence, who must be at least 50 years old at appointment, and must retire at the age of 70. Their functions are to watch over the interests of the laws in general and, in particular, to take charge of the register of properties, and penalize and "blacklist" any citizen guilty of fraudulent concealment of income. They figure also as the presiding magistrates in connexion with the trial of grave offences of various kinds. They are to be elected by votes given in writing and signed with the voter’s name (as a precaution against an irresponsible vote), and the election has several stages, by which the three hundred names first selected are finally reduced to thirty-seven (three for each "tribe" with an odd man to prevent an equal division of opinions).

The ordinary great council, the "representative chamber" of the society, is elected on a plan ingeniously contrived to eliminate extreme "class-consciousness" and to make wire-pulling and cabal impossible. It is ultimately to consist of 360 members, ninety from each of the four property-classes, but the selection has several stages and is spread over a week. In the first instance 360 representatives of each class are chosen, the voting covering four days. |480| Citizens of the two richest classes are obliged under a penalty to vote for the representatives of all four classes. The citizens of the third and fourth classes are compelled only to vote on the first two days, and may or may not vote on the second two, as they please. (The thought is that they would mostly abstain, since they have already lost two days from their working week, and will not wish to lose two more. Thus, as the poorer citizens will be the most numerous, the representatives of the two richer classes will be elected by a vote in which the poorer classes will have most influence; those of the poorer classes will mainly be chosen by the votes of the richer. This means that the names selected will be those of moderate men from all classes; neither a Coriolanus nor a Cade will stand much chance of election. This secures that the whole body shall be public-spirited, fair-minded, and likely to co-operate harmoniously.) In the second stage of the process, the number of names is reduced to one-half by a vote which must be compulsorily exercised by all citizens. (An extremist who might slip through the first election would thus very probably be eliminated at this stage, and, as the voting is compulsory for every one, the danger that the richer classes might make the representation of the poorer a farce by inducing their poorer fellow-citizens to abstain from voting for the members of their own class is also reduced to a minimum.) Finally, the numbers are again reduced to one-half by the use of the lot. (This would be a final precaution against electioneering jobbery.) The council thus appointed holds office for the year, one-twelfth of it forming a committee which exercises the main functions of sovereignty for each month.

The chief criticism a modern thinker would be likely to pass on the scheme would probably be that it runs the risk of making the extremist all the more dangerous by leaving him no chance of airing his grievances in the "council of the nation." But it might be said that we are learning by experience how hard it is for the same body to combine the functions of a "safety-valve" and a really effective national council.

The most important office in a Platonic community is, as we should expect, that of the Minister of Education. The well-being of the community depends directly on the character of the education given to successive generations, and the overseer of education should therefore be the best and most illustrious man in the community, as holding its most responsible post. He must be a man of over fifty, with children of his own, and should be elected for a period of five years out of the body of the νομοφύλακες by the votes of the other magistrates (765d-766b). The "President of the Board of Education" is thus the "premier" in Plato’s commonwealth.

If the life of the society is to be thoroughly sound from a moral point of view, we must first ensure that the tone of family life itself is sound. Marriage must be regarded as a solemn duty to society; selfish neglect to discharge that duty, as we have already |481| learned, will be penalized. Extravagant expenditure on wedding festivities must be discountenanced. The peace of the household also demands that we lay down a right rule for the treatment of servants. A master must, for his own sake as well as for his servant’s, make it a rule to be even more scrupulously fair in his treatment of his slaves than he is in his behavior to his equals (777d). But he should be strictly just, without compromising his position as master by improper familiarities. His word must be law to his slave, and he must punish all disobedience. When our young people have been married, we must see to it that they begin their married life on the right lines. We must not let them think they can spend these early days, before children have yet come, just as they please, as a sort of honeymoon. The young husband must, for example, take his place at the public table with his fellow-citizens, exactly as he has been used to do (780b). And, though this is a thing which has not been attempted even at Sparta, women, no less than men, must be taught to live under the eye of the society to which they belong. They are frailer than men, and need even more to be safeguarded by the knowledge that their conduct is open to public censure. They, too, must have their common table, and we should not listen to the complaints always raised against the moral reformer who claims the right to regulate "private affairs" (780d-781d). The three keenest of human appetites are those of hunger, thirst, sex, and the rudiments of civilized existence are only made possible by the proper regulation of all three (782d-783b). When man and woman have been married, they must think it their bounden duty to present the city with worthy offspring. There should be a board of ladies, appointed by the authorities, to supervise the behavior of married couples in this respect and advise them. This committee will have a general control over married people for ten years after marriage, and it will treat its duties from both a eugenic and a moral point of view. If a marriage remains childless, they will arrange for its dissolution on equitable terms after the ten years. They and the νομοφύλακες will act as conciliators in conjugal disputes, and there will be penalties for parties who are intractable to their remonstrances. They will also see that violations of conjugal fidelity are chastised, where they are too grave to be winked at. It need not be said that a careful register of births and deaths must be kept; without it we could not secure observance of the regulations about the proper age qualifications for marriage, public office, or military service. Men must marry between 30 and 35, girls between 16 and 20.12 A man may not be appointed to an office under 30, nor a woman under 40. The period of liability for military service will be for a man from 20 to 60 (the Athenian rule); if women are given any "war work" it should be after they have borne their children and before they have reached 50 (783d-785b). |482|

Book VII. The seventh book of the Laws contains Plato’s most important and detailed scheme for a universal education. The principles are at bottom those already familiar to us from the Republic, but the treatment is much more detailed, and in some respects the level of the demands has risen. There must be systematic organization from the first, since if we leave anything to the caprice of the individual householder, we shall not secure the community of spirit and character we need in the State. And we cannot take the matter in hand too early. It is just when the child’s body and mind are most plastic that most enduring harm can be done by wrong treatment. We ought, therefore, to begin the task even before a child’s birth. An expectant mother must take such exercise as is required in the interests of her unborn child (789d). When the child is born, we must see that, even before it can walk, its nurse gives it the exercise and air which is good for it, and particularly, that it is not allowed to injure itself by walking too early (789e). A baby should live, as nearly as possible, as though it were always at sea; it should be dandled and danced about and sung to (790c-e) to keep it from being frightened. This is a first preparation for the development of a brave and steadfast character. And care must be taken to keep the baby in a placid mood; it is a bad moral beginning for it to be allowed to become fretful or passionate (791d-793d). When the child is 3 or older, we can begin to correct it judiciously, and it will take to playing games. It is best to leave children to invent their own games, but from the age of 3 to 6 they should be brought together daily in the various temples to play under the supervision of ladies appointed by the authorities, who will thus have the opportunity of seeing that the nurses really bring up their charges in the way the State expects of them (793d-794c. At the age of 6, lessons will begin in earnest, and with them the segregation of the girls from the boys. The boys should be taught to ride and use bow, sling, and dart, and it would be well for the girls to learn the same things, or at any rate, the use of these weapons (794c-d). Care should be taken to train the children to be ambidextrous. That this is possible we see from the indifference with which the Scythians use either hand to hold the bow, and it is of great practical importance to have two "right hands" (794d-795d). Taking "gymnastic" and "music" as the names for the training of body and mind respectively, we may divide the former into two branches, dancing and wrestling. For educational purposes, "trick" wrestling is useless; only the stand-up sort which is also good training for warfare is to be practiced (796a-b);13 the dancing to be specially commended is similarly the dance in armor, which affords a good preliminary training against the years of military education (796b-d).

"Music" requires a fuller treatment. We must remind |483| ourselves once more of the great practical importance of the subject. It is important that there should be no needless innovations in the "play" of a society, for innovations in play lead on to innovations in what is supposed to be earnest, and all departure from an established "regimen" is attended with risk to the health of a society, just as it is dangerous for an organism (797a-798d). Music, as we have so often said, "imitates" or "reproduces" types of moods and characters, and, since we wish the national ideal of character to be kept constant, we shall need to keep the standards of this imitation constant too. The Egyptians set us an example in this; each type of permitted musical form is consecrated by them to the cultus of a god, and innovation thus becomes sacrilege, and we ought to require that the example shall be followed in our city, singular as it seems to a Greek. To see that it is observed should be one of the functions of our board of νομοφύλακες (799a-800b). They will not allow the festivals of the gods to be polluted by choruses declaiming blasphemies and wailing in a way only seemly for the performer of a dirge (800c-e). (This is meant to exclude tragic "choruses" and tragedy itself along with them.) Our poets must feel that their work is prayer, and that the first rule for it is that of εὐφημία, reverent reticency; the second that they do not know themselves how to "ask aright" and must learn from the law what are the true blessings for which men should pray (801a-c). The poets, then, must submit to a censure and circulate no composition which has not the imprimatur of the νομοφύλακες (801d). It will be the business of the State to compile a suitable anthology of verse which meets our requirements; the compilers, besides being men of sound taste, must have reached the mature age of 50. In this way we may hope to imbue our young people from the first with the right taste for high austere art (802a-d). There should, of course, be a distinction between the songs learned by boys and by girls; the tone of the former must be lofty and manly, of the latter, sedate and pure (802e).

We proceed with the details of the education to be reared on this basis of a sound taste which is at once aesthetic and moral. We have, so to say, laid the keel of the vessel and have now to design the ribs. We may feel, perhaps, that the voyage of life is not so serious an affair as it seems. Perhaps we are only playthings for God, but even if that is so, we must "play the game" well, not in the inverted fashion of mankind at large, who fancy that war is the business of life, peace only the play. The truth is that it is peace which is "real" and "earnest," for it is only in peace that we can pursue education, the most serious affair of life (803a-804c).

To return to our subject. We shall need schools for the teaching of the things we have spoken of, with proper buildings and grounds. And the teachers in these schools will have to receive salaries, and therefore must be foreigners. All the children must attend school (φοιταν) daily; this must not be left to parental caprice. This applies to girls as well as to boys; they must even |484| learn to ride and shoot, or the State will be deprived of the services it has a right to expect at need from the one-half of its citizens (804e-805b).

It is important to note the magnitude of the proposal made here. As Professor Burnet points out, what is being conceived for the first time is the "secondary school" a permanent establishment for the higher education of boys and girls by specially competent teachers duly organized and paid. (The impossibility of maintaining such an institution without salaries is the reason why, in accord with Hellenic sentiment, it is assumed that they must all be non-citizens.) The "grammar school" meets us as an actual institution in the Macedonian age; it is presumable that it owes its existence to the influence exerted in that age by members of the Academy as the recognized experts in education and jurisprudence. The old practice of the Periclean age had been that "higher education" of all kinds was got from attending the lectures of sophists, each with his speciality. Plato’s new idea is the systematization of secondary education by coordinating the specialists in single institutions.

We need not be afraid of the criticism that our views on the education of women are paradoxical. We see that women can share the labours of men by the example of Thrace and other districts where they do agricultural work, though at Athens they are expected to do nothing but sit indoors, mind the store-closet, and spin and weave. At Sparta a middle course is followed; the girls learn to wrestle, and they do no house-work, but they are not expected to be capable of doing anything for the national defense. With all courtesy to a Spartan hearer, we must confess that we cannot be satisfied with such a compromise; the women should at least be able, in case of need, to scare away raiders from the city (806b).14

The scheme we have adopted for our community makes it certain that our citizens will not have to labour long hours for the means of existence; they will have abundant leisure, and they must not waste it in fattening themselves like cattle, but use it in setting themselves to live the most strenuous of all lives, that which aims at goodness of mind and body. They will have to be up betimes, before all the servants, and to prevent waste of the precious hours in sleep, it will be enjoined that public as well as household business shall be transacted in the early morning. Sleeping long and late is as bad for the body as for the mind (806d-808c). It follows that the boys must be taken to school at daybreak, and both the servants who conduct them there and the schoolmasters must pay the closest attention to their moral, for a boy, just because he has a "spring of intelligence" in him, which does not as yet run clear, is the most unruly of all animals. As to the subjects of |485| education at school, we have already spoken of the principles on which songs and poems should be selected, but it will be more difficult to select suitable prose. Of course enough arithmetic must be learned for the purposes of daily life, enough elementary astronomy to understand the Calendar (809c-d), and enough of music to know how to tune one’s lyre. This will suffice until a boy is 16 years old, if we allow three years (from 10 to 13) for reading and writing and three more for the study of the lyre, taking care that the sharp boys are not permitted to push on too fast nor the dull to lag behind (810a). The one serious problem at this stage is the selection of prose reading. We may certainly let the boys read sound works on morals and law (811c-e), but there is a difficulty about other kinds of prose, and too wide reading would not be good for boys (811b).15 The supervision of the whole system will be in the hands of the Minister of Education, assisted by the advice of experts chosen by himself (813c). It must be understood that there will be paid expert teachers of all the exercises we have prescribed for the training of the body; there will be women as well as men among these teachers, and girls as well as boys will receive the training, so that they may be capable of defending themselves in necessity (814a).

There are still three "branches of knowledge" (μαθήματα) which any free man should possess — arithmetic, geometry, astronomy (817e). Only a few young people are capable of high proficiency in them, but all must study them "so far as is truly necessary" (818b). But how far is that? At least as far as the Egyptians succeed in carrying large classes of young people. They have a method of teaching them to deal with fractions and to find the divisors of numbers by means of games in which garlands and other objects have to be divided among a given number of persons,16 or boxers to be paired. The study of this sort of problem can readily be made to lead up to the recognition that there are "incommensurable" lengths, areas, and volumes, a subject on which Greeks, even Greeks who dabble in mathematics, are disgracefully ignorant (820b), but we must not let our young people share such ignorance. Similarly our secondary education in astronomy must correct the really "impious" mistake of current Greek astronomy, which ascribes irregular movements to the heavenly bodies, and leads to calling the swiftest of them the slowest. We must make it clear that every so-called "planet" has a strictly regular motion and only one such motion (822a).17

|486| It might seem in place here to add something about the value oi hunting as a pursuit for the young. But we must lay it down once for all that we cannot be expected to deal with the whole of such problems in a law. The details must be left to the really competent Minister of Education to regulate by his personal judgment (822d-823d). For us it is enough to say that we mean only to encourage the sort of hunting which contributes to make good men. We do not wish our citizens to take to the sea, so we shall discourage sea-fishing; for stronger reasons, we object to raiding and capturing men, and to any kind of chase which depends on mere cunning. Hence we should discourage the mere netting and snaring of any kind of creature, retaining only "the hunting of quadrupeds with horses and dogs and one’s own body" as a training in endurance and courage (824a).

Book VIII and Book IX. The contents of Books VIII and IX must be dealt with very summarily. Provision is made, as would be the case in any actual Greek "legislation," first of all for the cultus of the State, every month of the year and every day of the month being provided with its appropriate worship; the object is simply to place the whole daily life of the whole community under the "religious sanction" (828). Since there will be "gymnastic" and musical "contests" as part of this regular worship, Plato then goes on to lay down regulations for the regular monthly exercises of the citizen militia, as well as for the "contests" which will mark special festivals. The latter are meant to correspond to the pan-Hellenic games of actual life, but the programme of "events" is revised. Competition is to be in exercises of strength and endurance which have a real military value, particularly in rapid evolutions in complete accoutrement, and the mimic warfare is to reproduce its model as closely as possible; there must be a spice of real danger about it. The girls and women must share in all this, so far as their physique permits, but we cannot make detailed regulations on this point in advance (829-835d).

This raises an important ethical question. Is there not a real danger that the very free association of young people of both sexes in pursuits of this kind, and their abundant leisure from "work," may lead to a relaxed sexual morality? Plato thinks not, if we can only establish the right social tradition in such matters, which is that "homosexual" relations of all kinds must be reprobated as unnatural and that the normal sexual appetite is to find no gratification outside the bounds of lawful matrimony. This demand may strike most persons as Utopian, and as an attempt to suppress "love." But we must not be misled by equivocal terms. "Love of good-will" is one thing, love of carnal appetite quite another; the suppression of the second in no way militates against |487| the cultivation of the first.18 That the standard of continence proposed can be attained is proved by the lifelong abstinence of well-known athletes, and surely our citizens can do to obtain a spiritual crown what boxers will do for an Olympic garland.19 That carnal appetite can be effectually restrained by moral and religious sanctions we see from the complete suppression of incestuous desire in the lives of civilized societies, which is effected simply by the tradition that incest is shameful. So our standard will be found practicable when once it has been consecrated by the sanctions of a social tradition (835d-842a). If we should find it beyond our power to secure absolute conformity to this rule, we shall at least demand that "unnatural passion shall be wholly suppressed and that more normal irregularities shall be visited by disgrace if detected.

The speaker now turns to a consideration of regulations necessary for the pursuit of agriculture, the economic foundation of his contemplated society. Under this caption we have proposals for dealing with such matters as encroachments on boundaries, diversion of watercourses, ownership of stray animals, regulation of the market,20 and the like. In matters like these, there are many already existing good rules which we shall do well to follow (843e), a significant hint that many of the regulations proposed are simply based on the actual code of Attica. The student of Plato’s political philosophy need not delay over such details, though they have a double interest for the historian of law and custom. They throw a great deal of light on questions of Attic law, and they provide the starting-point for the casuistry by which Roman lawyers and, in modern times, publicists like Grotius and Pufendorf have laboured to arrive at the principles of a satisfactory law of property. It is not surprising that Plato’s actual examples recur, for example, in the Institutes of Justinian and the de Jure Belli et Pacis. The discussion of the regulation of the market leads naturally to consideration of the conditions on which aliens may be allowed to enter the society and practice industry (850b-d). They are to be subjected to no poll-tax, but they must have an industry by which to support themselves, must conform to the rules of the |488| State, and should normally be expected to depart again after twenty years’ residence (i.e. they are not to acquire a "right of settlement").

We come now to criminal jurisprudence, with an apology for the necessity of admitting that there will be any crime to be legislated against in a rightly constituted society. The crimes first considered are, in the order of their gravity, sacrilege, treason, parricide. These are "capital" crimes, and it is best for a citizen who commits them that he should be allowed to live no longer, but we must lay it down once for all that the capital sentence must not include the penalizing of his innocent family by the confiscation of property, and that they are not to be regarded as tainted in their honor by his offence. Similar crimes in an alien or a slave will be more mildly visited by whipping and expulsion from the country. In general, Plato allows himself a freer use of corporeal chastisements than modern legislators, since he does not accept the "humanitarian" estimate of physical pain nor the view that its infliction is peculiarly degrading. These capital crimes are to be tried before a court composed of the νομοφύλακες and a number of the magistrates of the preceding year, and the proceedings must be spread over three days.21

We must insist, however, that in our State criminal jurisprudence takes a scientific account of the psychology of the offender (857c-d). Current opinion on this matter, as shown by the practice of existing societies, is in a state of confusion. Justice is held to be a "fine" thing (καλόν), but the just chastisement inflicted on a criminal is regarded as a disgrace to him (859d-860b). Yet to be consistent, we ought to hold that if it is "fine" to do what is just, it is also "fine" to get what is just done to you.22 The secret of the current confusion is that actual jurisprudence assumes that men are bad and do wrong "voluntarily," hence the one great distinction recognized by actual law is the distinction between voluntary and involuntary transgression. But we must adhere to the philosophical principle so familiar to us from earlier dialogues that "all wrongdoing is involuntary" (860d), and therefore we cannot make the distinction between voluntary and involuntary the basis of our penal code (861d). The distinction we really need is a different one, that of βλάβη, the causing of hurt or loss, from ἀδικία, the violation of a right. In inflicting penalties, the proper question is not whether the act committed was voluntary or not, but whether the person on whom it was inflicted received mere loss or hurt, or was further injured in his rights. The proper thing to say about a man who has caused an unintended loss or hurt to another is not, |489| as current jurisprudence says, that he has done an "involuntary wrong" but that he has not committed a wrong at all, but only caused a loss or hurt (861e-862c). It is this distinction between causing loss and infringing a right which we really need to make fundamental in assessing penalties. Thus the important distinction between the causing of detriment and the infraction of a right, with the consequent distinction between an action for damages and a criminal prosecution, is introduced into legal theory for the first time in Laws ix. The courts can make mere damage good by the award of compensation for it, but contravention of a right must further be met by the imposition of a penalty intended to make the offender’s soul better (862c-e). If we doubt whether wrongdoing is really involuntary, we need only remember what its causes are — temper, (θυμός), lust for pleasure, ignorance (863a-864b).

Plato now applies these principles to the construction of a penal code. We have to distinguish violation of rights from the mere causation of damage, and in the case of the former, we must distinguish between violence and craft. Regulations are then laid down for the cases of homicide, suicide, maiming, wounding with intent to kill, minor assaults, the object being to give a specimen of a logically constructed criminal code. The penalties will depend not only on the main distinction already laid down, but on the status of the parties, whether citizens, aliens, or slaves. The details must be passed over here. What inevitably impresses a modern reader most unfavourably is the special severity with which injuries committed by a slave on free persons are treated. This is, however, a direct consequence of the recognition of the servile status, which gives these crimes something of the character of mutiny.

Book X introduces us to one of the most important developments of Platonism, its theology. Plato appears as at once the creator of natural theology and the first thinker to propose that false theological belief — as distinguished from insults to an established worship — should be treated as a crime against the State and repressed by the civil magistrate. He is convinced that there are certain truths about God which can be strictly demonstrated, and that the denial of these leads directly to practical bad living. Hence the denial of these truths is a grave offence against the social order and must be punished as such, the principle upon which the Roman Church still maintains that it is the duty of the magistrate to suppress heretical pravity. Historically we have here the foundation of natural or philosophical theology, The name we owe to the famous Roman antiquarian, M. Terentius Varro, who distinguished three kinds of theology, or "discourses about gods" — the poetical, consisting simply of the myths related by the poets; the civil, which means knowledge of the Calendar of the State’s cultus and is the creation of the "legislator"; and the natural or philosophic, the doctrine about things divine taught by philosophers |490| as an integral part of their account of φύσις, natura, reality. The first, according to a view as old as Herodotus, is the mere invention of poets who aim only at interesting and amusing; the second has been manufactured by the authorities with a view to social utility; the third, and only the third, claims to be part of the truth about things.23 We must, of course, be careful to remember that the epithet "natural" as originally applied to this kind of theology, conveys no contrast with a "revealed" or "historical" theology; it means neither more nor less than "scientific."

The three heresies Plato regards as morally pernicious are, in the order of their moral turpitude: (a) atheism, the belief that there are no gods at all, the least offensive of the three; (b) Epicureanism, as we may call it by a convenient anachronism, the doctrine that God, or the gods, are indifferent to human conduct; (c) worst of all, the doctrine that an impenitent offender can escape God’s judgment by gifts and offerings. It is morally less harmful to believe that there is no God than to believe in a careless God, and it is better to believe in a careless God than in a venal one. Against these three heresies Plato holds that he can prove the existence of a God or gods, the reality of providential and moral government of the world and man, and the impossibility of bribing the divine justice.

(a) Atheism. — Atheism is treated by Plato as identical with the doctrine that the world and its contents, souls included, are the product of unintelligent motions of corporeal elements. Against this theory, he undertakes to demonstrate that all corporeal movements are, in, the last resort, causally dependent on "motions" of soul, wishes, plans, purposes, and that the world is therefore the work of a soul or souls, and further that these souls are good, and that there is one ἀρίστη ψυχή, "perfectly good soul" at their head. Thus the demonstration of the being of God serves also, in principle, as a proof of the indestructibility of the soul, a doctrine which has to be introduced in refuting the two graver heresies. He indicates that atheism as an opinion has two chief sources — the corporealism of the early Ionian men of science, who account for the order of nature on purely "mechanical" principles without ascribing anything to conscious plan or design (889a-d), and the sophistic theory of the purely conventional and relative character of moral distinctions (889e-890a). If these two doctrines are combined, atheism is the result. It has to be shown, as against this atheism, that the motions of body are actually all caused by prior "movements" of soul, so that τέχνη, conscious design, purpose, is the parent of τύχη, not τύχη of τέχνη, as the proverb says (892b). Or, more briefly, mind, not bodies, is "what is there to begin with" (892c).24

|491| The proof turns on an analysis of the notion of κίνησις, motion or process (893b-894e). Ten senses of the word are enumerated. The first five are different forms of actual physical motion: (1) revolution in a circular orbit, (2) rectilinear motion, (3) rolling, (4) aggregation, (5) disgregation. Then follow three "ideal" motions: (6) the "fluxion" of a point which "generates" a line, (7) the fluxion of the line which generates a surface, (8) the fluxion of a surface which generates a solid. These distinctions are merely preliminary to that which is essential for the purposes of our proof. All motions belong to one of two classes: (9) communicated motion, "the movement which can only move other things," or (10) spontaneous motion, the "movement which can move itself" (894b). And it is argued that causally communicated motion always presupposes spontaneous motion as its source (894c-895b). Now when we see anything which exhibits spontaneous, or internally initiated, motion, we call it alive, ἔμψυχον; we say that there is ψυχή in the thing, ψυχή, in fact, is the name which language gives to "the motion which can move itself." Thus, "soul" is the name, or definiendum, of which the "discourse" (ὀρθὸς λόγος), "movement which can move itself" is the definition. The name and the discourse are therefore equivalent, and it follows that the movements of soul, "tempers and wishes and calculations, true beliefs, interests (ἐπιμέλειαι), and memories" are actually the source and cause of all physical movement, since no physical movement is spontaneous (896d). This constitutes the proof that soul or mind is the cause of cosmic movement. So far the argument is an elaboration of that which has been given more briefly in the Phaedrus for the immortality of the soul.

Next, there must be more than one soul which is the cause of cosmic movements (i.e. Plato’s theology is theistic, not pantheistic). There must be at least two such souls and there may be more. For there is disorder and irregularity in nature as well as order and regularity, hence the "best soul" clearly cannot be the only source of motion in the universe; since order has the upper hand, God, the "best soul," is clearly the supreme cause, but there must be other souls which are not wholly good (896e-898d. (It must be carefully noted that there is no trace in the language of the doctrine of a "bad world-soul" read into the Laws in ancient times by Plutarch and Atticus, and in modern times by Zeller and others. The point is not that there are two souls responsible for the universe, but that there are at least two; the "best soul" is not the only soul there is, but we are at liberty to suppose as many inferior souls as the appearances seem to require.)

If we are not to misunderstand Plato’s whole conception we must note the following points carefully, (1) Evil, no less than |492| good, is expressly said to be due to "soul" being identified with disorderly motion. Hence the doctrine of "matter" as intrinsically evil, and the source of evil, which figures in the popular Platonism of later times, is wholly un-Platonic. (2) God (or the gods) is quite definitely declared to be a ψυχή, and we are told that this means that the universe is a result of τέχνη, design, Plato thus definitely believes in a divine purposive activity — in other words, in what is really meant by the "personality" of God. "Pantheism" which repudiates the notion of conscious creative design, would be only another form of the very doctrine Plato identifies with atheism. (3) God is a soul, not a form. The movement which can move itself is the highest type of agent known to Plato, and the fundamental difference in theology between Plato and Aristotle is just that Aristotle insists on getting behind it to a still more divine source of movement, an "unmoved" mover. We have to think of Plato’s God as contemplating the forms and reproducing them in the order of the sensible world. Plato’s last word on the old question of the Phaedo, "what is the cause of the presence of a form to a sensible thing?" is that God is the cause. Being perfectly wise and good, God makes the sensible order after the pattern of the forms he contemplates. (4) The argument disregards the question, never felt by a Greek to be very important, whether there is only one God or many. But the very phrase "best soul" shows that there is one such soul which is supreme. This, no doubt, is the soul responsible for the one movement which, from the point of view of Plato’s astronomy, presents no irregularity or anomaly at all, the movement of the "outermost heaven." This soul would be God in a special sense. How it is related to that which it moves Plato does not tell us, though he suggests alternative views (899a). (5) What are the irregularities which, to his mind, prove that not all cosmic motions are due to a single divine soul? We may reasonably conjecture that they are, in the first place, the various apparent anomalies in the motions of the planets. These anomalies are not ultimate, but they at least require us to analyse the appearances into combinations of several movements, and this would suggest, as it does to Aristotle, the plurality of "movers." But I think something further is meant. The course of nature on the whole, by its regular periodicities, favours the development of intellectual and moral civilization. Yet there are natural "catastrophes" which are adverse to this development, inundations, successions of barren or pestilential seasons, volcanic eruptions, and the like, and these exceptions to the rule have to be referred to the agency of souls of some kind; clearly these souls must be thought of as at least partly irrational and evil. Whatever we may think of a Theism of this kind, it seems to me plain that we can find no other doctrine in Plato without doing violence to his language, and we should take note that, though religious faith in God was, of course, no novelty, Theism as a doctrine professing to be capable of scientific demonstration is introduced into philosophy for the |493| first time in this section of the Laws. Plato is the creator of "philosophical Theism."

The refutation of the two other heresies now becomes a simple matter.

(b) Epicureanism (899d-905d). — The belief that though there are gods they are indifferent to our conduct is suggested by the spectacle of successful lifelong iniquity, but it is really no more than a nightmare or bad dream (900b). If the gods pay no attention to our conduct, the reason must be either that they are unable to regulate everything or that they regard man and man’s doings as trifles, and neglect the control of these small matters either because they think them insignificant or because they are "too fine" to attend to them. We may dismiss the suggestion of lack of power at once; it is easier in action to handle small affairs than to handle great, though it is the minute things which it is hardest to perceive accurately. As to the other suggestions, all competent practitioners of medicine, engineering, and the other arts, especially that of the statesman, know that no one ever succeeds in the main of any enterprise if he neglects what appear to be "small details," and we cannot suppose that the "best" soul is more ignorant than a human practitioner, even if it were certain, as it is not, that human conduct is a "trifle" from God’s point of view. To suppose that God neglects us because He is too indolent or fastidious to attend to us, would amount to saying that the "best soul" is cowardly or "work-shy," and this is no better than blasphemy. Nor is it true that the regulation of human destiny in accord with moral law would involve endless "interference" with the machinery of things. The result is secured from the first by a law of singular simplicity, the law that "like finds its like," souls, like liquids, "find their level." A man "gravitates" towards the society of his mental and moral likes, and thus, through the endless succession of lives, he always "does and has done to him" what it is fitting that such a man should do or have done to him (904e). That is the "justice of God" from which no man can escape in life or death.

We may dispose of (c) the doctrine that God can be bribed to wink at sin even more summarily (905e-907d). For our argument has justified the old belief that we are the "chattels" or "flock" (κτήματα) of the gods. If they wink at the conduct of human "beasts of prey," they are behaving like shepherds or watch-dogs who allow the wolf to rend the flock on condition of sharing in the plunder. A blasphemy like this is more fittingly met by honest indignation than by argument or gentle remonstrance.

We now come to the penalties for the publication of these various heresies. The overt maintenance of any of them ought to be brought at once to the notice of the magistrates, who are to bring the case before the proper court. If a magistrate neglects to act, he must |494| himself become liable to prosecution for "impiety." In the case of each class of offenders we must distinguish between two degrees of guilt — that of the heretic who is otherwise morally blameless, and that of the worse offender who adds practical evil-living to his heresy. For the morally inoffensive heretic the penalty, on conviction, will in every case include at least five years of imprisonment in the "House of Correction" where he will see no one but members of the "nocturnal council" who are to visit him from time to time and to reason with him on the error of his ways (909a). A second conviction is to be followed by death.25 The worst offenders are those who add to the speculative belief that the gods are indifferent or venal the still graver crime of trading on the superstition of their neighbors for their own profit or aggrandizement, by founding immoral cults. They are to be imprisoned for life in "penal servitude" in the most desolate region of the country, visited by no citizen whatever, and cast out unburied at death, in fact, treated as "dead in law" from the moment of conviction. But their innocent families must not suffer for their offence, and should be treated as wards of the State26 (909c).

Plato is so much in earnest with this horror of immoral superstition that he ends by proposing to suppress all shrines and sacrifices except those belonging to the public worship of the city. No one may be permitted to have a private "chapel" or "oratory" or to sacrifice except at the public altars and with the established ritual. His motive is not so much the economic one of preventing the locking-up of wealth in the "dead hand," as the moral one of protecting society against the insidious lowering of the ethical and religious standard.

Book XI. The discourse now proceeds to deal with legislation for the security of private property and trade, particularly with the regulations necessary to prevent dishonesty in buying and selling, and in executing or paying for "piece-work." Then follow regulations about wills, the guardianship of orphans, the conditions on which a son may be disinherited, and the enforcement of the claims of parents on their children. Penalties are enjoined for vendors of philtres and sorcerers, with the remark that the last-named offence |495| might be ignored in a society of perfectly rational persons, but must be treated as serious in a community where the current belief in the sorcerer’s powers makes him mischievous (933b). We then have a paragraph dealing with larceny and robbery and another on the necessity of enforcing proper supervision of the insane and mentally deficient. Begging must be strictly suppressed, but it will be the duty of the State to see that no one, not even a slave, who is unemployed through no fault of his own is allowed to starve (936b). Rules are laid down about the admission of evidence in courts of law and the penalties of perjury. Litigiousness, a common Athenian failing, should be checked by penalizing the vexatious prosecutor; if his motive was gain, the penalty should be death.27 The abuse of the profession of λογογράφος is to be met by making the σύνδικος in a vexatious suit liable to the same penalties as his principal (938a-c).

These matters of private law must not detain us here, though Plato’s treatment of them has the double interest of being founded largely on Attic practice, which he is trying to amend where it seems defective, and of having exercised a considerable indirect influence on the development of Roman law.28

With Book XII. we return to the sphere of public law and the law of the constitution. Peculation or embezzlement of the public funds, an offence regularly charged on every Attic politician by his enemies, is unpardonable and in a citizen must always be visited with death, irrespective of the magnitude of his defalcation (942a). In military matters everything depends on discipline and strict fidelity to orders; this must therefore be enforced in all the exercises which have been enjoined as the standing military training. Cowardice in the face of the enemy is to be punished by loss of all citizen-rights as well as by a heavy fine (944e-945a).

To ensure that the magistrates do their duty, Plato adopts the Attic practice of requiring every magistrate at the end of his term of office to submit to a εὔθυνα or audit, and gives special care to the appointment of the board of corregidors (εὔθυνοι) charged with the holding of the audit. The members of the board must be over 50 years old, and are to be chosen by the following method. There is a vote by universal suffrage, each citizen voting for only one candidate. This process is to be repeated until the number of names not eliminated is reduced to three. Twelve such officials are to be appointed in the first instance. As soon as the three oldest members of the board reach the age of 75 they retire, and in future there will be an annual election of three new |496| members (946c).29 Arrangements are made, however, for an appeal against the findings of the board, and any member whose action is quashed is to lose his post (948a). This board of corregidors is the highest ordinary court of justice, and it is interesting to see that Plato provides for appeals from its verdicts.

It would be inconsistent with the whole spirit of the legislation to permit citizens to withdraw themselves from the life of the State at their choice. Travel abroad must therefore always receive the sanction of the authorities, and this sanction will only be given in the case of persons over 40 (950d). It is desirable that older men of sound character should visit other States with a view to learning how the customs of our own society may be improved by judicious imitation of those of others. The traveller should, on his return, make a report on his observations to the "nocturnal council," a sort of extraordinary Committee of Public Safety, which is to be in perpetual session and is charged with a general supervision over the public welfare. We have heard of this body before in connexion with the proceedings against heresy, and are now told how it is constituted. Its members are the εὔθυνοι,30 the ten senior νομοφύλακες, the minister and ex-ministers of Education, and ten co-opted younger men between the ages of 30 and 40. It gets its name from the regulation that its daily sessions are to be held before daybreak. One of its chief functions is to foster sound scientific research (952a). There will be a similar careful control of the temporary admission of foreign visitors to our own community. Special encouragement will be given to responsible persons from abroad whose object is to impart or acquire lessons in true statesmanship. They will be honored "guests of the nation" (953d).

It is not enough to have made a good constitution and code for our society; there is need for constant vigilance to preserve our institutions from degeneration (960d). This vigilance will be exercised by the "nocturnal council," which may fairly be called the "brain" of our whole system (961d). To discharge its functions it will need to have a thorough understanding of the end to which social life is directed, the development of "goodness" in all its four great forms. This means that its members will require very much more in the way of education than anything we have yet provided (965b). If they are really to understand what goodness is, they must be able to "see the one in the many" (965c), to appreciate and realise the great truth of the unity of all virtues (ibid. d-e). In fact, they must have a genuine knowledge of God and the ways of |497| God (966c); they must not be content, as the average citizen may be, with a mere faith based on the tradition of the society (ib.). (In other words, they must thoroughly understand the natural theology already laid down in Book X). We have seen that scientific astronomy, with its doctrine of the regularity and order of the celestial motions, is a chief foundation of the whole Platonic apologia for an ethical Theism. Hence a thorough knowledge of astronomy will be indispensable for the men who are the intellect of the State. It is a common, but wholly mistaken, opinion that such science makes men "infidels." When astronomical knowledge is combined with insight into the true nature of the soul as the one source of movement, it leads direct to piety. Hence no one will be qualified to serve on the nocturnal council unless he is a trained mathematician and astronomer and has also rightly grasped the principle of the causal priority of soul in the scheme of things. There remains the task of determining what other studies are implicitly demanded by our programme (966d-969d).

It is sometimes said that in the Laws astronomy has taken the place formerly given to dialectic as the supreme science, and that this indicates a growing uncertainty in Plato’s own mind about the possibility of metaphysics. This is a complete misinterpretation of the concluding section of the Laws. The intellectual quality demanded in the members of the supreme council, that they should be able to see the "one in the many" is precisely the character always ascribed in the dialogues to the dialectician. And we note that astronomical science is only one-half of the qualification laid down. It must be accompanied by a right understanding of the doctrine of the place of ψυχή in the universe, the doctrine which, more than any other, lies at the root of Platonic metaphysics. Though the name "dialectic" is not used, the demand for the thing remains unabated.31

The Epinomis. — There is no real division between the Epinomis and the Laws, and the former is sometimes actually quoted by later writers as the "thirteenth" book of the Laws, though the Epinomis was already reckoned as a distinct work by Aristophanes of Byzantium.32 There is no real ancient evidence against the authenticity of the dialogue. Diogenes Laertius (iii. I, 37) says that "some" ascribed it to the Academic Philippus of Opus, but, as he has just told the story that Philippus "transcribed" the Laws "from the wax," he presumably only means that he was said to have done the same for the Epinomis. Proclus, who disliked the work, wished to reject it, but, as he merely offers two very bad arguments for his view, he presumably knew of no Academic tradition |498| in its favour.33 I can detect no linguistic difference whatever between the style of Epinomis and Laws, and the very fact that the Laws have manifestly not received even the trifling editorial revision which would have removed small verbal inaccuracies and contradictions makes it incredible to me that Plato’s immediate disciples should have issued as his the work of one of themselves. Hence I AM confident that the current suspicion of the dialogue is no more than a prejudice really due to the now exploded early nineteenth-century attacks on the genuineness of the Laws themselves.34 In any case, we have to recognize that the work was known to Aristotle, who has a curious allusion to it at Metaphysics 1073b 9.35 I feel justified, therefore, in regarding the Epinomis as Plato’s, and holding that it was intended as an integral part of the magnum opus of his last years.

The immediate purpose of the dialogue is to discuss the question left unanswered in Laws xii., of the complete scientific curriculum necessary for the members of the "nocturnal council": What studies will lead to σοφία (973b)? We must recognize that σοφία, in any case, is only attainable by a select few, and with difficulty (973b ff.), and that most of the so-called ἐπιστημαι do not help us to it (974d). Thus we may exclude all the arts and sciences which simply contribute to material civilization or to amusement (974e-975d), as well as those of war, medicine, navigation, and rhetoric, and still more unhesitatingly the mere art of acquiring and retaining multifarious information, which many confuse with σοφία (975e-976c). We ought to give the name σοφία only to studies which make a man a wise and good citizen, capable of exercising or obeying righteous rule. Now there is a branch of science which, more than any others, has this tendency and may be said to be a gift of a god to man, being in fact the gift of Heaven (οὐρανός) itself. This gift is the knowledge of number, which brings all other good things |499| along with itself (977b).36 Without knowledge of number we should be unintelligent and unmoral (977c-e). How divine a thing it is we see from the consideration that where there is number there is order; where there is no number, there is nothing but confusion, formlessness, disorder (977e-978b). To be able to count is the prerogative which marks men off from the animals. We learn to count up to fifteen by simply studying the daily changes in the face of the moon as she rounds to the full; a much bigger problem is set us when we go on to compare the period of the moon with that of the sun, as the agriculturist must. In our own recent discussion it was easy enough to see that a man ought to have goodness of soul, as well as of body, and that to have this he must be "wise." The difficult question was what kind of knowledge this all-important "wisdom" is. What we have just said suggests the answer (978b-979d).

Perhaps we may not discover a single "wisdom" which covers the whole ground. In that case, we must try to enumerate the various branches of wisdom and say what they are (980a). We may go back to our thought that the best way a man can spend his life is to spend it in praising and honoring God. Let us then, to the praise of God, construct an improved "theogony," holding fast to the natural theology we have laid down, and particularly to the principle of the causal priority of soul over body (980b-981b). An "animal" we know, is a soul conjoined with a body. There are five regular solids, and we may recognize five corresponding forms of body — earth, water, air, fire, and aether37 — and five corresponding kinds of animal, each with its special habitat. The body of each kind of animal is a compound in which the "element" that forms its habitat is predominant. Hence the two most conspicuously visible classes of living beings are those which live on the earth, of whom man specially interests us, and those which have bodies made chiefly of fire and are gods, the stars and planets. Their bodies are more beautiful than ours, and more lasting, being either deathless or of age-long vitality. A comparison of the restless and disorderly movements of man with the majestically orderly movements of the heavenly bodies is enough to show that their souls equally surpass man’s in intelligence. If they, unlike us, never deviate from one path, it is because their motion exhibits the necessity imposed by rational pursuit of the best (982b). Their real bulk, as science can demonstrate, is enormous, and there is |500| only one answer to the question how such masses can be made to revolve endlessly in the same orbits; it is that the masses are alive, and that it is God who has conjoined their ψυχαί with these vast bodies (983b-e). Either they are themselves gods, or they are images of gods wrought by the gods themselves (984a), and therefore more to be held in honor than any images of man’s making. We may suppose that the intervening regions of aether, air, water, are also inhabited by appropriate denizens. A man may give what account he pleases of Zeus and Hera and the rest of the traditional pantheon, but we must insist on the superior dignity of the visible gods, the heavenly bodies. Air and aether will have denizens with transparent bodies and therefore invisible to us; we may suppose that they are a hierarchy of "spirits" (δαίμονες), who act as unseen intermediaries between gods and men, favouring the good and warring against the bad (984d-985b). There may be similar semi-divine denizens of the water of whom men get occasional glimpses. The current worships have been largely prompted by real or imagined appearances of such beings, and a wise law-giver will not wantonly interfere with them. Men cannot have real knowledge about such things (985d). But the neglect of Greeks to pay proper honor to the heavenly bodies, the gods whom we all do see, is quite inexcusable. They should be honored not merely by feasts of the Calendar, but by setting ourselves to get a scientific knowledge of their motions and periods (985e).38

This means that we must master the science of the revolutions of the stars and planets. At present we have not so much as names for the planets, though they are called the stars of several gods, a nomenclature which has come to us from Syria (986e-987d).39 It is the general rule that whatever Greeks borrow from barbarians they improve upon (987e). Every man who is a Greek should therefore recognize the duty of prosecuting astronomy in a scientific spirit, and cast off the superstitious fear of prying into divine matters. God knows our ignorance and desires to teach us (987d-988e).

The study we need to lead us to true piety, the greatest of the virtues, is thus astronomy, knowledge of the true orbits and periods of the heavenly bodies, pursued in the spirit of pure science, not in that of Hesiod’s farmer’s calendar (990a). But since such a study is concerned with the difficult task of the computation of the relative periods of sun, moon, and planets (and thus has to reckon with |501| highly complicated arithmetical problems), it must have as its foundation a thoroughly scientific theory of number. This includes not only a scientific doctrine of whole numbers ("the odd and even," 990c), but two other studies, commonly called by the misleading names geometry and stereometry. Geometry is really arithmetic, a study of numbers "which are in themselves dissimilar, but are assimilated by reference to surfaces," and stereometry is similarly the study of another class of numbers which become similar when raised to the third power. Also we need to study for its physical importance the theory of progressions. The geometrical series 1, 2, 4, 8 reveals to us the principle on which the magnitude of length, area, and volume arc interconnected; in the arithmetical progression 6, 9, 12 and the harmonic progression 6, 8, 12 we have the secret of music, since the two means 9 and 8 correspond to the two great intervals within the octave, the fifth and the fourth. Thus we might say that consideration of the ratio 2 : 1, its powers, and the means between its terms, discloses the supreme secret of nature (990a-991b). And besides we must add to this study of a scientific arithmetic which has been extended to cover geometry plane and solid, as the completion of the whole curriculum, insight into the absolute unity of principle which runs through the whole of exact science and makes it one (991c-e).40 (Thus once more dialectic, the synoptic apprehension of the principles which pervade all science and the whole of the scibile (knowledge), reappears as the foundation of statesmanship.)

Without this scientific knowledge, a city will never be governed with true statesmanship, and human life will never be truly happy. The wisest man is the man who has attained all this knowledge; we may feel confident that when death translates him from the sensible region, he will finally achieve the complete unification of the self, and his lot, wherever it may be cast, will be truly blessed. As we said before, the attainment is only possible for the few, but we must insist that our supreme governors at least shall devote themselves to it (992a-d). Thus the Epinomis ends by the unqualified reassertion of the old demand that statesmanship and science shall be combined in the same persons.

|502| See further:
Burnet. Greek Philosophy, Part I., 301-312 al.
Ritter, C. Platon, ii. 657-796 al.; Platons Gesetze, Kommentar
  zum griechischen Text.
Leipzig, 1896; Platos Gesetze,
  Darstellung des Inhalts.
Leipzig, 1896.
A. E. Taylor. The Laws of Plato translated into English.
  London, 1934.
Raeder, H. Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 395-419.
Natorp, P. Platons Ideenlehre, 358-365.
Barker, E. Greek Political Theory: Plato and his Predecessors,
Jaeger, W. Aristoteles, 125-170.
Muller, F. Statistische Untersuchung der Epinomis des
  Philippos von Opus.
Harward, J. The Epinomis of Plato. Translated with
  Introduction and Notes.
Oxford, 1928.
And for the problems presented by the Epistles:
Friedlander, P. Platon: Eidos, Paideia, Dialogos. 1928.
Egermann, FR. Die platonischen Briefe VII und VIII.
  Vienna, 1928.
Souilhe, J. Platon, Lettres. Paris, 1926.
Novotny, F. Platonis Epistulae. Brno, 1930.
Harward, J. The Platonic Epistles. Cambridge, 1932.

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1^ See the list of active "law-givers" among Plato’s pupils in Plutarch (Adversus Colotem, 1126c-d). "Plato sent Aristonymus to the Arcadians, Phormio to Elis, Menedemus to Pyrrha. Eudoxus and Aristotle wrote laws for Cnidus and Stagirus. Alexander asked Xenocrates for advice about kingship; the man who was sent to Alexander by the Greek inhabitants of Asia and did most to incite him to undertake his war on the barbarians was Delius of Ephesus, an associate of Plato." Cf. Diogenes Laertius iii., 23, for the request from Megalopolis.

2^ The whole sentence should be familiar to every one who wants to appreciate Plato’s educational theory; "education (παιδεία) is the drawing and guiding (ὁλκή τε καὶ ἀγωγή) of children towards the discourse rightly uttered by the law and assented to as truly right by the best and oldest men, on the strength of their experience." The immediate point is that sound musical education must accustom the young from the first to enjoy what is really good, so that "young and old alike" have the same tastes in music.

3^ Note that Plato does not, as is often said, express any approval of the actual "stereotyped" Egyptian art. He merely appeals to the fact that Egyptian art has remained stationary as a proof that permanent standards are possible.

4^ Of course it was not the fault of the Athenians that they were a naval power. They had to be one, just because, like ourselves, they needed to import their wheat. But the necessity of possessing a powerful fleet inevitably led to the temptation to use it for purposes of selfish aggrandizement.

5^ Why does not Plato suggest that the supremely wise statesman should himself be born heir to the throne? Presumably because wisdom in statesmanship only comes with years and experience. But an experienced monarch of advanced years would have neither the enthusiasm nor the entire freedom from self-interest demanded of the autocrat who is to employ his position to suppress himself. Hence the wisdom must be that of a man who has not to struggle with the insidious temptations of self-interest, the enthusiasm that of a man who has not lost the first flush of youth.

6^ This thought, which had already appeared in the Symposium, has no bearing on the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. It is the man — the complex of soul and body — of whom Plato says that survival in his descendants is the nearest approximation he can make to deathlessness. The ψυχή divorced from the body is not ἄνθρωπος but just ψυχή, a "spirit."

7^ 5040 = 7! (the continued product of the integers from 1 to 7). Plato has chosen it because, since 7 is the highest prime number less than 10, and the numbers 8, 9, 10 are each products of a pair of factors of which each is less than 7, 7! will obviously be divisible by every integer up to 10. It will also be divisible by 12 (2 x 6); and this is a great convenience, since 12 is the number of months in the year. Ritter’s note on the passage rightly points out that the reason for choosing such a number is strictly practical; it prevents any difficulty in determining the precise quota a particular subdivision of the population ought to contribute to the revenue or the defenses.

8^ Plato still adheres to the moral ideal of the Republic, though he seems definitely to be saying that it cannot be actually embodied in flesh and blood. It may be doubted whether he had ever thought otherwise. At any rate, he now regards a system of peasant-proprietorship with inalienable patrimonies as the society in which ordinary men and women will be likely to show most of the spirit of devotion to the "common" good.

9^ A regulation based on the Spartan practice, which is proposed also by Fichte in his Geschlossener Handelsstaat.

10^ The number is selected for the practical convenience that it makes it easy for an office or duty to rotate through all the tribes in the course of a year. The official year is to have 365, not 360, days — a reform never adopted by any actual Greek "city" until a later date (828b).

11^ Ritter, ad loc., rightly calls attention to the point that Plato is here, for the first time, pointing out the necessity of regulations of this kind, which were unknown in Hellenic practice.

12^ Later on (833d the minimum age of the girls at marriage is reckoned at 18; we must remember that the Laws has not received its final revision by the author.

13^ Plato has no use for fancy wrestling and boxing, and would clearly have thought ju-jitsu unseemly. He condemns in so many words the art of Antaeus, who was fabled to vanquish an opponent by sinking to the ground.

14^ There is a clear allusion to the fact dwelt on by Aristotle (Politicus, B 1269b 37), that the panicky behavior of the Spartan women when Epaminondas was threatening an assault on the city proved that the famous training in rough exercises had no effect in making them braver than women anywhere else.

15^ The point of this is that what prose literature there was in Plato’s time consisted for the most part of the works of the Ionian men of science and of technical works on medicine and rhetoric. For reasons which will become apparent when we speak of Plato’s theology, he regards books on science as dangerous reading for the boys and girls.

16^ Two problems seem to be contemplated, the discovery of the factors of composite numbers and the handling of fractions. On the Egyptian problems in question see Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, 3 18-19.

17^ τὴν αὐτὴν γὰρ αὐτων ὸδὸν ἒκαστον καὶ οὐ πολλὰς μίαν ἀεὶ κύκλῳ διεξέρχεται. This clearly means not only that the real motion of a planet is regular, but that it is not composite. The object is thus to deny all theories, like that of Eudoxus, which ascribe to a planet a double motion in opposite senses. I still think that this must be meant, in spite of the dissent of Professor Storey and Professor Cornford.

18^ Loc. cit. 837b-d. This is a criticism of the current theory of many Greek societies — not of Athens — according to which "unnatural" attachments are of great value for military purposes because of the mutual devotion they inspire, the theory presupposed by the institution, e.g., of the Theban ίερὸς λόχος [sacred band or company]. The Phaedrus had already denied the fact of the "devotion"; the Laws exposes the verbal equivocation by which the practice is defended. (For such a defense, cf. the speech of Phaedrus in the Symposium, 178e.)

19^ Loc. cit. 839e-840c. The reasoning is familiar to us from the Pauline parallel, i Cor. ix. 23-27. The standard here set up is no novelty of Plato’s last years; the demands made on the guardians of the Republic would be even more rigorous.

20^ The important points in connexion with the market are that (1) all transactions must be on the basis of immediate payment, (2) there is to be no "higgling" about prices. The seller must have a fixed price and must take neither more nor less. Like Ruskin, Plato is not so anxious to prevent a seller from asking too much as to keep him from palming off bad wares at a pretended "sacrifice" (loc. cit. 849a-850a).

21^ 855c ff. The constitution of the court is thus suggested by that of the Attic Areopagus. Plato is careful to avoid the miscarriage of justice attending on the Athenian practice of allowing a capital case to come before an irresponsible body of ordinary citizens chosen by lot, from whom there was no appeal.

22^ The thought is the old one of the Gorgias. It is good for the offender’s soul to receive the penalty, and since the suffering is good for him it cannot be αἰσχρόν. The "disgrace" lies not in the punishment but in the crime.

23^ See for Varro’s doctrine on this point Augustine, de Civitate Dei, vi. 5.

24^ 892c, γένεσιν τὴν περὶ τὰ πρωτα = τὴν των πρών γενέσις = τὸ των πρών γένoς = τὸ πρωτον. That genesis here is equivalent to γένoς is clear from the context, since the criticism made on the old physicists is that they regard such things as "fire" and "air," i.e. their primary bodies, as the γένεσιν τὴν περὶ τὰ πρωτα. For this use of genesis see Ast, Lexicon Platonicum, s.v., who, however, wrongly places the passage under a different heading.

25^ We may suppose that the term of imprisonment would be longer for the two graver heresies. The length of the term and the rule of seclusion are meant, of course, to give full opportunity for a genuine conversion and to prevent the contamination of the rest of the community. Death is the penalty for a second conviction, because the offender is presumed to have shown himself "incurable," and death is better for such a man. On the composition of the "nocturnal council" see below.

26^ The simple atheist apparently runs no risk of this severer penalty, since his heresy is not one on which an hypocritical "priestcraft" can be grafted. It may be remarked here that by demanding a grading of prisons into (1) a house of detention for persons awaiting trial, (2) a house of correction for the reclaimable, (3) a house of punishment for the irreclaimable, Plato has anticipated an important reform never fully carried out in our own administration until quite recent times.

27^ The severe penalty is due to the heinousness of the attempt to make the court of justice itself accessory to the infliction of a wrong. The abuses Plato has in view are specifically Athenian, and would not be likely to be common in the sort of society for which he is ostensibly legislating.

28^ See Burnet, Greek Philosophy, Part I., p. 304. The Academy was the first permanent and organized school of law as well as of mathematics. The two studies are really connected by the importance for both of "clear and distinct ideas."

29^ It is clear that the details of the plan would need more adjustment before it would work in practice. Perhaps it is tacitly assumed that most of the original twelve εὔθυνοι would be nearer 75 than 50, and that the three oldest retire in each subsequent year.

30^ The actual words are (951d) των ἰερέων των τὰ ἀριτεια είληφότων; that this means the εὔθυνοι is shown by comparison with 947a. In the recapitulation at 961a-b the composition of the council is apparently slightly different. The two passages would, no doubt, have been better adjusted on a final revision of the text.

31^ The name is avoided, presumably, as specially characteristic of Socrates, who is absent from the dialogue. The word is carefully avoided also in the Timaeus for the same reason.

32^ He made the (spurious) Minos, the Laws, and the Epinomis one of his "trilogies" (Diogenes Laertius iii. 1, 62).

33^ His arguments are given in the Prolegomena to the Philosophy of Plato apparently by Olympiodorus (Platonis Opera, C. F. Hermann, vi. 218). They are (1) that Plato would not have gone on to write another dialogue, leaving the Laws unrevised, (2) that motion from W to E. is called in the Epinomis "to the right" (Epinomis 9876), whereas in the dialogues (Timaeus, 36c) it is called "to the left." But (1) assumes that the Epinomis is really meant to be "another dialogue," and (2) overlooks the point that the Laws use the same language as the Epinomis (760d 2). The really significant thing is that Proclus makes no appeal to testimony.

34^ See the good defense of the Epinomis in Raeder, Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 413 ff. Stenzel (Zahl und Gestalt, 103 n. 4) rightly declines to commit himself to rejection. The "demonstration" of the spuriousness of the Epinomis by F. Müller (Stilistische Untersuchung der Epinomis des Philippos von Opus, 1927) leaves me still unconvinced.

35^ It is said there that it is obvious τοις καὶ μετρίως ἡμμένοις, that the motions of the planets are composite, a fairly clear retort to Epinomis 987b 9, where the theory that the "diurnal revolution" is a component of the planetary orbits is said to be "what might seem true" ἀνθρώποις ὀλίγα τούτων εἰδόσιν. Jaeger (Aristoteles, 146, 153 ff.) has called attention to the connexion between the Epinomis and Aristotle’s περὶ φιλοσοφίας, but regards the former as an Academic rejoinder to the latter.)

36^ "Number is the gift of "Uranus," because, as Plato holds, the science of it has been developed in the interest of learning to number and compute days, months, and years. Cf. Timaeus, 38c, 39b.

37^ The corpuscular theory of the Timaeus is here implied, with the addition that, to get something to correspond with the dodecahedron, the αἰθήρ = aethêr, the clear blue of the upper air, is recognized as a fifth "body." This πεμπτὸν σωμα (whence the name quinta essentia) is identical with Aristotle’s πρωτον σωμα, or "celestial matter." But, unlike Aristotle, Plato does not regard it as the "matter" of the heavenly bodies; they are made mainly of fire, as Timaeus had taught.

38^ The irony of the whole passage about the supposed denizens of aether, air, and water and the popular cults of such beings must not be overlooked. We have been told (980c) that the whole account is a "theogony," though, as is added at 988c, a less objectionable one than those of the old poets, and that knowledge on such matters is impossible. All that is really serious is the insistence on the necessity of giving the first place in the popular cult to the heavenly bodies and recognizing the study of astronomy as the right way to worship them. The rest is a concession to the maxim that harmless popular rites are not to be disturbed. Timaeus had taken the same line (supra, p. 452).

39^ The names "star of Aphrodite," "of Ares," "of Zeus," "of Cronus," from which our designations are derived, appear for the first time in literature in this passage. "Star of Hermes" is first found in Timaeus, 38d.

40^ The text of 990c 5-991b 4, the most important mathematical passage in the Platonic corpus, is unfortunately uncertain, in part probably corrupted, in part also possibly never reduced to grammatical form by the writer, but the sense is clear. The point of chief significance is the revolutionary demand that quadratic and cubic "surds" shall be recognized as numbers in opposition to the traditional view that there are "irrational" magnitudes (lengths, areas, volumes), but no "irrational" numbers. The meaning of the rest is that the succession of the "powers" 21, 22, 23, is the most elementary example of the principle that similar areas have the duplicate and similar volumes the triplicate ratios of the corresponding "sides," and that the ratios corresponding to the fourth and fifth in the scale respectively, the ἐπίτριτος and ἡμιόλιος λόγος, are also the harmonic and arithmetic means between 1 and 2. (Plato selects 6 and 12 as surrogates for 1 and 2 in this illustration because he wishes the two "means" to be whole numbers.) Stenzel comes near explaining the passage correctly (Zahl u. Gestalt, 98 ff.).

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XIX. Plato in the Academy – Forms and Numbers

To us Plato is first and foremost a great writer, but from his own point of view, books and the study of them are a secondary interest with the "philosopher"; what counts as supreme is a life spent in the organized prosecution of discovery (τὸ συζην). There can be no doubt that Plato thought his work as the organizer of the Academy much more important than the writing of dialogues. Since Aristotle commonly refers to the teaching given in the Academy as Plato’s "unwritten doctrine" (ἄγραφα δόγματα), we may be reasonably sure that Plato did not even prepare a MS. of his discourses. This explains why there were several different versions in the next generation of the famous lecture on "the Good," which seems to have contained Plato’s most explicit account of his own philosophy. We are told that several of the hearers, including Aristotle, Xenocrates, and Heraclides of Pontus, all published their notes of it, and the obvious implication is that there was no "author’s MS." to publish. Consequently we have to discover Plato’s ultimate metaphysical positions indirectly from references to them in Aristotle, supplemented by occasional brief excerpts, preserved by later Aristotelian commentators, from the statements of Academic contemporaries of Aristotle, like Xenocrates and Hermodorus. This creates a serious difficulty. When it is a mere question of what Plato said, the testimony of Aristotle is surely unimpeachable; but when we go on to ask what Plato meant, the case is different. Aristotle’s references are all polemical, and Aristotle is a controversialist who is not unduly anxious to be "sympathetic." Unfortunately, too, mathematics, the science specially important for its influence on Plato’s thought, is the one science where Aristotle shows himself least at home. Thus there is always the possibility that his criticisms may rest on misunderstanding. And the misunderstandings may not even originate with him. The criticism of Plato all through the Metaphysics seems to be subsidiary to Aristotle’s standing polemic against Xenocrates, the contemporary head of the Academy. Hence it is possible that much of the criticism of Metaphysics M-N, the most sustained anti-Academic polemic in Aristotle, may be directed rather against Academic misinterpretation of Plato than against Plato himself.

In a necessarily brief statement our safest course is to deal |504| only with views expressly attributed by Aristotle to Plato, and with them only so far as their meaning seems to be beyond reasonable doubt. This is, at any rate, all I can attempt in the space at my disposal. But we must carefully avoid the nineteenth-century mistake of treating the statements described by Aristotle under the name of the "doctrine" (πραγματεία) of Plato as a sort of senile dotage. Aristotle definitely identifies Platonism with these doctrines and never even hints that he knew of any other Platonism, though he does occasionally remark that the dialogues differ from the "unwritten" discourses. It seems to follow that the theories called Plato’s by Aristotle must have been formulated as early as 367 B.C., the year of Aristotle’s entry into the Academy, and, quite possibly, even earlier.

When we turn to these Aristotelian statements we find that, for the most part, they amount to a version of the theory of forms with a very individual character, and of a much more developed type than anything the dialogues have ascribed to Socrates. There are also one or two other notices of specific peculiarities of Plato’s doctrines, all concerned with points of mathematics, and it is with some of these I propose to begin, as they may help us to understand the point of view from which the doctrine of forms as known to Aristotle was formulated.

We must remember that though mathematics was by no means the only science cultivated in the Academy, it was that which appealed most to Plato himself, and that in which the Academy exercised the most thoroughgoing influence on later developments. All the chief writers of geometrical textbooks known to us between the foundation of the Academy and the rise of the scientific schools of Alexandria belong to the Academy. In Plato’s own lifetime, Theaetetus had completed the edifice of elementary solid geometry, by discovering the inscription of the octahedron and icosahedron in the sphere. He and Eudoxus and others had laid the foundations of the doctrine of quadratic surds as worked out in the tenth book of Euclid’s Elements; Eudoxus had invented the method of approximating to the lengths and areas of curves by exhaustion (the ancient equivalent of the Integral Calculus), and had recast the whole doctrine of ratio and proportion in the form in which we now have it in Euclid’s fifth book, for the purpose of making it applicable to "incommensurables." We naturally expect to find traces in Plato’s doctrine of this special preoccupation with the philosophy of mathematics which is characteristic of the work of the school.1

To understand the motives which were prompting the Academy to a reconstruction of the philosophy of mathematics, we must go |505| back to the age of Zeno. In the Pythagorean mathematics of the fifth century there were two serious logical flaws. One was that in treating geometry as an application of arithmetic, the Pythagoreans had made the point correspond to the number 1, as is indicated in the traditional definition of the point often mentioned by Aristotle, that it is μονὰς ἔχουσα θέσιν, "a 1 with position." The identification implies the view that a point is a minimum volume, and was ruined by Zeno’s acute argumentation from the possibility of unending bisection of the straight line and the impossibility of making a line longer or a volume bigger by adding a point to it. There are just two ways of meeting the difficulty: one is to evade it, by severing geometry from its dependence on arithmetic, as Euclid does; the other is that actually hinted at by Zeno’s own language and definitely adopted by modern philosophical mathematicians, of making the point correspond to 0 and regarding 0, not 1, as the first of the integers.2 It was towards this view that Plato was feeling his way, as we shall see immediately. The other great trouble was the discovery that there are "incommensurables" or "surds," e.g. that the ratio of the length of the side of a square to its diagonal is not that of "integer to integer." Here, again, two ways of meeting a difficulty fatal to the old philosophy of mathematics as it stood are possible. One is again to surrender the parallelism between geometry and arithmetic by admitting the existence of surd geometrical magnitudes, but denying that there are "surd" numbers. This is the position taken by Aristotle in express words and tacitly by later mathematicians like Euclid, who always represents an "incommensurable" by a line or an area. The other is that of modern rationalistic mathematics, to revise the conception of number itself, so that it becomes possible to define "irrational" numbers of various kinds and to formulate laws for their addition and multiplication in terms of the already known arithmetic of integers. The problem has only been satisfactorily solved in the work of the last half-century, but, as we saw in dealing with the Epinomis, this was the line which already commended itself to Plato. Geometry and "stereometry" are, according to him, really the arithmetic of the quadratic and cubic "surds," as plane geometry has been said in our own time to be simply the "algebra of complex numbers." In this way the parallelism of geometry with arithmetic is preserved by a revised and enlarged conception of arithmetic itself.3

With these considerations in mind, we can readily understand certain statements which Aristotle makes about mathematical views of Plato. There are three such statements which we may at once elucidate, (a) Plato stated that the "point" was a |506| "fiction of the geometers," and spoke, instead, of the "starting-point of the line" (Metaphysics A 992a 20). This means, of course, that Plato rejected the conception of a point as a minimum of volume, or "unit." It has no magnitude of its own but is "the beginning" of the straight line which has such a magnitude (its length). In other words, what corresponds in arithmetic to the point is not 1 but 0, if only Greek arithmeticians had possessed a word or symbol for 0. The underlying thought is that which reappears in later Greek Platonists when they speak of a line as the "fluxion" (ῥύσις) of a point, in the very terminology Newton was later to introduce into English. We are on the track of the ideas and terminology of the inventors of what we call the Differential Calculus. It is true, of course, that this notion of an "infinitesimal" which is not quite nothing nor quite something, but a nothing in the act of turning into something, involves a logical paradox and that it has only been finally disposed of by the purification of mathematical logic, which has eliminated "infinitesimals" from the so-called Infinitesimal Calculus. But the Calculus had to be there first before its purification from bad logic could be possible, and it is hard to see how it could ever have been originated without this defective but useful conception, (b) (Metaphysics ibid. 22) Plato "often used to assume his indivisible lines" (πολλάϰις ἐτίθει τὰ; ἀτόμους γραμμάς). Aristotle, who apparently distinguishes this point from the one he has just mentioned, does not explain its meaning. In the textually badly corrupt Peripatetic tract de Lineis insecabilibus, which appears to be a polemic of an Aristotelian of the first generation against Xenocrates, the "indivisible line" is regarded as a minimum length, and it is urged that there are insuperable geometrical difficulties about such a conception, as, in fact, there are. What Plato may have meant by the expression we can only conjecture. As a conjecture I offer the suggestion that his intention is precisely to deny the conception attributed to some Academic, apparently Xenocrates, by the Peripatetic tract. A line, however short, is "indivisible" in the sense that you cannot divide it into elements which are not themselves lines — in other words, it is a "continuum." The point makes a straight or curved line not by addition or summation, but by "flowing"; a straight or other line is not made of points in the way in which a wall is made of bricks laid end to end.4 (c) Plato said that "there is a first 2 and a first 3, and the numbers are not addible to one another" (Metaphysics M 1083a 32, the one statement about numbers which is definitely attributed to Plato by name in the last two books of the Metaphysics). A similar point is made about the Academy generally in the Ethics (Nicomachean Ethics 1096a, 17 ff.), where we are told that they held that there is no form (idea) of number, because "in numbers |507| there is a before and an after" i.e. because numbers form a series. The meaning of these statements seems not to have been clear to Aristotle, but is manifest to anyone who has learned to think of number en mathématicien. The sense is that the series of numbers is not made by adding "units" together. E.g. we say that 3 + 1 = 4, but we do not mean that 3 is three "units" or that 4 is 3 and 1; 4 is not four 1’s, or a 3 and a 1, it is one 4. What we really add together is not numbers but aggregates or collections. Thus it is true that if you have a group of n things and another group of m things, and form the two into one group, the new group contains m + n things, but it is not true that the number m + n contains a number m and a number n. The importance of this view is that it leads to revision of the whole conception of number. The fifth-century theory, still represented by Euclid’s definition of ἀριθμός (Elements vii. def. 2) is that a "number" is πληθος μονάδων, a "collection of 1’s." On the new view, the only really sound one, no number is a "collection"; the statement that 3 = 2 + 1, which is the definition of 3, does not mean that 3 is "a 2 and a 1," but that 3 is the term of the integer-series which comes "next after" 2.

This explains why there is no form of number. The reason is that each "number" is itself a form, as was really implied in the Phaedo itself when Socrates spoke of "the number 2" and "the number 3" as instances of what he meant by a form. Hence the ordered series of integers is not a form, it is a series of forms. The point may be grasped if we remember that in our own philosophy of mathematics we do not find it possible to define "number" or even "integer"; all that we can do is to define the series of integers or the series, e.g., of "real" numbers, and to define individual numbers. I can define "the integer series" as a series of a certain type with a certain first term, and I can define "the integer" n+1 by saying that it is the number of that series which is next after n, but I cannot really define "integer." Aristotle is never tired of arguing against Plato that there is no number except what Aristotle calls "mathematical" number, or alternatively "number made of 1’s" (μοναδικός ἀριθμός); but the simple truth is that no "number" is "made of 1’s," and that it is precisely what Aristotle calls "mathematical" number which has no existence except in his imagination. Plato may well have been led to this denial that numbers are "addible" by his recognition that "surds" like √2, 3√2, must be admitted into arithmetic as numbers, since it is evident that no process of "adding 1 to 1" could ever yield such numbers as these.5 Thus this doctrine, also, may well be connected with the fact that the "real" numbers form a continuum. But it is important to be clear on the point that the principle that number is not really generated by addition of 1’s |508| applies equally to the numbers of the integer-series, which is not a continuum.

This brings us to the consideration of Aristotle’s account of Plato’s theory of forms. According to the Metaphysics, (A 987b 18-25) Plato actually called the forms numbers, and maintained that each form or number has two constituents, the One, which Aristotle regards as the formal constituent, and something called the "great-and-small" or "the indeterminate duality" (ἀόριστος δυάς), which Aristotle treats as a material constituent. In other words, a number is something which arises from the determination of a determinable, (the great-and-small), by the One. Since the forms are the causes of all other things, these constituents of the forms are the ultimate constituents of everything, and this is what is meant by the statement that other things "participate" in the forms.6 Aristotle remarks on the theory that it is of the same type as the Pythagorean doctrine that "things are numbers" or are "imitations of numbers," but differs from that view by substituting the "duality" of the "great-and-small" for the "indefinite" (ἄπειρον) as one constituent of numbers, and also by maintaining that "mathematical" (τὰ μαθηματικά) are intermediate between numbers and sensible things, whereas the Pythagoreans said that the numbers are the things.7 He seems also to connect this theory with the special point in respect of which he holds Plato and the Pythagoreans inferior to Socrates, namely, that they "separated" (ἐχώρισΰν) the "universals" or forms from "things" as Socrates had not done.8

It is plain from the explanations attempted by the later commentators on Aristotle that the chief source from which the doctrine alluded to in the Metaphysics was known in antiquity was the reports of the auditors of Plato’s famous lecture on "the Good." As we do not possess these reports and cannot be sure how far the statements of Peripatetic commentators on Aristotle about them can be trusted, we need to be cautious in our interpretation. But there are certain points on which we can be reasonably certain. It is quite clear from the whole character of Aristotle’s polemic against "ideal numbers," that the numbers which Plato declared |509| to be forms are just the integers and nothing else, and also that the doctrine does not mean that it is denied that "man," "horse" and the like are forms, but that "the form of man" and the like are now held to be themselves in some sense "numbers." Hence Aristotle can raise the difficulty whether the "units" which make up the number which is the form of man or horse are the same as those which are found in the form of animal, or those of the form of man the same as those of the form of horse (Metaphysics 1081a 9, 1082a 18, 1084a 13). It also looks as though Aristotle meant to ascribe to Plato, as well as to the Pythagoreans, the view that the integer-series is a succession of repetitions of the numbers up to 10, so that the Form-numbers would be, in a special sense, the first ten natural numbers. (E.g. Metaphysics 1084A 12, though the allusion there might be rather to a theory of the Pythagoreans and Speusippus than to a personal view of Plato.) It seems clear, at any rate, that the key to the doctrine, if we could recover it, would be found in a theory of the character of the series of integers up to 10.

To some extent, at least, it seems possible to recover this key. We have to begin by understanding what is meant by speaking of one constituent of a number as the "great-and-small" and by calling this an "indeterminate duality." Even without the help of the commentators on Aristotle, the Philebus would enable us to give a reasonable answer to this question. We saw there that "that which admits of more and less indefinitely" was Plato’s description of what we call a "continuum," though the number-series itself does not figure among the examples of continua given in the dialogue. This enables us to see at once why Plato spoke of what the Pythagoreans had called the "unlimited" (ἄπειρον) as a "great-and-small" or a "duality." It is a duality because it can be varied indefinitely in either of two directions. Probably the commentators arc right in connecting this with the more specific view that you can equally reach plurality, starting from unity, by multiplication or by division, e.g. when you divide a given class regarded as a whole into sub-classes, you have two or more more determinate forms within the original γένος. This indicates a direct connexion between the theory of number ascribed to Plato by Aristotle and the preoccupation with the problem of the subdivision of forms in the later dialogues on which Stenzel has done well to insist, though he has allowed himself to neglect too much the specifically mathematical problem. We can also see, I think, why the other constituent of a number should be said to be "the one," and why the "unit" is no longer regarded, in Pythagorean fashion, as a "blend" of "limit" with the "unlimited," but as itself the "limit." Here, again, we have a point of contact with the theory of logical "division." As the Philebus had taught us, we may arrive at a "form" in either of two ways; we may start with several different idê as many and seek to reduce them to unity by showing that they are all special determinations of a more general "form," or again we may start with the more general "form" and discover |510| more specific "forms" within it; whichever route we follow, we presuppose as already familiar the notions of a form and of forms in the plural. "A" and "some" will be ultimate indefinables.9

In the case of numbers it is easy to see how the conception, already implied in the Epinomis, of a "continuum" of "real" numbers leads to the Platonic formulas. If we wish to discover a number whose product by itself is 2, it is easy to show that we can make steady approximation to such a number by constructing the endless "continued fraction":
 1 + 1
   2 + 1
      2 + 1
        2 + 1
          2+ ...

By stopping off the fraction at successive stages, we get a number of values with the following peculiarities.
1, 1+1, 1+1,
   2   2 + 1

The values are alternatively less and greater than √2, and each value differs from √2 less than the preceding value; by carrying the fraction far enough, we can get a fraction a/b such that a2 /b2 differs from 2 by less than any magnitude we please to assign. This is what we mean by saying that √2 is the limiting value to which the fraction "converges" when it is continued "to infinity." Now in forming the successive approximate values, or "convergents," we are making closer and closer approximation to the precise determination of an "infinite great-and-small." It is "infinite" because however many steps you have taken, you never reach a fraction which, when multiplied by itself, gives exactly 2 as the product, though you are getting nearer to such a result at each step. It is "great-and-small," because the successive approximations are alternatively too small and too large. √2 is, so to say, gradually pegged down between a "too much" and a "too little," which are coming closer together all the time. I choose this particular example because this method of finding the value of what we call √2 was pretty certainly known to Plato.10

|511| The same point might be similarly illustrated by the definitions given by modern mathematicians of the "real numbers." The definitions are to a certain point arbitrary, but they all turn on the notion of a "section." E.g. we cannot find a rational fraction the "square" of which is exactly 2. But we can divide all rational fractions into two classes, those of which the "squares" are less than 2 and those of which the "squares" are not less than 2. We see at once that the first of these sets has no highest term, the second no lowest, and that no fraction can belong either to both sets or to neither set; thus our "section" is unambiguous, i.e. every fraction falls into one and only one of the two sets thus constituted. We may then define the "square root of 2" either as this "section" itself, or, if we prefer it, as the set of "fractions whose squares are less (or, if we like, greater) than 2." Here again, the notion of a "section" of the rational fractions exhibits the Platonic characters. It involves a "duality," or "great-and-small" the two sets, one of which has all its terms less than, the other all greater than, a specified value, and the duality is "indefinite" because one of the sets has no highest term, the other no lowest. The section is a determination of the "great-and-small" of the fractions by the "one" precisely because it makes an unambiguous "cut" just where it does. Other cuts can be made at other places in the series, and each will define a different "real number."11

It is clear, however, that we have not yet exhausted the meaning of Plato’s doctrine. From Aristotle’s polemic we see that the Platonic analysis was not meant to apply simply to the case of the "irrationals" which Plato was the first to recognize as numbers. The theory also involves a doctrine of the structure of the integer-series itself, since it is clear that the numbers with which the forms are identified are, as Aristotle always assumes, the integers. The integers themselves, then, have the "great-and-small" and the "one" as their constituents. How is this to be understood? |512| The difficulty is that the integers do not form a continuum, even in the sense in which continuity means no more than infinite divisibility, i.e. the possibility of inserting a third term between any two given terms of the series. For each integer is "next after" another.

How, then, does Plato suppose the series of integers to be constructed? I doubt if the notices preserved to us enable us to answer the question finally. What is clear is that Plato rightly rejects the view retained by Aristotle, that an integer is a collection of "1’s," and that the series is thus constructed by additions of 1 to itself. 2 is not "1 and 1" but "the number next after 1." (This ought to be plain from the simple consideration of the way in which we learn to count. We do not count, "one, one, one, one …" but "one, two, three …") But when we ask in what way the "duality" comes in in constructing the series of integers, we are puzzled by the confusion which seems to run through Aristotle and his commentators between the "indeterminate duality" or "great-and-small" and the number 2. If it were only in the polemic of Aristotle that this confusion were found, we might conceivably dismiss it as a mere misunderstanding, but it appears to have occurred also in the Academic reports of Plato’s doctrine. The complete study of the problem would require a long discussion of the mass of material collected and examined by M. Robin in his volume La Theorie platonicienne. Here it must be enough to remark that the following points seem to be quite certain, (1) The "dyad" was called δυοποιός, because it "doubles" everything it "lays hold of." There is no doubt that the "dyad" meant is the "great-and-small," but "it also seems clear that there is a confusion, perhaps from the very first, with the αὐτὸ ὃ ἔστι δυάς, the number 2, and that the function of the "dyad" within the integer-series is thought of as being to produce the series of "powers of 2 by repeated multiplication, 1 x 2, 1 x 2 x 2, 1 x 2 x 2 x 2, and so forth (cf. Epinomis 991a 1-4).12 (2) The "one," we are told, puts a stop to the "indeterminateness" of the "great-and-small" by "equalizing" or "stabilizing" it (τῳ ἰσάζειν).13 This, I suggest, as my conjectural explanation of an obscure expression, means that each odd number is the arithmetical mean between the preceding and following even numbers, and so "halves their difference." Each odd number will be got by halving "the sum of two even" numbers. Thus the order of the "decade" will be, 1, 2, 4, 8; 3 (which equalizes 2 and 4); 6 (double of 3); 5, 7 (which "equalize" 4 and 6, and 6 and 8); 10 (double of 5); 9 (which equalizes 8 and 10).14 Cp. Aristotle’s |513| use of the "arithmetical mean" as an "equalizer," Nicomachean Ethics 1132a 1 ff. If this was the construction, it must be pronounced very faulty. Not only does it involve the confusions of "a" with 1 and of "plurality" with 2, but it involves obtaining the terms of the series in an unnatural order and using more than one principle of construction where one is sufficient. (The one really satisfactory way of defining the integers is to proceed by "mathematical induction," i.e. to define each in terms of its immediate precursor. This is readily done in the following way. When we have defined the integer n, we can go on to define n + 1 by the statement that n + 1 is the number of members of a group satisfying the conditions (a) that it contains a group with n members, (b) that it contains a member a which is not a member of this group; (c) that it does not contain any member which is neither a nor a member of the group of n members already mentioned.).

If, as seems probable, Plato’s conception has these defects, we must not be surprised. He probably started with the right conviction that what we should call the notion of a "section" is necessary for the definition of the "irrationals," and went on to extend the conception to cover the case of the integers. What could not be expected of the first thinker who had formed the notion of a "real" number is the recognition that integers, rational fractions, real numbers, do not form a single series, in other words that the "integer," 2, the "rational number" 2/1, and the "real number 2" are all distinct. In the logical construction of the types of number, we need three distinct steps: the rules for defining the successive integers, the derivation of the rational numbers from the integers, and the derivation of the "continuum" of the real numbers from the series of rational numbers. These, however, are matters on which mathematical philosophers have only reached clear comprehension in very recent times. The important point is that Plato should have grasped the necessity of enlarging the traditional conception of number and of strictly defining numbers of all kinds.15

What are the "mathematical" which Plato distinguished from his numbers or forms? Aristotle tells us that they differ from forms in the fact that they are many, whereas the form is one, and from sensible things by being eternal (Metaphysics A 987b 15). It is to be noted that he does not call them "mathematical numbers," |514| but τὰ μαθηματικά, and that he never appears to ascribe to Plato the recognition of "mathematical number." The meaning seems to me to be best shown by two passages in the Aristotelian corpus. At Metaphysics K 1059b 2 ff., it is made an objection to the theory of forms that just as the μαθηματικά are intermediate between the form and sensible things, so there ought to be — on the theory — something intermediate between such a form as man or horse and visible men and horses (though we see that there is not). This implies that the "mathematicals" are something quite familiar. I would couple with this de Anima A 404b 19, where we are told that in τὰ περὶ φιλοσοφίας λεγόμενα Plato said that the form of animal is composed of the one and "the first length, breadth, and depth." The form of animal is, according to the Timaeus, the archetype on which the sensible world is constructed, that is, it is the res extensa, the subject-matter of geometry, and Aristotle’s meaning is thus that this res extensa is constituted by the three dimensions of length, breadth, and depth. These correspond, as the context of the passage in the de Anima makes clear, to the numbers 2, 3, 4 (the line being determined by two points, the plane by three, three-dimensional space by four). Thus Plato’s construction recalls the Pythagorean tetractys of the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4. But he spoke not of numbers, but of the first "length, breadth, depth" This seems to mean that though, as the Epinomis says, plane and solid geometry may be identified with the study of certain kinds of number, lengths, areas, volumes are not identical with numbers. The study of number provides the key to all these relations, and yet they are not themselves numbers, and the significance of number is not exhausted by its geometrical applications.

So we, too, are familiar with analytical geometry in which we study the properties of curves and surfaces by means of numerical equations. All the properties of the curves and surfaces can be discovered from these equations, but the application of equations is not confined to geometry or geometrical physics; the same methods, for example, play a prominent part in the study of economics, as when we plot out curves to show the effects of modifications of duties on the "volume" of foreign trade. In a word, I take it, the "mathematicals" are what the geometer studies.

We may now perhaps be in a position to see what is meant by the statement that the constituents of the forms are the constituents of everything. The things of the sensible world, as we have learned from the Philebus, are one and all in "becoming"; they are events or processes tending to the realisation of a definite law, and this law, Plato thinks, can be expressed in numerical form. Because these things are always "in the making" they do not exhibit permanent and absolute conformity to law of structure; if once they were "made" and finished, they would be the perfect embodiment of law of structure. And because the stuff of things is extension itself, the law thus realised would be geometrical and therefore, as we should say, be expressible in the form of an equation |515| or equations. This is what Plato means at bottom in his own philosophy by the "participation" of the sensible in forms and by the doctrine that the στοιχεια of number are the στοιχεια of everything. (I abstain from commenting on the further numerous passages in Aristotle where the question of the relation of the ἀρχαί of geometry to those of arithmetic is raised, since these seem to form part of the polemic against Speusippus and Xenocrates, and it is not clear to me how far any of the views canvassed are meant to be directly ascribed to Plato.)

Aristotle seems, as I said, to connect his complaint about the Academic "separation" (χωρισμός) between forms and sensible things specially with the doctrine we have just been discussing. He is commonly taken to mean no more than that the Platonic form is a sort of "double" of the sensible thing, supposed to be in some "intelligible world," wholly sundered from the real world of actual life. It is hard to suppose that he could put such an interpretation on a theory which according to himself makes the στοιχεια of number the στοιχεια of everything. Hence I think Stenzel16 is on the right track in looking for a more definite meaning in the Aristotelian criticism, and that he has rightly indicated the direction in which we should look. As he points out, one of Aristotle’s chief difficulties about the "numbers" is that he holds that if "animal" is one number and "man" is another, we have to face the question whether the "units" in "animal" are part of the "units which constitute "man" or not; (e.g. if you said "animal" is 2, "man" is 4, since 2 X 2 = 4, "man" would seem to be the same thing as "animal" taken twice over). The complaint, as Stenzel says, is not that an εῖδος is treated as something distinct from a sensible individual, but that the more universal εἴδη, the γένη as Aristotle calls them, are thought of as though they had a being distinct from that of the ἄτομον εἰδος or infima species. Aristotle’s point is that "animal," for example, has no being except as "horse," "man," "dog," or one of the other species which can no longer be divided into sub-species. This would be, in effect, a criticism on the method of division as practiced in the Sophistes, where it is made a rule that in summing up the result of the division into a definition, all the intermediate differentiae which have been employed must be recapitulated. This is a procedure condemned by Aristotle’s own doctrine that a definition need only state genus and specific difference; the specific difference includes in itself all the intermediate differences. Hence, according to Stenzel, the χωρισμός of which Aristotle complains is that the Platonic account of "division" as |516| the instrument of definition is fatal to the unity of the definiendum,17 and, since the process is a direct outcome of the doctrine of μέθεξις, the defect is one which requires the doctrine of μέθεξις itself to be revised. (Thus Aristotle’s rejection of the Platonic doctrine of forms would at bottom be based on rejection of the logical tenet that the relation of species to genus is identical with that of individual to species.) Whether this interesting interpretation is sound is, however, a question for the student of Aristotelianism rather than for an expositor of Plato.18

See further:
Burnet. Greek Philosophy, Part I., 312-324;
  Platonism, c. 5, 2, 7.
Natorp, P. Platons Ideenlehre, 366-436.
Baeumker, C. Das Problem der Materie in der
  griechischen Philosophie,
Stenzel, J. Zahl and Gestalt bei Platan
  und Aristoteles.
Robin, L. La Theorie platonicienne des idees et
  des nombres apres Aristote.
Paris, 1908.
Milhaud, G. Les Philosophes-geometres de la Grece,
  Platon et ses predecesseurs.
Paris, 1900.
Taylor, A. E. Philosophical Studies, pp. 91-150.
Thompson, D’Arcy W. "Excess and Defect" in
  Mind, N.S., 149.

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1^ For an account of the Academic work in mathematics I may refer the reader to any of the standard works on the history of mathematics, e.g. Zeuthen, Histoire des mathematiques dans l’antiquite et le moyen age (Fr. tr., Paris, 1902), or, for a still briefer account, Heiberg, Mathematics in Classical Antiquity (English translation, Oxford, 1922). The ancient notices are chiefly preserved in the second prologue to Proclus’ Commentary on Euclid i, and in the scholia to Euclid.

2^ Cf. the definition of the integer-series in Frege’s Grundgesetze der Arithmetik which is, put into words, “the integers are the successors of 0.”

3^ For a real comprehension of Plato’s thought it is indispensable to have a grasp of the modem logic of arithmetic. I would recommend as sufficient (but also necessary) such an exposition as that given in chap. 1. (Real Variables) of Professor G. H. Hardy’s Pure Mathematics.

4^ Cf. the observations of Stenzel, Zahl u. Gestalt, 89 ff. The technical expressions ῥεῖν, ῥύσις, the source of Newton’s language about “fluents” and their “fluxions,” come from the accounts of the doctrine in the Aristotelian commentators and were presumably coined by the Academy.

5^ This is the consideration made prominent in the treatment of the doctrine by M. Milhaud in Les Philosophes-géomètres de la Grèce, a work really indispensable to the student of Plato. But, as we shall see immediately, it is not the whole, nor the most important part, of Plato’s doctrine.

6^ The simple meaning of this is that, as we have been told by Timaeus, all the characters of “things” depend on the geometrical structure of their particles, and thus, in the end, on the structure of the “triangles” into which the faces of these particles can be resolved. And a triangle is determined again by three “numbers,” those which give the lengths of its sides.

7^ Metaphysics A 987b 25-28. Oddly enough, he does not mention the much more important point that the One is made by Plato the formal constituent in a number, whereas the Pythagoreans taught that "the unit" is the first product of the combination of their two constituent factors, πέρας and ἄπειρον, though he had correctly stated this doctrine just before, Metaphysics A 986a, 19.

8^ Metaphysics M 1078b 30. Plato is not named in this passage, but a comparison of the criticism passed immediately below (1078b 34 ff.) with that made on Plato at A 990b 2 ff., shows that Aristotle regards the charge of making the “separation” as applicable to him.

9^ We must, of course, distinguish carefully between the notion of “a” and that of “the integer 1.” The latter is definable exactly as any other integer is. 1 is the number of any group x which satisfies the conditions that (a) there is an a which is an x; (b) “b is an x” implies “b is identical with a.” This distinction is not yet clearly recognized in the Platonic formula.

10^ The denominators and numerators of the successive “convergents” are the series called in Greek respectively the πλευρικοί and the διαμετρικοὶ ἀριθμοί. The rule for finding any number of them is given by Theon of Smyrna (p. 43-44, Hiller). The geometrical construction by which the rule was discovered is given by Proclus (In Platonis Rem publicam commentarii. ii. 24, 27-29, Kroll). The source of both Theon and Proclus appears to be the Peripatetic Adrastus in his commentary on the Timaeus (Kroll, op. cit. ii. 393 ff.). Plato himself alludes to the πλευρικοί and διαμετρικοὶ ἀριθμοί at Republic 546c 5.

11^ Cf. G. H. Hardy, Pure Mathematics 2, p. 14. The “rational fractions” are, to be sure, not a continuum, but they satisfy the only condition for a continuum known in Plato’s time, that between any two a third can always be inserted. Stenzel rightly dwells on the connexion of the “duality” with “convergence,” but misses the illustration from the πλευρικοί and the διαμετρικοὶ ἀριθμοί (Zahl u. Gestalt, 59). The endlessness of the “continued fraction” makes it clear why the “great-and-small” was identified with the “non-being” of which we read in the Sophistes (Aristotle Physics, A 192a 6 ff.). The meaning of what is said about geometry, plane and solid, in the Epinomis will thus be, that the real scientific problem is to obtain a series of “approximations,” within a “standard"” which we can make as narrow as we please, to the various quadratic and cubic surds. In doing so, we are discovering the ratios of the “sides” or “edges” of the various regular polygons and Solids to one another. We discover, e.g., exactly how long within a known “standard” — a line must be if the area of the square or volume of the cube on it is to be 2, 3, 5 … times a given area and volume; and since all rectilinear areas and volumes can be expressed as those of squares and cubes, this solves the question of the surveyor and the “stereometer.” It is precisely with such metrical problems, relating to the “regular solids,” that Euclid’s Book XIII. is concerned, a safe indication of its Academic provenance.

12^ Cf. Aristotle Metaphysics 1084a, 5, 1091a 12, 1082a 14, 987b 33.

13^ Plutarch, De animae procreatione in Timaeo. 1012d, reporting the explanation of Xenocrates, ἐκ δὲ τούτων γένέσθαι τὸν ἀριθμὸν του ἑνὸς ὁρίζοντος τὸ πληθος, Aristotle Metaphysics M. 1083b 23, 29, where the “unit” is said to arise from the “equalizing” of the “dyad” of the great-and-small.

14^ See Robin, La Théorie platonicienne, p. 449. The mathematical reader will see at once a certain analogy between this procedure and the “quadrilateral construction” of von Staudt.

15^ Stenzel, Zahl u. Gestalt, 31, gives a different construction, but without justifying it. I venture to think he has been misled by an anxiety to discover Plato’s number theory directly in the Philebus, where it could not have been introduced without the dramatic absurdity of putting it into the mouth of Socrates. In the main, I hope I AM in accord with Burnet, Greek Philosophy, Part I., 320 ff. But I should say that I can make nothing of n. 2 to p. 320, which manifestly is a non-sens. It appears to be a partially correct explanation of something Aristotle tells us about the Pythagoreans, which has got into its present place by some inadvertence. How can “the one” be the terms of the series √2, √6, √12 …?

16^ See Stenzel, Zahl u. Gestalt, 133 ff., with the Aristotelian texts discussed there. The all-important passage is Metaphysics Z 1037b 8-1038a 35. Aristotle urges that if, e.g., you first divide animals into footed animals and animals without feet, and then divide the former into bipeds and others, the Platonic rule would require you to say that man is a “two-footed footed animal.” But the determination “footed” only exists actually as contained in the more specific determinations “two-footed,” “four-footed.” The same problem recurs in Metaphysics H 6, 1045a 7 ff.

17^ Zahl u. Gestalt, 126 ff.

18^ It seems clear that a definitive interpretation of Plato’s main thought must start with a thorough study of the material collected in M. Robin’s great work La Théorie platonicienne. It is time that we should make an end of the pretence of understanding Plato by ignoring the evidence or by arbitrarily reading into him the views of our own favourite modern metaphysicians. In this brief chapter I have only been able to hint at the interpretation the material suggests to myself. These hints I have tried to develop briefly in a notice of Stenzel’s book in Gnomon, ii. 7 (July 1926), and more fully in an essay in Mind, "Forms and Numbers," with reference to the Aristotelian evidence. (See the reference given above.)

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Addenda and Appendices


P. 21, l. 18 ff. It seems necessary, in view of some criticisms, to say expressly that I regard the date 387 B.C. as a mere convenient "approximation," not as the known precise date of the founding of the Academy. And, of course, my language about the long interruption in Plato’s literary activity must be understood with the qualifications (1) that I expressly decline to commit myself to an opinion about the relative order of composition of Republic, Phaedo, Symposium, and (2) that I never meant to exclude the possibility of a minor "occasional" violation of silence. On my own view the Menexenus would have to be dated c. 380-379. Understood in this "common-sense" way, the view that "roughly speaking" the dialogues earlier than the Parmenides and Theaetetus were written before the foundation of the Academy still seems to me as probable as it did to Burnet.

P. 207, l. 26 ff. The reality of Plato’s own personal faith in immortality is surely put beyond doubt by the words of Epinomis vii. 335a, "one must put genuine faith in the ancient sacred sayings which indicate that our soul is immortal, has to face a judge, and pays the gravest penalties when one has left the body," etc. (πείθεςθαι δὲὄντως ἀεὶ χρὴ τοῑς παλαιοῑς τε ϰαὶ ἱεροῑς, οἳ δὴ μηνύουσιν ἡμῑν ὰθάνατον φυχὴν εἱναι διϰαστάς τε ἴσχειν τὰς μεγίστας τιμωρίας ὃταν τις ἀπαλλαχθῆ τού σώματος).

P. 263, par. 2. It should be noted that the Glaucon of the Symposium is not Plato’s brother, who figures in the Republic, since (Symposium, 173a) he, like Plato himself, was a mere παῑς at the date of Agathon’s party.

P. 263, par. 2. Professor Burnet, in the posthumous volume of lectures on Platonism delivered at the University of California, expresses the opinion that the Republic and consequently the Timaeus are to be given a dramatic date anterior to the Archidamian War (Platonism, pp. 25-26). This would, so far as I can see, be possible but for one consideration. It would compel us to hold that Perictione, since she was the mother of two sons who are young men before 431, was at the very least over a hundred years old in 366, when Epinomis xiii refers to her as still living. This is just possible, but hardly likely, and since I AM as convinced as Burnet himself of the genuineness of Epinomis xiii., I would rather not follow him on this point.

P. 278, n. 1. Xenophon also (Symposium, ii. 9) ascribes to Socrates the thesis that "woman’s nature is not inferior to man’s" (ἡ γυναιϰεία φύσις οὐδὲν χείρων τοῦ ἀνδρὸς οῡσα τυγχάνει), though she is not his equal in physical strength and intelligence (γνώμης τε ϰαὶ ἰσχύος δεῑται). But he may be dependent on Plato or Aeschines, or on both.

P. 309, n. i. Aeschines also in his Alcibiades ascribed the "erotic" temperament to Socrates, with special reference to his affection for Alcibiades. (ἐγὼ δὲ διὰτὸν ἔρωτα ὃν ἐτύνγχανον ̉ Αλϰιβιάδου οὐδὲν |518| διάφορον τῶν Βαϰχῶν ἐπεπόνθειν. Fr. 11, Dittmar.) This evidence seems to me to make nonsense of all the inferences about the personality of Plato which have been drawn from the Phaedrus and Symposium.

P. 450. In Platonism (1928), p. 106, Burnet now says that "it can be proved" that Plato "discovered the heliocentric system" in astronomy. The evidence offered is simply the statement of Theophrastus discussed in our text. I do not understand how Burnet reconciles this view with his own defense of the Epinomis, in which the sun is still expressly treated as a "planet" (986b-987d). I AM wholly in accord with Burnet about the genuineness of the Epinomis and therefore am compelled to dissent from his attribution of "Copernicanism" to Plato.

P. 472, l. 20. But it should be remembered, as Mr. Lorimer reminds me, that Aristotle does once observe (Politicus, 1329b 25) that the various arts of civilized life must have been discovered "often, or rather an indefinite number of times in the course of ages," and "Ocellus Lucanus" (c. 3) that "Hellas has often been barbarian, and will often be so again."

P. 516, l. 4. That is, Aristotle’s great difficulty with the theory of "forms," as it seems to me, is not so much that there should be a "form" of man, "besides" Socrates and Coriscus, as that there should be a "form" of animal, "besides" horse, and dog and man. That is what he is specially anxious to deny.

Chronological Table

Dates B.C.

428-7. Plato born (Ol. 88, 1). Fourth year of Archidamian War; year following death of Pericles. Revolt and subjugation of Mytilene. Capture of Plataea by Peloponnesians. Hippolytus of Euripides.

427. Gorgias at Athens as envoy from Leontini. Aristophanes’ first comedy (Δαιταλῆς = Daetalês) produced.

425. Tribute of Athenian allies raised. Capture of Sphacteria. Pan-Sicilian congress at Gela. Acharnians of Aristophanes performed. (?) Hecuba of Euripides.

424. Athenian defeat at Delium (Pyrilampes wounded.) Brasidas in the north. Loss of Amphipolis and banishment of Thucydides. Battle outside Megara. Knights of Aristophanes.

423. Year’s truce with Sparta. Revolt of Scione. Clouds of Aristophanes. Connus of Amipsias.

422. Death of Brasidas and Cleon before Amphipolis. (?) Socrates serves in this campaign. Wasps of Aristophanes.

421. Peace of Nicias; Scione captured and inhabitants massacred. Peace of Aristophanes.

418. Battle of Mantinea; Laches killed, διοιϰισμός of Arcadians by Sparta.

416. Melos captured by Athenians and inhabitants massacred. Tragic victory of Agathon.

415. Mutilation of Hermae and "profanation of mysteries." Despatch of Syracusan expedition under Alcibiades, Nicias and Lamachus; recall and disgrace of Alcibiades. Troades of Euripides.

414. Clouds of Aristophanes.

413. Final ruin of Syracusan expedition; deaths of Nicias and Demosthenes. Decelea occupied by Spartans. (?) Electra of Euripides. (?) Iphigenia in Tauris.

411. Revolution of the "four hundred." Return of Polemarchus and Lysias from Thurii. Thesmophoriazusae and Lysistrata of Aristophanes.

410. Battle of Cyzicus. Philoctetes of Sophocles (410-9).

409. Carthaginian invasion of Sicily; Selinus and Himera destroyed.

408. Hermocrates in Sicily. Orestes of Euripides.

407. Battle of Notium. Return of Alcibiades to Athens. Hermocrates killed in street-fighting at Syracuse.

406. Battle of Arginusae. Trial and condemnation of generals; protest of Socrates. Deaths of Euripides and Sophocles.

405. Battle of Aegospotami. Dionysius I becomes "tyrant" at Syracuse.

404. End of Peloponnesian War; Athens surrenders to Lysander. Appointment of the "Thirty"; murder of Polemarchus. Affair of Leon of Salamis (404-3).

403. Fall of "Thirty"; deaths of Critias and Charmides. Restoration of democracy at Athens.

401. Expedition of Cyrus and battle of Cunaxa.

399. Trials of Andocides and Socrates for impiety and death of Socrates in archonship of Laches.

395-87. Corinthian War. Rebuilding of Athenian Long Walls (395-393). Pamphlet of Polycrates against Socrates (c. 392-390). Ecclesiazusae of Aristophanes. Destruction of Spartan mora by Iphicrates (?392 or 390).

388. First visit of Plato to Sicily and Italy at age of 40. Traditional date of capture of Rome by Gauls.

387. Corinthian War ended by "King’s Peace." Approximate date of foundation of Academy.

385. Birth of Aristotle at Stagirus.

382 Spartan seizure of citadel of Thebes and political murder of Ismenias.

380. Panegyricus of Isocrates.

379-8. Spartan garrison expelled at Thebes by Pelopidas and his associates. Raid of Spartan Sphodrias on Piraeus.

378. Alliance of Athens and Thebes. Second Athenian League founded.

373. Great tidal wave and earthquake on the Achaean coast.

371. "Peace of Callias" between Sparta and Athens. Spartan power broken by Epaminondas at Leuctra. Liberation of Messene and foundation of Megalopolis follow in the next year or two.

369. Spartan lines on Mt. Oneion broken by Epaminondas. (Theaetetus was probably wounded in this campaign.)

367. Death of Dionysius I. Plato summoned to Syracuse by Dion. Aristotle enters Academy. Traditional date of "Licmian rogations" and defeat of Gauls by Camillas at Alba.

362. Battle of Mantinea; Epaminondas killed.

361-60. Third visit of Plato to Sicily. Traditional date of penetration of Gauls into Campania.

357. Capture of Syracuse by Dion.

356. Birth of Alexander the Great at Pella.

354. Murder of Dion by Callippus. Plato’s VII Epistle. Earliest extant speech of Demosthenes (on the Symmories.)

353. Overthrow of Callippus. Plato’s VIII Epistle.

351. First Philippic of Demosthenes.

349-8. Olynthiacs of Demosthenes. Capture of Olynthus by Philip (348).

347. Death of Plato.

346. Peace of Philocrates. Philip acts as general in the "Sacred War" against the Phocians, becomes a member of the Amphictionic Council and presides at the Pythian games. Temporary restoration of Dionysius II at Syracuse.

344-3. Dionysius finally overthrown by Timoleon.

343-2. Aristotle at Pella as tutor to Alexander.

Appendix: The Platonic Apocrypha

In using the name Apocrypha as a convenient collective designation for those items contained in our Plato MSS. of which it is reasonably certain that they have no real claim to Platonic authorship, I make no gratuitous assumption of fraudulence in their writers or worthlessness in their contents. Apart from the collection of Definitions, which has its own special character, the Apocrypha seem to be undisguised imitations of Platonic "discourses of Socrates" and most of them to be the work of the early Academy; the attribution to Plato has arisen naturally and by accident. The works in question fall into three classes: (A) items actually included in the canon of Thrasylus; (B) the collection of ὅροι or definitions, which falls outside the division into "tetralogies"; (C) νοθευόμενοι, dialogues recognized in antiquity as spurious.

A. Dialogues included in the "tetralogies," but certainly, or all but certainly, spurious.

Of these there are seven: Alcibiades I, Alcibiades II, Hipparchus, Amatores (the whole "of the fourth "tetralogy"), Theages ("tetralogy" V), Clitophon ("tetralogy" VIII), Minos, ("tetralogy" IX). All were clearly regarded as genuine by Dercylides and Thrasylus. The only fact known about their earlier history is that Aristophanes of Byzantium had included the Minos in one of his "trilogies" along with the Laws and Epinomis (Diogenes Laertius iii. 62). Since we never hear of Dercylides or Thrasylus as introducing any items into the Platonic canon, it seems reasonable to infer that the whole group were already accepted by the Alexandrian scholars of the third century B.C. and that the composition of all must therefore be dated earlier still. None of the group is certainly quoted by Aristotle, or even Cicero1 but this proves nothing since none contains anything which makes any difference to the interpretation of Plato’s thought. As I shall try to show, the linguistic evidence is also decidedly against a late date in almost every case; the Greek with which these dialogues present us is recognizably that of the fourth century.2 It follows that we should assign their composition, |522| speaking roughly, to the half-century between Plato’s death and the opening of the third century, while one or two may quite possibly have been written even within Plato’s lifetime. I shall also try to show that the thought is quite Platonic, though the way in which it is presented is not altogether that of the Master. My own conclusion is that the whole group is the work of Platonists of the first two or three generations, intending to expound Academic ideas by "discourses of Socrates." This thesis cannot be formally demonstrated, but seems more probable than either the extreme view of Grote, who accepted the whole group as Platonic, or the rival extreme view which would bring some of the items well within the Alexandrian period.

Alcibiades I. This is in compass and worth the most important member of the group, as it contains an excellent general summary of the Socratic-Platonic doctrines of the scale of goods and the "tendance" of the soul. The Platonic authorship has been defended by Grote, Stallbaum, C. F. Hermann, J. Adam and recently M. Croiset and P. Friedlander; Jowett included a version in his English translation of Plato. For my own part I feel reluctantly forced to decide for rejection on the following grounds. (1) Close verbal study seems to show that in language the manner is that of the later Plato,3 whereas the thought is that of Plato’s earliest ethical dialogues, and the exposition, at points, so unskilled that a resolute defender is almost bound to regard the dialogue as one of the earliest of all. (2) It seems incredible that Plato, who has given us such vivid portraits of Alcibiades in the Protagoras and Symposium, should ever have treated his personality in the colourless fashion of this dialogue. (3) It should be still more incredible that Plato, with his known views on the worth of "text-books" should have composed what is, to all intents, a kind of handbook to ethics. The work has the qualities of an excellent manual, and this is the strongest reason for denying its authenticity. I agree, then, with those who hold that Alcibiades I is a careful exposition of ethics by an early Academic, written well before 300 B.C., and possibly, though perhaps not very probably, even before the death of Plato. I should say with Stallbaum that it contains nothing actually unworthy of Plato, but I AM equally satisfied that it contains echoes of Plato which are not in the manner |523| of a writer who is echoing himself. In particular, the closing words (135e)4 can hardly be anything but an allusion to Plato’s description (Republic 491 ff.) of the corruption of the young man of genius by the blandishments of that supreme sophist, the "public" a passage itself perhaps inspired by the tragic career of Alcibiades. There are other similar disguised quotations, as we shall see.

The writer’s purpose is to expound the thoughts that the one thing needful for true success in life is self-knowledge, that this means knowledge of what is good and bad for our souls, and that such knowledge is different in kind from all specialism. Alcibiades is drawn as a young man of boundless ambition just about to enter on public life. (The date assumed is the end of his "ephebate," before the outbreak of the Archidamian War. Pericles is at the head of affairs, 104b.) Socrates, who has long admired the wonderful boy from a distance, is now allowed by his "sign" to express his admiration for the first time.5 He knows that A. is ambitious to become the first statesman of Europe and Asia, and can help him to realise the dream if A. will only answer his questions (103a-106b).6 To succeed as a statesman, A. must be a good adviser and so must have knowledge which his neighbors have not, and this knowledge must come to him either as a personal discovery or by learning from others. But none of the things A. has "learned" are matters considered by sovereign assemblies, and in the matters which such an assembly does consider there are experts who would be much better counsellors than A. His boasted "advantages" of person, rank, wealth, are irrelevant. On what topics, then, would he be a competent adviser of the public? He says, "On the conduct of their own affairs, e.g. the making of war and peace." Yet it is the expert we need to advise us whether it is better to make war, on whom, and for how long. Our standard of the "better" is supplied by the expert’s τέχνη. Now, what τέχνη is the relevant one in these questions of state? When we declare war, we always do so on the plea that our rights have been infringed. Has A., then, ever learned "justice," the knowledge of rights and wrongs? He has never received instruction in it, nor can he have discovered it for himself. To do that he would need first to look for it, and to look for it he must be first awake to his ignorance of it. But from his childhood he has always been wrangling with his companions |524| about his "rights" as if he already knew what they are (106c-110d). And he certainly cannot have "picked up" knowledge of right and wrong from the "many" at large, as he has done the use of his mother-tongue. (An echo of Protagoras, 327e?) The "many" all agree about the meaning of vernacular words, and this is why one can learn the language from them. Where their views are at hopeless variance, they cannot be our teachers, and there is nothing about which they are more at variance than their "rights" and "wrongs." A. then is proposing to teach others what it is not possible that he knows himself (110e-113a).

But, says A., the politician need not know what is right; he need only know what is expedient. Well, if A. thinks he knows what the expedient is, let him answer one question: Is the expedient always the same as the right or is it not? A. thinks not, but Socrates is confident that he can prove the contradictory (114d). The proof turns on establishing the equations ϰαλόν = ἀγαθόν, αἰσχρόν = ϰαϰόν (114d-116b) (cf. Gorgias, 474c). He who acts "finely" also "does well," i.e. is in possession of good (cf. Republic, 353e ff), and the good for us = the expedient for us. He then who advises as expedient what is wrong is a bad adviser. If A. hesitates whether to admit or to deny this, his very hesitation is a sign that he is becoming conscious of his ignorance about the most important of all subjects (1170). He is suffering from virulent ἀμαθία, the common malady of "public men" (118b). Pericles, indeed, is said to have "learned" wisdom from Anaxagoras and Damon. But since he never imparted "wisdom" to anyone, we may fairly doubt whether he had it.7 A. might reply that if all our public men are "laymen," he need not be more than a layman himself to compete with them. But the real antagonists for whom an Athenian statesman needs to be more than a match are foreign powers, the Spartan and Persian kings. Both have the advantage of A. alike in descent, in careful preparatory training for their office,8 in wealth and resources.9 |525| If one is to compete with such rivals, the first lesson to be learned must be "knowledge of self" (the lesson of not underrating your opponent.)

How, then, must we set to work on the "care" (ἐπιμέλεια) of ourselves? We wish to be as good as possible at the goodness of a ϰαλὸς ϰἀγαθός, that is, of a φρόνιμος, a man of sound judgement in all things. About what things do the ϰαλοί ϰαγαθοί, the "virtuous," show this sound judgment? A. says, in capacity to command "men who associate with one another to transact the business of civic life" (125c), or more briefly, "men sharing in the constitutional rights and functions of citizenship" (125d). The statesman’s τέχνη is εὐβουλία, "excellence in counsel respecting the conduct and safety of the State." This safety depends on the existence of φιλία, or more precisely, ὁμόνοια, "oneness of mind" between the citizens; not the "oneness of mind" secured by the arts of number, weight and measure, but the kind of "oneness of mind" which makes men agree "in a house" and is the basis of family affection. Such agreement implies that both parties to it have a "mind of their own," and so differs from any arrangement by which one party leaves a matter of which he is himself wholly ignorant to the sole discretion of the other. That is not what is meant when justice is said to be "minding your own business and leaving others to mind theirs (127d). (The exposition at this point shows traces of a confusion one would not expect in Plato.)

Again (the transition is oddly abrupt), what is "care for a man’s self"? With some needless elaboration, we reach the result that to care for a thing means to make it better, and that we cannot tell what will make a thing better unless we know what the thing is. So our question becomes "What is the self?" (128a). It is argued at length that an agent is never identical with the tools he uses. All of us are constantly using our hands, eyes, members generally, as tools. The body is thus an instrument used, and therefore cannot be the agent who uses the instrument. The real self, the agent which "uses" and "commands" the body, must be the ψυχή, and the true definition of man is that he is a "soul using a body" (130c.).10 "Know thyself," then, means "know thy ψυχή; sophrosyne, the true self-knowledge, must be different from any of the "arts" which "tend" our bodies or our possessions. And to be in love with another’s body is not to be in love with him. (His body is not really his "person.")

The great business of life is "self-knowledge," the "care" of ourselves (132c).11 Now the eye can see itself only by looking at its reflection. So the soul can "see itself" only by either gazing at another man’s soul, particularly at "that region of it where the |526| goodness of a soul is to be found" or contemplating God, a mirror of perfection brighter than any human soul.12 We get to know ourselves truly by knowing God (133c). Until we know ourselves, we cannot know what is good for ourselves, for other men, for the State. Without such knowledge, a man’s career will be disastrous to himself and the public (134a). Thus, the true prosperity of a city depends not on its navy, but on its virtue (134b).13 The statesman must impart goodness to his countrymen, and he cannot impart what he has not. It must be his first concern to get goodness by "looking to God," Freedom, the power to make one’s will supreme, is a bad thing for the ignorant; it leads them to disease, shipwreck, moral ruin. Until one has acquired goodness, servitude to a better, not being "one’s own master" is the condition which befits one.

Alcibiades II. A poor production, stamped as not Plato’s by its style, by manifest imitations of Alcibiades I, and, as has generally been admitted since Boeckh, by a definite allusion to one of the Stoic "paradoxes."14

The subject is Prayer. The writer seems to take his cue either from the passage of the Memorabilia where Xenophon, who may himself be thinking of the closing words of the Phaedrus, says that Socrates "used to ask the gods simply to give him good things, since they know best what things are good" and thought it perverse to pray "for gold or silver, or a tyranny, and things of that kind,"15 or possibly from Laws, 689c-e, where the speaker expresses the same view. A. is about to pray. Now, some prayers are granted, others are not. So a man should be careful not to ask what is bad for him; his god might happen to be in a giving mood and take him at his word, as happened to Oedipus.16 A. says, Oedipus was notoriously "a mere lunatic." This raises a problem. "Lunatic" is the contrary of "sane." But mankind may be divided into two classes which allow of no tertium quid, the φρόνιμοι, men of sound judgement, and the ἄφρονες, men of unsound judgement. On the |527| principle that "one term has one, and only one, opposite" it looks as though this means that all men, except the few φρόνιμοι, are lunatics. But this thesis can hardly be sound; if all men were lunatics, we could not mix with them, as we do, with safety to life and limb. (Thus the writer knows, and goes out of his way to attack, the Stoic tenet that πᾶς ἄφρωυ μαίνεται, everyone but the ideal "sage" is out of his wits.) We may urge that there are many bodily ailments, many trades; but no invalid has all the diseases, no tradesman follows all the trades, at once. So there are many degrees of "want of sense" from mere dullness to stark lunacy, and so lack of judgement must not be equated with lunacy (138a-140d).

The φρόνιμοι are those who know "what is proper to do and say." The ἄφρονες do not know this, and so unintentionally do and say what they should not. Oedipus does not stand alone in this. If a god appeared to Alcibiades himself and offered to make him autocrat of Athens, or Hellas, or Europe, A. would probably think he was offered a great boon. Yet the power and splendor of the position would be no true boon to one who had not the knowledge how to use it. A tyranny may prove fatal to the recipient, as was the case with the murderer of Archelaus; he was himself murdered after a reign of three days.17 Many Athenian citizens have been undone by attaining high office; children may prove a curse to those who have prayed for them. The poet who asks Zeus simply to give him what is good and withhold what is bad, even if he asks it, speaks like a wise man (140e-143a). What ignorance is thus shown to be so bad for us? Some ignorance may be better for us than knowledge. If A. — the example is un-Platonic in its bad taste — formed a murderous design on his guardian Pericles, it would be better that he should lose the power of recognizing Pericles when he meets him. Knowledge of other things, not accompanied by knowledge of good, is most often harmful. It is better not to know how to do a thing, unless you also know whether it is good to do that thing. Mere professional skill does not make men φρόνιμοι; the national life of a society of "professional experts" destitute of the knowledge of good would not be admirable (143b-146b). Most men have not the knowledge which would tell them whether what they do "skillfully" (προχείρως) is really beneficial. So it is better that the "many" should neither have nor fancy themselves to have a professional skill which they would be sure to misuse. Hence the importance of knowledge of good in private and public life. If it is wanting, the fresher the breezes of fortune blow, the graver the peril. Horner hinted at this when he said of Margites that he "knew a lot of things, but knew them all badly" (143b-147e).18

|528| A. now thinks that he would not jump blindly at the offer of a "tyranny," and approves the wisdom of the unnamed poet whom Socrates had quoted. The Spartans, Socrates adds, show a like wisdom. Their only public prayer is a brief petition for ϰαλὰ ἐπ’ ἀγαθοι̃ς, the honestum et bonum. There is a tale that the Athenians once asked the oracle of Ammon why Heaven favours the Spartans who, in spite of their wealth, are niggardly with sacrifices, more than the liberal Athenians.19 The oracle answered that the Spartan εὐφημία — by which it presumably meant the decency of the prayer just mentioned — is more pleasing than all burnt-offerings. In the same spirit the gods rejected the costly offerings of Priam. They are not to be bribed, and they look at our souls, not our gifts (148e-150b).

A. would do well, then, to postpone his prayer until he has learned to pray aright. But who will teach him? "Your sincere well-wisher" says Socrates, "but there is a mist which must first be removed from your soul" A. rewards these words of encouragement by "crowning" Socrates with the garland he had meant to wear while praying, and Socrates fatuously accepts the compliment. (A tasteless reminiscence of the Platonic playful "crowning" of Socrates by the drunken Alcibiades, Symposium, 213d-e.)

The very poor dialogue is dependent on, and therefore later than, Alcibiades I. Besides the echoes already mentioned, we note that the μαινόενον ἄνθρωπον of 138a 6, said of Oedipus, is a verbal imitation of the use of the same phrase, "a mere lunatic," with reference to Alcibiades’ own brother at Alcibiades I, 118e 4. The ill-managed fiction of the god who offers A. the "tyranny" of Athens, Hellas, or Europe, is founded on what is said more naturally of A’s own day-dreams at Alcibiades I, 105b-c.

It is still more significant that the discussion of the Stoic "paradox" is forcibly dragged into the argument at its very opening. Oedipus is mentioned merely to give an opening for the remark that he was "crazy," and the nominal main argument is kept standing still while Socrates goes off at a tangent to discuss the irrelevant question whether all unwise persons are "crazy" too. The writer thus betrays the fact that his real concern is to attack the Stoics. This shows that he is not writing before some date when Stoicism was already in existence, i.e. not before the early decades of the third century. In the time of Arcesilaus, president of the Academy from 276 to 241 B.C., anti-Stoic polemic became the main business of the school. It does not necessarily follow that the polemic may not have begun rather earlier.

Linguistic considerations do not take us far. Stallbaum produces a respectable "haul" of alleged non-Platonic words and phrases, but forgets that many of these may only go to show that the writer was a poor stylist, without throwing any light on his |529| date, while, in one or two cases, the text is not certainly sound. No great weight can be attached to his point that the use of the word μεγαλόψυχος; at 140c for a "megalomaniac" is singular. This might well be a polite euphemism — it is given as one — in any age. It is urged that the plural οὐδένες is found twice (148c, e). But the same form occurs also in Plato (Euthydemus, 305d, Timaeus, 20b, Epinomis, vii. 344a) and in Isocrates, and I take its double appearance in a single half-page of Alcibiades II to be due to conscious imitation. The forms ἀποκριθηναι (149a), οίδαμεν (141e, 142d) are definitely not classical Attic,20 but the majority of the Academy were never Athenians. Aristotle, for example, was an Ionian and constantly betrays the fact by his vocabulary. Too much has been made of the employment (140a, 150c) of τυχόν in the adverbial sense of "perhaps." This is not usual in good classical Attic, but there is at least one example in Isocrates.21 By comparison with such early specimens of the κοινή as the extant remains of Epicurus, Alcibiades II might almost be called Attic. Hence I think it should not be confidently dated too late in the third century. It may belong to any time soon after the first rise of Stoicism.

Amatores (or Rivales. The title is ’Ερασταί in the famous MSS. BT, Άντερασταί in the margin of B).

The scena is the school of the reading-master Dionysius, said by Diogenes and others (Diogenes Laertius iii. 5) to have been Plato’s own first teacher. Two boys are disputing, apparently on a point of geometry. Socrates is told by the "lover" of one of them that they are "chattering philosophy" about "things on high" (τὰ μετέωρα). The tone of the remark leads him to ask whether philosophy is a thing to be ashamed of. The "lover’s" rival is surprised that Socrates should act so much out of character as to put this question to a man who leads the life of a voracious and sleepy athlete. This new speaker is a votary of "music" as the other is of "gymnastic." His opinion is that philosophy is so divine a thing that a man must be less than human if he disprizes it. But what is this "philosophy?" "What Solon meant when he spoke of ’learning something fresh every day of one’s life’."22 Yet, is it so clear that philosophy is simply identical with multifarious learning?23 We are used to think that philosophy is for the soul what exercise is for the body. If so, "polymathy" must be the mental counterpart of πολυπονία, excessive exertion, and it may be doubted whether this latter is a good thing. The cultivated "lover" feels bound, |530| as a fair-minded man, to allow that πολυπονία may be good, though the admission goes against his personal bias. His "athletic" rival takes a different view. As all experts know, it is "moderate" exertion which keeps the body fit; even a hog has the sense to understand that. In that case, may we not argue by analogy that it is not excessive but moderate "studies" (πολυπονία) that are good for the soul? This question leads straight up to another: Who is the expert who determines what is the right measure in the matter of studies?

Again, what studies would a true lover of wisdom regard as most important? The "musician" says, "Those which will win you the highest reputation." A philosopher should be at home in the "theorick" of all the professions, or at least, of those which are in high consideration, though he should not stoop to meddle with their manual part. He should know them as the "master-builder"24 knows his business (135b-c). But can a man be really proficient in the theory of two professions at once? Only if we concede that the philosopher need not have the "finished" knowledge of a great specialist, but such an amateur’s knowledge as will enable him to follow the discourse of the specialist intelligently and form a sound judgement on it. That means, says Socrates, the philosopher is to the great specialist what a "pentathlist" is to a first-rate boxer or wrestler. He is not supreme in any one speciality, but a good second-rate man in several (136a). As he is not subdued to any speciality, he is not circumscribed by any.25 But what is the good of his philosophy? We do not want to trust a second-rate physician when we are ill, nor a second-rate navigator when we are in danger on the sea. If the philosopher is first-rate at nothing, life has no place for him; this seems fatal to the conception of him as an all-round "intelligent amateur" (137b).

Let us make a fresh start. In the case of our domestic animals, there are two sides to the professions which "tend" them. The expert knows a good horse or dog from a bad one better than other men; he also "disciplines," or "corrects" (ϰολάζει), the animals under his care. What "art" similarly "corrects" human beings? Justice, the "art" of the dicast (judge and juror); hence we should presume that the practitioners of this art also know a good man from a bad one. The layman in the art is ignorant even of himself, does not know the true state of his own soul. This is why we say that he has not sophrosyne (self-restraint, moderation, balance); by consequence, to have sophrosyne will mean to be a practitioner of the art we have just called justice, the art of true self-knowledge. We call this art sophrosyne because it teaches us to know ourselves, and also justice, because it teaches us to "correct" what we discover to be amiss (138b). Since the life of society |531| is kept sound by the employment of this "correction" we may also call this same self-knowledge "politics," the art of the statesman, or, when it is practiced by one man for the whole community, the art of the king, or even of the autocrat (τύραννος). It is the same art which is exercised on a smaller scale in regulating a household. So we may say that the "master," the householder, the statesman, the king, the autocrat are all specialists in an "art" whose true name is indifferently sophrosyne or justice. The expert in this art is the person whose discourse a philosopher must be able to follow, and on whose results he must be able to pass a sound judgement (138d). What is more, the philosopher ought to be himself a first-rate practitioner of it (ib. e), and this disposes of the attempt to identify the philosopher with the all-round connoisseur.

The purpose of the little work is clearly to set the Platonic conception of philosophy as the knowledge of the good, with its corollary, the identification of the true philosopher and the true king, in sharp contrast with the shallower conception of philosophy as "general culture." The great representative of this view of philosophy in Attic literature is Isocrates,26 and I think the ’Εραστάι may fairly be described as a pleasing essay on the superiority of the philosophy of the Academy to the thing called by the same name in the school of Isocrates. This may have some bearing on the date of the composition. The tension between Isocrates and the Academy seems to have reached its maximum in the last years of Plato’s life, when Aristotle was coming into prominence as a rival teacher of "rhetoric." It is natural to regard our dialogue as a contribution to the Academic side of the controversy, a view borne out by the complete absence of all linguistic traces of later date. The explicit recognition of the "tyrant" as a practitioner of "sophrosyne and justice" indicates a more favourable view of "personal rule" than anything to be found in Plato. Unless it is to be taken as mere irony, it seems to imply that the writer regards an autocracy as a fait accompli of which he definitely approves. He also retains the demand that the philosopher ought to be himself a "ruler," disregarding the modified view of the Laws, where the philosopher acts as the sovereign’s adviser and coadjutor. May we infer that he is unacquainted with the Laws and therefore presumably writing before their circulation?27 The facts would, |532| I think, fall into line if we supposed the writer to be connected with the Academic group formed, at the end of Plato’s life, at Assos under the protection of the converted tyrant" Hermias of Atarneus. I offer this suggestion for whatever it may be worth.

Theages. The main object of the work seems to be to relate a number of anecdotes about Socrates’ "sign." Theages, son of Demodocus (perhaps the general of the year 425-4 mentioned at Thucydides iv. 75), is twice named in Plato (Apology, 33d, Republic 496b). From these references we learn that he suffered from delicate health and was dead in 399. According to the Republic, he might have been lost to philosophy but for the invalidism which kept him out of public life. In the Theages he is a mere lad whose future destination is giving his father some anxiety. There is no indication of dramatic date except that in 127e, apparently verbally echoed from Apology, 19e. Prodicus, Polus and Gorgias are all assumed to be present in Athens. The piece can hardly be said to have an argument. Demodocus thinks that nothing would prepare his son for a great career so well as association with Socrates. But, says S., my young friends do not always benefit by my society; everything depends on the "divinity." My "sign" sometimes interferes, and it is always lost labour to disregard it. Charmides neglected my advice not to train for the foot-race at Nemea and had reason to be sorry for it. Timarchus insisted on leaving a dinner-party to keep an engagement in defiance of the "sign." The "engagement" was, in fact, to assist in an assassination, and Timarchus afterward confessed, on the way to execution, that he had done wrong to disregard my warnings. The sign" also predicted the great public disaster at Syracuse. Aristides, grandson of the great Aristides, made famous progress while he was with me, but, in a short absence, forgot all he had learned, though Thucydides (the grandson of Pericles’ opponent) was associating with me to his great advantage. Aristides explained that he had never directly learned anything from me, but found his own intelligence mysteriously aided by being in the same room with me.

All through this conversation there are recognizable borrowings from the Platonic dialogues. The "sign" is described (128d) in the actual words of Apology, 31d; the statement that it warned S. that some lads would not benefit by his company is taken from Theaetetus 151a, and the anecdote about the boys Aristides and Thucydides has been constructed by combining that passage with the Laches, where these two lads are introduced to S. by their fathers. There is an allusion to the usurpation of Archelaus (124d) which verbally reproduces Gorgias 470d. Theages, like the young |533| Alcibiades of Alcibiades I, would like to be a τύραννος (tyrant), "and so, I AM sure," he says, "would you, or any one else" (125e). All these passages are ultimately borrowings from Gorgias 469c. There is one glaring anachronism, a reference to the mission of Thrasylus to Ionia in the year 409.28 Since the Republic manifestly speaks of Theages as a grown man, the reference to the Sicilian disaster is probably a second. The curious theory of 129e ff. that the "sign" could infect the associates of S. with intelligence is unlike anything in Plato, but we may take it as indicating Academic authorship that, in spite of its wonderful stories, the Theages agrees with Plato against Xenophon that the "sign" gave no positive recommendations (128d).

Stallbaum29 had a theory which would bring the Theages down to a very late date. He argues that the opening for its composition was provided by the words of Theaetetus 150d, where Socrates says that those of his young friends "to whom God permits it" (οἰσπερ ἂν ὁ θεὸς παρείϰη) make great progress. Our writer wrongly supposed that "God" here means the "sign," which has nothing to do with the matter. This shows that he was influenced by the Stoic faith in prophecies, divination and omens. We know from Cicero30 that Antipater of Sidon, a Stoic of c. 150 B.C., related curious tales about the "divination" of Socrates, and may infer that the stories of the Theages come from him. Hence the work is not earlier than 150 B.C. Stallbaum reinforces this argument by producing a longish list of suspicious words and phrases.

I see no force in this reasoning, which starts with a bad blunder. Stallbaum has forgotten the statement of the Theaetetus (151a) about the warnings of the "sign" which is our author’s real starting-point. There is no misunderstanding of the Theaetetus in the Theages. Also it is antecedently just as likely that the Theages is one of the sources from which Antipater "collected" his tales as that it is drawing on him. In fact, a Stoic would not be likely to be satisfied with Plato’s account of the merely inhibitory character of the "sign." Xenophon’s version of the matter, which makes the "sign" give positive guidance, is much more in keeping with Stoic theories about "the divinity." Hence I hold that the fidelity of the Theages to Plato on this point is definite evidence against the presence of Stoic influence. The linguistic arguments are also nugatory. Some of the expressions to which Stallbaum took objection are actually Platonic, others are mere examples of a slightly turgid diction.31 On the evidence I think it |534| most probable that the dialogue is the work of an Academic of the last third of the fourth century, a man of the type of Xenocrates, (president of the Academy 339-314 B.C.). Xenocrates was notoriously interested in "daemons" and seems to have been the original authority, or one of them, for the later Platonist lore on the subject. The Theages is the very sort of thing we might expect from his circle.32 Its chief interest for us lies in the probability that some of its anecdotes may have come down from men who had actually seen Socrates, and thus may reflect the impression his oddities made on contemporaries. Perhaps it is un-Platonic that the Theages represents the δαιμόνιον σημεῖον as leading Socrates to check the acts of other persons. There is no parallel for this in any certainly genuine dialogue.

Hipparchus. By general admission the language and diction of the dialogue are excellent fourth-century Attic, not to be really discriminated from the authentic work of Plato. This should put Stallbaum’s view that it is a clever late imitation out of court. That might have been possible after the rise of "Atticism," but not earlier. I shall discuss Boeckh’s unlucky speculation on the authorship later on.

Socrates and an unnamed friend33 are considering the question what avarice (or greed, τὸ φιλξϰερδές) is and who is the avaricious or greedy man (the φιλοϰερδής). The first and obvious answer is "A greedy man is one who is not above making a profit from an unworthy source" (ἀπὸ τῶν μηδὲνος ἀξίων). But a man who expects to make a profit from what he knows to be worthless must surely be silly, whereas we think of the greedy not as silly, but as "cunning knaves" "slaves of gain" who know the baseness of the source and yet are not ashamed to make the profit. Here there is a difficulty. He who knows when and where it is "worthwhile" to plant a tree, or perform any other operation, is always some kind of expert. And an expert would not expect to make a profit out |535| of worthless material or by using worthless instruments, as we may readily convince ourselves by taking simple examples. This disposes of the suggestion that cleverness is part of the definition of the φιλξϰερδές. We try a second formula: the greedy are those who are insatiably eager for petty profits. (The emphasis now falls on the paltriness of the gain.) Still, they cannot be supposed to know how petty the profit is. Also, ex hyp. they are eager for the gain. Gain is the "opposite" of detriment, detriment is always an evil and therefore men are made worse by it, therefore it is always an evil (227a, a singular argument in a circle). Gain, then, being the "opposite" of something which is always an evil, must always be a good. A man who loves gain is one who loves "good," as we all do. With the first definition it would seem that no one could be greedy, with the second that everyone must be greedy. If we try a third suggestion, that the greedy man is one who is not "above" making gain from sources to which the respectable (οἱ χρηστοί, 227d) will not stoop, it may still be replied that if it is true (a) that to make a gain is to be benefited (ὠφελεῖσθαι), and (b) that all men desire good, it must follow that the "respectable" are as much "fond of all gain" as others. And it would not help us to say that they do not desire to gain by that which will do them harm, or to make a "wicked" gain. For to be harmed = to suffer loss of some kind, and it is meaningless to talk of losing by a gain; and if gain is always good, how can there be any "wicked" gain?

Here the friend complains that Socrates is "gulling" him. But that, says S., would be a shocking act and would violate the precept of that good and wise man Hipparchus, the eldest of the Pisistratids. He introduced Homer’s poetry to Athens, regulated its recitation, patronized Anacreon and Simonides, all out of zeal for improving his fellow-citizens. For the country-folk he set up Hermae by the roads engraved with maxims intended to surpass the wisdom of the famous Delphian inscriptions. One of these maxims was ΜΗ ΦΙΛΟΝ ΕΞΑΠΑΤΑ, "never gull a friend." After the murder of this great and good man, his brother Hippias ruled like a tyrant, but so long as he lived, Athens enjoyed a golden age. The true story of his death is that Harmodius murdered him from jealousy because Aristogiton preferred the wisdom of Hipparchus to his own.34

To return: we cannot give up any of our theses, but perhaps we might qualify one of them, the thesis that gain is always good. Perhaps some gain may be bad. But at least, gain is always gain, as a man, good or bad, is always a man. In a definition we should |536| indicate the common character of all gain, as we do that of all "meats" wholesome or not, when we call them "solid nutriment" (ξηρἀ τροφή). We might try, as a last attempt, the definition that gain is "anything acquired at no outlay, or an outlay less than what accrues from it." But we reflect that one might acquire an illness, not only at no expense, but by being feasted at another’s expense, and yet this would not be a gain. If we add the qualification that the thing acquired must be a good, we shall be thrown back on a difficulty which has already given us trouble. And the words "with no outlay, etc." also have their difficulties.35 To make their meaning clear, we need to introduce the notions of value (ἀξία 231d) and a standard of value. The profitable = the valuable, and the valuable = that of which the possession, or ownership, is valuable. But this seems to mean just the "beneficial" or "good." We have ended by equating "gain" with “good” a second time and are thus baffled by the plain fact that there appear to be "wicked" gains which good men do not desire, and by the notorious common employment of φιλοϰερδής as a term of reproach.

The thoughts of the trifle are, all through, as Platonic as its language, and, apart from the one awkward "circle" in the reasoning, the main argument seems to me worthy of Plato in his more youthful vein. The interest shown in economic facts is thoroughly intelligent. The real evidence of non-Platonic authorship is, to my mind, the anonymity of the interlocutor and the inferiority and irrelevant length of what is meant to be the humorous interlude about Hipparchus. The dialogue should be assigned to an Academic of the earliest period with an excellent style and an intelligent interest in economics.36

Clitophon. The work is no more than a brief fragment, but raises interesting questions. Clitophon, a minor character in the Republic,37 is conversing with Socrates, who has been told that he is a great admirer of Thrasymachus, but inclined to be critical of Socrates himself. Clitophon explains his real position. He holds that as long as S. confines himself to preaching the need for "learning justice" his discourse is most awakening. He is convincing, |537| again, when he is exposing the error of the belief that injustice is ever "voluntary,"38 and the folly of trying to use what you have not yet learned how to use, or insisting that if a man does not know how to "use" his ψυχή, he would be better dead, or under the control of another who has this knowledge, which is the "art of the statesman.39 (That is, Cl. accepts the whole of the theoretical Socratic ethics.) But when one has been converted to the necessity of "learning justice" and is anxious to set about the task, Socrates fails one. We may illustrate the nature of the failure thus. A medical man can do two things with his knowledge. He can make another man a medical specialist by imparting it; over and above this, he can cure a patient. Socrates should not merely tell us that by "learning justice" we shall become specialists in the subject; he should also explain what justice produces, as medicine produces health in the patient (409b). We want to know what "health of soul" is. Some say that the product of justice is the expedient (συμφέρον), some that it is the right (δίϰαιον), some that it is the profitable (λυσιτελοῦν), or the beneficial (ὠφελιμόν). None of these answers — they are taken from Republic 336c-d where Thrasymachus says he will not be fobbed off with any of them as a definition — are very enlightening. An associate of S. has said that justice produces friendship (φιλία) in cities. But he went on to say that some φιλίαι, those with boys or animals, are not good. True φιλία is ὀμόνοια, the concord of two minds, and ὀμόνοια is a science (ἐπιστήμη). The argument went no further, because no one could explain what it is about which all just men are "of one mind." Clitophon referred the question to Socrates, who told him that justice makes us able to "do good to our friends and harm to our enemies." Yet, on being pressed, S. admitted that a "just" man will do no harm to any one.40 It looks, then, as though one of two things must be true. Either Socrates has the same limitations as a man who can speak eloquently in praise of a science in which he is himself only a layman, or, more probably, Socrates did not choose to explain himself fully. Clitophon is sure he needs a physician of the soul, but, unless S. can do more for him than he has so far done, he will be left to fall into the hands of Thrasymachus or another for practical treatment (410a-e).

It is not quite clear to what conclusion the writer is leading up, but it should be plain that the apparent commendation of Thrasymachus at the expense of Socrates is ironical. Clitophon’s point is that unless Socrates can do more for him than simply preach on the |538| necessity of "tending" the soul, he is in the position of a sick man in danger of falling into the hands of a confident "quack" I suspect that if the writer had gone on with his argument, Socrates would have been made to explain why the physician of the soul cannot simply give his "patient" a set of rules for moral regimen, why, in fact, morality is not a professional specialism. Such an argument would furnish a sound Academic commentary on the discourse between Socrates and Polemarchus in Republic I. We might understand the piece better and, perhaps, discover something about its origin, if we could be sure how to interpret the reference to the ἑταῖρος of Socrates who maintained that "justice" produces ὀμόνοια in cities and that ὀμόνοια is a science.41 Since the passage cannot be explained out of the Republic itself, we clearly have here an allusion to some actual controversy;42 the very irrelevance of the thesis to its immediate context shows that the point is one to which the writer attaches importance. That this writer is not Plato seems to be proved by his manifest dependence on Republic, Euthydemus, Protagoras. There would, so far as I can see, be no linguistic difficulty in admitting Plato’s authorship. Hence I should ascribe the piece to some fourth-century Academic.43

Minos. Like the Hipparchus, this dialogue gets its name from the introduction of an historical narrative; the respondent is anonymous. The question discussed is the nature of law, and the point is to be made that it is not of the essentia of law to be a command. A law is the discovery (ἐζεύρεσις) of a truth, — the view common to all champions of "eternal and immutable" morality. The piece opens, in an un-Platonic way, by a direct question from Socrates, "What is law?" (The abruptness seems to be copied from the opening of the Meno, but there the abrupt question is put into the mouth of Meno and is dramatically appropriate.) The answer given is that "the law" is a collective name for τὰ νομιζὁμενα, the aggregate of "usages." But this is like saying that sight (ὄψις) is the aggregate of visibles (ὁρώμενα). The statement, that is, tells us nothing about the formal character of the "legal" as such. A new definition is |539| offered: a law is δόγμα πόλεως, a pronouncement of the community. (I.e. it is the authority of the "sovereign" which gives to "use" the formal character of law — the view of Hobbes and Austin.) S. treats this statement as equivalent to saying that a law is an opinion (δόξα) of the community, and, in spite of the contemptuous comments of Stallbaum, the equation is a sound one. On the proposed definition, a law is an embodied "judgement" of society, or its representative, the "sovereign." But we also hold that οἱ νόμιμοι, "respecters of law" and they only, are δίϰαιοι and that διϰαιοσύνη, regard for right, is good and preserves society; its contrary, ἀνομία, disregard for law, is bad, and destroys society. Now a given enactment may be a "bad law." But how can a bad δόγμα πόλεως really be law, if law is what really exalts a nation? It is suggested that we should define law as a sound judgement (χρηστὴ δόξα) of society. But here sound is a mere synonym for true, and truths are not manufactured but discovered. It seems, then, that formally a law is ἐξεύρεσις τοῦ ὄντος, a discovery about (moral) reality. This is the main point of the Minos, and it is a perfectly just one.44

What are we to say about the notorious divergences between the laws of different communities or different generations? One thing is clear; no society ever fancies that right can really be wrong. A law not based on reality (τὸ ὄν) is an error about τὸ νόμιμον. (It may be accepted as law, but it ought not to be so accepted.) And we see from the examples of medicine, agriculture and other arts that the laws of an art are the regulations of the ἐπιστήμων, the man who has expert knowledge about some region of τὸ ὄν. So the true "laws" of civic life are the directions given by "kings" and good men (the experts in moral knowledge), and therefore will not vary; a mistaken direction has no right to be called "law."

Now, who knows how to "distribute" (διανεῖμαι) seeds to different soils properly? The farmer who knows his business. The physician’s "distributions" of food and exercise are the right distributions for the body, the shepherd’s distributions the right ones for the flock. Whose distributions are the right ones for men’s souls? Those of the king who knows his business.45

In ancient days, there were such "divinely" wise experts in kingship, of whom Minos of Crete was one. The current story is that he |540| was a savage tyrant, though his brother Rhadamanthys is proverbial for righteousness. This is a mere calumny of Attic poets on a successful antagonist of Athens. Homer and Hesiod speak very differently. Homer says that Minos used to "converse" with Zeus every ninth year.46 Zeus was a superlative sophist and Minos his pupil. Rhadamanthys was not taught by Minos the whole art of royalty, but only how to do the "understrapper’s" share of the work.47 He and Talus — the iron man of the tale — policed Crete under Minos. Now what does the wise king "distribute" to souls as the wise trainer "distributes" food and exercise to bodies? If we find ourselves unable to say, we must confess that this inability to say what is good or bad for our souls is disgraceful. (Thus we end with the familiar point that a man’s first duty is to get knowledge of good, to "tend" his soul.)

The thought of the Minos is Platonic; not so Platonic is the eulogy of Minos, of whose institution the Laws speaks with some severity.48 Since the use of the Laws is unmistakable, the date of composition must be after Plato’s death. This disposes of the unhappy suggestion of Boeckh that the Hipparchus and Minos, with two of the νοθευόμενοι (de Iusto, de Virtute), are the work of the cobbler Simon, who was believed in later antiquity to have circulated "notes" (ὑπομνήματα) of conversations held in his shop by Socrates (Diogenes Laertius ii, 128). The language is really open to no exceptions.49 Stallbaum’s theory that the work is an Alexandrian forgery is excluded by the known fact that Aristophanes of Byzantium placed it in one of his "trilogies." The right inference is not Stallbaum’s, that Aristophanes brought the work into the Platonic canon, but that he found it there. The language points to a date after the death of Plato, but still in the fourth century. Aristophanes and Thrasylus both evidently regarded the Minos as a kind of "introduction" to the Laws. The discrepancy between its estimate of Minos and Cretan institutions and that of Laws, I. shows that the piece can hardly have been intended so.

I subjoin here some brief notes on the contents of those among |541| the Epistles of which I have given no account in the body of this book.

I. By an unknown and turgid writer to an unknown recipient, who seems to be, virtually at least, an autocrat. The writer has long held the highest ἀρχαί in "your city," and has had to shoulder the odium of false steps taken against his advice. He has now been dismissed with contumely, and so washes his hands of the "city" and returns an insultingly small sum of money sent him for his present expenses. The situation answers to none in the life of Plato, nor, so far as one can see, in that of Dion, to whom Ficinus wished to transfer the authorship. Yet the style seems fourth-century, and its total unlikeness to that of all the other Epistles shows that we can hardly be dealing with a deliberate forgery meant to pass as Plato’s. If the "city" is Syracuse, the writer might be a Syracusan who has been sent into actual or virtual banishment and therefore poses as no longer a citizen. But why does he write in Attic? Or is our text a transcription into Attic? (I have sometimes thought of the historian Philistus — who had been sent into virtual exile at Adria by Dionysius I but returned at his death and was the chief opponent of Dion — as a possible author.50

V. Plato to Perdiccas of Macedonia: A letter recommending Euphraeus of Oreus as a political adviser.

Constitutions, like animals, have their distinctive "notes"; Euphraeus is skilled in the knowledge of these, and would not be likely to recommend measures "out of tune" with monarchy. An unfriendly critic might discount the recommendation by urging that its author has not even caught the "note" of the democracy in which he lives. But the truth is that "Plato was born too late in the day" for his country to listen to advice which he would have rejoiced to give. Objections to the letter will be found in the works of C. Ritter and R. Hackforth,51 but seem to me trivial. I cannot think Plato, who wrote the Politicus and played the part he did at Syracuse, would have thought it unreasonable to give advice to a Macedonian king, and the influence of Euphraeus with Perdiccas is attested as a fact. (Athenaeus 506e.) The attacks on the very intelligible language about the "notes" of different constitutions seem to rest on the arbitrary assumption that the writer must be recalling and misunderstanding the words of Republic 493a-b about the cries of the democratic belua. Ritter can urge nothing against the language, which he regards as very much like that of Epinomis iv; he gives away his whole case, to my mind, by suggesting that v. is a genuine letter |542| of Speusippus. (I.e. his real reason for denying it to Plato is that he cannot rid his mind of the notion that Plato must have been "above" corresponding with a Macedonian king. I think Plato understood the political situation better than this.) The letter, if genuine, falls some time in the reign of Perdiccas (365-360 B.C.).

VI. Plato to Hermias, Erastus and Coriscus: The two young Academics (Coriscus is Aristotle’s friend whose name figures so often in his "logical examples ) are introduced to Hermias, who had made himself "tyrant" of Atarneus and was soon to be the patron of Aristotle, as well as the first martyr in the Hellenic "forward movement" against Persia. He needs confidants of high character; the two young men have character and intelligence, but need an ἀμυντιϰὴ δύναμις, a "protector" whom they can find in him. The writer hopes that his letter will lay the foundation for an intimate friendship. We are not likely to hear any more of the "spuriousness" of vi. since the vigorous defense of it by Wilamowitz in his Platon and the throwing of a flood of light on the philosophical and political importance of the "Asiatic branch" of the Academy at Assos by Jaeger.52 The letter is valuable as showing that the foundation of the "colony" at Assos was undertaken in Plato’s lifetime and on his initiative. The letter must belong to the last years of his life.

IX. Plato to Archytas: Archytas has complained of the heavy burdens and anxieties of public life. He should remember that our country and our family have both as much claim on our thought and our time as our personal concerns.53 A promise is made to care for a young man named Echecrates, from regard to Archytas no less than on his own and his father’s account. No one has alleged anything suspicious in the language of ix. The difficulty which has been made about the youth of Echecrates arises from the assumption that he is the man of that name who appears in the Phaedo. Archer-Hind rightly called attention in his edition of the dialogue to the mention of an Echecrates of Tarentum, the city of Archytas, in Iamblichus’s list of Pythagoreans. The date of the letter cannot be fixed. Plato and Archytas were already friends in 367 B.C. (Epinomis vii. 338a) and we do not know how much earlier.

X. Plato to Aristodorus: A mere note commending the loyalty of the recipient to Dion and expressing the conviction that "loyalty, fidelity, honesty" (τὸ βέβαιον ϰαὶ τὸ πιστὸν ϰαὶ ὑγιές) are the true "philosophy." There are no materials for judgement either way, but, as Ritter says, the tone "seems genuine." And why should one forge such a note?

XI. Plato to Leodamas: A meeting would be desirable, but |543| L. cannot contrive a visit to Athens and Plato is not equal to a journey which would probably bear no fruit. He might have sent Socrates, i.e. the Academic of that name who figures in the Politicus — but he is ill. One hint may be given to L. in connexion with the colony he is projecting. A sound public life requires an authority which can exercise vigilant supervision of daily life. Such an authority can only be created if there is an adequate supply of persons fit to undertake the charge. It is useless to dream of setting up such a body if its members would first have to be educated for the position. The date of the letter, if genuine, is probably about 360 B.C. (Post, op. cit., 37). That Leodamas, a mathematician and member of the Academy,54 as well as a statesman, should have consulted Plato about the founding of a "city" and received an answer is in keeping with all we know of the interests and position of the Academy in Plato’s advanced age. C. Ritter, who finds linguistic affinities between xi.,ii. and xiii., has only rather pointless objections to urge. He thinks that the precise character of the "illness" of Socrates would not be given in a genuine letter. But surely we all, even if we are philosophers, do give such information to friends at a distance, and there is real point in making it plain that the illness is not "diplomatic" Ritter also thinks the reason given for Plato’s unwillingness to face the journey himself "unworthy" (It seems to be a polite way of saying that he is too old.) Finally, it is "not Platonic" to say that when a situation is desperate, one can only "pray" for better things. But why not? Plato says the very thing at Epinomis vii. 331d. And the way in which the younger Socrates is mentioned is far too natural for the Hellenistic forger.55

XII. Plato to Archytas: A note acknowledging the receipt of certain "papers" (ὑπομνήματα) and expressing admiration of their author as fully worthy of his legendary ancestors. The writer sends certain unrevised "papers" of his own in return. Our chief MSS. append a note that the authenticity of this letter was disputed, — when or why is not known. C. Ritter inclines to attribute it to the author of ii., vi. and xiii. (that is, as I hold, to Plato). The strongest argument on the other side is its apparent connexion with the pretended letter from Archytas to Plato prefixed to Ocellus (or Occelus) the Lucanian on the Eternity of the Cosmos.56 If this were genuine, xii. would be Plato’s reply to Archytas, and the "papers" sent to Plato would have to be identified with "Ocellus." There is no doubt that "Ocellus" is a fabrication of the first or second century B.C. or that the "letter of Archytas" is part of the fabrication. |544| Hence Zeller suggested the now widely accepted view that Epinomis xii. is also the work of the same hand. This plausible view has, to my thinking, one fault. It assumes that the fabricator had the wit and sense to avoid introducing into Plato’s "reply" a single word which would definitely identify the "paper" spoken of with "Ocellus." Of course the introduction of such language is just the way in which the ordinary fabricator "gives himself away" but the cleverness of avoiding the blunder seems to me a little too clever for the sort of persons who "faked" Pythagorean remains. I think it possible, then, that Epinomis xii may be a genuine note from Plato to Archytas about matters otherwise unknown, and that its existence may have suggested to the fabricator of "Ocellus" the basis of his romance.57 But appearances are certainly strongly against xii. I take no account of the few additional "letters" which figure in the Life of Plato in Diogenes. They were never included in the "canon" or in any known Platonic MS. It was a mistake in principle on the part of C. F. Hermann to prejudice the case for the collection of the "thirteen epistles" by printing these items in his edition of Plato.58

B. The Οροι (Terms)

This is a collection of definitions of terms of natural and moral science. The total number of terms defined is 184, but a good number of them receive two or more alternative definitions. In the "canon" the collection was definitely marked off from the genuine work of Plato by exclusion from the "tetralogies." Since our collection was thus known to Dercylides and Thrasylus, it must be older than the Christian era. I do not know that there is any further evidence to show when or where it was made. The genuineness of the contents as old Academic work is fairly guaranteed by two considerations. Many of the definitions are simply extracted from the dialogues; others are quoted and criticised by Aristotle, whose Topics, in particular, are rich in allusions of this kind. I think it will be found that there are no signs of Stoic influence, and this suggests that the collection, or a larger one of which it is what remains, goes back to a time before the rapprochement between Academicism and Stoicism under Antiochus of Ascalon in the second quarter of the first century B.C. There seems also to be no serious trace of Aristotelian influence. No use is made of the great Aristotelian passe-partout ἐνέργεια; the genus of εὐδαιμονία is actually given (412d) as δὑναμις; the Aristotelian distinction |545| between sophia and ἐπιστήμη, the speculative, and phrόnêsis; the practical exercise of intelligence, has not affected the terminology. On the other side, ὄρεξις, Aristotle’s technical word for "conation," unknown elsewhere in the Platonic corpus, occurs twice, in the definitions of wish (413c) and of philosophy (414b). The statement that νόησις is ἀρχή ἐπιστήμης (414a) and the definition of δεινότης (413c) also sound Aristotelian. But these are trifles when set against the absence of the distinction between ἐπιστήμη and phrόnêsis. On the whole I believe we should be reasonably safe in saying that the collection fairly represents Academic terminology as it was in the time of Xenocrates and Aristotle. Since we know that Speusippus was keenly interested in terminology, and that a collection of ὅροι was included among his works (Diogenes Laertius iv. 5), we may infer that he is likely to be the ultimate source of much of our document. The Divisions of Xenocrates (Diogenes Laertius iv. 13) are also likely to have contributed. As Aristotle quotes and criticises Academic definitions not found in the collection, it is clear that we possess only an extract from more copious materials.

C. νοθευόμενοι (Adulterated)

de Justo. A conversation between Socrates and an unnamed friend on the nature of τὸ δίϰαιον. Justice, the art of the judge (δίϰαστής), like counting, measuring, weighing, is an art of distinguishing. It distinguishes the rightful from the wrongful. A given act, e.g. the utterance of a false statement, may be sometimes right, sometimes wrong: right when it is done "in the appropriate situation" (ἐν δέοντι), wrong in all other cases. It is knowledge which enables a man to recognize the appropriate occasion. Wrongdoing, then, is due to ignorance, and so is involuntary.

de Virtute. This conversation also is held by Socrates with a friend who is anonymous in most of the MSS. In the Vatican MS. called by Burnet O, he has a name, Hippotrophus. The piece is thus presumably that mentioned by Diogenes Laertius under the alternative names Midon and Hippotrophus. It has the same type as the last. The question is whether "goodness" can be taught. In both pieces Socrates is made, as in the Minos, to originate the problem. The example of the various "arts" is used to show that if you would acquire special knowledge, you must put yourself under a specialist’s tuition. But "goodness" apparently cannot be acquired thus, since Themistocles, Aristides, Thucydides, Pericles were all unable to impart it to their sons. Again "goodness" does not seem to come "by nature." If it did, we might have specialists in human nature, as we have fanciers of dogs and horses, and they would be able to tell us which young persons have the qualities that will repay careful training. "goodness" then, like prophecy, seems to depend on an incalculable "divine" inspiration.

Boeckh, as we have said, regarded these trifles as the genuine |546| work of an acquaintance of Socrates, the cobbler Simon.59 They cannot be that for several reasons. For (1) they are slavishly close imitations, often reproducing whole sentences of Plato’s text. Thus the argument about the parallel between "justice" and the arts of number and measure in the de Iusto has been directly copied, as Stallbaum said, from Euthyphro 76 ff. The de Virtute is largely made up of similar "liftings" from the Meno and Protagoras. (2) The discourses ascribed to the cobbler Simon must have been shorter even than our two νοθευόμενοι, for there were thirty-three of them in a single roll (Diogenes Laertius ii. 122). (3) The work ascribed to Simon was almost certainly a forgery. (The learned Stoic Panaetius said that the only certainly genuine dialogues by "Socratic men" were those of Plato, Xenophon, Antisthenes, Aeschines; those ascribed to Euclides and Phaedo were doubtful, all others spurious. Diogenes Laertius ii. 64.) In fact, it is hard to doubt that we are dealing with late exercises in imitation of Plato’s style, "atticizing" copies of a classic. The purity of the language is partly explained by this, partly by the presence of verbatim extracts.

Demodocus. This hardly even pretends to be a dialogue. It is a direct harangue of Socrates to an audience which includes Demodocus (? the father of Theages). The style is halting to the verge of inarticulateness. The drift, obscured by verbiage, is that Socrates has been asked to advise the audience on some decision they are about to take. The request implies that there is a "science of giving advice." Either the present audience possess this science or they do not. If they all possess it, there is nothing to discuss; if none of them possess it, discussion is waste of time. If one or two possess it, why do not they advise the others? Where is the use of listening to rival counsellors, or of taking a vote when their counsel has been heard? How can persons who do not know for themselves which is the advisable course vote to any purpose on the advices of rival counsellors? Socrates will certainly not advise such a set of fools.

At this point the shambling speech ends. What follows seems to be a detached set of anecdotes, having nothing in common with what has gone before, except that Socrates is apparently the narrator, and that each anecdote embodies a rather puerile dilemma.

(a) I once heard a man blame his friend for accepting the story of the plaintiff in a suit without troubling to hear the other side. This, he said, was unfair and a violation of the dicast’s oath. The friend retorted that if you cannot tell whether one man is speaking the truth, you will be still more at a loss if there are two speakers with different stories. If they should both tell the same story, why need you listen to it twice?

(b) A man is reproached by a friend to whom he has refused |547| a loan. A bystander comments, "Your rebuff is your own fault. For a fault means a failure to effect one’s purpose, and you have failed to effect yours. Also, if your request was an improper one, it is a fault to have made it; if it was proper, it is a fault not to have made it successfully. Also, you have not gone to work the right way, or you would not have been refused; ergo, you have made a fault." A second bystander urged that any man may fairly complain if one whom he has helped refuses to help him in turn. But the first speaker said, "The man either is able to do what you ask, or he is not. If he is not, you should not make so unreasonable a request; if he is, how is it you did not succeed with him?" "Well, a man at least expects better treatment for the future if he remonstrates." "Not if the remonstrance is as groundless as it is in this case."

(c) A man is blamed for giving ready credence to the random utterances of irresponsible persons. Why? Because he believes the tale of "anyone and everyone" without investigation. But would it not be an equal fault to believe the tales of your most particular intimates without examination? If a speaker is an intimate of A and a stranger to B, will A be right in believing his tale and B equally right in disbelieving the same story? If the same tale is told you by an intimate and a stranger, must it not be equally credible on the lips of both?

The shambling and helpless style of these anecdotes shows that they come from the same hand as the foolish harangue to Demodocus. The writer must have been a person of low intelligence, with no power of expression and a taste for futile "eristic." I doubt whether his scraps were meant to form a connected whole.

Sisyphus. Socrates is in conversation with a Pharsalian of the singular name of Sisyphus,60 whom he expected to have seen the day before among the audience at an epidexis or show-speech. Sisyphus explains that he was kept away by "our rulers," who commanded his presence at an important consultation.61 But what is consultation (τὸ βουλεύεσθαι)? A process of inquiry (τὸ ζητεῖν). Inquiring is trying to get fuller knowledge of something of which we have some preliminary notion, but not full knowledge. It is the presence in us of ignorance which makes this process difficult. But men do not "consult" about what lies beyond the range of their knowledge; hence the business of yesterday should have been called an inquiry into the interests of Pharsalus. Why did not the inquirers take the course of "learning" the truth from |548| someone who already knew it, rather than the inferior course of trying to puzzle it out for themselves? And can there really be a difference between better and worse advice? Advice always has reference to the future, the future is what "has not happened" and therefore has no determinate character (οὐδὲ φύσις ἔχει οὐδεμίαν). One guess about it cannot well be better or worse than any other.

The writer is perhaps the same man as the author of the Demodocus; he has the same foible for childish eristic, the same interest in the alleged puzzle about "deliberation" and the same helplessness of style, though the Sisyphus is not quite so helpless as the Demodocus. He has read the Meno62 and he has one real point, though he does not know how to manage it. He is playing with the conception of the future as something which is, as yet, nothing at all,63 and therefore not a subject for rational consideration. Possibly he is thinking of the Cyrenaic doctrine that the future, being unreal, is "nothing to us,"64 and trying to "expose" it?

Eryxias. This is a much more serious production than any of the four just examined. The writer has provided a definite audience, scene and date. Socrates is talking in the portico of Zeus Eleutherius65 with Critias (the "oligarch"), Eryxias and Erasistratus, nephew of Phaeax (the contemporary and rival of Alcibiades). The date is supposed to be between the Peace of Nicias and the determination taken in 416 by Athens to attack Syracuse, as we see from the opening remarks made by Erasistratus on the necessity of taking a firm line with that "wasp’s nest." The subject of the discussion, which is made to arise quite naturally, is the nature and worth of πλοῦτος, "capital," as we should say. Erasistratus holds that "the richest man is he who owns what is worth most." If so, may not a poor man in lusty health be said to be richer than an opulent invalid with whom he would never dream of changing places? And there may be things of higher worth than health. It is evident, also, that the thing of highest worth is happiness (εὐδαιμονία). It should follow that the richest of men are the "wise and good," because they do not impair their happiness by making false steps in life: "the man who knows what is good is the only real capitalist," — a clear allusion to the Stoic paradox, solus sapiens dives. Eryxias objects that a man might be as wise as Nestor and yet in want of the bare necessaries of life. Still, says S. If such a man’s wisdom might have a high value in exchange in any district where it was esteemed. A man |549| who understood the direction of life might make capital of his knowledge, if he chose. Eryxias treats this as a verbal quibble, and this leads to a dispute between him and Critias in which S. acts as seconder to Eryxias. Leaving on one side the verbal paradox that the wise man is the true capitalist, we may more profitably ask what ways of acquiring wealth are honorable, and whether wealth itself is or is not good. Eryxias thinks it is, Critias that it is not, since for some persons, those whose wealth leads them to perpetrate follies or crimes, wealth is so clearly not good; but what is not good for everyone is not properly called a good. That argument, says S., is a mere borrowing from Prodicus, who had publicly defended the thesis that everything is good for the man who knows how to use it, bad for the man who does not, but had been silenced and put to shame by a mere lad. The lad’s counterargument was that only a fool expects to get as answers to prayer things he might learn from a teacher, or find out for himself. Prodicus, like other men, asks in his prayers that "his lot may be good": on his own theory this amounts to praying that he may himself become good, and also, according to his own theories, goodness is something a man can learn from a teacher. Critias is borrowing the argument of Prodicus, and if he is not hooted down, that is only because reasoning which would be seen to be bad in a "sophist" imposes on hearers who respect Critias as a gentleman and man of the world.

Here S. directs attention to the original and still more fundamental question what wealth is. You may say, "abundance of χρήματα, means." But what are means? It is argued, with a little needless display of general information, that means are "possessions which are of use to us." Hence a cartload of Carthaginian currency would not be "means" at Athens, where it will not exchange for anything. Coin is popularly confused with wealth simply because it exchanges freely for clothes and all other commodities. Now a professional man can exchange his professional services for commodities, and thus ἐπιστῆμαι, knowledge of professions, seems to be one form of capital. Again an article is only capital to one who knows how to use it, and the ϰαλοὶ ϰἀγαθοί are the persons who know how to make the right use of everything. Thus there is a sense in which to make a man wiser is to make him richer. Critias still protests that possessions are not wealth, but the argument is continued. In any trade, a man’s capital clearly includes not only his materials but his implements, and sometimes also appliances for making those implements. If a man were once fully equipped with all that his body requires, money and such things would be useless to him. Again, since to learn you must be able to hear, the money a man pays his doctor for taking care of his hearing is actually useful as a means to "goodness." This money may have been made in a "base" calling, and thus a "base" thing may be useful for good. We are |550| almost tempted to say that, since a man can only become wise, healthy, good, if he has previously been ignorant, unwell, bad, ignorance, disease, vice are conditions sine quibus non of their opposites, and therefore useful, and ought, by consequence, to be called wealth. But apart from this paradox, we may ask ourselves one question, "When is a man happier and better, when he has the most or when he has the least numerous and expensive wants?" Since this amounts to asking whether a man is happier in disease or in health, the question answers itself. The rich, who have many and expensive wants, are not the truly happy.

I think it clear that the purpose of the dialogue, which is very interesting for its economic theses, is to canvass the Stoic doctrine that wisdom, virtue, wealth are identical, and that the sage is the only "capitalist." This is the thesis which Eryxias treats as idle playing with words and Socrates "side-tracks," in order to discuss the more than verbal question whether riches are good or bad. It is part of the anti-Stoic polemic that S. supports Eryxias against Critias who denies that "property" is wealth. The author means to protest against "pulpit declamation" which amounts to nothing but words and to replace it by the dispassionate Academic view that wealth and wisdom are different things, the one at the bottom, the other at the top of the scale of good. The Greek of the dialogue is not the Attic of Plato, yet it is hardly the vulgar ϰοιή. I should conjecture that the work belongs to the beginnings of the Academic polemic against Stoicism, in the early decades of the third century. The writer seems to have drawn some of his material from the Callias of Aeschines,66 in which the wealth of the famous "millionaire" family was a prominent topic and Prodicus received some notice. Suidas ascribes an Eryxias to Aeschines himself, but there seems to be no other evidence for the existence of such a work. Presumably our Eryxias is meant, and Suidas has made a mistake about its authorship.

Axiochus. In style this dialogue is far inferior to the Eryxias. The language is a vulgar ϰoeê, full of non-Attic words and phrases. The mise-en-scene shows complete ignorance of the personages of Plato’s dialogues. The principal figure, apart from Socrates, is Axiochus of Scambonidae, the uncle of Alcibiades. The supposed date is fixed by a reference to the trial of the generals after Arginusae (368d) as not earlier than 405, and Axiochus represents himself as having supported the protest of Socrates against the unconstitutionality of the proceedings. The writer has forgotten that Axiochus was, next to Alcibiades, the chief victim of the scandals of 415 and shared the capital sentence.67 In the opening |551| scene (364a) Damon is mentioned as the music-master of Axiochus’ son Clinias (the Clinias of the Euthydemus), and Socrates sees the two "running towards him" though Damon, a contemporary of Anaxagoras, would have been almost a centenarian if he had been living at the supposed date. The scheme of the dialogue is simple. Axiochus has been seized by a severe "fit" and apprehends death; Socrates is called in to "console" him. He does this by the arguments that (1) death is utter unconsciousness and after it there are no more pains to fear; (2) life in the body is one unbroken scene of anxiety and suffering, so that it is a positive good to have done with it. This second point, intended to rule out the possible rejoinder to (1) that even if death brings no posthumous disagreeables with it, it is still dreadful because it puts an end to the joie de vivre, is argued at length in a speech professedly taken from the eminently wise Prodicus. (3) A further argument, also ascribed to Prodicus, is the dilemma, "death matters neither to the living nor to the dead; while we live, death is not there, and when we have died, we are not there." Axiochus rejects these "consolations" scornfully. They are the "superficial twaddle" which is coming into vogue just now with empty-headed lads. It all sounds fine, but when one is face-to-face with death it proves idle bravado (369d). In the remainder of the dialogue Socrates drops the pretense of holding the views of Prodicus and discovers himself as a convinced believer in the blessed immortality of the soul. This, he says, is proved (1) by the achievements of man in his ascent from barbarism to civilization, (2) and particularly by his great intellectual triumph, his creation of astronomy, the science which reveals to us the magnalia Dei. Man could not have done all this, "were there not indeed the breath of God in his soul." This message goes home to the heart of Axiochus, who feels himself now delivered from his terrors. Socrates then completes his good work by relating a myth, in the Orphic style, of the blessedness of souls in the next life, professing to have learned it from a Persian magus. The myth leaves Axiochus actually "in love" with death.

I feel personally convinced that Immisch is right in the view taken of the purpose of the dialogue in his edition of it.68 As he points out, the third of the pretended "consolations" produced by Socrates is the familiar Epicurean dilemma, "death is nothing to us, for while we are, death is not, and when death is, we are not."69 This is the argument of which Axiochus speaks with marked contempt as superficial "twaddle" momentarily |552| fashionable with mere boys. Immisch seems also to have shown that there are numerous distinctively Epicurean turns of speech throughout the so-called discourse of Prodicus on the misery of existence. Hence I cannot reject his conclusion that the dialogue is a piece of anti-Epicurean polemic, intended to contrast the Platonic with the Epicurean answer to the perennial question What may I hope for? and to insinuate that the "wisdom" of Epicurus is not even original. It is a mere revival of the ideas of a second-rate sophist, and a "doctrine of despair" into the bargain. It is natural, though not absolutely necessary, to draw Immisch’s further conclusion that, in the writer’s day, Epicureanism was just beginning to be in vogue among fin-de-siecle youths. In that case we must date the composition as early as somewhere c. 305-300 B.C., since Epicurus established himself at Athens in 307/6. Other scholars, such as Wilamowitz and H. Dittmar, reject this date as too early, but, though I do not want to be over-confident, I suspect they may be ascribing to "lateness" faults of style and vocabulary which may only mean that the writer is neither an Athenian70 nor a person with a literary sense. I see no need to suppose a date later than the time of Epicurus, whose Greek is much of the same stamp. There was an earlier Axiochus by Aeschines of Sphettus of which all that is known is that, as we learn from Athenaeus, it painted an unfavourable picture of the debauched life of Alcibiades, and presumably of his uncle also. It can hardly have supplied our author with material.71

It is hardly necessary to say anything of the little trifle, not contained in our Plato MSS., called the Alcyon and attributed, in MSS., variously to Plato or to Lucian. (It is commonly included in printed texts of Lucian; the only recent editor of Plato to print it is C. F. Hermann.) This piece of silly prettiness is certainly neither Plato’s nor Lucian’s; since it was already known to Favourinus of Arles,72 it must be the work of some Atticist earlier than Lucian. It describes Socrates and Chaerephon as walking by the Bay of Phalerum, where they hear the cry of the (mythical) halcyon. Socrates relates the legend that the bird is a transformed woman, argues that, since God’s power is incomprehensibly great, we must not be too ready to reject such "miracles," and commends the story for its moral of wifely devotion.

Diogenes Laertius (iii. 62) gives the following list of νοθευόμενοι: Midon or Hippotrophus, Eryxias or Erasistratus, Alcyon, [a corrupt |553| word], Sisyphus, Axiochus, Phaeaces, Demodocus, Chelidon, Hebdome, Epimenides. The only "work" we possess not included in this list is the de Iusto. This is absent, unless it is covered by the corrupt entry ἀϰεφάλοις or ἀϰέφαλοι or ἀϰέφαλος ἤ, before the Sisyphus. As there was a dialogue Cephalus ascribed to Speusippus (Diogenes Laertius. iv. 4), the reference of Diogenes may be to that, as the Basle editors of the Vita Platonis suggest. Athenaeus (506d), apparently following Hegesander of Delphi, the author of a foolish diatribe against Plato, refers to an otherwise unknown Cimon, alleged to contain invectives against Themistocles, Myronides, Alcibiades and Cimon himself. Some of the statements made in this attack on Plato are so absurd that one may wonder whether the Cimon ever existed, except in the imagination of a careless scribbler.

There still survives in Syriac a translation of a "Socratic" dialogue, Herostrophos73 dealing with the soul. The text was published by Lagarde in his Analecta Syriaca (1858); there is a German version with a discussion of provenance by V. Ryssel in Rheinisches Museum, N.F. xlviii. 175-196, on which the following remarks are based. The dialogue is shown by its vocabulary and other peculiarities to be a genuine version of a Greek original; the translator, according to Ryssel, was the priest and physician Sergius of Rāsain, a student of Aristotle who died at Constantinople soon after 536 A.D. The name of the interlocutor Herostrophos appears to be a miswriting of Aristippus. (He is represented as a stranger attracted to Socrates by his reputation for wisdom, exactly as Aeschines of Sphettus (Diogenes Laertius ii. 65) related that Aristippus was drawn to Athens ϰατὰ ϰλέος Σωϰράτους. The two names, as written in Syriac, only differ by a single letter.) The problem to which he desires an answer is that of the fate of the soul at death. Does it perish with the body, enter a new body, or die for a time and revive again with the same body? (The last alternative seems to be suggested by the Christian dogma of the "resurrection of the flesh" but might allude only to the Pythagorean and Stoic conception of "cyclical recurrence"?) I do not myself understand the confused reply of Socrates. He seems to be combining insistence on the thought that the soul is imperishable and immutable with the notion that it has fire as its chief component, and the suggestion of an analogy between death and sunset. As the sun rises again to-morrow, so the soul reappears again with a new body after the death of the present body. It does not appear that the lost Greek original was ever taken by anyone for a work of Plato, and I find it hard to believe that it is not influenced by Stoicism. This might account for the apparent materialism and also for the suggestion of the reappearance of the same body, if this is not actually a borrowing from Christianity.

|554| The Anthology contains a number of epigrams ascribed to Plato (though, in one or two cases, to other authors also). The fact of the ascription does not prove authenticity. On the other side, the manner and diction of Greek epigram is so stereotyped that it would probably be impossible to prove any of these compositions spurious on linguistic grounds. The collection will be found most conveniently in Hiller-Crusius, Anthologia Lyrica 3 Pt. I. The items which, if genuine, would throw some light on Plato’s personality are 1, the well-known couplet on Agathon, translated by Shelley; 8, the lines on Alexis and Phaedrus; 14, 15, two famous couplets on a beautiful boy, perhaps called Aster; 7, a fine epigram commemorative of Dion. 1 and 8, at any rate, if genuine, would prove Plato to have had the "erotic" temperament. To my own mind, the occurrence of the names Agathon and Phaedrus is proof of spuriousness. The author clearly has in his mind the parts taken by Agathon the poet and Phaedrus of Myrrhinus in Plato’s great ἐρωτιϰὸς λόγος the Symposium, and has forgotten that both were grown men when Plato was under twelve. I see no reason why most of the other epigrams should not be Plato’s, except that there is no particular reason why they must be. Even the lines on Dion, though worthy of Plato, can hardly be said to contain anything which might not be said by any other good epigrammatist. And it is, perhaps, hardly likely that Plato, writing after he was seventy about his devotion to a friend who had lived to be over fifty, would use the word ἔρως to describe the attachment. I fear we must be content to say that though some of the verses may be Plato’s, none need be so.

A more interesting personal document is Plato’s Will (Diogenes Laertius iii. 41-43). The probability is that this and the Wills of Aristotle and Theophrastus are genuine. The Academy would have legal reasons for safeguarding the document, just as a society today preserves its charter of incorporation or its title-deeds. The Will runs thus: "Plato leaves possessions and devises them as hereunder. The property at Iphistiadae bounded on the N. by the road from the shrine at Cephisia, on the S. by the shrine of Heracles at Iphistiadae, on the E. by the land of Archestratus of Phrearria, on the W. by the land of Philippus of Chollidae, shall be neither sold nor alienated, but secured in every way to the boy Adimantus.74 The property at Iresidae purchased from Callimachus and bounded on the N. by the land of Eurymedon of Myrrhinus, on the S. by the land of Demostratus of Xypate, on the E. by the land of the said Eurymedon, on the W. by the Cephisus.75 … Item, three minae of silver. Item, a silver goblet, weight 165 dr. Item, a cup, weight 45 dr. Item, a gold finger-ring and earring, combined weight 4.5 dr. Euclides the stone-cutter owes me three minae. I give Artemis her freedom. I leave the following household slaves, Tychon, Bictas, Apollonides, Dionysius. Also the household furniture specified in the annexed schedule of which Demetrius has the duplicate. I leave no unpaid debts. I appoint as executors Leosthenes, Speusippus, Demetrius, Hegias, Eurymedon, Callimachus, Theopompus."

By comparison with the similar wills of Aristotle and Theophrastus we can see that Plato was by no means in affluent circumstances.

See further on the works dealt work above:
Shorey, P. What Plato Said. pp. 415-444,
  "Doubtful and Spurious Dialogues."
Souilhe, J. Platon, Dialogues Suspects (Paris, 1930.
  The author tends to accept the Clitophon, and Alcibiades I):
  Platon, Dialogues Apocryphes. Paris, 1930.

Friedlander, P. Die Platonischen Schriften. Berlin and Leipzig, 1930; pp. 117-127 on Hipparchus; 147-155 on Theages; 233-245 on Alcibiades I.
All these are accepted.

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1^ The allusion of Cicero, Tusculans, iii. xxxiv. 77, is certainly, that of de Oratore, ii. 8 almost certainly, not to Alcibiades I, but to the Alcibiades of Acschines of Sphettus.

2^ The statement perhaps needs a little qualification in the case of Alcibiades II, as will be pointed out later.

3^ On this question see C. Ritter, Untersuchungen über Plato, 89-90; Raeder, Platons philosophische Entwickelung, 24-25; Lutoslawski, Origin and Growth of Plato’s Logic, 197-198. I would add that comparison with the remains of the Alcibiades of Aeschines and that of Antisthenes shows that our dialogue is almost certainly dependent on the former, and possibly also on the latter. Use of these sources in this way is barely credible in Plato. Also, Socrates is represented (103c) as posing as the tongue-tied "lover" of Alcibiades, whereas according to Plato in the Symposium it was rather Alcibiades who posed as the "beloved" of Socrates. For further discussion, and for evidence that Alcibiades I depends also on Xenophon, see H. Dittmar, Aeschines von Sphettos, 163-177.

4^ ὀῤῥωδω δέ, οὔ τι τη ση φύσει, ἀπιστων ἀλλὰ τὴν της πόλεως ἐμου τε καὶ σου κρατἡση. Alcibiades: I shall begin here and now to take pains over justice. Socrates: I should like to think you will continue to do so; yet I AM apprehensive, not from any distrust of your nature, but in view of the might of the state, lest it overcome both me and you.

5^ 103a. The representation that S. has not spoken a word to the lad for years seems an un-Platonic exaggeration. Contrary the representation in the Protagoras which depicts a scene from the same period of the philosopher’s life.

6^ This self-confidence, again, is not in keeping with Plato’s conception of Socrates; it looks to be borrowed from the Socrates of Xenophon. It is definitely "un-Platonic" that Socrates boasts (124c) of having God for his "guardian," with reference, as we see by a comparison with 103a 5, to the "divine sign." God and the "sign" are never confused in this way in any certainly genuine work of Plato.

7^ Cf. Protagoras, 319e, Meno, 94b (both echoed by Alcibiades I, 118e).

8^ The starting-point for the long and over-coloured picture of the education of a Persian king (which must be meant ironically) seems to be Aeschines, Fr. 8 (Dittmar), where Socrates ironically argues that Themistocles must have practiced "tendance of himself" before venturing to match himself with Xerxes. The development of this hint in our dialogue seems to reflect Xenophon’s romance of the Education of Cyrus (itself possibly influenced by the Cyrus of Antisthenes). Plato’s view (Laws, 684) is that no Persian prince ever receives any "education" at all. So far I should accept the conclusions of H. Dittmar, but I AM wholly sceptical of his further theory that the real object of Alcibiades I is to discountenance the preference of Eastern theosophy, represented by Zoroaster, to Hellenic philosophy.

9^ Note that the statements of the dialogue about the wealth of Sparta would only be true for the period between the surrender of Athens to Lysander and the battle of Leuctra. They are not true for the supposed date of the conversation.

10^ In refutation of the allegation that this definition, always insisted on by the Neo-Platonists, is "not platonic," Raeder properly refers to Phaedo, 115c-d.

11^ Cf. the reference to ἐπμέλεια of the self in Aeschines, Fr. 8.

12^ The argument presupposes the doctrine of the Laws which identifies God with the ἀρίστη ψυχή.

13^ A plain allusion to the language of Gorgias, 519a, a passage which seems to be in the writer’s mind all through his own account of "sophrosyne and justice."

14^ On these points see Stallbaum’s Introduction to his Commentary on the dialogue, and for remarks on the language, C. Ritter (Untersuchungen, 88-89), who accepts Stallbaum’s objections to several words and phrases, but owns that the dialogue would not be condemned by his own stylometric — tests a significant confession.

15^ Xenophon, Memorabilia i. iii. 2, ηύχετο δὲ’ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς ἁπλὼς τἁγαθὰ διδόναι, ὡς τοὺς θεοὺς κάλλιστα εἰδότας ὁποια άγαθά ἐστι. This perhaps explains why the dialogue was attributed by some persons to Xenophon (Athenaeus, 506e), with whose manner it has no affinity.

16^ Who prayed that his sons might divide their inheritance by the sword. The writer follows the version of the story which accounts for the imprecation as due to mere insanity. Cf. Frs. 2 and 3 of the Thebais, often regarded in antiquity as "Homeric."

17^ This is a bad anachronism, since Archelaus was killed in 399, some years after the death of Alcibiades, who is a mere boy in the dialogue.

18^ πόλλ’ ήπίστατο έργα, κακως δ’ ήπίστατο πάντα. The forced interpretation of κακως as "to his own hurt" looks like an imitation of the whimsicalities of Socrates’ exposition of Simonides in the Protagoras.

19^ The reference to Spartan wealth is another anachronism, taken pretty obviously from Alcibiades I.

20^ The first may be a vulgarism, the second is Ionic. Yet before the time of the New Comedy οίδας is found once in Euripides, once (probably) in Xenophon; οίδαμεν once in Antiphon (the orator), once (probably) in Xenophon.

21^ Isocrates iv. 171, τυχὸν μὲν γὰρ άν τι συνεπέραναν. Cf. Xenophon, Anabasis. vi. 1, 20, νομίζων … τυχὸν δὲ καὶ ἀγαθου τινος ἂν αίτιος τη στρατιᾳ γενέσθαι.

22^ Solon, Fr. 2, γηράσκω δ’ αἰεὶ πολλα διδασκόμενος.

23^ πολυμαθία = polymathiê, (133c). The allusion is to Heraclitus, Fr. 16 (By water), πολυμαθίη νὸον οὐ διδασκει.

24^ A tell-tale allusion to Politicus, 2590 ft.?

25^ This reminds one of the unnamed person described at the end of the Euthydemus as being on the border-line between politics and philosophy (see supra, p. 101). I suspect the writer means to recall that passage.

26^Burnet, Greek Philosophy, Part I, 215.

27^See the remarks of Jaeger, Aristoteles, 53-60, on the relation between Aristotle’s Protrepticus and (Isocrates) I. The Panathenaicus of Isocrates is a contribution to the controversy; the "sophists" of whom he complains there as rivals and critics are unmistakably the Academy. I suggest that the ’Εραστάι belongs somehow to the same "war of pamphlets." There is a remark ascribed (Diogenes Laertius ix. 37) to Thrasylus that εἴπερ οἱ Αντερασταὶ Πλάτωνός εἰσι, the "lover" to whom Socrates makes the suggestion that the philosopher is a kind of "pentathlist," must be Democritus. This, as it stands, is nonsense. Perhaps Thrasylus really said, what is true, that Democritus was the kind of "all-round man" whom Socrates has in view I think with Grote that the words εἴπερ κτλ need not indicate any doubt of the genuineness of the dialogue. They may quite well mean, "Since, as every one knows, the work is Plato’s." The object may be to argue that Plato has made Socrates allude to Democritus. This would be a retort to the charge that Plato ignores Democritus out of envy (Diogenes Laertius iii. 25).

28^For this mission see Xenophon, Hellenica, i. 2, 1.

29^See his Introduction and Commentary.

30^ Cicero, de Divinatione, I. liv. 123, permulta collecta sunt ab Antipatro quae mirabiliter a Socrate divinata sunt.

31^ He objects to βιωναι, though Plato has ἐβίωσαν, βιῳ, βιῳη, and even βιώσας; to πτεκμαίρεσθαι ἁπό τινος (a phrase directly imitated from Theaetetus 206b 7); to ποιουμαι δεινὸς εἰναι, an odd expression but paralleled, perhaps, Republic 581d 10 (where the τι οἰὡμεθα, of editors is a correction of the MSS, ποἰὡusεθα. (And in the Theages it is quite possible that we ought to read προσποιουμαι.) He objects to the use of προσαγορεύειν in the sense of "to name," which is justified by parallels at Sophistes 251a, Politicus 291e, Philebus 12c, 54, and the phrase ἅρματα κυβερναν, a mere piece of "Gorgianism" with a close parallel in Laws, 641a 2. The only really suspicious word in his list is ίδιολογεισθαι, apparently used nowhere else before Philo Judaeus. But as the noun ίδιολογια occurs in Epicurus, three centuries before Philo, the suspicion does not amount to much. Ritter (Untersuchungen, 94) finds the mannerisms in agreement with Plato’s earlier style, though inconceivable in a dialogue later than the Theaetetus, on which the Theages is dependent.

32^ See also H. Brünnecke, de Alcibiade II, quifertur Platonis (Gottingen, 1912), 113. H. Dittmar (Aeschines von Sphettos, 64) thinks of Heraclides of Pontus and his friends, which comes to much the same thing.

33^ This is not in Plato’s manner. Apart from the purposely anonymous chief speakers in the Sophistes, Politicus and Laws, he only introduces unnamed ἑταιροι as persons to whom Socrates reports the conversation (e.g. in the Protagoras), never as interlocutors in the dialogue proper. It is also not his practice to name a dialogue after a character who is not an interlocutor, though Aeschines seems to have done this in his Miltiades.

34^ The story makes a deliberate point of contradicting the facts in every possible detail. It is thus certainly not meant to be taken seriously, but should be regarded as a not quite successful attempt to recapture the "irony" of Plato’s Socrates. Stallbaum’s denunciation of the homuncio who could make such a string of blunders is wasted. So is the labour of those who have gone to the passage for light on the "Homeric problem." The dialogue gets its name from this intercalated piece of awkward pleasantry.

35^ The point is that you might, e.g., exchange gold for twice or four times its weight in silver and yet lose by the transaction, though you acquire a greater weight of metal (since the ratio of the value of gold to that of silver is 12: 1).

36^ It stands "stylometric" tests well. C. Ritter (Untersuchungen, 91) thinks — or thought — its genuineness an open question. I agree with him that the writer has "learned more than his style" from Plato, and am content to believe that his work may actually have been read by Plato.

37^ He is mentioned there at 327b in a way which suggests that he has come to the party in company with Thrasymachus. At 340a-b he says a few words urging that Thrasymachus shall be allowed "fair play." Presumably he is the Clitophon mentioned by Aristotle, ’Αθηναιʹων Πολιτεία, 34, as one of the more moderate supporters of the establishment of the 400 in 411 B.C., whose object was to return to the institutions of Clisthenes. Aristotle classes him with Theramenes, Archinus and Anytus.

38^ 407d-e, where the allusion is to the treatment of this topic in the Protagoras.

39^ 407e ff. The allusions seem to be to the "protreptic" discourse of Socrates in the Euthydemus; 408b 3 seems to refer to the simile of the mutineers in the Republic itself (488a ff.).

40^ The allusion is to Republic 33a-d, but there it is Polemarchus who offers the definition and Socrates who criticises it on the very ground mentioned by Clitophon.

41^ That justice produces φιλία and ὀμόνοια is said at Republic 351d by Socrates himself.

42^ The question in what "goodness" makes men of one mind is, as we saw, raised in Alcibaides I, but the allusion cannot well be to that dialogue as Adam thought, since there is nothing there about the φιλίαι of "boys and animals." H. Dittmar suggests Aristippus as the ἑταῖρος of S. intended. It seems improbable, however, that he wrote any Σωκρατικοὶ λόγοι. I fancy the guess is based on the fact that the ἑταῖρος is said to be κομψός and the mistaken identification of the κομψόί of the Philebus with Cyrenaics. φιλία was a standing topic with writers from the Academy; Speusippus, Xenocrates, Aristotle all treated of it.

43^ See C. Ritter, Untersuchungen, 93, who finds the language closely akin to that of the latest Platonic dialogues. Perhaps there may be an allusion to the view that ὀμόνοια is an ἐπιστήμη in Aristotle’s remark that agreement about astronomy is not ὀμόνοια since the sphere of "concord" is τὰ πρακτά, (of which there is no ἐπιστήμη, Nicomachean Ethics 1167a 25). E.E. 1236b 2 ff., which has some remarks about φιλίαι with θηία, may allude to the same discussion.

44^ Cf. Sir F. Pollock, Spinoza, 2 304, "Law is not law merely because the State enforces it; the State enforces it because it is law," and the definition in the Institutes, iurisprudentia est divinarum et humanarum rerum notitia, iusti atque iniusti scientia.

45^ There is here a conflation of the language of the Politicus about the king as tender of the human herd with that of Laws, 713c-714a, where νόμος, "law," is playfully derived from νέμειν in the sense to divide, distribute, assign, and law is said to be the "assignment" (διανομή) made by νους. The allusion to this passage explains the awkward double use of νομεύή in the Minos as covering at once the meanings herdsman and dispenser.

46^ An allusion to Laws, 624a-b, where Homer’s obscure phrase ἐννἐωρος ὀαριστής is explained in the same way.

47^ The distinction between the king and his "underling," as Boeckh and Stallbaum saw, comes from the Politicus. The explanation given of the bad repute of Minos is strictly true, in spite of Stallbaum’s ridicule. The venom of the Attic versions of the legends about him and his family (Pasiphae, Phaedra, the Minotaur) is accounted for by the hostile relations between Attica and the prehistoric rulers of Cnossus. To the Athenian ear the name Minos suggested "chains and slavery."

48^ At Laws, 630d, the Cretan complains τὸν νομοθέτην ἡμων ἀηοβάλλολεν εἰς τοὺς πορρω νομοθέτας. ["We are degrading our own lawgiver, Stranger, to a very low level!"]

49^ See C. Ritter, Untersuchungen, 92-93, though he holds that the style is more like that of the Gorgias than of any other dialogue. Stallbaum took offence at the use of ἁρμόττειν = convenire, to be fitting, at 314e, as only found elsewhere in Epinomis viii. 356d. But the author of Epinomis viii. was Plato, and our writer is imitating him.

50^ The same suggestion is thrown out by L. A. Post, Thirteen Epistles of Plato, 130, but rejected on the ground that the writer appears not to be a citizen of Syracuse. As explained above, I think this inconclusive. But why should Philistus write in Attic?

51^ C. Ritter, Neue Untersuchungen, 327-398. R. Hackforth, Authorship of the Platonic Epistles, 73-75.

52^ Jaeger, Aristoteles, 112-124, 303-305.

53^ Cicero quotes the sentiment with approval, de Finibus, II., xiv. 45: ut ad Archytam scripsit Plato, non sibi se soli natum meminerit, seel patriae, sed suis, ut perexigua pars ipsi relinquatur.

54^ Proclus in Euclid. I. (Friedlein), 66, 212.

55^ A forger, even if he knew of the younger Socrates, would have been afraid to make his document look suspicious to the purchaser by a reference which would seem like a bad chronological blunder about the great Socrates.

56^ The fiction is that "Ocellus" is an ancient Pythagorean of the sixth Century, whose work has just been unearthed after long concealment.

57^ Since Zeller, the fabrication of "Ocellus" and the correspondence connected with it has usually been assigned to the first century B.C. The latest editor, R. Harder, argues strongly for an earlier date in the second century (Harder, Ocellus Lucanus, 149 ff.).

58^ On the Epistles generally see also the Introduction to J. Souilhe’s edition of them in the Collection des University’s de France. But the conclusions reached there seem to me vitiated by a violent animus against admitting authenticity.

59^ For a statement of Boeckh’s case see his essay In Platonis qui vulgo ferlur Minoem (Halle, 1806). It is fairly met and disproved by Stallbaum in the introduction to his own commentary on the Minos.

60^ Presumably the Sisyphus of Pharsalus mentioned also by Theopompus, Fr. 19 (ap. Athenaeus, 252f). Sisyphus was perhaps a "nickname." Xenophon (Hellenica, iii 1, 8) says that the Spartan commander Dercylidas was called so for his "artfulness." Athenaeus (500b), quoting from Ephorus, gives the sobriquet in his case as σκύφος, an obvious corruption (CK for CIC).

61^ Then is Socrates supposed to be in Thessaly, or were the "government offices" of Pharsalus at Athens?

62^ As we see not only from his reference to the old eristic quibble about τὸ ζητειν, but from his allusion to "inquiring" into the ratio of "diagonal" to "side," to which he adds the later problem of the "duplication of the cube."

63^ The view adopted by Dr. C. D. Broad, Scientific Thought, 66 ff.

64^ Cf. the saying ascribed to Aristippus, μόνον ἡμέτερον εἱναι τὸ παρόν, μἡτεδὲ τὸ φθάνον μήτε τὸ προσδοκώμενον: τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀπολωλέναι, τὸ δὲ ἄδηλον εἱναιεἰπάρεσται, Ritter and Preller, Historia Philosophiae Graecae (9th edition), 1913, 267.

65^ For which see Pausanias, i. 3, 2. It is also the scene of the Theages.

66^ See H. Dittmar, Aeschines von Sphettos, 198-199, who, however, perhaps mistakes a probability for a demonstration.

67^ Andocides, i. 16, Agariste, wife of Alcmeonides and widow of Damon, gave information against Alcibiades, Axiochus and Adimantus, καὶ ἔφυγον οὑτοι πἁντες ἐπὶ ταύτᾔ μηνύσειi. Alcibiades afterward had his hour of triumph and restoration, but he had been banished again before 405 and all his connexions were then in the worst odour. The alleged "support" given to Socrates is unknown to the historians, and the reference to πρόεδροι in the ecclesia (368e) seems to show ignorance of the fifth-century method and procedure.

68^ O. Immisch, Philologische Studien zu Plato. Erster Heft. Axiochus, Leipzig, 1896.

69^ Epicurus, Epinomis iii. 125 (Bailey), Lucretius iii. 830.

70^ The attempt to argue from 365e, 368d that the writer must be an Athenian because he makes his characters talk of their national heroes as they naturally would, does not deeply impress me.

71^ On the Axiochus of Aeschines see H. Dittmar, Aeschines von Sphettos, 159-163.

72^ Favourinus ascribed it to a certain Leon (Diogenes Laertius iii. 62). Athenaeus (516c) calls the author "Leon the Academic," on the authority of Nicias of Nicaea. If this means the fourth-century mathematician Leon, the ascription is most improbable.

73^ My attention was first drawn to the point by Mr. W. L. Lorimer of St. Andrews University.

74^ Presumably a descendant (? grandson) of Plato’s eldest brother.

75^ There is no statement about the way in which this property is devised. Either the text is defective or we must understand that this property also is part of the settlement on Adimantus.


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Alfred Edward Taylor
Eminent British Idealist philosopher
Fellow, Merton College, Oxford, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, McGill University, Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of St. Andrews and University of Edinburgh.



Taylor, Alfred E. Plato: The Man and His Work. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1955.