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cludes the statement of the difficulties which beset the assumption of ideas independently, that the substantiation of ideas, as it is called, is by no means the matter here in dispute, and which it is the purpose of Socrates to establish. And what is said elsewhere upon this subject can only be brought under consideration in its proper place. For if Plato has been generally viewed, I do not say improperly, as a precursor of the sacred writers, he resembles them especially in this, that it is necessary, in judging of the doctrines ascribed to him, whether they are his own or not, to consider every expression in its own proper place, and in the connection in which it is there found. There is however much that is remarkable in the examples under which Parmenides states his doubts, in so far as they involve a division of ideas, which if not systematically carried out, is at all events very striking. For he divides them, first, into those which, like the moral ideas, most easily subject themselves to the faculty of original conception; secondly, into the physical, the objects of which are the ever recurring creations of nature, and which therefore appear to be produced only by observation; thirdly, into those to the objects of which no independent and constant existence seems to belong, inasmuch as they signify only parts of universal nature, or transitory operations of natural powers; and, finally, into those which represent relations only, and under which, at last, the idea of knowledge itself is again brought. And to the reader who does not overlook this distinguishing character, the notion will scarcely suggest itself that Plato had in view to contradict any particular theory as to the conception of truth, or the existence of ideas, whether peculiar to Parmenides or Socrates; but it must be clear to him that Plato's object is generally to draw attention to the difficulties which the susceptibility of distinction does itself oppose to any one who attempts to give a general answer to the question as to what mode of existence or reality must be ascribed to ideas exclusively of the appearances which fall under our observation. But this was far from being the place in which these difficulties were to be solved, and the more so as with the preparations here made for that purpose, a whole series of successive dialogues from the Theaetetus upwards is occupied with the question. Even Plato indicates them exactly in the manner which he generally pursues with questions which he is yet unable to solve by means of what he has hitherto imparted or satisfactorily investigated himself, or which suppose more profound views and a higher degree of philosophical perfection than any to which he can yet hope to have brought his readers. Meanwhile, for those who have well considered all up to this point, it will not be difficult to conceive that highest philosophical problem which already at times was haunting Plato's mind as the only means of escaping from these difficulties—we speak of discovering somewhere an original identity of thought and existence, and deriving from it that immediate connexion of man with the intelligible world, expressed preliminarily in the Phaedrus by the doctrines there mythically set forth of original contemplation and recollection, connected with which and dependent upon it is a higher state of knowledge, by means of which an eminence is obtained above the subordinate matter of

ideas of relation.

As, then, this first part annexes itself to the assertion of Socrates, that there is no art involved in predicating various contradictions of individual real things, but that the only process deserving admiration would be to shew the same of ideas themselves, so also upon this sentiment as upon the hinge of the whole, the second part of the dialogue turns. For Parmenides, after having subjoined to this request of Socrates that he would enter upon the investigation of ideas still further, rules as to the method of pursuing it, allows himself to be persuaded to illustrate these rules by an example, and thus actually to follow out a thesis upon a manifold and exhaustive plan; and with this view he selects the instance of unity—a choice very natural for Parmenides to make, but also considered by Plato as of great importance as regards the whole subject of the dialogue. And he is to shew what are the consequences to unity itself and all besides unity, according as the former is supposed to exist or not to exist. And with this, notwithstanding that he had not pledged himself that such would be the result, he finds himself in the strange predicament, as it were involuntarily, of enunciating manifold contradictions concerning the notion he selected. For the whole investigation separates into four parts, formed by the supposed existence or non-existence of unity, and the consequences which follow for unity itself and all besides, and each of these parts attains to two contradictory results. For while the two investigations, that into the nature of unity and that into all that remains constituting plurality, are worked out in a double series of notions related each to the other, it turns out that to each and every one of these notions none of all these predicates can belong, and then again that two opposite predicates may be applied to all : and in many cases the contradictions are accumulated still more strangely. And those results in general, as well as the detailed proofs in particular of a similar description, have given rise to the belief with many persons that the whole investigation consists of mere sophisms; and with others, who could not believe this of Plato, to the notion, that he intended only to give a proof of false dialectics, or even put into Parmenides' and Zeno's own mouth their own refutation. But to these suppositions the reader who takes a proper comprehensive survey of the whole will certainly refuse his assent. To follow up, however, and elucidate this whole, with the view of making intelligible every point brought forward in it, would be an undertaking not at all appropriate here, and if it should still appear necessary to do so after what may here be said, must at least be spared for another place. But in this the following particulars only can be noticed. First, it must by all means be remembered that Parmenides had expressly recognised the request of Socrates to institute an investigation into the nature of ideas, and that he therefore contemplates, in pursuing that investigation, unity in general, and as an abstract notion. Hence, then, it is not allowable to quit this point of view, though by so doing we might perhaps be enabled more conveniently to explain this or that particular point. It is also self-evident, that, taken in the main, the contradictory results arise chiefly from the different significations of the word existence or being, consequently from the different conditions under which the notion is brought. And it is by this in particular that the second part is connected in spirit with the first, where otherwise only an extremely loose connection would be perceptible, by the prevalent purpose, I mean, observable, of drawing attention to the different significations of earistence, and their relation to one another and to ideas. And in this process it cannot indeed be denied, that the idea of unity is considered also according to its OWn separate potentialities: but this is, first, not an educt from the idea of unity; and, secondly, Plato indicates so clearly when this is the case, that neither can the attentive reader go wrong, nor can any one suppose in the writer the intention of deluding by this course. If however, and this cannot be denied, the idea is worked out by such predicates as do not appear applicable at all to an idea, still let it be remembered, that nothing definite had been previously established to determine in what manner an abstraction with no objective existence can be classed among ideas, or what abstraction can be so classed, and that every point is to be essayed, in order, by this dialectic process, to bring the question nearer to a decision. And this indeed would suffice for an explanation as regards the great bulk of the difficulties; the following consideration however may be further added. The most intricate developements, and those most considered as intentionally sophistical, are distinguished by the circumstance, that the train of consequences resulting from them and strictly belonging to the general series might have been discovered by a far easier method, also that nothing peculiar to unity is discovered by probing deeper in the investigation; a fact to which Parmenides himself frequently calls attention. The object therefore for which these particular parts are here, is not the immediate result, but the actual mode of proof, by Q

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