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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 easistence 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

means of which, as it recurs in the different parts of the investigation, Plato intends, in his own peculiar manner, to draw attention to the nature of certain ideas of relation. It is very profitable to follow this collateral object through all the turnings of the dialogue, and to see how Plato makes way towards it, and how one elucidation always refers to another. That these ideas constituted an important subject of consideration in his mind, and that he held it by all means necessary to put them in a clear point of view, may be seen from a passage in the Charmides, where he speaks of it as an important and difficult matter to investigate, whether any, and what, Ideas exist in reference to themselves alone, or only in relation to others. Now as regards the particular train of consequences in which we have a comprehensive view of the peculiar properties of unity, it must not be forgotten, that unity is the general form of all ideas alike, which Plato himself sometimes calls unities; and that, accordingly, it is from this dialectic point that the opposition of unity to all not comprised under that term, which would otherwise have no proper keeping, is to be considered, as well as the opposing results in particular. But the different views and hypotheses which co-operate towards establishing this connection, will not be easily followed out by any one to his own satisfaction who does not first compare, with much pains and accuracy, the mutally opposing sections of the investigation with one another, as well as the modes of treating homogeneous points in particular in all the several sections. And the attentive reader will find something eminently remarkable in the attempt made at the end of the first section, certainly the most ancient in philosophy, to construct knowledge by the reconciliation of antitheses. But few persons have divined the antiquity of this method, and will perhaps be disposed to recognize the mighty dialectical and speculative mind in this slight attempt, so similar to much that has appeared among ourselves, sooner than in many theories of Plato properly of more importance. Still more remarkable are two motions developed in the course of the investigation, the one in the attempt just noticed, the other where unity is supposed non-existent—I speak of the idea of the infinitesimally small in time, or of someting objective existing in it, and of the idea of magnitudes or spacial repletion without unity. They are, as regards this dialogue, the result of that peculiar manner in which, in Plato, from the fundamental character of his philosophy, which some have most unjustly considered to be a confusion of thought with knowledge, speculation of the more lofty kind is combined with the dialectic process. The manner in which this notion of magnitude, if we may so call it, is discovered, and the way in which, notwithstanding its obstinate resistance to all management, it is nevertheless grasped and described, appears so deserving of admiration, that it is difficult to conceive how a philosophical critic, who deserves in other respects some merit in his exposition of this dialogue, gives up, not long before this section, on receiving notice of the subject, as if he were weary of pursuing further this loose web of sophisms. One should have thought that a commentator who, even in the middle, had met with much that had less claim upon his attention, would at least, on notice given, have been glad to work to the end through these difficulties,

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