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mentions this with a degree of emphasis as a circumstance not generally known. But this only in passing. The principal question is, who are Glaucon, Adimantus and Antipho P. The first two, every one answers, are the well-known brothers of Plato, and Antipho is a half brother of his, not indeed otherwise known, the offspring of a second marriage, mentioned, it must be allowed, no where else except in reference to this dialogue, of his mother Perictione with one Pyrilampes, who could not therefore have been the well-known person of that name, his own uncle and the friend of Pericles. But do these things come even within the range of possibility ? For it cannot, notwithstanding the uncertainty which attaches to Cephalus, be meant to be said, that Plato's brothers, in the Republic, when Cephalus appears as a person of advanced age, are young men, and here, at the period of the same Cephalus' arrival at Athens, already settled and ready to promise him their interest. But even supposing Cephalus to have been another of that name far younger, consider the strange circumstance that Plato, in order to prove the authenticity of the dialogue, makes a Cephalus relate it who has himself heard it from Plato's own younger brother; so that Plato might have had it by a far less roundabout process. And the yet much stranger circumstance that a younger brother of Plato should have heard this dialogue immediately, and while still a growing boy, from an ear-witness, whose minion he appears to have been, and, notwithstanding, should be already a man at the time of Socrates' early youth. Whoever considers these things will allow that nothing more irrational can be easily conceived, and that such a plan was calculated to make the meeting, the actual occurence of which Plato wished to warrant, a R.
mere baby tale. Let us therefore without more ado relieve Plato from this half-brother who has been forced upon him, whom even Plutarch and Proclus appropriate to him manifestly only on the ground of this passage of ours; and let us rather confess that we do not know who Glaucon and Adimantus were, unless perhaps Glaucon the elder and Callaeschrus had yet another brother called Adimantus from whom the name was transposed to the younger. But too much already about the outward circumstances of the dialogue, as there is yet something remaining to be said upon the internal matter itself. The dialogue, I should say, comes to such a strikingly abrupt conclusion, that it might easily be doubted whether this really is the conclusion. For to conclude such a result of the investigation, and at the same time the whole dialogue, only with a simple expression of assent, such as has occurred a hundred times in the dialogue itself, seems, whether we regard it as disproportionate or over simple, entirely unworthy of Plato. Whoever recollects how in the Protagoras also the investigation concluded with a confession of a contradiction prevailing throughout its whole course, will, in this dialogue too, expect in conclusion at least a similar indication of surprise, and an express confession that a still more searching investigation is requisite. How then such a conclusion, supposing it to have been there, could have been lost, it. is difficult to conceive ; for whoever had worked on through so much that was tiresome would hardly have refused to add the little that was gratifying. There remains, accordingly, scarce any other supposition except that Plato was interrupted for a considerable time by some external circumstances while he was bringing the dialogue to a termination; and that perhaps he did not afterwards subjoin the conclusion, because he already had in his mind the sketches at least of other dialogues which were intended to approximate to the same ultimate point by another method. And that external interruption, if the supposition is to be more accurately made out, may have been either the flight to Megara, which followed after the death of Socrates, or even Plato's first journey, upon which he started from that place. The last, according to my notion, would be the most agreeable with probabilities. For even supposing Plato, and this supposition is of itself hardly credible, to have composed such a work during the unquiet times in which Socrates’ accusation was prepared and finished, in that case, nothing could prevent him from giving it the finishing touch at Megara. It is much more probable that it was composed at Megara, when, during Plato's stay there, and certainly not without his having exercised important influence upon it, the school which took its name from the place, and devoted itself especially to dialectics, was formed. But if any one, though with the view of setting up a more plenary defence of the work, should think to found still more important suppositions upon the condition in which the end is at present found, as that, generally, the best part and the right conclusion are lost, and that otherwise the second part would be put in connection with the first, and the doctrine of ideas more accurately defined according to dialectical investigation, we could not assent to such a view. For whoever is convinced by the exposition as brought up to the point at which it ceases, that the Parmenides is a counterpiece to the Protagoras, though not without the
advancement which is never wanting in the progress from one work of Plato's to another, will find in the work as we at present have it, a character perfectly agreeing with that dialogue, and will have no occasion to look for anything further. But as to the reader who is not convinced of this, we can only lay before him the following considerations which to the reader yet unacquainted with Plato can be verified only by the sequel. The difficulties which are here adduced in opposition to every theory of ideas, are not to be solved in the philosophy of Plato otherwise than by an accurate comparison of the purer or higher knowledge with that which is empiric, and further, by the doctrines of Original Contemplation and Recollection; subjects, therefore, to the exposition of which Plato has devoted a series of important dialogues from the Theaetetus upwards. Now if he is to be supposed to have already completed this in the Parmenides, to what purpose are all these dialogues, every one of which treats its subject as if, from the very bottom, it had never been at all explained before ? But if the composition of the Parmenides is to be dated later than that of these dialogues, the Theaetetus, the Meno, and even, as Tennemann assumes, than the Sophist, what an unhappy toil it would be for one who knew how to do better, to propose as riddles what had ceased to be such ; and to repeat with useless obscurity at a later period what had been said clearly at an earlier P Even the language is a proof that the place of the Parmenides is only in the transition to the dialogues of that class, for, partly of itself, and partly as compared with them, it shews itself to be technical language still in a state of earliest infancy, by its unsteady wavering, by the manner in which it grasps, not always successfully, at correct expression, and by the fact that it can scarcely clench the most important distinctions in words. This circumstance occasioned great difficulties in the translation. But there was here no other expedient, unless the spirit of the whole was to be extinguished, and under the appearance of facilitating the understanding of it, the difficulty of doing so infinitely aggravated, there was, I say, no other expedient but that of observing the most accurate fidelity, and of introducing the reader altogether to the simplicity, and, if one may so speak, the helplessness of the growing philosophical language—a process by which alone a translator is prevented from attaching to his author what does not belong to him, and, on the other, his own merit in having seen the truth through all its ambiguities, and himself especially conceived it, is diminished.