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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.
APPENDIX TO PART I.
I. APOLOGY OF SOCRATES.
IN the general Introduction to this exposition of the works of Plato, it has already been said that when any pieces are thrown into this Appendix we are far from intending thereby at once to deny or call in question their Platonic origin. Thus also the Apology of Socrates, at all times loved and admired for the spirit which breathes through it, and the image it presents of calm moral greatness and beauty, is only found in this place because it contents itself with its peculiar object and has no scientific pretensions. The Euthyphro too has indeed an undeniable apologetic reference to the accusation brought against Socrates: but on the other hand its connection with the notions started in the Protagoras gave it a manifest right to be subjoined to that dialogue. The Apology on the contrary, as a purely occasional piece can find no place in the series of the philosophical productions of its author. And there is even one signification in which—let not the reader start—it might indeed be said that it is no work of Plato's. I mean that it is hardly a work of his thoughts, any thing invented and composed by him. For if we attribute to Plato the intention of defending Socrates, we must then first
of all distinguish the times at which he might have done so, either during his process, or at all events at some period, how soon or how late is indifferent, after his condemnation. In the last case then Plato's only object could have been a defence of the principles and sentiments of his friend and master. This however, with one who was so fond of connecting several objects in one work might very easily have combined with his scientific purposes, and thus we do really find not only particular indications of this nature scattered over his later writings, but we shall soon come to know an important work, and one closely enough interwoven with his scientific labours, in which notwithstanding it is a collateral purpose and one brought out into distinct relief to hold up to the light Socrates' conduct as an Athenian as well as his political virtue. Now a proceeding of this kind admits of explanation, but Plato could scarcely find occasion at a later period for a piece which merely opposes Socrates to his actual accusers. It must then have been during the process that Plato composed this speech. But for what purpose At all events it is clear that he could do his master no worse service than by publishing a defence in Socrates' own name before he had defended himself in court. For the only effect of such a defence would be to assist the accusing parties to discover what they were to be on their guard against and what they might neglect, and to put the accused into the dilemma of either being obliged to repeat much or say something else less powerful. Hence then, the more excellent the defence and the better adapted to the character of Socrates, the more disadvantageous it would have been to him. But no one, I suppose, will give any weight to this hypothesis. After the decision which succeeded, finally, Plato might have a twofold purpose, either simply to make the progress of the matter more generally known, and to establish a memorial of it for future times; or to place in the proper light the different parties and the method of the proceeding. Now if we examine what would have been the only reasonable means for accomplishing the latter object, we shall find that a speech not attributed to Socrates but to another advocate could alone furnish them. For the latter could then adduce much of what Socrates would be compelled to omit on account of his character, and show by the work itself that provided only the cause of the accused had been conducted by one not accustomed to despise what many even of noble birth did not despise, it would have taken quite a different course. Were there any ground whatever for an anecdote, a very improbable one it must be confessed, which Diogenes has preserved for us from an insignificant writer, Plato's more natural object would have been to make known what he would himself have said if he had not been prevented. He would then have had an opportunity here for displaying in practice those higher precepts and expedients of language the power of which he had himself been the first to discover ; and he certainly would have been able to apply them with great truth and art to that point in the accusation which related to the new gods and the corruption of youth. And in like manner in the name of any other person, he would have retorted with far better effect as much or more upon the accusers of Socrates, and have spoken of his merits in a different tone. On the other hand, in a speech attributed to