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transition from one becoming state to another. All this
But we need not pursue particular comparisons of this kind; only we may observe in general that a comparison with what has preceded brings us to our second result: I mean that with reference to the proof which the form may supply, the Gorgias not only belongs to the second part, but also occupies the first place in it. For in that which constitutes the main subject of the dialogue, the mode in which the particular instance, rhetoric, that is, as an example of mere semblance in art, is combined with the more general object of the whole exposition, the endeavour to investigate upon the practical side the opposition between the eternal and the mutable, in this the Gorgias, notwithstanding all its apparent similarity with the Phaedrus, bears entirely the character of the second part. For in that dialogue, where philosophising was only spoken of as an impulsive feeling, and knowledge as inward intuition, the method, as a thing external, could only serve for illustration. But now when the Parmenides has so prepared the way, that it is rather the reality of knowledge together with its objects, that are to be discussed, instead of mere method, art is set up as something formed and finished, and the connection between the arts as something extermal, and the investigation is pursued rather with a view of discovering whether they have an object, and what it is. Nay, if we look to the mere structure, a decided transition may be pointed out from the Phaedrus through the Protagoras to the Gorgias, and from this to the Euthydemus and Sophist, in which the form of utter negation comes out most strongly.
And in like manner all these dialogues are penetrated throughout by a germ, continually growing and treated only as an indirect object, of the positive, in the indication of true science and art and the objects of them, until at last it leaves this connection with the negative and comes out alone, when at the same time the whole of the indirect treatment passes into one of an opposite form. Thus, while the Gorgias clearly proves itself to belong to this series, it is quite as manifestly the first member of it, partly on account of the similarity already mentioned to the earlier method of instruction, partly because the last-mentioned combination of the negative object with the positive is far from being so ingenious and complicated as in the subsequent dialogues, the Euthydemus for instance, and Sophist. Moreover, the subdivision of the investigation under several heads, and the apparently frequent return to the commencement of the subject, are forms which appear more often in the sequel and become most important features, to which the Lysis and the little dialogues connected with the Protagoras afford but slight approximations. Add to this, in order to fix the place of the Gorgias still more decisively, the ingenious manner in which almost all the earlier dialogues are again taken up in it, and sometimes particular points out of them, sometimes their actual results are more or less clearly interwoven with it, and, on the other hand, the perfectly unintentional way, though the skilful reader cannot overlook it, in which the germs of the following dialogues of this series already lie folded up in this. The former point has been already touched upon in general with reference to the Phaedrus and Protagoras, but might still be pursued much further, and still more numerous references might be discovered in detail. Thus from the Phaedrus the objection might be especially brought against Plato by other Socraticians,
that notwithstanding his apparent intention in that dialogue of correcting the method of that species of rhetoric which tends only to delude, and his depreciation of it, he still allows it to hold such a place, that a person might look upon it as an object of desirable attainment. And it is precisely for this, that in the Gorgias its only possible use, according to moral principles, and of the necessary connection between method and thought, appears in so emphatic a form, and is so multifariously repeated, in order to show how impossible it is, starting from his principles, to come to any view, with regard to this subject, different from that here projected. And in the Protagoras the description of sophistical self-complacency might easily be thought exaggerated, and the game too easy, when the writer of the dialogues attributes to his opponent such follies and absurdities. Hence in this dialogue, when Gorgias finds himself similarly circumstanced with Protagoras, he proves far more pliant and docile with regard to the turnings of the dialogue, and draws less ridicule upon himself. But, on the contrary, Plato shews afresh in Polus at all events, that there is no doubt that rhetorical undialectic sophists are incapable of accomplishing anything in that art of conducting a dialogue upon which his Socrates prides himself; a serious play with the method which, though certainly in some degree an echo from the first series, manifestly stands here in a far more subordinate relation than the similar one in the Protagoras. Thus again from the Lysis; not only is the notion of the neither good nor bad taken up as a thing granted and acknowledged, but also what we find in that smaller dialogue upon the subject of love, predominant as it is, in a confined
and limited form, obtains in this, like what was said in the Phaedrus upon the nature of love generally, an extended application, beyond mere personality, to the more important civil relations as well, inasmuch as with almost verbal reference to the Lysis, love for the people and love for the boy are laid down as coordinate. And thus too it is now for the first time clearly proved, that in the Phaedrus a peculiar value was justly attributed to the doctrine, not, it must be allowed, brought forward with sufficient clearness for every one, which inculcates the necessity of a similarity in the ideal, or character, for the production of love between two minds. With this, moreover, we are to put in connection that view of Plato which supports itself against all unmeaning disputation and persuasion, that those, who pursue principles morally opposed, can entertain no deliberation with one another in common; a view which had been already enunciated verbally in the Crito, but is here palpably exemplified in the first discussion of Socrates with Callicles, and contains likewise from this point of view the defence of the indirect dialectic method for the second part of the Platonic works. Moreover, in our present dialogue, Plato makes Socrates expressly acknowledge that the principle brought forward in the Laches, that courage cannot be conceived apart from knowledge, is certainly his opinion; and, in like manner, what has been declared in the introduction to the Charmides to be the result of that dialogue with reference to discretion. I mean that Socrates agrees in the explanation, that discretion is virtue, in so far as it is to be regarded as health of the mind; this principle also here receives corroboration.
/So also piety appears here, exactly as it was defined in