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the discovery last made. In such a manner, however, that here also all that necessarily belongs to the indirect exposition is abstracted from ideas, and even being and the discovery made of the immediate activity of the mind are brought back into the sphere of the senses, and into that of the individual and particular; for it is only in this sense that conception (86%a) is always spoken of in what follows. For with reference to the inquiry into the nature of knowledge, a new principle is set up affirming that it is right conception, and it is examined whether knowledge can lie within this more narrowly limited sphere. This investigation produces first of all, a laborious attempt to define the sphere of false conception, and from this, and simultaneously with it, that of true knowledge; an attempt which Socrates declares at the end of it to be unsatisfactory, because false conception at last must still rest upon an incomprehensible mistaking of knowledge, whence he concludes that the latter must be found before the former. Hence too, there grows a very important consequence, though as before, not expressly drawn, that it is impossible that pure knowledge should lie within the same sphere as error, and that truth or falsehood cannot be predicated of the former, but only possession or non-possession. After this attempt them, that principle is itself very shortly dispatched by the distinction set up and generally recognised, and which, by means of the example chosen, again refers to the practical and the Gorgias—the distinction between true conception to be mediately attained, and knowledge at all times and in all things immediate. This, again, paves the way to the last attempt here made to grasp the nature of knowledge, starting with

the assumption, that it is right* conception combined with reasonable explanation. And here again by far the largest space is occupied by an accurately considered, though only incidental, investigation as to an assumed opposition, not however tenable throughout, in the relations of the simple and compound to knowledge in the sense assumed ; and then again the principle itself is very soon dispatched according to the two significations given of reasonable explanation, which Plato especially distinguishes, inasmuch as the refutation of the last is also good at the same time for the first. Wonderfully ingenious, when we consider these particular grand divisions one with another, is the uniformity of execution in the structure of the whole and of the particular parts. To begin with what comes last; how limited in comparison with the beginning appears at the end the sphere within which knowledge is still sought, though not found ; and how near at last is what proceeds merely from sensuous impression, independent of ideas, brought to a deceptive similarity with knowledge, though it can never exalt itself to a level with it. It may be said that these three transitions from mere perception, as it is here represented, to right conception generally, and from this to such conception as is full and clear enough to furnish a reasonable explanation, give us a graduated scale for the simplest, and so to speak, the rudest up to the most refined view of common consciousness, so that it is rejected with all its pretensions to knowledge, and a question is at last started which manifestly points to the necessity of an opposite principle, but

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at the same time the sphere within which that lower consciousness is true is assigned to it throughout, and the element of right which it contains is conceded to it and defined, which even the terms themselves imply in which those untenable pretensions are stated. For we are by no means to believe that what is gained in the several parts of the dialogue by the production of objections which Socrates afterwards either allows to drop or to be refuted by Theaetetus, or by investigations which with reference to the immediate subject of the dialogue are only incidental, we are not to believe that all this is intended to fall to the ground and come to nothing. So far from it, that all this matter is assuredly to be preserved and used: but better opportunities for noticing this in detail will occur in the notes on the particular passages. Again, each of the several parts is constructed precisely in the same manner. The Protagorean principle, for example, is more finely worked out at every fresh addition to the dialogue, and is at last confronted by the question as to opinions about time future held in time present. In like manner conception itself is continually more pointedly disengaged from perception, especially with reference to arithmetic, when every reader will certainly recollect the Platonic principle which Plato's disciples certainly did not forget, I mean that Geometry is a thing distinct from pure knowedge generally, and that the rank of the highest science does not belong to it. In like manner the idea of false conception is rid by the interposition of that of evehanged conception *, of the rude form under which it was commonly and

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sophistically discussed. At last, however, the whole explanation given of knowledge is made to fall to pieces by the question, how even that true conception which is recognised most generally and authentically as right, can be knowledge. The same thing happens at last to the notion of the reasonable explanation which is taken up quite from the most idiomatic usage of the Greek language, and exhibited in its various gradations, but is nevertheless as regards the proper object of the dialogue rejected by the question, how it is possible that the conception of distinguishing quality can be wanting in conception generally, or the knowledge of that distinguishing quality explain knowledge generally *. In this manner, in short, every particular investigation fully and seriously pursued is most suddenly at the conclusion regularly ridiculed away, and thus we may say that the last conclusion of all suddenly turns to ridicule the subject of the whole dialogue, as far, that is, as the question was directed to the explanation of knowledge, although as is natural from the difference in the time and the age of the author, this ridicule is not so triumphantly proclaimed as in the Prothagoras; a comparison which must strike every one, as in fact the question as to the explicability of knowledge is the same theoretically as that of the communicability of virtue is practically. The same uniformity is discoverable in yet another point of view. For almost in every discussion of any particular question in this dialogue a digression occurs in which immediate and distinct reference is made to the true and right, though these subjects nowhere come out in the discussions themselves. And thus also

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an extensive digression is introduced into the main dialogue itself, containing its share of these allusions; but which, as regards the immediate progress of the dialogue, seems to be an extremely capricious interruption, not less violently brought in, and no better kept within rule and rein, than that so justly censured in the Phaedrus. I speak of the whole passage preceding the last refutation of the Protagorean principle where the distinction between the tyros in philosophy and those in rhetoric and similar arts is pointed out, and the divine, the true and the good, come out in the full relief of their peculiar nature as perfectly opposed to the narrow sphere of the personal. And indeed this digression seems purposely placed soon after the beginning, that at all events the attentive reader may have a clear point by means of which he may find his way among the complicated mazes of the dialogue. By these digressions then, the Theaetetus connects itself immediately and, among the earlier dialogues is almost solitary in so doing, with the Parmenides as a continuation of it, although from an opposite point of view. And scarcely any other allusions to earlier works occur in what belongs to the essential matter of the dialogue. These digressions, however, are remarkable; for instance, the way in which not only the Eleatic doctrine is opposed to the Ionian, but also Parmenides to the other Eleatics, can scarcely be otherwise understood except as intending to imply that the others, especially Melissus who is particularly named, appeared to Plato to deviate as far from the truth as the Ionians, to whom however in comparison with those who would grasp every thing with their hands, he ascribes a truly philosophical tendency. For if, as he

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