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with which they are interwoven with the whole, so completely without detracting from the universality of its purely scientific bearing, so that the reader, with the exception of very particular allusions which do not interfere with the progress of the whole, and which every one may easily be content to take as embellishments without thinking to find in them any thing particular, may understand the whole without having been aware of those allusions. The second half gives great occasion to suspect the presence in it of similar polemics against Antisthenes of whom we know, though only, I regret to say, in the most general way, that he maintained the principle of the impossibility of contradicting successfully any position whatever. These polemics appear to begin in this dialogue at the commencement of the section about false conception, and are elsewhere concluded under more definite and extended views. The character of this opponent and what we know of his relations to Plato make it probable that much has reference to him which appears to be defence against unscientific and rude attack. There may yet be much besides of a polemical character which it is now almost impossible to decypher, with the exception perhaps of a few scattered traces. What is said of the followers of Heraclitus is particularly strange, and it may be doubtful whether others than themselves are meant under their name, or actually themselves; in which case it is scarcely possible to avoid thinking of Plato having sojourned in Ionia, probably on that great journey, when, according to some accounts, he wished to penetrate even into Persia. Historical testimonies upon which to determine the time of the composition of the dialogue are not to be found, with the exception of what follows immediately from the allusions to all those circumstances, that the schools of Plato as well as of most of the other Socratic philosophers had been already formed. Not much can be built upon the mention of the battle at Corinth in which Theaetetus had been wounded; the most to be inferred from it would be only what is also certain upon other grounds, that the dialogue cannot have been written before the middle of the ninety-sixth olympiad. We should however by no means be warranted in concluding that the fight thus mentioned is the same which Xenophon notices in the fourth book of his Hellenics; on the contrary we might easily find just as much reason for thinking of less important events which may have taken place subsequently, when Iphicrates had the command in that quarter. We have however every reason for considering as historical, both the character of Theaetetus and what is said of him, though not the literal words of the conversation held. Suidas mentions him in two characters, as a scholar of Socrates and a hearer of Plato; we see clearly that both notices refer to the same person : he also mentions him as a philosopher and mathematician, and knows that he taught at a later period in Heracleia. So Proclus also mentions him among celebrated mathematicians. Hence it may easily be inferred that from the school of Socrates, as far as this expression may be allowed, he passed into that of Plato, and is very properly represented as quite young at the death of Socrates. From this point of view, that is a striking description which is sketched with so much fondness and put by Plato into the mouth partly of Euclides, partly of Theodorus. For what philosopher would not have been glad to possess and immortalize a young friend like this. What Theaetetus here produces about the square root has very much the appearance of having been at that time something new, but whether it was a discovery of Theaetetus himself, or one of Plato's with which he ornaments his pupil, I cannot take upon myself to decide. With regard to Theodorus it is not necessary to say anything, as he is sufficiently known, and the only question which could be a subject of curiosity, namely, why he is found in this place particularly, and why Socrates is so urgent with him to unite in conducting the dialogue, cannot be satisfactorily answered out of the dialogue itself. Meanwhile the more probable the fact is of his visit to Athens, the less probable the account becomes that Plato went expressly to Cyrene to learn his science from him there.


IF the reader bears in mind the end of the Theaetetus, and compares it with the beginning of the Sophist, where manifestly the same persons again meet together with decided reference to the plan we find there concerted, it may fairly be matter of surprise to him that the Sophist does not here follow immediately upon the Theaetetus. And there ought indeed to be very sufficient grounds to justify us in disregarding so clear and apparently so intentional a notice. But for this very reason these grounds are of such a kind that they cannot be perfectly understood by the reader until he can refer back from the Sophist to the Theaetetus, and the matter which the present arrangement introduces between the two. Only every one must at least allow that that notice does not contain any compulsive necessity, or exclude the possibility of the insertion of several dialogues between the two just mentioned. For how easy it is to suppose that Plato may indeed have intended to produce, immediately after the Theaetetus, what we now find in the Sophist, and yet have been afterwards either called upon by particular occasions first to explain certain points, or have even seen that he could not appropriately comprehend in one dialogue all that was necessary, in order to attain to the results he wished, and that he therefore subjoined intermediately several smaller ones, without however snapping the main clue after having once indicated it. Or it might even have been his original intention, when he ended the Theaetetus, to continue the same persons in the Menon, making them say what we now find in this dialogue, and then he may have been subsequently influenced by some motive or other to prefer the choice of others for this purpose, and to apply the intimation formerly thrown out to a later work. In short, that external circumstance, explicable as it is in a variety of ways, should not stand in opposition to an internal necessity or even probability, as soon, that is, as it can be shown that the Menon does really connect itself immediately with the Theaetetus, and must at all events be placed between that dialogue and the Sophist. And this, as far as this place admits of an elucidation of the subject, will, it is hoped, be clearly enough manifest from the following comparison, We find the first indication in the fact that in that part of the Theaetetus where the opposition between knowledge and ignorance is set up, Socrates says that he prefers setting aside for the present the states of Learning and Forgetting as lying between the two, and clearly speaks of them as if they involved a problem which he would suspend until another time, in order not to lose sight of his principal subject. Now this is precisely the problem stated in the Menon, and whoever compares attentively must at once, and on this account, give up all idea of placing the Menon before the Theaetetus. Neither is it solved otherwise than Plato usually solves his problems when he does so preliminarily, I mean by a mythical hypothesis, so that we here find precisely what according to his own method, after this question had been once started, was necessary to be done. As then in the Sophist, as well as in other dialogues manifestly belonging to this series, the same question is treated more dialectically and scientifically: the Menon maturally comes to stand nearer to the Theaetetus and before the others. For when Plato wrote the Menon, had as much been already done in public expositions towards the scientific solution of this question, as we shall find in subsequent dialogues, the mythical treatment of it in this dialogue would no longer have had any meaning, but Plato would have referred the reader by a different method, with which we have already been made acquainted in his writings, to the works in which this was better done. And the same conclusion will ensue from the consideration of another question which likewise pervades several of these dialogues, I mean that of the immortality of the soul. When it is considered how in the Gorgias and Theaetetus this idea is first of all little more than hypothetically assumed and mythically sketched out,

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