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and then in this dialogue set up as a ground of explanation of a fact, and as it were postulated, how it is elsewhere, and in the Phaedon particularly, demonstrated and expounded with a higher degree of scientific clearness, any one having already any however slight acquaintance with Plato's method of proceeding must allow that it is only by assigning this position to the Menon, that this continuously increasing distinctness which gradually penetrates to the very centre-point of the subject, peculiar to Plato, can enter into the discussion of this, and that the first thing which Plato had to do after that general projection, was precisely to show that he was justified in thus assuming the doctrine of immortality, in so far, that is, as the possibility of all science and communication of knowledge must stand or fall with it. However, this is certainly no proof for those who are able to consider the Phaedon an earlier work than the Gorgias. But we cannot notice these opinions until we compare those two dialogues with one another according to our own arrangement. Now if it is kept in view, on the one hand, how these two questions, that of the possibility of communicating knowledge, and that of immortality, are brought into connection with one another; and on the other, how the question of the possibility of attaining to knowledge is here reduced within the other, of the possibility of attaining to virtue, and of the nature of virtue generally, it will be seen that the Menon belongs quite as immediately to the Gorgias as to the Theaetetus, and that the view taken of the relation of these two dialogues to one another is still more confirmed by means of it, inasmuch as the Menon is intended to draw the two still more close together, and to interweave them with one another, and this for those readers who might not perhaps yet be able to comprehend how the main problems of the two dialogues are connected with one another, and how in each of the two what is brought forward as digression is connected with the principal subject. And this view is confirmed by all closer consideration of the Menon, which, the more nearly we take it in connection with those two dialogues does the more closely and spontaneously connect itself with them, and this so immediately that it is impossible to conceive the intervention of anything else between them. Hence scarcely anything will be necessary here but to put down the particular points. First then, the projection and development of the idea of right conception, and the distinction pointed out between it and pure knowledge properly so called, must present itself to every one as the last result of the Theaetetus, though not in that place regularly and fully enunciated. And this in the Menon is not only assumed as proved and expressly put among the little of which Socrates can maintain that he knows it, but it is evident that the decisive treatment of the question respecting the possibility of teaching political virtue, (troAvrtkm apérm) is nothing but an immediate deduction, a corollary from the Theaetetus intended to apply to the subject of the Gorgias the last results of the former. In like manner the Menon gives us an immediate continuation of the Gorgias, inasmuch as it is demonstrated in it, that the ideas of the good and of virtue can be quite as little determined by any more accurately defined method of attaining to the pleasant as by the pleasant in general, and that it is necessary to discuss the two connected ideas purely for themselves upon exclusive and original principles. And that the connection may

mot be overlooked, the interlocutor is introduced as a disciple of Gorgias, and expressly referred to a dialogue of Socrates with that philosopher. Moreover Menon answers precisely in the sense in which Gorgias and his friends must have understood the beautiful. And as the last result of the Theaetetus is confirmatively enunciated, so also is that of the Gorgias repeated, and it is shown to be still not the last, and that it carries the investigation still higher. The same result also appears when we look to what is, or seems to be, accidental matter; for in the Menon this is throughout so identical with what we find in those dialogues, that we are compelled to infer from them the existence of still further similar relations and connecting circumstances. The same use of mathematics for examples as in the Theaetetus, nay, even the object selected in visible connection with that dialogue. For the problem which is the foundation of the Pythagorean theorem, to find the side of the double square, is precisely the instance in which the incommensurability of two lines with one another was most immediately, and certainly also first, made palpable. This consistency in the matter from which the examples are taken can be so little the result of accident, that we might rather be tempted by it to attribute to the example itself a still higher symbolical value; especially if we remember that Plato is in the habit of introducing remembrances into his works for the hearers of his immediate oral instructions. This however might remain for ever nothing but a weak supposition, or perhaps be altogether precipitate and false; but clearly this application of these subjects, which no where else appears so prominently, points to the fact, that during the composition of the two diaD D

logues Plato was employed upon the same subject, whether it were more in a mathematical or a Pythagorean point of view. Again, the examples which occur in the Menon taken from natural philosophy are most manifestly connected with what is adduced in the Theaetetus in illustration of the doctrine of Protagoras, and is intended defensively to show that Socrates did really there bring forward the doctrines of that school in the sense in which the master of it meant them. And Gorgias as a disciple of Empedocles is here expressly associated with the Pythagoreans, and moreover, attention is thus drawn to the inward connection between the dialogue which bears his name and the Theaetetus. In like manner the Menon connects itself with both dialogues by the similarity of its polemics. For the allusion to Aristippus, the bosom friend of rich tyrants cannot be mistaken, when Menon the friend of the great king declares that virtue consists in the compilation of wealth, even when he makes the limitation, not, according to Xenophon's description, consistent with his own opinions, that this should only be done by legitimate methods. In like manner every reader will think of Antisthenes where it is conceded somewhat contemptuously by all and repeatedly asseverated, that a sophist cannot teach virtue, for Antisthenes maintained the positive side in a sense which did not meet Plato's views, and where his first master Gorgias is held up to him as a pattern of one who made no claims to this. Moreover the Menon has in common with the Theaetetus and Gorgias a similar allusion to the accusation of Socrates. For as in the Theaetetus express and somewhat gratuitous mention is made of it, and in the Gorgias it is almost prophesied, and in both dialogues much from the Apology recurs in a very remarkable manner, so here the future accuser himself appears, and we see his anger rise exactly as Socrates describes it in the Apology; and these allusions are found in so similar a dress that manifestly a similar occasion lies at the bottom of them in this dialogue as in the two others, and the Menon falls coincidently into the same period with those dialogues. And this dialogue connects itself with the Gorgias still further, and more particularly by what Socrates extracts by questions from Anytus, and says himself about the Athenian statesmen. For Plato assumes the appearance of changing into a more favourable opinion what he had maintained in the Gorgias; but he does this apparently only, and with a sufficient quantity of irony which at the end rings out clearly enough. It seems, indeed, to be a regular apologetic recantation with which Socrates presents them, intended to convey that there have always been among the politicians of Athens many honourable and just men, and that he would here only maintain that their virtue did not rest upon knowledge, and that this was the cause why they could not also teach and communicate, and this explanation seems all the more powerful as Socrates now comprehends under the sentence, in this its milder application, even Aristides himself, whom he had before exalted so far above the rest. But this man, whom as far as communication is concerned he was certainly compelled to give up, remains nevertheless free from the other objections of which no further mention is here made, and the possibility of his so remaining is founded upon the principle that there may be men in whom the correct conception which they once have continues unchangeable; and it is precisely this which is

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