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laid down as the true value of that virtue which is not accompanied by a perfectly finished reason, and consequently does not rest upon knowledge properly so called. The rest, on the other hand, of whom it has been already shown elsewhere that they cannot keep possession of the useful, are, with their true conception, which will not remain without knowledge, most gently merged into the same class with soothsayers and poets, and it is at last distinctly declared what was meant by this elsewhere, namely, that all these men are but as shadows to one, if such there be, who knows and can teach. This leads of itself to a still further resemblance between the Menon and the Gorgias. For in the latter we found explanatory references to several earlier dialogues; and it may be said of the Menon that it touches upon almost all in the first series, and concludes and seals in so many words a large share of their common subject-matter of which the decision was as it were still left open. This holds especially of the Protagoras and the dialogues immediately connected with it, and on account of this relation much matter is again taken up, almost too literally and too fully, out of the Protagoras, which already lay at too great a distance to admit of Plato's referring to it only by one or two slight allusions. It is now shown here how much of the virtues remains, as they are ordinarily enumerated, and are no longer allowed to be comprehended in a unity of virtue, if we separate them from knowledge; and at the same time the whole dispute, in which, in the Protagoras, Socrates is not only engaged with Protagoras, but also each of the two with himself as to the identification of virtue with know

ledge, and the possibility of communicating it, is solved by the preliminarily established distinction between knowledge and true conception. And in doing this it is said that the more exalted species of virtue rests certainly upon knowledge, though upon a higher mode of it than that calculation of the pleasant, and is moreover thus communicable in the sense in which it may be said generally that remembrancing, and the excitement and reanimation of ideas, is communication; while the ordinary political dpérn is not communicable, but rests for the most part only upon correct conception, upon a feeling which has never penetrated up to the point of true knowledge. If therefore, in consequence of what was first remarked, the Menon is indispensable to us as a strengthening key-stone of the dialogues which form the beginning of the second series, so it is also from those references indispensable as a key to much not yet expressly solved in the first series. Again, a slight degree of attention will show us that the Menon thus becomes a fresh confirmation of the arrangement hitherto pursued in general. For that it solves the riddle of the Protagoras, and, not to go beyond what is particularly mentioned, that of the Laches also, and that hence those two dialogues must be placed before the Menon and in connexion with one another, is clear to every one, and no intelligent reader will think of inverting the relation and saying that those dialogues were later in point of composition, and intended to be further continuations of what is here preliminarily said. The same is true of the Phaedrus, to which dialogue sufficiently decided reference is made by a resemblance in the diction, which, though without anything like verbal coincidence, strikes us almost as an enlargement upon that dialogue, though without any abrupt deviation being admitted from the very differently pitched tone of this. Here too, no one on comparison of two passages will find it possible to entertain any view except that the Menon refers retrospectively to the Phaedrus. Otherwise we shall be obliged to conclude that he is resolved to recognise no relation whatever between the mythical and philosophical method of exposition, and intentionally to overlook what is struggling to show itself spontaneously. This is the view which we obtain from the somewhat complicated relations of this dialogue, after placing ourselves upon that chief and corner-point from which alone an accurate survey of the whole can be made. Thus prepared, we shall find it no difficult matter to judge how the case may stand with two other views very different from this. Of these views one had not up to a certain time been even published, but only circulated in private by learned men in some respects entitled to much attention. It might however be produced under a form which should give it a certain degree of probability, in my opinion, that is a far better one than that under which Ast lately produced it. This view undertakes to deny our dialogue to Plato, conceiving that it contains but little philosophical matter, not more precisely and better stated elsewhere, that it may therefore be almost dispensed with for the understanding of the Platonic philosophy, and is not moreover in respect of arrangement and treatment of the subject particularly worthy of Plato. And certainly whoever, from not having considered the dialogue in the proper connection, has convinced himself of the first point may easily find many particulars to corroborate the second, which will necessarily strike him the more in proportion as he has less understanding of the whole. For instance, the abrupt commencement without any introduction is not very Platonic, and an introduction seemed here the more necessary as we learn for the first time, and quite unexpectedly in the middle of the dialogue, that Anytus has been present from the beginning—a thing which occurs no where else in Plato. Moreover, it is only by an introduction that the turn could be justified upon which the last part of the dialogue rests, that Menon is in want of a teacher in civil virtue ; for we are not prepared for this by anything in the dialogue. Again, several harsh transitions and disproportionate strides in the progress of the dialogue seem only capable of being explained upon the supposition of some precipitate impetuosity in the characters of the speakers, which however no where comes out in the dramatic representation of them ; and the resemblance to the Phaedrus and Protagoras might seem nothing but mediocre imitation, the rather as it can scarcely be conceived upon what principle Plato could have found himself compelled to do a second time what he had already before discovered the fruitlessness of, I mean, enquiring after a quality of virtue, whether, that is, it is communicable or not, before investigating its nature. But of all these objections no part will remain good in the estimation of one who has rightly apprehended the philosophical bearing of the dialogue, except that, with us, he will consider the Menon as one of the more careless and not perfectly finished expositions of Plato. For, this granted, all particular objections shrink and partially vanish, as they agree almost universally with the manifold subordinate views of the dialogue which

we have pointed out, and some negligence in the execution of details is to be looked upon with indulgence, the rather as it is probable that the larger works which follow in connection with the Theaetetus were already floating before him in his mind and he hastened to close with them. And truly nothing is more strange than to desire that all the works even of a great master should be possessed of similar perfection, or to suppose that he cannot have produced those that are not so. On the other hand, as to the objection that this dialogue contains a kind of investigation which we shall look for in vain elsewhere, this is not after all so fatal to the cause. For by the assumption that virtue can only be communicable when and in so far as it is identical with knowledge, the question becomes part of the original one, what virtue is or is not in itself. And as to what Ast otherwise calls the unPlatonic propositions of our dialogue, his objection is in part tantamount to this, that he is unable to recognize throughout that simply preparatory character of the dialogue which prevails over the larger portion of the subject matter, and then that he will not allow Plato to use words in different dialogues sometimes in a more limited, sometimes in a more extended sense, and in some of them more scientifically, in others more in the manner of common life. Had it pleased him to allow this, he could not have indulged in such severe censures upon the point that the virtue here spoken of is separated from oppévnais, and it would not have escaped him that it is precisely the distinction between political virtue and virtue in a higher sense that is here to be started. All other objections give way partly from what has been adduced, and in part appear to me to

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