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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 oppóvnois, 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 deserve no particular notice; where so much is undeniably excellent and Platonic, and we may confidently affirm that it would be impossible ever to discover any other probable composer of it. The other view different from our own and opposed to it in a different manner, is that well known one which attributes to the Menon an important and distinguished value, because it is supposed to be a noble exercise in the doctrine of reason as it is called, and moreover the Socratic midwifery is practised in it with particular adroitness, and supposing it to be first intelligently prepared, much that is beautiful might be demonstrated out of it to little boys in school. Only it is a pity that Plato was not in the habit of producing exercises in logic at all, such things being rather to be found in the later compilation of little dialogues that were foisted upon him, and that if he does here seem to represent anything himself under this form, this is only done in order to disguise to a certain degree the introduction, subservient to quite different purposes, of a foreign ingredient. Pity also that we find in the more artificial dialogues far more artificial and fruitful examples of his midwifery according to the ideas which he himself lays down in the Theaetetus; and he declares this to be only the first commencement of bringing conceptions to consciousness, and does moreover treat somewhat lightly the merits of mathematical elements in comparison with philosophical, upon which he is generally accustomed to exercise this art. Pity, lastly, that it is not quite so easy a matter to prepare and demonstrate this very dialogue of the Menon essentially and entirely, as has been done with particular fragments detached from it, but which then are not E. E.
themselves understood in their relation to the whole. Hence again, these panegyrists are themselves involved in a learned dispute as to what may really be the opinion of Plato upon the communicability of virtue, whether he is indeed in earnest with the whole question, and whether the decision come to, that it is only attainable by divine inspiration, coincides with other expressed sentiments of the philosopher. And among the disputants are many so truly divine, that whatever they are to understand must come from divine inspiration, and that because they have taken upon themselves to consider for itself alone what depends upon something else, and they require not only a voice to warn them, but one to call upon and awaken them to hear when the author imparts the answers to their sapient questions. For had they but understood his voice themselves they would have given better attention to three passages, to the way in which he states the first question as to whether virtue is knowledge or something quite distinct and separate from it, and then to the limitation that in political dpèrn, right conception may supply the place of knowledge, and finally to the last sentiments about the true statesman.
As to the persons, Anytus the accuser of Socrates is not, as far as I know, mentioned either by Plato or Xenophon with his father's name. Diogenes and Athenaeus consider the Anytus of this dialogue and the accuser of Socrates as one and the same, and generally the way in which he is here brought forward speaks too clearly in favour of the supposition that Plato had him in his mind to render it necessary to look for other vouchers. Hence, therefore, it is not necessary to inquire who the numerous authors can be in whose