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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 writings it was found stated that the accuser of Socrates was a son of Anthemion. Menon is unquestionably the same with him whom Xenophon mentions in the campaign of Cyrus, although Plato does not describe him as so abandoned a profligate. His country, his beauty, his wealth and the friendship of the Thessalian Aristippus, who cannot be supposed to be also a duplicate, are circumstances sufficiently material and to the purpose to establish the fact.
IN the Euthydemus, if the reader regards the part which is at once the most striking and amusing, the conversation, that is, in which Socrates and Ctesippus, the same whom we already know from the Lysis, are engaged with the two sophists, Dionysodorus and Euthydemus, and how far it is from being conducted dialectically in Plato's sense, with a view to rectifying their mutual sentiments and to the extrication of truth, but is most perfectly worked up in the style of a regular prize-fight only with a view to keeping the right in words—if he considers how perfect Plato shows himself to be, though this is but his first and solitary attempt, in exhibiting the way in which the matter of the sophistical questions that may be started continually dwindles away, while at the same time the pleasure and the pride of the actors increase, until at last the former merges into mere nonsense, and the two latter pass into the most extravagantly vain self-conceit, which confounds the ridicule of the intelligent with the assent of the simple, and only puffs itself out the more; and, lastly, if he notices the way in which the whole ends with that undisguised burst of ridicule so cheerily rung out, he will, we may be assured, at once admire the life and dramatic power of the whole, but will however afterwards discover in the subject thus exclusively regarded one not quite worthy of the author. And though no one can immediately doubt whether Plato could have composed any thing with this view, still every reader will require an occasion for the composition of a piece which can only be conceived to be occasional, and will be surprised to find it given in the series of scientific productions. But it is strange enough that attention has always been exclusively given to this sophistical dramatizing when to every reader the dialogue presents more important matter, a genuine philosophical bearing and a visible reference to other Platonic writings, in that other conversation; which, though but in an interrupted and intermitted form, Socrates carries on with Clinias, and which, like the dialogues up to this point, treats of the communicability of virtue and the nature of the most exalted knowledge. This conversation may be regarded as an illustrative continuation of the Menon, and therefore, mediately, of the Theaetetus and Gorgias, as it enlarges further, by an indirect method, upon the same subject. For the consequence which we have often only inferred from former dialogues as their proper result, without finding it verbally enunciated, is so verbally enunciated in this, and, as if it were already evident, assumed ; and the problems with which the subsequent dialogues are engaged are here discovered and pointed out. By this then, if it is actually the case, the place which we have assigned to this dialogue, is sufficiently assured to it. And of this every reader may convince himself if he considers the course of this conversation, the main points of which we will here note down in a few words. In this it is at once assumed almost at the beginning, as had been proved in the Gorgias, that pleasure is not identical with the good, and therefore that happiness which is sought as a common object, is defined, only for the purpose of keeping to the ordinary translation of the word eudaimonia, to be “right doing” (or, “well doing”). At the same time the conversation connects itself with the Menonic position, that every thing which is ordinarily called a good is not so in and for itself by virtue of the mere possession of it, but becomes so first by coming under the power of wisdom so as to be governed and managed by it. Accordingly the proper object of desire is defined to be knowledge, to which Plato here deliberately gives the more exalted name of wisdom, and without even mentioning that lower grade which is there called correct conception. But this is by no means a sign which can imply that this distinction had not yet been made, or that Plato contradicts himself in any way consciously or unconsciously: but the ground of it is as follows: just at the beginning, where Socrates states the problem, the two, the search, that is, after wisdom and the diligent endeavour to attain virtue, are laid down as identical or as connected in the most intimate manmer. He intends therefore by this, expressly to show what he meant by what is only thrown out at last in the Menon, that it is certainly necessary to seek that virtue and statesmanship which proceed from wisdom,