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notwithstanding the fact that they have not yet existed, because without them those more common kinds which are satisfied with right conception, can have no permanent existence. After the proper result of the Menon has been thus enunciated and elucidated, it is now enquired further what that knowledge must be, and after it has been established, in part with reference to the Gorgias, that it must be an art which is capable at the same time both of producing and using its object, and thus several particular arts have been brought forward by way of example which satisfy these conditions, the conversation comes at last, less by the strictly scientific method of analysis and investigation, than by the unmethodical process of promiscuous adaptation, to the real political or kingly art to which all others surrender their products for its use. But now the progressive advance of the dialogue is at an end, and the conversation changes again into a hesitative kind of speculation which only starts riddles and hands them over with a few hints to the reflection of the hearer for their solution. It is in this sense then that the product of that art is investigated, and nothing is discoverable except that if in the good we are always to inquire after the end we must always come round in a circle; in this sense Socrates quite at the beginning started the question whether to teach wisdom and to create a passion for it belongs to the same art; and it is precisely in this sense that the relation between the true and the good, wisdom and art, is so multifariously repeated and brought to light. And thus, as was before maintained, this conversation contains, on the one hand, corroborative illustration of the preceding dialogues; on the other hand, the reader is to be excited not to rest content with the assumptions there made, as that virtue and wisdom are the useful, and thus this conversation becomes a preparatory indication pointing to the subsequent dialogues, in particular the Statesman and Philebus; and hence on their account, the Euthydemus appears to be a transitional member by no means superfluous, and here certainly, quite in its proper place. After we have thus properly estimated the essential part of the dialogue, it then becomes easy to take up another view of the remainder also. For the question arises of itself, was Plato, whom in the dialogues immediately preceding the Euthydemus we have already found occasionally engaged in controversy with the founders of contemporary Socratic schools; was he, I say, likely now again to commence a battle, for which the time had quite gone by, against earlier sophists whose influence and exertions were suppressed without it, as soon as ever the Socratic schools had become regularly formed P and was he likely to support this superfluous contest by such an expence of demonstrative art, and to be so well pleased with himself in the execution of his task as is here manifestly the case ? Who then were these men, Dionysodorus and Euthydemus, to deserve such notice and meet with such treatment P History is silent respecting them more than any other of the sophists mentioned by Plato, so that we may certainly maintain that they never formed anywhere any kind of school, nay, it would even seem that they were not generally men in very great repute. Xenophon mentions Dionysodorus and speaks of the time when he taught the art of war, whence we must conclude that it is a real fact which Socrates mentions that they did this first, though probably more as tacticians than trainers in the art of fighting, and only applied late to philosophizing sophisticism. Plato himself in the Cratylus brings forward Euthydemus, but with a sentiment flowing immediately from the principles of the Ionic philosophy, and from which moreover no such sophistical misapplication immediately ensues, so that we do not at once recognize this Euthydemus in him. Aristotle also mentions him, and that with a few positions of the same kind as we find here, though their formulae will from their nature admit only of an ironical application, and could never be directed against philosophy ; and hence Euthydemus would not have deserved so cruel a treatment for their sake. On the other hand Aristotle brings forward almost all the formulae which here occur, several of them even verbally, without mentioning Euthydemus or his brother, but ascribing them entirely to the Eristic philosophers. Moreover, there is an important passage in our dialogue in which the catch-questions brought forward are mostly referred to the principle of Antisthenes, that there is no such thing as contradiction. Now if we compare with this several particular allusions in the dialogue, and another passage of Aristotle, where he says that Gorgias, the first instructor of Antisthenes, taught how to practise these matters, but not upon first principles, and consequently only communicated a few particular maxims and not the whole art itself, more and more light falls upon the whole, and it becomes very probable that under the name of those two sophists Plato intended rather to assail the Megarian schools and Antisthenes. He might be inclined to spare the former for old friendship's sake, which connected him with the

founder of them ; and he might prefer not mentioning Antisthenes by name in order to avoid personality as much as possible and to expose himself less to his rough treatment. And in considering this point indeed we must remember, in order to come to the right conclusion, that much was very intelligible to contemporaries, and would spontaneously obtrude itself upon their notice, which we can only discover by laborious means, and a variety of combinations and comparisons. From the extravagant ridicule moreover the attentive reader is made aware throughout of a profound and bitter satire upon the then prevailing degeneracy among those even who professed themselves disciples of Socrates. Still however there remains yet something to illustrate and explain. For if we consider accurately what it in reality is that is here criticised, and controverted only in a spirit of ridicule, it must indeed be generally allowed that the particular examples as they here occur deserve nothing else; it is however not to be overlooked, that the whole tissue of these lies and cheats was in its nature nothing but that scepticism, which always accompanies the doctrine of flux and progressive incomplete existence, generally or partially taken up, in its particular application to language. If Plato therefore wished to treat this sophistical art independently and for itself, it was necessary for him either to show shortly how closely it was connected with the principles already refuted by him, or he was obliged to penetrate deeper into its proper object, language; and in this also to point out together with the changeable, the unchangeable and constant. The first he certainly does, but in such a manner that the greater part of the examples discussed have no business there. To the latter F F

he appears rather to point preliminarily than actually to set to work in earnest upon the subject, which was indeed under the circumstances scarcely possible; and any one may see that Plato does not draw from the various character of his examples the advantages which present themselves for this purpose. Hence then the inference manifestly is, that the examples there found are not merely referable to the treatment of the subject, and have not been determined by it. What other cause then produced them P and did Plato indulge himself in this empty trifling, and continue it so long from mere pleasure in the exercise of dramatic power which he applied to them 2 We are at least not compelled to hold to this, and to ascribe to Plato in this dialogue a mode of proceeding which is not generally peculiar to him. For if we consider the particular examples according to their meaning, we shall find among them several which have very much the appearance of alluding to attacks directed partly against the thoughts, partly against the language and expression in Plato's earlier writings; inasmuch as his opponents might have twisted this point or that into nonsense by just such sophistical tricks. And thus we again find, and certainly without feeling much surprise thereat, in this dialogue also the same kind of polemics and extorted self-defence which we had already found, almost gradually increasing in the immediately preceding dialogues; which is moreover the character in which, in the introduction to the Theaetetus, attention has been already drawn to the Euthydemus. And it is only by all this collectively considered that the management of the whole can justify itself before the judgment-seat of a higher criticism, or phi

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