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by way of a kind of example, something like the art of speaking in the Phaedrus. Hence then we must look further for a ground and purpose of the dialogue in other relations, and institute a supplementary inquiry as to whether there does not exist in the work we are considering something beyond what has hitherto come out that may afford instruction upon this point. And the attentive reader will soon discover what he seeks. For although the speculation into the theory of language is not brought to a successful termination, we find notwithstanding, in the very first outlines of it, thus much at all events clearly enunciated as an immediate consequence; that the relation of language to knowledge is such, that, even assuming for a moment the divine origin of the former, it is in every way impossible for it to be regarded as the source of the latter, whether original and the object of discovery, or derived and the subject of instruction, and that if a dependent relation is to obtain between them, language must be considered rather as a product of knowledge, and existing conditionally through it. Now if we consider at the same time the use that is made of etymology in the ironical part, in order to justify from language the Heraclitic doctrine, so that Socrates even seriously allows that this tendency may be pointed out in language, and again the manner in which the whole is pervaded throughout by a continuous polemical spirit in opposition to that doctrine, with the expression of which the dialogue concludes as it begun, assuming the existence of something constant and self-independent,we have unquestionably discovered a point capable of spreading a sufficient light over the whole, inasmuch as it lays before us such a connection of that whole with the preceding dialogues, that the same glance enables us clearly to determine the purport of the work, and also the place which it is to occupy in the series of the productions of Plato. For the caution which is intended to warn us, that language cannot of itself lead to knowledge, and that from it alone it is impossible to decide which of two opposite views is the true one or the false, is manifestly of a polemical character, and supposes that such a process had been on some occasions applied; and these polemics essentially belong to that series of efforts to establish the reality of knowledge, and its eternity and impersonality, in which we see Plato engaged during this second period. Neither does it seem to be a very difficult question where we are to look for this process. For as on the one hand, even among the disciples of Socrates, collaterally with the true philosophy, mere empiricism, the offspring of lower modes of thought, soon got the upper hand again, and in the Gorgias and Theaetetus Plato especially wages war against this, when he shows that the idea of the good is not abstracted from the feeling of the pleasant, and that knowledge is not derived from sensuous perception or even from right conception, so on the other side a system of unmeaning play again got the upper hand among them—the play with the equally unsubstantial and exhausted forms of philosophy, which scarcely preserves any subject to which it can attach itself except language. This abuse can be imputed to one only of the two opposite extremes which Plato always has in view, that, I mean, involved in the doctrines of the Ionic Philosophy; it must however, when taken in connection with this, present a twofold appearance.
One, when viewed with the apprehension of the scepticism of these doctrines as to the essentiality of knowledge, and that it abused the forms of language in order to exhibit everything as in a state of inextricable confusion and inconstant variation, which is precisely the theory which Plato exposes in its nothingness in the Euthydemus, and of which the sophistical philosophy, again reviving in the Megarian and Eretrian schools, has to bear the burden and the blame. Another, when it is remembered that these doctrines themselves could be dogmatic, and hence felt no compunction in attempting to prove, when they could, that even language, though it may appear to grasp and keep hold of its objects, does nevertheless, in this process of affixing appellations, itself recognise, by the method pursued, the ceaseless flux of all things. But at this point we seem to be almost deserted by history. For it does not appear that language was used in any particular manner as a means for the foundation of knowledge, or as a canon whereby to judge of it, until we meet with such an application in the exaggerated grammatical tendency of the Stoic school; and it will scarcely be thought necessary to pursue this solitary trace. But, that we may not lose ourselves deeper in details and in obscure hints, when it is once remembered how largely the natural philosophy of the Stoics borrowed from Heraclitus; how Antisthenes is to be regarded as the founder not only of the Cynics but also of the Stoics, only that these latter reverted more to Plato, from whom the former, seduced by personal differences, had separated himself more widely probably than their scientific views had rendered necessary ; and when it is considered further that Antisthenes is supposed to have expounded the work of Heraclitus, without however mentioning by name any particular work upon the subject, while, on the other hand, several works of Heraclitus occur which manifestly have language for their subject;-we can scarcely feel a doubt as to who is the real object of these polemics. And hence also it is very soon explained, why, notwithstanding that the immediate object of the dialogue could only be so imperfectly discussed, the Cratylus nevertheless became an exclusive whole, and took the precise form in which we now find it. For the relation of language to knowledge, which constitutes its principal subject, manifestly rests entirely upon the doctrine adduced in the Theaetetus, about the distinction between knowledge and right conception. For language, as it is actually given, stands here upon exactly the same ground with conception, or rather is in reality one and the same with it. Thus words are signs and types of things, and in them a closer or more indistinct, a more or less pure, a clearer or more obscure impress, is possible—thus in both error has its province traced out by confusion or exchange of relation, and both even coincide in this respect, that the attention is drawn to numbers as a particular object of consideration. Every one however who remembers the position which this distinction occupies in the Theaetetus, will allow that the essential matter of the Cratylus could by no means have been taken into that dialogue as a digression. And so much the less because Plato, in order to say what was of most importance, required the result of the Menon, which we find therefore here supposed, that knowledge does not, properly speaking, pass by transference from one to another, but that
discovery and learning are the same things in all men, namely, remembrance. In like manner the relation to be established between language and knowledge connects itself further and more particularly with polemics, against the strange and all-confusing denial of the possibility of error in the province of conception ; polemics which we find begun in the Theaetetus, and continued in the Euthydemus. If, then, we remember moreover the temptation which presented itself to overwhelm the hostile Antisthenes with a whole body of ridicule, we see the Cratylus form itself as it were into an exclusive whole, out of the Theaetetus and Euthydemus, and by means of its character, as well as what is connected with the immediate subject, secure its place in this series of the Platonic works; for it is as little devoted to personal polemics as the Euthydemus. Moreover it contains not only supplementary matter and illustrations of this dialogue and the Theaetetus—as, for example, just at the beginning the decisively repeated declaration in opposition to Protagoras, from a point at which, in order to continue the dialogue, Plato had himself opened a loophole for the philosopher to escape through; and immediately thereupon the manner in which he describes the peculiar nature of the sophistical philosophy exposed in the Euthydemus; and further on the distinction, which also in the Theaetetus is allowed to drop, between a whole and a collective mass, is explained from the opposition between quality and quantity; and there are many particulars of the same kind. Quite as little can it be said that our dialogue only states the unity of the theoretical and practical as we have already found it stated in the Theaetetus and Gorgias, and their relation to one another—although this too is H. H.