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bably meet with Euthyphro again, and obtain some information about him. For if he is not a person taken out of some satirized dialogue, it is impossible to conceive how he comes here. And, what is most important, we should then be better able to see what other allusions may be here further concealed. For it is certain that what we find in the dialogue is not all directed at the one person who is the object of the satire, but, as we have seen also in the Euthydemus, a large share is intended to be devoted to self-defence. This is here the more evident, as the playful manner in which Plato sometimes used language may have found censurers enough, especially among those who were in the habit of availing themselves of much not very different from this play in proof of their opinions. And in this point of view too we should naturally expect to see this play here pushed to extremities, and to find our dialogue indulging in the very last degree of epideixis as it were in this kind; as strange explanations brought in from elsewhere are outdone in it by still stranger of its own. And this etymological part has been the cruw of the translator, and it was matter of long and perplexing deliberation with him how to extricate himself from the difficulty. The introduction generally of the Greek words appeared an intolerable expedient, and it seemed better to let the Socrates who was speaking German once for all derive German from German. On the other hand, it was not possible to do this with the proper names—in these it was necessary to preserve the original tongue; and since both methods now stand in company with one another, the reader will at all events have occasion to congratulate himself that no one exclusively pervades the whole. But as that which elsewhere occurs only in detached particulars comes out here in a mass, so on the other hand it cannot be denied that the art of dialogic composition goes somewhat back; and when we compare the Cratylus with the Euthydemus, with which it stands most nearly connected in so many respects, we shall find that in the latter the ironical and the serious parts are interwoven far more beautifully with one another. Here, on the contrary, Plato appears almost overcome by the superabundance of philological jest, so harsh and abrupt are the transitions in the latter part of the dialogue; sometimes, after short digressions, he turns back to what has gone before, as if it were something new rather than what had been already said—sometimes he does bring forward matter actually new, but for which no preparation whatever has been made and which is harshly subjoined to what immediately precedes, in a manner that might almost lead us to doubt, if we were to consider such passages as these exclusively, whether it is Platonic. This is particularly noticeable at the point from which the signification of the letters is explained. But the whole will admit no manner of doubt of its genuineness, and the most that can be said is, that Plato after that point returned to his subject with no great inclination to do so, and sketched as slightly as possible what still remained to be said. Of the persons of the dialogue, there is I fear but little to be said: Hermogenes is also known from Xenophon as a not rich brother of the rich Callias; Cratylus is mentioned not only as a pupil of Heraclitus, but also as a teacher of Plato in his youth—a piece of information which does indeed rest upon the authority of the Metaphysics of Aristotle, but has fortunately too little influence upon our dialogue to render it necessary for us to test it more accurately in this place.
VI. THE SOPHIST.
IN the Sophist we distinguish at once and at the first glance two perfectly separate masses, one of which, distributed into the two extremities, starts with the idea of art, and endeavours, by continuous division and exclusion, to find the nature and true explanation of a Sophist; while the other, which forces itself into the middle of this, after the introduction of the problem of the possibility of co-existence and community in ideas, speaks of the existent and non-existent. If therefore we regard solely the construction and connection of the whole, we must look for its essential object and chief matter in that external mass, and take the internal only for a well-chosen or indispensable mean for attaining that object. For it is entirely in the natural course of the investigation concerning the Sophist, that a necessity arises of assuming the possibility of a non-existent, and of establishing something as to its admissibility; and as soon as this has been done so far that the original investigation can be continued, this investigation again comes in, and so completely fills up the dialogue that they conclude simultaneously. If, on the other hand, we look to the importance and scientific bearing of the two parts, the external falls entirely into the background as something in comparison with the internal, almost insignificant; especially as the subject of it had been already touched upon in several points of view, and we do not in fact here learn anything new as to the nature of the Sophist, the novelty consisting solely in the method and combination. Hence this question is far less entitled to be considered as the subject of a work so important even in point of extent, than the other part, which is in itself so much more philosophical. For in this part not only is the nature of the non-existent, which was at that time the subject of such various dispute, discussed more thoroughly than elsewhere, and, as we may clearly see, the question solved to Plato's perfect satisfaction, but also that of positive existence itself profoundly entered into, and the methods hitherto pursued in the philosophical consideration of it, criticised in some important features. So that, looking to this circumstance, we might be disposed to look for the real subject-matter of the dialogue solely and immediately in the middle part of it, and to believe that the nearer the extremities any thing is found the more such matter passes into mere shell and setting. To this may be added, that in the method pursued in the enquiry after the nature of the Sophist, it is impossible to overlook the spirit of ridicule which indulges itself partly in pointing out the close connection between the business of the Sophist and all manner of mean occupations, and in particular in representing him in a great variety of ways as a pedlar, and then again constantly takes up anew the image of a sly beast very difficult to catch. And even the method applied of finding the object sought, merely by continuous subdivision, is here almost spoken of with contempt. For although it constitutes an important part of the dialectic art, and is elsewhere very seriously pursued and recommended by Plato, it still appears here, when the subject is jocular, to be not only negligently handled, as when, for example, first of all, exchange is made a subdivision of fighting, and then again fighting of exchange; and these two were originally placed as parallel and similar to one another, and generally a sort of caprice pervades the whole; but this process is actually ridiculed by Plato himself, inasmuch as he shows, from the very multitude of the attempts, that the nature of the subject is never discovered by these means, but only particular marks collected by which it may be known, as indeed at last, when the subject is correctly and exhaustively exhibited, he no longer starts thus from a general position, but from a determinate notion. But on the other hand, this external part is still most closely connected with the internal, and the latter would not appear itself in its full light without the former. For, to go no further, the idea that the description of the Sophist might be a merely subordinate work, must be rejected as mistaken, simply because the statesman and philosopher are required in the same manner as the Sophist, and thus the foundation is laid of a great trilogy. This trilogy, indeed, it would seem, Plato did not perfectly execute, but the purpose of it must clearly have been to complete the exposition of the nature of these arts, and the description of the method of operation used by their masters in an entire whole, to be rendered the more vivid by the method pursued. And even in our present dialogue, the circumstance cannot escape the attentive reader, that