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ground 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 together with the possibility of falsehood, the inclination for it and the life in it are to be represented as far removed from true knowledge and real existence. Nay, as the Sophist only appears fully by his place being definitely discovered, and not before it is so discovered, so, on the other hand, the discovery of his place is facilitated, and the dimness and obscurity of mere semblance and fallacious opinion made intelligible by starting from the well-known occupation which he pursues and can only pursue there. And thus, even here in the middle point of the second part of the Platonic works, we find a confirmation of what we said at the beginning of that part upon the peculiar form of the works belonging to it. The more closely, then, we consider this circumstance, the more we must be aware that there is here nothing to be rejected as mere shell, but that the whole dialogue is like a precious fruit of which a true connoisseur is glad to enjoy the outward peel at the same time with the fruit itself, because grown as the former is into the whole, it could not be separated without hurting the pure and proper relish of the latter. This being supposed, we cannot now overlook the remaining characteristics in which this external part of the dialogue is pre-eminently rich. For the reader, from whom too much does not lie concealed under the cover of insignificant things, the knowledge of which is here brought forward, will see Plato, in part defending combinations made in earlier works and which had perhaps been assailed, and showing how nearly the smallest thing may be related to the largest in a particular point of view ; and then again constructing words, almost extravagantly, in order to show how necessary this becomes as soon as a systematic process adopts subjects to which it has been hitherto strange, and at the same time to bring to notice a particular indifference as to the affixing of appellations; ennobling moreover the purifying Socratic process, and pointing out its proper pedagogic place; ridiculing moreover the arrogant method of the rhetoricians and politicians who used to confound things the most different, and, as if it profited nothing to distinguish such trifles, brought the true philosopher and the sophist under the same appellation. Which is just the reason why Plato introduces among the explanations characteristic of the sophist that most distinct one which describes the process of the philosopher, in which the stranger is continually left in doubt, whether he is to allow it to obtain as an explanation of what a sophist is, and on the other hand repeatedly sets up the close connection of the sophist with the demagogue. If we look only to the inward, and in itself more philosophical, part of the dialogue, its characteristics will appear strikingly similar to those of the whole. For it begins with the question as to whether there can be a false in speech and thought, simply resolved into that of the possibility of a non-existent, and of its possessing any attributes, or whether non-existence cannot be predicated of anything. The arguments usually at that time brought forward on the positive side of the question, and with which we are already acquainted from notices of them in the Theaetetus, Euthydemus and Cratylus, are here a second time advanced, strengthened and confirmed on all sides, and as soon as it is shown, from the necessity of assuming the possibility of a non-existent, that the existence of

mere fallacious appearance and error must be admitted, and as what they are to be admitted, this part also is at an end, and the dialogue goes on into the investigation about the Sophist. Accordingly it would seem that with reference also to this part, what it begins and ends with, namely, the question relative to the non-existent and error, must obtain for the proper subject-matter; and on the other hand, that what is let in between the parts of this investigation and occupies the middle of it, must appear partly to be only a mean for reaching that end, partly a digression not unwillingly seized upon. But what reader, when he looks to the tenor of this digression, will not be compelled to apprehend in it immediately the most valuable and precious core of the dialogue, and that the more certainly, as here for the first time almost in the writings of Plato, the most inward sanctuary of philosophy is opened in a purely philosophical manner, and as, generally, existence is better and more noble than non-existence. For in the course of the investigation about the non-existent, exactly in the way in which this arose as a something higher in that about the Sophist, the question arises as to the community of ideas”, upon which all real thought and all life in knowledge depends; and the notion of the life of the existent, and of the necessary identity and reciprocality of existence and knowledge is most regularly disclosed. And there is not anything within the sphere of philosophy

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