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come into application, in so far as it is shown of impure pleasure that it belongs to the indefinite, but no one will be disposed to maintain that they are set up here only for that purpose. Rather should we say, that the passage connects itself with that in the Sophist, which in a similar manner there forms the kernel of the whole. For in the Sophist also, he begins with speculations upon the nature of our notions of things (868 at), and thus shows the necessary union, in knowledge, of the fluent and constant, and, correspondingly, the necessary union of existence and knowledge in that principle which is supreme and original. And in like manner in this dialogue, starting from the same point, he investigates more closely the mode and manner of created existence, and of the origin of the fluent and constant elements in it. For, if we take away everything connected with form in our notions of things, under which we must reckon all that can in any way be called measure or definite magnitude, there remains nothing to constitute the abstract essence of matter but the indefinite, entirely dependent upon conditions of comparison as apprehended in fallible perception ; and which is precisely the same with the absolutely manifold, never self-identical, and consequently, not essentially existent. Now the fact that Plato here avoids this definition of the non-existent, current in the Sophist and elsewhere, and thereby, although certainly unintentionally, increases the difficulty of connecting the two passages, is in part the result of the same subject being in fact here viewed from a different side, and consequently needing different forms of expression; and moreover, Plato wished to avail himself of the language of the Pythagoreans, and that the more, because he is here
already upon his way towards the Timaeus, in order to show, by so doing, the coincidence between his own mode of thinking and theirs. This indefinite, therefore, and the principle of definiteness, here expressed particularly under the schema of number, because this expresses the mean between the infinitely great and unity, are the two sources of created existence; while the real cause of it is that which connects and compounds these two, the eternal nature of Zeus, expressed also under the name of Reason, in which the Sophist had already pointed out the necessary union of existence and knowledge as taking place. This doctrine is certainly expounded very briefly and imperfectly, both as regards the necessities of the reader, and also as compared with that to which it is to serve as a supplement, although the exposition here has the advantage of not being given in so indirect a form, but more positively. And this part of our dialogue might be added to anything in the others that have preceded, if anything can be found tending to justify the opinion, that a full understanding of the philosophy of Plato from his works was only in the power of his disciples, who, on the perusal of them, could call to mind his other instructions, while, from others, the best part remain concealed. But we have not been so badly dealt with ; attentive readers who have followed hitherto the developments of the doctrine of forms and original existence, and that which is derived from it, will follow also here. But even to such it must ever be matter of surprise, that Plato, when he denotes the universal causative as reason or mind, appeals only to the general feeling of mankind, and when he establishes that principle of indefiniteness as an original principle, not produced from the eternal R. R.
nature of Zeus, but only bound up with it, in so far as the monarch mind dwells in it, this is a point upon which, as the subject lies close upon the border of the properly philosophic speculation of Plato, and approximates to that which he believed it possible to explain mythically only, not even the immediate scholars of the philosopher were more scientifically instructed than we ourselves are from the Phaedon, where Socrates equally contents himself with the arranging mind, and where the method of discussing the opposition between body and soul favours the view of the originality of the indefinite. Again, what is here said incidentally only of the soul of the universe, intimating rather than explaining the mode of connection between created being and original existence, stands in the closest reference to this speculation upon the former, and has, on the contrary, little or nothing to do with the question of the precedence of pleasure or knowledge. This also depends upon the Phaedon, and will only be understood to the whole extent of its meaning by those who bear in mind how, in that dialogue, the immortality of the soul is demonstrated from the nature of consciousness, and the law to which all opposites are subjected in the sphere of apparent existence, and an alternation, as it were, established between a personal existence of the soul, and one not personal. With these hints also is connected the extremely remarkable enlargement which is here given to the doctrine of recollection; for every, even bestial, desire is in this place considered in the same way as, in the Menon and Phaedon, this doctrine is demonstrated with regard to ideas, as if those desires also, when they appear for the first time, must be based upon a recollection of that state which is now the object of them. And the purport of this clearly is to intimate that brute instinct also is to be taken into the nature of the universal soul. Now if we collect together all that concerns the immediate object of the dialogue, the comparison, that is, of pleasure and knowledge, and then ask for the connecting link whereby those hints and this discussion are combined together into one whole, we shall find the answer immediately in that passage in which Socrates says, that if pleasure were the good, it could be so only in the mind, and that then there would be none whatever in bodies, and all other beautiful and good things. He therefore cherished the idea of not confining the good to the life of man alone, but of extending it at the same time over the whole sphere of created existence, and it must also have been a great object to do this, with one who had made the idea of the good the principle of the knowledge, not only of man himself, but also of that of all other things. And he wished at the same time to establish this common basis for the books of the Republic, as well as for the Timaeus, and this is the object of the investigations here given of created existence as a mixed compound, these investigations being only intended to show the relation in which the good stands to it. For after having thus discovered the nature of the good, and satisfied himself, first of all, as is likewise here done, that material things as they actually occur to experience cannot form the object of knowledge, but only the idea of them, as that which the former try to resemble, though they must ever fall short of perfect similarity, then, and not till then, could he pass to the speculation upon man as well as nature, and the Philebus is eminently, in this respect, the immediate introduction to those two great works. From this point of view then, much that was difficult to be understood or overlooked by the majority of persons may be pretty easily explained. How, for instance, knowledge and pleasure descend to the fourth and fifth places instead of taking the second and third. For at the end the two opposite theories are united, and therefore the formal elements of the good, upon which the perfection of the compound mixture, as such, depends, and which are also common to material things, are ranked first, and that which exists in men in particular, forms the conclusion. Again, why the mind, which as the cause, as the source of universal order, and as the compounding power, is admitted to be absolutely good and worthy of the first place, obtains here only the third. And the reason is this, it is not here the divine and most supreme mind that is spoken of, for the true and divine Reason is exalted above all struggle for the precedence, and is presumed to be recognized and acknowledged as the good in the highest sense, but of that which has itself entered into the compound as such. Although here, a degree of obscurity not to be disguised, must ever remain. For truth, which Socrates first recognises as the condition of every compound, and without which none whatever can exist, is now according to what is here said, made convertible with mind. We must, therefore, say in explanation, that mind, as the sole locus of truth, does certainly first give reality to material things, and therefore also, as the mediating power, rightly stands between the general elements of the created good and