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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 those which are peculiar to man. Another point too, in appearance not less obscure, can only be understood upon a similar view of it. It is, why Socrates first explains proportion and beauty as to a certain degree identical, and then again separates the two in the most decided manner. And the explanation is, that it is by the presence of definite measure generally that a thing first attains individuality and becomes a thing ; while beauty, although limited by definite measure, is the superadded perfection to that essential condition.
From what has been hitherto said, it must now be clear in what sense our dialogue intervenes immediately and next between the Phaedon as its immediate antecedent, and the two constructive works, the Republic and Timaeus; and that in its particular relation to the last, if we would go back to the farthest possible point, it is grounded upon the Parmenides, but next and immediately upon the Sophist, to the dialectic profundity of which it is supplementary by sensible and palpable clearness. And partly on this account, and in part because the reference to the Republic, and, consequently, the ethical character, is predominant in it, this dialogue has not, like the Sophist and Timaeus, any other leader than Socrates himself. For the expressly enunciated, though less general subject, the claims of pleasure in the definition of the good for mankind, is the especial foundation of the books upon the Republic, because it is only after a decisive subordination of pleasure that the idea of a really common life can be established—otherwise it merely remains to mediate the antagonist claims of self-interest. Hence, therefore, the books upon the Republic very naturally recommence with this point.
Of the principal matter now of the dialogue, which concerns the comparison of pleasure and knowledge, it may be said that it again takes up and perfects the Theaetetus and Gorgias together, so that we have at the same time in the Philebus a justification of the juxta-position in which we place these two dialogues. For what is here said of false conception is exactly the same with what has been already set up in the Theaetetus, though in that dialogue it may have been lost to the many under its sceptical disguise; and generally, the whole relation of perception to that conception which contains at once the assertion and the judgment in itself, supposes the Theaetetus and is supplementary to it. And the disquisition upon pleasure, manifestly an excellent and finished physiological view, is in like manner partly a repetition of, and partly supplementary to, what is said in the Gorgias, and certainly penetrates far deeper into the nature of the subject. And the present dialogue, in proportion as it is more mature and judicious than that, is also more charitable. Plato here justifies as necessary the harsh treatment which the advocates of pleasure there receive, if, without thinking of the persons, the theory is to be exhibited in its true light—yet how slightly he touches upon the subject. Nay, even with regard to the art of speaking, there degraded so low, we here find an extenuating sentiment. Even tragedy and comedy are spoken of in a different feeling, although the ingenious manner in which he explains what we find upon that point, certainly refers to his repugnance, at that time certainly of general notoriety, to this class of composition. Not that it is the case, however, as has lately been maintained, that the books