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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 upon the Republic had at that time been actually written, and the sentiments we meet with in them are here to be defended. Thus much may be said by way of preface as regards the subject-matter. As to the form, it is indeed true that the Philebus, in its inward construction, nearly enough resembles the main dialogues of this indirect series. But in its outward dress, it may with justice be accused of a degree of negligence, and it will probably be an universal opinion, that in this respect it does not furnish any such pure enjoyment as the majority of the Platonic works up to this point. That peculiar dialogic character which we are accustomed to find in Plato, does not come out into proper relief, the dialogue does not form itself spontaneously, as the origination of the subject is put behind the scene, for which the dramatic position which Philebus thereby obtains is no compensation whatever. I should rather say, that Plato disdained making preparations for introducing a subject which at that time afforded matter of general discussion and dispute. In like manner the transitions are the result neither of the incidental occasions of the dialogue, nor of the opinions and objections of the interlocutor and his particular disposition, but the whole lies ready in the head of Socrates, and comes out with all the personality and arbitrary character of a connected speech. In short we may clearly see, that here in the transition to the properly constructive works, the dialogic character begins to be only an external form, from which Plato cannot escape, partly from habit, partly because he will not dispense with Socrates. Perhaps it is because he feels the inconvenience of this position that he applies various artificial means of animating the dialogue, which do not indeed produce any very particular effect: the conversation sometimes becomes meaningless, and somewhat pedantically twisted in order to introduce something more than the ordinary formulae of answers. So that one might say, that there is a certain unpleasant character spread over these conversations upon pleasure, that we observe that the author is surfeited with the indirect method of proceeding hitherto used, and that nothing is kept up more dramatically than the manner in which we may perceive, especially towards the end of all his speeches, not perhaps without disadvantage to the subject, that Socrates is hastening and ardently wishing to be rid of the young men,
The spuriousness of the Theages has been already in recent times so often pointed out, and from such a variety of sources, that a particular allegation of proof in support of that opinion is now no longer necessary. For, such readers of Plato as can pride themselves upon any degree of critical perception or skill, will have ere this discovered the grounds of it themselves, and as regards those of a different description, such a judgment is in their eyes only verified by a sufficient frequent repetition of it, and such a repetition, in the present instance, they may find.
The fable, if we may be allowed the expression, of this little dialogue, consists in Socrates' adoption of a pupil, and the person chosen is one of those who are mentioned in the Apology of Socrates as already dead before the final sentence was passed upon that philosopher. As far as we know, Theages is not otherwise known than from two notices of him in Plato himself, and has no opportunity of showing whether he received much or little benefit from having made the acquaintance of Socrates, late enough certainly, after the Sicilian overthrow. In the dialogues of Plato, indeed, the adoption of a pupil is never brought so forward or made so immediate an object; our author, however, has had in his mind, as a model to work upon, a passage in a parenthetic digression of Socrates