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less distinctly perceptible. For even the thoughts themselves will then betray less of the spirit of Plato, and the language also will have less opportunity to develope itself in all its power and beauty, as so much of both is connected with those peculiarities in the composition. Thus, as the distinctness of the form diminishes, the conviction of genuineness does so likewise in all respects, until, as more suspicions and doubts come into its place, it gradually becomes less credible that Plato, to whom it was so easy and natural to refer from all particular ideas and separate opinions to his great original principles, should have brought forward in a different manner any subject whatever in the province of philosophy, where every one may be so treated, because he must thus, without attaining any of his well known points and for no purpose, have transposed himself into a forced position. With respect to such dialogues it is therefore imperative to bring especial proof of the possibility of their being Platonic, and a preponderant probability at least must be shown in favour of them to prevent their rejection, and that with the most perfect justice. But even supposing the balance to waver, and that the matter could not be at all decided, even this continuing uncertainty will not throw the arranger of the Platonic works into any embarrassment. For dialogues of this kind do in no way belong to the list which it is his object to make out, for, even supposing their genuineness proved, this would only be the case when a particular object or an especial occasion for the existence of such heterogeneous productions was pointed out, so that in any case they can only be occasional pieces, which from their very nature are indifferent as regards this investigation. It is therefore easier also to decide upon the genuineness of all which can belong to the connected system which the arranger seeks, and all in which the investigation of their genuineness can either be not made out at all, or only upon other grounds, falls at once and of itself into a third, and for him an indifferent class. I speak not only of those pieces that are dubious from a certain misunderstanding of them, but also of those in the Platonic collection which do not fall in any degree within the province of philosophy, and whose genuineness, therefore, cannot be judged of according to the same rules with the others. Thus, then, the privilege is reserved of investigating quite from the beginning upwards the connection of the Platonic writings, and placing them in such an order as shall possess the probability of deviating as little as may be from that in which Plato wrote them ; and this undertaking is not endangered even supposing that a decided judgement upon the genuineness of many dialogues must continue in abeyance for future times, or for a sharper eyed and better furnished criticism. All therefore that now remains, since the marks of genuineness and the thence resulting different circumstances of the Platonic writings have been briefly sketched, is in like manner to lay before the reader the first principles of their connection and the arrangement resting thereupon, in the way of a preliminary survey of the whole in general. For to show in detail how every dialogue strikes into the rest, must remain in reserve for the particular introductions; while here we can only give an account of the principles which are the basis of the general plan. If then, to continue, we keep to the somewhat contracted selection of the more important Platonic works in which alone the main thread of this connection, as has

been already mentioned, is to be fonnd perfect, there are some of them distinguished above all the rest by the fact that they alone contain an objective scientific exposition; the Republic for instance, the Timaeus and the Critias. Every thing coincides in assigning to these the last places, tradition, as well as internal character though in different degrees of the most advanced maturity and serious old age; and even the imperfect condition which, viewed in connection they exhibit. But more than all this, the nature of the thing decides the question; inasmuch as these expositions rest upon the investigations previously pursued, with which all the dialogues are more or less engaged; upon the nature of knowledge generally, and of philosophical knowledge in particular; and upon the applicability of the idea of science to the objects treated of in those works, Man himself, and Nature. It may indeed be the case that in point of time a long period intervened between the Republic and the Timaeus; but it is not to be supposed that Plato during this interval composed any whatever of the works remaining to us, or even, generally, any that would properly come into connection with them, with the exception of the Laws, if those are to be counted as part of that connected series, for we have express testimony with regard to these that they were written after the books upon the Republic. But these books, together with the Timaeus and Critias, form an inseparable whole, and if it should be said that the Republic, as properly representing ethical and political science, though written later than those dialogues in which the nature of virtue, its capability of being taught, and the idea of the good are treated of, might nevertheless have been very easily written earlier than the dialogues immediately prepar

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atory to the Timaeus, those namely, which endeavour to solve the problem of the inherence of ideas in things, and of the kind of knowledge we possess of nature; this would be not only as unplatonic, according to what has been said above as any thing could be, and would suppose the grossest ignorance of those preparatory works in which such a separation of subjects is not to be found; but it would thence follow in particular, that the Politicus, which is preparatory to the Republic, in exactly the same relation as the Sophist to the Timaeus, was written earlier, and that by a considerable period than the Sophist itself, which does, nevertheless, in conjunction with the Politicus, constitute but one dialogue, and is in fact the first part of it. But the Republic, as being clearly the earliest of the properly expositive works, at once supposes the existence of all dialogues not belonging to this class, and this splendid structure contains, as it were let into its foundation, the key-stones of all these noble arches upon which it rests, and which, previous to entering that edifice whose support they are, if one considers them only in reference to themselves, and surveys them immediately within their own range, one might, not being able to divine their destination, pronounce objectless and imperfect. If, therefore the Republic will not admit of being separated by any means from the subsequently annexed Timaeus and Critias, whoever would make any objection against the place they occupy in common, must assume that Plato premised, generally, the perfected exposition, and did not add until afterwards the elementary investigations into the principles. But every thing, as well the manner in which those principles are introduced into the expositive works themselves, and in which they are investigated in the preparatory ones, as also every possible conception of Plato's spirit and style of thought, is so strongly repugnant to the adoption of such an inverted order, that it is hardly necessary to say anything upon that point; but we need only ask any one what dialogues he would read in this order, and then leave him to his own feelings as to the inverted process and the miserable expedient that the investigations leading back to the principles will now be necessarily instituted with persons knowing nothing of the preceding expositions, so to cut off all natural references to them. Moreover, instead of those references which he will in vain look for, other relations would spontaneously force themselves throughout upon the mind of any one reading in this order, clearly pointing to the opposite arrangement. It is hoped that no one will object that the case would, in the main, be the same with the order here proposed, inasmuch as according to this, a subject is not seldom anticipated mythically which does not appear until later in its scientific form. For the very fact of its being done only mythically does not only accurately agree with that main purpose of Plato to excite his readers to spontaneous origination of ideas, upon the recognition of which our whole arrangement rests, but it is even in itself a clear proof of how firmly convinced Plato was, that in philosophizing, properly so called, it is necessary to begin not with a composite theory but with the simple principles. Nay, whoever penetrates deeper into the study of Plato, will then, and not before, be aware how the gradual development and moulding of the Platonic myths form one fundamental myth, as well as the transition of much that is mythical into a scientific form, affords a new proof in favour of the correctness of the order in which all this may be most clearly

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