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diverging from the Theaetetus, to the Politicus: so that we must rest satisfied with an accumulation of probabilities collected as accurately as may be from every source. The third part contains no other subordinate work except the Laws, to which, certainly, not only with reference to that important triple work, but also considered in itself, we must give that name, and say that, although copiously penetrated with philosophical matter, they still form only a collateral piece, although, from their extensive range and genuine Platonic origin, they are perfectly entitled to belong to the works of the first class. Lastly, as regards those dialogues, to which with reference to the point of view taken in the arrangement, we have assigned in common a third place, although they, in point of genuineness, have a very different value, they will be distributed into appendices under all three divisions, according as either historical or internal evidence, in so far as they are Platonic, assign them a probable place, or according as the critical examination of them is facilitated particularly by comparison with this or that dialogue. For they also shall have the privilege which belongs to them, of being provided with all that can be said in a short space towards elucidating them, and bringing their cause more near to a decision.
This dialogue usually bears as a second title, “Or of the Beautiful;” and has been sometimes named, “Of Love and of the Mind.” / Indisputably all such second titles, appearing as they do to several dialogues of Plato, have arisen, probably accidentally, from a later hand, and have produced almost universally the disadvantageous effect of leading the reader upon a wrong track, and thus favouring views in part far too limited, in part entirely false, with regard to the object of the philosopher and the meaning of the works This holds especially of the superadded titles of this dialogue, which have been understood almost universally as indicating the true subject of it, have been translated and used in quotations, though love and beauty appear only in one part of the work, and could not, therefore, to an unprejudiced person, obtain as the true and proper subject of it. The omission, however, of this deceptive title will be hardly sufficient to replace the reader in that original state of absence of all prejudice; and from this cause, therefore, as well as from a desire to lay the Platonic method as clearly as possible before the mind, on occasion of the first dialogue, this introduction must claim to extend to what may appear a somewhat disproportionate
The whole Dialogue, exclusive of the richly ornamented Introduction, consists of two parts, much alike in extent, but otherwise, even at first sight, very different from one another. For the first of them contains three speeches upon love, one of Lysias in favour of the position that a boy should bestow his favour upon a cold and dispassionate lover rather than an enraptured and impassioned one, and two of Socrates—the first a supplementary speech, in the same sense in which such speeches were usual in courts of justice to defend the same cause with the preceding; the other, on the contrary, a counterspeech in favour of the impassioned suitor so severely accused in the first. The second part, to leave it, preliminarily, as indefinite as possible, contains several remarks, incidentally introduced on occasion of these speeches, upon the then condition of the art of speaking, together with notices of its proper principles. And from these entirely technical investigations no return whatever is again made to the subject treated of in the speeches. Now, even from this briefly-drawn sketch, every reader must at once see that not only that particular erotic question cannot have been in Plato's mind the main subject-matter, but not even love in general. For in either case this beautiful work, worked up as it evidently is with the greatest pains, would appear deformed in a most revolting manner, utterly contravening the maxim that it must be fashioned like a living creature, having a body proportioned to the mind, with parts also in due proportion. For the whole of the second half would then be nothing but an appendage strangely tacked on, and not even tolerably well fitted, which, of itself alone, and more especially from its position, could produce no effect so sure as that of necessarily drawing off the atten
tion as far as possible from the main subject. Moreover, supposing the last to be the case, the subject itself would be yet but very indifferently completed. For notwithstanding that in the two first speeches the relation of the lovers is treated of merely upon the grounds of pleasure and profit—in the last, on the other hand, ethically and mystically ; and this separate treatment might have so easily led to the true point of dispute, with regard to the nature of love and to its higher essence—notwithstanding this, no notice whatever, is taken of it in the succeeding criticism upon the speeches, and nothing is done to reconcile the opposing views. Accordingly, a subject so negligently treated could not be the proper subject-matter of the work, and nothing remained but to place the whole value of the dialogue upon the mythos in the third speech, which alone expatiates to a certain degree upon the question of love— that myth, which, of all that the dialogue presents, is most celebrated and famous—together with what is said in connection with it of the high importance and the great influence of beauty. And then we shall have to explain all that remains to be digressive matter, strangely confused and unmeaningly compiled; if, that is to say, we are to start from the subject-matter of those three speeches in order to comprehend the whole. Now if, on the contrary, we compare the second part instead of troubling ourselves so uselessly about the first, the result seems to be that as the Art is treated of in the second part, we are to look at the speeches in the first, more with reference to the mode of treatment, and their value as works of art, than to the subject discussed; whence ensues an attempt, the reverse of the first, to centre the main object of the whole in that which forms the subject of the second part, the more correct notions, namely, brought forward respecting the true nature of the art of speaking. This view, which has even been already adopted by several persons, is favoured by an at least half-seriously intended declaration of Socrates, that he brings forward the speeches only as examples, and that, setting aside the correct method employed, every thing else in them is to be taken only as jest. According to that, then, we should have to pay especial attention, from the beginning throughout, to what is paradigmatic in these speeches, and we must endeavour perfectly to understand every relation existing between them and the theory advanced in the second part, which consists in the main of the three following points. Plato first attempts to make quite clear what is the proper busimess of the art of speaking. For, as is clearly seen from the rules adduced in the second part, and the inventions of the most celebrated rhetoricians of that most ancient school, this art was treated by the artists and teachers of that day in an exclusively empirical manner. To blind the understanding of the hearers by sophistical means, and then, in particular passages, to excite their minds emotionally—this was their whole object; as likewise an extremely deficient and uniform method of instruction in composition, with uselessly accumulated subdivisions and technical terms, and some maxims upon the use of language, leading at most only to harmony and fulness of sound, or to the production of striking and brilliant effect, made up the whole secret. And thus the art was altogether devoid of internal substance. All this then, which up to this time had passed for the art itself, is degraded by Plato to the rank of technical knack, and while he exposes in its nakedness the principle of the