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II. LYSIS.

A sufficiently unauthenticated legend, inasmuch as Diogenes does not give us the name of its voucher, makes this dialogue one of the earliest, at least among those written before the death of Socrates. A greater degree of authority however might fairly attach to it than to the similar one respecting the Phaedrus, as this latter rests only upon internal evidence, while the former is grounded upon the tradition of a fact, namely Socrates' exclamation of surprise when he saw himself in the representation given of him by Plato. Such a testimony, however, scarcely deserving as it is of the name, is not here the ground upon which its place is assigned to this dialogue; the connection decides sufficiently in favour of it, even though it were not supported by historical references. For in its subject-matter the Lysis is related to the Phaedrus and the Symposium alone of all the dialogues of Plato, inasmuch as the question as to the nature and the grounds of friendship and love, which constitutes its whole content, is a secondary and subordinate object in point of form in the Phaedrus, while in the Symposium it is, in form, primary and predominant. Clearly, however, it could hardly occur to ony one to place the Lysis after the Symposium, as in the latter the question is not only decided directly and finished to the very last stroke, but also considered in its most extensive and general relations. So that dialectical touches, like those of which the Lysis consists, could scarcely be intended to form an ornamental addition to that discussion, while to work it out as an independent whole subsequently to it, would have been as little consistent with the rules of art as destitute of point, because every one already had before him in that dialogue the solution of every question started in this. And a mere dialectical exercise, especially one so trifling as this dialogue would then be, can hardly be attributed to the more finished master of a later period. It would therefore only remain to be investigated, in the next place, whether the Lysis is to be placed before or after the Phaedrus. The latter does indeed likewise speak decisively upon the principal question, inasmuch as it developes at length one source of love, and goes into an explanation of it; so that any one might fairly think, in reference to this circumstance, that, as in the case of the Symposium, it would be contrary to the principles assumed to place that dialogue before the Lysis, inasmuch as the Lysis only treats of the same subject sceptically. But the great distinction must of itself be evident to those who know the Symposium, while to others who do not, it may certainly be made apparent without taking an anticipative survey of that later dialogue. For the theory respecting the source of love is only brought forward in the Phaedrus mythically ; and to think of deciding in this manner a question which had been already at an earlier period taken within the province of logic, would be not only contrary to the most recognized analogy in the Platonic writings, and to every idea of the philosophy of their author, but even in itself a vicious and useless undertaking; because the reproduction upon a dialectic soil of those mythical elements among which the investigation began, must render the subject again complicated and uncertain. To this, moreover, the following argument may be added, one which with many will probably be more decisive. In the Phaedrus the matter is treated far less generally, inasmuch as there are yet other kinds of friendship than that exclusively philosophical, which is there the subject of discussion, or than that exclusively sensuous kind from which occasion is taken to start the question; but at what point these others deviate from the former, or how far the solution admits of being applied to them, is no where pointed out. In the Lysis, on the contrary, it is friendship in general that is the subject of discussion; and to think of carrying on and bringing to a conclusion an investigation begun with such universal bearings, and which yet obtains no decisive answer—to think of doing this by means of a mythical exposition, and that relating but to one part of the subject—is an absurdity so great that it could only be ascribed to an unthinking and random writer; a description which least of all applies to Plato. The Phaedrus therefore is by no means to be looked upon as growing out of the Lysis, as the former also could not fail to appear ridiculous to any one who would read it with a still lingering desire to resolve the logical doubts contained in the Lysis; but this latter clearly stands between the Phaedrus and the Symposium. And upon this it may be farther asked to which of the two it stands nearest; whether it is to be looked upon as a supplement to the Phaedrus, or as a note of preparation to the Symposium. To the latter it does indeed approximate in its more general and various method of treating the subject; but not to mention other grounds which will not allow of being fully understood before we come to consider the Symposium, in the Lysis any trace is so utterly wanting of what Plato wrote between the Phaedrus and the Symposium ; and it is itself so entirely to be understood from itself and from the Phaedrus, that it occupies indisputably the place next after it, and is almost to be viewed only as a supplement to this dialogue, or as an enlarged dialectic elucidation of its subject. For what in the Phaedrus is brought forward in a mythical form, that love has its source in the identity of the ideal between two persons, is here proved dialectically, though indirectly and in an enlarged sense. The latter, inasmuch as the motion of relation and affinity takes in more than that of the identity of the ideal; and indeed this notion is alluded to in the Lysis so indefinitely, that it is only by reference to the Phaedrus that it can be easily understood. Indirectly, inasmuch as all other propositions resolve into contradictions. For that this is the case with the last proposition likewise, and the one particularly defended by Plato, is only apparent. Much rather is the manner in which the doubts raised against the earlier position, that resemblance is the source of friendship, are applied to this likewise, to be looked upon as the key to the whole, and one which will certainly open up the entire meaning to every one who bears in mind the hints in the Phaedrus. Like is only then unprofitable to Like when a man confines himself to his own external personality, and to an interest in his own sensuous being ; not to him who, taking interest in the consciousness of a spiritual existence, possible at the same time among many and for the good of many, enlarges the sphere of his being beyond those limits; a process, in the course of which, first, every man universally meets with something like and related to himself, and not at war with his own endeavours. Similar hints are also implied in the similar sceptically proposed positions as to the uselessness of the good, in so far as it is conceived, not as an antidote to the bad, but independently and for itself. Aristotle, however, seems not to have understood these allusions. And this misunderstanding of the dialectics and polemics occurring in the writings of Plato, may generally indeed be excused in his case, as his synonymous arts are of a coarser metal, and of a composition admitting of no polish. But in the present instance where the case is so easy, the source of his error seems to be that he probably knew but little of the connection more especially of the earlier Platonic writings. For several passages may be found in his ethical works, in which he appears to have had the Lysis in his mind, and all of them look as if he thought Plato's apparent indecision real, and believed that he was only unable to extricate himself partly because he overlooked the distinction between friendship and inclination, partly because he mistook his three kinds of friendship, and therefore, naturally enough, could not avoid falling into a contradiction, as often as he thought to transfer to the others what held only of one. Now it must be clear to every reader of the Lysis with what emphasis Plato, though only in his indirect method, draws attention to that distinction, as a considerable part of the dialogue is devoted to the dialectical exposition of it, and how decidedly he rejects the so-called friendship of utility, and this too certainly, dialectically considered, with the greatest justice, as this utility is never and on no occasion anything for itself, but always, and this accidentally, only in another. Still further particulars likewise speak in favour of a very early date for the composition of the Lysis after the Phaedrus. Thus, for example, we find in this dialogue also harsh transitions, a playful caprice in the connection, and occasionally a carelessness in the choice

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