Plato - The Dialogues

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The Dialogues of Plato (428/27 - 348/47 BCE) Translated by Benjamin Jowett Etexts prepared for this edition by Antonio Gonz´alez Fern´andez

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Contents Preface ix 0.1 Preface to the First Edition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi 0.2 Preface to the Second and Third Editions . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii 0.3 Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxiv 1 First Alcibiades 1.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 First Alcibiades: text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 1 4

2 Second Alcibiades 37 2.1 Second Alcibiades: text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 3 Apology 49 3.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 3.2 Apology: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 4 Charmides 75 4.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 4.2 Charmides: text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 5 Cleitophon

101

6 Cratylus 107 6.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 6.2 Cratylus: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 7 Critias 195 7.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 7.2 Critias: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 8 Crito 211 8.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211 8.2 Crito: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214 9 Eryxias 223 9.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 9.2 Eryxias: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 iii

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10 Euthydemus 237 10.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237 10.2 Euthydemus: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246 11 Euthyphro 269 11.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269 11.2 Euthyphro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274 12 Gorgias 12.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.1.1 The Myths of Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.2 Gorgias: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

287 287 317 323

13 Hippias Major

387

14 Hippias Minor 409 14.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409 14.2 Lesser Hippias: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411 15 Ion 423 15.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 423 15.2 Ion: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 426 16 Laches 437 16.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 437 16.2 Laches: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441 17 Laws 17.1 Introduction . . . . 17.2 Preamble . . . . . 17.2.1 Book I . . . 17.2.2 Book II . . 17.2.3 Book III . . 17.2.4 Book IV . . 17.2.5 Book V . . 17.2.6 Book VI . . 17.2.7 Book VII . 17.2.8 Book VIII . 17.2.9 Book IX . . 17.2.10 Book X . . 17.2.11 Book XI . . 17.2.12 Book XII . 17.3 Excursus . . . . . . 17.4 Laws: the text . . 17.4.1 BOOK I . . 17.4.2 BOOK II . 17.4.3 BOOK III . 17.4.4 BOOK IV . 17.4.5 BOOK V . 17.4.6 BOOK VI . 17.4.7 BOOK VII

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459 459 478 478 484 489 496 507 512 522 531 547 556 563 571 587 604 604 622 638 657 671 684 706

CONTENTS 17.4.8 BOOK 17.4.9 BOOK 17.4.10 BOOK 17.4.11 BOOK 17.4.12 BOOK

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18 Seventh Letter

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19 Lysis 845 19.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 845 19.2 Lysis: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 851 20 Menexenus 869 20.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 869 20.2 Menexenus: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 872 21 Meno 883 21.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 883 21.1.1 On The Ideas Of Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 889 21.2 Meno: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 898 22 Parmenides 923 22.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 923 22.2 Parmenides: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 950 23 Phaedo 993 23.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 993 23.2 Phaedo: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1016 24 Phaedrus 1055 24.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1055 24.2 Phaedrus: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1078 25 Philebus 1115 25.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1115 25.2 Philebus: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1149 26 Protagoras 1197 26.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1197 26.2 Protagoras: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1206 27 Republic 27.1 Introduction . . . . 27.1.1 Argument . 27.1.2 Characters 27.2 Republic: the text 27.2.1 Book I . . . 27.2.2 Book II . . 27.2.3 Book III . . 27.2.4 Book IV . . 27.2.5 Book V . .

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1243 . 1243 . 1245 . 1248 . 1254 . 1254 . 1276 . 1297 . 1323 . 1344

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CONTENTS 27.2.6 Book 27.2.7 Book 27.2.8 Book 27.2.9 Book 27.2.10 Book

VI . VII VIII IX . X .

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1370 1392 1412 1433 1450

28 Sophist 1471 28.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1471 28.2 Sophist: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1507 29 Statesman 1555 29.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1555 29.2 Statesman: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1581 30 Symposium 1627 30.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1627 30.2 Symposium: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1644 31 Theaetetus 1677 31.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1677 31.1.1 On the Nature and Limits of Psychology . . . . . . . . . . 1720 31.2 Theaetetus: the text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1731 32 Timaeus 32.1 Introduction . . . . 32.1.1 Section 1 . 32.1.2 Section 2 . 32.1.3 Section 3 . 32.1.4 Section 4 . 32.1.5 Section 5 . 32.1.6 Section 6 . 32.1.7 Section 7 . 32.1.8 Section 8 . 32.2 Timaeus: the text

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1789 . 1789 . 1794 . 1814 . 1820 . 1828 . 1832 . 1833 . 1835 . 1837 . 1851

A Perseus Encyclopedia: Plato 1899 A.1 Primary Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1901 A.2 Secondary Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1901 B The Life of Plato

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C Quoting Plato: Stephanus Numbers

1907

D Science and Human Values. Plato 1909 D.1 Plato’s Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1909 D.2 Organic View of Nature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1911

CONTENTS E Plato and Platonism E.1 Plato and the Doctrine of Motion . . . . E.2 Plato and the Doctrine of Rest . . . . . E.3 Plato and the Doctrine of Number . . . E.4 Plato and Socrates . . . . . . . . . . . . E.5 Plato and the Sophists . . . . . . . . . . E.6 The Genius of Plato . . . . . . . . . . . E.7 The Doctrine of Plato: I. The Theory of E.8 The Doctrine of Plato: II. Dialectic . . . E.9 Lacedaemon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E.10 The Republic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E.11 Plato’s Aesthetics . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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1915 . 1916 . 1925 . 1937 . 1947 . 1958 . 1969 . 1979 . 1990 . 1999 . 2014 . 2028

F Appendix I

2037

G Appendix II

2043

H The H.1 H.2 H.3

Gutenberg Project 2045 Information about Project Gutenberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2045 To access Project Gutenberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2046 Small Print . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2046

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Preface Source text avalaible at: http://www.gutenberg.net/etext98/chmds10.txt1

THE DIALOGUES OF PLATO TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH WITH ANALYSES AND INTRODUCTIONS BY B. JOWETT, M.A. Master of Balliol College Regius Professor of Greek in the University of Oxford Doctor in Theology of the University of Leyden TO MY FORMER PUPILS in Balliol College and in the University of Oxford who during fifty years have been the best of friends to me these volumes are inscribed in grateful recognition of their never failing attachment. The additions and alterations which have been made, both in the Introductions and in the Text of this Edition, affect at least a third of the work. Having regard to the extent of these alterations, and to the annoyance which is naturally felt by the owner of a book at the possession of it in an inferior form, 1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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and still more keenly by the writer himself, who must always desire to be read as he is at his best, I have thought that the possessor of either of the former Editions (1870 and 1876) might wish to exchange it for the present one. I have therefore arranged that those who would like to make this exchange, on depositing a perfect and undamaged copy of the first or second Edition with any agent of the Clarendon Press, shall be entitled to receive a copy of a new Edition at half-price.

0.1. PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION

0.1

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Preface to the First Edition

The Text which has been mostly followed in this Translation of Plato is the latest 8vo. edition of Stallbaum; the principal deviations are noted at the bottom of the page. I have to acknowledge many obligations to old friends and pupils. These are:– Mr. John Purves, Fellow of Balliol College, with whom I have revised about half of the entire Translation; the Rev. Professor Campbell, of St. Andrews, who has helped me in the revision of several parts of the work, especially of the Theaetetus, Sophist, and Politicus; Mr. Robinson Ellis, Fellow of Trinity College, and Mr. Alfred Robinson, Fellow of New College, who read with me the Cratylus and the Gorgias; Mr. Paravicini, Student of Christ Church, who assisted me in the Symposium; Mr. Raper, Fellow of Queen’s College, Mr. Monro, Fellow of Oriel College, and Mr. Shadwell, Student of Christ Church, who gave me similar assistance in the Laws. Dr. Greenhill, of Hastings, has also kindly sent me remarks on the physiological part of the Timaeus, which I have inserted as corrections under the head of errata at the end of the Introduction. The degree of accuracy which I have been enabled to attain is in great measure due to these gentlemen, and I heartily thank them for the pains and time which they have bestowed on my work. I have further to explain how far I have received help from other labourers in the same field. The books which I have found of most use are Steinhart and Muller’s German Translation of Plato with Introductions; Zeller’s Philosophie der Griechen, and Platonische Studien; Susemihl’s Genetische Entwickelung der Paltonischen Philosophie; Hermann’s Geschichte der Platonischen Philosophie; Bonitz, Platonische Studien; Stallbaum’s Notes and Introductions; Professor Campbell’s editions of the Theaetetus, the Sophist, and the Politicus; Professor Thompson’s Phaedrus; Th. Martin’s Etudes sur le Timee; Mr. Poste’s edition and translation of the Philebus; the Translation of the Republic, by Messrs. Davies and Vaughan, and the Translation of the Gorgias, by Mr. Cope. I have also derived much assistance from the great work of Mr. Grote, which contains excellent analyses of the Dialogues, and is rich in original thoughts and observations. I agree with him in rejecting as futile the attempt of Schleiermacher and others to arrange the Dialogues of Plato into a harmonious whole. Any such arrangement appears to me not only to be unsupported by evidence, but to involve an anachronism in the history of philosophy. There is a common spirit in the writings of Plato, but not a unity of design in the whole, nor perhaps a perfect unity in any single Dialogue. The hypothesis of a general plan which is worked out in the successive Dialogues is an after-thought of the critics who have attributed a system to writings belonging to an age when system had not as yet taken possession of philosophy. If Mr. Grote should do me the honour to read any portion of this work he will probably remark that I have endeavoured to approach Plato from a point of view which is opposed to his own. The aim of the Introductions in these volumes has been to represent Plato as the father of Idealism, who is not to be measured by the standard of utilitarianism or any other modern philosophical system. He is the poet or maker of ideas, satisfying the wants of his own age, providing the instruments of thought for future generations. He is no dreamer, but a great philosophical genius struggling with the unequal conditions of light and knowledge under which he is living. He may be illustrated by the writings of

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moderns, but he must be interpreted by his own, and by his place in the history of philosophy. We are not concerned to determine what is the residuum of truth which remains for ourselves. His truth may not be our truth, and nevertheless may have an extraordinary value and interest for us. I cannot agree with Mr. Grote in admitting as genuine all the writings commonly attributed to Plato in antiquity, any more than with Schaarschmidt and some other German critics who reject nearly half of them. The German critics, to whom I refer, proceed chiefly on grounds of internal evidence; they appear to me to lay too much stress on the variety of doctrine and style, which must be equally acknowledged as a fact, even in the Dialogues regarded by Schaarschmidt as genuine, e.g. in the Phaedrus, or Symposium, when compared with the Laws. He who admits works so different in style and matter to have been the composition of the same author, need have no difficulty in admitting the Sophist or the Politicus. (The negative argument adduced by the same school of critics, which is based on the silence of Aristotle, is not worthy of much consideration. For why should Aristotle, because he has quoted several Dialogues of Plato, have quoted them all? Something must be allowed to chance, and to the nature of the subjects treated of in them.) On the other hand, Mr. Grote trusts mainly to the Alexandrian Canon. But I hardly think that we are justified in attributing much weight to the authority of the Alexandrian librarians in an age when there was no regular publication of books, and every temptation to forge them; and in which the writings of a school were naturally attributed to the founder of the school. And even without intentional fraud, there was an inclination to believe rather than to enquire. Would Mr. Grote accept as genuine all the writings which he finds in the lists of learned ancients attributed to Hippocrates, to Xenophon, to Aristotle? The Alexandrian Canon of the Platonic writings is deprived of credit by the admission of the Epistles, which are not only unworthy of Plato, and in several passages plagiarized from him, but flagrantly at variance with historical fact. It will be seen also that I do not agree with Mr. Grote’s views about the Sophists; nor with the low estimate which he has formed of Plato’s Laws; nor with his opinion respecting Plato’s doctrine of the rotation of the earth. But I ’am not going to lay hands on my father Parmenides’ (Soph.), who will, I hope, forgive me for differing from him on these points. I cannot close this Preface without expressing my deep respect for his noble and gentle character, and the great services which he has rendered to Greek Literature. Balliol College, January, 1871.

0.2. PREFACE TO THE SECOND AND THIRD EDITIONS

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Preface to the Second and Third Editions

In publishing a Second Edition (1875) of the Dialogues of Plato in English, I had to acknowledge the assistance of several friends: of the Rev. G.G. Bradley, Master of University College, now Dean of Westminster, who sent me some valuable remarks on the Phaedo; of Dr. Greenhill, who had again revised a portion of the Timaeus; of Mr. R.L. Nettleship, Fellow and Tutor of Balliol College, to whom I was indebted for an excellent criticism of the Parmenides; and, above all, of the Rev. Professor Campbell of St. Andrews, and Mr. Paravicini, late Student of Christ Church and Tutor of Balliol College, with whom I had read over the greater part of the translation. I was also indebted to Mr. Evelyn Abbott, Fellow and Tutor of Balliol College, for a complete and accurate index. In this, the Third Edition, I am under very great obligations to Mr. Matthew Knight, who has not only favoured me with valuable suggestions throughout the work, but has largely extended the Index (from 61 to 175 pages) and translated the Eryxias and Second Alcibiades; and to Mr Frank Fletcher, of Balliol College, my Secretary. I am also considerably indebted to Mr. J.W. Mackail, late Fellow of Balliol College, who read over the Republic in the Second Edition and noted several inaccuracies. In both editions the Introductions to the Dialogues have been enlarged, and essays on subjects having an affinity to the Platonic Dialogues have been introduced into several of them. The analyses have been corrected, and innumerable alterations have been made in the Text. There have been added also, in the Third Edition, headings to the pages and a marginal analysis to the text of each dialogue. At the end of a long task, the translator may without impropriety point out the difficulties which he has had to encounter. These have been far greater than he would have anticipated; nor is he at all sanguine that he has succeeded in overcoming them. Experience has made him feel that a translation, like a picture, is dependent for its effect on very minute touches; and that it is a work of infinite pains, to be returned to in many moods and viewed in different lights. I. An English translation ought to be idiomatic and interesting, not only to the scholar, but to the unlearned reader. Its object should not simply be to render the words of one language into the words of another or to preserve the construction and order of the original;–this is the ambition of a schoolboy, who wishes to show that he has made a good use of his Dictionary and Grammar; but is quite unworthy of the translator, who seeks to produce on his reader an impression similar or nearly similar to that produced by the original. To him the feeling should be more important than the exact word. He should remember Dryden’s quaint admonition not to ’lacquey by the side of his author, but to mount up behind him.’ (Dedication to the Aeneis.) He must carry in his mind a comprehensive view of the whole work, of what has preceded and of what is to follow,–as well as of the meaning of particular passages. His version should be based, in the first instance, on an intimate knowledge of the text; but the precise order and arrangement of the words may be left to fade out of sight, when the translation begins to take shape. He must form a general idea of the two languages, and reduce the one to the terms of the other. His work should be rhythmical and varied, the right admixture of words and syllables, and even of letters, should be carefully attended to; above all, it should be equable in style. There must also be quantity, which is necessary in prose as well as in

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verse: clauses, sentences, paragraphs, must be in due proportion. Metre and even rhyme may be rarely admitted; though neither is a legitimate element of prose writing, they may help to lighten a cumbrous expression (Symp.). The translation should retain as far as possible the characteristic qualities of the ancient writer–his freedom, grace, simplicity, stateliness, weight, precision; or the best part of him will be lost to the English reader. It should read as an original work, and should also be the most faithful transcript which can be made of the language from which the translation is taken, consistently with the first requirement of all, that it be English. Further, the translation being English, it should also be perfectly intelligible in itself without reference to the Greek, the English being really the more lucid and exact of the two languages. In some respects it may be maintained that ordinary English writing, such as the newspaper article, is superior to Plato: at any rate it is couched in language which is very rarely obscure. On the other hand, the greatest writers of Greece, Thucydides, Plato, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Pindar, Demosthenes, are generally those which are found to be most difficult and to diverge most widely from the English idiom. The translator will often have to convert the more abstract Greek into the more concrete English, or vice versa, and he ought not to force upon one language the character of another. In some cases, where the order is confused, the expression feeble, the emphasis misplaced, or the sense somewhat faulty, he will not strive in his rendering to reproduce these characteristics, but will re-write the passage as his author would have written it at first, had he not been ’nodding’; and he will not hesitate to supply anything which, owing to the genius of the language or some accident of composition, is omitted in the Greek, but is necessary to make the English clear and consecutive. It is difficult to harmonize all these conflicting elements. In a translation of Plato what may be termed the interests of the Greek and English are often at war with one another. In framing the English sentence we are insensibly diverted from the exact meaning of the Greek; when we return to the Greek we are apt to cramp and overlay the English. We substitute, we compromise, we give and take, we add a little here and leave out a little there. The translator may sometimes be allowed to sacrifice minute accuracy for the sake of clearness and sense. But he is not therefore at liberty to omit words and turns of expression which the English language is quite capable of supplying. He must be patient and self-controlled; he must not be easily run away with. Let him never allow the attraction of a favourite expression, or a sonorous cadence, to overpower his better judgment, or think much of an ornament which is out of keeping with the general character of his work. He must ever be casting his eyes upwards from the copy to the original, and down again from the original to the copy (Rep.). His calling is not held in much honour by the world of scholars; yet he himself may be excused for thinking it a kind of glory to have lived so many years in the companionship of one of the greatest of human intelligences, and in some degree, more perhaps than others, to have had the privilege of understanding him (Sir Joshua Reynolds’ Lectures: Disc. xv.). There are fundamental differences in Greek and English, of which some may be managed while others remain intractable. (1). The structure of the Greek language is partly adversative and alternative, and partly inferential; that is to say, the members of a sentence are either opposed to one another, or one of them expresses the cause or effect or condition or reason of another. The two tendencies may be called the horizontal and perpendicular lines of the language;

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and the opposition or inference is often much more one of words than of ideas. But modern languages have rubbed off this adversative and inferential form: they have fewer links of connection, there is less mortar in the interstices, and they are content to place sentences side by side, leaving their relation to one another to be gathered from their position or from the context. The difficulty of preserving the effect of the Greek is increased by the want of adversative and inferential particles in English, and by the nice sense of tautology which characterizes all modern languages. We cannot have two ’buts’ or two ’fors’ in the same sentence where the Greek repeats (Greek). There is a similar want of particles expressing the various gradations of objective and subjective thought–(Greek) and the like, which are so thickly scattered over the Greek page. Further, we can only realize to a very imperfect degree the common distinction between (Greek), and the combination of the two suggests a subtle shade of negation which cannot be expressed in English. And while English is more dependent than Greek upon the apposition of clauses and sentences, yet there is a difficulty in using this form of construction owing to the want of case endings. For the same reason there cannot be an equal variety in the order of words or an equal nicety of emphasis in English as in Greek. (2) The formation of the sentence and of the paragraph greatly differs in Greek and English. The lines by which they are divided are generally much more marked in modern languages than in ancient. Both sentences and paragraphs are more precise and definite–they do not run into one another. They are also more regularly developed from within. The sentence marks another step in an argument or a narrative or a statement; in reading a paragraph we silently turn over the page and arrive at some new view or aspect of the subject. Whereas in Plato we are not always certain where a sentence begins and ends; and paragraphs are few and far between. The language is distributed in a different way, and less articulated than in English. For it was long before the true use of the period was attained by the classical writers both in poetry or prose; it was (Greek). The balance of sentences and the introduction of paragraphs at suitable intervals must not be neglected if the harmony of the English language is to be preserved. And still a caution has to be added on the other side, that we must avoid giving it a numerical or mechanical character. (3) This, however, is not one of the greatest difficulties of the translator; much greater is that which arises from the restriction of the use of the genders. Men and women in English are masculine and feminine, and there is a similar distinction of sex in the words denoting animals; but all things else, whether outward objects or abstract ideas, are relegated to the class of neuters. Hardly in some flight of poetry do we ever endue any of them with the characteristics of a sentient being, and then only by speaking of them in the feminine gender. The virtues may be pictured in female forms, but they are not so described in language; a ship is humorously supposed to be the sailor’s bride; more doubtful are the personifications of church and country as females. Now the genius of the Greek language is the opposite of this. The same tendency to personification which is seen in the Greek mythology is common also in the language; and genders are attributed to things as well as persons according to their various degrees of strength and weakness; or from fanciful resemblances to the male or female form, or some analogy too subtle to be discovered. When the gender of any object was once fixed, a similar gender was naturally assigned to similar objects, or to words of similar formation. This use of genders in the denotation

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of objects or ideas not only affects the words to which genders are attributed, but the words with which they are construed or connected, and passes into the general character of the style. Hence arises a difficulty in translating Greek into English which cannot altogether be overcome. Shall we speak of the soul and its qualities, of virtue, power, wisdom, and the like, as feminine or neuter? The usage of the English language does not admit of the former, and yet the life and beauty of the style are impaired by the latter. Often the translator will have recourse to the repetition of the word, or to the ambiguous ’they,’ ’their,’ etc.; for fear of spoiling the effect of the sentence by introducing ’it.’ Collective nouns in Greek and English create a similar but lesser awkwardness. (4) To use of relation is far more extended in Greek than in English. Partly the greater variety of genders and cases makes the connexion of relative and antecedent less ambiguous: partly also the greater number of demonstrative and relative pronouns, and the use of the article, make the correlation of ideas simpler and more natural. The Greek appears to have had an ear or intelligence for a long and complicated sentence which is rarely to be found in modern nations; and in order to bring the Greek down to the level of the modern, we must break up the long sentence into two or more short ones. Neither is the same precision required in Greek as in Latin or English, nor in earlier Greek as in later; there was nothing shocking to the contemporary of Thucydides and Plato in anacolutha and repetitions. In such cases the genius of the English language requires that the translation should be more intelligible than the Greek. The want of more distinctions between the demonstrative pronouns is also greatly felt. Two genitives dependent on one another, unless familiarised by idiom, have an awkward effect in English. Frequently the noun has to take the place of the pronoun. ’This’ and ’that’ are found repeating themselves to weariness in the rough draft of a translation. As in the previous case, while the feeling of the modern language is more opposed to tautology, there is also a greater difficulty in avoiding it. (5) Though no precise rule can be laid down about the repetition of words, there seems to be a kind of impertinence in presenting to the reader the same thought in the same words, repeated twice over in the same passage without any new aspect or modification of it. And the evasion of tautology–that is, the substitution of one word of precisely the same meaning for another–is resented by us equally with the repetition of words. Yet on the other hand the least difference of meaning or the least change of form from a substantive to an adjective, or from a participle to a verb, will often remedy the unpleasant effect. Rarely and only for the sake of emphasis or clearness can we allow an important word to be used twice over in two successive sentences or even in the same paragraph. The particles and pronouns, as they are of most frequent occurrence, are also the most troublesome. Strictly speaking, except a few of the commonest of them, ’and,’ ’the,’ etc., they ought not to occur twice in the same sentence. But the Greek has no such precise rules; and hence any literal translation of a Greek author is full of tautology. The tendency of modern languages is to become more correct as well as more perspicuous than ancient. And, therefore, while the English translator is limited in the power of expressing relation or connexion, by the law of his own language increased precision and also increased clearness are required of him. The familiar use of logic, and the progress of science, have in these two respects raised the standard. But modern languages, while they have become more exacting in their demands, are in many ways not so well

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furnished with powers of expression as the ancient classical ones. Such are a few of the difficulties which have to be overcome in the work of translation; and we are far from having exhausted the list. (6) The excellence of a translation will consist, not merely in the faithful rendering of words, or in the composition of a sentence only, or yet of a single paragraph, but in the colour and style of the whole work. Equability of tone is best attained by the exclusive use of familiar and idiomatic words. But great care must be taken; for an idiomatic phrase, if an exception to the general style, is of itself a disturbing element. No word, however expressive and exact, should be employed, which makes the reader stop to think, or unduly attracts attention by difficulty and peculiarity, or disturbs the effect of the surrounding language. In general the style of one author is not appropriate to another; as in society, so in letters, we expect every man to have ’a good coat of his own,’ and not to dress himself out in the rags of another. (a) Archaic expressions are therefore to be avoided. Equivalents may be occasionally drawn from Shakspere, who is the common property of us all; but they must be used sparingly. For, like some other men of genius of the Elizabethan and Jacobean age, he outdid the capabilities of the language, and many of the expressions which he introduced have been laid aside and have dropped out of use. (b) A similar principle should be observed in the employment of Scripture. Having a greater force and beauty than other language, and a religious association, it disturbs the even flow of the style. It may be used to reproduce in the translation the quaint effect of some antique phrase in the original, but rarely; and when adopted, it should have a certain freshness and a suitable ’entourage.’ It is strange to observe that the most effective use of Scripture phraseology arises out of the application of it in a sense not intended by the author. (c) Another caution: metaphors differ in different languages, and the translator will often be compelled to substitute one for another, or to paraphrase them, not giving word for word, but diffusing over several words the more concentrated thought of the original. The Greek of Plato often goes beyond the English in its imagery: compare Laws, (Greek); Rep.; etc. Or again the modern word, which in substance is the nearest equivalent to the Greek, may be found to include associations alien to Greek life: e.g. (Greek), ’jurymen,’ (Greek), ’the bourgeoisie.’ (d) The translator has also to provide expressions for philosophical terms of very indefinite meaning in the more definite language of modern philosophy. And he must not allow discordant elements to enter into the work. For example, in translating Plato, it would equally be an anachronism to intrude on him the feeling and spirit of the Jewish or Christian Scriptures or the technical terms of the Hegelian or Darwinian philosophy. (7) As no two words are precise equivalents (just as no two leaves of the forest are exactly similar), it is a mistaken attempt at precision always to translate the same Greek word by the same English word. There is no reason why in the New Testament (Greek) should always be rendered ’righteousness,’ or (Greek) ’covenant.’ In such cases the translator may be allowed to employ two words– sometimes when the two meanings occur in the same passage, varying them by an ’or’–e.g. (Greek), ’science’ or ’knowledge,’ (Greek), ’idea’ or ’class,’ (Greek), ’temperance’ or ’prudence,’–at the point where the change of meaning occurs. If translations are intended not for the Greek scholar but for the general reader, their worst fault will be that they sacrifice the general effect and meaning to the over-precise rendering of words and forms of speech.

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(8) There is no kind of literature in English which corresponds to the Greek Dialogue; nor is the English language easily adapted to it. The rapidity and abruptness of question and answer, the constant repetition of (Greek), etc., which Cicero avoided in Latin (de Amicit), the frequent occurrence of expletives, would, if reproduced in a translation, give offence to the reader. Greek has a freer and more frequent use of the Interrogative, and is of a more passionate and emotional character, and therefore lends itself with greater readiness to the dialogue form. Most of the so-called English Dialogues are but poor imitations of Plato, which fall very far short of the original. The breath of conversation, the subtle adjustment of question and answer, the lively play of fancy, the power of drawing characters, are wanting in them. But the Platonic dialogue is a drama as well as a dialogue, of which Socrates is the central figure, and there are lesser performers as well:–the insolence of Thrasymachus, the anger of Callicles and Anytus, the patronizing style of Protagoras, the self-consciousness of Prodicus and Hippias, are all part of the entertainment. To reproduce this living image the same sort of effort is required as in translating poetry. The language, too, is of a finer quality; the mere prose English is slow in lending itself to the form of question and answer, and so the ease of conversation is lost, and at the same time the dialectical precision with which the steps of the argument are drawn out is apt to be impaired. II. In the Introductions to the Dialogues there have been added some essays on modern philosophy, and on political and social life. The chief subjects discussed in these are Utility, Communism, the Kantian and Hegelian philosophies, Psychology, and the Origin of Language. (There have been added also in the Third Edition remarks on other subjects. A list of the most important of these additions is given at the end of this Preface.) Ancient and modern philosophy throw a light upon one another: but they should be compared, not confounded. Although the connexion between them is sometimes accidental, it is often real. The same questions are discussed by them under different conditions of language and civilization; but in some cases a mere word has survived, while nothing or hardly anything of the pre-Socratic, Platonic, or Aristotelian meaning is retained. There are other questions familiar to the moderns, which have no place in ancient philosophy. The world has grown older in two thousand years, and has enlarged its stock of ideas and methods of reasoning. Yet the germ of modern thought is found in ancient, and we may claim to have inherited, notwithstanding many accidents of time and place, the spirit of Greek philosophy. There is, however, no continuous growth of the one into the other, but a new beginning, partly artificial, partly arising out of the questionings of the mind itself, and also receiving a stimulus from the study of ancient writings. Considering the great and fundamental differences which exist in ancient and modern philosophy, it seems best that we should at first study them separately, and seek for the interpretation of either, especially of the ancient, from itself only, comparing the same author with himself and with his contemporaries, and with the general state of thought and feeling prevalent in his age. Afterwards comes the remoter light which they cast on one another. We begin to feel that the ancients had the same thoughts as ourselves, the same difficulties which characterize all periods of transition, almost the same opposition between science and religion. Although we cannot maintain that ancient and modern philosophy are one and continuous (as has been affirmed with more

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truth respecting ancient and modern history), for they are separated by an interval of a thousand years, yet they seem to recur in a sort of cycle, and we are surprised to find that the new is ever old, and that the teaching of the past has still a meaning for us. III. In the preface to the first edition I expressed a strong opinion at variance with Mr. Grote’s, that the so-called Epistles of Plato were spurious. His friend and editor, Professor Bain, thinks that I ought to give the reasons why I differ from so eminent an authority. Reserving the fuller discussion of the question for another place, I will shortly defend my opinion by the following arguments:– (a) Because almost all epistles purporting to be of the classical age of Greek literature are forgeries. (Compare Bentley’s Works (Dyce’s Edition).) Of all documents this class are the least likely to be preserved and the most likely to be invented. The ancient world swarmed with them; the great libraries stimulated the demand for them; and at a time when there was no regular publication of books, they easily crept into the world. (b) When one epistle out of a number is spurious, the remainder of the series cannot be admitted to be genuine, unless there be some independent ground for thinking them so: when all but one are spurious, overwhelming evidence is required of the genuineness of the one: when they are all similar in style or motive, like witnesses who agree in the same tale, they stand or fall together. But no one, not even Mr. Grote, would maintain that all the Epistles of Plato are genuine, and very few critics think that more than one of them is so. And they are clearly all written from the same motive, whether serious or only literary. Nor is there an example in Greek antiquity of a series of Epistles, continuous and yet coinciding with a succession of events extending over a great number of years. The external probability therefore against them is enormous, and the internal probability is not less: for they are trivial and unmeaning, devoid of delicacy and subtlety, wanting in a single fine expression. And even if this be matter of dispute, there can be no dispute that there are found in them many plagiarisms, inappropriately borrowed, which is a common note of forgery. They imitate Plato, who never imitates either himself or any one else; reminiscences of the Republic and the Laws are continually recurring in them; they are too like him and also too unlike him, to be genuine (see especially Karsten, Commentio Critica de Platonis quae feruntur Epistolis). They are full of egotism, self-assertion, affectation, faults which of all writers Plato was most careful to avoid, and into which he was least likely to fall. They abound in obscurities, irrelevancies, solecisms, pleonasms, inconsistencies, awkwardnesses of construction, wrong uses of words. They also contain historical blunders, such as the statement respecting Hipparinus and Nysaeus, the nephews of Dion, who are said to ’have been well inclined to philosophy, and well able to dispose the mind of their brother Dionysius in the same course,’ at a time when they could not have been more than six or seven years of age– also foolish allusions, such as the comparison of the Athenian empire to the empire of Darius, which show a spirit very different from that of Plato; and mistakes of fact, as e.g. about the Thirty Tyrants, whom the writer of the letters seems to have confused with certain inferior magistrates, making them in all fifty-one. These palpable errors and absurdities are absolutely irreconcileable with their genuineness. And as they appear to have a common parentage, the more they are studied, the more they will be found to furnish evidence against themselves. The Seventh, which

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is thought to be the most important of these Epistles, has affinities with the Third and the Eighth, and is quite as impossible and inconsistent as the rest. It is therefore involved in the same condemnation.–The final conclusion is that neither the Seventh nor any other of them, when carefully analyzed, can be imagined to have proceeded from the hand or mind of Plato. The other testimonies to the voyages of Plato to Sicily and the court of Dionysius are all of them later by several centuries than the events to which they refer. No extant writer mentions them older than Cicero and Cornelius Nepos. It does not seem impossible that so attractive a theme as the meeting of a philosopher and a tyrant, once imagined by the genius of a Sophist, may have passed into a romance which became famous in Hellas and the world. It may have created one of the mists of history, like the Trojan war or the legend of Arthur, which we are unable to penetrate. In the age of Cicero, and still more in that of Diogenes Laertius and Appuleius, many other legends had gathered around the personality of Plato,–more voyages, more journeys to visit tyrants and Pythagorean philosophers. But if, as we agree with Karsten in supposing, they are the forgery of some rhetorician or sophist, we cannot agree with him in also supposing that they are of any historical value, the rather as there is no early independent testimony by which they are supported or with which they can be compared. IV. There is another subject to which I must briefly call attention, lest I should seem to have overlooked it. Dr. Henry Jackson, of Trinity College, Cambridge, in a series of articles which he has contributed to the Journal of Philology, has put forward an entirely new explanation of the Platonic ’Ideas.’ He supposes that in the mind of Plato they took, at different times in his life, two essentially different forms:–an earlier one which is found chiefly in the Republic and the Phaedo, and a later, which appears in the Theaetetus, Philebus, Sophist, Politicus, Parmenides, Timaeus. In the first stage of his philosophy Plato attributed Ideas to all things, at any rate to all things which have classes or common notions: these he supposed to exist only by participation in them. In the later Dialogues he no longer included in them manufactured articles and ideas of relation, but restricted them to ’types of nature,’ and having become convinced that the many cannot be parts of the one, for the idea of participation in them he substituted imitation of them. To quote Dr. Jackson’s own expressions,–’whereas in the period of the Republic and the Phaedo, it was proposed to pass through ontology to the sciences, in the period of the Parmenides and the Philebus, it is proposed to pass through the sciences to ontology’: or, as he repeats in nearly the same words,– ’whereas in the Republic and in the Phaedo he had dreamt of passing through ontology to the sciences, he is now content to pass through the sciences to ontology.’ This theory is supposed to be based on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, a passage containing an account of the ideas, which hitherto scholars have found impossible to reconcile with the statements of Plato himself. The preparations for the new departure are discovered in the Parmenides and in the Theaetetus; and it is said to be expressed under a different form by the (Greek) and the (Greek) of the Philebus. The (Greek) of the Philebus is the principle which gives form and measure to the (Greek); and in the ’Later Theory’ is held to be the (Greek) or (Greek) which converts the Infinite or Indefinite into ideas. They are neither (Greek) nor (Greek), but belong to the (Greek) which partakes of both. With great respect for the learning and ability of Dr. Jackson, I find myself

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unable to agree in this newly fashioned doctrine of the Ideas, which he ascribes to Plato. I have not the space to go into the question fully; but I will briefly state some objections which are, I think, fatal to it. (1) First, the foundation of his argument is laid in the Metaphysics of Aristotle. But we cannot argue, either from the Metaphysics, or from any other of the philosophical treatises of Aristotle, to the dialogues of Plato until we have ascertained the relation in which his so-called works stand to the philosopher himself. There is of course no doubt of the great influence exercised upon Greece and upon the world by Aristotle and his philosophy. But on the other hand almost every one who is capable of understanding the subject acknowledges that his writings have not come down to us in an authentic form like most of the dialogues of Plato. How much of them is to be ascribed to Aristotle’s own hand, how much is due to his successors in the Peripatetic School, is a question which has never been determined, and probably never can be, because the solution of it depends upon internal evidence only. To ’the height of this great argument’ I do not propose to ascend. But one little fact, not irrelevant to the present discussion, will show how hopeless is the attempt to explain Plato out of the writings of Aristotle. In the chapter of the Metaphysics quoted by Dr. Jackson, about two octavo pages in length, there occur no less than seven or eight references to Plato, although nothing really corresponding to them can be found in his extant writings:–a small matter truly; but what a light does it throw on the character of the entire book in which they occur! We can hardly escape from the conclusion that they are not statements of Aristotle respecting Plato, but of a later generation of Aristotelians respecting a later generation of Platonists. (Compare the striking remark of the great Scaliger respecting the Magna Moralia:–Haec non sunt Aristotelis, tamen utitur auctor Aristotelis nomine tanquam suo.) (2) There is no hint in Plato’s own writings that he was conscious of having made any change in the Doctrine of Ideas such as Dr. Jackson attributes to him, although in the Republic the platonic Socrates speaks of ’a longer and a shorter way’, and of a way in which his disciple Glaucon ’will be unable to follow him’; also of a way of Ideas, to which he still holds fast, although it has often deserted him (Philebus, Phaedo), and although in the later dialogues and in the Laws the reference to Ideas disappears, and Mind claims her own (Phil.; Laws). No hint is given of what Plato meant by the ’longer way’ (Rep.), or ’the way in which Glaucon was unable to follow’; or of the relation of Mind to the Ideas. It might be said with truth that the conception of the Idea predominates in the first half of the Dialogues, which, according to the order adopted in this work, ends with the Republic, the ’conception of Mind’ and a way of speaking more in agreement with modern terminology, in the latter half. But there is no reason to suppose that Plato’s theory, or, rather, his various theories, of the Ideas underwent any definite change during his period of authorship. They are substantially the same in the twelfth Book of the Laws as in the Meno and Phaedo; and since the Laws were written in the last decade of his life, there is no time to which this change of opinions can be ascribed. It is true that the theory of Ideas takes several different forms, not merely an earlier and a later one, in the various Dialogues. They are personal and impersonal, ideals and ideas, existing by participation or by imitation, one and many, in different parts of his writings or even in the same passage. They are the universal definitions of Socrates, and at the same time ’of more than mortal knowledge’ (Rep.). But they are always the

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negations of sense, of matter, of generation, of the particular: they are always the subjects of knowledge and not of opinion; and they tend, not to diversity, but to unity. Other entities or intelligences are akin to them, but not the same with them, such as mind, measure, limit, eternity, essence (Philebus; Timaeus): these and similar terms appear to express the same truths from a different point of view, and to belong to the same sphere with them. But we are not justified, therefore, in attempting to identify them, any more than in wholly opposing them. The great oppositions of the sensible and intellectual, the unchangeable and the transient, in whatever form of words expressed, are always maintained in Plato. But the lesser logical distinctions, as we should call them, whether of ontology or predication, which troubled the pre-Socratic philosophy and came to the front in Aristotle, are variously discussed and explained. Thus far we admit inconsistency in Plato, but no further. He lived in an age before logic and system had wholly permeated language, and therefore we must not always expect to find in him systematic arrangement or logical precision:–’poema magis putandum.’ But he is always true to his own context, the careful study of which is of more value to the interpreter than all the commentators and scholiasts put together. (3) The conclusions at which Dr. Jackson has arrived are such as might be expected to follow from his method of procedure. For he takes words without regard to their connection, and pieces together different parts of dialogues in a purely arbitrary manner, although there is no indication that the author intended the two passages to be so combined, or that when he appears to be experimenting on the different points of view from which a subject of philosophy may be regarded, he is secretly elaborating a system. By such a use of language any premises may be made to lead to any conclusion. I am not one of those who believe Plato to have been a mystic or to have had hidden meanings; nor do I agree with Dr. Jackson in thinking that ’when he is precise and dogmatic, he generally contrives to introduce an element of obscurity into the expostion’ (J. of Philol.). The great master of language wrote as clearly as he could in an age when the minds of men were clouded by controversy, and philosophical terms had not yet acquired a fixed meaning. I have just said that Plato is to be interpreted by his context; and I do not deny that in some passages, especially in the Republic and Laws, the context is at a greater distance than would be allowable in a modern writer. But we are not therefore justified in connecting passages from different parts of his writings, or even from the same work, which he has not himself joined. We cannot argue from the Parmenides to the Philebus, or from either to the Sophist, or assume that the Parmenides, the Philebus, and the Timaeus were ’written simultaneously,’ or ’were intended to be studied in the order in which they are here named (J. of Philol.) We have no right to connect statements which are only accidentally similar. Nor is it safe for the author of a theory about ancient philosophy to argue from what will happen if his statements are rejected. For those consequences may never have entered into the mind of the ancient writer himself; and they are very likely to be modern consequences which would not have been understood by him. ’I cannot think,’ says Dr. Jackson, ’that Plato would have changed his opinions, but have nowhere explained the nature of the change.’ But is it not much more improbable that he should have changed his opinions, and not stated in an unmistakable manner that the most essential principle of his philosophy had been reversed? It is true that a few of the dialogues, such as the Republic

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and the Timaeus, or the Theaetetus and the Sophist, or the Meno and the Apology, contain allusions to one another. But these allusions are superficial and, except in the case of the Republic and the Laws, have no philosophical importance. They do not affect the substance of the work. It may be remarked further that several of the dialogues, such as the Phaedrus, the Sophist, and the Parmenides, have more than one subject. But it does not therefore follow that Plato intended one dialogue to succeed another, or that he begins anew in one dialogue a subject which he has left unfinished in another, or that even in the same dialogue he always intended the two parts to be connected with each other. We cannot argue from a casual statement found in the Parmenides to other statements which occur in the Philebus. Much more truly is his own manner described by himself when he says that ’words are more plastic than wax’ (Rep.), and ’whither the wind blows, the argument follows’. The dialogues of Plato are like poems, isolated and separate works, except where they are indicated by the author himself to have an intentional sequence. It is this method of taking passages out of their context and placing them in a new connexion when they seem to confirm a preconceived theory, which is the defect of Dr. Jackson’s procedure. It may be compared, though not wholly the same with it, to that method which the Fathers practised, sometimes called ’the mystical interpretation of Scripture,’ in which isolated words are separated from their context, and receive any sense which the fancy of the interpreter may suggest. It is akin to the method employed by Schleiermacher of arranging the dialogues of Plato in chronological order according to what he deems the true arrangement of the ideas contained in them. (Dr. Jackson is also inclined, having constructed a theory, to make the chronology of Plato’s writings dependent upon it (See J. of Philol. and elsewhere.).) It may likewise be illustrated by the ingenuity of those who employ symbols to find in Shakespeare a hidden meaning. In the three cases the error is nearly the same:–words are taken out of their natural context, and thus become destitute of any real meaning. (4) According to Dr. Jackson’s ’Later Theory,’ Plato’s Ideas, which were once regarded as the summa genera of all things, are now to be explained as Forms or Types of some things only,–that is to say, of natural objects: these we conceive imperfectly, but are always seeking in vain to have a more perfect notion of them. He says (J. of Philol.) that ’Plato hoped by the study of a series of hypothetical or provisional classifications to arrive at one in which nature’s distribution of kinds is approximately represented, and so to attain approximately to the knowledge of the ideas. But whereas in the Republic, and even in the Phaedo, though less hopefully, he had sought to convert his provisional definitions into final ones by tracing their connexion with the summum genus, the (Greek), in the Parmenides his aspirations are less ambitious,’ and so on. But where does Dr. Jackson find any such notion as this in Plato or anywhere in ancient philosophy? Is it not an anachronism, gracious to the modern physical philosopher, and the more acceptable because it seems to form a link between ancient and modern philosophy, and between physical and metaphysical science; but really unmeaning? (5) To this ’Later Theory’ of Plato’s Ideas I oppose the authority of Professor Zeller, who affirms that none of the passages to which Dr. Jackson appeals (Theaet.; Phil.; Tim.; Parm.) ’in the smallest degree prove his point’; and that in the second class of dialogues, in which the ’Later Theory of Ideas’ is supposed to be found, quite as clearly as in the first, are admitted Ideas, not only

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of natural objects, but of properties, relations, works of art, negative notions (Theaet.; Parm.; Soph.); and that what Dr. Jackson distinguishes as the first class of dialogues from the second equally assert or imply that the relation of things to the Ideas, is one of participation in them as well as of imitation of them (Prof. Zeller’s summary of his own review of Dr. Jackson, Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie.) In conclusion I may remark that in Plato’s writings there is both unity, and also growth and development; but that we must not intrude upon him either a system or a technical language. Balliol College, October, 1891.

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Note

The chief additions to the Introductions in the Third Edition consist of Essays on the following subjects:– 1. Language. 2. The decline of Greek Literature. 3. The ’Ideas’ of Plato and Modern Philosophy. 4. The myths of Plato. 5. The relation of the Republic, Statesman and Laws. 6. The legend of Atlantis. 7. Psychology. 8. Comparison of the Laws of Plato with Spartan and Athenian Laws and Institutions.

Chapter 1

First Alcibiades Source text avalaible at: http://www.gutenberg.net/etext99/1lcbd10.txt1

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Introduction

By Benjamin Jowett The First Alcibiades is a conversation between Socrates and Alcibiades. Socrates is represented in the character which he attributes to himself in the Apology of a know-nothing who detects the conceit of knowledge in others. The two have met already in the Protagoras and in the Symposium; in the latter dialogue, as in this, the relation between them is that of a lover and his beloved. But the narrative of their loves is told differently in different places; for in the Symposium Alcibiades is depicted as the impassioned but rejected lover; here, as coldly receiving the advances of Socrates, who, for the best of purposes, lies in wait for the aspiring and ambitious youth. Alcibiades, who is described as a very young man, is about to enter on public life, having an inordinate opinion of himself, and an extravagant ambition. Socrates, ‘who knows what is in man,’ astonishes him by a revelation of his designs. But has he the knowledge which is necessary for carrying them out? He is going to persuade the Athenians-about what? Not about any particular art, but about politics-when to fight and when to make peace. Now, men should fight and make peace on just grounds, and therefore the question of justice and injustice must enter into peace and war; and he who advises the Athenians must know the difference between them. Does Alcibiades know? If he does, he must either have been taught by some master, or he must have discovered the nature of them himself. If he has had a master, Socrates would like to be informed who he is, that he may go and learn of him also. Alcibiades admits that he has never learned. Then has he enquired for himself? He may have, if he was ever aware of a time when he was ignorant. But he never was ignorant; for when he played with other boys at dice, he charged them with cheating, and this implied a knowledge of just and unjust. According to his own explanation, 1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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he had learned of the multitude. Why, he asks, should he not learn of them the nature of justice, as he has learned the Greek language of them? To this Socrates answers, that they can teach Greek, but they cannot teach justice; for they are agreed about the one, but they are not agreed about the other: and therefore Alcibiades, who has admitted that if he knows he must either have learned from a master or have discovered for himself the nature of justice, is convicted out of his own mouth. Alcibiades rejoins, that the Athenians debate not about what is just, but about what is expedient; and he asserts that the two principles of justice and expediency are opposed. Socrates, by a series of questions, compels him to admit that the just and the expedient coincide. Alcibiades is thus reduced to the humiliating conclusion that he knows nothing of politics, even if, as he says, they are concerned with the expedient. However, he is no worse than other Athenian statesmen; and he will not need training, for others are as ignorant as he is. He is reminded that he has to contend, not only with his own countrymen, but with their enemies-with the Spartan kings and with the great king of Persia; and he can only attain this higher aim of ambition by the assistance of Socrates. Not that Socrates himself professes to have attained the truth, but the questions which he asks bring others to a knowledge of themselves, and this is the first step in the practice of virtue. The dialogue continues:–We wish to become as good as possible. But to be good in what? Alcibiades replies-‘Good in transacting business.’ But what business? ‘The business of the most intelligent men at Athens.’ The cobbler is intelligent in shoemaking, and is therefore good in that; he is not intelligent, and therefore not good, in weaving. Is he good in the sense which Alcibiades means, who is also bad? ‘I mean,’ replies Alcibiades, ‘the man who is able to command in the city.’ But to command what-horses or men? and if men, under what circumstances? ‘I mean to say, that he is able to command men living in social and political relations.’ And what is their aim? ‘The better preservation of the city.’ But when is a city better? ‘When there is unanimity, such as exists between husband and wife.’ Then, when husbands and wives perform their own special duties, there can be no unanimity between them; nor can a city be well ordered when each citizen does his own work only. Alcibiades, having stated first that goodness consists in the unanimity of the citizens, and then in each of them doing his own separate work, is brought to the required point of self-contradiction, leading him to confess his own ignorance. But he is not too old to learn, and may still arrive at the truth, if he is willing to be cross-examined by Socrates. He must know himself; that is to say, not his body, or the things of the body, but his mind, or truer self. The physician knows the body, and the tradesman knows his own business, but they do not necessarily know themselves. Self-knowledge can be obtained only by looking into the mind and virtue of the soul, which is the diviner part of a man, as we see our own image in another’s eye. And if we do not know ourselves, we cannot know what belongs to ourselves or belongs to others, and are unfit to take a part in political affairs. Both for the sake of the individual and of the state, we ought to aim at justice and temperance, not at wealth or power. The evil and unjust should have no power,–they should be the slaves of better men than themselves. None but the virtuous are deserving of freedom. And are you, Alcibiades, a freeman? ‘I feel that I am not; but I hope,

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Socrates, that by your aid I may become free, and from this day forward I will never leave you.’ The Alcibiades has several points of resemblance to the undoubted dialogues of Plato. The process of interrogation is of the same kind with that which Socrates practises upon the youthful Cleinias in the Euthydemus; and he characteristically attributes to Alcibiades the answers which he has elicited from him. The definition of good is narrowed by successive questions, and virtue is shown to be identical with knowledge. Here, as elsewhere, Socrates awakens the consciousness not of sin but of ignorance. Self-humiliation is the first step to knowledge, even of the commonest things. No man knows how ignorant he is, and no man can arrive at virtue and wisdom who has not once in his life, at least, been convicted of error. The process by which the soul is elevated is not unlike that which religious writers describe under the name of ‘conversion,’ if we substitute the sense of ignorance for the consciousness of sin. In some respects the dialogue differs from any other Platonic composition. The aim is more directly ethical and hortatory; the process by which the antagonist is undermined is simpler than in other Platonic writings, and the conclusion more decided. There is a good deal of humour in the manner in which the pride of Alcibiades, and of the Greeks generally, is supposed to be taken down by the Spartan and Persian queens; and the dialogue has considerable dialectical merit. But we have a difficulty in supposing that the same writer, who has given so profound and complex a notion of the characters both of Alcibiades and Socrates in the Symposium, should have treated them in so thin and superficial a manner in the Alcibiades, or that he would have ascribed to the ironical Socrates the rather unmeaning boast that Alcibiades could not attain the objects of his ambition without his help; or that he should have imagined that a mighty nature like his could have been reformed by a few not very conclusive words of Socrates. For the arguments by which Alcibiades is reformed are not convincing; the writer of the dialogue, whoever he was, arrives at his idealism by crooked and tortuous paths, in which many pitfalls are concealed. The anachronism of making Alcibiades about twenty years old during the life of his uncle, Pericles, may be noted; and the repetition of the favourite observation, which occurs also in the Laches and Protagoras, that great Athenian statesmen, like Pericles, failed in the education of their sons. There is none of the undoubted dialogues of Plato in which there is so little dramatic verisimilitude.

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First Alcibiades: text

First Alcibiades [103a-135e] Translated by Benjamin Jowett PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Alcibiades, Socrates. SOCRATES: I dare say that you may be surprised to find, O son of Cleinias, that I, who am your first lover, not having spoken to you for many years, when the rest of the world were wearying you with their attentions, am the last of your lovers who still speaks to you. The cause of my silence has been that I was hindered by a power more than human, of which I will some day explain to you the nature; this impediment has now been removed; I therefore here present myself before you, and I greatly hope that no similar hindrance will again occur. Meanwhile, I have observed that your pride has been too much for the pride of your admirers; they were numerous and high-spirited, but they have all run away, overpowered by your superior force of character; not one of them remains. And I want you to understand the reason why you have been too much for them. You think that you have no need of them or of any other man, for you have great possessions and lack nothing, beginning with the body, and ending with the soul. In the first place, you say to yourself that you are the fairest and tallest of the citizens, and this every one who has eyes may see to be true; in the second place, that you are among the noblest of them, highly connected both on the father’s and the mother’s side, and sprung from one of the most distinguished families in your own state, which is the greatest in Hellas, and having many friends and kinsmen of the best sort, who can assist you when in need; and there is one potent relative, who is more to you than all the rest, Pericles the son of Xanthippus, whom your father left guardian of you, and of your brother, and who can do as he pleases not only in this city, but in all Hellas, and among many and mighty barbarous nations. Moreover, you are rich; but I must say that you value yourself least of all upon your possessions. And all these things have lifted you up; you have overcome your lovers, and they have acknowledged that you were too much for them. Have you not remarked their absence? And now I know that you wonder why I, unlike the rest of them, have not gone away, and what can be my motive in remaining. ALCIBIADES: Perhaps, Socrates, you are not aware that I was just going to ask you the very same question-What do you want? And what is your motive in annoying me, and always, wherever I am, making a point of coming? (Compare Symp.) I do really wonder what you mean, and should greatly like to know. SOCRATES: Then if, as you say, you desire to know, I suppose that you will be willing to hear, and I may consider myself to be speaking to an auditor who will remain, and will not run away? ALCIBIADES: Certainly, let me hear. SOCRATES: You had better be careful, for I may very likely be as unwilling to end as I have hitherto been to begin. ALCIBIADES: Proceed, my good man, and I will listen. SOCRATES: I will proceed; and, although no lover likes to speak with one who has no feeling of love in him (compare Symp.), I will make an effort, and tell you what I meant: My love, Alcibiades, which I hardly like to confess, would long ago have passed away, as I flatter myself, if I saw you loving your good things, or thinking that you ought to pass life in the enjoyment of

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them. But I shall reveal other thoughts of yours, which you keep to yourself; whereby you will know that I have always had my eye on you. Suppose that at this moment some God came to you and said: Alcibiades, will you live as you are, or die in an instant if you are forbidden to make any further acquisition?–I verily believe that you would choose death. And I will tell you the hope in which you are at present living: Before many days have elapsed, you think that you will come before the Athenian assembly, and will prove to them that you are more worthy of honour than Pericles, or any other man that ever lived, and having proved this, you will have the greatest power in the state. When you have gained the greatest power among us, you will go on to other Hellenic states, and not only to Hellenes, but to all the barbarians who inhabit the same continent with us. And if the God were then to say to you again: Here in Europe is to be your seat of empire, and you must not cross over into Asia or meddle with Asiatic affairs, I do not believe that you would choose to live upon these terms; but the world, as I may say, must be filled with your power and name-no man less than Cyrus and Xerxes is of any account with you. Such I know to be your hopes-I am not guessing only-and very likely you, who know that I am speaking the truth, will reply, Well, Socrates, but what have my hopes to do with the explanation which you promised of your unwillingness to leave me? And that is what I am now going to tell you, sweet son of Cleinias and Dinomache. The explanation is, that all these designs of yours cannot be accomplished by you without my help; so great is the power which I believe myself to have over you and your concerns; and this I conceive to be the reason why the God has hitherto forbidden me to converse with you, and I have been long expecting his permission. For, as you hope to prove your own great value to the state, and having proved it, to attain at once to absolute power, so do I indulge a hope that I shall be the supreme power over you, if I am able to prove my own great value to you, and to show you that neither guardian, nor kinsman, nor any one is able to deliver into your hands the power which you desire, but I only, God being my helper. When you were young (compare Symp.) and your hopes were not yet matured, I should have wasted my time, and therefore, as I conceive, the God forbade me to converse with you; but now, having his permission, I will speak, for now you will listen to me. ALCIBIADES: Your silence, Socrates, was always a surprise to me. I never could understand why you followed me about, and now that you have begun to speak again, I am still more amazed. Whether I think all this or not, is a matter about which you seem to have already made up your mind, and therefore my denial will have no effect upon you. But granting, if I must, that you have perfectly divined my purposes, why is your assistance necessary to the attainment of them? Can you tell me why? SOCRATES: You want to know whether I can make a long speech, such as you are in the habit of hearing; but that is not my way. I think, however, that I can prove to you the truth of what I am saying, if you will grant me one little favour. ALCIBIADES: Yes, if the favour which you mean be not a troublesome one. SOCRATES: Will you be troubled at having questions to answer? ALCIBIADES: Not at all. SOCRATES: Then please to answer. ALCIBIADES: Ask me. SOCRATES: Have you not the intention which I attribute to you?

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ALCIBIADES: I will grant anything you like, in the hope of hearing what more you have to say. SOCRATES: You do, then, mean, as I was saying, to come forward in a little while in the character of an adviser of the Athenians? And suppose that when you are ascending the bema, I pull you by the sleeve and say, Alcibiades, you are getting up to advise the Athenians-do you know the matter about which they are going to deliberate, better than they?–How would you answer? ALCIBIADES: I should reply, that I was going to advise them about a matter which I do know better than they. SOCRATES: Then you are a good adviser about the things which you know? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And do you know anything but what you have learned of others, or found out yourself? ALCIBIADES: That is all. SOCRATES: And would you have ever learned or discovered anything, if you had not been willing either to learn of others or to examine yourself? ALCIBIADES: I should not. SOCRATES: And would you have been willing to learn or to examine what you supposed that you knew? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: Then there was a time when you thought that you did not know what you are now supposed to know? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: I think that I know tolerably well the extent of your acquirements; and you must tell me if I forget any of them: according to my recollection, you learned the arts of writing, of playing on the lyre, and of wrestling; the flute you never would learn; this is the sum of your accomplishments, unless there were some which you acquired in secret; and I think that secrecy was hardly possible, as you could not have come out of your door, either by day or night, without my seeing you. ALCIBIADES: Yes, that was the whole of my schooling. SOCRATES: And are you going to get up in the Athenian assembly, and give them advice about writing? ALCIBIADES: No, indeed. SOCRATES: Or about the touch of the lyre? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: And they are not in the habit of deliberating about wrestling, in the assembly? ALCIBIADES: Hardly. SOCRATES: Then what are the deliberations in which you propose to advise them? Surely not about building? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: For the builder will advise better than you will about that? ALCIBIADES: He will. SOCRATES: Nor about divination? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: About that again the diviner will advise better than you will? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: Whether he be little or great, good or ill-looking, noble or ignoble-makes no difference.

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ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: A man is a good adviser about anything, not because he has riches, but because he has knowledge? ALCIBIADES: Assuredly. SOCRATES: Whether their counsellor is rich or poor, is not a matter which will make any difference to the Athenians when they are deliberating about the health of the citizens; they only require that he should be a physician. ALCIBIADES: Of course. SOCRATES: Then what will be the subject of deliberation about which you will be justified in getting up and advising them? ALCIBIADES: About their own concerns, Socrates. SOCRATES: You mean about shipbuilding, for example, when the question is what sort of ships they ought to build? ALCIBIADES: No, I should not advise them about that. SOCRATES: I suppose, because you do not understand shipbuilding:–is that the reason? ALCIBIADES: It is. SOCRATES: Then about what concerns of theirs will you advise them? ALCIBIADES: About war, Socrates, or about peace, or about any other concerns of the state. SOCRATES: You mean, when they deliberate with whom they ought to make peace, and with whom they ought to go to war, and in what manner? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And they ought to go to war with those against whom it is better to go to war? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And when it is better? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And for as long a time as is better? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: But suppose the Athenians to deliberate with whom they ought to close in wrestling, and whom they should grasp by the hand, would you, or the master of gymnastics, be a better adviser of them? ALCIBIADES: Clearly, the master of gymnastics. SOCRATES: And can you tell me on what grounds the master of gymnastics would decide, with whom they ought or ought not to close, and when and how? To take an instance: Would he not say that they should wrestle with those against whom it is best to wrestle? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And as much as is best? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And at such times as are best? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Again; you sometimes accompany the lyre with the song and dance? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: When it is well to do so? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And as much as is well? ALCIBIADES: Just so.

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SOCRATES: And as you speak of an excellence or art of the best in wrestling, and of an excellence in playing the lyre, I wish you would tell me what this latter is;–the excellence of wrestling I call gymnastic, and I want to know what you call the other. ALCIBIADES: I do not understand you. SOCRATES: Then try to do as I do; for the answer which I gave is universally right, and when I say right, I mean according to rule. ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And was not the art of which I spoke gymnastic? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And I called the excellence in wrestling gymnastic? ALCIBIADES: You did. SOCRATES: And I was right? ALCIBIADES: I think that you were. SOCRATES: Well, now,–for you should learn to argue prettily-let me ask you in return to tell me, first, what is that art of which playing and singing, and stepping properly in the dance, are parts,–what is the name of the whole? I think that by this time you must be able to tell. ALCIBIADES: Indeed I cannot. SOCRATES: Then let me put the matter in another way: what do you call the Goddesses who are the patronesses of art? ALCIBIADES: The Muses do you mean, Socrates? SOCRATES: Yes, I do; and what is the name of the art which is called after them? ALCIBIADES: I suppose that you mean music. SOCRATES: Yes, that is my meaning; and what is the excellence of the art of music, as I told you truly that the excellence of wrestling was gymnastic-what is the excellence of music-to be what? ALCIBIADES: To be musical, I suppose. SOCRATES: Very good; and now please to tell me what is the excellence of war and peace; as the more musical was the more excellent, or the more gymnastical was the more excellent, tell me, what name do you give to the more excellent in war and peace? ALCIBIADES: But I really cannot tell you. SOCRATES: But if you were offering advice to another and said to himThis food is better than that, at this time and in this quantity, and he said to you-What do you mean, Alcibiades, by the word ‘better’ ? you would have no difficulty in replying that you meant ‘more wholesome,’ although you do not profess to be a physician: and when the subject is one of which you profess to have knowledge, and about which you are ready to get up and advise as if you knew, are you not ashamed, when you are asked, not to be able to answer the question? Is it not disgraceful? ALCIBIADES: Very. SOCRATES: Well, then, consider and try to explain what is the meaning of ‘better,’ in the matter of making peace and going to war with those against whom you ought to go to war? To what does the word refer? ALCIBIADES: I am thinking, and I cannot tell. SOCRATES: But you surely know what are the charges which we bring against one another, when we arrive at the point of making war, and what name we give them?

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ALCIBIADES: Yes, certainly; we say that deceit or violence has been employed, or that we have been defrauded. SOCRATES: And how does this happen? Will you tell me how? For there may be a difference in the manner. ALCIBIADES: Do you mean by ‘how,’ Socrates, whether we suffered these things justly or unjustly? SOCRATES: Exactly. ALCIBIADES: There can be no greater difference than between just and unjust. SOCRATES: And would you advise the Athenians to go to war with the just or with the unjust? ALCIBIADES: That is an awkward question; for certainly, even if a person did intend to go to war with the just, he would not admit that they were just. SOCRATES: He would not go to war, because it would be unlawful? ALCIBIADES: Neither lawful nor honourable. SOCRATES: Then you, too, would address them on principles of justice? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: What, then, is justice but that better, of which I spoke, in going to war or not going to war with those against whom we ought or ought not, and when we ought or ought not to go to war? ALCIBIADES: Clearly. SOCRATES: But how is this, friend Alcibiades? Have you forgotten that you do not know this, or have you been to the schoolmaster without my knowledge, and has he taught you to discern the just from the unjust? Who is he? I wish you would tell me, that I may go and learn of him-you shall introduce me. ALCIBIADES: You are mocking, Socrates. SOCRATES: No, indeed; I most solemnly declare to you by Zeus, who is the God of our common friendship, and whom I never will forswear, that I am not; tell me, then, who this instructor is, if he exists. ALCIBIADES: But, perhaps, he does not exist; may I not have acquired the knowledge of just and unjust in some other way? SOCRATES: Yes; if you have discovered them. ALCIBIADES: But do you not think that I could discover them? SOCRATES: I am sure that you might, if you enquired about them. ALCIBIADES: And do you not think that I would enquire? SOCRATES: Yes; if you thought that you did not know them. ALCIBIADES: And was there not a time when I did so think? SOCRATES: Very good; and can you tell me how long it is since you thought that you did not know the nature of the just and the unjust? What do you say to a year ago? Were you then in a state of conscious ignorance and enquiry? Or did you think that you knew? And please to answer truly, that our discussion may not be in vain. ALCIBIADES: Well, I thought that I knew. SOCRATES: And two years ago, and three years ago, and four years ago, you knew all the same? ALCIBIADES: I did. SOCRATES: And more than four years ago you were a child-were you not? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And then I am quite sure that you thought you knew. ALCIBIADES: Why are you so sure?

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SOCRATES: Because I often heard you when a child, in your teacher’s house, or elsewhere, playing at dice or some other game with the boys, not hesitating at all about the nature of the just and unjust; but very confident-crying and shouting that one of the boys was a rogue and a cheat, and had been cheating. Is it not true? ALCIBIADES: But what was I to do, Socrates, when anybody cheated me? SOCRATES: And how can you say, ‘What was I to do’ ? if at the time you did not know whether you were wronged or not? ALCIBIADES: To be sure I knew; I was quite aware that I was being cheated. SOCRATES: Then you suppose yourself even when a child to have known the nature of just and unjust? ALCIBIADES: Certainly; and I did know then. SOCRATES: And when did you discover them-not, surely, at the time when you thought that you knew them? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: And when did you think that you were ignorant-if you consider, you will find that there never was such a time? ALCIBIADES: Really, Socrates, I cannot say. SOCRATES: Then you did not learn them by discovering them? ALCIBIADES: Clearly not. SOCRATES: But just before you said that you did not know them by learning; now, if you have neither discovered nor learned them, how and whence do you come to know them? ALCIBIADES: I suppose that I was mistaken in saying that I knew them through my own discovery of them; whereas, in truth, I learned them in the same way that other people learn. SOCRATES: So you said before, and I must again ask, of whom? Do tell me. ALCIBIADES: Of the many. SOCRATES: Do you take refuge in them? I cannot say much for your teachers. ALCIBIADES: Why, are they not able to teach? SOCRATES: They could not teach you how to play at draughts, which you would acknowledge (would you not) to be a much smaller matter than justice? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And can they teach the better who are unable to teach the worse? ALCIBIADES: I think that they can; at any rate, they can teach many far better things than to play at draughts. SOCRATES: What things? ALCIBIADES: Why, for example, I learned to speak Greek of them, and I cannot say who was my teacher, or to whom I am to attribute my knowledge of Greek, if not to those good-for-nothing teachers, as you call them. SOCRATES: Why, yes, my friend; and the many are good enough teachers of Greek, and some of their instructions in that line may be justly praised. ALCIBIADES: Why is that? SOCRATES: Why, because they have the qualities which good teachers ought to have. ALCIBIADES: What qualities?

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SOCRATES: Why, you know that knowledge is the first qualification of any teacher? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And if they know, they must agree together and not differ? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And would you say that they knew the things about which they differ? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: Then how can they teach them? ALCIBIADES: They cannot. SOCRATES: Well, but do you imagine that the many would differ about the nature of wood and stone? are they not agreed if you ask them what they are? and do they not run to fetch the same thing, when they want a piece of wood or a stone? And so in similar cases, which I suspect to be pretty nearly all that you mean by speaking Greek. ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: These, as we were saying, are matters about which they are agreed with one another and with themselves; both individuals and states use the same words about them; they do not use some one word and some another. ALCIBIADES: They do not. SOCRATES: Then they may be expected to be good teachers of these things? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And if we want to instruct any one in them, we shall be right in sending him to be taught by our friends the many? ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: But if we wanted further to know not only which are men and which are horses, but which men or horses have powers of running, would the many still be able to inform us? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: And you have a sufficient proof that they do not know these things and are not the best teachers of them, inasmuch as they are never agreed about them? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And suppose that we wanted to know not only what men are like, but what healthy or diseased men are like-would the many be able to teach us? ALCIBIADES: They would not. SOCRATES: And you would have a proof that they were bad teachers of these matters, if you saw them at variance? ALCIBIADES: I should. SOCRATES: Well, but are the many agreed with themselves, or with one another, about the justice or injustice of men and things? ALCIBIADES: Assuredly not, Socrates. SOCRATES: There is no subject about which they are more at variance? ALCIBIADES: None. SOCRATES: I do not suppose that you ever saw or heard of men quarrelling over the principles of health and disease to such an extent as to go to war and kill one another for the sake of them? ALCIBIADES: No indeed.

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SOCRATES: But of the quarrels about justice and injustice, even if you have never seen them, you have certainly heard from many people, including Homer; for you have heard of the Iliad and Odyssey? ALCIBIADES: To be sure, Socrates. SOCRATES: A difference of just and unjust is the argument of those poems? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: Which difference caused all the wars and deaths of Trojans and Achaeans, and the deaths of the suitors of Penelope in their quarrel with Odysseus. ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: And when the Athenians and Lacedaemonians and Boeotians fell at Tanagra, and afterwards in the battle of Coronea, at which your father Cleinias met his end, the question was one of justice-this was the sole cause of the battles, and of their deaths. ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: But can they be said to understand that about which they are quarrelling to the death? ALCIBIADES: Clearly not. SOCRATES: And yet those whom you thus allow to be ignorant are the teachers to whom you are appealing. ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: But how are you ever likely to know the nature of justice and injustice, about which you are so perplexed, if you have neither learned them of others nor discovered them yourself? ALCIBIADES: From what you say, I suppose not. SOCRATES: See, again, how inaccurately you speak, Alcibiades! ALCIBIADES: In what respect? SOCRATES: In saying that I say so. ALCIBIADES: Why, did you not say that I know nothing of the just and unjust? SOCRATES: No; I did not. ALCIBIADES: Did I, then? SOCRATES: Yes. ALCIBIADES: How was that? SOCRATES: Let me explain. Suppose I were to ask you which is the greater number, two or one; you would reply ‘two’ ? ALCIBIADES: I should. SOCRATES: And by how much greater? ALCIBIADES: By one. SOCRATES: Which of us now says that two is more than one? ALCIBIADES: I do. SOCRATES: Did not I ask, and you answer the question? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then who is speaking? I who put the question, or you who answer me? ALCIBIADES: I am. SOCRATES: Or suppose that I ask and you tell me the letters which make up the name Socrates, which of us is the speaker? ALCIBIADES: I am.

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SOCRATES: Now let us put the case generally: whenever there is a question and answer, who is the speaker,–the questioner or the answerer? ALCIBIADES: I should say, Socrates, that the answerer was the speaker. SOCRATES: And have I not been the questioner all through? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And you the answerer? ALCIBIADES: Just so. SOCRATES: Which of us, then, was the speaker? ALCIBIADES: The inference is, Socrates, that I was the speaker. SOCRATES: Did not some one say that Alcibiades, the fair son of Cleinias, not understanding about just and unjust, but thinking that he did understand, was going to the assembly to advise the Athenians about what he did not know? Was not that said? ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: Then, Alcibiades, the result may be expressed in the language of Euripides. I think that you have heard all this ‘from yourself, and not from me’; nor did I say this, which you erroneously attribute to me, but you yourself, and what you said was very true. For indeed, my dear fellow, the design which you meditate of teaching what you do not know, and have not taken any pains to learn, is downright insanity. ALCIBIADES: But, Socrates, I think that the Athenians and the rest of the Hellenes do not often advise as to the more just or unjust; for they see no difficulty in them, and therefore they leave them, and consider which course of action will be most expedient; for there is a difference between justice and expediency. Many persons have done great wrong and profited by their injustice; others have done rightly and come to no good. SOCRATES: Well, but granting that the just and the expedient are ever so much opposed, you surely do not imagine that you know what is expedient for mankind, or why a thing is expedient? ALCIBIADES: Why not, Socrates?–But I am not going to be asked again from whom I learned, or when I made the discovery. SOCRATES: What a way you have! When you make a mistake which might be refuted by a previous argument, you insist on having a new and different refutation; the old argument is a worn-our garment which you will no longer put on, but some one must produce another which is clean and new. Now I shall disregard this move of yours, and shall ask over again,–Where did you learn and how do you know the nature of the expedient, and who is your teacher? All this I comprehend in a single question, and now you will manifestly be in the old difficulty, and will not be able to show that you know the expedient, either because you learned or because you discovered it yourself. But, as I perceive that you are dainty, and dislike the taste of a stale argument, I will enquire no further into your knowledge of what is expedient or what is not expedient for the Athenian people, and simply request you to say why you do not explain whether justice and expediency are the same or different? And if you like you may examine me as I have examined you, or, if you would rather, you may carry on the discussion by yourself. ALCIBIADES: But I am not certain, Socrates, whether I shall be able to discuss the matter with you. SOCRATES: Then imagine, my dear fellow, that I am the demus and the ecclesia; for in the ecclesia, too, you will have to persuade men individually.

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ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And is not the same person able to persuade one individual singly and many individuals of the things which he knows? The grammarian, for example, can persuade one and he can persuade many about letters. ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And about number, will not the same person persuade one and persuade many? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And this will be he who knows number, or the arithmetician? ALCIBIADES: Quite true. SOCRATES: And cannot you persuade one man about that of which you can persuade many? ALCIBIADES: I suppose so. SOCRATES: And that of which you can persuade either is clearly what you know? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And the only difference between one who argues as we are doing, and the orator who is addressing an assembly, is that the one seeks to persuade a number, and the other an individual, of the same things. ALCIBIADES: I suppose so. SOCRATES: Well, then, since the same person who can persuade a multitude can persuade individuals, try conclusions upon me, and prove to me that the just is not always expedient. ALCIBIADES: You take liberties, Socrates. SOCRATES: I shall take the liberty of proving to you the opposite of that which you will not prove to me. ALCIBIADES: Proceed. SOCRATES: Answer my questions-that is all. ALCIBIADES: Nay, I should like you to be the speaker. SOCRATES: What, do you not wish to be persuaded? ALCIBIADES: Certainly I do. SOCRATES: And can you be persuaded better than out of your own mouth? ALCIBIADES: I think not. SOCRATES: Then you shall answer; and if you do not hear the words, that the just is the expedient, coming from your own lips, never believe another man again. ALCIBIADES: I won’t; but answer I will, for I do not see how I can come to any harm. SOCRATES: A true prophecy! Let me begin then by enquiring of you whether you allow that the just is sometimes expedient and sometimes not? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And sometimes honourable and sometimes not? ALCIBIADES: What do you mean? SOCRATES: I am asking if you ever knew any one who did what was dishonourable and yet just? ALCIBIADES: Never. SOCRATES: All just things are honourable? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And are honourable things sometimes good and sometimes not good, or are they always good?

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ALCIBIADES: I rather think, Socrates, that some honourable things are evil. SOCRATES: And are some dishonourable things good? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: You mean in such a case as the following:–In time of war, men have been wounded or have died in rescuing a companion or kinsman, when others who have neglected the duty of rescuing them have escaped in safety? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And to rescue another under such circumstances is honourable, in respect of the attempt to save those whom we ought to save; and this is courage? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: But evil in respect of death and wounds? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And the courage which is shown in the rescue is one thing, and the death another? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Then the rescue of one’s friends is honourable in one point of view, but evil in another? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And if honourable, then also good: Will you consider now whether I may not be right, for you were acknowledging that the courage which is shown in the rescue is honourable? Now is this courage good or evil? Look at the matter thus: which would you rather choose, good or evil? ALCIBIADES: Good. SOCRATES: And the greatest goods you would be most ready to choose, and would least like to be deprived of them? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: What would you say of courage? At what price would you be willing to be deprived of courage? ALCIBIADES: I would rather die than be a coward. SOCRATES: Then you think that cowardice is the worst of evils? ALCIBIADES: I do. SOCRATES: As bad as death, I suppose? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And life and courage are the extreme opposites of death and cowardice? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And they are what you would most desire to have, and their opposites you would least desire? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Is this because you think life and courage the best, and death and cowardice the worst? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And you would term the rescue of a friend in battle honourable, in as much as courage does a good work? ALCIBIADES: I should. SOCRATES: But evil because of the death which ensues? ALCIBIADES: Yes.

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SOCRATES: Might we not describe their different effects as follows:–You may call either of them evil in respect of the evil which is the result, and good in respect of the good which is the result of either of them? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And they are honourable in so far as they are good, and dishonourable in so far as they are evil? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: Then when you say that the rescue of a friend in battle is honourable and yet evil, that is equivalent to saying that the rescue is good and yet evil? ALCIBIADES: I believe that you are right, Socrates. SOCRATES: Nothing honourable, regarded as honourable, is evil; nor anything base, regarded as base, good. ALCIBIADES: Clearly not. SOCRATES: Look at the matter yet once more in a further light: he who acts honourably acts well? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And he who acts well is happy? ALCIBIADES: Of course. SOCRATES: And the happy are those who obtain good? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And they obtain good by acting well and honourably? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then acting well is a good? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And happiness is a good? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then the good and the honourable are again identified. ALCIBIADES: Manifestly. SOCRATES: Then, if the argument holds, what we find to be honourable we shall also find to be good? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And is the good expedient or not? ALCIBIADES: Expedient. SOCRATES: Do you remember our admissions about the just? ALCIBIADES: Yes; if I am not mistaken, we said that those who acted justly must also act honourably. SOCRATES: And the honourable is the good? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And the good is expedient? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then, Alcibiades, the just is expedient? ALCIBIADES: I should infer so. SOCRATES: And all this I prove out of your own mouth, for I ask and you answer? ALCIBIADES: I must acknowledge it to be true. SOCRATES: And having acknowledged that the just is the same as the expedient, are you not (let me ask) prepared to ridicule any one who, pretending to understand the principles of justice and injustice, gets up to advise the noble Athenians or the ignoble Peparethians, that the just may be the evil?

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ALCIBIADES: I solemnly declare, Socrates, that I do not know what I am saying. Verily, I am in a strange state, for when you put questions to me I am of different minds in successive instants. SOCRATES: And are you not aware of the nature of this perplexity, my friend? ALCIBIADES: Indeed I am not. SOCRATES: Do you suppose that if some one were to ask you whether you have two eyes or three, or two hands or four, or anything of that sort, you would then be of different minds in successive instants? ALCIBIADES: I begin to distrust myself, but still I do not suppose that I should. SOCRATES: You would feel no doubt; and for this reason-because you would know? ALCIBIADES: I suppose so. SOCRATES: And the reason why you involuntarily contradict yourself is clearly that you are ignorant? ALCIBIADES: Very likely. SOCRATES: And if you are perplexed in answering about just and unjust, honourable and dishonourable, good and evil, expedient and inexpedient, the reason is that you are ignorant of them, and therefore in perplexity. Is not that clear? ALCIBIADES: I agree. SOCRATES: But is this always the case, and is a man necessarily perplexed about that of which he has no knowledge? ALCIBIADES: Certainly he is. SOCRATES: And do you know how to ascend into heaven? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: And in this case, too, is your judgment perplexed? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: Do you see the reason why, or shall I tell you? ALCIBIADES: Tell me. SOCRATES: The reason is, that you not only do not know, my friend, but you do not think that you know. ALCIBIADES: There again; what do you mean? SOCRATES: Ask yourself; are you in any perplexity about things of which you are ignorant? You know, for example, that you know nothing about the preparation of food. ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: And do you think and perplex yourself about the preparation of food: or do you leave that to some one who understands the art? ALCIBIADES: The latter. SOCRATES: Or if you were on a voyage, would you bewilder yourself by considering whether the rudder is to be drawn inwards or outwards, or do you leave that to the pilot, and do nothing? ALCIBIADES: It would be the concern of the pilot. SOCRATES: Then you are not perplexed about what you do not know, if you know that you do not know it? ALCIBIADES: I imagine not. SOCRATES: Do you not see, then, that mistakes in life and practice are likewise to be attributed to the ignorance which has conceit of knowledge?

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ALCIBIADES: Once more, what do you mean? SOCRATES: I suppose that we begin to act when we think that we know what we are doing? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: But when people think that they do not know, they entrust their business to others? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And so there is a class of ignorant persons who do not make mistakes in life, because they trust others about things of which they are ignorant? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: Who, then, are the persons who make mistakes? They cannot, of course, be those who know? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: But if neither those who know, nor those who know that they do not know, make mistakes, there remain those only who do not know and think that they know. ALCIBIADES: Yes, only those. SOCRATES: Then this is ignorance of the disgraceful sort which is mischievous? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And most mischievous and most disgraceful when having to do with the greatest matters? ALCIBIADES: By far. SOCRATES: And can there be any matters greater than the just, the honourable, the good, and the expedient? ALCIBIADES: There cannot be. SOCRATES: And these, as you were saying, are what perplex you? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: But if you are perplexed, then, as the previous argument has shown, you are not only ignorant of the greatest matters, but being ignorant you fancy that you know them? ALCIBIADES: I fear that you are right. SOCRATES: And now see what has happened to you, Alcibiades! I hardly like to speak of your evil case, but as we are alone I will: My good friend, you are wedded to ignorance of the most disgraceful kind, and of this you are convicted, not by me, but out of your own mouth and by your own argument; wherefore also you rush into politics before you are educated. Neither is your case to be deemed singular. For I might say the same of almost all our statesmen, with the exception, perhaps of your guardian, Pericles. ALCIBIADES: Yes, Socrates; and Pericles is said not to have got his wisdom by the light of nature, but to have associated with several of the philosophers; with Pythocleides, for example, and with Anaxagoras, and now in advanced life with Damon, in the hope of gaining wisdom. SOCRATES: Very good; but did you ever know a man wise in anything who was unable to impart his particular wisdom? For example, he who taught you letters was not only wise, but he made you and any others whom he liked wise. ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And you, whom he taught, can do the same? ALCIBIADES: True.

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SOCRATES: And in like manner the harper and gymnastic-master? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: When a person is enabled to impart knowledge to another, he thereby gives an excellent proof of his own understanding of any matter. ALCIBIADES: I agree. SOCRATES: Well, and did Pericles make any one wise; did he begin by making his sons wise? ALCIBIADES: But, Socrates, if the two sons of Pericles were simpletons, what has that to do with the matter? SOCRATES: Well, but did he make your brother, Cleinias, wise? ALCIBIADES: Cleinias is a madman; there is no use in talking of him. SOCRATES: But if Cleinias is a madman and the two sons of Pericles were simpletons, what reason can be given why he neglects you, and lets you be as you are? ALCIBIADES: I believe that I am to blame for not listening to him. SOCRATES: But did you ever hear of any other Athenian or foreigner, bond or free, who was deemed to have grown wiser in the society of Pericles,–as I might cite Pythodorus, the son of Isolochus, and Callias, the son of Calliades, who have grown wiser in the society of Zeno, for which privilege they have each of them paid him the sum of a hundred minae (about 406 pounds sterling) to the increase of their wisdom and fame. ALCIBIADES: I certainly never did hear of any one. SOCRATES: Well, and in reference to your own case, do you mean to remain as you are, or will you take some pains about yourself? ALCIBIADES: With your aid, Socrates, I will. And indeed, when I hear you speak, the truth of what you are saying strikes home to me, and I agree with you, for our statesmen, all but a few, do appear to be quite uneducated. SOCRATES: What is the inference? ALCIBIADES: Why, that if they were educated they would be trained athletes, and he who means to rival them ought to have knowledge and experience when he attacks them; but now, as they have become politicians without any special training, why should I have the trouble of learning and practising? For I know well that by the light of nature I shall get the better of them. SOCRATES: My dear friend, what a sentiment! And how unworthy of your noble form and your high estate! ALCIBIADES: What do you mean, Socrates; why do you say so? SOCRATES: I am grieved when I think of our mutual love. ALCIBIADES: At what? SOCRATES: At your fancying that the contest on which you are entering is with people here. ALCIBIADES: Why, what others are there? SOCRATES: Is that a question which a magnanimous soul should ask? ALCIBIADES: Do you mean to say that the contest is not with these? SOCRATES: And suppose that you were going to steer a ship into action, would you only aim at being the best pilot on board? Would you not, while acknowledging that you must possess this degree of excellence, rather look to your antagonists, and not, as you are now doing, to your fellow combatants? You ought to be so far above these latter, that they will not even dare to be your rivals; and, being regarded by you as inferiors, will do battle for you against the enemy; this is the kind of superiority which you must establish over them, if

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you mean to accomplish any noble action really worthy of yourself and of the state. ALCIBIADES: That would certainly be my aim. SOCRATES: Verily, then, you have good reason to be satisfied, if you are better than the soldiers; and you need not, when you are their superior and have your thoughts and actions fixed upon them, look away to the generals of the enemy. ALCIBIADES: Of whom are you speaking, Socrates? SOCRATES: Why, you surely know that our city goes to war now and then with the Lacedaemonians and with the great king? ALCIBIADES: True enough. SOCRATES: And if you meant to be the ruler of this city, would you not be right in considering that the Lacedaemonian and Persian king were your true rivals? ALCIBIADES: I believe that you are right. SOCRATES: Oh no, my friend, I am quite wrong, and I think that you ought rather to turn your attention to Midias the quail-breeder and others like him, who manage our politics; in whom, as the women would remark, you may still see the slaves’ cut of hair, cropping out in their minds as well as on their pates; and they come with their barbarous lingo to flatter us and not to rule us. To these, I say, you should look, and then you need not trouble yourself about your own fitness to contend in such a noble arena: there is no reason why you should either learn what has to be learned, or practise what has to be practised, and only when thoroughly prepared enter on a political career. ALCIBIADES: There, I think, Socrates, that you are right; I do not suppose, however, that the Spartan generals or the great king are really different from anybody else. SOCRATES: But, my dear friend, do consider what you are saying. ALCIBIADES: What am I to consider? SOCRATES: In the first place, will you be more likely to take care of yourself, if you are in a wholesome fear and dread of them, or if you are not? ALCIBIADES: Clearly, if I have such a fear of them. SOCRATES: And do you think that you will sustain any injury if you take care of yourself? ALCIBIADES: No, I shall be greatly benefited. SOCRATES: And this is one very important respect in which that notion of yours is bad. ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: In the next place, consider that what you say is probably false. ALCIBIADES: How so? SOCRATES: Let me ask you whether better natures are likely to be found in noble races or not in noble races? ALCIBIADES: Clearly in noble races. SOCRATES: Are not those who are well born and well bred most likely to be perfect in virtue? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Then let us compare our antecedents with those of the Lacedaemonian and Persian kings; are they inferior to us in descent? Have we

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not heard that the former are sprung from Heracles, and the latter from Achaemenes, and that the race of Heracles and the race of Achaemenes go back to Perseus, son of Zeus? ALCIBIADES: Why, so does mine go back to Eurysaces, and he to Zeus! SOCRATES: And mine, noble Alcibiades, to Daedalus, and he to Hephaestus, son of Zeus. But, for all that, we are far inferior to them. For they are descended ‘from Zeus,’ through a line of kings-either kings of Argos and Lacedaemon, or kings of Persia, a country which the descendants of Achaemenes have always possessed, besides being at various times sovereigns of Asia, as they now are; whereas, we and our fathers were but private persons. How ridiculous would you be thought if you were to make a display of your ancestors and of Salamis the island of Eurysaces, or of Aegina, the habitation of the still more ancient Aeacus, before Artaxerxes, son of Xerxes. You should consider how inferior we are to them both in the derivation of our birth and in other particulars. Did you never observe how great is the property of the Spartan kings? And their wives are under the guardianship of the Ephori, who are public officers and watch over them, in order to preserve as far as possible the purity of the Heracleid blood. Still greater is the difference among the Persians; for no one entertains a suspicion that the father of a prince of Persia can be any one but the king. Such is the awe which invests the person of the queen, that any other guard is needless. And when the heir of the kingdom is born, all the subjects of the king feast; and the day of his birth is for ever afterwards kept as a holiday and time of sacrifice by all Asia; whereas, when you and I were born, Alcibiades, as the comic poet says, the neighbours hardly knew of the important event. After the birth of the royal child, he is tended, not by a good-for-nothing woman-nurse, but by the best of the royal eunuchs, who are charged with the care of him, and especially with the fashioning and right formation of his limbs, in order that he may be as shapely as possible; which being their calling, they are held in great honour. And when the young prince is seven years old he is put upon a horse and taken to the riding-masters, and begins to go out hunting. And at fourteen years of age he is handed over to the royal schoolmasters, as they are termed: these are four chosen men, reputed to be the best among the Persians of a certain age; and one of them is the wisest, another the justest, a third the most temperate, and a fourth the most valiant. The first instructs him in the magianism of Zoroaster, the son of Oromasus, which is the worship of the Gods, and teaches him also the duties of his royal office; the second, who is the justest, teaches him always to speak the truth; the third, or most temperate, forbids him to allow any pleasure to be lord over him, that he may be accustomed to be a freeman and king indeed,–lord of himself first, and not a slave; the most valiant trains him to be bold and fearless, telling him that if he fears he is to deem himself a slave; whereas Pericles gave you, Alcibiades, for a tutor Zopyrus the Thracian, a slave of his who was past all other work. I might enlarge on the nurture and education of your rivals, but that would be tedious; and what I have said is a sufficient sample of what remains to be said. I have only to remark, by way of contrast, that no one cares about your birth or nurture or education, or, I may say, about that of any other Athenian, unless he has a lover who looks after him. And if you cast an eye on the wealth, the luxury, the garments with their flowing trains, the anointings with myrrh, the multitudes of attendants, and all the other bravery of the Persians, you will be ashamed when you discern your own inferiority; or if you look at the temperance and orderliness and ease and

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grace and magnanimity and courage and endurance and love of toil and desire of glory and ambition of the Lacedaemonians-in all these respects you will see that you are but a child in comparison of them. Even in the matter of wealth, if you value yourself upon that, I must reveal to you how you stand; for if you form an estimate of the wealth of the Lacedaemonians, you will see that our possessions fall far short of theirs. For no one here can compete with them either in the extent and fertility of their own and the Messenian territory, or in the number of their slaves, and especially of the Helots, or of their horses, or of the animals which feed on the Messenian pastures. But I have said enough of this: and as to gold and silver, there is more of them in Lacedaemon than in all the rest of Hellas, for during many generations gold has been always flowing in to them from the whole Hellenic world, and often from the barbarian also, and never going out, as in the fable of Aesop the fox said to the lion, ‘The prints of the feet of those going in are distinct enough;’ but who ever saw the trace of money going out of Lacedaemon? And therefore you may safely infer that the inhabitants are the richest of the Hellenes in gold and silver, and that their kings are the richest of them, for they have a larger share of these things, and they have also a tribute paid to them which is very considerable. Yet the Spartan wealth, though great in comparison of the wealth of the other Hellenes, is as nothing in comparison of that of the Persians and their kings. Why, I have been informed by a credible person who went up to the king (at Susa), that he passed through a large tract of excellent land, extending for nearly a day’s journey, which the people of the country called the queen’s girdle, and another, which they called her veil; and several other fair and fertile districts, which were reserved for the adornment of the queen, and are named after her several habiliments. Now, I cannot help thinking to myself, What if some one were to go to Amestris, the wife of Xerxes and mother of Artaxerxes, and say to her, There is a certain Dinomache, whose whole wardrobe is not worth fifty minae-and that will be more than the value-and she has a son who is possessed of a three-hundred acre patch at Erchiae, and he has a mind to go to war with your son-would she not wonder to what this Alcibiades trusts for success in the conflict? ‘He must rely,’ she would say to herself, ‘upon his training and wisdom-these are the things which Hellenes value.’ And if she heard that this Alcibiades who is making the attempt is not as yet twenty years old, and is wholly uneducated, and when his lover tells him that he ought to get education and training first, and then go and fight the king, he refuses, and says that he is well enough as he is, would she not be amazed, and ask ‘On what, then, does the youth rely?’ And if we replied: He relies on his beauty, and stature, and birth, and mental endowments, she would think that we were mad, Alcibiades, when she compared the advantages which you possess with those of her own people. And I believe that even Lampido, the daughter of Leotychides, the wife of Archidamus and mother of Agis, all of whom were kings, would have the same feeling; if, in your present uneducated state, you were to turn your thoughts against her son, she too would be equally astonished. But how disgraceful, that we should not have as high a notion of what is required in us as our enemies’ wives and mothers have of the qualities which are required in their assailants! O my friend, be persuaded by me, and hear the Delphian inscription, ‘Know thyself’-not the men whom you think, but these kings are our rivals, and we can only overcome them by pains and skill. And if you fail in the required qualities, you will fail also in becoming renowned among Hellenes and Barbarians, which you seem to desire more than any other

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man ever desired anything. ALCIBIADES: I entirely believe you; but what are the sort of pains which are required, Socrates,–can you tell me? SOCRATES: Yes, I can; but we must take counsel together concerning the manner in which both of us may be most improved. For what I am telling you of the necessity of education applies to myself as well as to you; and there is only one point in which I have an advantage over you. ALCIBIADES: What is that? SOCRATES: I have a guardian who is better and wiser than your guardian, Pericles. ALCIBIADES: Who is he, Socrates? SOCRATES: God, Alcibiades, who up to this day has not allowed me to converse with you; and he inspires in me the faith that I am especially designed to bring you to honour. ALCIBIADES: You are jesting, Socrates. SOCRATES: Perhaps, at any rate, I am right in saying that all men greatly need pains and care, and you and I above all men. ALCIBIADES: You are not far wrong about me. SOCRATES: And certainly not about myself. ALCIBIADES: But what can we do? SOCRATES: There must be no hesitation or cowardice, my friend. ALCIBIADES: That would not become us, Socrates. SOCRATES: No, indeed, and we ought to take counsel together: for do we not wish to be as good as possible? ALCIBIADES: We do. SOCRATES: In what sort of virtue? ALCIBIADES: Plainly, in the virtue of good men. SOCRATES: Who are good in what? ALCIBIADES: Those, clearly, who are good in the management of affairs. SOCRATES: What sort of affairs? Equestrian affairs? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: You mean that about them we should have recourse to horsemen? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Well, naval affairs? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: You mean that we should have recourse to sailors about them? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then what affairs? And who do them? ALCIBIADES: The affairs which occupy Athenian gentlemen. SOCRATES: And when you speak of gentlemen, do you mean the wise or the unwise? ALCIBIADES: The wise. SOCRATES: And a man is good in respect of that in which he is wise? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And evil in respect of that in which he is unwise? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: The shoemaker, for example, is wise in respect of the making of shoes? ALCIBIADES: Yes.

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SOCRATES: Then he is good in that? ALCIBIADES: He is. SOCRATES: But in respect of the making of garments he is unwise? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then in that he is bad? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then upon this view of the matter the same man is good and also bad? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: But would you say that the good are the same as the bad? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: Then whom do you call the good? ALCIBIADES: I mean by the good those who are able to rule in the city. SOCRATES: Not, surely, over horses? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: But over men? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: When they are sick? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: Or on a voyage? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: Or reaping the harvest? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: When they are doing something or nothing? ALCIBIADES: When they are doing something, I should say. SOCRATES: I wish that you would explain to me what this something is. ALCIBIADES: When they are having dealings with one another, and using one another’s services, as we citizens do in our daily life. SOCRATES: Those of whom you speak are ruling over men who are using the services of other men? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Are they ruling over the signal-men who give the time to the rowers? ALCIBIADES: No; they are not. SOCRATES: That would be the office of the pilot? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: But, perhaps you mean that they rule over flute-players, who lead the singers and use the services of the dancers? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: That would be the business of the teacher of the chorus? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then what is the meaning of being able to rule over men who use other men? ALCIBIADES: I mean that they rule over men who have common rights of citizenship, and dealings with one another. SOCRATES: And what sort of an art is this? Suppose that I ask you again, as I did just now, What art makes men know how to rule over their fellowsailors,–how would you answer? ALCIBIADES: The art of the pilot.

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SOCRATES: And, if I may recur to another old instance, what art enables them to rule over their fellow-singers? ALCIBIADES: The art of the teacher of the chorus, which you were just now mentioning. SOCRATES: And what do you call the art of fellow-citizens? ALCIBIADES: I should say, good counsel, Socrates. SOCRATES: And is the art of the pilot evil counsel? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: But good counsel? ALCIBIADES: Yes, that is what I should say,–good counsel, of which the aim is the preservation of the voyagers. SOCRATES: True. And what is the aim of that other good counsel of which you speak? ALCIBIADES: The aim is the better order and preservation of the city. SOCRATES: And what is that of which the absence or presence improves and preserves the order of the city? Suppose you were to ask me, what is that of which the presence or absence improves or preserves the order of the body? I should reply, the presence of health and the absence of disease. You would say the same? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And if you were to ask me the same question about the eyes, I should reply in the same way, ‘the presence of sight and the absence of blindness;’ or about the ears, I should reply, that they were improved and were in better case, when deafness was absent, and hearing was present in them. ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And what would you say of a state? What is that by the presence or absence of which the state is improved and better managed and ordered? ALCIBIADES: I should say, Socrates:–the presence of friendship and the absence of hatred and division. SOCRATES: And do you mean by friendship agreement or disagreement? ALCIBIADES: Agreement. SOCRATES: What art makes cities agree about numbers? ALCIBIADES: Arithmetic. SOCRATES: And private individuals? ALCIBIADES: The same. SOCRATES: And what art makes each individual agree with himself? ALCIBIADES: The same. SOCRATES: And what art makes each of us agree with himself about the comparative length of the span and of the cubit? Does not the art of measure? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Individuals are agreed with one another about this; and states, equally? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And the same holds of the balance? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: But what is the other agreement of which you speak, and about what? what art can give that agreement? And does that which gives it to the state give it also to the individual, so as to make him consistent with himself and with another?

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ALCIBIADES: I should suppose so. SOCRATES: But what is the nature of the agreement?–answer, and faint not. ALCIBIADES: I mean to say that there should be such friendship and agreement as exists between an affectionate father and mother and their son, or between brothers, or between husband and wife. SOCRATES: But can a man, Alcibiades, agree with a woman about the spinning of wool, which she understands and he does not? ALCIBIADES: No, truly. SOCRATES: Nor has he any need, for spinning is a female accomplishment. ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And would a woman agree with a man about the science of arms, which she has never learned? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: I suppose that the use of arms would be regarded by you as a male accomplishment? ALCIBIADES: It would. SOCRATES: Then, upon your view, women and men have two sorts of knowledge? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Then in their knowledge there is no agreement of women and men? ALCIBIADES: There is not. SOCRATES: Nor can there be friendship, if friendship is agreement? ALCIBIADES: Plainly not. SOCRATES: Then women are not loved by men when they do their own work? ALCIBIADES: I suppose not. SOCRATES: Nor men by women when they do their own work? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: Nor are states well administered, when individuals do their own work? ALCIBIADES: I should rather think, Socrates, that the reverse is the truth. (Compare Republic.) SOCRATES: What! do you mean to say that states are well administered when friendship is absent, the presence of which, as we were saying, alone secures their good order? ALCIBIADES: But I should say that there is friendship among them, for this very reason, that the two parties respectively do their own work. SOCRATES: That was not what you were saying before; and what do you mean now by affirming that friendship exists when there is no agreement? How can there be agreement about matters which the one party knows, and of which the other is in ignorance? ALCIBIADES: Impossible. SOCRATES: And when individuals are doing their own work, are they doing what is just or unjust? ALCIBIADES: What is just, certainly. SOCRATES: And when individuals do what is just in the state, is there no friendship among them? ALCIBIADES: I suppose that there must be, Socrates.

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SOCRATES: Then what do you mean by this friendship or agreement about which we must be wise and discreet in order that we may be good men? I cannot make out where it exists or among whom; according to you, the same persons may sometimes have it, and sometimes not. ALCIBIADES: But, indeed, Socrates, I do not know what I am saying; and I have long been, unconsciously to myself, in a most disgraceful state. SOCRATES: Nevertheless, cheer up; at fifty, if you had discovered your deficiency, you would have been too old, and the time for taking care of yourself would have passed away, but yours is just the age at which the discovery should be made. ALCIBIADES: And what should he do, Socrates, who would make the discovery? SOCRATES: Answer questions, Alcibiades; and that is a process which, by the grace of God, if I may put any faith in my oracle, will be very improving to both of us. ALCIBIADES: If I can be improved by answering, I will answer. SOCRATES: And first of all, that we may not peradventure be deceived by appearances, fancying, perhaps, that we are taking care of ourselves when we are not, what is the meaning of a man taking care of himself? and when does he take care? Does he take care of himself when he takes care of what belongs to him? ALCIBIADES: I should think so. SOCRATES: When does a man take care of his feet? Does he not take care of them when he takes care of that which belongs to his feet? ALCIBIADES: I do not understand. SOCRATES: Let me take the hand as an illustration; does not a ring belong to the finger, and to the finger only? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And the shoe in like manner to the foot? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And when we take care of our shoes, do we not take care of our feet? ALCIBIADES: I do not comprehend, Socrates. SOCRATES: But you would admit, Alcibiades, that to take proper care of a thing is a correct expression? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And taking proper care means improving? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And what is the art which improves our shoes? ALCIBIADES: Shoemaking. SOCRATES: Then by shoemaking we take care of our shoes? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And do we by shoemaking take care of our feet, or by some other art which improves the feet? ALCIBIADES: By some other art. SOCRATES: And the same art improves the feet which improves the rest of the body? ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: Which is gymnastic? ALCIBIADES: Certainly.

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SOCRATES: Then by gymnastic we take care of our feet, and by shoemaking of that which belongs to our feet? ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: And by gymnastic we take care of our hands, and by the art of graving rings of that which belongs to our hands? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And by gymnastic we take care of the body, and by the art of weaving and the other arts we take care of the things of the body? ALCIBIADES: Clearly. SOCRATES: Then the art which takes care of each thing is different from that which takes care of the belongings of each thing? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: Then in taking care of what belongs to you, you do not take care of yourself? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: For the art which takes care of our belongings appears not to be the same as that which takes care of ourselves? ALCIBIADES: Clearly not. SOCRATES: And now let me ask you what is the art with which we take care of ourselves? ALCIBIADES: I cannot say. SOCRATES: At any rate, thus much has been admitted, that the art is not one which makes any of our possessions, but which makes ourselves better? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: But should we ever have known what art makes a shoe better, if we did not know a shoe? ALCIBIADES: Impossible. SOCRATES: Nor should we know what art makes a ring better, if we did not know a ring? ALCIBIADES: That is true. SOCRATES: And can we ever know what art makes a man better, if we do not know what we are ourselves? ALCIBIADES: Impossible. SOCRATES: And is self-knowledge such an easy thing, and was he to be lightly esteemed who inscribed the text on the temple at Delphi? Or is selfknowledge a difficult thing, which few are able to attain? ALCIBIADES: At times I fancy, Socrates, that anybody can know himself; at other times the task appears to be very difficult. SOCRATES: But whether easy or difficult, Alcibiades, still there is no other way; knowing what we are, we shall know how to take care of ourselves, and if we are ignorant we shall not know. ALCIBIADES: That is true. SOCRATES: Well, then, let us see in what way the self-existent can be discovered by us; that will give us a chance of discovering our own existence, which otherwise we can never know. ALCIBIADES: You say truly. SOCRATES: Come, now, I beseech you, tell me with whom you are conversing? • with whom but with me? ALCIBIADES: Yes.

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SOCRATES: As I am, with you? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: That is to say, I, Socrates, am talking? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And Alcibiades is my hearer? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And I in talking use words? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And talking and using words have, I suppose, the same meaning? ALCIBIADES: To be sure. SOCRATES: And the user is not the same as the thing which he uses? ALCIBIADES: What do you mean? SOCRATES: I will explain; the shoemaker, for example, uses a square tool, and a circular tool, and other tools for cutting? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: But the tool is not the same as the cutter and user of the tool? ALCIBIADES: Of course not. SOCRATES: And in the same way the instrument of the harper is to be distinguished from the harper himself? ALCIBIADES: It is. SOCRATES: Now the question which I asked was whether you conceive the user to be always different from that which he uses? ALCIBIADES: I do. SOCRATES: Then what shall we say of the shoemaker? Does he cut with his tools only or with his hands? ALCIBIADES: With his hands as well. SOCRATES: He uses his hands too? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And does he use his eyes in cutting leather? ALCIBIADES: He does. SOCRATES: And we admit that the user is not the same with the things which he uses? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then the shoemaker and the harper are to be distinguished from the hands and feet which they use? ALCIBIADES: Clearly. SOCRATES: And does not a man use the whole body? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And that which uses is different from that which is used? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: Then a man is not the same as his own body? ALCIBIADES: That is the inference. SOCRATES: What is he, then? ALCIBIADES: I cannot say. SOCRATES: Nay, you can say that he is the user of the body. ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And the user of the body is the soul? ALCIBIADES: Yes, the soul. SOCRATES: And the soul rules?

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ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Let me make an assertion which will, I think, be universally admitted. ALCIBIADES: What is it? SOCRATES: That man is one of three things. ALCIBIADES: What are they? SOCRATES: Soul, body, or both together forming a whole. ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: But did we not say that the actual ruling principle of the body is man? ALCIBIADES: Yes, we did. SOCRATES: And does the body rule over itself? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: It is subject, as we were saying? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then that is not the principle which we are seeking? ALCIBIADES: It would seem not. SOCRATES: But may we say that the union of the two rules over the body, and consequently that this is man? ALCIBIADES: Very likely. SOCRATES: The most unlikely of all things; for if one of the members is subject, the two united cannot possibly rule. ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: But since neither the body, nor the union of the two, is man, either man has no real existence, or the soul is man? ALCIBIADES: Just so. SOCRATES: Is anything more required to prove that the soul is man? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not; the proof is, I think, quite sufficient. SOCRATES: And if the proof, although not perfect, be sufficient, we shall be satisfied;–more precise proof will be supplied when we have discovered that which we were led to omit, from a fear that the enquiry would be too much protracted. ALCIBIADES: What was that? SOCRATES: What I meant, when I said that absolute existence must be first considered; but now, instead of absolute existence, we have been considering the nature of individual existence, and this may, perhaps, be sufficient; for surely there is nothing which may be called more properly ourselves than the soul? ALCIBIADES: There is nothing. SOCRATES: Then we may truly conceive that you and I are conversing with one another, soul to soul? ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: And that is just what I was saying before-that I, Socrates, am not arguing or talking with the face of Alcibiades, but with the real Alcibiades; or in other words, with his soul. ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: Then he who bids a man know himself, would have him know his soul? ALCIBIADES: That appears to be true. SOCRATES: He whose knowledge only extends to the body, knows the things of a man, and not the man himself?

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ALCIBIADES: That is true. SOCRATES: Then neither the physician regarded as a physician, nor the trainer regarded as a trainer, knows himself? ALCIBIADES: He does not. SOCRATES: The husbandmen and the other craftsmen are very far from knowing themselves, for they would seem not even to know their own belongings? When regarded in relation to the arts which they practise they are even further removed from self-knowledge, for they only know the belongings of the body, which minister to the body. ALCIBIADES: That is true. SOCRATES: Then if temperance is the knowledge of self, in respect of his art none of them is temperate? ALCIBIADES: I agree. SOCRATES: And this is the reason why their arts are accounted vulgar, and are not such as a good man would practise? ALCIBIADES: Quite true. SOCRATES: Again, he who cherishes his body cherishes not himself, but what belongs to him? ALCIBIADES: That is true. SOCRATES: But he who cherishes his money, cherishes neither himself nor his belongings, but is in a stage yet further removed from himself? ALCIBIADES: I agree. SOCRATES: Then the money-maker has really ceased to be occupied with his own concerns? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And if any one has fallen in love with the person of Alcibiades, he loves not Alcibiades, but the belongings of Alcibiades? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: But he who loves your soul is the true lover? ALCIBIADES: That is the necessary inference. SOCRATES: The lover of the body goes away when the flower of youth fades? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: But he who loves the soul goes not away, as long as the soul follows after virtue? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And I am the lover who goes not away, but remains with you, when you are no longer young and the rest are gone? ALCIBIADES: Yes, Socrates; and therein you do well, and I hope that you will remain. SOCRATES: Then you must try to look your best. ALCIBIADES: I will. SOCRATES: The fact is, that there is only one lover of Alcibiades the son of Cleinias; there neither is nor ever has been seemingly any other; and he is his darling,–Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus and Phaenarete. ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And did you not say, that if I had not spoken first, you were on the point of coming to me, and enquiring why I only remained? ALCIBIADES: That is true.

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SOCRATES: The reason was that I loved you for your own sake, whereas other men love what belongs to you; and your beauty, which is not you, is fading away, just as your true self is beginning to bloom. And I will never desert you, if you are not spoiled and deformed by the Athenian people; for the danger which I most fear is that you will become a lover of the people and will be spoiled by them. Many a noble Athenian has been ruined in this way. For the demus of the great-hearted Erechteus is of a fair countenance, but you should see him naked; wherefore observe the caution which I give you. ALCIBIADES: What caution? SOCRATES: Practise yourself, sweet friend, in learning what you ought to know, before you enter on politics; and then you will have an antidote which will keep you out of harm’s way. ALCIBIADES: Good advice, Socrates, but I wish that you would explain to me in what way I am to take care of myself. SOCRATES: Have we not made an advance? for we are at any rate tolerably well agreed as to what we are, and there is no longer any danger, as we once feared, that we might be taking care not of ourselves, but of something which is not ourselves. ALCIBIADES: That is true. SOCRATES: And the next step will be to take care of the soul, and look to that? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Leaving the care of our bodies and of our properties to others? ALCIBIADES: Very good. SOCRATES: But how can we have a perfect knowledge of the things of the soul?–For if we know them, then I suppose we shall know ourselves. Can we really be ignorant of the excellent meaning of the Delphian inscription, of which we were just now speaking? ALCIBIADES: What have you in your thoughts, Socrates? SOCRATES: I will tell you what I suspect to be the meaning and lesson of that inscription. Let me take an illustration from sight, which I imagine to be the only one suitable to my purpose. ALCIBIADES: What do you mean? SOCRATES: Consider; if some one were to say to the eye, ‘See thyself,’ as you might say to a man, ‘Know thyself,’ what is the nature and meaning of this precept? Would not his meaning be:–That the eye should look at that in which it would see itself? ALCIBIADES: Clearly. SOCRATES: And what are the objects in looking at which we see ourselves? ALCIBIADES: Clearly, Socrates, in looking at mirrors and the like. SOCRATES: Very true; and is there not something of the nature of a mirror in our own eyes? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Did you ever observe that the face of the person looking into the eye of another is reflected as in a mirror; and in the visual organ which is over against him, and which is called the pupil, there is a sort of image of the person looking? ALCIBIADES: That is quite true. SOCRATES: Then the eye, looking at another eye, and at that in the eye which is most perfect, and which is the instrument of vision, will there see itself?

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ALCIBIADES: That is evident. SOCRATES: But looking at anything else either in man or in the world, and not to what resembles this, it will not see itself? ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: Then if the eye is to see itself, it must look at the eye, and at that part of the eye where sight which is the virtue of the eye resides? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And if the soul, my dear Alcibiades, is ever to know herself, must she not look at the soul; and especially at that part of the soul in which her virtue resides, and to any other which is like this? ALCIBIADES: I agree, Socrates. SOCRATES: And do we know of any part of our souls more divine than that which has to do with wisdom and knowledge? ALCIBIADES: There is none. SOCRATES: Then this is that part of the soul which resembles the divine; and he who looks at this and at the whole class of things divine, will be most likely to know himself? ALCIBIADES: Clearly. SOCRATES: And self-knowledge we agree to be wisdom? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: But if we have no self-knowledge and no wisdom, can we ever know our own good and evil? ALCIBIADES: How can we, Socrates? SOCRATES: You mean, that if you did not know Alcibiades, there would be no possibility of your knowing that what belonged to Alcibiades was really his? ALCIBIADES: It would be quite impossible. SOCRATES: Nor should we know that we were the persons to whom anything belonged, if we did not know ourselves? ALCIBIADES: How could we? SOCRATES: And if we did not know our own belongings, neither should we know the belongings of our belongings? ALCIBIADES: Clearly not. SOCRATES: Then we were not altogether right in acknowledging just now that a man may know what belongs to him and yet not know himself; nay, rather he cannot even know the belongings of his belongings; for the discernment of the things of self, and of the things which belong to the things of self, appear all to be the business of the same man, and of the same art. ALCIBIADES: So much may be supposed. SOCRATES: And he who knows not the things which belong to himself, will in like manner be ignorant of the things which belong to others? ALCIBIADES: Very true. SOCRATES: And if he knows not the affairs of others, he will not know the affairs of states? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: Then such a man can never be a statesman? ALCIBIADES: He cannot. SOCRATES: Nor an economist? ALCIBIADES: He cannot. SOCRATES: He will not know what he is doing?

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ALCIBIADES: He will not. SOCRATES: And will not he who is ignorant fall into error? ALCIBIADES: Assuredly. SOCRATES: And if he falls into error will he not fail both in his public and private capacity? ALCIBIADES: Yes, indeed. SOCRATES: And failing, will he not be miserable? ALCIBIADES: Very. SOCRATES: And what will become of those for whom he is acting? ALCIBIADES: They will be miserable also. SOCRATES: Then he who is not wise and good cannot be happy? ALCIBIADES: He cannot. SOCRATES: The bad, then, are miserable? ALCIBIADES: Yes, very. SOCRATES: And if so, not he who has riches, but he who has wisdom, is delivered from his misery? ALCIBIADES: Clearly. SOCRATES: Cities, then, if they are to be happy, do not want walls, or triremes, or docks, or numbers, or size, Alcibiades, without virtue? (Compare Arist. Pol.) ALCIBIADES: Indeed they do not. SOCRATES: And you must give the citizens virtue, if you mean to administer their affairs rightly or nobly? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: But can a man give that which he has not? ALCIBIADES: Impossible. SOCRATES: Then you or any one who means to govern and superintend, not only himself and the things of himself, but the state and the things of the state, must in the first place acquire virtue. ALCIBIADES: That is true. SOCRATES: You have not therefore to obtain power or authority, in order to enable you to do what you wish for yourself and the state, but justice and wisdom. ALCIBIADES: Clearly. SOCRATES: You and the state, if you act wisely and justly, will act according to the will of God? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: As I was saying before, you will look only at what is bright and divine, and act with a view to them? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: In that mirror you will see and know yourselves and your own good? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And so you will act rightly and well? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: In which case, I will be security for your happiness. ALCIBIADES: I accept the security. SOCRATES: But if you act unrighteously, your eye will turn to the dark and godless, and being in darkness and ignorance of yourselves, you will probably do deeds of darkness.

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ALCIBIADES: Very possibly. SOCRATES: For if a man, my dear Alcibiades, has the power to do what he likes, but has no understanding, what is likely to be the result, either to him as an individual or to the state-for example, if he be sick and is able to do what he likes, not having the mind of a physician-having moreover tyrannical power, and no one daring to reprove him, what will happen to him? Will he not be likely to have his constitution ruined? ALCIBIADES: That is true. SOCRATES: Or again, in a ship, if a man having the power to do what he likes, has no intelligence or skill in navigation, do you see what will happen to him and to his fellow-sailors? ALCIBIADES: Yes; I see that they will all perish. SOCRATES: And in like manner, in a state, and where there is any power and authority which is wanting in virtue, will not misfortune, in like manner, ensue? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Not tyrannical power, then, my good Alcibiades, should be the aim either of individuals or states, if they would be happy, but virtue. ALCIBIADES: That is true. SOCRATES: And before they have virtue, to be commanded by a superior is better for men as well as for children? (Compare Arist. Pol.) ALCIBIADES: That is evident. SOCRATES: And that which is better is also nobler? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And what is nobler is more becoming? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Then to the bad man slavery is more becoming, because better? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: Then vice is only suited to a slave? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And virtue to a freeman? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And, O my friend, is not the condition of a slave to be avoided? ALCIBIADES: Certainly, Socrates. SOCRATES: And are you now conscious of your own state? And do you know whether you are a freeman or not? ALCIBIADES: I think that I am very conscious indeed of my own state. SOCRATES: And do you know how to escape out of a state which I do not even like to name to my beauty? ALCIBIADES: Yes, I do. SOCRATES: How? ALCIBIADES: By your help, Socrates. SOCRATES: That is not well said, Alcibiades. ALCIBIADES: What ought I to have said? SOCRATES: By the help of God. ALCIBIADES: I agree; and I further say, that our relations are likely to be reversed. From this day forward, I must and will follow you as you have followed me; I will be the disciple, and you shall be my master. SOCRATES: O that is rare! My love breeds another love: and so like the stork I shall be cherished by the bird whom I have hatched.

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ALCIBIADES: Strange, but true; and henceforward I shall begin to think about justice. SOCRATES: And I hope that you will persist; although I have fears, not because I doubt you; but I see the power of the state, which may be too much for both of us.

Chapter 2

Second Alcibiades Source text found at http://www.gutenberg.net/etext99/2lcbd10.txt.1 See Appendix G, page 2043).

1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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Second Alcibiades [138a-151c] by Platonic Imitator Translated by Benjamin Jowett PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Socrates and Alcibiades. SOCRATES: Are you going, Alcibiades, to offer prayer to Zeus? ALCIBIADES: Yes, Socrates, I am. SOCRATES: you seem to be troubled and to cast your eyes on the ground, as though you were thinking about something. ALCIBIADES: Of what do you suppose that I am thinking? SOCRATES: Of the greatest of all things, as I believe. Tell me, do you not suppose that the Gods sometimes partly grant and partly reject the requests which we make in public and private, and favour some persons and not others? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Do you not imagine, then, that a man ought to be very careful, lest perchance without knowing it he implore great evils for himself, deeming that he is asking for good, especially if the Gods are in the mood to grant whatever he may request? There is the story of Oedipus, for instance, who prayed that his children might divide their inheritance between them by the sword: he did not, as he might have done, beg that his present evils might be averted, but called down new ones. And was not his prayer accomplished, and did not many and terrible evils thence arise, upon which I need not dilate? ALCIBIADES: Yes, Socrates, but you are speaking of a madman: surely you do not think that any one in his senses would venture to make such a prayer? SOCRATES: Madness, then, you consider to be the opposite of discretion? ALCIBIADES: Of course. SOCRATES: And some men seem to you to be discreet, and others the contrary? ALCIBIADES: They do. SOCRATES: Well, then, let us discuss who these are. We acknowledge that some are discreet, some foolish, and that some are mad? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And again, there are some who are in health? ALCIBIADES: There are. SOCRATES: While others are ailing? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And they are not the same? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: Nor are there any who are in neither state? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: A man must either be sick or be well? ALCIBIADES: That is my opinion. SOCRATES: Very good: and do you think the same about discretion and want of discretion? ALCIBIADES: How do you mean?

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SOCRATES: Do you believe that a man must be either in or out of his senses; or is there some third or intermediate condition, in which he is neither one nor the other? ALCIBIADES: Decidedly not. SOCRATES: He must be either sane or insane? ALCIBIADES: So I suppose. SOCRATES: Did you not acknowledge that madness was the opposite of discretion? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And that there is no third or middle term between discretion and indiscretion? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And there cannot be two opposites to one thing? ALCIBIADES: There cannot. SOCRATES: Then madness and want of sense are the same? ALCIBIADES: That appears to be the case. SOCRATES: We shall be in the right, therefore, Alcibiades, if we say that all who are senseless are mad. For example, if among persons of your own age or older than yourself there are some who are senseless,–as there certainly are,– they are mad. For tell me, by heaven, do you not think that in the city the wise are few, while the foolish, whom you call mad, are many? ALCIBIADES: I do. SOCRATES: But how could we live in safety with so many crazy people? Should we not long since have paid the penalty at their hands, and have been struck and beaten and endured every other form of ill-usage which madmen are wont to inflict? Consider, my dear friend: may it not be quite otherwise? ALCIBIADES: Why, Socrates, how is that possible? I must have been mistaken. SOCRATES: So it seems to me. But perhaps we may consider the matter thus:– ALCIBIADES: How? SOCRATES: I will tell you. We think that some are sick; do we not? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And must every sick person either have the gout, or be in a fever, or suffer from ophthalmia? Or do you believe that a man may labour under some other disease, even although he has none of these complaints? Surely, they are not the only maladies which exist? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: And is every kind of ophthalmia a disease? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And every disease ophthalmia? ALCIBIADES: Surely not. But I scarcely understand what I mean myself. SOCRATES: Perhaps, if you give me your best attention, ’two of us’ looking together, we may find what we seek. ALCIBIADES: I am attending, Socrates, to the best of my power. SOCRATES: We are agreed, then, that every form of ophthalmia is a disease, but not every disease ophthalmia? ALCIBIADES: We are. SOCRATES: And so far we seem to be right. For every one who suffers from a fever is sick; but the sick, I conceive, do not all have fever or gout or

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ophthalmia, although each of these is a disease, which, according to those whom we call physicians, may require a different treatment. They are not all alike, nor do they produce the same result, but each has its own effect, and yet they are all diseases. May we not take an illustration from the artizans? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: There are cobblers and carpenters and sculptors and others of all sorts and kinds, whom we need not stop to enumerate. All have their distinct employments and all are workmen, although they are not all of them cobblers or carpenters or sculptors. ALCIBIADES: No, indeed. SOCRATES: And in like manner men differ in regard to want of sense. Those who are most out of their wits we call ’madmen,’ while we term those who are less far gone ’stupid’ or ’idiotic,’ or, if we prefer gentler language, describe them as ’romantic’ or ’simple-minded,’ or, again, as ’innocent’ or ’inexperienced’ or ’foolish.’ You may even find other names, if you seek for them; but by all of them lack of sense is intended. They only differ as one art appeared to us to differ from another or one disease from another. Or what is your opinion? ALCIBIADES: I agree with you. SOCRATES: Then let us return to the point at which we digressed. We said at first that we should have to consider who were the wise and who the foolish. For we acknowledged that there are these two classes? Did we not? ALCIBIADES: To be sure. SOCRATES: And you regard those as sensible who know what ought to be done or said? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: The senseless are those who do not know this? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: The latter will say or do what they ought not without their own knowledge? ALCIBIADES: Exactly. SOCRATES: Oedipus, as I was saying, Alcibiades, was a person of this sort. And even now-a-days you will find many who (have offered inauspicious prayers), although, unlike him, they were not in anger nor thought that they were asking evil. He neither sought, nor supposed that he sought for good, but others have had quite the contrary notion. I believe that if the God whom you are about to consult should appear to you, and, in anticipation of your request, enquired whether you would be contented to become tyrant of Athens, and if this seemed in your eyes a small and mean thing, should add to it the dominion of all Hellas; and seeing that even then you would not be satisfied unless you were ruler of the whole of Europe, should promise, not only that, but, if you so desired, should proclaim to all mankind in one and the same day that Alcibiades, son of Cleinias, was tyrant:–in such a case, I imagine, you would depart full of joy, as one who had obtained the greatest of goods. ALCIBIADES: And not only I, Socrates, but any one else who should meet with such luck. SOCRATES: Yet you would not accept the dominion and lordship of all the Hellenes and all the barbarians in exchange for your life? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not: for then what use could I make of them? SOCRATES: And would you accept them if you were likely to use them to a bad and mischievous end?

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ALCIBIADES: I would not. SOCRATES: You see that it is not safe for a man either rashly to accept whatever is offered him, or himself to request a thing, if he is likely to suffer thereby or immediately to lose his life. And yet we could tell of many who, having long desired and diligently laboured to obtain a tyranny, thinking that thus they would procure an advantage, have nevertheless fallen victims to designing enemies. You must have heard of what happened only the other day, how Archelaus of Macedonia was slain by his beloved (compare Aristotle, Pol.), whose love for the tyranny was not less than that of Archelaus for him. The tyrannicide expected by his crime to become tyrant and afterwards to have a happy life; but when he had held the tyranny three or four days, he was in his turn conspired against and slain. Or look at certain of our own citizens,–and of their actions we have been not hearers, but eyewitnesses,–who have desired to obtain military command: of those who have gained their object, some are even to this day exiles from the city, while others have lost their lives. And even they who seem to have fared best, have not only gone through many perils and terrors during their office, but after their return home they have been beset by informers worse than they once were by their foes, insomuch that several of them have wished that they had remained in a private station rather than have had the glories of command. If, indeed, such perils and terrors were of profit to the commonwealth, there would be reason in undergoing them; but the very contrary is the case. Again, you will find persons who have prayed for offspring, and when their prayers were heard, have fallen into the greatest pains and sufferings. For some have begotten children who were utterly bad, and have therefore passed all their days in misery, while the parents of good children have undergone the misfortune of losing them, and have been so little happier than the others that they would have preferred never to have had children rather than to have had them and lost them. And yet, although these and the like examples are manifest and known of all, it is rare to find any one who has refused what has been offered him, or, if he were likely to gain aught by prayer, has refrained from making his petition. The mass of mankind would not decline to accept a tyranny, or the command of an army, or any of the numerous things which cause more harm than good: but rather, if they had them not, would have prayed to obtain them. And often in a short space of time they change their tone, and wish their old prayers unsaid. Wherefore also I suspect that men are entirely wrong when they blame the gods as the authors of the ills which befall them (compare Republic): ’their own presumption,’ or folly (whichever is the right word)– ’Has brought these unmeasured woes upon them.’ (Homer. Odyss.) He must have been a wise poet, Alcibiades, who, seeing as I believe, his friends foolishly praying for and doing things which would not really profit them, offered up a common prayer in behalf of them all:– ’King Zeus, grant us good whether prayed for or unsought by us; But that which we ask amiss, do thou avert.’ (The author of these lines, which are probably of Pythagorean origin, is unknown. They are found also in the Anthology (Anth. Pal.).) In my opinion, I say, the poet spoke both well and prudently; but if you have anything to say in answer to him, speak out. ALCIBIADES: It is difficult, Socrates, to oppose what has been well said. And I perceive how many are the ills of which ignorance is the cause, since, as

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would appear, through ignorance we not only do, but what is worse, pray for the greatest evils. No man would imagine that he would do so; he would rather suppose that he was quite capable of praying for what was best: to call down evils seems more like a curse than a prayer. SOCRATES: But perhaps, my good friend, some one who is wiser than either you or I will say that we have no right to blame ignorance thus rashly, unless we can add what ignorance we mean and of what, and also to whom and how it is respectively a good or an evil? ALCIBIADES: How do you mean? Can ignorance possibly be better than knowledge for any person in any conceivable case? SOCRATES: So I believe:–you do not think so? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: And yet surely I may not suppose that you would ever wish to act towards your mother as they say that Orestes and Alcmeon and others have done towards their parent. ALCIBIADES: Good words, Socrates, prithee. SOCRATES: You ought not to bid him use auspicious words, who says that you would not be willing to commit so horrible a deed, but rather him who affirms the contrary, if the act appear to you unfit even to be mentioned. Or do you think that Orestes, had he been in his senses and knew what was best for him to do, would ever have dared to venture on such a crime? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: Nor would any one else, I fancy? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: That ignorance is bad then, it would appear, which is of the best and does not know what is best? ALCIBIADES: So I think, at least. SOCRATES: And both to the person who is ignorant and everybody else? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Let us take another case. Suppose that you were suddenly to get into your head that it would be a good thing to kill Pericles, your kinsman and guardian, and were to seize a sword and, going to the doors of his house, were to enquire if he were at home, meaning to slay only him and no one else:– the servants reply, ’Yes’: (Mind, I do not mean that you would really do such a thing; but there is nothing, you think, to prevent a man who is ignorant of the best, having occasionally the whim that what is worst is best? ALCIBIADES: No.) SOCRATES:–If, then, you went indoors, and seeing him, did not know him, but thought that he was some one else, would you venture to slay him? ALCIBIADES: Most decidedly not (it seems to me). (These words are omitted in several MSS.) SOCRATES: For you designed to kill, not the first who offered, but Pericles himself? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And if you made many attempts, and each time failed to recognize Pericles, you would never attack him? ALCIBIADES: Never. SOCRATES: Well, but if Orestes in like manner had not known his mother, do you think that he would ever have laid hands upon her? ALCIBIADES: No.

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SOCRATES: He did not intend to slay the first woman he came across, nor any one else’s mother, but only his own? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: Ignorance, then, is better for those who are in such a frame of mind, and have such ideas? ALCIBIADES: Obviously. SOCRATES: You acknowledge that for some persons in certain cases the ignorance of some things is a good and not an evil, as you formerly supposed? ALCIBIADES: I do. SOCRATES: And there is still another case which will also perhaps appear strange to you, if you will consider it? (The reading is here uncertain.) ALCIBIADES: What is that, Socrates? SOCRATES: It may be, in short, that the possession of all the sciences, if unaccompanied by the knowledge of the best, will more often than not injure the possessor. Consider the matter thus:–Must we not, when we intend either to do or say anything, suppose that we know or ought to know that which we propose so confidently to do or say? ALCIBIADES: Yes, in my opinion. SOCRATES: We may take the orators for an example, who from time to time advise us about war and peace, or the building of walls and the construction of harbours, whether they understand the business in hand, or only think that they do. Whatever the city, in a word, does to another city, or in the management of her own affairs, all happens by the counsel of the orators. ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: But now see what follows, if I can (make it clear to you). (Some words appear to have dropped out here.) You would distinguish the wise from the foolish? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: The many are foolish, the few wise? ALCIBIADES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And you use both the terms, ’wise’ and ’foolish,’ in reference to something? ALCIBIADES: I do. SOCRATES: Would you call a person wise who can give advice, but does not know whether or when it is better to carry out the advice? ALCIBIADES: Decidedly not. SOCRATES: Nor again, I suppose, a person who knows the art of war, but does not know whether it is better to go to war or for how long? ALCIBIADES: No. SOCRATES: Nor, once more, a person who knows how to kill another or to take away his property or to drive him from his native land, but not when it is better to do so or for whom it is better? ALCIBIADES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: But he who understands anything of the kind and has at the same time the knowledge of the best course of action:–and the best and the useful are surely the same?– ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES:–Such an one, I say, we should call wise and a useful adviser both of himself and of the city. What do you think? ALCIBIADES: I agree.

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SOCRATES: And if any one knows how to ride or to shoot with the bow or to box or to wrestle, or to engage in any other sort of contest or to do anything whatever which is in the nature of an art,–what do you call him who knows what is best according to that art? Do you not speak of one who knows what is best in riding as a good rider? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And in a similar way you speak of a good boxer or a good flute- player or a good performer in any other art? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: But is it necessary that the man who is clever in any of these arts should be wise also in general? Or is there a difference between the clever artist and the wise man? ALCIBIADES: All the difference in the world. SOCRATES: And what sort of a state do you think that would be which was composed of good archers and flute-players and athletes and masters in other arts, and besides them of those others about whom we spoke, who knew how to go to war and how to kill, as well as of orators puffed up with political pride, but in which not one of them all had this knowledge of the best, and there was no one who could tell when it was better to apply any of these arts or in regard to whom? ALCIBIADES: I should call such a state bad, Socrates. SOCRATES: You certainly would when you saw each of them rivalling the other and esteeming that of the greatest importance in the state, ’Wherein he himself most excelled.’ (Euripides, Antiope.) –I mean that which was best in any art, while he was entirely ignorant of what was best for himself and for the state, because, as I think, he trusts to opinion which is devoid of intelligence. In such a case should we not be right if we said that the state would be full of anarchy and lawlessness? ALCIBIADES: Decidedly. SOCRATES: But ought we not then, think you, either to fancy that we know or really to know, what we confidently propose to do or say? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: And if a person does that which he knows or supposes that he knows, and the result is beneficial, he will act advantageously both for himself and for the state? ALCIBIADES: True. SOCRATES: And if he do the contrary, both he and the state will suffer? ALCIBIADES: Yes. SOCRATES: Well, and are you of the same mind, as before? ALCIBIADES: I am. SOCRATES: But were you not saying that you would call the many unwise and the few wise? ALCIBIADES: I was. SOCRATES: And have we not come back to our old assertion that the many fail to obtain the best because they trust to opinion which is devoid of intelligence? ALCIBIADES: That is the case. SOCRATES: It is good, then, for the many, if they particularly desire to do that which they know or suppose that they know, neither to know nor to

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suppose that they know, in cases where if they carry out their ideas in action they will be losers rather than gainers? ALCIBIADES: What you say is very true. SOCRATES: Do you not see that I was really speaking the truth when I affirmed that the possession of any other kind of knowledge was more likely to injure than to benefit the possessor, unless he had also the knowledge of the best? ALCIBIADES: I do now, if I did not before, Socrates. SOCRATES: The state or the soul, therefore, which wishes to have a right existence must hold firmly to this knowledge, just as the sick man clings to the physician, or the passenger depends for safety on the pilot. And if the soul does not set sail until she have obtained this she will be all the safer in the voyage through life. But when she rushes in pursuit of wealth or bodily strength or anything else, not having the knowledge of the best, so much the more is she likely to meet with misfortune. And he who has the love of learning (Or, reading polumatheian, ’abundant learning.’), and is skilful in many arts, and does not possess the knowledge of the best, but is under some other guidance, will make, as he deserves, a sorry voyage:– he will, I believe, hurry through the brief space of human life, pilotless in mid-ocean, and the words will apply to him in which the poet blamed his enemy:– ’...Full many a thing he knew; But knew them all badly.’ (A fragment from the pseudo-Homeric poem, ’Margites.’) ALCIBIADES: How in the world, Socrates, do the words of the poet apply to him? They seem to me to have no bearing on the point whatever. SOCRATES: Quite the contrary, my sweet friend: only the poet is talking in riddles after the fashion of his tribe. For all poetry has by nature an enigmatical character, and it is by no means everybody who can interpret it. And if, moreover, the spirit of poetry happen to seize on a man who is of a begrudging temper and does not care to manifest his wisdom but keeps it to himself as far as he can, it does indeed require an almost superhuman wisdom to discover what the poet would be at. You surely do not suppose that Homer, the wisest and most divine of poets, was unaware of the impossibility of knowing a thing badly: for it was no less a person than he who said of Margites that ’he knew many things, but knew them all badly.’ The solution of the riddle is this, I imagine:– By ’badly’ Homer meant ’bad’ and ’knew’ stands for ’to know.’ Put the words together;–the metre will suffer, but the poet’s meaning is clear;–’Margites knew all these things, but it was bad for him to know them.’ And, obviously, if it was bad for him to know so many things, he must have been a good-for- nothing, unless the argument has played us false. ALCIBIADES: But I do not think that it has, Socrates: at least, if the argument is fallacious, it would be difficult for me to find another which I could trust. SOCRATES: And you are right in thinking so. ALCIBIADES: Well, that is my opinion. SOCRATES: But tell me, by Heaven:–you must see now the nature and greatness of the difficulty in which you, like others, have your part. For you change about in all directions, and never come to rest anywhere: what you once most strongly inclined to suppose, you put aside again and quite alter your mind. If the God to whose shrine you are going should appear at this moment, and ask before you made your prayer, ’Whether you would desire to have one

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of the things which we mentioned at first, or whether he should leave you to make your own request:’–what in either case, think you, would be the best way to take advantage of the opportunity? ALCIBIADES: Indeed, Socrates, I could not answer you without consideration. It seems to me to be a wild thing (The Homeric word margos is said to be here employed in allusion to the quotation from the ’Margites’ which Socrates has just made; but it is not used in the sense which it has in Homer.) to make such a request; a man must be very careful lest he pray for evil under the idea that he is asking for good, when shortly after he may have to recall his prayer, and, as you were saying, demand the opposite of what he at first requested. SOCRATES: And was not the poet whose words I originally quoted wiser than we are, when he bade us (pray God) to defend us from evil even though we asked for it? ALCIBIADES: I believe that you are right. SOCRATES: The Lacedaemonians, too, whether from admiration of the poet or because they have discovered the idea for themselves, are wont to offer the prayer alike in public and private, that the Gods will give unto them the beautiful as well as the good:–no one is likely to hear them make any further petition. And yet up to the present time they have not been less fortunate than other men; or if they have sometimes met with misfortune, the fault has not been due to their prayer. For surely, as I conceive, the Gods have power either to grant our requests, or to send us the contrary of what we ask. And now I will relate to you a story which I have heard from certain of our elders. It chanced that when the Athenians and Lacedaemonians were at war, our city lost every battle by land and sea and never gained a victory. The Athenians being annoyed and perplexed how to find a remedy for their troubles, decided to send and enquire at the shrine of Ammon. Their envoys were also to ask, ’Why the Gods always granted the victory to the Lacedaemonians?’ ’We,’ (they were to say,) ’offer them more and finer sacrifices than any other Hellenic state, and adorn their temples with gifts, as nobody else does; moreover, we make the most solemn and costly processions to them every year, and spend more money in their service than all the rest of the Hellenes put together. But the Lacedaemonians take no thought of such matters, and pay so little respect to the Gods that they have a habit of sacrificing blemished animals to them, and in various ways are less zealous than we are, although their wealth is quite equal to ours.’ When they had thus spoken, and had made their request to know what remedy they could find against the evils which troubled them, the prophet made no direct answer,–clearly because he was not allowed by the God to do so;–but he summoned them to him and said: ’Thus saith Ammon to the Athenians: ”The silent worship of the Lacedaemonians pleaseth me better than all the offerings of the other Hellenes.”’ Such were the words of the God, and nothing more. He seems to have meant by ’silent worship’ the prayer of the Lacedaemonians, which is indeed widely different from the usual requests of the Hellenes. For they either bring to the altar bulls with gilded horns or make offerings to the Gods, and beg at random for what they need, good or bad. When, therefore, the Gods hear them using words of ill omen they reject these costly processions and sacrifices of theirs. And we ought, I think, to be very careful and consider well what we should say and what leave unsaid. Homer, too, will furnish us with similar stories. For he tells us how the Trojans in making their encampment,

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’Offered up whole hecatombs to the immortals,’ and how the ’sweet savour’ was borne ’to the heavens by the winds; ’But the blessed Gods were averse and received it not. For exceedingly did they hate the holy Ilium, Both Priam and the people of the spear-skilled king.’ So that it was in vain for them to sacrifice and offer gifts, seeing that they were hateful to the Gods, who are not, like vile usurers, to be gained over by bribes. And it is foolish for us to boast that we are superior to the Lacedaemonians by reason of our much worship. The idea is inconceivable that the Gods have regard, not to the justice and purity of our souls, but to costly processions and sacrifices, which men may celebrate year after year, although they have committed innumerable crimes against the Gods or against their fellow-men or the state. For the Gods, as Ammon and his prophet declare, are no receivers of gifts, and they scorn such unworthy service. Wherefore also it would seem that wisdom and justice are especially honoured both by the Gods and by men of sense; and they are the wisest and most just who know how to speak and act towards Gods and men. But I should like to hear what your opinion is about these matters. ALCIBIADES: I agree, Socrates, with you and with the God, whom, indeed, it would be unbecoming for me to oppose. SOCRATES: Do you not remember saying that you were in great perplexity, lest perchance you should ask for evil, supposing that you were asking for good? ALCIBIADES: I do. SOCRATES: You see, then, that there is a risk in your approaching the God in prayer, lest haply he should refuse your sacrifice when he hears the blasphemy which you utter, and make you partake of other evils as well. The wisest plan, therefore, seems to me that you should keep silence; for your ’highmindedness’– to use the mildest term which men apply to folly– will most likely prevent you from using the prayer of the Lacedaemonians. You had better wait until we find out how we should behave towards the Gods and towards men. ALCIBIADES: And how long must I wait, Socrates, and who will be my teacher? I should be very glad to see the man. SOCRATES: It is he who takes an especial interest in you. But first of all, I think, the darkness must be taken away in which your soul is now enveloped, just as Athene in Homer removes the mist from the eyes of Diomede that ’He may distinguish between God and mortal man.’ Afterwards the means may be given to you whereby you may distinguish between good and evil. At present, I fear, this is beyond your power. ALCIBIADES: Only let my instructor take away the impediment, whether it pleases him to call it mist or anything else! I care not who he is; but I am resolved to disobey none of his commands, if I am likely to be the better for them. SOCRATES: And surely he has a wondrous care for you. ALCIBIADES: It seems to be altogether advisable to put off the sacrifice until he is found. SOCRATES: You are right: that will be safer than running such a tremendous risk. ALCIBIADES: But how shall we manage, Socrates?–At any rate I will set this crown of mine upon your head, as you have given me such excellent advice, and to the Gods we will offer crowns and perform the other customary rites when I see that day approaching: nor will it be long hence, if they so will.

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SOCRATES: I accept your gift, and shall be ready and willing to receive whatever else you may proffer. Euripides makes Creon say in the play, when he beholds Teiresias with his crown and hears that he has gained it by his skill as the first-fruits of the spoil:– ’An auspicious omen I deem thy victor’s wreath: For well thou knowest that wave and storm oppress us.’ And so I count your gift to be a token of good-fortune; for I am in no less stress than Creon, and would fain carry off the victory over your lovers.

Chapter 3

Apology Source text avalaible at: http://www.gutenberg.net/etext99/crtls10.txt1

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Introduction

By Benjamin Jowett In what relation the Apology of Plato stands to the real defence of Socrates, there are no means of determining. It certainly agrees in tone and character with the description of Xenophon, who says in the Memorabilia that Socrates might have been acquitted ’if in any moderate degree he would have conciliated the favour of the dicasts;’ and who informs us in another passage, on the testimony of Hermogenes, the friend of Socrates, that he had no wish to live; and that the divine sign refused to allow him to prepare a defence, and also that Socrates himself declared this to be unnecessary, on the ground that all his life long he had been preparing against that hour. For the speech breathes throughout a spirit of defiance, (ut non supplex aut reus sed magister aut dominus videretur esse judicum’ (Cic. de Orat.); and the loose and desultory style is an imitation of the ’accustomed manner’ in which Socrates spoke in ’the agora and among the tables of the money-changers.’ The allusion in the Crito may, perhaps, be adduced as a further evidence of the literal accuracy of some parts. But in the main it must be regarded as the ideal of Socrates, according to Plato’s conception of him, appearing in the greatest and most public scene of his life, and in the height of his triumph, when he is weakest, and yet his mastery over mankind is greatest, and his habitual irony acquires a new meaning and a sort of tragic pathos in the face of death. The facts of his life are summed up, and the features of his character are brought out as if by accident in the course of the defence. The conversational manner, the seeming want of arrangement, the ironical simplicity, are found to result in a perfect work of art, which is the portrait of Socrates. Yet some of the topics may have been actually used by Socrates; and the recollection of his very words may have rung in the ears of his disciple. The 1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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Apology of Plato may be compared generally with those speeches of Thucydides in which he has embodied his conception of the lofty character and policy of the great Pericles, and which at the same time furnish a commentary on the situation of affairs from the point of view of the historian. So in the Apology there is an ideal rather than a literal truth; much is said which was not said, and is only Plato’s view of the situation. Plato was not, like Xenophon, a chronicler of facts; he does not appear in any of his writings to have aimed at literal accuracy. He is not therefore to be supplemented from the Memorabilia and Symposium of Xenophon, who belongs to an entirely different class of writers. The Apology of Plato is not the report of what Socrates said, but an elaborate composition, quite as much so in fact as one of the Dialogues. And we may perhaps even indulge in the fancy that the actual defence of Socrates was as much greater than the Platonic defence as the master was greater than the disciple. But in any case, some of the words used by him must have been remembered, and some of the facts recorded must have actually occurred. It is significant that Plato is said to have been present at the defence (Apol.), as he is also said to have been absent at the last scene in the Phaedo. Is it fanciful to suppose that he meant to give the stamp of authenticity to the one and not to the other?–especially when we consider that these two passages are the only ones in which Plato makes mention of himself. The circumstance that Plato was to be one of his sureties for the payment of the fine which he proposed has the appearance of truth. More suspicious is the statement that Socrates received the first impulse to his favourite calling of cross-examining the world from the Oracle of Delphi; for he must already have been famous before Chaerephon went to consult the Oracle (Riddell), and the story is of a kind which is very likely to have been invented. On the whole we arrive at the conclusion that the Apology is true to the character of Socrates, but we cannot show that any single sentence in it was actually spoken by him. It breathes the spirit of Socrates, but has been cast anew in the mould of Plato. There is not much in the other Dialogues which can be compared with the Apology. The same recollection of his master may have been present to the mind of Plato when depicting the sufferings of the Just in the Republic. The Crito may also be regarded as a sort of appendage to the Apology, in which Socrates, who has defied the judges, is nevertheless represented as scrupulously obedient to the laws. The idealization of the sufferer is carried still further in the Gorgias, in which the thesis is maintained, that ’to suffer is better than to do evil;’ and the art of rhetoric is described as only useful for the purpose of self-accusation. The parallelisms which occur in the so-called Apology of Xenophon are not worth noticing, because the writing in which they are contained is manifestly spurious. The statements of the Memorabilia respecting the trial and death of Socrates agree generally with Plato; but they have lost the flavour of Socratic irony in the narrative of Xenophon. The Apology or Platonic defence of Socrates is divided into three parts: 1st. The defence properly so called; 2nd. The shorter address in mitigation of the penalty; 3rd. The last words of prophetic rebuke and exhortation. The first part commences with an apology for his colloquial style; he is, as he has always been, the enemy of rhetoric, and knows of no rhetoric but truth; he will not falsify his character by making a speech. Then he proceeds to divide his accusers into two classes; first, there is the nameless accuser– public opinion. All the world from their earliest years had heard that he was a

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corrupter of youth, and had seen him caricatured in the Clouds of Aristophanes. Secondly, there are the professed accusers, who are but the mouth-piece of the others. The accusations of both might be summed up in a formula. The first say, ’Socrates is an evil-doer and a curious person, searching into things under the earth and above the heaven; and making the worse appear the better cause, and teaching all this to others.’ The second, ’Socrates is an evil-doer and corrupter of the youth, who does not receive the gods whom the state receives, but introduces other new divinities.’ These last words appear to have been the actual indictment (compare Xen. Mem.); and the previous formula, which is a summary of public opinion, assumes the same legal style. The answer begins by clearing up a confusion. In the representations of the Comic poets, and in the opinion of the multitude, he had been identified with the teachers of physical science and with the Sophists. But this was an error. For both of them he professes a respect in the open court, which contrasts with his manner of speaking about them in other places. (Compare for Anaxagoras, Phaedo, Laws; for the Sophists, Meno, Republic, Tim., Theaet., Soph., etc.) But at the same time he shows that he is not one of them. Of natural philosophy he knows nothing; not that he despises such pursuits, but the fact is that he is ignorant of them, and never says a word about them. Nor is he paid for giving instruction–that is another mistaken notion:–he has nothing to teach. But he commends Evenus for teaching virtue at such a ’moderate’ rate as five minae. Something of the ’accustomed irony,’ which may perhaps be expected to sleep in the ear of the multitude, is lurking here. He then goes on to explain the reason why he is in such an evil name. That had arisen out of a peculiar mission which he had taken upon himself. The enthusiastic Chaerephon (probably in anticipation of the answer which he received) had gone to Delphi and asked the oracle if there was any man wiser than Socrates; and the answer was, that there was no man wiser. What could be the meaning of this–that he who knew nothing, and knew that he knew nothing, should be declared by the oracle to be the wisest of men? Reflecting upon the answer, he determined to refute it by finding ’a wiser;’ and first he went to the politicians, and then to the poets, and then to the craftsmen, but always with the same result–he found that they knew nothing, or hardly anything more than himself; and that the little advantage which in some cases they possessed was more than counter-balanced by their conceit of knowledge. He knew nothing, and knew that he knew nothing: they knew little or nothing, and imagined that they knew all things. Thus he had passed his life as a sort of missionary in detecting the pretended wisdom of mankind; and this occupation had quite absorbed him and taken him away both from public and private affairs. Young men of the richer sort had made a pastime of the same pursuit, ’which was not unamusing.’ And hence bitter enmities had arisen; the professors of knowledge had revenged themselves by calling him a villainous corrupter of youth, and by repeating the commonplaces about atheism and materialism and sophistry, which are the stock-accusations against all philosophers when there is nothing else to be said of them. The second accusation he meets by interrogating Meletus, who is present and can be interrogated. ’If he is the corrupter, who is the improver of the citizens?’ (Compare Meno.) ’All men everywhere.’ But how absurd, how contrary to analogy is this! How inconceivable too, that he should make the citizens worse when he has to live with them. This surely cannot be intentional;

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and if unintentional, he ought to have been instructed by Meletus, and not accused in the court. But there is another part of the indictment which says that he teaches men not to receive the gods whom the city receives, and has other new gods. ’Is that the way in which he is supposed to corrupt the youth?’ ’Yes, it is.’ ’Has he only new gods, or none at all?’ ’None at all.’ ’What, not even the sun and moon?’ ’No; why, he says that the sun is a stone, and the moon earth.’ That, replies Socrates, is the old confusion about Anaxagoras; the Athenian people are not so ignorant as to attribute to the influence of Socrates notions which have found their way into the drama, and may be learned at the theatre. Socrates undertakes to show that Meletus (rather unjustifiably) has been compounding a riddle in this part of the indictment: ’There are no gods, but Socrates believes in the existence of the sons of gods, which is absurd.’ Leaving Meletus, who has had enough words spent upon him, he returns to the original accusation. The question may be asked, Why will he persist in following a profession which leads him to death? Why?–because he must remain at his post where the god has placed him, as he remained at Potidaea, and Amphipolis, and Delium, where the generals placed him. Besides, he is not so overwise as to imagine that he knows whether death is a good or an evil; and he is certain that desertion of his duty is an evil. Anytus is quite right in saying that they should never have indicted him if they meant to let him go. For he will certainly obey God rather than man; and will continue to preach to all men of all ages the necessity of virtue and improvement; and if they refuse to listen to him he will still persevere and reprove them. This is his way of corrupting the youth, which he will not cease to follow in obedience to the god, even if a thousand deaths await him. He is desirous that they should let him live–not for his own sake, but for theirs; because he is their heaven-sent friend (and they will never have such another), or, as he may be ludicrously described, he is the gadfly who stirs the generous steed into motion. Why then has he never taken part in public affairs? Because the familiar divine voice has hindered him; if he had been a public man, and had fought for the right, as he would certainly have fought against the many, he would not have lived, and could therefore have done no good. Twice in public matters he has risked his life for the sake of justice–once at the trial of the generals; and again in resistance to the tyrannical commands of the Thirty. But, though not a public man, he has passed his days in instructing the citizens without fee or reward–this was his mission. Whether his disciples have turned out well or ill, he cannot justly be charged with the result, for he never promised to teach them anything. They might come if they liked, and they might stay away if they liked: and they did come, because they found an amusement in hearing the pretenders to wisdom detected. If they have been corrupted, their elder relatives (if not themselves) might surely come into court and witness against him, and there is an opportunity still for them to appear. But their fathers and brothers all appear in court (including ’this’ Plato), to witness on his behalf; and if their relatives are corrupted, at least they are uncorrupted; ’and they are my witnesses. For they know that I am speaking the truth, and that Meletus is lying.’ This is about all that he has to say. He will not entreat the judges to spare his life; neither will he present a spectacle of weeping children, although he, too,

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is not made of ’rock or oak.’ Some of the judges themselves may have complied with this practice on similar occasions, and he trusts that they will not be angry with him for not following their example. But he feels that such conduct brings discredit on the name of Athens: he feels too, that the judge has sworn not to give away justice; and he cannot be guilty of the impiety of asking the judge to break his oath, when he is himself being tried for impiety. As he expected, and probably intended, he is convicted. And now the tone of the speech, instead of being more conciliatory, becomes more lofty and commanding. Anytus proposes death as the penalty: and what counter- proposition shall he make? He, the benefactor of the Athenian people, whose whole life has been spent in doing them good, should at least have the Olympic victor’s reward of maintenance in the Prytaneum. Or why should he propose any counter-penalty when he does not know whether death, which Anytus proposes, is a good or an evil? And he is certain that imprisonment is an evil, exile is an evil. Loss of money might be an evil, but then he has none to give; perhaps he can make up a mina. Let that be the penalty, or, if his friends wish, thirty minae; for which they will be excellent securities. (He is condemned to death.) He is an old man already, and the Athenians will gain nothing but disgrace by depriving him of a few years of life. Perhaps he could have escaped, if he had chosen to throw down his arms and entreat for his life. But he does not at all repent of the manner of his defence; he would rather die in his own fashion than live in theirs. For the penalty of unrighteousness is swifter than death; that penalty has already overtaken his accusers as death will soon overtake him. And now, as one who is about to die, he will prophesy to them. They have put him to death in order to escape the necessity of giving an account of their lives. But his death ’will be the seed’ of many disciples who will convince them of their evil ways, and will come forth to reprove them in harsher terms, because they are younger and more inconsiderate. He would like to say a few words, while there is time, to those who would have acquitted him. He wishes them to know that the divine sign never interrupted him in the course of his defence; the reason of which, as he conjectures, is that the death to which he is going is a good and not an evil. For either death is a long sleep, the best of sleeps, or a journey to another world in which the souls of the dead are gathered together, and in which there may be a hope of seeing the heroes of old–in which, too, there are just judges; and as all are immortal, there can be no fear of any one suffering death for his opinions. Nothing evil can happen to the good man either in life or death, and his own death has been permitted by the gods, because it was better for him to depart; and therefore he forgives his judges because they have done him no harm, although they never meant to do him any good. He has a last request to make to them–that they will trouble his sons as he has troubled them, if they appear to prefer riches to virtue, or to think themselves something when they are nothing. ... ’Few persons will be found to wish that Socrates should have defended himself otherwise,’–if, as we must add, his defence was that with which Plato has provided him. But leaving this question, which does not admit of a precise solution, we may go on to ask what was the impression which Plato in the Apology intended to give of the character and conduct of his master in the last

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great scene? Did he intend to represent him (1) as employing sophistries; (2) as designedly irritating the judges? Or are these sophistries to be regarded as belonging to the age in which he lived and to his personal character, and this apparent haughtiness as flowing from the natural elevation of his position? For example, when he says that it is absurd to suppose that one man is the corrupter and all the rest of the world the improvers of the youth; or, when he argues that he never could have corrupted the men with whom he had to live; or, when he proves his belief in the gods because he believes in the sons of gods, is he serious or jesting? It may be observed that these sophisms all occur in his cross-examination of Meletus, who is easily foiled and mastered in the hands of the great dialectician. Perhaps he regarded these answers as good enough for his accuser, of whom he makes very light. Also there is a touch of irony in them, which takes them out of the category of sophistry. (Compare Euthyph.) That the manner in which he defends himself about the lives of his disciples is not satisfactory, can hardly be denied. Fresh in the memory of the Athenians, and detestable as they deserved to be to the newly restored democracy, were the names of Alcibiades, Critias, Charmides. It is obviously not a sufficient answer that Socrates had never professed to teach them anything, and is therefore not justly chargeable with their crimes. Yet the defence, when taken out of this ironical form, is doubtless sound: that his teaching had nothing to do with their evil lives. Here, then, the sophistry is rather in form than in substance, though we might desire that to such a serious charge Socrates had given a more serious answer. Truly characteristic of Socrates is another point in his answer, which may also be regarded as sophistical. He says that ’if he has corrupted the youth, he must have corrupted them involuntarily.’ But if, as Socrates argues, all evil is involuntary, then all criminals ought to be admonished and not punished. In these words the Socratic doctrine of the involuntariness of evil is clearly intended to be conveyed. Here again, as in the former instance, the defence of Socrates is untrue practically, but may be true in some ideal or transcendental sense. The commonplace reply, that if he had been guilty of corrupting the youth their relations would surely have witnessed against him, with which he concludes this part of his defence, is more satisfactory. Again, when Socrates argues that he must believe in the gods because he believes in the sons of gods, we must remember that this is a refutation not of the original indictment, which is consistent enough–’Socrates does not receive the gods whom the city receives, and has other new divinities’ –but of the interpretation put upon the words by Meletus, who has affirmed that he is a downright atheist. To this Socrates fairly answers, in accordance with the ideas of the time, that a downright atheist cannot believe in the sons of gods or in divine things. The notion that demons or lesser divinities are the sons of gods is not to be regarded as ironical or sceptical. He is arguing ’ad hominem’ according to the notions of mythology current in his age. Yet he abstains from saying that he believed in the gods whom the State approved. He does not defend himself, as Xenophon has defended him, by appealing to his practice of religion. Probably he neither wholly believed, nor disbelieved, in the existence of the popular gods; he had no means of knowing about them. According to Plato (compare Phaedo; Symp.), as well as Xenophon (Memor.), he was punctual in the performance of the least religious duties; and he must have believed in his own oracular sign, of which he seemed to have an internal witness. But the existence of Apollo or

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Zeus, or the other gods whom the State approves, would have appeared to him both uncertain and unimportant in comparison of the duty of self-examination, and of those principles of truth and right which he deemed to be the foundation of religion. (Compare Phaedr.; Euthyph.; Republic.) The second question, whether Plato meant to represent Socrates as braving or irritating his judges, must also be answered in the negative. His irony, his superiority, his audacity, ’regarding not the person of man,’ necessarily flow out of the loftiness of his situation. He is not acting a part upon a great occasion, but he is what he has been all his life long, ’a king of men.’ He would rather not appear insolent, if he could avoid it (ouch os authadizomenos touto lego). Neither is he desirous of hastening his own end, for life and death are simply indifferent to him. But such a defence as would be acceptable to his judges and might procure an acquittal, it is not in his nature to make. He will not say or do anything that might pervert the course of justice; he cannot have his tongue bound even ’in the throat of death.’ With his accusers he will only fence and play, as he had fenced with other ’improvers of youth,’ answering the Sophist according to his sophistry all his life long. He is serious when he is speaking of his own mission, which seems to distinguish him from all other reformers of mankind, and originates in an accident. The dedication of himself to the improvement of his fellow-citizens is not so remarkable as the ironical spirit in which he goes about doing good only in vindication of the credit of the oracle, and in the vain hope of finding a wiser man than himself. Yet this singular and almost accidental character of his mission agrees with the divine sign which, according to our notions, is equally accidental and irrational, and is nevertheless accepted by him as the guiding principle of his life. Socrates is nowhere represented to us as a freethinker or sceptic. There is no reason to doubt his sincerity when he speculates on the possibility of seeing and knowing the heroes of the Trojan war in another world. On the other hand, his hope of immortality is uncertain;–he also conceives of death as a long sleep (in this respect differing from the Phaedo), and at last falls back on resignation to the divine will, and the certainty that no evil can happen to the good man either in life or death. His absolute truthfulness seems to hinder him from asserting positively more than this; and he makes no attempt to veil his ignorance in mythology and figures of speech. The gentleness of the first part of the speech contrasts with the aggravated, almost threatening, tone of the conclusion. He characteristically remarks that he will not speak as a rhetorician, that is to say, he will not make a regular defence such as Lysias or one of the orators might have composed for him, or, according to some accounts, did compose for him. But he first procures himself a hearing by conciliatory words. He does not attack the Sophists; for they were open to the same charges as himself; they were equally ridiculed by the Comic poets, and almost equally hateful to Anytus and Meletus. Yet incidentally the antagonism between Socrates and the Sophists is allowed to appear. He is poor and they are rich; his profession that he teaches nothing is opposed to their readiness to teach all things; his talking in the marketplace to their private instructions; his tarry-at-home life to their wandering from city to city. The tone which he assumes towards them is one of real friendliness, but also of concealed irony. Towards Anaxagoras, who had disappointed him in his hopes of learning about mind and nature, he shows a less kindly feeling, which is also the feeling of Plato in other passages (Laws). But Anaxagoras had been dead thirty years, and was beyond the reach

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of persecution. It has been remarked that the prophecy of a new generation of teachers who would rebuke and exhort the Athenian people in harsher and more violent terms was, as far as we know, never fulfilled. No inference can be drawn from this circumstance as to the probability of the words attributed to him having been actually uttered. They express the aspiration of the first martyr of philosophy, that he would leave behind him many followers, accompanied by the not unnatural feeling that they would be fiercer and more inconsiderate in their words when emancipated from his control. The above remarks must be understood as applying with any degree of certainty to the Platonic Socrates only. For, although these or similar words may have been spoken by Socrates himself, we cannot exclude the possibility, that like so much else, e.g. the wisdom of Critias, the poem of Solon, the virtues of Charmides, they may have been due only to the imagination of Plato. The arguments of those who maintain that the Apology was composed during the process, resting on no evidence, do not require a serious refutation. Nor are the reasonings of Schleiermacher, who argues that the Platonic defence is an exact or nearly exact reproduction of the words of Socrates, partly because Plato would not have been guilty of the impiety of altering them, and also because many points of the defence might have been improved and strengthened, at all more conclusive. (See English Translation.) What effect the death of Socrates produced on the mind of Plato, we cannot certainly determine; nor can we say how he would or must have written under the circumstances. We observe that the enmity of Aristophanes to Socrates does not prevent Plato from introducing them together in the Symposium engaged in friendly intercourse. Nor is there any trace in the Dialogues of an attempt to make Anytus or Meletus personally odious in the eyes of the Athenian public.

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Apology [17a-42a] Translated by Benjamin Jowett How you, O Athenians, have been affected by my accusers, I cannot tell; but I know that they almost made me forget who I was–so persuasively did they speak; and yet they have hardly uttered a word of truth. But of the many falsehoods told by them, there was one which quite amazed me;–I mean when they said that you should be upon your guard and not allow yourselves to be deceived by the force of my eloquence. To say this, when they were certain to be detected as soon as I opened my lips and proved myself to be anything but a great speaker, did indeed appear to me most shameless–unless by the force of eloquence they mean the force of truth; for is such is their meaning, I admit that I am eloquent. But in how different a way from theirs! Well, as I was saying, they have scarcely spoken the truth at all; but from me you shall hear the whole truth: not, however, delivered after their manner in a set oration duly ornamented with words and phrases. No, by heaven! but I shall use the words and arguments which occur to me at the moment; for I am confident in the justice of my cause (Or, I am certain that I am right in taking this course.): at my time of life I ought not to be appearing before you, O men of Athens, in the character of a juvenile orator–let no one expect it of me. And I must beg of you to grant me a favour:–If I defend myself in my accustomed manner, and you hear me using the words which I have been in the habit of using in the agora, at the tables of the money-changers, or anywhere else, I would ask you not to be surprised, and not to interrupt me on this account. For I am more than seventy years of age, and appearing now for the first time in a court of law, I am quite a stranger to the language of the place; and therefore I would have you regard me as if I were really a stranger, whom you would excuse if he spoke in his native tongue, and after the fashion of his country:–Am I making an unfair request of you? Never mind the manner, which may or may not be good; but think only of the truth of my words, and give heed to that: let the speaker speak truly and the judge decide justly. And first, I have to reply to the older charges and to my first accusers, and then I will go on to the later ones. For of old I have had many accusers, who have accused me falsely to you during many years; and I am more afraid of them than of Anytus and his associates, who are dangerous, too, in their own way. But far more dangerous are the others, who began when you were children, and took possession of your minds with their falsehoods, telling of one Socrates, a wise man, who speculated about the heaven above, and searched into the earth beneath, and made the worse appear the better cause. The disseminators of this tale are the accusers whom I dread; for their hearers are apt to fancy that such enquirers do not believe in the existence of the gods. And they are many, and their charges against me are of ancient date, and they were made by them in the days when you were more impressible than you are now–in childhood, or it may have been in youth–and the cause when heard went by default, for there was none to answer. And hardest of all, I do not know and cannot tell the names of my accusers; unless in the chance case of a Comic poet. All who from envy and malice have persuaded you–some of them having first convinced

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themselves–all this class of men are most difficult to deal with; for I cannot have them up here, and cross-examine them, and therefore I must simply fight with shadows in my own defence, and argue when there is no one who answers. I will ask you then to assume with me, as I was saying, that my opponents are of two kinds; one recent, the other ancient: and I hope that you will see the propriety of my answering the latter first, for these accusations you heard long before the others, and much oftener. Well, then, I must make my defence, and endeavour to clear away in a short time, a slander which has lasted a long time. May I succeed, if to succeed be for my good and yours, or likely to avail me in my cause! The task is not an easy one; I quite understand the nature of it. And so leaving the event with God, in obedience to the law I will now make my defence. I will begin at the beginning, and ask what is the accusation which has given rise to the slander of me, and in fact has encouraged Meletus to proof this charge against me. Well, what do the slanderers say? They shall be my prosecutors, and I will sum up their words in an affidavit: ’Socrates is an evil-doer, and a curious person, who searches into things under the earth and in heaven, and he makes the worse appear the better cause; and he teaches the aforesaid doctrines to others.’ Such is the nature of the accusation: it is just what you have yourselves seen in the comedy of Aristophanes (Aristoph., Clouds.), who has introduced a man whom he calls Socrates, going about and saying that he walks in air, and talking a deal of nonsense concerning matters of which I do not pretend to know either much or little–not that I mean to speak disparagingly of any one who is a student of natural philosophy. I should be very sorry if Meletus could bring so grave a charge against me. But the simple truth is, O Athenians, that I have nothing to do with physical speculations. Very many of those here present are witnesses to the truth of this, and to them I appeal. Speak then, you who have heard me, and tell your neighbours whether any of you have ever known me hold forth in few words or in many upon such matters...You hear their answer. And from what they say of this part of the charge you will be able to judge of the truth of the rest. As little foundation is there for the report that I am a teacher, and take money; this accusation has no more truth in it than the other. Although, if a man were really able to instruct mankind, to receive money for giving instruction would, in my opinion, be an honour to him. There is Gorgias of Leontium, and Prodicus of Ceos, and Hippias of Elis, who go the round of the cities, and are able to persuade the young men to leave their own citizens by whom they might be taught for nothing, and come to them whom they not only pay, but are thankful if they may be allowed to pay them. There is at this time a Parian philosopher residing in Athens, of whom I have heard; and I came to hear of him in this way:–I came across a man who has spent a world of money on the Sophists, Callias, the son of Hipponicus, and knowing that he had sons, I asked him: ’Callias,’ I said, ’if your two sons were foals or calves, there would be no difficulty in finding some one to put over them; we should hire a trainer of horses, or a farmer probably, who would improve and perfect them in their own proper virtue and excellence; but as they are human beings, whom are you thinking of placing over them? Is there any one who understands human and political virtue? You must have thought about the matter, for you have sons; is there any one?’ ’There is,’ he said. ’Who is he?’ said I; ’and of what country? and what does he charge?’ ’Evenus the Parian,’ he replied; ’he is the man, and

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his charge is five minae.’ Happy is Evenus, I said to myself, if he really has this wisdom, and teaches at such a moderate charge. Had I the same, I should have been very proud and conceited; but the truth is that I have no knowledge of the kind. I dare say, Athenians, that some one among you will reply, ’Yes, Socrates, but what is the origin of these accusations which are brought against you; there must have been something strange which you have been doing? All these rumours and this talk about you would never have arisen if you had been like other men: tell us, then, what is the cause of them, for we should be sorry to judge hastily of you.’ Now I regard this as a fair challenge, and I will endeavour to explain to you the reason why I am called wise and have such an evil fame. Please to attend then. And although some of you may think that I am joking, I declare that I will tell you the entire truth. Men of Athens, this reputation of mine has come of a certain sort of wisdom which I possess. If you ask me what kind of wisdom, I reply, wisdom such as may perhaps be attained by man, for to that extent I am inclined to believe that I am wise; whereas the persons of whom I was speaking have a superhuman wisdom which I may fail to describe, because I have it not myself; and he who says that I have, speaks falsely, and is taking away my character. And here, O men of Athens, I must beg you not to interrupt me, even if I seem to say something extravagant. For the word which I will speak is not mine. I will refer you to a witness who is worthy of credit; that witness shall be the God of Delphi–he will tell you about my wisdom, if I have any, and of what sort it is. You must have known Chaerephon; he was early a friend of mine, and also a friend of yours, for he shared in the recent exile of the people, and returned with you. Well, Chaerephon, as you know, was very impetuous in all his doings, and he went to Delphi and boldly asked the oracle to tell him whether–as I was saying, I must beg you not to interrupt–he asked the oracle to tell him whether anyone was wiser than I was, and the Pythian prophetess answered, that there was no man wiser. Chaerephon is dead himself; but his brother, who is in court, will confirm the truth of what I am saying. Why do I mention this? Because I am going to explain to you why I have such an evil name. When I heard the answer, I said to myself, What can the god mean? and what is the interpretation of his riddle? for I know that I have no wisdom, small or great. What then can he mean when he says that I am the wisest of men? And yet he is a god, and cannot lie; that would be against his nature. After long consideration, I thought of a method of trying the question. I reflected that if I could only find a man wiser than myself, then I might go to the god with a refutation in my hand. I should say to him, ’Here is a man who is wiser than I am; but you said that I was the wisest.’ Accordingly I went to one who had the reputation of wisdom, and observed him–his name I need not mention; he was a politician whom I selected for examination–and the result was as follows: When I began to talk with him, I could not help thinking that he was not really wise, although he was thought wise by many, and still wiser by himself; and thereupon I tried to explain to him that he thought himself wise, but was not really wise; and the consequence was that he hated me, and his enmity was shared by several who were present and heard me. So I left him, saying to myself, as I went away: Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is,– for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows; I neither know nor think that I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have slightly the advantage of

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him. Then I went to another who had still higher pretensions to wisdom, and my conclusion was exactly the same. Whereupon I made another enemy of him, and of many others besides him. Then I went to one man after another, being not unconscious of the enmity which I provoked, and I lamented and feared this: but necessity was laid upon me,–the word of God, I thought, ought to be considered first. And I said to myself, Go I must to all who appear to know, and find out the meaning of the oracle. And I swear to you, Athenians, by the dog I swear! –for I must tell you the truth–the result of my mission was just this: I found that the men most in repute were all but the most foolish; and that others less esteemed were really wiser and better. I will tell you the tale of my wanderings and of the ’Herculean’ labours, as I may call them, which I endured only to find at last the oracle irrefutable. After the politicians, I went to the poets; tragic, dithyrambic, and all sorts. And there, I said to myself, you will be instantly detected; now you will find out that you are more ignorant than they are. Accordingly, I took them some of the most elaborate passages in their own writings, and asked what was the meaning of them–thinking that they would teach me something. Will you believe me? I am almost ashamed to confess the truth, but I must say that there is hardly a person present who would not have talked better about their poetry than they did themselves. Then I knew that not by wisdom do poets write poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them. The poets appeared to me to be much in the same case; and I further observed that upon the strength of their poetry they believed themselves to be the wisest of men in other things in which they were not wise. So I departed, conceiving myself to be superior to them for the same reason that I was superior to the politicians. At last I went to the artisans. I was conscious that I knew nothing at all, as I may say, and I was sure that they knew many fine things; and here I was not mistaken, for they did know many things of which I was ignorant, and in this they certainly were wiser than I was. But I observed that even the good artisans fell into the same error as the poets;–because they were good workmen they thought that they also knew all sorts of high matters, and this defect in them overshadowed their wisdom; and therefore I asked myself on behalf of the oracle, whether I would like to be as I was, neither having their knowledge nor their ignorance, or like them in both; and I made answer to myself and to the oracle that I was better off as I was. This inquisition has led to my having many enemies of the worst and most dangerous kind, and has given occasion also to many calumnies. And I am called wise, for my hearers always imagine that I myself possess the wisdom which I find wanting in others: but the truth is, O men of Athens, that God only is wise; and by his answer he intends to show that the wisdom of men is worth little or nothing; he is not speaking of Socrates, he is only using my name by way of illustration, as if he said, He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing. And so I go about the world, obedient to the god, and search and make enquiry into the wisdom of any one, whether citizen or stranger, who appears to be wise; and if he is not wise, then in vindication of the oracle I show him that he is not wise; and my occupation quite absorbs me, and I have no time to give either to any public matter of interest or to any concern of my own, but I am in utter poverty by reason of

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my devotion to the god. There is another thing:–young men of the richer classes, who have not much to do, come about me of their own accord; they like to hear the pretenders examined, and they often imitate me, and proceed to examine others; there are plenty of persons, as they quickly discover, who think that they know something, but really know little or nothing; and then those who are examined by them instead of being angry with themselves are angry with me: This confounded Socrates, they say; this villainous misleader of youth!– and then if somebody asks them, Why, what evil does he practise or teach? they do not know, and cannot tell; but in order that they may not appear to be at a loss, they repeat the ready-made charges which are used against all philosophers about teaching things up in the clouds and under the earth, and having no gods, and making the worse appear the better cause; for they do not like to confess that their pretence of knowledge has been detected– which is the truth; and as they are numerous and ambitious and energetic, and are drawn up in battle array and have persuasive tongues, they have filled your ears with their loud and inveterate calumnies. And this is the reason why my three accusers, Meletus and Anytus and Lycon, have set upon me; Meletus, who has a quarrel with me on behalf of the poets; Anytus, on behalf of the craftsmen and politicians; Lycon, on behalf of the rhetoricians: and as I said at the beginning, I cannot expect to get rid of such a mass of calumny all in a moment. And this, O men of Athens, is the truth and the whole truth; I have concealed nothing, I have dissembled nothing. And yet, I know that my plainness of speech makes them hate me, and what is their hatred but a proof that I am speaking the truth?–Hence has arisen the prejudice against me; and this is the reason of it, as you will find out either in this or in any future enquiry. I have said enough in my defence against the first class of my accusers; I turn to the second class. They are headed by Meletus, that good man and true lover of his country, as he calls himself. Against these, too, I must try to make a defence:–Let their affidavit be read: it contains something of this kind: It says that Socrates is a doer of evil, who corrupts the youth; and who does not believe in the gods of the state, but has other new divinities of his own. Such is the charge; and now let us examine the particular counts. He says that I am a doer of evil, and corrupt the youth; but I say, O men of Athens, that Meletus is a doer of evil, in that he pretends to be in earnest when he is only in jest, and is so eager to bring men to trial from a pretended zeal and interest about matters in which he really never had the smallest interest. And the truth of this I will endeavour to prove to you. Come hither, Meletus, and let me ask a question of you. You think a great deal about the improvement of youth? Yes, I do. Tell the judges, then, who is their improver; for you must know, as you have taken the pains to discover their corrupter, and are citing and accusing me before them. Speak, then, and tell the judges who their improver is.–Observe, Meletus, that you are silent, and have nothing to say. But is not this rather disgraceful, and a very considerable proof of what I was saying, that you have no interest in the matter? Speak up, friend, and tell us who their improver is. The laws. But that, my good sir, is not my meaning. I want to know who the person is, who, in the first place, knows the laws.

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The judges, Socrates, who are present in court. What, do you mean to say, Meletus, that they are able to instruct and improve youth? Certainly they are. What, all of them, or some only and not others? All of them. By the goddess Here, that is good news! There are plenty of improvers, then. And what do you say of the audience,–do they improve them? Yes, they do. And the senators? Yes, the senators improve them. But perhaps the members of the assembly corrupt them?–or do they too improve them? They improve them. Then every Athenian improves and elevates them; all with the exception of myself; and I alone am their corrupter? Is that what you affirm? That is what I stoutly affirm. I am very unfortunate if you are right. But suppose I ask you a question: How about horses? Does one man do them harm and all the world good? Is not the exact opposite the truth? One man is able to do them good, or at least not many;–the trainer of horses, that is to say, does them good, and others who have to do with them rather injure them? Is not that true, Meletus, of horses, or of any other animals? Most assuredly it is; whether you and Anytus say yes or no. Happy indeed would be the condition of youth if they had one corrupter only, and all the rest of the world were their improvers. But you, Meletus, have sufficiently shown that you never had a thought about the young: your carelessness is seen in your not caring about the very things which you bring against me. And now, Meletus, I will ask you another question–by Zeus I will: Which is better, to live among bad citizens, or among good ones? Answer, friend, I say; the question is one which may be easily answered. Do not the good do their neighbours good, and the bad do them evil? Certainly. And is there anyone who would rather be injured than benefited by those who live with him? Answer, my good friend, the law requires you to answer– does any one like to be injured? Certainly not. And when you accuse me of corrupting and deteriorating the youth, do you allege that I corrupt them intentionally or unintentionally? Intentionally, I say. But you have just admitted that the good do their neighbours good, and the evil do them evil. Now, is that a truth which your superior wisdom has recognized thus early in life, and am I, at my age, in such darkness and ignorance as not to know that if a man with whom I have to live is corrupted by me, I am very likely to be harmed by him; and yet I corrupt him, and intentionally, too–so you say, although neither I nor any other human being is ever likely to be convinced by you. But either I do not corrupt them, or I corrupt them unintentionally; and on either view of the case you lie. If my offence is unintentional, the law has no cognizance of unintentional offences: you ought to have taken me privately, and warned and admonished me; for if I had been

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better advised, I should have left off doing what I only did unintentionally–no doubt I should; but you would have nothing to say to me and refused to teach me. And now you bring me up in this court, which is a place not of instruction, but of punishment. It will be very clear to you, Athenians, as I was saying, that Meletus has no care at all, great or small, about the matter. But still I should like to know, Meletus, in what I am affirmed to corrupt the young. I suppose you mean, as I infer from your indictment, that I teach them not to acknowledge the gods which the state acknowledges, but some other new divinities or spiritual agencies in their stead. These are the lessons by which I corrupt the youth, as you say. Yes, that I say emphatically. Then, by the gods, Meletus, of whom we are speaking, tell me and the court, in somewhat plainer terms, what you mean! for I do not as yet understand whether you affirm that I teach other men to acknowledge some gods, and therefore that I do believe in gods, and am not an entire atheist–this you do not lay to my charge,–but only you say that they are not the same gods which the city recognizes–the charge is that they are different gods. Or, do you mean that I am an atheist simply, and a teacher of atheism? I mean the latter–that you are a complete atheist. What an extraordinary statement! Why do you think so, Meletus? Do you mean that I do not believe in the godhead of the sun or moon, like other men? I assure you, judges, that he does not: for he says that the sun is stone, and the moon earth. Friend Meletus, you think that you are accusing Anaxagoras: and you have but a bad opinion of the judges, if you fancy them illiterate to such a degree as not to know that these doctrines are found in the books of Anaxagoras the Clazomenian, which are full of them. And so, forsooth, the youth are said to be taught them by Socrates, when there are not unfrequently exhibitions of them at the theatre (Probably in allusion to Aristophanes who caricatured, and to Euripides who borrowed the notions of Anaxagoras, as well as to other dramatic poets.) (price of admission one drachma at the most); and they might pay their money, and laugh at Socrates if he pretends to father these extraordinary views. And so, Meletus, you really think that I do not believe in any god? I swear by Zeus that you believe absolutely in none at all. Nobody will believe you, Meletus, and I am pretty sure that you do not believe yourself. I cannot help thinking, men of Athens, that Meletus is reckless and impudent, and that he has written this indictment in a spirit of mere wantonness and youthful bravado. Has he not compounded a riddle, thinking to try me? He said to himself:–I shall see whether the wise Socrates will discover my facetious contradiction, or whether I shall be able to deceive him and the rest of them. For he certainly does appear to me to contradict himself in the indictment as much as if he said that Socrates is guilty of not believing in the gods, and yet of believing in them–but this is not like a person who is in earnest. I should like you, O men of Athens, to join me in examining what I conceive to be his inconsistency; and do you, Meletus, answer. And I must remind the audience of my request that they would not make a disturbance if I speak in my accustomed manner: Did ever man, Meletus, believe in the existence of human things, and not of human beings?...I wish, men of Athens, that he would answer, and not be always trying to get up an interruption. Did ever any man believe in horsemanship,

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and not in horses? or in flute-playing, and not in flute- players? No, my friend; I will answer to you and to the court, as you refuse to answer for yourself. There is no man who ever did. But now please to answer the next question: Can a man believe in spiritual and divine agencies, and not in spirits or demigods? He cannot. How lucky I am to have extracted that answer, by the assistance of the court! But then you swear in the indictment that I teach and believe in divine or spiritual agencies (new or old, no matter for that); at any rate, I believe in spiritual agencies,–so you say and swear in the affidavit; and yet if I believe in divine beings, how can I help believing in spirits or demigods;–must I not? To be sure I must; and therefore I may assume that your silence gives consent. Now what are spirits or demigods? Are they not either gods or the sons of gods? Certainly they are. But this is what I call the facetious riddle invented by you: the demigods or spirits are gods, and you say first that I do not believe in gods, and then again that I do believe in gods; that is, if I believe in demigods. For if the demigods are the illegitimate sons of gods, whether by the nymphs or by any other mothers, of whom they are said to be the sons–what human being will ever believe that there are no gods if they are the sons of gods? You might as well affirm the existence of mules, and deny that of horses and asses. Such nonsense, Meletus, could only have been intended by you to make trial of me. You have put this into the indictment because you had nothing real of which to accuse me. But no one who has a particle of understanding will ever be convinced by you that the same men can believe in divine and superhuman things, and yet not believe that there are gods and demigods and heroes. I have said enough in answer to the charge of Meletus: any elaborate defence is unnecessary, but I know only too well how many are the enmities which I have incurred, and this is what will be my destruction if I am destroyed;–not Meletus, nor yet Anytus, but the envy and detraction of the world, which has been the death of many good men, and will probably be the death of many more; there is no danger of my being the last of them. Some one will say: And are you not ashamed, Socrates, of a course of life which is likely to bring you to an untimely end? To him I may fairly answer: There you are mistaken: a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong–acting the part of a good man or of a bad. Whereas, upon your view, the heroes who fell at Troy were not good for much, and the son of Thetis above all, who altogether despised danger in comparison with disgrace; and when he was so eager to slay Hector, his goddess mother said to him, that if he avenged his companion Patroclus, and slew Hector, he would die himself–’Fate,’ she said, in these or the like words, ’waits for you next after Hector;’ he, receiving this warning, utterly despised danger and death, and instead of fearing them, feared rather to live in dishonour, and not to avenge his friend. ’Let me die forthwith,’ he replies, ’and be avenged of my enemy, rather than abide here by the beaked ships, a laughing-stock and a burden of the earth.’ Had Achilles any thought of death and danger? For wherever a man’s place is, whether the place which he has chosen or that in which he has been placed by a commander, there he ought to remain in the hour of danger; he should not think of death or of anything but of disgrace. And this, O men of Athens, is a true saying.

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Strange, indeed, would be my conduct, O men of Athens, if I who, when I was ordered by the generals whom you chose to command me at Potidaea and Amphipolis and Delium, remained where they placed me, like any other man, facing death–if now, when, as I conceive and imagine, God orders me to fulfil the philosopher’s mission of searching into myself and other men, I were to desert my post through fear of death, or any other fear; that would indeed be strange, and I might justly be arraigned in court for denying the existence of the gods, if I disobeyed the oracle because I was afraid of death, fancying that I was wise when I was not wise. For the fear of death is indeed the pretence of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being a pretence of knowing the unknown; and no one knows whether death, which men in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. Is not this ignorance of a disgraceful sort, the ignorance which is the conceit that a man knows what he does not know? And in this respect only I believe myself to differ from men in general, and may perhaps claim to be wiser than they are:–that whereas I know but little of the world below, I do not suppose that I know: but I do know that injustice and disobedience to a better, whether God or man, is evil and dishonourable, and I will never fear or avoid a possible good rather than a certain evil. And therefore if you let me go now, and are not convinced by Anytus, who said that since I had been prosecuted I must be put to death; (or if not that I ought never to have been prosecuted at all); and that if I escape now, your sons will all be utterly ruined by listening to my words–if you say to me, Socrates, this time we will not mind Anytus, and you shall be let off, but upon one condition, that you are not to enquire and speculate in this way any more, and that if you are caught doing so again you shall die;–if this was the condition on which you let me go, I should reply: Men of Athens, I honour and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting any one whom I meet and saying to him after my manner: You, my friend,–a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens,–are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honour and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all? And if the person with whom I am arguing, says: Yes, but I do care; then I do not leave him or let him go at once; but I proceed to interrogate and examine and cross-examine him, and if I think that he has no virtue in him, but only says that he has, I reproach him with undervaluing the greater, and overvaluing the less. And I shall repeat the same words to every one whom I meet, young and old, citizen and alien, but especially to the citizens, inasmuch as they are my brethren. For know that this is the command of God; and I believe that no greater good has ever happened in the state than my service to the God. For I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person. But if any one says that this is not my teaching, he is speaking an untruth. Wherefore, O men of Athens, I say to you, do as Anytus bids or not as Anytus bids, and either acquit me or not; but whichever you do, understand that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times.

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Men of Athens, do not interrupt, but hear me; there was an understanding between us that you should hear me to the end: I have something more to say, at which you may be inclined to cry out; but I believe that to hear me will be good for you, and therefore I beg that you will not cry out. I would have you know, that if you kill such an one as I am, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me. Nothing will injure me, not Meletus nor yet Anytus–they cannot, for a bad man is not permitted to injure a better than himself. I do not deny that Anytus may, perhaps, kill him, or drive him into exile, or deprive him of civil rights; and he may imagine, and others may imagine, that he is inflicting a great injury upon him: but there I do not agree. For the evil of doing as he is doing–the evil of unjustly taking away the life of another–is greater far. And now, Athenians, I am not going to argue for my own sake, as you may think, but for yours, that you may not sin against the God by condemning me, who am his gift to you. For if you kill me you will not easily find a successor to me, who, if I may use such a ludicrous figure of speech, am a sort of gadfly, given to the state by God; and the state is a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life. I am that gadfly which God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you. You will not easily find another like me, and therefore I would advise you to spare me. I dare say that you may feel out of temper (like a person who is suddenly awakened from sleep), and you think that you might easily strike me dead as Anytus advises, and then you would sleep on for the remainder of your lives, unless God in his care of you sent you another gadfly. When I say that I am given to you by God, the proof of my mission is this:–if I had been like other men, I should not have neglected all my own concerns or patiently seen the neglect of them during all these years, and have been doing yours, coming to you individually like a father or elder brother, exhorting you to regard virtue; such conduct, I say, would be unlike human nature. If I had gained anything, or if my exhortations had been paid, there would have been some sense in my doing so; but now, as you will perceive, not even the impudence of my accusers dares to say that I have ever exacted or sought pay of any one; of that they have no witness. And I have a sufficient witness to the truth of what I say–my poverty. Some one may wonder why I go about in private giving advice and busying myself with the concerns of others, but do not venture to come forward in public and advise the state. I will tell you why. You have heard me speak at sundry times and in divers places of an oracle or sign which comes to me, and is the divinity which Meletus ridicules in the indictment. This sign, which is a kind of voice, first began to come to me when I was a child; it always forbids but never commands me to do anything which I am going to do. This is what deters me from being a politician. And rightly, as I think. For I am certain, O men of Athens, that if I had engaged in politics, I should have perished long ago, and done no good either to you or to myself. And do not be offended at my telling you the truth: for the truth is, that no man who goes to war with you or any other multitude, honestly striving against the many lawless and unrighteous deeds which are done in a state, will save his life; he who will fight for the right, if he would live even for a brief space, must have a private station and not a public one. I can give you convincing evidence of what I say, not words only, but what

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you value far more–actions. Let me relate to you a passage of my own life which will prove to you that I should never have yielded to injustice from any fear of death, and that ’as I should have refused to yield’ I must have died at once. I will tell you a tale of the courts, not very interesting perhaps, but nevertheless true. The only office of state which I ever held, O men of Athens, was that of senator: the tribe Antiochis, which is my tribe, had the presidency at the trial of the generals who had not taken up the bodies of the slain after the battle of Arginusae; and you proposed to try them in a body, contrary to law, as you all thought afterwards; but at the time I was the only one of the Prytanes who was opposed to the illegality, and I gave my vote against you; and when the orators threatened to impeach and arrest me, and you called and shouted, I made up my mind that I would run the risk, having law and justice with me, rather than take part in your injustice because I feared imprisonment and death. This happened in the days of the democracy. But when the oligarchy of the Thirty was in power, they sent for me and four others into the rotunda, and bade us bring Leon the Salaminian from Salamis, as they wanted to put him to death. This was a specimen of the sort of commands which they were always giving with the view of implicating as many as possible in their crimes; and then I showed, not in word only but in deed, that, if I may be allowed to use such an expression, I cared not a straw for death, and that my great and only care was lest I should do an unrighteous or unholy thing. For the strong arm of that oppressive power did not frighten me into doing wrong; and when we came out of the rotunda the other four went to Salamis and fetched Leon, but I went quietly home. For which I might have lost my life, had not the power of the Thirty shortly afterwards come to an end. And many will witness to my words. Now do you really imagine that I could have survived all these years, if I had led a public life, supposing that like a good man I had always maintained the right and had made justice, as I ought, the first thing? No indeed, men of Athens, neither I nor any other man. But I have been always the same in all my actions, public as well as private, and never have I yielded any base compliance to those who are slanderously termed my disciples, or to any other. Not that I have any regular disciples. But if any one likes to come and hear me while I am pursuing my mission, whether he be young or old, he is not excluded. Nor do I converse only with those who pay; but any one, whether he be rich or poor, may ask and answer me and listen to my words; and whether he turns out to be a bad man or a good one, neither result can be justly imputed to me; for I never taught or professed to teach him anything. And if any one says that he has ever learned or heard anything from me in private which all the world has not heard, let me tell you that he is lying. But I shall be asked, Why do people delight in continually conversing with you? I have told you already, Athenians, the whole truth about this matter: they like to hear the cross-examination of the pretenders to wisdom; there is amusement in it. Now this duty of cross-examining other men has been imposed upon me by God; and has been signified to me by oracles, visions, and in every way in which the will of divine power was ever intimated to any one. This is true, O Athenians, or, if not true, would be soon refuted. If I am or have been corrupting the youth, those of them who are now grown up and have become sensible that I gave them bad advice in the days of their youth should come forward as accusers, and take their revenge; or if they do not like to come themselves, some of their relatives, fathers, brothers, or other kinsmen, should

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say what evil their families have suffered at my hands. Now is their time. Many of them I see in the court. There is Crito, who is of the same age and of the same deme with myself, and there is Critobulus his son, whom I also see. Then again there is Lysanias of Sphettus, who is the father of Aeschines–he is present; and also there is Antiphon of Cephisus, who is the father of Epigenes; and there are the brothers of several who have associated with me. There is Nicostratus the son of Theosdotides, and the brother of Theodotus (now Theodotus himself is dead, and therefore he, at any rate, will not seek to stop him); and there is Paralus the son of Demodocus, who had a brother Theages; and Adeimantus the son of Ariston, whose brother Plato is present; and Aeantodorus, who is the brother of Apollodorus, whom I also see. I might mention a great many others, some of whom Meletus should have produced as witnesses in the course of his speech; and let him still produce them, if he has forgotten–I will make way for him. And let him say, if he has any testimony of the sort which he can produce. Nay, Athenians, the very opposite is the truth. For all these are ready to witness on behalf of the corrupter, of the injurer of their kindred, as Meletus and Anytus call me; not the corrupted youth only–there might have been a motive for that–but their uncorrupted elder relatives. Why should they too support me with their testimony? Why, indeed, except for the sake of truth and justice, and because they know that I am speaking the truth, and that Meletus is a liar. Well, Athenians, this and the like of this is all the defence which I have to offer. Yet a word more. Perhaps there may be some one who is offended at me, when he calls to mind how he himself on a similar, or even a less serious occasion, prayed and entreated the judges with many tears, and how he produced his children in court, which was a moving spectacle, together with a host of relations and friends; whereas I, who am probably in danger of my life, will do none of these things. The contrast may occur to his mind, and he may be set against me, and vote in anger because he is displeased at me on this account. Now if there be such a person among you,–mind, I do not say that there is,–to him I may fairly reply: My friend, I am a man, and like other men, a creature of flesh and blood, and not ’of wood or stone,’ as Homer says; and I have a family, yes, and sons, O Athenians, three in number, one almost a man, and two others who are still young; and yet I will not bring any of them hither in order to petition you for an acquittal. And why not? Not from any self-assertion or want of respect for you. Whether I am or am not afraid of death is another question, of which I will not now speak. But, having regard to public opinion, I feel that such conduct would be discreditable to myself, and to you, and to the whole state. One who has reached my years, and who has a name for wisdom, ought not to demean himself. Whether this opinion of me be deserved or not, at any rate the world has decided that Socrates is in some way superior to other men. And if those among you who are said to be superior in wisdom and courage, and any other virtue, demean themselves in this way, how shameful is their conduct! I have seen men of reputation, when they have been condemned, behaving in the strangest manner: they seemed to fancy that they were going to suffer something dreadful if they died, and that they could be immortal if you only allowed them to live; and I think that such are a dishonour to the state, and that any stranger coming in would have said of them that the most eminent men of Athens, to whom the Athenians themselves give honour and command, are no better than women. And I say that these things ought not to

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be done by those of us who have a reputation; and if they are done, you ought not to permit them; you ought rather to show that you are far more disposed to condemn the man who gets up a doleful scene and makes the city ridiculous, than him who holds his peace. But, setting aside the question of public opinion, there seems to be something wrong in asking a favour of a judge, and thus procuring an acquittal, instead of informing and convincing him. For his duty is, not to make a present of justice, but to give judgment; and he has sworn that he will judge according to the laws, and not according to his own good pleasure; and we ought not to encourage you, nor should you allow yourselves to be encouraged, in this habit of perjury–there can be no piety in that. Do not then require me to do what I consider dishonourable and impious and wrong, especially now, when I am being tried for impiety on the indictment of Meletus. For if, O men of Athens, by force of persuasion and entreaty I could overpower your oaths, then I should be teaching you to believe that there are no gods, and in defending should simply convict myself of the charge of not believing in them. But that is not so–far otherwise. For I do believe that there are gods, and in a sense higher than that in which any of my accusers believe in them. And to you and to God I commit my cause, to be determined by you as is best for you and me. ... There are many reasons why I am not grieved, O men of Athens, at the vote of condemnation. I expected it, and am only surprised that the votes are so nearly equal; for I had thought that the majority against me would have been far larger; but now, had thirty votes gone over to the other side, I should have been acquitted. And I may say, I think, that I have escaped Meletus. I may say more; for without the assistance of Anytus and Lycon, any one may see that he would not have had a fifth part of the votes, as the law requires, in which case he would have incurred a fine of a thousand drachmae. And so he proposes death as the penalty. And what shall I propose on my part, O men of Athens? Clearly that which is my due. And what is my due? What return shall be made to the man who has never had the wit to be idle during his whole life; but has been careless of what the many care for– wealth, and family interests, and military offices, and speaking in the assembly, and magistracies, and plots, and parties. Reflecting that I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live, I did not go where I could do no good to you or to myself; but where I could do the greatest good privately to every one of you, thither I went, and sought to persuade every man among you that he must look to himself, and seek virtue and wisdom before he looks to his private interests, and look to the state before he looks to the interests of the state; and that this should be the order which he observes in all his actions. What shall be done to such an one? Doubtless some good thing, O men of Athens, if he has his reward; and the good should be of a kind suitable to him. What would be a reward suitable to a poor man who is your benefactor, and who desires leisure that he may instruct you? There can be no reward so fitting as maintenance in the Prytaneum, O men of Athens, a reward which he deserves far more than the citizen who has won the prize at Olympia in the horse or chariot race, whether the chariots were drawn by two horses or by many. For I am in want, and he has enough; and he only gives you the appearance of happiness, and I give you the reality. And if I am to estimate the penalty fairly, I should say that maintenance in the Prytaneum is the just return.

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Perhaps you think that I am braving you in what I am saying now, as in what I said before about the tears and prayers. But this is not so. I speak rather because I am convinced that I never intentionally wronged any one, although I cannot convince you–the time has been too short; if there were a law at Athens, as there is in other cities, that a capital cause should not be decided in one day, then I believe that I should have convinced you. But I cannot in a moment refute great slanders; and, as I am convinced that I never wronged another, I will assuredly not wrong myself. I will not say of myself that I deserve any evil, or propose any penalty. Why should I? because I am afraid of the penalty of death which Meletus proposes? When I do not know whether death is a good or an evil, why should I propose a penalty which would certainly be an evil? Shall I say imprisonment? And why should I live in prison, and be the slave of the magistrates of the year–of the Eleven? Or shall the penalty be a fine, and imprisonment until the fine is paid? There is the same objection. I should have to lie in prison, for money I have none, and cannot pay. And if I say exile (and this may possibly be the penalty which you will affix), I must indeed be blinded by the love of life, if I am so irrational as to expect that when you, who are my own citizens, cannot endure my discourses and words, and have found them so grievous and odious that you will have no more of them, others are likely to endure me. No indeed, men of Athens, that is not very likely. And what a life should I lead, at my age, wandering from city to city, ever changing my place of exile, and always being driven out! For I am quite sure that wherever I go, there, as here, the young men will flock to me; and if I drive them away, their elders will drive me out at their request; and if I let them come, their fathers and friends will drive me out for their sakes. Some one will say: Yes, Socrates, but cannot you hold your tongue, and then you may go into a foreign city, and no one will interfere with you? Now I have great difficulty in making you understand my answer to this. For if I tell you that to do as you say would be a disobedience to the God, and therefore that I cannot hold my tongue, you will not believe that I am serious; and if I say again that daily to discourse about virtue, and of those other things about which you hear me examining myself and others, is the greatest good of man, and that the unexamined life is not worth living, you are still less likely to believe me. Yet I say what is true, although a thing of which it is hard for me to persuade you. Also, I have never been accustomed to think that I deserve to suffer any harm. Had I money I might have estimated the offence at what I was able to pay, and not have been much the worse. But I have none, and therefore I must ask you to proportion the fine to my means. Well, perhaps I could afford a mina, and therefore I propose that penalty: Plato, Crito, Critobulus, and Apollodorus, my friends here, bid me say thirty minae, and they will be the sureties. Let thirty minae be the penalty; for which sum they will be ample security to you. ... Not much time will be gained, O Athenians, in return for the evil name which you will get from the detractors of the city, who will say that you killed Socrates, a wise man; for they will call me wise, even although I am not wise, when they want to reproach you. If you had waited a little while, your desire would have been fulfilled in the course of nature. For I am far advanced in years, as you may perceive, and not far from death. I am speaking now not to all of you, but only to those who have condemned me to death. And I have another thing to say to them: you think that I was convicted because I had

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no words of the sort which would have procured my acquittal–I mean, if I had thought fit to leave nothing undone or unsaid. Not so; the deficiency which led to my conviction was not of words– certainly not. But I had not the boldness or impudence or inclination to address you as you would have liked me to do, weeping and wailing and lamenting, and saying and doing many things which you have been accustomed to hear from others, and which, as I maintain, are unworthy of me. I thought at the time that I ought not to do anything common or mean when in danger: nor do I now repent of the style of my defence; I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live. For neither in war nor yet at law ought I or any man to use every way of escaping death. Often in battle there can be no doubt that if a man will throw away his arms, and fall on his knees before his pursuers, he may escape death; and in other dangers there are other ways of escaping death, if a man is willing to say and do anything. The difficulty, my friends, is not to avoid death, but to avoid unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death. I am old and move slowly, and the slower runner has overtaken me, and my accusers are keen and quick, and the faster runner, who is unrighteousness, has overtaken them. And now I depart hence condemned by you to suffer the penalty of death,–they too go their ways condemned by the truth to suffer the penalty of villainy and wrong; and I must abide by my award–let them abide by theirs. I suppose that these things may be regarded as fated,–and I think that they are well. And now, O men who have condemned me, I would fain prophesy to you; for I am about to die, and in the hour of death men are gifted with prophetic power. And I prophesy to you who are my murderers, that immediately after my departure punishment far heavier than you have inflicted on me will surely await you. Me you have killed because you wanted to escape the accuser, and not to give an account of your lives. But that will not be as you suppose: far otherwise. For I say that there will be more accusers of you than there are now; accusers whom hitherto I have restrained: and as they are younger they will be more inconsiderate with you, and you will be more offended at them. If you think that by killing men you can prevent some one from censuring your evil lives, you are mistaken; that is not a way of escape which is either possible or honourable; the easiest and the noblest way is not to be disabling others, but to be improving yourselves. This is the prophecy which I utter before my departure to the judges who have condemned me. Friends, who would have acquitted me, I would like also to talk with you about the thing which has come to pass, while the magistrates are busy, and before I go to the place at which I must die. Stay then a little, for we may as well talk with one another while there is time. You are my friends, and I should like to show you the meaning of this event which has happened to me. O my judges–for you I may truly call judges–I should like to tell you of a wonderful circumstance. Hitherto the divine faculty of which the internal oracle is the source has constantly been in the habit of opposing me even about trifles, if I was going to make a slip or error in any matter; and now as you see there has come upon me that which may be thought, and is generally believed to be, the last and worst evil. But the oracle made no sign of opposition, either when I was leaving my house in the morning, or when I was on my way to the court, or while I was speaking, at anything which I was going to say; and yet I have often been stopped in the middle of a speech, but now in nothing I either said or did touching the matter in hand has the oracle opposed me. What do I take

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to be the explanation of this silence? I will tell you. It is an intimation that what has happened to me is a good, and that those of us who think that death is an evil are in error. For the customary sign would surely have opposed me had I been going to evil and not to good. Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is great reason to hope that death is a good; for one of two things–either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another. Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness, but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by dreams, death will be an unspeakable gain. For if a person were to select the night in which his sleep was undisturbed even by dreams, and were to compare with this the other days and nights of his life, and then were to tell us how many days and nights he had passed in the course of his life better and more pleasantly than this one, I think that any man, I will not say a private man, but even the great king will not find many such days or nights, when compared with the others. Now if death be of such a nature, I say that to die is gain; for eternity is then only a single night. But if death is the journey to another place, and there, as men say, all the dead abide, what good, O my friends and judges, can be greater than this? If indeed when the pilgrim arrives in the world below, he is delivered from the professors of justice in this world, and finds the true judges who are said to give judgment there, Minos and Rhadamanthus and Aeacus and Triptolemus, and other sons of God who were righteous in their own life, that pilgrimage will be worth making. What would not a man give if he might converse with Orpheus and Musaeus and Hesiod and Homer? Nay, if this be true, let me die again and again. I myself, too, shall have a wonderful interest in there meeting and conversing with Palamedes, and Ajax the son of Telamon, and any other ancient hero who has suffered death through an unjust judgment; and there will be no small pleasure, as I think, in comparing my own sufferings with theirs. Above all, I shall then be able to continue my search into true and false knowledge; as in this world, so also in the next; and I shall find out who is wise, and who pretends to be wise, and is not. What would not a man give, O judges, to be able to examine the leader of the great Trojan expedition; or Odysseus or Sisyphus, or numberless others, men and women too! What infinite delight would there be in conversing with them and asking them questions! In another world they do not put a man to death for asking questions: assuredly not. For besides being happier than we are, they will be immortal, if what is said is true. Wherefore, O judges, be of good cheer about death, and know of a certainty, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. He and his are not neglected by the gods; nor has my own approaching end happened by mere chance. But I see clearly that the time had arrived when it was better for me to die and be released from trouble; wherefore the oracle gave no sign. For which reason, also, I am not angry with my condemners, or with my accusers; they have done me no harm, although they did not mean to do me any good; and for this I may gently blame them. Still I have a favour to ask of them. When my sons are grown up, I would ask you, O my friends, to punish them; and I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches, or anything, more than about virtue; or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing,– then reprove them, as I have reproved you, for not caring about that for which

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they ought to care, and thinking that they are something when they are really nothing. And if you do this, both I and my sons will have received justice at your hands. The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways–I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.

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Chapter 4

Charmides Source text avalaible at: http://www.gutenberg.net/etext98/chmds10.txt1

4.1

Introduction

By Benjamin Jowett The subject of the Charmides is Temperance or (Greek), a peculiarly Greek notion, which may also be rendered Moderation (Compare Cic. Tusc. ’(Greek), quam soleo equidem tum temperantiam, tum moderationem appellare, nonnunquam etiam modestiam.’), Modesty, Discretion, Wisdom, without completely exhausting by all these terms the various associations of the word. It may be described as ’mens sana in corpore sano,’ the harmony or due proportion of the higher and lower elements of human nature which ’makes a man his own master,’ according to the definition of the Republic. In the accompanying translation the word has been rendered in different places either Temperance or Wisdom, as the connection seemed to require: for in the philosophy of Plato (Greek) still retains an intellectual element (as Socrates is also said to have identified (Greek) with (Greek): Xen. Mem.) and is not yet relegated to the sphere of moral virtue, as in the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. The beautiful youth, Charmides, who is also the most temperate of human beings, is asked by Socrates, ’What is Temperance?’ He answers characteristically, (1) ’Quietness.’ ’But Temperance is a fine and noble thing; and quietness in many or most cases is not so fine a thing as quickness.’ He tries again and says (2) that temperance is modesty. But this again is set aside by a sophistical application of Homer: for temperance is good as well as noble, and Homer has declared that ’modesty is not good for a needy man.’ (3) Once more Charmides makes the attempt. This time he gives a definition which he has heard, and of which Socrates conjectures that Critias must be the author: ’Temperance is doing one’s own business.’ But the artisan who makes another man’s shoes may be temperate, and yet he is not doing his own business; and temperance defined 1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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thus would be opposed to the division of labour which exists in every temperate or well-ordered state. How is this riddle to be explained? Critias, who takes the place of Charmides, distinguishes in his answer between ’making’ and ’doing,’ and with the help of a misapplied quotation from Hesiod assigns to the words ’doing’ and ’work’ an exclusively good sense: Temperance is doing one’s own business;–(4) is doing good. Still an element of knowledge is wanting which Critias is readily induced to admit at the suggestion of Socrates; and, in the spirit of Socrates and of Greek life generally, proposes as a fifth definition, (5) Temperance is self-knowledge. But all sciences have a subject: number is the subject of arithmetic, health of medicine–what is the subject of temperance or wisdom? The answer is that (6) Temperance is the knowledge of what a man knows and of what he does not know. But this is contrary to analogy; there is no vision of vision, but only of visible things; no love of loves, but only of beautiful things; how then can there be a knowledge of knowledge? That which is older, heavier, lighter, is older, heavier, and lighter than something else, not than itself, and this seems to be true of all relative notions–the object of relation is outside of them; at any rate they can only have relation to themselves in the form of that object. Whether there are any such cases of reflex relation or not, and whether that sort of knowledge which we term Temperance is of this reflex nature, has yet to be determined by the great metaphysician. But even if knowledge can know itself, how does the knowledge of what we know imply the knowledge of what we do not know? Besides, knowledge is an abstraction only, and will not inform us of any particular subject, such as medicine, building, and the like. It may tell us that we or other men know something, but can never tell us what we know. Admitting that there is a knowledge of what we know and of what we do not know, which would supply a rule and measure of all things, still there would be no good in this; and the knowledge which temperance gives must be of a kind which will do us good; for temperance is a good. But this universal knowledge does not tend to our happiness and good: the only kind of knowledge which brings happiness is the knowledge of good and evil. To this Critias replies that the science or knowledge of good and evil, and all the other sciences, are regulated by the higher science or knowledge of knowledge. Socrates replies by again dividing the abstract from the concrete, and asks how this knowledge conduces to happiness in the same definite way in which medicine conduces to health. And now, after making all these concessions, which are really inadmissible, we are still as far as ever from ascertaining the nature of temperance, which Charmides has already discovered, and had therefore better rest in the knowledge that the more temperate he is the happier he will be, and not trouble himself with the speculations of Socrates. In this Dialogue may be noted (1) The Greek ideal of beauty and goodness, the vision of the fair soul in the fair body, realised in the beautiful Charmides; (2) The true conception of medicine as a science of the whole as well as the parts, and of the mind as well as the body, which is playfully intimated in the story of the Thracian; (3) The tendency of the age to verbal distinctions, which here, as in the Protagoras and Cratylus, are ascribed to the ingenuity of Prodicus; and to interpretations or rather parodies of Homer or Hesiod, which are eminently characteristic of Plato and his contemporaries; (4) The germ of an ethical principle contained in the notion that temperance is ’doing one’s own

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business,’ which in the Republic (such is the shifting character of the Platonic philosophy) is given as the definition, not of temperance, but of justice; (5) The impatience which is exhibited by Socrates of any definition of temperance in which an element of science or knowledge is not included; (6) The beginning of metaphysics and logic implied in the two questions: whether there can be a science of science, and whether the knowledge of what you know is the same as the knowledge of what you do not know; and also in the distinction between ’what you know’ and ’that you know,’ (Greek;) here too is the first conception of an absolute self-determined science (the claims of which, however, are disputed by Socrates, who asks cui bono? ) as well as the first suggestion of the difficulty of the abstract and concrete, and one of the earliest anticipations of the relation of subject and object, and of the subjective element in knowledge–a ’rich banquet’ of metaphysical questions in which we ’taste of many things.’ (7) And still the mind of Plato, having snatched for a moment at these shadows of the future, quickly rejects them: thus early has he reached the conclusion that there can be no science which is a ’science of nothing’ (Parmen.). (8) The conception of a science of good and evil also first occurs here, an anticipation of the Philebus and Republic as well as of moral philosophy in later ages. The dramatic interest of the Dialogue chiefly centres in the youth Charmides, with whom Socrates talks in the kindly spirit of an elder. His childlike simplicity and ingenuousness are contrasted with the dialectical and rhetorical arts of Critias, who is the grown-up man of the world, having a tincture of philosophy. No hint is given, either here or in the Timaeus, of the infamy which attaches to the name of the latter in Athenian history. He is simply a cultivated person who, like his kinsman Plato, is ennobled by the connection of his family with Solon (Tim.), and had been the follower, if not the disciple, both of Socrates and of the Sophists. In the argument he is not unfair, if allowance is made for a slight rhetorical tendency, and for a natural desire to save his reputation with the company; he is sometimes nearer the truth than Socrates. Nothing in his language or behaviour is unbecoming the guardian of the beautiful Charmides. His love of reputation is characteristically Greek, and contrasts with the humility of Socrates. Nor in Charmides himself do we find any resemblance to the Charmides of history, except, perhaps, the modest and retiring nature which, according to Xenophon, at one time of his life prevented him from speaking in the Assembly (Mem.); and we are surprised to hear that, like Critias, he afterwards became one of the thirty tyrants. In the Dialogue he is a pattern of virtue, and is therefore in no need of the charm which Socrates is unable to apply. With youthful naivete, keeping his secret and entering into the spirit of Socrates, he enjoys the detection of his elder and guardian Critias, who is easily seen to be the author of the definition which he has so great an interest in maintaining. The preceding definition, ’Temperance is doing one’s own business,’ is assumed to have been borrowed by Charmides from another; and when the enquiry becomes more abstract he is superseded by Critias (Theaet.; Euthyd.). Socrates preserves his accustomed irony to the end; he is in the neighbourhood of several great truths, which he views in various lights, but always either by bringing them to the test of common sense, or by demanding too great exactness in the use of words, turns aside from them and comes at last to no conclusion. The definitions of temperance proceed in regular order from the popular to the philosophical. The first two are simple enough and partially true, like the first thoughts of an intelligent youth; the third, which is a real contribution to

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ethical philosophy, is perverted by the ingenuity of Socrates, and hardly rescued by an equal perversion on the part of Critias. The remaining definitions have a higher aim, which is to introduce the element of knowledge, and at last to unite good and truth in a single science. But the time has not yet arrived for the realization of this vision of metaphysical philosophy; and such a science when brought nearer to us in the Philebus and the Republic will not be called by the name of (Greek). Hence we see with surprise that Plato, who in his other writings identifies good and knowledge, here opposes them, and asks, almost in the spirit of Aristotle, how can there be a knowledge of knowledge, and even if attainable, how can such a knowledge be of any use? The difficulty of the Charmides arises chiefly from the two senses of the word (Greek), or temperance. From the ethical notion of temperance, which is variously defined to be quietness, modesty, doing our own business, the doing of good actions, the dialogue passes onto the intellectual conception of (Greek), which is declared also to be the science of self-knowledge, or of the knowledge of what we know and do not know, or of the knowledge of good and evil. The dialogue represents a stage in the history of philosophy in which knowledge and action were not yet distinguished. Hence the confusion between them, and the easy transition from one to the other. The definitions which are offered are all rejected, but it is to be observed that they all tend to throw a light on the nature of temperance, and that, unlike the distinction of Critias between (Greek), none of them are merely verbal quibbles, it is implied that this question, although it has not yet received a solution in theory, has been already answered by Charmides himself, who has learned to practise the virtue of self-knowledge which philosophers are vainly trying to define in words. In a similar spirit we might say to a young man who is disturbed by theological difficulties, ’Do not trouble yourself about such matters, but only lead a good life;’ and yet in either case it is not to be denied that right ideas of truth may contribute greatly to the improvement of character. The reasons why the Charmides, Lysis, Laches have been placed together and first in the series of Platonic dialogues, are: (i) Their shortness and simplicity. The Charmides and the Lysis, if not the Laches, are of the same ’quality’ as the Phaedrus and Symposium: and it is probable, though far from certain, that the slighter effort preceded the greater one. (ii) Their eristic, or rather Socratic character; they belong to the class called dialogues of search (Greek), which have no conclusion. (iii) The absence in them of certain favourite notions of Plato, such as the doctrine of recollection and of the Platonic ideas; the questions, whether virtue can be taught; whether the virtues are one or many. (iv) They have a want of depth, when compared with the dialogues of the middle and later period; and a youthful beauty and grace which is wanting in the later ones. (v) Their resemblance to one another; in all the three boyhood has a great part. These reasons have various degrees of weight in determining their place in the catalogue of the Platonic writings, though they are not conclusive. No arrangement of the Platonic dialogues can be strictly chronological. The order which has been adopted is intended mainly for the convenience of the reader; at the same time, indications of the date supplied either by Plato himself or allusions found in the dialogues have not been lost sight of. Much may be said about this subject, but the results can only be probable; there are no materials which would enable us to attain to anything like certainty. The relations of knowledge and virtue are again brought forward in the

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companion dialogues of the Lysis and Laches; and also in the Protagoras and Euthydemus. The opposition of abstract and particular knowledge in this dialogue may be compared with a similar opposition of ideas and phenomena which occurs in the Prologues to the Parmenides, but seems rather to belong to a later stage of the philosophy of Plato.

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Charmides [153a-176d] Translated by Benjamin Jowett PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Socrates, who is the narrator, Charmides, Chaerephon, Critias. SCENE: The Palaestra of Taureas, which is near the Porch of the King Archon. Yesterday evening I returned from the army at Potidaea, and having been a good while away, I thought that I should like to go and look at my old haunts. So I went into the palaestra of Taureas, which is over against the temple adjoining the porch of the King Archon, and there I found a number of persons, most of whom I knew, but not all. My visit was unexpected, and no sooner did they see me entering than they saluted me from afar on all sides; and Chaerephon, who is a kind of madman, started up and ran to me, seizing my hand, and saying, How did you escape, Socrates?–(I should explain that an engagement had taken place at Potidaea not long before we came away, of which the news had only just reached Athens.) You see, I replied, that here I am. There was a report, he said, that the engagement was very severe, and that many of our acquaintance had fallen. That, I replied, was not far from the truth. I suppose, he said, that you were present. I was. Then sit down, and tell us the whole story, which as yet we have only heard imperfectly. I took the place which he assigned to me, by the side of Critias the son of Callaeschrus, and when I had saluted him and the rest of the company, I told them the news from the army, and answered their several enquiries. Then, when there had been enough of this, I, in my turn, began to make enquiries about matters at home–about the present state of philosophy, and about the youth. I asked whether any of them were remarkable for wisdom or beauty, or both. Critias, glancing at the door, invited my attention to some youths who were coming in, and talking noisily to one another, followed by a crowd. Of the beauties, Socrates, he said, I fancy that you will soon be able to form a judgment. For those who are just entering are the advanced guard of the great beauty, as he is thought to be, of the day, and he is likely to be not far off himself. Who is he, I said; and who is his father? Charmides, he replied, is his name; he is my cousin, and the son of my uncle Glaucon: I rather think that you know him too, although he was not grown up at the time of your departure. Certainly, I know him, I said, for he was remarkable even then when he was still a child, and I should imagine that by this time he must be almost a young man.

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You will see, he said, in a moment what progress he has made and what he is like. He had scarcely said the word, when Charmides entered. Now you know, my friend, that I cannot measure anything, and of the beautiful, I am simply such a measure as a white line is of chalk; for almost all young persons appear to be beautiful in my eyes. But at that moment, when I saw him coming in, I confess that I was quite astonished at his beauty and stature; all the world seemed to be enamoured of him; amazement and confusion reigned when he entered; and a troop of lovers followed him. That grown-up men like ourselves should have been affected in this way was not surprising, but I observed that there was the same feeling among the boys; all of them, down to the very least child, turned and looked at him, as if he had been a statue. Chaerephon called me and said: What do you think of him, Socrates? Has he not a beautiful face? Most beautiful, I said. But you would think nothing of his face, he replied, if you could see his naked form: he is absolutely perfect. And to this they all agreed. By Heracles, I said, there never was such a paragon, if he has only one other slight addition. What is that? said Critias. If he has a noble soul; and being of your house, Critias, he may be expected to have this. He is as fair and good within, as he is without, replied Critias. Then, before we see his body, should we not ask him to show us his soul, naked and undisguised? he is just of an age at which he will like to talk. That he will, said Critias, and I can tell you that he is a philosopher already, and also a considerable poet, not in his own opinion only, but in that of others. That, my dear Critias, I replied, is a distinction which has long been in your family, and is inherited by you from Solon. But why do you not call him, and show him to us? for even if he were younger than he is, there could be no impropriety in his talking to us in the presence of you, who are his guardian and cousin. Very well, he said; then I will call him; and turning to the attendant, he said, Call Charmides, and tell him that I want him to come and see a physician about the illness of which he spoke to me the day before yesterday. Then again addressing me, he added: He has been complaining lately of having a headache when he rises in the morning: now why should you not make him believe that you know a cure for the headache? Why not, I said; but will he come? He will be sure to come, he replied. He came as he was bidden, and sat down between Critias and me. Great amusement was occasioned by every one pushing with might and main at his neighbour in order to make a place for him next to themselves, until at the two ends of the row one had to get up and the other was rolled over sideways. Now I, my friend, was beginning to feel awkward; my former bold belief in my powers of conversing with him had vanished. And when Critias told him that I was the person who had the cure, he looked at me in such an indescribable manner, and was just going to ask a question. And at that moment all the people in the palaestra crowded about us, and, O rare! I caught a sight of the inwards of his garment, and took the flame. Then I could no longer contain myself. I

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thought how well Cydias understood the nature of love, when, in speaking of a fair youth, he warns some one ’not to bring the fawn in the sight of the lion to be devoured by him,’ for I felt that I had been overcome by a sort of wild-beast appetite. But I controlled myself, and when he asked me if I knew the cure of the headache, I answered, but with an effort, that I did know. And what is it? he said. I replied that it was a kind of leaf, which required to be accompanied by a charm, and if a person would repeat the charm at the same time that he used the cure, he would be made whole; but that without the charm the leaf would be of no avail. Then I will write out the charm from your dictation, he said. With my consent? I said, or without my consent? With your consent, Socrates, he said, laughing. Very good, I said; and are you quite sure that you know my name? I ought to know you, he replied, for there is a great deal said about you among my companions; and I remember when I was a child seeing you in company with my cousin Critias. I am glad to find that you remember me, I said; for I shall now be more at home with you and shall be better able to explain the nature of the charm, about which I felt a difficulty before. For the charm will do more, Charmides, than only cure the headache. I dare say that you have heard eminent physicians say to a patient who comes to them with bad eyes, that they cannot cure his eyes by themselves, but that if his eyes are to be cured, his head must be treated; and then again they say that to think of curing the head alone, and not the rest of the body also, is the height of folly. And arguing in this way they apply their methods to the whole body, and try to treat and heal the whole and the part together. Did you ever observe that this is what they say? Yes, he said. And they are right, and you would agree with them? Yes, he said, certainly I should. His approving answers reassured me, and I began by degrees to regain confidence, and the vital heat returned. Such, Charmides, I said, is the nature of the charm, which I learned when serving with the army from one of the physicians of the Thracian king Zamolxis, who are said to be so skilful that they can even give immortality. This Thracian told me that in these notions of theirs, which I was just now mentioning, the Greek physicians are quite right as far as they go; but Zamolxis, he added, our king, who is also a god, says further, ’that as you ought not to attempt to cure the eyes without the head, or the head without the body, so neither ought you to attempt to cure the body without the soul; and this,’ he said, ’is the reason why the cure of many diseases is unknown to the physicians of Hellas, because they are ignorant of the whole, which ought to be studied also; for the part can never be well unless the whole is well.’ For all good and evil, whether in the body or in human nature, originates, as he declared, in the soul, and overflows from thence, as if from the head into the eyes. And therefore if the head and body are to be well, you must begin by curing the soul; that is the first thing. And the cure, my dear youth, has to be effected by the use of certain charms, and these charms are fair words; and by them temperance is implanted in the soul, and where temperance is, there health is speedily imparted, not only to the head, but to the whole body. And he who taught me the cure and the charm at the same time added a special

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direction: ’Let no one,’ he said, ’persuade you to cure the head, until he has first given you his soul to be cured by the charm. For this,’ he said, ’is the great error of our day in the treatment of the human body, that physicians separate the soul from the body.’ And he added with emphasis, at the same time making me swear to his words, ’Let no one, however rich, or noble, or fair, persuade you to give him the cure, without the charm.’ Now I have sworn, and I must keep my oath, and therefore if you will allow me to apply the Thracian charm first to your soul, as the stranger directed, I will afterwards proceed to apply the cure to your head. But if not, I do not know what I am to do with you, my dear Charmides. Critias, when he heard this, said: The headache will be an unexpected gain to my young relation, if the pain in his head compels him to improve his mind: and I can tell you, Socrates, that Charmides is not only pre-eminent in beauty among his equals, but also in that quality which is given by the charm; and this, as you say, is temperance? Yes, I said. Then let me tell you that he is the most temperate of human beings, and for his age inferior to none in any quality. Yes, I said, Charmides; and indeed I think that you ought to excel others in all good qualities; for if I am not mistaken there is no one present who could easily point out two Athenian houses, whose union would be likely to produce a better or nobler scion than the two from which you are sprung. There is your father’s house, which is descended from Critias the son of Dropidas, whose family has been commemorated in the panegyrical verses of Anacreon, Solon, and many other poets, as famous for beauty and virtue and all other high fortune: and your mother’s house is equally distinguished; for your maternal uncle, Pyrilampes, is reputed never to have found his equal, in Persia at the court of the great king, or on the continent of Asia, in all the places to which he went as ambassador, for stature and beauty; that whole family is not a whit inferior to the other. Having such ancestors you ought to be first in all things, and, sweet son of Glaucon, your outward form is no dishonour to any of them. If to beauty you add temperance, and if in other respects you are what Critias declares you to be, then, dear Charmides, blessed art thou, in being the son of thy mother. And here lies the point; for if, as he declares, you have this gift of temperance already, and are temperate enough, in that case you have no need of any charms, whether of Zamolxis or of Abaris the Hyperborean, and I may as well let you have the cure of the head at once; but if you have not yet acquired this quality, I must use the charm before I give you the medicine. Please, therefore, to inform me whether you admit the truth of what Critias has been saying;–have you or have you not this quality of temperance? Charmides blushed, and the blush heightened his beauty, for modesty is becoming in youth; he then said very ingenuously, that he really could not at once answer, either yes, or no, to the question which I had asked: For, said he, if I affirm that I am not temperate, that would be a strange thing for me to say of myself, and also I should give the lie to Critias, and many others who think as he tells you, that I am temperate: but, on the other hand, if I say that I am, I shall have to praise myself, which would be ill manners; and therefore I do not know how to answer you. I said to him: That is a natural reply, Charmides, and I think that you and I ought together to enquire whether you have this quality about which I am

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asking or not; and then you will not be compelled to say what you do not like; neither shall I be a rash practitioner of medicine: therefore, if you please, I will share the enquiry with you, but I will not press you if you would rather not. There is nothing which I should like better, he said; and as far as I am concerned you may proceed in the way which you think best. I think, I said, that I had better begin by asking you a question; for if temperance abides in you, you must have an opinion about her; she must give some intimation of her nature and qualities, which may enable you to form a notion of her. Is not that true? Yes, he said, that I think is true. You know your native language, I said, and therefore you must be able to tell what you feel about this. Certainly, he said. In order, then, that I may form a conjecture whether you have temperance abiding in you or not, tell me, I said, what, in your opinion, is Temperance? At first he hesitated, and was very unwilling to answer: then he said that he thought temperance was doing things orderly and quietly, such things for example as walking in the streets, and talking, or anything else of that nature. In a word, he said, I should answer that, in my opinion, temperance is quietness. Are you right, Charmides? I said. No doubt some would affirm that the quiet are the temperate; but let us see whether these words have any meaning; and first tell me whether you would not acknowledge temperance to be of the class of the noble and good? Yes. But which is best when you are at the writing-master’s, to write the same letters quickly or quietly? Quickly. And to read quickly or slowly? Quickly again. And in playing the lyre, or wrestling, quickness or sharpness are far better than quietness and slowness? Yes. And the same holds in boxing and in the pancratium? Certainly. And in leaping and running and in bodily exercises generally, quickness and agility are good; slowness, and inactivity, and quietness, are bad? That is evident. Then, I said, in all bodily actions, not quietness, but the greatest agility and quickness, is noblest and best? Yes, certainly. And is temperance a good? Yes. Then, in reference to the body, not quietness, but quickness will be the higher degree of temperance, if temperance is a good? True, he said. And which, I said, is better–facility in learning, or difficulty in learning? Facility. Yes, I said; and facility in learning is learning quickly, and difficulty in learning is learning quietly and slowly? True.

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And is it not better to teach another quickly and energetically, rather than quietly and slowly? Yes. And which is better, to call to mind, and to remember, quickly and readily, or quietly and slowly? The former. And is not shrewdness a quickness or cleverness of the soul, and not a quietness? True. And is it not best to understand what is said, whether at the writing- master’s or the music-master’s, or anywhere else, not as quietly as possible, but as quickly as possible? Yes. And in the searchings or deliberations of the soul, not the quietest, as I imagine, and he who with difficulty deliberates and discovers, is thought worthy of praise, but he who does so most easily and quickly? Quite true, he said. And in all that concerns either body or soul, swiftness and activity are clearly better than slowness and quietness? Clearly they are. Then temperance is not quietness, nor is the temperate life quiet,– certainly not upon this view; for the life which is temperate is supposed to be the good. And of two things, one is true,–either never, or very seldom, do the quiet actions in life appear to be better than the quick and energetic ones; or supposing that of the nobler actions, there are as many quiet, as quick and vehement: still, even if we grant this, temperance will not be acting quietly any more than acting quickly and energetically, either in walking or talking or in anything else; nor will the quiet life be more temperate than the unquiet, seeing that temperance is admitted by us to be a good and noble thing, and the quick have been shown to be as good as the quiet. I think, he said, Socrates, that you are right. Then once more, Charmides, I said, fix your attention, and look within; consider the effect which temperance has upon yourself, and the nature of that which has the effect. Think over all this, and, like a brave youth, tell me–What is temperance? After a moment’s pause, in which he made a real manly effort to think, he said: My opinion is, Socrates, that temperance makes a man ashamed or modest, and that temperance is the same as modesty. Very good, I said; and did you not admit, just now, that temperance is noble? Yes, certainly, he said. And the temperate are also good? Yes. And can that be good which does not make men good? Certainly not. And you would infer that temperance is not only noble, but also good? That is my opinion. Well, I said; but surely you would agree with Homer when he says, ’Modesty is not good for a needy man’ ? Yes, he said; I agree.

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Then I suppose that modesty is and is not good? Clearly. But temperance, whose presence makes men only good, and not bad, is always good? That appears to me to be as you say. And the inference is that temperance cannot be modesty–if temperance is a good, and if modesty is as much an evil as a good? All that, Socrates, appears to me to be true; but I should like to know what you think about another definition of temperance, which I just now remember to have heard from some one, who said, ’That temperance is doing our own business.’ Was he right who affirmed that? You monster! I said; this is what Critias, or some philosopher has told you. Some one else, then, said Critias; for certainly I have not. But what matter, said Charmides, from whom I heard this? No matter at all, I replied; for the point is not who said the words, but whether they are true or not. There you are in the right, Socrates, he replied. To be sure, I said; yet I doubt whether we shall ever be able to discover their truth or falsehood; for they are a kind of riddle. What makes you think so? he said. Because, I said, he who uttered them seems to me to have meant one thing, and said another. Is the scribe, for example, to be regarded as doing nothing when he reads or writes? I should rather think that he was doing something. And does the scribe write or read, or teach you boys to write or read, your own names only, or did you write your enemies’ names as well as your own and your friends’ ? As much one as the other. And was there anything meddling or intemperate in this? Certainly not. And yet if reading and writing are the same as doing, you were doing what was not your own business? But they are the same as doing. And the healing art, my friend, and building, and weaving, and doing anything whatever which is done by art,–these all clearly come under the head of doing? Certainly. And do you think that a state would be well ordered by a law which compelled every man to weave and wash his own coat, and make his own shoes, and his own flask and strigil, and other implements, on this principle of every one doing and performing his own, and abstaining from what is not his own? I think not, he said. But, I said, a temperate state will be a well-ordered state. Of course, he replied. Then temperance, I said, will not be doing one’s own business; not at least in this way, or doing things of this sort? Clearly not. Then, as I was just now saying, he who declared that temperance is a man doing his own business had another and a hidden meaning; for I do not think

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that he could have been such a fool as to mean this. Was he a fool who told you, Charmides? Nay, he replied, I certainly thought him a very wise man. Then I am quite certain that he put forth his definition as a riddle, thinking that no one would know the meaning of the words ’doing his own business.’ I dare say, he replied. And what is the meaning of a man doing his own business? Can you tell me? Indeed, I cannot; and I should not wonder if the man himself who used this phrase did not understand what he was saying. Whereupon he laughed slyly, and looked at Critias. Critias had long been showing uneasiness, for he felt that he had a reputation to maintain with Charmides and the rest of the company. He had, however, hitherto managed to restrain himself; but now he could no longer forbear, and I am convinced of the truth of the suspicion which I entertained at the time, that Charmides had heard this answer about temperance from Critias. And Charmides, who did not want to answer himself, but to make Critias answer, tried to stir him up. He went on pointing out that he had been refuted, at which Critias grew angry, and appeared, as I thought, inclined to quarrel with him; just as a poet might quarrel with an actor who spoiled his poems in repeating them; so he looked hard at him and said– Do you imagine, Charmides, that the author of this definition of temperance did not understand the meaning of his own words, because you do not understand them? Why, at his age, I said, most excellent Critias, he can hardly be expected to understand; but you, who are older, and have studied, may well be assumed to know the meaning of them; and therefore, if you agree with him, and accept his definition of temperance, I would much rather argue with you than with him about the truth or falsehood of the definition. I entirely agree, said Critias, and accept the definition. Very good, I said; and now let me repeat my question–Do you admit, as I was just now saying, that all craftsmen make or do something? I do. And do they make or do their own business only, or that of others also? They make or do that of others also. And are they temperate, seeing that they make not for themselves or their own business only? Why not? he said. No objection on my part, I said, but there may be a difficulty on his who proposes as a definition of temperance, ’doing one’s own business,’ and then says that there is no reason why those who do the business of others should not be temperate. Nay (The English reader has to observe that the word ’make’ (Greek), in Greek, has also the sense of ’do’ (Greek).), said he; did I ever acknowledge that those who do the business of others are temperate? I said, those who make, not those who do. What! I asked; do you mean to say that doing and making are not the same? No more, he replied, than making or working are the same; thus much I have learned from Hesiod, who says that ’work is no disgrace.’ Now do you imagine that if he had meant by working and doing such things as you were

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describing, he would have said that there was no disgrace in them–for example, in the manufacture of shoes, or in selling pickles, or sitting for hire in a house of ill-fame? That, Socrates, is not to be supposed: but I conceive him to have distinguished making from doing and work; and, while admitting that the making anything might sometimes become a disgrace, when the employment was not honourable, to have thought that work was never any disgrace at all. For things nobly and usefully made he called works; and such makings he called workings, and doings; and he must be supposed to have called such things only man’s proper business, and what is hurtful, not his business: and in that sense Hesiod, and any other wise man, may be reasonably supposed to call him wise who does his own work. O Critias, I said, no sooner had you opened your mouth, than I pretty well knew that you would call that which is proper to a man, and that which is his own, good; and that the makings (Greek) of the good you would call doings (Greek), for I am no stranger to the endless distinctions which Prodicus draws about names. Now I have no objection to your giving names any signification which you please, if you will only tell me what you mean by them. Please then to begin again, and be a little plainer. Do you mean that this doing or making, or whatever is the word which you would use, of good actions, is temperance? I do, he said. Then not he who does evil, but he who does good, is temperate? Yes, he said; and you, friend, would agree. No matter whether I should or not; just now, not what I think, but what you are saying, is the point at issue. Well, he answered; I mean to say, that he who does evil, and not good, is not temperate; and that he is temperate who does good, and not evil: for temperance I define in plain words to be the doing of good actions. And you may be very likely right in what you are saying; but I am curious to know whether you imagine that temperate men are ignorant of their own temperance? I do not think so, he said. And yet were you not saying, just now, that craftsmen might be temperate in doing another’s work, as well as in doing their own? I was, he replied; but what is your drift? I have no particular drift, but I wish that you would tell me whether a physician who cures a patient may do good to himself and good to another also? I think that he may. And he who does so does his duty? Yes. And does not he who does his duty act temperately or wisely? Yes, he acts wisely. But must the physician necessarily know when his treatment is likely to prove beneficial, and when not? or must the craftsman necessarily know when he is likely to be benefited, and when not to be benefited, by the work which he is doing? I suppose not. Then, I said, he may sometimes do good or harm, and not know what he is himself doing, and yet, in doing good, as you say, he has done temperately or wisely. Was not that your statement?

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Yes. Then, as would seem, in doing good, he may act wisely or temperately, and be wise or temperate, but not know his own wisdom or temperance? But that, Socrates, he said, is impossible; and therefore if this is, as you imply, the necessary consequence of any of my previous admissions, I will withdraw them, rather than admit that a man can be temperate or wise who does not know himself; and I am not ashamed to confess that I was in error. For self-knowledge would certainly be maintained by me to be the very essence of knowledge, and in this I agree with him who dedicated the inscription, ’Know thyself!’ at Delphi. That word, if I am not mistaken, is put there as a sort of salutation which the god addresses to those who enter the temple; as much as to say that the ordinary salutation of ’Hail!’ is not right, and that the exhortation ’Be temperate!’ would be a far better way of saluting one another. The notion of him who dedicated the inscription was, as I believe, that the god speaks to those who enter his temple, not as men speak; but, when a worshipper enters, the first word which he hears is ’Be temperate!’ This, however, like a prophet he expresses in a sort of riddle, for ’Know thyself!’ and ’Be temperate!’ are the same, as I maintain, and as the letters imply (Greek), and yet they may be easily misunderstood; and succeeding sages who added ’Never too much,’ or, ’Give a pledge, and evil is nigh at hand,’ would appear to have so misunderstood them; for they imagined that ’Know thyself!’ was a piece of advice which the god gave, and not his salutation of the worshippers at their first coming in; and they dedicated their own inscription under the idea that they too would give equally useful pieces of advice. Shall I tell you, Socrates, why I say all this? My object is to leave the previous discussion (in which I know not whether you or I are more right, but, at any rate, no clear result was attained), and to raise a new one in which I will attempt to prove, if you deny, that temperance is self-knowledge. Yes, I said, Critias; but you come to me as though I professed to know about the questions which I ask, and as though I could, if I only would, agree with you. Whereas the fact is that I enquire with you into the truth of that which is advanced from time to time, just because I do not know; and when I have enquired, I will say whether I agree with you or not. Please then to allow me time to reflect. Reflect, he said. I am reflecting, I replied, and discover that temperance, or wisdom, if implying a knowledge of anything, must be a science, and a science of something. Yes, he said; the science of itself. Is not medicine, I said, the science of health? True. And suppose, I said, that I were asked by you what is the use or effect of medicine, which is this science of health, I should answer that medicine is of very great use in producing health, which, as you will admit, is an excellent effect. Granted. And if you were to ask me, what is the result or effect of architecture, which is the science of building, I should say houses, and so of other arts, which all have their different results. Now I want you, Critias, to answer a similar question about temperance, or wisdom, which, according to you, is the science of itself.

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Admitting this view, I ask of you, what good work, worthy of the name wise, does temperance or wisdom, which is the science of itself, effect? Answer me. That is not the true way of pursuing the enquiry, Socrates, he said; for wisdom is not like the other sciences, any more than they are like one another: but you proceed as if they were alike. For tell me, he said, what result is there of computation or geometry, in the same sense as a house is the result of building, or a garment of weaving, or any other work of any other art? Can you show me any such result of them? You cannot. That is true, I said; but still each of these sciences has a subject which is different from the science. I can show you that the art of computation has to do with odd and even numbers in their numerical relations to themselves and to each other. Is not that true? Yes, he said. And the odd and even numbers are not the same with the art of computation? They are not. The art of weighing, again, has to do with lighter and heavier; but the art of weighing is one thing, and the heavy and the light another. Do you admit that? Yes. Now, I want to know, what is that which is not wisdom, and of which wisdom is the science? You are just falling into the old error, Socrates, he said. You come asking in what wisdom or temperance differs from the other sciences, and then you try to discover some respect in which they are alike; but they are not, for all the other sciences are of something else, and not of themselves; wisdom alone is a science of other sciences, and of itself. And of this, as I believe, you are very well aware: and that you are only doing what you denied that you were doing just now, trying to refute me, instead of pursuing the argument. And what if I am? How can you think that I have any other motive in refuting you but what I should have in examining into myself? which motive would be just a fear of my unconsciously fancying that I knew something of which I was ignorant. And at this moment I pursue the argument chiefly for my own sake, and perhaps in some degree also for the sake of my other friends. For is not the discovery of things as they truly are, a good common to all mankind? Yes, certainly, Socrates, he said. Then, I said, be cheerful, sweet sir, and give your opinion in answer to the question which I asked, never minding whether Critias or Socrates is the person refuted; attend only to the argument, and see what will come of the refutation. I think that you are right, he replied; and I will do as you say. Tell me, then, I said, what you mean to affirm about wisdom. I mean to say that wisdom is the only science which is the science of itself as well as of the other sciences. But the science of science, I said, will also be the science of the absence of science. Very true, he said. Then the wise or temperate man, and he only, will know himself, and be able to examine what he knows or does not know, and to see what others know and think that they know and do really know; and what they do not know, and fancy that they know, when they do not. No other person will be able to do

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this. And this is wisdom and temperance and self-knowledge–for a man to know what he knows, and what he does not know. That is your meaning? Yes, he said. Now then, I said, making an offering of the third or last argument to Zeus the Saviour, let us begin again, and ask, in the first place, whether it is or is not possible for a person to know that he knows and does not know what he knows and does not know; and in the second place, whether, if perfectly possible, such knowledge is of any use. That is what we have to consider, he said. And here, Critias, I said, I hope that you will find a way out of a difficulty into which I have got myself. Shall I tell you the nature of the difficulty? By all means, he replied. Does not what you have been saying, if true, amount to this: that there must be a single science which is wholly a science of itself and of other sciences, and that the same is also the science of the absence of science? Yes. But consider how monstrous this proposition is, my friend: in any parallel case, the impossibility will be transparent to you. How is that? and in what cases do you mean? In such cases as this: Suppose that there is a kind of vision which is not like ordinary vision, but a vision of itself and of other sorts of vision, and of the defect of them, which in seeing sees no colour, but only itself and other sorts of vision: Do you think that there is such a kind of vision? Certainly not. Or is there a kind of hearing which hears no sound at all, but only itself and other sorts of hearing, or the defects of them? There is not. Or take all the senses: can you imagine that there is any sense of itself and of other senses, but which is incapable of perceiving the objects of the senses? I think not. Could there be any desire which is not the desire of any pleasure, but of itself, and of all other desires? Certainly not. Or can you imagine a wish which wishes for no good, but only for itself and all other wishes? I should answer, No. Or would you say that there is a love which is not the love of beauty, but of itself and of other loves? I should not. Or did you ever know of a fear which fears itself or other fears, but has no object of fear? I never did, he said. Or of an opinion which is an opinion of itself and of other opinions, and which has no opinion on the subjects of opinion in general? Certainly not. But surely we are assuming a science of this kind, which, having no subjectmatter, is a science of itself and of the other sciences? Yes, that is what is affirmed.

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But how strange is this, if it be indeed true: we must not however as yet absolutely deny the possibility of such a science; let us rather consider the matter. You are quite right. Well then, this science of which we are speaking is a science of something, and is of a nature to be a science of something? Yes. Just as that which is greater is of a nature to be greater than something else? (Socrates is intending to show that science differs from the object of science, as any other relative differs from the object of relation. But where there is comparison–greater, less, heavier, lighter, and the like–a relation to self as well as to other things involves an absolute contradiction; and in other cases, as in the case of the senses, is hardly conceivable. The use of the genitive after the comparative in Greek, (Greek), creates an unavoidable obscurity in the translation.) Yes. Which is less, if the other is conceived to be greater? To be sure. And if we could find something which is at once greater than itself, and greater than other great things, but not greater than those things in comparison of which the others are greater, then that thing would have the property of being greater and also less than itself? That, Socrates, he said, is the inevitable inference. Or if there be a double which is double of itself and of other doubles, these will be halves; for the double is relative to the half? That is true. And that which is greater than itself will also be less, and that which is heavier will also be lighter, and that which is older will also be younger: and the same of other things; that which has a nature relative to self will retain also the nature of its object: I mean to say, for example, that hearing is, as we say, of sound or voice. Is that true? Yes. Then if hearing hears itself, it must hear a voice; for there is no other way of hearing. Certainly. And sight also, my excellent friend, if it sees itself must see a colour, for sight cannot see that which has no colour. No. Do you remark, Critias, that in several of the examples which have been recited the notion of a relation to self is altogether inadmissible, and in other cases hardly credible–inadmissible, for example, in the case of magnitudes, numbers, and the like? Very true. But in the case of hearing and sight, or in the power of self-motion, and the power of heat to burn, this relation to self will be regarded as incredible by some, but perhaps not by others. And some great man, my friend, is wanted, who will satisfactorily determine for us, whether there is nothing which has an inherent property of relation to self, or some things only and not others; and whether in this class of self-related things, if there be such a class, that science which is called wisdom or temperance is included. I altogether distrust my own

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power of determining these matters: I am not certain whether there is such a science of science at all; and even if there be, I should not acknowledge this to be wisdom or temperance, until I can also see whether such a science would or would not do us any good; for I have an impression that temperance is a benefit and a good. And therefore, O son of Callaeschrus, as you maintain that temperance or wisdom is a science of science, and also of the absence of science, I will request you to show in the first place, as I was saying before, the possibility, and in the second place, the advantage, of such a science; and then perhaps you may satisfy me that you are right in your view of temperance. Critias heard me say this, and saw that I was in a difficulty; and as one person when another yawns in his presence catches the infection of yawning from him, so did he seem to be driven into a difficulty by my difficulty. But as he had a reputation to maintain, he was ashamed to admit before the company that he could not answer my challenge or determine the question at issue; and he made an unintelligible attempt to hide his perplexity. In order that the argument might proceed, I said to him, Well then Critias, if you like, let us assume that there is this science of science; whether the assumption is right or wrong may hereafter be investigated. Admitting the existence of it, will you tell me how such a science enables us to distinguish what we know or do not know, which, as we were saying, is self-knowledge or wisdom: so we were saying? Yes, Socrates, he said; and that I think is certainly true: for he who has this science or knowledge which knows itself will become like the knowledge which he has, in the same way that he who has swiftness will be swift, and he who has beauty will be beautiful, and he who has knowledge will know. In the same way he who has that knowledge which is self-knowing, will know himself. I do not doubt, I said, that a man will know himself, when he possesses that which has self-knowledge: but what necessity is there that, having this, he should know what he knows and what he does not know? Because, Socrates, they are the same. Very likely, I said; but I remain as stupid as ever; for still I fail to comprehend how this knowing what you know and do not know is the same as the knowledge of self. What do you mean? he said. This is what I mean, I replied: I will admit that there is a science of science;– can this do more than determine that of two things one is and the other is not science or knowledge? No, just that. But is knowledge or want of knowledge of health the same as knowledge or want of knowledge of justice? Certainly not. The one is medicine, and the other is politics; whereas that of which we are speaking is knowledge pure and simple. Very true. And if a man knows only, and has only knowledge of knowledge, and has no further knowledge of health and justice, the probability is that he will only know that he knows something, and has a certain knowledge, whether concerning himself or other men. True. Then how will this knowledge or science teach him to know what he knows? Say that he knows health;–not wisdom or temperance, but the art of medicine

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has taught it to him;–and he has learned harmony from the art of music, and building from the art of building,–neither, from wisdom or temperance: and the same of other things. That is evident. How will wisdom, regarded only as a knowledge of knowledge or science of science, ever teach him that he knows health, or that he knows building? It is impossible. Then he who is ignorant of these things will only know that he knows, but not what he knows? True. Then wisdom or being wise appears to be not the knowledge of the things which we do or do not know, but only the knowledge that we know or do not know? That is the inference. Then he who has this knowledge will not be able to examine whether a pretender knows or does not know that which he says that he knows: he will only know that he has a knowledge of some kind; but wisdom will not show him of what the knowledge is? Plainly not. Neither will he be able to distinguish the pretender in medicine from the true physician, nor between any other true and false professor of knowledge. Let us consider the matter in this way: If the wise man or any other man wants to distinguish the true physician from the false, how will he proceed? He will not talk to him about medicine; and that, as we were saying, is the only thing which the physician understands. True. And, on the other hand, the physician knows nothing of science, for this has been assumed to be the province of wisdom. True. And further, since medicine is science, we must infer that he does not know anything of medicine. Exactly. Then the wise man may indeed know that the physician has some kind of science or knowledge; but when he wants to discover the nature of this he will ask, What is the subject-matter? For the several sciences are distinguished not by the mere fact that they are sciences, but by the nature of their subjects. Is not that true? Quite true. And medicine is distinguished from other sciences as having the subjectmatter of health and disease? Yes. And he who would enquire into the nature of medicine must pursue the enquiry into health and disease, and not into what is extraneous? True. And he who judges rightly will judge of the physician as a physician in what relates to these? He will. He will consider whether what he says is true, and whether what he does is right, in relation to health and disease? He will.

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But can any one attain the knowledge of either unless he have a knowledge of medicine? He cannot. No one at all, it would seem, except the physician can have this knowledge; and therefore not the wise man; he would have to be a physician as well as a wise man. Very true. Then, assuredly, wisdom or temperance, if only a science of science, and of the absence of science or knowledge, will not be able to distinguish the physician who knows from one who does not know but pretends or thinks that he knows, or any other professor of anything at all; like any other artist, he will only know his fellow in art or wisdom, and no one else. That is evident, he said. But then what profit, Critias, I said, is there any longer in wisdom or temperance which yet remains, if this is wisdom? If, indeed, as we were supposing at first, the wise man had been able to distinguish what he knew and did not know, and that he knew the one and did not know the other, and to recognize a similar faculty of discernment in others, there would certainly have been a great advantage in being wise; for then we should never have made a mistake, but have passed through life the unerring guides of ourselves and of those who are under us; and we should not have attempted to do what we did not know, but we should have found out those who knew, and have handed the business over to them and trusted in them; nor should we have allowed those who were under us to do anything which they were not likely to do well; and they would be likely to do well just that of which they had knowledge; and the house or state which was ordered or administered under the guidance of wisdom, and everything else of which wisdom was the lord, would have been well ordered; for truth guiding, and error having been eliminated, in all their doings, men would have done well, and would have been happy. Was not this, Critias, what we spoke of as the great advantage of wisdom–to know what is known and what is unknown to us? Very true, he said. And now you perceive, I said, that no such science is to be found anywhere. I perceive, he said. May we assume then, I said, that wisdom, viewed in this new light merely as a knowledge of knowledge and ignorance, has this advantage:–that he who possesses such knowledge will more easily learn anything which he learns; and that everything will be clearer to him, because, in addition to the knowledge of individuals, he sees the science, and this also will better enable him to test the knowledge which others have of what he knows himself; whereas the enquirer who is without this knowledge may be supposed to have a feebler and weaker insight? Are not these, my friend, the real advantages which are to be gained from wisdom? And are not we looking and seeking after something more than is to be found in her? That is very likely, he said. That is very likely, I said; and very likely, too, we have been enquiring to no purpose; as I am led to infer, because I observe that if this is wisdom, some strange consequences would follow. Let us, if you please, assume the possibility of this science of sciences, and further admit and allow, as was originally suggested, that wisdom is the knowledge of what we know and do not know. Assuming

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all this, still, upon further consideration, I am doubtful, Critias, whether wisdom, such as this, would do us much good. For we were wrong, I think, in supposing, as we were saying just now, that such wisdom ordering the government of house or state would be a great benefit. How so? he said. Why, I said, we were far too ready to admit the great benefits which mankind would obtain from their severally doing the things which they knew, and committing the things of which they are ignorant to those who were better acquainted with them. Were we not right in making that admission? I think not. How very strange, Socrates! By the dog of Egypt, I said, there I agree with you; and I was thinking as much just now when I said that strange consequences would follow, and that I was afraid we were on the wrong track; for however ready we may be to admit that this is wisdom, I certainly cannot make out what good this sort of thing does to us. What do you mean? he said; I wish that you could make me understand what you mean. I dare say that what I am saying is nonsense, I replied; and yet if a man has any feeling of what is due to himself, he cannot let the thought which comes into his mind pass away unheeded and unexamined. I like that, he said. Hear, then, I said, my own dream; whether coming through the horn or the ivory gate, I cannot tell. The dream is this: Let us suppose that wisdom is such as we are now defining, and that she has absolute sway over us; then each action will be done according to the arts or sciences, and no one professing to be a pilot when he is not, or any physician or general, or any one else pretending to know matters of which he is ignorant, will deceive or elude us; our health will be improved; our safety at sea, and also in battle, will be assured; our coats and shoes, and all other instruments and implements will be skilfully made, because the workmen will be good and true. Aye, and if you please, you may suppose that prophecy, which is the knowledge of the future, will be under the control of wisdom, and that she will deter deceivers and set up the true prophets in their place as the revealers of the future. Now I quite agree that mankind, thus provided, would live and act according to knowledge, for wisdom would watch and prevent ignorance from intruding on us. But whether by acting according to knowledge we shall act well and be happy, my dear Critias,– this is a point which we have not yet been able to determine. Yet I think, he replied, that if you discard knowledge, you will hardly find the crown of happiness in anything else. But of what is this knowledge? I said. Just answer me that small question. Do you mean a knowledge of shoemaking? God forbid. Or of working in brass? Certainly not. Or in wool, or wood, or anything of that sort? No, I do not. Then, I said, we are giving up the doctrine that he who lives according to knowledge is happy, for these live according to knowledge, and yet they are not

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allowed by you to be happy; but I think that you mean to confine happiness to particular individuals who live according to knowledge, such for example as the prophet, who, as I was saying, knows the future. Is it of him you are speaking or of some one else? Yes, I mean him, but there are others as well. Yes, I said, some one who knows the past and present as well as the future, and is ignorant of nothing. Let us suppose that there is such a person, and if there is, you will allow that he is the most knowing of all living men. Certainly he is. Yet I should like to know one thing more: which of the different kinds of knowledge makes him happy? or do all equally make him happy? Not all equally, he replied. But which most tends to make him happy? the knowledge of what past, present, or future thing? May I infer this to be the knowledge of the game of draughts? Nonsense about the game of draughts. Or of computation? No. Or of health? That is nearer the truth, he said. And that knowledge which is nearest of all, I said, is the knowledge of what? The knowledge with which he discerns good and evil. Monster! I said; you have been carrying me round in a circle, and all this time hiding from me the fact that the life according to knowledge is not that which makes men act rightly and be happy, not even if knowledge include all the sciences, but one science only, that of good and evil. For, let me ask you, Critias, whether, if you take away this, medicine will not equally give health, and shoemaking equally produce shoes, and the art of the weaver clothes?–whether the art of the pilot will not equally save our lives at sea, and the art of the general in war? Quite so. And yet, my dear Critias, none of these things will be well or beneficially done, if the science of the good be wanting. True. But that science is not wisdom or temperance, but a science of human advantage; not a science of other sciences, or of ignorance, but of good and evil: and if this be of use, then wisdom or temperance will not be of use. And why, he replied, will not wisdom be of use? For, however much we assume that wisdom is a science of sciences, and has a sway over other sciences, surely she will have this particular science of the good under her control, and in this way will benefit us. And will wisdom give health? I said; is not this rather the effect of medicine? Or does wisdom do the work of any of the other arts,–do they not each of them do their own work? Have we not long ago asseverated that wisdom is only the knowledge of knowledge and of ignorance, and of nothing else? That is obvious. Then wisdom will not be the producer of health. Certainly not. The art of health is different. Yes, different.

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Nor does wisdom give advantage, my good friend; for that again we have just now been attributing to another art. Very true. How then can wisdom be advantageous, when giving no advantage? That, Socrates, is certainly inconceivable. You see then, Critias, that I was not far wrong in fearing that I could have no sound notion about wisdom; I was quite right in depreciating myself; for that which is admitted to be the best of all things would never have seemed to us useless, if I had been good for anything at an enquiry. But now I have been utterly defeated, and have failed to discover what that is to which the imposer of names gave this name of temperance or wisdom. And yet many more admissions were made by us than could be fairly granted; for we admitted that there was a science of science, although the argument said No, and protested against us; and we admitted further, that this science knew the works of the other sciences (although this too was denied by the argument), because we wanted to show that the wise man had knowledge of what he knew and did not know; also we nobly disregarded, and never even considered, the impossibility of a man knowing in a sort of way that which he does not know at all; for our assumption was, that he knows that which he does not know; than which nothing, as I think, can be more irrational. And yet, after finding us so easy and good-natured, the enquiry is still unable to discover the truth; but mocks us to a degree, and has gone out of its way to prove the inutility of that which we admitted only by a sort of supposition and fiction to be the true definition of temperance or wisdom: which result, as far as I am concerned, is not so much to be lamented, I said. But for your sake, Charmides, I am very sorry–that you, having such beauty and such wisdom and temperance of soul, should have no profit or good in life from your wisdom and temperance. And still more am I grieved about the charm which I learned with so much pain, and to so little profit, from the Thracian, for the sake of a thing which is nothing worth. I think indeed that there is a mistake, and that I must be a bad enquirer, for wisdom or temperance I believe to be really a great good; and happy are you, Charmides, if you certainly possess it. Wherefore examine yourself, and see whether you have this gift and can do without the charm; for if you can, I would rather advise you to regard me simply as a fool who is never able to reason out anything; and to rest assured that the more wise and temperate you are, the happier you will be. Charmides said: I am sure that I do not know, Socrates, whether I have or have not this gift of wisdom and temperance; for how can I know whether I have a thing, of which even you and Critias are, as you say, unable to discover the nature?–(not that I believe you.) And further, I am sure, Socrates, that I do need the charm, and as far as I am concerned, I shall be willing to be charmed by you daily, until you say that I have had enough. Very good, Charmides, said Critias; if you do this I shall have a proof of your temperance, that is, if you allow yourself to be charmed by Socrates, and never desert him at all. You may depend on my following and not deserting him, said Charmides: if you who are my guardian command me, I should be very wrong not to obey you. And I do command you, he said. Then I will do as you say, and begin this very day. You sirs, I said, what are you conspiring about?

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We are not conspiring, said Charmides, we have conspired already. And are you about to use violence, without even going through the forms of justice? Yes, I shall use violence, he replied, since he orders me; and therefore you had better consider well. But the time for consideration has passed, I said, when violence is employed; and you, when you are determined on anything, and in the mood of violence, are irresistible. Do not you resist me then, he said. I will not resist you, I replied.

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Chapter 5

Cleitophon This text is based on the following books: Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 4 translated by Harold North Fowler. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1977. Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 7 translated by R.G. Bury. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1966. Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 8 translated by W.R.M. Lamb. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1955. Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 9 translated by W.R.M. Lamb. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1925. OCLC: 21777623, 15624657, 4601236, 4226954 ISBN: 0674991850, 0674992571, 0674992210, 0674991826 Source text avalaible at http://perseus.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de1 Cleitophon [406a-410e] Socrates : Cleitophon Socrates: It was told us recently by someone about Cleitophon, the son 406a of Aristonymus, that in a conversation he had with Lysias he was finding fault with the instructions of Socrates and praising to the skies the lectures of Thrasymachus. Cleitophon: That was a man, Socrates, who gave you a false report of the talk I had about you with Lysias. For I was really praising you for some things, though not for others. But since it is plain that you are reproaching me, though you pretend to be quite indifferent, I should be delighted to repeat to you myself what I said, now that we happen to be alone, so that you may be less inclined 1 Perseus Copyrights. The Trustees of Tufts College hold the overall copyright to the Perseus Digital Library. Copyright is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and the Universal Copyright Convention. Yale University Press distributes the CD ROM version of the Perseus Greek materials. The materials on the Perseus Project Web pages (including all texts, translations, images, descriptions, drawings etc.) are provided for the personal use of students, scholars, and the public. Any commercial use or publication of them without authorization is strictly prohibited. All materials are copyrighted and are not in the public domain. Copying of materials on the Perseus Web pages is not permitted.

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to suspect me of holding a poor opinion of you. For at present it seems that you have heard what is not true, with the result that you appear to be more vexed with me than I deserve. So if you give me leave to speak I shall avail myself of it most gladly, as I want to explain. Socrates: Well, now, it would be indeed unhandsome of me not to put up with it [ when you are so anxious to do me a benefit. For obviously, when I have been taught my good points and my bad, I shall practice and pursue the one and eschew the other with all my might. Cleitophon: Listen, then. When I was attending your lectures, Socrates, I was oftentimes amazed at what I heard, and you seemed to me to surpass all other men in the nobleness of your discourse, when you rebuked mankind and chanted these words like a God on the tragic stage: “Whither haste ye, 0 men? Yea, verily ye know not that ye are doing none of the things ye ought, seeing that ye spend your whole energy on wealth and the acquiring of it; while as to your sons to whom ye will bequeath it, ye neglect to ensure that they shall understand how to use it justly, and ye find for them no teachers of justice, if so be that it is teachable2 –or if it be a matter of training and practice, instructors who can efficiently practice and train them–nor have ye even begun by reforming yourselves in this respect. Yet when ye perceive that ye yourselves and your children, though adequately instructed in letters and music and gymnastic– [ which ye, forsooth, regard as a complete education in virtue–are in consequence none the less vicious in respect of wealth, how is it that ye do not contemn this present mode of education nor search for teachers who will put an end to this your lack of culture? Yet truly it is because of this dissonance and sloth, and not because of failure to keep in step with the lyre that brother with brother and city with city clash together without measure or harmony and are at strife, and in their warring perpetrate and suffer the uttermost horrors. But ye assert that the unjust are unjust not because of their lack of education and lack of knowledge but voluntarily, while on the other hand ye have the face to affirm that injustice is a foul thing, and hateful to Heaven. Then how, pray, could any man voluntarily choose an evil of such a kind? Any man, you reply, who is mastered by his pleasures. But is not this condition also involuntary, if the act of mastering be voluntary? Thus in every way the argument proves that unjust action is involuntary, and that every man privately and all the cities publicly ought to pay more attention than they do now to this matter.” So then, Socrates, when I hear you constantly making these speeches I admire you immensely and praise you to the skies. So too when you state the next point in your argument, that those who train their bodies but neglect their souls are guilty of another action of the same sort–neglecting the part that should rule, and attending to that which should be ruled. Also when you declare that whatsoever object a man knows not how to make use of, it is better for him to refrain from making use thereof; thus, suppose a man knows not how to use his eyes or his ears or the whole of his body, it is better for such a man not to hear nor to see nor to employ his body for any other use rather than to use it in any way whatsoever. So too, likewise, with respect to art: it is surely plain that a man who does not know how to use his own lyre does not know either how to use his neighbor’s, and that one who does not know how to use the lyre of others does not know 2 Cf.

Plat. Meno 70a, Plat. Euthyd. 282b ff.

103 how to use his own either,–nor yet any other instrument or chattel. Moreover, the conclusion of this argument of yours is a fine one,–how that for every man who knows not how to make use of his soul it is better to have his soul at rest and not to live, than to live acting according to his own caprice; but if it is necessary for him to live, it is better after all for such an one to spend his life as a slave rather than a free man, handing over the rudder of his will, as it were of a ship, to another man who has learnt the art of steering men–which is the name that you, Socrates, frequently give to politics, when you declare that this very same art is that of judging and justice. Against these arguments and others of a like kind, exceedingly numerous and couched in exceedingly noble language, showing that virtue can be taught and that a man should care above all else for himself, I have hardly uttered a word up till now, nor do I suppose that I ever shall utter a word against them in the future, for I regard them as most valuable admonitions and most useful, literally capable of waking us up, as it were, out of our slumber. So I gave my attention with a view to hear what was to follow next, although I did not at first question you yourself, Socrates, but some of your contemporaries and fellow-students or companions–or whatever name one ought to give to the relation in which they stand towards you. Of these I questioned first those who are specially held in regard by yourself, asking them what was your next argument, and propounding the matter to them somewhat after your own fashion: “I ask you, my very good Sirs, in what sense do we now accept the exhortation to virtue which Socrates has given us. Are we to regard it as all there is, and suppose it to be impossible to pursue the object further and grasp it fully; and is this to be our lifelong task, just to exhort those who have not as yet been exhorted, and that they in turn should exhort others? Or, when we have agreed that this is exactly what a man should do, ought we to ask Socrates, and one another, the further question–“What is the next step?” What do we say is the way in which we ought to begin the study of justice? Just as if a man were exhorting us to devote care to our bodies, observing that we like children had as yet no notion of the existence of the arts of gymnastics and medicine; and were then to reproach us and say that it is disgraceful to spend all one’s care on wheat and barley and vines and all the goods which we labor to acquire for the sake of the body, and yet make no effort to discover some art or device for securing that the body itself shall be in the best possible condition–and that in spite of the fact that such an art exists. Suppose then that we had put to the man who was thus exhorting us this further question– “What arts do you say these are?” His answer, no doubt, would be–“Gymnastics and medicine.” So now, in the case before us, what do we say is the art which deals with the virtue of the soul? Let it be stated.” Then he who was reputed to be their most powerful exponent of these matters answered me and said that this art is precisely that which, said he, you hear Socrates describing,–nothing else than justice. I then replied–“Do not explain to me merely its name, but like this:–There is an art called medicine; and of this the effects are two-fold, the one being to produce constantly new doctors in addition to those already existing, and the other to produce health. And of these the latter result is no longer in itself an art but an effect of that art which both teaches and is taught, which effect we term ‘health.’ So likewise the operations of the joiner’s art are a house and joinery, of which the one is an effect, the other a doctrine. In like manner let it be granted that the one effect of justice is to produce just men, as of the other arts their

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several artists; but as to the other, the operation which the just man is capable of performing for us, what do we say that is? Tell us.” The reply of your exponent was, I think, “The beneficial”; while another said “The right”; a third “The useful”; and yet another “The profitable.” So I resumed my inquiry and said: “In the former case also we find these names in each one of the arts–doing ‘the right,’ ‘the profitable,’ ‘the useful,’ and the rest of such terms; but as regards the object at which all these operations aim, each art will declare that which is peculiar to itself; for example, the art of joinery will assert that the result of good, beautiful, and right action is the production of wooden vessels, which in themselves are not an art. So let the operation of justice be stated in the same way.” Finally, Socrates, one of your companions, who was reputed to be a most accomplished speaker, made answer that the peculiar effect of justice, which was effected by no other art, was to produce friendship in States3 . And he, in turn, when questioned declared that friendship is a good thing and never an evil; while as to the friendships of children and those of wild beasts, which we call by this name, he refused to admit–when questioned upon the point–that they were friendships; since, as a result of the argument, he was forced to say that such relations were for the most part harmful rather than good. So to avoid such an admission he denied that such relations were friendships at all, and said that those who give them this name name them falsely; and real and true friendship, he said, is most exactly described as “unanimity.” And when asked about “unanimity,” whether he declared it to be unity of opinion4 or “knowledge,” he rejected the expression “unity of opinion,” for of necessity many cases of “unity of opinion” occurred amongst men that were harmful, whereas he had agreed that friendship was wholly a good thing and an effect of justice; consequently he affirmed that unanimity was the same, and was not opinion, but knowledge. Now when we were at this point in the argument and at our wits’ end, the bystanders were ready to fall upon the man and to cry that the argument had circled round to the same point as at first; and they declared that: “Medicine also is a kind of ‘unanimity,’ as are all the arts, and they are able to explain what it is they deal with; but as for the ‘justice’ or ‘unanimity’ which you talk of, it has no comprehension of what its own aim is, and what the effect of it is remains quite obscure.” Finally, Socrates, I put these questions to you yourself also, and you told me that it belonged to justice to injure one’s enemies and to do well to one’s friends. But later on it appeared that the just man never injures anyone, for in all his acts he aims at benefiting all. So after repeated questionings–not once only or twice but spending quite a long time at it–I gave it up, concluding that though you were better than any man at the task of exhorting men to devote themselves to virtue, yet of these two alternatives one must be true: either you are capable of effecting thus much only and nothing more,–a thing which might happen also in respect of any other art whatsoever, as for example a man who was no steersman might practice composing an eulogy of that art as one of high value to mankind, and so too with all the other arts; so against you too one might perhaps bring the same charge in regard to justice, that you are none the more an expert about justice because you eulogize it finely. Not that 3 Cf. 4 Cf.

Plat. Rep. 351d Plat. Rep. 433c

105 this is the complaint I make myself; but it must be one or other of these two alternatives,–either you do not possess the knowledge or else you refuse to let me share it. Consequently, methinks I will betake myself, in my perplexity, to Thrasymachus and to everyone else I can. However, if you are really willing to refrain at last from addressing to me these hortatory discourses, and just 401d as you would have followed up the hortatory discourse, suppose you had been exhorting me in respect of gymnastics that I should not neglect my body, by explaining the nature of the body and the nature of the treatment it requires–so let the same course be followed in the present case. Assume that Cleitophon agrees that it is ridiculous to expend care on everything else and to neglect the soul, for the sake of which all the other labour is incurred; and suppose also 410e that I have made all the other subsequent statements which I rehearsed just now. And I entreat you, as I speak, by no means to act otherwise, lest I should do, as I do now, praise you in part to Lysias and to the others, and also in part blame you. For I shall maintain, Socrates, that while you are of untold value to a man who has not been exhorted, to him who has been exhorted you are almost an actual hindrance in the way of his attaining the goal of virtue and becoming a happy man.

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Chapter 6

Cratylus Source text avalaible at: http://www.gutenberg.net/etext99/crtls10.txt1

6.1

Introduction

By Benjamin Jowett The Cratylus has always been a source of perplexity to the student of Plato. While in fancy and humour, and perfection of style and metaphysical originality, this dialogue may be ranked with the best of the Platonic writings, there has been an uncertainty about the motive of the piece, which interpreters have hitherto not succeeded in dispelling. We need not suppose that Plato used words in order to conceal his thoughts, or that he would have been unintelligible to an educated contemporary. In the Phaedrus and Euthydemus we also find a difficulty in determining the precise aim of the author. Plato wrote satires in the form of dialogues, and his meaning, like that of other satirical writers, has often slept in the ear of posterity. Two causes may be assigned for this obscurity: 1st, the subtlety and allusiveness of this species of composition; 2nd, the difficulty of reproducing a state of life and literature which has passed away. A satire is unmeaning unless we can place ourselves back among the persons and thoughts of the age in which it was written. Had the treatise of Antisthenes upon words, or the speculations of Cratylus, or some other Heracleitean of the fourth century B.C., on the nature of language been preserved to us; or if we had lived at the time, and been ’rich enough to attend the fifty-drachma course of Prodicus,’ we should have understood Plato better, and many points which are now attributed to the extravagance of Socrates’ humour would have been found, like the allusions of Aristophanes in the Clouds, to have gone home to the sophists and grammarians of the day. For the age was very busy with philological speculation; and many questions were beginning to be asked about language which were parallel to other questions about justice, virtue, knowledge, and were illustrated in a similar manner by the analogy of the arts. Was there a correctness in words, and were they 1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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given by nature or convention? In the presocratic philosophy mankind had been striving to attain an expression of their ideas, and now they were beginning to ask themselves whether the expression might not be distinguished from the idea? They were also seeking to distinguish the parts of speech and to enquire into the relation of subject and predicate. Grammar and logic were moving about somewhere in the depths of the human soul, but they were not yet awakened into consciousness and had not found names for themselves, or terms by which they might be expressed. Of these beginnings of the study of language we know little, and there necessarily arises an obscurity when the surroundings of such a work as the Cratylus are taken away. Moreover, in this, as in most of the dialogues of Plato, allowance has to be made for the character of Socrates. For the theory of language can only be propounded by him in a manner which is consistent with his own profession of ignorance. Hence his ridicule of the new school of etymology is interspersed with many declarations ’that he knows nothing,’ ’that he has learned from Euthyphro,’ and the like. Even the truest things which he says are depreciated by himself. He professes to be guessing, but the guesses of Plato are better than all the other theories of the ancients respecting language put together. The dialogue hardly derives any light from Plato’s other writings, and still less from Scholiasts and Neoplatonist writers. Socrates must be interpreted from himself, and on first reading we certainly have a difficulty in understanding his drift, or his relation to the two other interlocutors in the dialogue. Does he agree with Cratylus or with Hermogenes, and is he serious in those fanciful etymologies, extending over more than half the dialogue, which he seems so greatly to relish? Or is he serious in part only; and can we separate his jest from his earnest?–Sunt bona, sunt quaedum mediocria, sunt mala plura. Most of them are ridiculously bad, and yet among them are found, as if by accident, principles of philology which are unsurpassed in any ancient writer, and even in advance of any philologer of the last century. May we suppose that Plato, like Lucian, has been amusing his fancy by writing a comedy in the form of a prose dialogue? And what is the final result of the enquiry? Is Plato an upholder of the conventional theory of language, which he acknowledges to be imperfect? or does he mean to imply that a perfect language can only be based on his own theory of ideas? Or if this latter explanation is refuted by his silence, then in what relation does his account of language stand to the rest of his philosophy? Or may we be so bold as to deny the connexion between them? (For the allusion to the ideas at the end of the dialogue is merely intended to show that we must not put words in the place of things or realities, which is a thesis strongly insisted on by Plato in many other passages)...These are some of the first thoughts which arise in the mind of the reader of the Cratylus. And the consideration of them may form a convenient introduction to the general subject of the dialogue. We must not expect all the parts of a dialogue of Plato to tend equally to some clearly-defined end. His idea of literary art is not the absolute proportion of the whole, such as we appear to find in a Greek temple or statue; nor should his works be tried by any such standard. They have often the beauty of poetry, but they have also the freedom of conversation. ’Words are more plastic than wax’ (Rep.), and may be moulded into any form. He wanders on from one topic to another, careless of the unity of his work, not fearing any ’judge, or spectator, who may recall him to the point’ (Theat.), ’whither the argument blows we follow’ (Rep.). To have determined beforehand, as in a modern didactic

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treatise, the nature and limits of the subject, would have been fatal to the spirit of enquiry or discovery, which is the soul of the dialogue...These remarks are applicable to nearly all the works of Plato, but to the Cratylus and Phaedrus more than any others. See Phaedrus, Introduction. There is another aspect under which some of the dialogues of Plato may be more truly viewed:–they are dramatic sketches of an argument. We have found that in the Lysis, Charmides, Laches, Protagoras, Meno, we arrived at no conclusion–the different sides of the argument were personified in the different speakers; but the victory was not distinctly attributed to any of them, nor the truth wholly the property of any. And in the Cratylus we have no reason to assume that Socrates is either wholly right or wholly wrong, or that Plato, though he evidently inclines to him, had any other aim than that of personifying, in the characters of Hermogenes, Socrates, and Cratylus, the three theories of language which are respectively maintained by them. The two subordinate persons of the dialogue, Hermogenes and Cratylus, are at the opposite poles of the argument. But after a while the disciple of the Sophist and the follower of Heracleitus are found to be not so far removed from one another as at first sight appeared; and both show an inclination to accept the third view which Socrates interposes between them. First, Hermogenes, the poor brother of the rich Callias, expounds the doctrine that names are conventional; like the names of slaves, they may be given and altered at pleasure. This is one of those principles which, whether applied to society or language, explains everything and nothing. For in all things there is an element of convention; but the admission of this does not help us to understand the rational ground or basis in human nature on which the convention proceeds. Socrates first of all intimates to Hermogenes that his view of language is only a part of a sophistical whole, and ultimately tends to abolish the distinction between truth and falsehood. Hermogenes is very ready to throw aside the sophistical tenet, and listens with a sort of half admiration, half belief, to the speculations of Socrates. Cratylus is of opinion that a name is either a true name or not a name at all. He is unable to conceive of degrees of imitation; a word is either the perfect expression of a thing, or a mere inarticulate sound (a fallacy which is still prevalent among theorizers about the origin of language). He is at once a philosopher and a sophist; for while wanting to rest language on an immutable basis, he would deny the possibility of falsehood. He is inclined to derive all truth from language, and in language he sees reflected the philosophy of Heracleitus. His views are not like those of Hermogenes, hastily taken up, but are said to be the result of mature consideration, although he is described as still a young man. With a tenacity characteristic of the Heracleitean philosophers, he clings to the doctrine of the flux. (Compare Theaet.) Of the real Cratylus we know nothing, except that he is recorded by Aristotle to have been the friend or teacher of Plato; nor have we any proof that he resembled the likeness of him in Plato any more than the Critias of Plato is like the real Critias, or the Euthyphro in this dialogue like the other Euthyphro, the diviner, in the dialogue which is called after him. Between these two extremes, which have both of them a sophistical character, the view of Socrates is introduced, which is in a manner the union of the two. Language is conventional and also natural, and the true conventional-natural is the rational. It is a work not of chance, but of art; the dialectician is the artificer of words, and the legislator gives authority to them. They are the

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expressions or imitations in sound of things. In a sense, Cratylus is right in saying that things have by nature names; for nature is not opposed either to art or to law. But vocal imitation, like any other copy, may be imperfectly executed; and in this way an element of chance or convention enters in. There is much which is accidental or exceptional in language. Some words have had their original meaning so obscured, that they require to be helped out by convention. But still the true name is that which has a natural meaning. Thus nature, art, chance, all combine in the formation of language. And the three views respectively propounded by Hermogenes, Socrates, Cratylus, may be described as the conventional, the artificial or rational, and the natural. The view of Socrates is the meeting-point of the other two, just as conceptualism is the meeting-point of nominalism and realism. We can hardly say that Plato was aware of the truth, that ’languages are not made, but grow.’ But still, when he says that ’the legislator made language with the dialectician standing on his right hand,’ we need not infer from this that he conceived words, like coins, to be issued from the mint of the State. The creator of laws and of social life is naturally regarded as the creator of language, according to Hellenic notions, and the philosopher is his natural advisor. We are not to suppose that the legislator is performing any extraordinary function; he is merely the Eponymus of the State, who prescribes rules for the dialectician and for all other artists. According to a truly Platonic mode of approaching the subject, language, like virtue in the Republic, is examined by the analogy of the arts. Words are works of art which may be equally made in different materials, and are well made when they have a meaning. Of the process which he thus describes, Plato had probably no very definite notion. But he means to express generally that language is the product of intelligence, and that languages belong to States and not to individuals. A better conception of language could not have been formed in Plato’s age, than that which he attributes to Socrates. Yet many persons have thought that the mind of Plato is more truly seen in the vague realism of Cratylus. This misconception has probably arisen from two causes: first, the desire to bring Plato’s theory of language into accordance with the received doctrine of the Platonic ideas; secondly, the impression created by Socrates himself, that he is not in earnest, and is only indulging the fancy of the hour. 1. We shall have occasion to show more at length, in the Introduction to future dialogues, that the so-called Platonic ideas are only a semi- mythical form, in which he attempts to realize abstractions, and that they are replaced in his later writings by a rational theory of psychology. (See introductions to the Meno and the Sophist.) And in the Cratylus he gives a general account of the nature and origin of language, in which Adam Smith, Rousseau, and other writers of the last century, would have substantially agreed. At the end of the dialogue, he speaks as in the Symposium and Republic of absolute beauty and good; but he never supposed that they were capable of being embodied in words. Of the names of the ideas, he would have said, as he says of the names of the Gods, that we know nothing. Even the realism of Cratylus is not based upon the ideas of Plato, but upon the flux of Heracleitus. Here, as in the Sophist and Politicus, Plato expressly draws attention to the want of agreement in words and things. Hence we are led to infer, that the view of Socrates is not the less Plato’s own, because not based upon the ideas; 2nd, that Plato’s theory of language is not inconsistent with the rest of his philosophy.

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2. We do not deny that Socrates is partly in jest and partly in earnest. He is discoursing in a high-flown vein, which may be compared to the ’dithyrambics of the Phaedrus.’ They are mysteries of which he is speaking, and he professes a kind of ludicrous fear of his imaginary wisdom. When he is arguing out of Homer, about the names of Hector’s son, or when he describes himself as inspired or maddened by Euthyphro, with whom he has been sitting from the early dawn (compare Phaedrus and Lysias; Phaedr.) and expresses his intention of yielding to the illusion to-day, and to-morrow he will go to a priest and be purified, we easily see that his words are not to be taken seriously. In this part of the dialogue his dread of committing impiety, the pretended derivation of his wisdom from another, the extravagance of some of his etymologies, and, in general, the manner in which the fun, fast and furious, vires acquirit eundo, remind us strongly of the Phaedrus. The jest is a long one, extending over more than half the dialogue. But then, we remember that the Euthydemus is a still longer jest, in which the irony is preserved to the very end. There he is parodying the ingenious follies of early logic; in the Cratylus he is ridiculing the fancies of a new school of sophists and grammarians. The fallacies of the Euthydemus are still retained at the end of our logic books; and the etymologies of the Cratylus have also found their way into later writers. Some of these are not much worse than the conjectures of Hemsterhuis, and other critics of the last century; but this does not prove that they are serious. For Plato is in advance of his age in his conception of language, as much as he is in his conception of mythology. (Compare Phaedrus.) When the fervour of his etymological enthusiasm has abated, Socrates ends, as he has begun, with a rational explanation of language. Still he preserves his ’know nothing’ disguise, and himself declares his first notions about names to be reckless and ridiculous. Having explained compound words by resolving them into their original elements, he now proceeds to analyse simple words into the letters of which they are composed. The Socrates who ’knows nothing,’ here passes into the teacher, the dialectician, the arranger of species. There is nothing in this part of the dialogue which is either weak or extravagant. Plato is a supporter of the Onomatopoetic theory of language; that is to say, he supposes words to be formed by the imitation of ideas in sounds; he also recognises the effect of time, the influence of foreign languages, the desire of euphony, to be formative principles; and he admits a certain element of chance. But he gives no imitation in all this that he is preparing the way for the construction of an ideal language. Or that he has any Eleatic speculation to oppose to the Heracleiteanism of Cratylus. The theory of language which is propounded in the Cratylus is in accordance with the later phase of the philosophy of Plato, and would have been regarded by him as in the main true. The dialogue is also a satire on the philological fancies of the day. Socrates in pursuit of his vocation as a detector of false knowledge, lights by accident on the truth. He is guessing, he is dreaming; he has heard, as he says in the Phaedrus, from another: no one is more surprised than himself at his own discoveries. And yet some of his best remarks, as for example his view of the derivation of Greek words from other languages, or of the permutations of letters, or again, his observation that in speaking of the Gods we are only speaking of our names of them, occur among these flights of humour. We can imagine a character having a profound insight into the nature of men

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and things, and yet hardly dwelling upon them seriously; blending inextricably sense and nonsense; sometimes enveloping in a blaze of jests the most serious matters, and then again allowing the truth to peer through; enjoying the flow of his own humour, and puzzling mankind by an ironical exaggeration of their absurdities. Such were Aristophanes and Rabelais; such, in a different style, were Sterne, Jean Paul, Hamann,– writers who sometimes become unintelligible through the extravagance of their fancies. Such is the character which Plato intends to depict in some of his dialogues as the Silenus Socrates; and through this medium we have to receive our theory of language. There remains a difficulty which seems to demand a more exact answer: In what relation does the satirical or etymological portion of the dialogue stand to the serious? Granting all that can be said about the provoking irony of Socrates, about the parody of Euthyphro, or Prodicus, or Antisthenes, how does the long catalogue of etymologies furnish any answer to the question of Hermogenes, which is evidently the main thesis of the dialogue: What is the truth, or correctness, or principle of names? After illustrating the nature of correctness by the analogy of the arts, and then, as in the Republic, ironically appealing to the authority of the Homeric poems, Socrates shows that the truth or correctness of names can only be ascertained by an appeal to etymology. The truth of names is to be found in the analysis of their elements. But why does he admit etymologies which are absurd, based on Heracleitean fancies, fourfold interpretations of words, impossible unions and separations of syllables and letters? 1. The answer to this difficulty has been already anticipated in part: Socrates is not a dogmatic teacher, and therefore he puts on this wild and fanciful disguise, in order that the truth may be permitted to appear: 2. as Benfey remarks, an erroneous example may illustrate a principle of language as well as a true one: 3. many of these etymologies, as, for example, that of dikaion, are indicated, by the manner in which Socrates speaks of them, to have been current in his own age: 4. the philosophy of language had not made such progress as would have justified Plato in propounding real derivations. Like his master Socrates, he saw through the hollowness of the incipient sciences of the day, and tries to move in a circle apart from them, laying down the conditions under which they are to be pursued, but, as in the Timaeus, cautious and tentative, when he is speaking of actual phenomena. To have made etymologies seriously, would have seemed to him like the interpretation of the myths in the Phaedrus, the task ’of a not very fortunate individual, who had a great deal of time on his hands.’ The irony of Socrates places him above and beyond the errors of his contemporaries. The Cratylus is full of humour and satirical touches: the inspiration which comes from Euthyphro, and his prancing steeds, the light admixture of quotations from Homer, and the spurious dialectic which is applied to them; the jest about the fifty-drachma course of Prodicus, which is declared on the best authority, viz. his own, to be a complete education in grammar and rhetoric; the double explanation of the name Hermogenes, either as ’not being in luck,’ or ’being no speaker;’ the dearly-bought wisdom of Callias, the Lacedaemonian whose name was ’Rush,’ and, above all, the pleasure which Socrates expresses in his own dangerous discoveries, which ’to-morrow he will purge away,’ are truly humorous. While delivering a lecture on the philosophy of language, Socrates is also satirizing the endless fertility of the human mind in spinning arguments out

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of nothing, and employing the most trifling and fanciful analogies in support of a theory. Etymology in ancient as in modern times was a favourite recreation; and Socrates makes merry at the expense of the etymologists. The simplicity of Hermogenes, who is ready to believe anything that he is told, heightens the effect. Socrates in his genial and ironical mood hits right and left at his adversaries: Ouranos is so called apo tou oran ta ano, which, as some philosophers say, is the way to have a pure mind; the sophists are by a fanciful explanation converted into heroes; ’the givers of names were like some philosophers who fancy that the earth goes round because their heads are always going round.’ There is a great deal of ’mischief’ lurking in the following: ’I found myself in greater perplexity about justice than I was before I began to learn;’ ’The rho in katoptron must be the addition of some one who cares nothing about truth, but thinks only of putting the mouth into shape;’ ’Tales and falsehoods have generally to do with the Tragic and goatish life, and tragedy is the place of them.’ Several philosophers and sophists are mentioned by name: first, Protagoras and Euthydemus are assailed; then the interpreters of Homer, oi palaioi Omerikoi (compare Arist. Met.) and the Orphic poets are alluded to by the way; then he discovers a hive of wisdom in the philosophy of Heracleitus;– the doctrine of the flux is contained in the word ousia (= osia the pushing principle), an anticipation of Anaxagoras is found in psuche and selene. Again, he ridicules the arbitrary methods of pulling out and putting in letters which were in vogue among the philologers of his time; or slightly scoffs at contemporary religious beliefs. Lastly, he is impatient of hearing from the half-converted Cratylus the doctrine that falsehood can neither be spoken, nor uttered, nor addressed; a piece of sophistry attributed to Gorgias, which reappears in the Sophist. And he proceeds to demolish, with no less delight than he had set up, the Heracleitean theory of language. In the latter part of the dialogue Socrates becomes more serious, though he does not lay aside but rather aggravates his banter of the Heracleiteans, whom here, as in the Theaetetus, he delights to ridicule. What was the origin of this enmity we can hardly determine:–was it due to the natural dislike which may be supposed to exist between the ’patrons of the flux’ and the ’friends of the ideas’ (Soph.)? or is it to be attributed to the indignation which Plato felt at having wasted his time upon ’Cratylus and the doctrines of Heracleitus’ in the days of his youth? Socrates, touching on some of the characteristic difficulties of early Greek philosophy, endeavours to show Cratylus that imitation may be partial or imperfect, that a knowledge of things is higher than a knowledge of names, and that there can be no knowledge if all things are in a state of transition. But Cratylus, who does not easily apprehend the argument from common sense, remains unconvinced, and on the whole inclines to his former opinion. Some profound philosophical remarks are scattered up and down, admitting of an application not only to language but to knowledge generally; such as the assertion that ’consistency is no test of truth:’ or again, ’If we are over-precise about words, truth will say ”too late” to us as to the belated traveller in Aegina.’ The place of the dialogue in the series cannot be determined with certainty. The style and subject, and the treatment of the character of Socrates, have a close resemblance to the earlier dialogues, especially to the Phaedrus and Euthydemus. The manner in which the ideas are spoken of at the end of the dialogue, also indicates a comparatively early date. The imaginative element is still in full vigour; the Socrates of the Cratylus is the Socrates of the Apology and Symposium, not yet Platonized; and he describes, as in the Theaetetus,

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the philosophy of Heracleitus by ’unsavoury’ similes–he cannot believe that the world is like ’a leaky vessel,’ or ’a man who has a running at the nose’; he attributes the flux of the world to the swimming in some folks’ heads. On the other hand, the relation of thought to language is omitted here, but is treated of in the Sophist. These grounds are not sufficient to enable us to arrive at a precise conclusion. But we shall not be far wrong in placing the Cratylus about the middle, or at any rate in the first half, of the series. Cratylus, the Heracleitean philosopher, and Hermogenes, the brother of Callias, have been arguing about names; the former maintaining that they are natural, the latter that they are conventional. Cratylus affirms that his own is a true name, but will not allow that the name of Hermogenes is equally true. Hermogenes asks Socrates to explain to him what Cratylus means; or, far rather, he would like to know, What Socrates himself thinks about the truth or correctness of names? Socrates replies, that hard is knowledge, and the nature of names is a considerable part of knowledge: he has never been to hear the fifty-drachma course of Prodicus; and having only attended the single-drachma course, he is not competent to give an opinion on such matters. When Cratylus denies that Hermogenes is a true name, he supposes him to mean that he is not a true son of Hermes, because he is never in luck. But he would like to have an open council and to hear both sides. Hermogenes is of opinion that there is no principle in names; they may be changed, as we change the names of slaves, whenever we please, and the altered name is as good as the original one. You mean to say, for instance, rejoins Socrates, that if I agree to call a man a horse, then a man will be rightly called a horse by me, and a man by the rest of the world? But, surely, there is in words a true and a false, as there are true and false propositions. If a whole proposition be true or false, then the parts of a proposition may be true or false, and the least parts as well as the greatest; and the least parts are names, and therefore names may be true or false. Would Hermogenes maintain that anybody may give a name to anything, and as many names as he pleases; and would all these names be always true at the time of giving them? Hermogenes replies that this is the only way in which he can conceive that names are correct; and he appeals to the practice of different nations, and of the different Hellenic tribes, in confirmation of his view. Socrates asks, whether the things differ as the words which represent them differ:– Are we to maintain with Protagoras, that what appears is? Hermogenes has always been puzzled about this, but acknowledges, when he is pressed by Socrates, that there are a few very good men in the world, and a great many very bad; and the very good are the wise, and the very bad are the foolish; and this is not mere appearance but reality. Nor is he disposed to say with Euthydemus, that all things equally and always belong to all men; in that case, again, there would be no distinction between bad and good men. But then, the only remaining possibility is, that all things have their several distinct natures, and are independent of our notions about them. And not only things, but actions, have distinct natures, and are done by different processes. There is a natural way of cutting or burning, and a natural instrument with which men cut or burn, and any other way will fail;–this is true of all actions. And speaking is a kind of action, and naming is a kind of speaking, and we must name according to a natural process, and with a proper instrument. We cut with a knife, we pierce with an awl, we weave with a shuttle, we name with a name. And as a

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shuttle separates the warp from the woof, so a name distinguishes the natures of things. The weaver will use the shuttle well,–that is, like a weaver; and the teacher will use the name well,–that is, like a teacher. The shuttle will be made by the carpenter; the awl by the smith or skilled person. But who makes a name? Does not the law give names, and does not the teacher receive them from the legislator? He is the skilled person who makes them, and of all skilled workmen he is the rarest. But how does the carpenter make or repair the shuttle, and to what will he look? Will he not look at the ideal which he has in his mind? And as the different kinds of work differ, so ought the instruments which make them to differ. The several kinds of shuttles ought to answer in material and form to the several kinds of webs. And the legislator ought to know the different materials and forms of which names are made in Hellas and other countries. But who is to be the judge of the proper form? The judge of shuttles is the weaver who uses them; the judge of lyres is the player of the lyre; the judge of ships is the pilot. And will not the judge who is able to direct the legislator in his work of naming, be he who knows how to use the names–he who can ask and answer questions–in short, the dialectician? The pilot directs the carpenter how to make the rudder, and the dialectician directs the legislator how he is to impose names; for to express the ideal forms of things in syllables and letters is not the easy task, Hermogenes, which you imagine. ’I should be more readily persuaded, if you would show me this natural correctness of names.’ Indeed I cannot; but I see that you have advanced; for you now admit that there is a correctness of names, and that not every one can give a name. But what is the nature of this correctness or truth, you must learn from the Sophists, of whom your brother Callias has bought his reputation for wisdom rather dearly; and since they require to be paid, you, having no money, had better learn from him at second-hand. ’Well, but I have just given up Protagoras, and I should be inconsistent in going to learn of him.’ Then if you reject him you may learn of the poets, and in particular of Homer, who distinguishes the names given by Gods and men to the same things, as in the verse about the river God who fought with Hephaestus, ’whom the Gods call Xanthus, and men call Scamander;’ or in the lines in which he mentions the bird which the Gods call ’Chalcis,’ and men ’Cymindis;’ or the hill which men call ’Batieia,’ and the Gods ’Myrinna’s Tomb.’ Here is an important lesson; for the Gods must of course be right in their use of names. And this is not the only truth about philology which may be learnt from Homer. Does he not say that Hector’s son had two names– ’Hector called him Scamandrius, but the others Astyanax’ ? Now, if the men called him Astyanax, is it not probable that the other name was conferred by the women? And which are more likely to be right–the wiser or the less wise, the men or the women? Homer evidently agreed with the men: and of the name given by them he offers an explanation;–the boy was called Astyanax (’king of the city’), because his father saved the city. The names Astyanax and Hector, moreover, are really the same,–the one means a king, and the other is ’a holder or possessor.’ For as the lion’s whelp may be called a lion, or the horse’s foal a foal, so the son of a king may be called a king. But if the horse had produced a calf, then that would be called a calf. Whether the syllables of a name are the same or not makes no difference, provided the meaning is retained. For example; the names of letters, whether vowels or consonants, do

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not correspond to their sounds, with the exception of epsilon, upsilon, omicron, omega. The name Beta has three letters added to the sound–and yet this does not alter the sense of the word, or prevent the whole name having the value which the legislator intended. And the same may be said of a king and the son of a king, who like other animals resemble each other in the course of nature; the words by which they are signified may be disguised, and yet amid differences of sound the etymologist may recognise the same notion, just as the physician recognises the power of the same drugs under different disguises of colour and smell. Hector and Astyanax have only one letter alike, but they have the same meaning; and Agis (leader) is altogether different in sound from Polemarchus (chief in war), or Eupolemus (good warrior); but the two words present the same idea of leader or general, like the words Iatrocles and Acesimbrotus, which equally denote a physician. The son succeeds the father as the foal succeeds the horse, but when, out of the course of nature, a prodigy occurs, and the offspring no longer resembles the parent, then the names no longer agree. This may be illustrated by the case of Agamemnon and his son Orestes, of whom the former has a name significant of his patience at the siege of Troy; while the name of the latter indicates his savage, man-of-the-mountain nature. Atreus again, for his murder of Chrysippus, and his cruelty to Thyestes, is rightly named Atreus, which, to the eye of the etymologist, is ateros (destructive), ateires (stubborn), atreotos (fearless); and Pelops is o ta pelas oron (he who sees what is near only), because in his eagerness to win Hippodamia, he was unconscious of the remoter consequences which the murder of Myrtilus would entail upon his race. The name Tantalus, if slightly changed, offers two etymologies; either apo tes tou lithou talanteias, or apo tou talantaton einai, signifying at once the hanging of the stone over his head in the world below, and the misery which he brought upon his country. And the name of his father, Zeus, Dios, Zenos, has an excellent meaning, though hard to be understood, because really a sentence which is divided into two parts (Zeus, Dios). For he, being the lord and king of all, is the author of our being, and in him all live: this is implied in the double form, Dios, Zenos, which being put together and interpreted is di on ze panta. There may, at first sight, appear to be some irreverence in calling him the son of Cronos, who is a proverb for stupidity; but the meaning is that Zeus himself is the son of a mighty intellect; Kronos, quasi koros, not in the sense of a youth, but quasi to katharon kai akeraton tou nou–the pure and garnished mind, which in turn is begotten of Uranus, who is so called apo tou oran ta ano, from looking upwards; which, as philosophers say, is the way to have a pure mind. The earlier portion of Hesiod’s genealogy has escaped my memory, or I would try more conclusions of the same sort. ’You talk like an oracle.’ I caught the infection from Euthyphro, who gave me a long lecture which began at dawn, and has not only entered into my ears, but filled my soul, and my intention is to yield to the inspiration to-day; and to-morrow I will be exorcised by some priest or sophist. ’Go on; I am anxious to hear the rest.’ Now that we have a general notion, how shall we proceed? What names will afford the most crucial test of natural fitness? Those of heroes and ordinary men are often deceptive, because they are patronymics or expressions of a wish; let us try gods and demi-gods. Gods are so called, apo tou thein, from the verb ’to run;’ because the sun, moon, and stars run about the heaven; and they being the original gods of the Hellenes, as they still are of the Barbarians, their name is given to all Gods. The demons are the golden race of Hesiod, and by golden he means not

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literally golden, but good; and they are called demons, quasi daemones, which in old Attic was used for daimones–good men are well said to become daimones when they die, because they are knowing. Eros (with an epsilon) is the same word as eros (with an eta): ’the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair;’ or perhaps they were a species of sophists or rhetoricians, and so called apo tou erotan, or eirein, from their habit of spinning questions; for eirein is equivalent to legein. I get all this from Euthyphro; and now a new and ingenious idea comes into my mind, and, if I am not careful, I shall be wiser than I ought to be by to-morrow’s dawn. My idea is, that we may put in and pull out letters at pleasure and alter the accents (as, for example, Dii philos may be turned into Diphilos), and we may make words into sentences and sentences into words. The name anthrotos is a case in point, for a letter has been omitted and the accent changed; the original meaning being o anathron a opopen–he who looks up at what he sees. Psuche may be thought to be the reviving, or refreshing, or animating principle–e anapsuchousa to soma; but I am afraid that Euthyphro and his disciples will scorn this derivation, and I must find another: shall we identify the soul with the ’ordering mind’ of Anaxagoras, and say that psuche, quasi phuseche = e phusin echei or ochei ?–this might easily be refined into psyche. ’That is a more artistic etymology.’ After psuche follows soma; this, by a slight permutation, may be either = (1) the ’grave’ of the soul, or (2) may mean ’that by which the soul signifies (semainei ) her wishes.’ But more probably, the word is Orphic, and simply denotes that the body is the place of ward in which the soul suffers the penalty of sin,–en o sozetai. ’I should like to hear some more explanations of the names of the Gods, like that excellent one of Zeus.’ The truest names of the Gods are those which they give themselves; but these are unknown to us. Less true are those by which we propitiate them, as men say in prayers, ’May he graciously receive any name by which I call him.’ And to avoid offence, I should like to let them know beforehand that we are not presuming to enquire about them, but only about the names which they usually bear. Let us begin with Hestia. What did he mean who gave the name Hestia? ’That is a very difficult question.’ O, my dear Hermogenes, I believe that there was a power of philosophy and talk among the first inventors of names, both in our own and in other languages; for even in foreign words a principle is discernible. Hestia is the same with esia, which is an old form of ousia, and means the first principle of things: this agrees with the fact that to Hestia the first sacrifices are offered. There is also another reading–osia, which implies that ’pushing’ (othoun) is the first principle of all things. And here I seem to discover a delicate allusion to the flux of Heracleitus– that antediluvian philosopher who cannot walk twice in the same stream; and this flux of his may accomplish yet greater marvels. For the names Cronos and Rhea cannot have been accidental; the giver of them must have known something about the doctrine of Heracleitus. Moreover, there is a remarkable coincidence in the words of Hesiod, when he speaks of Oceanus, ’the origin of Gods;’ and in the verse of Orpheus, in which he describes Oceanus espousing his sister Tethys. Tethys is nothing more than the name of a spring–to diattomenon kai ethoumenon. Poseidon is posidesmos, the chain of the feet, because you cannot walk on the sea–the epsilon is inserted by way of ornament; or perhaps the name may have been originally polleidon, meaning, that the God knew many things (polla eidos): he may also be the shaker, apo tou seiein,–in this case, pi and delta have been added. Pluto is connected with ploutos, because wealth

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comes out of the earth; or the word may be a euphemism for Hades, which is usually derived apo tou aeidous, because the God is concerned with the invisible. But the name Hades was really given him from his knowing (eidenai ) all good things. Men in general are foolishly afraid of him, and talk with horror of the world below from which no one may return. The reason why his subjects never wish to come back, even if they could, is that the God enchains them by the strongest of spells, namely by the desire of virtue, which they hope to obtain by constant association with him. He is the perfect and accomplished Sophist and the great benefactor of the other world; for he has much more than he wants there, and hence he is called Pluto or the rich. He will have nothing to do with the souls of men while in the body, because he cannot work his will with them so long as they are confused and entangled by fleshly lusts. Demeter is the mother and giver of food–e didousa meter tes edodes. Here is erate tis, or perhaps the legislator may have been thinking of the weather, and has merely transposed the letters of the word aer. Pherephatta, that word of awe, is pheretapha, which is only an euphonious contraction of e tou pheromenou ephaptomene,–all things are in motion, and she in her wisdom moves with them, and the wise God Hades consorts with her–there is nothing very terrible in this, any more than in the her other appellation Persephone, which is also significant of her wisdom (sophe). Apollo is another name, which is supposed to have some dreadful meaning, but is susceptible of at least four perfectly innocent explanations. First, he is the purifier or purger or absolver (apolouon); secondly, he is the true diviner, Aplos, as he is called in the Thessalian dialect (aplos = aplous, sincere); thirdly, he is the archer (aei ballon), always shooting; or again, supposing alpha to mean ama or omou, Apollo becomes equivalent to ama polon, which points to both his musical and his heavenly attributes; for there is a ’moving together’ alike in music and in the harmony of the spheres. The second lambda is inserted in order to avoid the ill-omened sound of destruction. The Muses are so called–apo tou mosthai. The gentle Leto or Letho is named from her willingness (ethelemon), or because she is ready to forgive and forget (lethe). Artemis is so called from her healthy well-balanced nature, dia to artemes, or as aretes istor ; or as a lover of virginity, aroton misesasa. One of these explanations is probably true,– perhaps all of them. Dionysus is o didous ton oinon, and oinos is quasi oionous because wine makes those think (oiesthai ) that they have a mind (nous) who have none. The established derivation of Aphrodite dia ten tou athrou genesin may be accepted on the authority of Hesiod. Again, there is the name of Pallas, or Athene, which we, who are Athenians, must not forget. Pallas is derived from armed dances–apo tou pallein ta opla. For Athene we must turn to the allegorical interpreters of Homer, who make the name equivalent to theonoe, or possibly the word was originally ethonoe and signified moral intelligence (en ethei noesis). Hephaestus, again, is the lord of light–o tou phaeos istor. This is a good notion; and, to prevent any other getting into our heads, let us go on to Ares. He is the manly one (arren), or the unchangeable one (arratos). Enough of the Gods; for, by the Gods, I am afraid of them; but if you suggest other words, you will see how the horses of Euthyphro prance. ’Only one more God; tell me about my godfather Hermes.’ He is ermeneus, the messenger or cheater or thief or bargainer; or o eirein momenos, that is, eiremes or ermes–the speaker or contriver of speeches. ’Well said Cratylus, then, that I am no son of Hermes.’ Pan, as the son of Hermes, is speech or the brother of speech, and is called Pan because speech indicates everything–o pan menuon. He has two

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forms, a true and a false; and is in the upper part smooth, and in the lower part shaggy. He is the goat of Tragedy, in which there are plenty of falsehoods. ’Will you go on to the elements–sun, moon, stars, earth, aether, air, fire, water, seasons, years?’ Very good: and which shall I take first? Let us begin with elios, or the sun. The Doric form elios helps us to see that he is so called because at his rising he gathers (alizei ) men together, or because he rolls about (eilei ) the earth, or because he variegates (aiolei = poikillei ) the earth. Selene is an anticipation of Anaxagoras, being a contraction of selaenoneoaeia, the light (selas) which is ever old and new, and which, as Anaxagoras says, is borrowed from the sun; the name was harmonized into selanaia, a form which is still in use. ’That is a true dithyrambic name.’ Meis is so called apo tou meiousthai, from suffering diminution, and astron is from astrape (lightning), which is an improvement of anastrope, that which turns the eyes inside out. ’How do you explain pur n udor ?’ I suspect that pur, which, like udor n kuon, is found in Phrygian, is a foreign word; for the Hellenes have borrowed much from the barbarians, and I always resort to this theory of a foreign origin when I am at a loss. Aer may be explained, oti airei ta apo tes ges; or, oti aei rei ; or, oti pneuma ex autou ginetai (compare the poetic word aetai ). So aither quasi aeitheer oti aei thei peri ton aera: ge, gaia quasi genneteira (compare the Homeric form gegaasi ); ora (with an omega), or, according to the old Attic form ora (with an omicron), is derived apo tou orizein, because it divides the year; eniautos and etos are the same thought–o en eauto etazon, cut into two parts, en eauto and etazon, like di on ze into Dios and Zenos. ’You make surprising progress.’ True; I am run away with, and am not even yet at my utmost speed. ’I should like very much to hear your account of the virtues. What principle of correctness is there in those charming words, wisdom, understanding, justice, and the rest?’ To explain all that will be a serious business; still, as I have put on the lion’s skin, appearances must be maintained. My opinion is, that primitive men were like some modern philosophers, who, by always going round in their search after the nature of things, become dizzy; and this phenomenon, which was really in themselves, they imagined to take place in the external world. You have no doubt remarked, that the doctrine of the universal flux, or generation of things, is indicated in names. ’No, I never did.’ Phronesis is only phoras kai rou noesis, or perhaps phoras onesis, and in any case is connected with pheresthai ; gnome is gones skepsis kai nomesis; noesis is neou or gignomenon esis; the word neos implies that creation is always going on–the original form was neoesis; sophrosune is soteria phroneseos; episteme is e epomene tois pragmasin–the faculty which keeps close, neither anticipating nor lagging behind; sunesis is equivalent to sunienai, sumporeuesthai ten psuche, and is a kind of conclusion–sullogismos tis, akin therefore in idea to episteme; sophia is very difficult, and has a foreign look–the meaning is, touching the motion or stream of things, and may be illustrated by the poetical esuthe and the Lacedaemonian proper name Sous, or Rush; agathon is ro agaston en te tachuteti,–for all things are in motion, and some are swifter than others: dikaiosune is clearly e tou dikaiou sunesis. The word dikaion is more troublesome, and appears to mean the subtle penetrating power which, as the lovers of motion say, preserves all things, and is the cause of all things, quasi diaion going through–the letter kappa being inserted for the sake of euphony. This is a great mystery which has been confided to me; but when I ask for an explanation I am thought obtrusive, and another derivation is proposed to me. Justice is

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said to be o kaion, or the sun; and when I joyfully repeat this beautiful notion, I am answered, ’What, is there no justice when the sun is down?’ And when I entreat my questioner to tell me his own opinion, he replies, that justice is fire in the abstract, or heat in the abstract; which is not very intelligible. Others laugh at such notions, and say with Anaxagoras, that justice is the ordering mind. ’I think that some one must have told you this.’ And not the rest? Let me proceed then, in the hope of proving to you my originality. Andreia is quasi anpeia quasi e ano roe, the stream which flows upwards, and is opposed to injustice, which clearly hinders the principle of penetration; arren and aner have a similar derivation; gune is the same as gone; thelu is derived apo tes theles, because the teat makes things flourish (tethelenai ), and the word thallein itself implies increase of youth, which is swift and sudden ever (thein and allesthai ). I am getting over the ground fast: but much has still to be explained. There is techne, for instance. This, by an aphaeresis of tau and an epenthesis of omicron in two places, may be identified with echonoe, and signifies ’that which has mind.’ ’A very poor etymology.’ Yes; but you must remember that all language is in process of change; letters are taken in and put out for the sake of euphony, and time is also a great alterer of words. For example, what business has the letter rho in the word katoptron, or the letter sigma in the word sphigx ? The additions are often such that it is impossible to make out the original word; and yet, if you may put in and pull out, as you like, any name is equally good for any object. The fact is, that great dictators of literature like yourself should observe the rules of moderation. ’I will do my best.’ But do not be too much of a precisian, or you will paralyze me. If you will let me add mechane, apo tou mekous, which means polu, and anein, I shall be at the summit of my powers, from which elevation I will examine the two words kakia and arete. The first is easily explained in accordance with what has preceded; for all things being in a flux, kakia is to kakos ion. This derivation is illustrated by the word deilia, which ought to have come after andreia, and may be regarded as o lian desmos tes psuches, just as aporia signifies an impediment to motion (from alpha not, and poreuesthai to go), and arete is euporia, which is the opposite of this–the everflowing (aei reousa or aeireite), or the eligible, quasi airete. You will think that I am inventing, but I say that if kakia is right, then arete is also right. But what is kakon? That is a very obscure word, to which I can only apply my old notion and declare that kakon is a foreign word. Next, let us proceed to kalon, aischron. The latter is doubtless contracted from aeischoroun, quasi aei ischon roun. The inventor of words being a patron of the flux, was a great enemy to stagnation. Kalon is to kaloun ta pragmata–this is mind (nous or dianoia); which is also the principle of beauty; and which doing the works of beauty, is therefore rightly called the beautiful. The meaning of sumpheron is explained by previous examples;–like episteme, signifying that the soul moves in harmony with the world (sumphora, sumpheronta). Kerdos is to pasi kerannumenon– that which mingles with all things: lusiteloun is equivalent to to tes phoras luon to telos, and is not to be taken in the vulgar sense of gainful, but rather in that of swift, being the principle which makes motion immortal and unceasing; ophelimon is apo tou ophellein–that which gives increase: this word, which is Homeric, is of foreign origin. Blaberon is to blamton or boulomenon aptein tou rou– that which injures or seeks to bind the stream. The proper word would be boulapteroun, but this is too much of a mouthful–like a prelude on

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the flute in honour of Athene. The word zemiodes is difficult; great changes, as I was saying, have been made in words, and even a small change will alter their meaning very much. The word deon is one of these disguised words. You know that according to the old pronunciation, which is especially affected by the women, who are great conservatives, iota and delta were used where we should now use eta and zeta: for example, what we now call emera was formerly called imera; and this shows the meaning of the word to have been ’the desired one coming after night,’ and not, as is often supposed, ’that which makes things gentle’ (emera). So again, zugon is duogon, quasi desis duein eis agogen–(the binding of two together for the purpose of drawing. Deon, as ordinarily written, has an evil sense, signifying the chain (desmos) or hindrance of motion; but in its ancient form dion is expressive of good, quasi diion, that which penetrates or goes through all. Zemiodes is really demiodes, and means that which binds motion (dounti to ion): edone is e pros ten onrsin teinousa praxis–the delta is an insertion: lupe is derived apo tes dialuseos tou somatos: ania is from alpha and ienai, to go: algedon is a foreign word, and is so called apo tou algeinou: odune is apo tes enduseos tes lupes: achthedon is in its very sound a burden: chapa expresses the flow of soul: terpsis is apo tou terpnou, and terpnon is properly erpnon, because the sensation of pleasure is likened to a breath (pnoe) which creeps (erpei ) through the soul: euphrosune is named from pheresthai, because the soul moves in harmony with nature: epithumia is e epi ton thumon iousa dunamis: thumos is apo tes thuseos tes psuches: imeros–oti eimenos pei e psuche: pothos, the desire which is in another place, allothi pou: eros was anciently esros, and so called because it flows into (esrei ) the soul from without: doxa is e dioxis tou eidenai, or expresses the shooting from a bow (toxon). The latter etymology is confirmed by the words boulesthai, boule, aboulia, which all have to do with shooting (bole): and similarly oiesis is nothing but the movement (oisis) of the soul towards essence. Ekousion is to eikon–the yielding–anagke is e an agke iousa, the passage through ravines which impede motion: aletheia is theia ale, divine motion. Pseudos is the opposite of this, implying the principle of constraint and forced repose, which is expressed under the figure of sleep, to eudon; the psi is an addition. Onoma, a name, affirms the real existence of that which is sought after–on ou masma estin. On and ousia are only ion with an iota broken off; and ouk on is ouk ion. ’And what are ion, reon, doun?’ One way of explaining them has been already suggested– they may be of foreign origin; and possibly this is the true answer. But mere antiquity may often prevent our recognizing words, after all the complications which they have undergone; and we must remember that however far we carry back our analysis some ultimate elements or roots will remain which can be no further analyzed. For example; the word agathos was supposed by us to be a compound of agastos and thoos, and probably thoos may be further resolvable. But if we take a word of which no further resolution seems attainable, we may fairly conclude that we have reached one of these original elements, and the truth of such a word must be tested by some new method. Will you help me in the search? All names, whether primary or secondary, are intended to show the nature of things; and the secondary, as I conceive, derive their significance from the primary. But then, how do the primary names indicate anything? And let me ask another question,–If we had no faculty of speech, how should we communicate with one another? Should we not use signs, like the deaf and dumb? The

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elevation of our hands would mean lightness–heaviness would be expressed by letting them drop. The running of any animal would be described by a similar movement of our own frames. The body can only express anything by imitation; and the tongue or mouth can imitate as well as the rest of the body. But this imitation of the tongue or voice is not yet a name, because people may imitate sheep or goats without naming them. What, then, is a name? In the first place, a name is not a musical, or, secondly, a pictorial imitation, but an imitation of that kind which expresses the nature of a thing; and is the invention not of a musician, or of a painter, but of a namer. And now, I think that we may consider the names about which you were asking. The way to analyze them will be by going back to the letters, or primary elements of which they are composed. First, we separate the alphabet into classes of letters, distinguishing the consonants, mutes, vowels, and semivowels; and when we have learnt them singly, we shall learn to know them in their various combinations of two or more letters; just as the painter knows how to use either a single colour, or a combination of colours. And like the painter, we may apply letters to the expression of objects, and form them into syllables; and these again into words, until the picture or figure–that is, language–is completed. Not that I am literally speaking of ourselves, but I mean to say that this was the way in which the ancients framed language. And this leads me to consider whether the primary as well as the secondary elements are rightly given. I may remark, as I was saying about the Gods, that we can only attain to conjecture of them. But still we insist that ours is the true and only method of discovery; otherwise we must have recourse, like the tragic poets, to a Deus ex machina, and say that God gave the first names, and therefore they are right; or that the barbarians are older than we are, and that we learnt of them; or that antiquity has cast a veil over the truth. Yet all these are not reasons; they are only ingenious excuses for having no reasons. I will freely impart to you my own notions, though they are somewhat crude:– the letter rho appears to me to be the general instrument which the legislator has employed to express all motion or kinesis. (I ought to explain that kinesis is just iesis (going), for the letter eta was unknown to the ancients; and the root, kiein, is a foreign form of ienai : of kinesis or eisis, the opposite is stasis). This use of rho is evident in the words tremble, break, crush, crumble, and the like; the imposer of names perceived that the tongue is most agitated in the pronunciation of this letter, just as he used iota to express the subtle power which penetrates through all things. The letters phi, psi, sigma, zeta, which require a great deal of wind, are employed in the imitation of such notions as shivering, seething, shaking, and in general of what is windy. The letters delta and tau convey the idea of binding and rest in a place: the lambda denotes smoothness, as in the words slip, sleek, sleep, and the like. But when the slipping tongue is detained by the heavier sound of gamma, then arises the notion of a glutinous clammy nature: nu is sounded from within, and has a notion of inwardness: alpha is the expression of size; eta of length; omicron of roundness, and therefore there is plenty of omicron in the word goggulon. That is my view, Hermogenes, of the correctness of names; and I should like to hear what Cratylus would say. ’But, Socrates, as I was telling you, Cratylus mystifies me; I should like to ask him, in your presence, what he means by the fitness of names?’ To this appeal, Cratylus replies ’that he cannot explain so important a subject all in a moment.’ ’No, but you may ”add little to little,” as Hesiod says.’ Socrates here interposes his

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own request, that Cratylus will give some account of his theory. Hermogenes and himself are mere sciolists, but Cratylus has reflected on these matters, and has had teachers. Cratylus replies in the words of Achilles: ’”Illustrious Ajax, you have spoken in all things much to my mind,” whether Euthyphro, or some Muse inhabiting your own breast, was the inspirer.’ Socrates replies, that he is afraid of being self-deceived, and therefore he must ’look fore and aft,’ as Homer remarks. Does not Cratylus agree with him that names teach us the nature of things? ’Yes.’ And naming is an art, and the artists are legislators, and like artists in general, some of them are better and some of them are worse than others, and give better or worse laws, and make better or worse names. Cratylus cannot admit that one name is better than another; they are either true names, or they are not names at all; and when he is asked about the name of Hermogenes, who is acknowledged to have no luck in him, he affirms this to be the name of somebody else. Socrates supposes him to mean that falsehood is impossible, to which his own answer would be, that there has never been a lack of liars. Cratylus presses him with the old sophistical argument, that falsehood is saying that which is not, and therefore saying nothing;–you cannot utter the word which is not. Socrates complains that this argument is too subtle for an old man to understand: Suppose a person addressing Cratylus were to say, Hail, Athenian Stranger, Hermogenes! would these words be true or false? ’I should say that they would be mere unmeaning sounds, like the hammering of a brass pot.’ But you would acknowledge that names, as well as pictures, are imitations, and also that pictures may give a right or wrong representation of a man or woman:–why may not names then equally give a representation true and right or false and wrong? Cratylus admits that pictures may give a true or false representation, but denies that names can. Socrates argues, that he may go up to a man and say ’this is year picture,’ and again, he may go and say to him ’this is your name’–in the one case appealing to his sense of sight, and in the other to his sense of hearing;–may he not? ’Yes.’ Then you will admit that there is a right or a wrong assignment of names, and if of names, then of verbs and nouns; and if of verbs and nouns, then of the sentences which are made up of them; and comparing nouns to pictures, you may give them all the appropriate sounds, or only some of them. And as he who gives all the colours makes a good picture, and he who gives only some of them, a bad or imperfect one, but still a picture; so he who gives all the sounds makes a good name, and he who gives only some of them, a bad or imperfect one, but a name still. The artist of names, that is, the legislator, may be a good or he may be a bad artist. ’Yes, Socrates, but the cases are not parallel; for if you subtract or misplace a letter, the name ceases to be a name.’ Socrates admits that the number 10, if an unit is subtracted, would cease to be 10, but denies that names are of this purely quantitative nature. Suppose that there are two objects–Cratylus and the image of Cratylus; and let us imagine that some God makes them perfectly alike, both in their outward form and in their inner nature and qualities: then there will be two Cratyluses, and not merely Cratylus and the image of Cratylus. But an image in fact always falls short in some degree of the original, and if images are not exact counterparts, why should names be? if they were, they would be the doubles of their originals, and indistinguishable from them; and how ridiculous would this be! Cratylus admits the truth of Socrates’ remark. But then Socrates rejoins, he should have the courage to acknowledge that letters may be wrongly inserted in a noun, or a noun in a

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sentence; and yet the noun or the sentence may retain a meaning. Better to admit this, that we may not be punished like the traveller in Egina who goes about at night, and that Truth herself may not say to us, ’Too late.’ And, errors excepted, we may still affirm that a name to be correct must have proper letters, which bear a resemblance to the thing signified. I must remind you of what Hermogenes and I were saying about the letter rho accent, which was held to be expressive of motion and hardness, as lambda is of smoothness;–and this you will admit to be their natural meaning. But then, why do the Eritreans call that skleroter which we call sklerotes? We can understand one another, although the letter rho accent is not equivalent to the letter s: why is this? You reply, because the two letters are sufficiently alike for the purpose of expressing motion. Well, then, there is the letter lambda; what business has this in a word meaning hardness? ’Why, Socrates, I retort upon you, that we put in and pull out letters at pleasure.’ And the explanation of this is custom or agreement: we have made a convention that the rho shall mean s and a convention may indicate by the unlike as well as by the like. How could there be names for all the numbers unless you allow that convention is used? Imitation is a poor thing, and has to be supplemented by convention, which is another poor thing; although I agree with you in thinking that the most perfect form of language is found only where there is a perfect correspondence of sound and meaning. But let me ask you what is the use and force of names? ’The use of names, Socrates, is to inform, and he who knows names knows things.’ Do you mean that the discovery of names is the same as the discovery of things? ’Yes.’ But do you not see that there is a degree of deception about names? He who first gave names, gave them according to his conception, and that may have been erroneous. ’But then, why, Socrates, is language so consistent? all words have the same laws.’ Mere consistency is no test of truth. In geometrical problems, for example, there may be a flaw at the beginning, and yet the conclusion may follow consistently. And, therefore, a wise man will take especial care of first principles. But are words really consistent; are there not as many terms of praise which signify rest as which signify motion? There is episteme, which is connected with stasis, as mneme is with meno. Bebaion, again, is the expression of station and position; istoria is clearly descriptive of the stopping istanai of the stream; piston indicates the cessation of motion; and there are many words having a bad sense, which are connected with ideas of motion, such as sumphora, amartia, etc.: amathia, again, might be explained, as e ama theo iontos poreia, and akolasia as e akolouthia tois pragmasin. Thus the bad names are framed on the same principle as the good, and other examples might be given, which would favour a theory of rest rather than of motion. ’Yes; but the greater number of words express motion.’ Are we to count them, Cratylus; and is correctness of names to be determined by the voice of a majority? Here is another point: we were saying that the legislator gives names; and therefore we must suppose that he knows the things which he names: but how can he have learnt things from names before there were any names? ’I believe, Socrates, that some power more than human first gave things their names, and that these were necessarily true names.’ Then how came the giver of names to contradict himself, and to make some names expressive of rest, and others of motion? ’I do not suppose that he did make them both.’ Then which did he make–those which are expressive of rest, or those which are expressive of motion?...But if some names are true and others false, we can only decide between

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them, not by counting words, but by appealing to things. And, if so, we must allow that things may be known without names; for names, as we have several times admitted, are the images of things; and the higher knowledge is of things, and is not to be derived from names; and though I do not doubt that the inventors of language gave names, under the idea that all things are in a state of motion and flux, I believe that they were mistaken; and that having fallen into a whirlpool themselves, they are trying to drag us after them. For is there not a true beauty and a true good, which is always beautiful and always good? Can the thing beauty be vanishing away from us while the words are yet in our mouths? And they could not be known by any one if they are always passing away–for if they are always passing away, the observer has no opportunity of observing their state. Whether the doctrine of the flux or of the eternal nature be the truer, is hard to determine. But no man of sense will put himself, or the education of his mind, in the power of names: he will not condemn himself to be an unreal thing, nor will he believe that everything is in a flux like the water in a leaky vessel, or that the world is a man who has a running at the nose. This doctrine may be true, Cratylus, but is also very likely to be untrue; and therefore I would have you reflect while you are young, and find out the truth, and when you know come and tell me. ’I have thought, Socrates, and after a good deal of thinking I incline to Heracleitus.’ Then another day, my friend, you shall give me a lesson. ’Very good, Socrates, and I hope that you will continue to study these things yourself.’ ... We may now consider (I) how far Plato in the Cratylus has discovered the true principles of language, and then (II) proceed to compare modern speculations respecting the origin and nature of language with the anticipations of his genius. I. (1) Plato is aware that language is not the work of chance; nor does he deny that there is a natural fitness in names. He only insists that this natural fitness shall be intelligibly explained. But he has no idea that language is a natural organism. He would have heard with surprise that languages are the common work of whole nations in a primitive or semi- barbarous age. How, he would probably have argued, could men devoid of art have contrived a structure of such complexity? No answer could have been given to this question, either in ancient or in modern times, until the nature of primitive antiquity had been thoroughly studied, and the instincts of man had been shown to exist in greater force, when his state approaches more nearly to that of children or animals. The philosophers of the last century, after their manner, would have vainly endeavoured to trace the process by which proper names were converted into common, and would have shown how the last effort of abstraction invented prepositions and auxiliaries. The theologian would have proved that language must have had a divine origin, because in childhood, while the organs are pliable, the intelligence is wanting, and when the intelligence is able to frame conceptions, the organs are no longer able to express them. Or, as others have said: Man is man because he has the gift of speech; and he could not have invented that which he is. But this would have been an ’argument too subtle’ for Socrates, who rejects the theological account of the origin of language ’as an excuse for not giving a reason,’ which he compares to the introduction of the ’Deus ex machina’ by the tragic poets when they have to solve a difficulty; thus anticipating many modern controversies in which the primary agency of the divine Being is confused with

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the secondary cause; and God is assumed to have worked a miracle in order to fill up a lacuna in human knowledge. (Compare Timaeus.) Neither is Plato wrong in supposing that an element of design and art enters into language. The creative power abating is supplemented by a mechanical process. ’Languages are not made but grow,’ but they are made as well as grow; bursting into life like a plant or a flower, they are also capable of being trained and improved and engrafted upon one another. The change in them is effected in earlier ages by musical and euphonic improvements, at a later stage by the influence of grammar and logic, and by the poetical and literary use of words. They develope rapidly in childhood, and when they are full grown and set they may still put forth intellectual powers, like the mind in the body, or rather we may say that the nobler use of language only begins when the frame-work is complete. The savage or primitive man, in whom the natural instinct is strongest, is also the greatest improver of the forms of language. He is the poet or maker of words, as in civilised ages the dialectician is the definer or distinguisher of them. The latter calls the second world of abstract terms into existence, as the former has created the picture sounds which represent natural objects or processes. Poetry and philosophy–these two, are the two great formative principles of language, when they have passed their first stage, of which, as of the first invention of the arts in general, we only entertain conjecture. And mythology is a link between them, connecting the visible and invisible, until at length the sensuous exterior falls away, and the severance of the inner and outer world, of the idea and the object of sense, becomes complete. At a later period, logic and grammar, sister arts, preserve and enlarge the decaying instinct of language, by rule and method, which they gather from analysis and observation. (2) There is no trace in any of Plato’s writings that he was acquainted with any language but Greek. Yet he has conceived very truly the relation of Greek to foreign languages, which he is led to consider, because he finds that many Greek words are incapable of explanation. Allowing a good deal for accident, and also for the fancies of the conditores linguae Graecae, there is an element of which he is unable to give an account. These unintelligible words he supposes to be of foreign origin, and to have been derived from a time when the Greeks were either barbarians, or in close relations to the barbarians. Socrates is aware that this principle is liable to great abuse; and, like the ’Deus ex machina,’ explains nothing. Hence he excuses himself for the employment of such a device, and remarks that in foreign words there is still a principle of correctness, which applies equally both to Greeks and barbarians. (3) But the greater number of primary words do not admit of derivation from foreign languages; they must be resolved into the letters out of which they are composed, and therefore the letters must have a meaning. The framers of language were aware of this; they observed that alpha was adapted to express size; eta length; omicron roundness; nu inwardness; rho accent rush or roar; lambda liquidity; gamma lambda the detention of the liquid or slippery element; delta and tau binding; phi, psi, sigma, xi, wind and cold, and so on. Plato’s analysis of the letters of the alphabet shows a wonderful insight into the nature of language. He does not expressively distinguish between mere imitation and the symbolical use of sound to express thought, but he recognises in the examples which he gives both modes of imitation. Gesture is the mode which a deaf and dumb person would take of indicating his meaning. And language is the gesture

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of the tongue; in the use of the letter rho accent, to express a rushing or roaring, or of omicron to express roundness, there is a direct imitation; while in the use of the letter alpha to express size, or of eta to express length, the imitation is symbolical. The use of analogous or similar sounds, in order to express similar analogous ideas, seems to have escaped him. In passing from the gesture of the body to the movement of the tongue, Plato makes a great step in the physiology of language. He was probably the first who said that ’language is imitative sound,’ which is the greatest and deepest truth of philology; although he is not aware of the laws of euphony and association by which imitation must be regulated. He was probably also the first who made a distinction between simple and compound words, a truth second only in importance to that which has just been mentioned. His great insight in one direction curiously contrasts with his blindness in another; for he appears to be wholly unaware (compare his derivation of agathos from agastos and thoos) of the difference between the root and termination. But we must recollect that he was necessarily more ignorant than any schoolboy of Greek grammar, and had no table of the inflexions of verbs and nouns before his eyes, which might have suggested to him the distinction. (4) Plato distinctly affirms that language is not truth, or philosophie une langue bien faite. At first, Socrates has delighted himself with discovering the flux of Heracleitus in language. But he is covertly satirising the pretence of that or any other age to find philosophy in words; and he afterwards corrects any erroneous inference which might be gathered from his experiment. For he finds as many, or almost as many, words expressive of rest, as he had previously found expressive of motion. And even if this had been otherwise, who would learn of words when he might learn of things? There is a great controversy and high argument between Heracleiteans and Eleatics, but no man of sense would commit his soul in such enquiries to the imposers of names...In this and other passages Plato shows that he is as completely emancipated from the influence of ’Idols of the tribe’ as Bacon himself. The lesson which may be gathered from words is not metaphysical or moral, but historical. They teach us the affinity of races, they tell us something about the association of ideas, they occasionally preserve the memory of a disused custom; but we cannot safely argue from them about right and wrong, matter and mind, freedom and necessity, or the other problems of moral and metaphysical philosophy. For the use of words on such subjects may often be metaphorical, accidental, derived from other languages, and may have no relation to the contemporary state of thought and feeling. Nor in any case is the invention of them the result of philosophical reflection; they have been commonly transferred from matter to mind, and their meaning is the very reverse of their etymology. Because there is or is not a name for a thing, we cannot argue that the thing has or has not an actual existence; or that the antitheses, parallels, conjugates, correlatives of language have anything corresponding to them in nature. There are too many words as well as too few; and they generalize the objects or ideas which they represent. The greatest lesson which the philosophical analysis of language teaches us is, that we should be above language, making words our servants, and not allowing them to be our masters. Plato does not add the further observation, that the etymological meaning of words is in process of being lost. If at first framed on a principle of intelligibility, they would gradually cease to be intelligible, like those of a foreign language,

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he is willing to admit that they are subject to many changes, and put on many disguises. He acknowledges that the ’poor creature’ imitation is supplemented by another ’poor creature,’– convention. But he does not see that ’habit and repute,’ and their relation to other words, are always exercising an influence over them. Words appear to be isolated, but they are really the parts of an organism which is always being reproduced. They are refined by civilization, harmonized by poetry, emphasized by literature, technically applied in philosophy and art; they are used as symbols on the border-ground of human knowledge; they receive a fresh impress from individual genius, and come with a new force and association to every lively-minded person. They are fixed by the simultaneous utterance of millions, and yet are always imperceptibly changing;–not the inventors of language, but writing and speaking, and particularly great writers, or works which pass into the hearts of nations, Homer, Shakespear, Dante, the German or English Bible, Kant and Hegel, are the makers of them in later ages. They carry with them the faded recollection of their own past history; the use of a word in a striking and familiar passage gives a complexion to its use everywhere else, and the new use of an old and familiar phrase has also a peculiar power over us. But these and other subtleties of language escaped the observation of Plato. He is not aware that the languages of the world are organic structures, and that every word in them is related to every other; nor does he conceive of language as the joint work of the speaker and the hearer, requiring in man a faculty not only of expressing his thoughts but of understanding those of others. On the other hand, he cannot be justly charged with a desire to frame language on artificial principles. Philosophers have sometimes dreamed of a technical or scientific language, in words which should have fixed meanings, and stand in the same relation to one another as the substances which they denote. But there is no more trace of this in Plato than there is of a language corresponding to the ideas; nor, indeed, could the want of such a language be felt until the sciences were far more developed. Those who would extend the use of technical phraseology beyond the limits of science or of custom, seem to forget that freedom and suggestiveness and the play of association are essential characteristics of language. The great master has shown how he regarded pedantic distinctions of words or attempts to confine their meaning in the satire on Prodicus in the Protagoras. (5) In addition to these anticipations of the general principles of philology, we may note also a few curious observations on words and sounds. ’The Eretrians say sklerotes for skleroter ;’ ’the Thessalians call Apollo Amlos;’ ’The Phrygians have the words pur, udor, kunes slightly changed;’ ’there is an old Homeric word emesato, meaning ”he contrived”;’ ’our forefathers, and especially the women, who are most conservative of the ancient language, loved the letters iota and delta; but now iota is changed into eta and epsilon, and delta into zeta; this is supposed to increase the grandeur of the sound.’ Plato was very willing to use inductive arguments, so far as they were within his reach; but he would also have assigned a large influence to chance. Nor indeed is induction applicable to philology in the same degree as to most of the physical sciences. For after we have pushed our researches to the furthest point, in language as in all the other creations of the human mind, there will always remain an element of exception or accident or free-will, which cannot be eliminated. The question, ’whether falsehood is impossible,’ which Socrates character-

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istically sets aside as too subtle for an old man (compare Euthyd.), could only have arisen in an age of imperfect consciousness, which had not yet learned to distinguish words from things. Socrates replies in effect that words have an independent existence; thus anticipating the solution of the mediaeval controversy of Nominalism and Realism. He is aware too that languages exist in various degrees of perfection, and that the analysis of them can only be carried to a certain point. ’If we could always, or almost always, use likenesses, which are the appropriate expressions, that would be the most perfect state of language.’ These words suggest a question of deeper interest than the origin of language; viz. what is the ideal of language, how far by any correction of their usages existing languages might become clearer and more expressive than they are, more poetical, and also more logical; or whether they are now finally fixed and have received their last impress from time and authority. On the whole, the Cratylus seems to contain deeper truths about language than any other ancient writing. But feeling the uncertain ground upon which he is walking, and partly in order to preserve the character of Socrates, Plato envelopes the whole subject in a robe of fancy, and allows his principles to drop out as if by accident. II. What is the result of recent speculations about the origin and nature of language? Like other modern metaphysical enquiries, they end at last in a statement of facts. But, in order to state or understand the facts, a metaphysical insight seems to be required. There are more things in language than the human mind easily conceives. And many fallacies have to be dispelled, as well as observations made. The true spirit of philosophy or metaphysics can alone charm away metaphysical illusions, which are always reappearing, formerly in the fancies of neoplatonist writers, now in the disguise of experience and common sense. An analogy, a figure of speech, an intelligible theory, a superficial observation of the individual, have often been mistaken for a true account of the origin of language. Speaking is one of the simplest natural operations, and also the most complex. Nothing would seem to be easier or more trivial than a few words uttered by a child in any language. Yet into the formation of those words have entered causes which the human mind is not capable of calculating. They are a drop or two of the great stream or ocean of speech which has been flowing in all ages. They have been transmitted from one language to another; like the child himself, they go back to the beginnings of the human race. How they originated, who can tell? Nevertheless we can imagine a stage of human society in which the circle of men’s minds was narrower and their sympathies and instincts stronger; in which their organs of speech were more flexible, and the sense of hearing finer and more discerning; in which they lived more in company, and after the manner of children were more given to express their feelings; in which ’they moved all together,’ like a herd of wild animals, ’when they moved at all.’ Among them, as in every society, a particular person would be more sensitive and intelligent than the rest. Suddenly, on some occasion of interest (at the approach of a wild beast, shall we say?), he first, they following him, utter a cry which resounds through the forest. The cry is almost or quite involuntary, and may be an imitation of the roar of the animal. Thus far we have not speech, but only the inarticulate expression of feeling or emotion in no respect differing from the cries of animals; for they too call to one another and are answered. But now suppose that some one at a distance not only hears the sound, but ap-

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prehends the meaning: or we may imagine that the cry is repeated to a member of the society who had been absent; the others act the scene over again when he returns home in the evening. And so the cry becomes a word. The hearer in turn gives back the word to the speaker, who is now aware that he has acquired a new power. Many thousand times he exercises this power; like a child learning to talk, he repeats the same cry again, and again he is answered; he tries experiments with a like result, and the speaker and the hearer rejoice together in their newly-discovered faculty. At first there would be few such cries, and little danger of mistaking or confusing them. For the mind of primitive man had a narrow range of perceptions and feelings; his senses were microscopic; twenty or thirty sounds or gestures would be enough for him, nor would he have any difficulty in finding them. Naturally he broke out into speech–like the young infant he laughed and babbled; but not until there were hearers as well as speakers did language begin. Not the interjection or the vocal imitation of the object, but the interjection or the vocal imitation of the object understood, is the first rudiment of human speech. After a while the word gathers associations, and has an independent existence. The imitation of the lion’s roar calls up the fears and hopes of the chase, which are excited by his appearance. In the moment of hearing the sound, without any appreciable interval, these and other latent experiences wake up in the mind of the hearer. Not only does he receive an impression, but he brings previous knowledge to bear upon that impression. Necessarily the pictorial image becomes less vivid, while the association of the nature and habits of the animal is more distinctly perceived. The picture passes into a symbol, for there would be too many of them and they would crowd the mind; the vocal imitation, too, is always in process of being lost and being renewed, just as the picture is brought back again in the description of the poet. Words now can be used more freely because there are more of them. What was once an involuntary expression becomes voluntary. Not only can men utter a cry or call, but they can communicate and converse; they can not only use words, but they can even play with them. The word is separated both from the object and from the mind; and slowly nations and individuals attain to a fuller consciousness of themselves. Parallel with this mental process the articulation of sounds is gradually becoming perfected. The finer sense detects the differences of them, and begins, first to agglomerate, then to distinguish them. Times, persons, places, relations of all kinds, are expressed by modifications of them. The earliest parts of speech, as we may call them by anticipation, like the first utterances of children, probably partook of the nature of interjections and nouns; then came verbs; at length the whole sentence appeared, and rhythm and metre followed. Each stage in the progress of language was accompanied by some corresponding stage in the mind and civilisation of man. In time, when the family became a nation, the wild growth of dialects passed into a language. Then arose poetry and literature. We can hardly realize to ourselves how much with each improvement of language the powers of the human mind were enlarged; how the inner world took the place of outer; how the pictorial or symbolical or analogical word was refined into a notion; how language, fair and large and free, was at last complete. So we may imagine the speech of man to have begun as with the cries of animals, or the stammering lips of children, and to have attained by degrees the perfection of Homer and Plato. Yet we are far from saying that this or any other theory of language is proved by facts. It is not difficult to form

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an hypothesis which by a series of imaginary transitions will bridge over the chasm which separates man from the animals. Differences of kind may often be thus resolved into differences of degree. But we must not assume that we have in this way discovered the true account of them. Through what struggles the harmonious use of the organs of speech was acquired; to what extent the conditions of human life were different; how far the genius of individuals may have contributed to the discovery of this as of the other arts, we cannot say: Only we seem to see that language is as much the creation of the ear as of the tongue, and the expression of a movement stirring the hearts not of one man only but of many, ’as the trees of the wood are stirred by the wind.’ The theory is consistent or not inconsistent with our own mental experience, and throws some degree of light upon a dark corner of the human mind. In the later analysis of language, we trace the opposite and contrasted elements of the individual and nation, of the past and present, of the inward and outward, of the subject and object, of the notional and relational, of the root or unchanging part of the word and of the changing inflexion, if such a distinction be admitted, of the vowel and the consonant, of quantity and accent, of speech and writing, of poetry and prose. We observe also the reciprocal influence of sounds and conceptions on each other, like the connexion of body and mind; and further remark that although the names of objects were originally proper names, as the grammarian or logician might call them, yet at a later stage they become universal notions, which combine into particulars and individuals, and are taken out of the first rude agglomeration of sounds that they may be replaced in a higher and more logical order. We see that in the simplest sentences are contained grammar and logic–the parts of speech, the Eleatic philosophy and the Kantian categories. So complex is language, and so expressive not only of the meanest wants of man, but of his highest thoughts; so various are the aspects in which it is regarded by us. Then again, when we follow the history of languages, we observe that they are always slowly moving, half dead, half alive, half solid, half fluid; the breath of a moment, yet like the air, continuous in all ages and countries,–like the glacier, too, containing within them a trickling stream which deposits debris of the rocks over which it passes. There were happy moments, as we may conjecture, in the lives of nations, at which they came to the birth–as in the golden age of literature, the man and the time seem to conspire; the eloquence of the bard or chief, as in later times the creations of the great writer who is the expression of his age, became impressed on the minds of their countrymen, perhaps in the hour of some crisis of national development–a migration, a conquest, or the like. The picture of the word which was beginning to be lost, is now revived; the sound again echoes to the sense; men find themselves capable not only of expressing more feelings, and describing more objects, but of expressing and describing them better. The world before the flood, that is to say, the world of ten, twenty, a hundred thousand years ago, has passed away and left no sign. But the best conception that we can form of it, though imperfect and uncertain, is gained from the analogy of causes still in action, some powerful and sudden, others working slowly in the course of infinite ages. Something too may be allowed to ’the persistency of the strongest,’ to ’the survival of the fittest,’ in this as in the other realms of nature. These are some of the reflections which the modern philosophy of language suggests to us about the powers of the human mind and the forces and influences by which the efforts of men to utter articulate sounds were inspired. Yet in mak-

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ing these and similar generalizations we may note also dangers to which we are exposed. (1) There is the confusion of ideas with facts–of mere possibilities, and generalities, and modes of conception with actual and definite knowledge. The words ’evolution,’ ’birth,’ ’law,’ development,’ ’instinct,’ ’implicit,’ ’explicit,’ and the like, have a false clearness or comprehensiveness, which adds nothing to our knowledge. The metaphor of a flower or a tree, or some other work of nature or art, is often in like manner only a pleasing picture. (2) There is the fallacy of resolving the languages which we know into their parts, and then imagining that we can discover the nature of language by reconstructing them. (3) There is the danger of identifying language, not with thoughts but with ideas. (4) There is the error of supposing that the analysis of grammar and logic has always existed, or that their distinctions were familiar to Socrates and Plato. (5) There is the fallacy of exaggerating, and also of diminishing the interval which separates articulate from inarticulate language–the cries of animals from the speech of man–the instincts of animals from the reason of man. (6) There is the danger which besets all enquiries into the early history of man–of interpreting the past by the present, and of substituting the definite and intelligible for the true but dim outline which is the horizon of human knowledge. The greatest light is thrown upon the nature of language by analogy. We have the analogy of the cries of animals, of the songs of birds (’man, like the nightingale, is a singing bird, but is ever binding up thoughts with musical notes’), of music, of children learning to speak, of barbarous nations in which the linguistic instinct is still undecayed, of ourselves learning to think and speak a new language, of the deaf and dumb who have words without sounds, of the various disorders of speech; and we have the after-growth of mythology, which, like language, is an unconscious creation of the human mind. We can observe the social and collective instincts of animals, and may remark how, when domesticated, they have the power of understanding but not of speaking, while on the other hand, some birds which are comparatively devoid of intelligence, make a nearer approach to articulate speech. We may note how in the animals there is a want of that sympathy with one another which appears to be the soul of language. We can compare the use of speech with other mental and bodily operations; for speech too is a kind of gesture, and in the child or savage accompanied with gesture. We may observe that the child learns to speak, as he learns to walk or to eat, by a natural impulse; yet in either case not without a power of imitation which is also natural to him–he is taught to read, but he breaks forth spontaneously in speech. We can trace the impulse to bind together the world in ideas beginning in the first efforts to speak and culminating in philosophy. But there remains an element which cannot be explained, or even adequately described. We can understand how man creates or constructs consciously and by design; and see, if we do not understand, how nature, by a law, calls into being an organised structure. But the intermediate organism which stands between man and nature, which is the work of mind yet unconscious, and in which mind and matter seem to meet, and mind unperceived to herself is really limited by all other minds, is neither understood nor seen by us, and is with reluctance admitted to be a fact. Language is an aspect of man, of nature, and of nations, the transfiguration of the world in thought, the meeting-point of the physical and mental sciences, and also the mirror in which they are reflected, present at every moment to the individual, and yet having a sort of eternal or universal nature. When we

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analyze our own mental processes, we find words everywhere in every degree of clearness and consistency, fading away in dreams and more like pictures, rapidly succeeding one another in our waking thoughts, attaining a greater distinctness and consecutiveness in speech, and a greater still in writing, taking the place of one another when we try to become emancipated from their influence. For in all processes of the mind which are conscious we are talking to ourselves; the attempt to think without words is a mere illusion,–they are always reappearing when we fix our thoughts. And speech is not a separate faculty, but the expression of all our faculties, to which all our other powers of expression, signs, looks, gestures, lend their aid, of which the instrument is not the tongue only, but more than half the human frame. The minds of men are sometimes carried on to think of their lives and of their actions as links in a chain of causes and effects going back to the beginning of time. A few have seemed to lose the sense of their own individuality in the universal cause or nature. In like manner we might think of the words which we daily use, as derived from the first speech of man, and of all the languages in the world, as the expressions or varieties of a single force or life of language of which the thoughts of men are the accident. Such a conception enables us to grasp the power and wonder of languages, and is very natural to the scientific philologist. For he, like the metaphysician, believes in the reality of that which absorbs his own mind. Nor do we deny the enormous influence which language has exercised over thought. Fixed words, like fixed ideas, have often governed the world. But in such representations we attribute to language too much the nature of a cause, and too little of an effect,–too much of an absolute, too little of a relative character,–too much of an ideal, too little of a matter-of-fact existence. Or again, we may frame a single abstract notion of language of which all existent languages may be supposed to be the perversion. But we must not conceive that this logical figment had ever a real existence, or is anything more than an effort of the mind to give unity to infinitely various phenomena. There is no abstract language ’in rerum natura,’ any more than there is an abstract tree, but only languages in various stages of growth, maturity, and decay. Nor do other logical distinctions or even grammatical exactly correspond to the facts of language; for they too are attempts to give unity and regularity to a subject which is partly irregular. We find, however, that there are distinctions of another kind by which this vast field of language admits of being mapped out. There is the distinction between biliteral and triliteral roots, and the various inflexions which accompany them; between the mere mechanical cohesion of sounds or words, and the ’chemical’ combination of them into a new word; there is the distinction between languages which have had a free and full development of their organisms, and languages which have been stunted in their growth,–lamed in their hands or feet, and never able to acquire afterwards the powers in which they are deficient; there is the distinction between synthetical languages like Greek and Latin, which have retained their inflexions, and analytical languages like English or French, which have lost them. Innumerable as are the languages and dialects of mankind, there are comparatively few classes to which they can be referred. Another road through this chaos is provided by the physiology of speech. The organs of language are the same in all mankind, and are only capable of

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uttering a certain number of sounds. Every man has tongue, teeth, lips, palate, throat, mouth, which he may close or open, and adapt in various ways; making, first, vowels and consonants; and secondly, other classes of letters. The elements of all speech, like the elements of the musical scale, are few and simple, though admitting of infinite gradations and combinations. Whatever slight differences exist in the use or formation of these organs, owing to climate or the sense of euphony or other causes, they are as nothing compared with their agreement. Here then is a real basis of unity in the study of philology, unlike that imaginary abstract unity of which we were just now speaking. Whether we regard language from the psychological, or historical, or physiological point of view, the materials of our knowledge are inexhaustible. The comparisons of children learning to speak, of barbarous nations, of musical notes, of the cries of animals, of the song of birds, increase our insight into the nature of human speech. Many observations which would otherwise have escaped us are suggested by them. But they do not explain why, in man and in man only, the speaker met with a response from the hearer, and the half articulate sound gradually developed into Sanscrit and Greek. They hardly enable us to approach any nearer the secret of the origin of language, which, like some of the other great secrets of nature,–the origin of birth and death, or of animal life,– remains inviolable. That problem is indissolubly bound up with the origin of man; and if we ever know more of the one, we may expect to know more of the other. (Compare W. Humboldt, Ueber die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaues; M. Muller, Lectures on the Science of Language; Steinthal, Einleitung in die Psychologie und Sprachwissenschaft. ... It is more than sixteen years since the preceding remarks were written, which with a few alterations have now been reprinted. During the interval the progress of philology has been very great. More languages have been compared; the inner structure of language has been laid bare; the relations of sounds have been more accurately discriminated; the manner in which dialects affect or are affected by the literary or principal form of a language is better understood. Many merely verbal questions have been eliminated; the remains of the old traditional methods have died away. The study has passed from the metaphysical into an historical stage. Grammar is no longer confused with language, nor the anatomy of words and sentences with their life and use. Figures of speech, by which the vagueness of theories is often concealed, have been stripped off; and we see language more as it truly was. The immensity of the subject is gradually revealed to us, and the reign of law becomes apparent. Yet the law is but partially seen; the traces of it are often lost in the distance. For languages have a natural but not a perfect growth; like other creations of nature into which the will of man enters, they are full of what we term accident and irregularity. And the difficulties of the subject become not less, but greater, as we proceed–it is one of those studies in which we seem to know less as we know more; partly because we are no longer satisfied with the vague and superficial ideas of it which prevailed fifty years ago; partly also because the remains of the languages with which we are acquainted always were, and if they are still living, are, in a state of transition; and thirdly, because there are lacunae in our knowledge of them which can never be filled up. Not a tenth, not a hundredth part of them has been preserved. Yet the materials at our disposal are far greater than any individual can use. Such are a few of the general reflections which the present

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state of philology calls up. (1) Language seems to be composite, but into its first elements the philologer has never been able to penetrate. However far he goes back, he never arrives at the beginning; or rather, as in Geology or in Astronomy, there is no beginning. He is too apt to suppose that by breaking up the existing forms of language into their parts he will arrive at a previous stage of it, but he is merely analyzing what never existed, or is never known to have existed, except in a composite form. He may divide nouns and verbs into roots and inflexions, but he has no evidence which will show that the omega of tupto or the mu of tithemi, though analogous to ego, me, either became pronouns or were generated out of pronouns. To say that ’pronouns, like ripe fruit, dropped out of verbs,’ is a misleading figure of speech. Although all languages have some common principles, there is no primitive form or forms of language known to us, or to be reasonably imagined, from which they are all descended. No inference can be drawn from language, either for or against the unity of the human race. Nor is there any proof that words were ever used without any relation to each other. Whatever may be the meaning of a sentence or a word when applied to primitive language, it is probable that the sentence is more akin to the original form than the word, and that the later stage of language is the result rather of analysis than of synthesis, or possibly is a combination of the two. Nor, again, are we sure that the original process of learning to speak was the same in different places or among different races of men. It may have been slower with some, quicker with others. Some tribes may have used shorter, others longer words or cries: they may have been more or less inclined to agglutinate or to decompose them: they may have modified them by the use of prefixes, suffixes, infixes; by the lengthening and strengthening of vowels or by the shortening and weakening of them, by the condensation or rarefaction of consonants. But who gave to language these primeval laws; or why one race has triliteral, another biliteral roots; or why in some members of a group of languages b becomes p, or d, t, or ch, k; or why two languages resemble one another in certain parts of their structure and differ in others; or why in one language there is a greater development of vowels, in another of consonants, and the like–are questions of which we only ’entertain conjecture.’ We must remember the length of time that has elapsed since man first walked upon the earth, and that in this vast but unknown period every variety of language may have been in process of formation and decay, many times over. (Compare Plato, Laws):– ’ATHENIAN STRANGER: And what then is to be regarded as the origin of government? Will not a man be able to judge best from a point of view in which he may behold the progress of states and their transitions to good and evil? CLEINIAS: What do you mean? ATHENIAN STRANGER: I mean that he might watch them from the point of view of time, and observe the changes which take place in them during infinite ages. CLEINIAS: How so? ATHENIAN STRANGER: Why, do you think that you can reckon the time which has elapsed since cities first existed and men were citizens of them? CLEINIAS: Hardly. ATHENIAN STRANGER: But you are quite sure that it must be vast and

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incalculable? CLEINIAS: No doubt. ATHENIAN STRANGER: And have there not been thousands and thousands of cities which have come into being and perished during this period? And has not every place had endless forms of government, and been sometimes rising, and at other times falling, and again improving or waning?’ Aristot. Metaph.:– ’And if a person should conceive the tales of mythology to mean only that men thought the gods to be the first essences of things, he would deem the reflection to have been inspired and would consider that, whereas probably every art and part of wisdom had been DISCOVERED AND LOST MANY TIMES OVER, such notions were but a remnant of the past which has survived to our day.’) It can hardly be supposed that any traces of an original language still survive, any more than of the first huts or buildings which were constructed by man. Nor are we at all certain of the relation, if any, in which the greater families of languages stand to each other. The influence of individuals must always have been a disturbing element. Like great writers in later times, there may have been many a barbaric genius who taught the men of his tribe to sing or speak, showing them by example how to continue or divide their words, charming their souls with rhythm and accent and intonation, finding in familiar objects the expression of their confused fancies–to whom the whole of language might in truth be said to be a figure of speech. One person may have introduced a new custom into the formation or pronunciation of a word; he may have been imitated by others, and the custom, or form, or accent, or quantity, or rhyme which he introduced in a single word may have become the type on which many other words or inflexions of words were framed, and may have quickly ran through a whole language. For like the other gifts which nature has bestowed upon man, that of speech has been conveyed to him through the medium, not of the many, but of the few, who were his ’law-givers’–’the legislator with the dialectician standing on his right hand,’ in Plato’s striking image, who formed the manners of men and gave them customs, whose voice and look and behaviour, whose gesticulations and other peculiarities were instinctively imitated by them,–the ’king of men’ who was their priest, almost their God...But these are conjectures only: so little do we know of the origin of language that the real scholar is indisposed to touch the subject at all. (2) There are other errors besides the figment of a primitive or original language which it is time to leave behind us. We no longer divide languages into synthetical and analytical, or suppose similarity of structure to be the safe or only guide to the affinities of them. We do not confuse the parts of speech with the categories of Logic. Nor do we conceive languages any more than civilisations to be in a state of dissolution; they do not easily pass away, but are far more tenacious of life than the tribes by whom they are spoken. ’Where two or three are gathered together,’ they survive. As in the human frame, as in the state, there is a principle of renovation as well as of decay which is at work in all of them. Neither do we suppose them to be invented by the wit of man. With few exceptions, e.g. technical words or words newly imported from a foreign language, and the like, in which art has imitated nature, ’words are not made but grow.’ Nor do we attribute to them a supernatural origin. The law which regulates them is like the law which governs the circulation of the

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blood, or the rising of the sap in trees; the action of it is uniform, but the result, which appears in the superficial forms of men and animals or in the leaves of trees, is an endless profusion and variety. The laws of vegetation are invariable, but no two plants, no two leaves of the forest are precisely the same. The laws of language are invariable, but no two languages are alike, no two words have exactly the same meaning. No two sounds are exactly of the same quality, or give precisely the same impression. It would be well if there were a similar consensus about some other points which appear to be still in dispute. Is language conscious or unconscious? In speaking or writing have we present to our minds the meaning or the sound or the construction of the words which we are using?–No more than the separate drops of water with which we quench our thirst are present: the whole draught may be conscious, but not the minute particles of which it is made up: So the whole sentence may be conscious, but the several words, syllables, letters are not thought of separately when we are uttering them. Like other natural operations, the process of speech, when most perfect, is least observed by us. We do not pause at each mouthful to dwell upon the taste of it: nor has the speaker time to ask himself the comparative merits of different modes of expression while he is uttering them. There are many things in the use of language which may be observed from without, but which cannot be explained from within. Consciousness carries us but a little way in the investigation of the mind; it is not the faculty of internal observation, but only the dim light which makes such observation possible. What is supposed to be our consciousness of language is really only the analysis of it, and this analysis admits of innumerable degrees. But would it not be better if this term, which is so misleading, and yet has played so great a part in mental science, were either banished or used only with the distinct meaning of ’attention to our own minds,’ such as is called forth, not by familiar mental processes, but by the interruption of them? Now in this sense we may truly say that we are not conscious of ordinary speech, though we are commonly roused to attention by the misuse or mispronunciation of a word. Still less, even in schools and academies, do we ever attempt to invent new words or to alter the meaning of old ones, except in the case, mentioned above, of technical or borrowed words which are artificially made or imported because a need of them is felt. Neither in our own nor in any other age has the conscious effort of reflection in man contributed in an appreciable degree to the formation of language. ’Which of us by taking thought’ can make new words or constructions? Reflection is the least of the causes by which language is affected, and is likely to have the least power, when the linguistic instinct is greatest, as in young children and in the infancy of nations. A kindred error is the separation of the phonetic from the mental element of language; they are really inseparable–no definite line can be drawn between them, any more than in any other common act of mind and body. It is true that within certain limits we possess the power of varying sounds by opening and closing the mouth, by touching the palate or the teeth with the tongue, by lengthening or shortening the vocal instrument, by greater or less stress, by a higher or lower pitch of the voice, and we can substitute one note or accent for another. But behind the organs of speech and their action there remains the informing mind, which sets them in motion and works together with them. And behind the great structure of human speech and the lesser varieties of language which arise out of the many degrees and kinds of human intercourse, there is

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also the unknown or over-ruling law of God or nature which gives order to it in its infinite greatness, and variety in its infinitesimal minuteness–both equally inscrutable to us. We need no longer discuss whether philology is to be classed with the Natural or the Mental sciences, if we frankly recognize that, like all the sciences which are concerned with man, it has a double aspect,–inward and outward; and that the inward can only be known through the outward. Neither need we raise the question whether the laws of language, like the other laws of human action, admit of exceptions. The answer in all cases is the same–that the laws of nature are uniform, though the consistency or continuity of them is not always perceptible to us. The superficial appearances of language, as of nature, are irregular, but we do not therefore deny their deeper uniformity. The comparison of the growth of language in the individual and in the nation cannot be wholly discarded, for nations are made up of individuals. But in this, as in the other political sciences, we must distinguish between collective and individual actions or processes, and not attribute to the one what belongs to the other. Again, when we speak of the hereditary or paternity of a language, we must remember that the parents are alive as well as the children, and that all the preceding generations survive (after a manner) in the latest form of it. And when, for the purposes of comparison, we form into groups the roots or terminations of words, we should not forget how casual is the manner in which their resemblances have arisen–they were not first written down by a grammarian in the paradigms of a grammar and learned out of a book, but were due to many chance attractions of sound or of meaning, or of both combined. So many cautions have to be borne in mind, and so many first thoughts to be dismissed, before we can proceed safely in the path of philological enquiry. It might be well sometimes to lay aside figures of speech, such as the ’root’ and the ’branches,’ the ’stem,’ the ’strata’ of Geology, the ’compounds’ of Chemistry, ’the ripe fruit of pronouns dropping from verbs’ (see above), and the like, which are always interesting, but are apt to be delusive. Yet such figures of speech are far nearer the truth than the theories which attribute the invention and improvement of language to the conscious action of the human mind...Lastly, it is doubted by recent philologians whether climate can be supposed to have exercised any influence worth speaking of on a language: such a view is said to be unproven: it had better therefore not be silently assumed. ’Natural selection’ and the ’survival of the fittest’ have been applied in the field of philology, as well as in the other sciences which are concerned with animal and vegetable life. And a Darwinian school of philologists has sprung up, who are sometimes accused of putting words in the place of things. It seems to be true, that whether applied to language or to other branches of knowledge, the Darwinian theory, unless very precisely defined, hardly escapes from being a truism. If by ’the natural selection’ of words or meanings of words or by the ’persistence and survival of the fittest’ the maintainer of the theory intends to affirm nothing more than this–that the word ’fittest to survive’ survives, he adds not much to the knowledge of language. But if he means that the word or the meaning of the word or some portion of the word which comes into use or drops out of use is selected or rejected on the ground of economy or parsimony or ease to the speaker or clearness or euphony or expressiveness, or greater or less demand for it, or anything of this sort, he is affirming a proposition which has several senses, and in none of these senses can be assisted to be uniformly true. For the laws of language are precarious, and can only act uniformly when there is

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such frequency of intercourse among neighbours as is sufficient to enforce them. And there are many reasons why a man should prefer his own way of speaking to that of others, unless by so doing he becomes unintelligible. The struggle for existence among words is not of that fierce and irresistible kind in which birds, beasts and fishes devour one another, but of a milder sort, allowing one usage to be substituted for another, not by force, but by the persuasion, or rather by the prevailing habit, of a majority. The favourite figure, in this, as in some other uses of it, has tended rather to obscure than explain the subject to which it has been applied. Nor in any case can the struggle for existence be deemed to be the sole or principal cause of changes in language, but only one among many, and one of which we cannot easily measure the importance. There is a further objection which may be urged equally against all applications of the Darwinian theory. As in animal life and likewise in vegetable, so in languages, the process of change is said to be insensible: sounds, like animals, are supposed to pass into one another by imperceptible gradation. But in both cases the newly-created forms soon become fixed; there are few if any vestiges of the intermediate links, and so the better half of the evidence of the change is wanting. (3) Among the incumbrances or illusions of language may be reckoned many of the rules and traditions of grammar, whether ancient grammar or the corrections of it which modern philology has introduced. Grammar, like law, delights in definition: human speech, like human action, though very far from being a mere chaos, is indefinite, admits of degrees, and is always in a state of change or transition. Grammar gives an erroneous conception of language: for it reduces to a system that which is not a system. Its figures of speech, pleonasms, ellipses, anacolutha, pros to semainomenon, and the like have no reality; they do not either make conscious expressions more intelligible or show the way in which they have arisen; they are chiefly designed to bring an earlier use of language into conformity with the later. Often they seem intended only to remind us that great poets like Aeschylus or Sophocles or Pindar or a great prose writer like Thucydides are guilty of taking unwarrantable liberties with grammatical rules; it appears never to have occurred to the inventors of them that these real conditores linguae Graecae lived in an age before grammar, when ’Greece also was living Greece.’ It is the anatomy, not the physiology of language, which grammar seeks to describe: into the idiom and higher life of words it does not enter. The ordinary Greek grammar gives a complete paradigm of the verb, without suggesting that the double or treble forms of Perfects, Aorists, etc. are hardly ever contemporaneous. It distinguishes Moods and Tenses, without observing how much of the nature of one passes into the other. It makes three Voices, Active, Passive, and Middle, but takes no notice of the precarious existence and uncertain character of the last of the three. Language is a thing of degrees and relations and associations and exceptions: grammar ties it up in fixed rules. Language has many varieties of usage: grammar tries to reduce them to a single one. Grammar divides verbs into regular and irregular: it does not recognize that the irregular, equally with the regular, are subject to law, and that a language which had no exceptions would not be a natural growth: for it could not have been subjected to the influences by which language is ordinarily affected. It is always wanting to describe ancient languages in the terms of a modern one. It has a favourite fiction that one word is put in the place of another; the truth is that no word is ever put for another. It has another fiction, that a word has been omitted: words are omitted because they are no longer needed; and the

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omission has ceased to be observed. The common explanation of kata or some other preposition ’being understood’ in a Greek sentence is another fiction of the same kind, which tends to disguise the fact that under cases were comprehended originally many more relations, and that prepositions are used only to define the meaning of them with greater precision. These instances are sufficient to show the sort of errors which grammar introduces into language. We are not considering the question of its utility to the beginner in the study. Even to him the best grammar is the shortest and that in which he will have least to unlearn. It may be said that the explanations here referred to are already out of date, and that the study of Greek grammar has received a new character from comparative philology. This is true; but it is also true that the traditional grammar has still a great hold on the mind of the student. Metaphysics are even more troublesome than the figments of grammar, because they wear the appearance of philosophy and there is no test to which they can be subjected. They are useful in so far as they give us an insight into the history of the human mind and the modes of thought which have existed in former ages; or in so far as they furnish wider conceptions of the different branches of knowledge and of their relation to one another. But they are worse than useless when they outrun experience and abstract the mind from the observation of facts, only to envelope it in a mist of words. Some philologers, like Schleicher, have been greatly influenced by the philosophy of Hegel; nearly all of them to a certain extent have fallen under the dominion of physical science. Even Kant himself thought that the first principles of philosophy could be elicited from the analysis of the proposition, in this respect falling short of Plato. Westphal holds that there are three stages of language: (1) in which things were characterized independently, (2) in which they were regarded in relation to human thought, and (3) in relation to one another. But are not such distinctions an anachronism? for they imply a growth of abstract ideas which never existed in early times. Language cannot be explained by Metaphysics; for it is prior to them and much more nearly allied to sense. It is not likely that the meaning of the cases is ultimately resolvable into relations of space and time. Nor can we suppose the conception of cause and effect or of the finite and infinite or of the same and other to be latent in language at a time when in their abstract form they had never entered into the mind of man...If the science of Comparative Philology had possessed ’enough of Metaphysics to get rid of Metaphysics,’ it would have made far greater progress. (4) Our knowledge of language is almost confined to languages which are fully developed. They are of several patterns; and these become altered by admixture in various degrees,–they may only borrow a few words from one another and retain their life comparatively unaltered, or they may meet in a struggle for existence until one of the two is overpowered and retires from the field. They attain the full rights and dignity of language when they acquire the use of writing and have a literature of their own; they pass into dialects and grow out of them, in proportion as men are isolated or united by locality or occupation. The common language sometimes reacts upon the dialects and imparts to them also a literary character. The laws of language can be best discerned in the great crises of language, especially in the transitions from ancient to modern forms of them, whether in Europe or Asia. Such changes are the silent notes of the world’s history; they mark periods of unknown length in which war and conquest were running riot over whole continents, times of suffering too great to

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be endured by the human race, in which the masters became subjects and the subject races masters, in which driven by necessity or impelled by some instinct, tribes or nations left their original homes and but slowly found a resting-place. Language would be the greatest of all historical monuments, if it could only tell us the history of itself. (5) There are many ways in which we may approach this study. The simplest of all is to observe our own use of language in conversation or in writing, how we put words together, how we construct and connect sentences, what are the rules of accent and rhythm in verse or prose, the formation and composition of words, the laws of euphony and sound, the affinities of letters, the mistakes to which we are ourselves most liable of spelling or pronunciation. We may compare with our own language some other, even when we have only a slight knowledge of it, such as French or German. Even a little Latin will enable us to appreciate the grand difference between ancient and modern European languages. In the child learning to speak we may note the inherent strength of language, which like ’a mountain river’ is always forcing its way out. We may witness the delight in imitation and repetition, and some of the laws by which sounds pass into one another. We may learn something also from the falterings of old age, the searching for words, and the confusion of them with one another, the forgetfulness of proper names (more commonly than of other words because they are more isolated), aphasia, and the like. There are philological lessons also to be gathered from nicknames, from provincialisms, from the slang of great cities, from the argot of Paris (that language of suffering and crime, so pathetically described by Victor Hugo), from the imperfect articulation of the deaf and dumb, from the jabbering of animals, from the analysis of sounds in relation to the organs of speech. The phonograph affords a visible evidence of the nature and divisions of sound; we may be truly said to know what we can manufacture. Artificial languages, such as that of Bishop Wilkins, are chiefly useful in showing what language is not. The study of any foreign language may be made also a study of Comparative Philology. There are several points, such as the nature of irregular verbs, of indeclinable parts of speech, the influence of euphony, the decay or loss of inflections, the elements of syntax, which may be examined as well in the history of our own language as of any other. A few well- selected questions may lead the student at once into the heart of the mystery: such as, Why are the pronouns and the verb of existence generally more irregular than any other parts of speech? Why is the number of words so small in which the sound is an echo of the sense? Why does the meaning of words depart so widely from their etymology? Why do substantives often differ in meaning from the verbs to which they are related, adverbs from adjectives? Why do words differing in origin coalesce in the same sound though retaining their differences of meaning? Why are some verbs impersonal? Why are there only so many parts of speech, and on what principle are they divided? These are a few crucial questions which give us an insight from different points of view into the true nature of language. (6) Thus far we have been endeavouring to strip off from language the false appearances in which grammar and philology, or the love of system generally, have clothed it. We have also sought to indicate the sources of our knowledge of it and the spirit in which we should approach it, we may now proceed to consider some of the principles or natural laws which have created or modified it.

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i. The first and simplest of all the principles of language, common also to the animals, is imitation. The lion roars, the wolf howls in the solitude of the forest: they are answered by similar cries heard from a distance. The bird, too, mimics the voice of man and makes answer to him. Man tells to man the secret place in which he is hiding himself; he remembers and repeats the sound which he has heard. The love of imitation becomes a passion and an instinct to him. Primitive men learnt to speak from one another, like a child from its mother or nurse. They learnt of course a rudimentary, half-articulate language, the cry or song or speech which was the expression of what we now call human thoughts and feelings. We may still remark how much greater and more natural the exercise of the power is in the use of language than in any other process or action of the human mind. ii. Imitation provided the first material of language: but it was ’without form and void.’ During how many years or hundreds or thousands of years the imitative or half-articulate stage continued there is no possibility of determining. But we may reasonably conjecture that there was a time when the vocal utterance of man was intermediate between what we now call language and the cry of a bird or animal. Speech before language was a rudis indigestaque materies, not yet distributed into words and sentences, in which the cry of fear or joy mingled with more definite sounds recognized by custom as the expressions of things or events. It was the principle of analogy which introduced into this indigesta moles order and measure. It was Anaxagoras’ omou panta chremata, eita nous elthon diekosmese: the light of reason lighted up all things and at once began to arrange them. In every sentence, in every word and every termination of a word, this power of forming relations to one another was contained. There was a proportion of sound to sound, of meaning to meaning, of meaning to sound. The cases and numbers of nouns, the persons, tenses, numbers of verbs, were generally on the same or nearly the same pattern and had the same meaning. The sounds by which they were expressed were rough-hewn at first; after a while they grew more refined–the natural laws of euphony began to affect them. The rules of syntax are likewise based upon analogy. Time has an analogy with space, arithmetic with geometry. Not only in musical notes, but in the quantity, quality, accent, rhythm of human speech, trivial or serious, there is a law of proportion. As in things of beauty, as in all nature, in the composition as well as in the motion of all things, there is a similarity of relations by which they are held together. It would be a mistake to suppose that the analogies of language are always uniform: there may be often a choice between several, and sometimes one and sometimes another will prevail. In Greek there are three declensions of nouns; the forms of cases in one of them may intrude upon another. Similarly verbs in -omega and -mu iota interchange forms of tenses, and the completed paradigm of the verb is often made up of both. The same nouns may be partly declinable and partly indeclinable, and in some of their cases may have fallen out of use. Here are rules with exceptions; they are not however really exceptions, but contain in themselves indications of other rules. Many of these interruptions or variations of analogy occur in pronouns or in the verb of existence of which the forms were too common and therefore too deeply imbedded in language entirely to drop out. The same verbs in the same meaning may sometimes take one case, sometimes another. The participle may also have the character of an adjective, the adverb either of an adjective or of a preposition. These exceptions are as

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regular as the rules, but the causes of them are seldom known to us. Language, like the animal and vegetable worlds, is everywhere intersected by the lines of analogy. Like number from which it seems to be derived, the principle of analogy opens the eyes of men to discern the similarities and differences of things, and their relations to one another. At first these are such as lie on the surface only; after a time they are seen by men to reach farther down into the nature of things. Gradually in language they arrange themselves into a sort of imperfect system; groups of personal and case endings are placed side by side. The fertility of language produces many more than are wanted; and the superfluous ones are utilized by the assignment to them of new meanings. The vacuity and the superfluity are thus partially compensated by each other. It must be remembered that in all the languages which have a literature, certainly in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, we are not at the beginning but almost at the end of the linguistic process; we have reached a time when the verb and the noun are nearly perfected, though in no language did they completely perfect themselves, because for some unknown reason the motive powers of languages seem to have ceased when they were on the eve of completion: they became fixed or crystallized in an imperfect form either from the influence of writing and literature, or because no further differentiation of them was required for the intelligibility of language. So not without admixture and confusion and displacement and contamination of sounds and the meanings of words, a lower stage of language passes into a higher. Thus far we can see and no further. When we ask the reason why this principle of analogy prevails in all the vast domain of language, there is no answer to the question; or no other answer but this, that there are innumerable ways in which, like number, analogy permeates, not only language, but the whole world, both visible and intellectual. We know from experience that it does not (a) arise from any conscious act of reflection that the accusative of a Latin noun in ’us’ should end in ’um;’ nor (b) from any necessity of being understood,–much less articulation would suffice for this; nor (c) from greater convenience or expressiveness of particular sounds. Such notions were certainly far enough away from the mind of primitive man. We may speak of a latent instinct, of a survival of the fittest, easiest, most euphonic, most economical of breath, in the case of one of two competing sounds; but these expressions do not add anything to our knowledge. We may try to grasp the infinity of language either under the figure of a limitless plain divided into countries and districts by natural boundaries, or of a vast river eternally flowing whose origin is concealed from us; we may apprehend partially the laws by which speech is regulated: but we do not know, and we seem as if we should never know, any more than in the parallel case of the origin of species, how vocal sounds received life and grew, and in the form of languages came to be distributed over the earth. iii. Next in order to analogy in the formation of language or even prior to it comes the principle of onomatopea, which is itself a kind of analogy or similarity of sound and meaning. In by far the greater number of words it has become disguised and has disappeared; but in no stage of language is it entirely lost. It belongs chiefly to early language, in which words were few; and its influence grew less and less as time went on. To the ear which had a sense of harmony it became a barbarism which disturbed the flow and equilibrium of discourse; it was an excrescence which had to be cut out, a survival which needed to be got rid of, because it was out of keeping with the rest. It remained for the most part only as a formative principle, which used words and letters not as crude

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imitations of other natural sounds, but as symbols of ideas which were naturally associated with them. It received in another way a new character; it affected not so much single words, as larger portions of human speech. It regulated the juxtaposition of sounds and the cadence of sentences. It was the music, not of song, but of speech, in prose as well as verse. The old onomatopea of primitive language was refined into an onomatopea of a higher kind, in which it is no longer true to say that a particular sound corresponds to a motion or action of man or beast or movement of nature, but that in all the higher uses of language the sound is the echo of the sense, especially in poetry, in which beauty and expressiveness are given to human thoughts by the harmonious composition of the words, syllables, letters, accents, quantities, rhythms, rhymes, varieties and contrasts of all sorts. The poet with his ’Break, break, break’ or his e pasin nekuessi kataphthimenoisin anassein or his longius ex altoque sinum trahit, can produce a far finer music than any crude imitations of things or actions in sound, although a letter or two having this imitative power may be a lesser element of beauty in such passages. The same subtle sensibility, which adapts the word to the thing, adapts the sentence or cadence to the general meaning or spirit of the passage. This is the higher onomatopea which has banished the cruder sort as unworthy to have a place in great languages and literatures. We can see clearly enough that letters or collocations of letters do by various degrees of strength or weakness, length or shortness, emphasis or pitch, become the natural expressions of the finer parts of human feeling or thought. And not only so, but letters themselves have a significance; as Plato observes that the letter rho accent is expressive of motion, the letters delta and tau of binding and rest, the letter lambda of smoothness, nu of inwardness, the letter eta of length, the letter omicron of roundness. These were often combined so as to form composite notions, as for example in tromos (trembling), trachus (rugged), thrauein (crush), krouein (strike), thruptein (break), pumbein (whirl),–in all which words we notice a parallel composition of sounds in their English equivalents. Plato also remarks, as we remark, that the onomatopoetic principle is far from prevailing uniformly, and further that no explanation of language consistently corresponds with any system of philosophy, however great may be the light which language throws upon the nature of the mind. Both in Greek and English we find groups of words such as string, swing, sling, spring, sting, which are parallel to one another and may be said to derive their vocal effect partly from contrast of letters, but in which it is impossible to assign a precise amount of meaning to each of the expressive and onomatopoetic letters. A few of them are directly imitative, as for example the omega in oon, which represents the round form of the egg by the figure of the mouth: or bronte (thunder), in which the fulness of the sound of the word corresponds to the thing signified by it; or bombos (buzzing), of which the first syllable, as in its English equivalent, has the meaning of a deep sound. We may observe also (as we see in the case of the poor stammerer) that speech has the co-operation of the whole body and may be often assisted or half expressed by gesticulation. A sound or word is not the work of the vocal organs only; nearly the whole of the upper part of the human frame, including head, chest, lungs, have a share in creating it; and it may be accompanied by a movement of the eyes, nose, fingers, hands, feet which contributes to the effect of it. The principle of onomatopea has fallen into discredit, partly because it has been supposed to imply an actual manufacture of words out of syllables and

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letters, like a piece of joiner’s work,–a theory of language which is more and more refuted by facts, and more and more going out of fashion with philologians; and partly also because the traces of onomatopea in separate words become almost obliterated in the course of ages. The poet of language cannot put in and pull out letters, as a painter might insert or blot out a shade of colour to give effect to his picture. It would be ridiculous for him to alter any received form of a word in order to render it more expressive of the sense. He can only select, perhaps out of some dialect, the form which is already best adapted to his purpose. The true onomatopea is not a creative, but a formative principle, which in the later stage of the history of language ceases to act upon individual words; but still works through the collocation of them in the sentence or paragraph, and the adaptation of every word, syllable, letter to one another and to the rhythm of the whole passage. iv. Next, under a distinct head, although not separable from the preceding, may be considered the differentiation of languages, i.e. the manner in which differences of meaning and form have arisen in them. Into their first creation we have ceased to enquire: it is their aftergrowth with which we are now concerned. How did the roots or substantial portions of words become modified or inflected? and how did they receive separate meanings? First we remark that words are attracted by the sounds and senses of other words, so that they form groups of nouns and verbs analogous in sound and sense to one another, each noun or verb putting forth inflexions, generally of two or three patterns, and with exceptions. We do not say that we know how sense became first allied to sound; but we have no difficulty in ascertaining how the sounds and meanings of words were in time parted off or differentiated. (1) The chief causes which regulate the variations of sound are (a) double or differing analogies, which lead sometimes to one form, sometimes to another (b) euphony, by which is meant chiefly the greater pleasure to the ear and the greater facility to the organs of speech which is given by a new formation or pronunciation of a word (c) the necessity of finding new expressions for new classes or processes of things. We are told that changes of sound take place by innumerable gradations until a whole tribe or community or society find themselves acquiescing in a new pronunciation or use of language. Yet no one observes the change, or is at all aware that in the course of a lifetime he and his contemporaries have appreciably varied their intonation or use of words. On the other hand, the necessities of language seem to require that the intermediate sounds or meanings of words should quickly become fixed or set and not continue in a state of transition. The process of settling down is aided by the organs of speech and by the use of writing and printing. (2) The meaning of words varies because ideas vary or the number of things which is included under them or with which they are associated is increased. A single word is thus made to do duty for many more things than were formerly expressed by it; and it parts into different senses when the classes of things or ideas which are represented by it are themselves different and distinct. A figurative use of a word may easily pass into a new sense: a new meaning caught up by association may become more important than all the rest. The good or neutral sense of a word, such as Jesuit, Puritan, Methodist, Heretic, has been often converted into a bad one by the malevolence of party spirit. Double forms suggest different meanings and are often used to express them; and the form or accent of a word has been not unfrequently altered when there is a difference of meaning. The difference of gender in nouns is utilized for the same reason. New meanings of

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words push themselves into the vacant spaces of language and retire when they are no longer needed. Language equally abhors vacancy and superfluity. But the remedial measures by which both are eliminated are not due to any conscious action of the human mind; nor is the force exerted by them constraining or necessary. (7) We have shown that language, although subject to laws, is far from being of an exact and uniform nature. We may now speak briefly of the faults of language. They may be compared to the faults of Geology, in which different strata cross one another or meet at an angle, or mix with one another either by slow transitions or by violent convulsions, leaving many lacunae which can be no longer filled up, and often becoming so complex that no true explanation of them can be given. So in language there are the cross influences of meaning and sound, of logic and grammar, of differing analogies, of words and the inflexions of words, which often come into conflict with each other. The grammarian, if he were to form new words, would make them all of the same pattern according to what he conceives to be the rule, that is, the more common usage of language. The subtlety of nature goes far beyond art, and it is complicated by irregularity, so that often we can hardly say that there is a right or wrong in the formation of words. For almost any formation which is not at variance with the first principles of language is possible and may be defended. The imperfection of language is really due to the formation and correlation of words by accident, that is to say, by principles which are unknown to us. Hence we see why Plato, like ourselves unable to comprehend the whole of language, was constrained to ’supplement the poor creature imitation by another poor creature convention.’ But the poor creature convention in the end proves too much for all the rest: for we do not ask what is the origin of words or whether they are formed according to a correct analogy, but what is the usage of them; and we are compelled to admit with Hermogenes in Plato and with Horace that usage is the ruling principle, ”quem penes arbitrium est, et jus et norma loquendi.´´ (8) There are two ways in which a language may attain permanence or fixity. First, it may have been embodied in poems or hymns or laws, which may be repeated for hundreds, perhaps for thousands of years with a religious accuracy, so that to the priests or rhapsodists of a nation the whole or the greater part of a language is literally preserved; secondly, it may be written down and in a written form distributed more or less widely among the whole nation. In either case the language which is familiarly spoken may have grown up wholly or in a great measure independently of them. (1) The first of these processes has been sometimes attended by the result that the sound of the words has been carefully preserved and that the meaning of them has either perished wholly, or is only doubtfully recovered by the efforts of modern philology. The verses have been repeated as a chant or part of a ritual, but they have had no relation to ordinary life or speech. (2) The invention of writing again is commonly attributed to a particular epoch, and we are apt to think that such an inestimable gift would have immediately been diffused over a whole country. But it may have taken a long time to perfect the art of writing, and another long period may have elapsed before it came into common use. Its influence on language has been increased ten, twenty or one hundred fold by the invention of printing. Before the growth of poetry or the invention of writing, languages were only dialects. So they continued to be in parts of the country in which writing was

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not used or in which there was no diffusion of literature. In most of the counties of England there is still a provincial style, which has been sometimes made by a great poet the vehicle of his fancies. When a book sinks into the mind of a nation, such as Luther’s Bible or the Authorized English Translation of the Bible, or again great classical works like Shakspere or Milton, not only have new powers of expression been diffused through a whole nation, but a great step towards uniformity has been made. The instinct of language demands regular grammar and correct spelling: these are imprinted deeply on the tablets of a nation’s memory by a common use of classical and popular writers. In our own day we have attained to a point at which nearly every printed book is spelt correctly and written grammatically. (9) Proceeding further to trace the influence of literature on language we note some other causes which have affected the higher use of it: such as (1) the necessity of clearness and connexion; (2) the fear of tautology; (3) the influence of metre, rhythm, rhyme, and of the language of prose and verse upon one another; (4) the power of idiom and quotation; (5) the relativeness of words to one another. It has been usual to depreciate modern languages when compared with ancient. The latter are regarded as furnishing a type of excellence to which the former cannot attain. But the truth seems to be that modern languages, if through the loss of inflections and genders they lack some power or beauty or expressiveness or precision which is possessed by the ancient, are in many other respects superior to them: the thought is generally clearer, the connexion closer, the sentence and paragraph are better distributed. The best modern languages, for example English or French, possess as great a power of self-improvement as the Latin, if not as the Greek. Nor does there seem to be any reason why they should ever decline or decay. It is a popular remark that our great writers are beginning to disappear: it may also be remarked that whenever a great writer appears in the future he will find the English language as perfect and as ready for use as in the days of Shakspere or Milton. There is no reason to suppose that English or French will ever be reduced to the low level of Modern Greek or of Mediaeval Latin. The wide diffusion of great authors would make such a decline impossible. Nor will modern languages be easily broken up by amalgamation with each other. The distance between them is too wide to be spanned, the differences are too great to be overcome, and the use of printing makes it impossible that one of them should ever be lost in another. The structure of the English language differs greatly from that of either Latin or Greek. In the two latter, especially in Greek, sentences are joined together by connecting particles. They are distributed on the right hand and on the left by men, de, alla, kaitoi, kai de and the like, or deduced from one another by ara, de, oun, toinun and the like. In English the majority of sentences are independent and in apposition to one another; they are laid side by side or slightly connected by the copula. But within the sentence the expression of the logical relations of the clauses is closer and more exact: there is less of apposition and participial structure. The sentences thus laid side by side are also constructed into paragraphs; these again are less distinctly marked in Greek and Latin than in English. Generally French, German, and English have an advantage over the classical languages in point of accuracy. The three concords are more accurately observed in English than in either Greek or Latin. On the other hand, the extension of the familiar use of the masculine and feminine

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gender to objects of sense and abstract ideas as well as to men and animals no doubt lends a nameless grace to style which we have a difficulty in appreciating, and the possible variety in the order of words gives more flexibility and also a kind of dignity to the period. Of the comparative effect of accent and quantity and of the relation between them in ancient and modern languages we are not able to judge. Another quality in which modern are superior to ancient languages is freedom from tautology. No English style is thought tolerable in which, except for the sake of emphasis, the same words are repeated at short intervals. Of course the length of the interval must depend on the character of the word. Striking words and expressions cannot be allowed to reappear, if at all, except at the distance of a page or more. Pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions may or rather must recur in successive lines. It seems to be a kind of impertinence to the reader and strikes unpleasantly both on the mind and on the ear that the same sounds should be used twice over, when another word or turn of expression would have given a new shade of meaning to the thought and would have added a pleasing variety to the sound. And the mind equally rejects the repetition of the word and the use of a mere synonym for it,–e.g. felicity and happiness. The cultivated mind desires something more, which a skilful writer is easily able to supply out of his treasure-house. The fear of tautology has doubtless led to the multiplications of words and the meanings of words, and generally to an enlargement of the vocabulary. It is a very early instinct of language; for ancient poetry is almost as free from tautology as the best modern writings. The speech of young children, except in so far as they are compelled to repeat themselves by the fewness of their words, also escapes from it. When they grow up and have ideas which are beyond their powers of expression, especially in writing, tautology begins to appear. In like manner when language is ’contaminated’ by philosophy it is apt to become awkward, to stammer and repeat itself, to lose its flow and freedom. No philosophical writer with the exception of Plato, who is himself not free from tautology, and perhaps Bacon, has attained to any high degree of literary excellence. To poetry the form and polish of language is chiefly to be attributed; and the most critical period in the history of language is the transition from verse to prose. At first mankind were contented to express their thoughts in a set form of words having a kind of rhythm; to which regularity was given by accent and quantity. But after a time they demanded a greater degree of freedom, and to those who had all their life been hearing poetry the first introduction of prose had the charm of novelty. The prose romances into which the Homeric Poems were converted, for a while probably gave more delight to the hearers or readers of them than the Poems themselves, and in time the relation of the two was reversed: the poems which had once been a necessity of the human mind became a luxury: they were now superseded by prose, which in all succeeding ages became the natural vehicle of expression to all mankind. Henceforward prose and poetry formed each other. A comparatively slender link between them was also furnished by proverbs. We may trace in poetry how the simple succession of lines, not without monotony, has passed into a complicated period, and how in prose, rhythm and accent and the order of words and the balance of clauses, sometimes not without a slight admixture of rhyme, make up a new kind of harmony, swelling into strains not less majestic than those of Homer,

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Virgil, or Dante. One of the most curious and characteristic features of language, affecting both syntax and style, is idiom. The meaning of the word ’idiom’ is that which is peculiar, that which is familiar, the word or expression which strikes us or comes home to us, which is more readily understood or more easily remembered. It is a quality which really exists in infinite degrees, which we turn into differences of kind by applying the term only to conspicuous and striking examples of words or phrases which have this quality. It often supersedes the laws of language or the rules of grammar, or rather is to be regarded as another law of language which is natural and necessary. The word or phrase which has been repeated many times over is more intelligible and familiar to us than one which is rare, and our familiarity with it more than compensates for incorrectness or inaccuracy in the use of it. Striking expressions also which have moved the hearts of nations or are the precious stones and jewels of great authors partake of the nature of idioms: they are taken out of the sphere of grammar and are exempt from the proprieties of language. Every one knows that we often put words together in a manner which would be intolerable if it were not idiomatic. We cannot argue either about the meaning of words or the use of constructions that because they are used in one connexion they will be legitimate in another, unless we allow for this principle. We can bear to have words and sentences used in new senses or in a new order or even a little perverted in meaning when we are quite familiar with them. Quotations are as often applied in a sense which the author did not intend as in that which he did. The parody of the words of Shakspere or of the Bible, which has in it something of the nature of a lie, is far from unpleasing to us. The better known words, even if their meaning be perverted, are more agreeable to us and have a greater power over us. Most of us have experienced a sort of delight and feeling of curiosity when we first came across or when we first used for ourselves a new word or phrase or figure of speech. There are associations of sound and of sense by which every word is linked to every other. One letter harmonizes with another; every verb or noun derives its meaning, not only from itself, but from the words with which it is associated. Some reflection of them near or distant is embodied in it. In any new use of a word all the existing uses of it have to be considered. Upon these depends the question whether it will bear the proposed extension of meaning or not. According to the famous expression of Luther, ’Words are living creatures, having hands and feet.’ When they cease to retain this living power of adaptation, when they are only put together like the parts of a piece of furniture, language becomes unpoetical, in expressive, dead. Grammars would lead us to suppose that words have a fixed form and sound. Lexicons assign to each word a definite meaning or meanings. They both tend to obscure the fact that the sentence precedes the word and that all language is relative. (1) It is relative to its own context. Its meaning is modified by what has been said before and after in the same or in some other passage: without comparing the context we are not sure whether it is used in the same sense even in two successive sentences. (2) It is relative to facts, to time, place, and occasion: when they are already known to the hearer or reader, they may be presupposed; there is no need to allude to them further. (3) It is relative to the knowledge of the writer and reader or of the speaker and hearer. Except for the sake of order and consecutiveness nothing ought to be expressed which is already commonly or universally known. A word or two may be sufficient to give

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an intimation to a friend; a long or elaborate speech or composition is required to explain some new idea to a popular audience or to the ordinary reader or to a young pupil. Grammars and dictionaries are not to be despised; for in teaching we need clearness rather than subtlety. But we must not therefore forget that there is also a higher ideal of language in which all is relative–sounds to sounds, words to words, the parts to the whole–in which besides the lesser context of the book or speech, there is also the larger context of history and circumstances. The study of Comparative Philology has introduced into the world a new science which more than any other binds up man with nature, and distant ages and countries with one another. It may be said to have thrown a light upon all other sciences and upon the nature of the human mind itself. The true conception of it dispels many errors, not only of metaphysics and theology, but also of natural knowledge. Yet it is far from certain that this newly-found science will continue to progress in the same surprising manner as heretofore; or that even if our materials are largely increased, we shall arrive at much more definite conclusions than at present. Like some other branches of knowledge, it may be approaching a point at which it can no longer be profitably studied. But at any rate it has brought back the philosophy of language from theory to fact; it has passed out of the region of guesses and hypotheses, and has attained the dignity of an Inductive Science. And it is not without practical and political importance. It gives a new interest to distant and subject countries; it brings back the dawning light from one end of the earth to the other. Nations, like individuals, are better understood by us when we know something of their early life; and when they are better understood by us, we feel more kindly towards them. Lastly, we may remember that all knowledge is valuable for its own sake; and we may also hope that a deeper insight into the nature of human speech will give us a greater command of it and enable us to make a nobler use of it. (Compare again W. Humboldt, Ueber die Verschiedenheit des menschlichen Sprachbaues; M. Muller, Lectures on the Science of Language; Steinthal, Einleitung in die Psychologie und Sprachwissenschaft: and for the latter part of the Essay, Delbruck, Study of Language; Paul’s Principles of the History of Language: to the latter work the author of this Essay is largely indebted.)

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Cratylus [383a -440e] Translated by Benjamin Jowett PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Socrates, Hermogenes, Cratylus. HERMOGENES: Suppose that we make Socrates a party to the argument? CRATYLUS: If you please. HERMOGENES: I should explain to you, Socrates, that our friend Cratylus has been arguing about names; he says that they are natural and not conventional; not a portion of the human voice which men agree to use; but that there is a truth or correctness in them, which is the same for Hellenes as for barbarians. Whereupon I ask him, whether his own name of Cratylus is a true name or not, and he answers ’Yes.’ And Socrates? ’Yes.’ Then every man’s name, as I tell him, is that which he is called. To this he replies–’If all the world were to call you Hermogenes, that would not be your name.’ And when I am anxious to have a further explanation he is ironical and mysterious, and seems to imply that he has a notion of his own about the matter, if he would only tell, and could entirely convince me, if he chose to be intelligible. Tell me, Socrates, what this oracle means; or rather tell me, if you will be so good, what is your own view of the truth or correctness of names, which I would far sooner hear. SOCRATES: Son of Hipponicus, there is an ancient saying, that ’hard is the knowledge of the good.’ And the knowledge of names is a great part of knowledge. If I had not been poor, I might have heard the fifty-drachma course of the great Prodicus, which is a complete education in grammar and language– these are his own words–and then I should have been at once able to answer your question about the correctness of names. But, indeed, I have only heard the single-drachma course, and therefore, I do not know the truth about such matters; I will, however, gladly assist you and Cratylus in the investigation of them. When he declares that your name is not really Hermogenes, I suspect that he is only making fun of you;–he means to say that you are no true son of Hermes, because you are always looking after a fortune and never in luck. But, as I was saying, there is a good deal of difficulty in this sort of knowledge, and therefore we had better leave the question open until we have heard both sides. HERMOGENES: I have often talked over this matter, both with Cratylus and others, and cannot convince myself that there is any principle of correctness in names other than convention and agreement; any name which you give, in my opinion, is the right one, and if you change that and give another, the new name is as correct as the old–we frequently change the names of our slaves, and the newly-imposed name is as good as the old: for there is no name given to anything by nature; all is convention and habit of the users;–such is my view. But if I am mistaken I shall be happy to hear and learn of Cratylus, or of any one else. SOCRATES: I dare say that you may be right, Hermogenes: let us see;–Your meaning is, that the name of each thing is only that which anybody agrees to call it? HERMOGENES: That is my notion. SOCRATES: Whether the giver of the name be an individual or a city? HERMOGENES: Yes.

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SOCRATES: Well, now, let me take an instance;–suppose that I call a man a horse or a horse a man, you mean to say that a man will be rightly called a horse by me individually, and rightly called a man by the rest of the world; and a horse again would be rightly called a man by me and a horse by the world:–that is your meaning? HERMOGENES: He would, according to my view. SOCRATES: But how about truth, then? you would acknowledge that there is in words a true and a false? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And there are true and false propositions? HERMOGENES: To be sure. SOCRATES: And a true proposition says that which is, and a false proposition says that which is not? HERMOGENES: Yes; what other answer is possible? SOCRATES: Then in a proposition there is a true and false? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: But is a proposition true as a whole only, and are the parts untrue? HERMOGENES: No; the parts are true as well as the whole. SOCRATES: Would you say the large parts and not the smaller ones, or every part? HERMOGENES: I should say that every part is true. SOCRATES: Is a proposition resolvable into any part smaller than a name? HERMOGENES: No; that is the smallest. SOCRATES: Then the name is a part of the true proposition? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: Yes, and a true part, as you say. HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And is not the part of a falsehood also a falsehood? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then, if propositions may be true and false, names may be true and false? HERMOGENES: So we must infer. SOCRATES: And the name of anything is that which any one affirms to be the name? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And will there be so many names of each thing as everybody says that there are? and will they be true names at the time of uttering them? HERMOGENES: Yes, Socrates, I can conceive no correctness of names other than this; you give one name, and I another; and in different cities and countries there are different names for the same things; Hellenes differ from barbarians in their use of names, and the several Hellenic tribes from one another. SOCRATES: But would you say, Hermogenes, that the things differ as the names differ? and are they relative to individuals, as Protagoras tells us? For he says that man is the measure of all things, and that things are to me as they appear to me, and that they are to you as they appear to you. Do you agree with him, or would you say that things have a permanent essence of their own? HERMOGENES: There have been times, Socrates, when I have been driven in my perplexity to take refuge with Protagoras; not that I agree with him at all.

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SOCRATES: What! have you ever been driven to admit that there was no such thing as a bad man? HERMOGENES: No, indeed; but I have often had reason to think that there are very bad men, and a good many of them. SOCRATES: Well, and have you ever found any very good ones? HERMOGENES: Not many. SOCRATES: Still you have found them? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And would you hold that the very good were the very wise, and the very evil very foolish? Would that be your view? HERMOGENES: It would. SOCRATES: But if Protagoras is right, and the truth is that things are as they appear to any one, how can some of us be wise and some of us foolish? HERMOGENES: Impossible. SOCRATES: And if, on the other hand, wisdom and folly are really distinguishable, you will allow, I think, that the assertion of Protagoras can hardly be correct. For if what appears to each man is true to him, one man cannot in reality be wiser than another. HERMOGENES: He cannot. SOCRATES: Nor will you be disposed to say with Euthydemus, that all things equally belong to all men at the same moment and always; for neither on his view can there be some good and others bad, if virtue and vice are always equally to be attributed to all. HERMOGENES: There cannot. SOCRATES: But if neither is right, and things are not relative to individuals, and all things do not equally belong to all at the same moment and always, they must be supposed to have their own proper and permanent essence: they are not in relation to us, or influenced by us, fluctuating according to our fancy, but they are independent, and maintain to their own essence the relation prescribed by nature. HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that you have said the truth. SOCRATES: Does what I am saying apply only to the things themselves, or equally to the actions which proceed from them? Are not actions also a class of being? HERMOGENES: Yes, the actions are real as well as the things. SOCRATES: Then the actions also are done according to their proper nature, and not according to our opinion of them? In cutting, for example, we do not cut as we please, and with any chance instrument; but we cut with the proper instrument only, and according to the natural process of cutting; and the natural process is right and will succeed, but any other will fail and be of no use at all. HERMOGENES: I should say that the natural way is the right way. SOCRATES: Again, in burning, not every way is the right way; but the right way is the natural way, and the right instrument the natural instrument. HERMOGENES: True. SOCRATES: And this holds good of all actions? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And speech is a kind of action? HERMOGENES: True.

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SOCRATES: And will a man speak correctly who speaks as he pleases? Will not the successful speaker rather be he who speaks in the natural way of speaking, and as things ought to be spoken, and with the natural instrument? Any other mode of speaking will result in error and failure. HERMOGENES: I quite agree with you. SOCRATES: And is not naming a part of speaking? for in giving names men speak. HERMOGENES: That is true. SOCRATES: And if speaking is a sort of action and has a relation to acts, is not naming also a sort of action? HERMOGENES: True. SOCRATES: And we saw that actions were not relative to ourselves, but had a special nature of their own? HERMOGENES: Precisely. SOCRATES: Then the argument would lead us to infer that names ought to be given according to a natural process, and with a proper instrument, and not at our pleasure: in this and no other way shall we name with success. HERMOGENES: I agree. SOCRATES: But again, that which has to be cut has to be cut with something? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And that which has to be woven or pierced has to be woven or pierced with something? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And that which has to be named has to be named with something? HERMOGENES: True. SOCRATES: What is that with which we pierce? HERMOGENES: An awl. SOCRATES: And with which we weave? HERMOGENES: A shuttle. SOCRATES: And with which we name? HERMOGENES: A name. SOCRATES: Very good: then a name is an instrument? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Suppose that I ask, ’What sort of instrument is a shuttle?’ And you answer, ’A weaving instrument.’ HERMOGENES: Well. SOCRATES: And I ask again, ’What do we do when we weave?’–The answer is, that we separate or disengage the warp from the woof. HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: And may not a similar description be given of an awl, and of instruments in general? HERMOGENES: To be sure. SOCRATES: And now suppose that I ask a similar question about names: will you answer me? Regarding the name as an instrument, what do we do when we name? HERMOGENES: I cannot say. SOCRATES: Do we not give information to one another, and distinguish things according to their natures?

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HERMOGENES: Certainly we do. SOCRATES: Then a name is an instrument of teaching and of distinguishing natures, as the shuttle is of distinguishing the threads of the web. HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And the shuttle is the instrument of the weaver? HERMOGENES: Assuredly. SOCRATES: Then the weaver will use the shuttle well–and well means like a weaver? and the teacher will use the name well–and well means like a teacher? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And when the weaver uses the shuttle, whose work will he be using well? HERMOGENES: That of the carpenter. SOCRATES: And is every man a carpenter, or the skilled only? HERMOGENES: Only the skilled. SOCRATES: And when the piercer uses the awl, whose work will he be using well? HERMOGENES: That of the smith. SOCRATES: And is every man a smith, or only the skilled? HERMOGENES: The skilled only. SOCRATES: And when the teacher uses the name, whose work will he be using? HERMOGENES: There again I am puzzled. SOCRATES: Cannot you at least say who gives us the names which we use? HERMOGENES: Indeed I cannot. SOCRATES: Does not the law seem to you to give us them? HERMOGENES: Yes, I suppose so. SOCRATES: Then the teacher, when he gives us a name, uses the work of the legislator? HERMOGENES: I agree. SOCRATES: And is every man a legislator, or the skilled only? HERMOGENES: The skilled only. SOCRATES: Then, Hermogenes, not every man is able to give a name, but only a maker of names; and this is the legislator, who of all skilled artisans in the world is the rarest. HERMOGENES: True. SOCRATES: And how does the legislator make names? and to what does he look? Consider this in the light of the previous instances: to what does the carpenter look in making the shuttle? Does he not look to that which is naturally fitted to act as a shuttle? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And suppose the shuttle to be broken in making, will he make another, looking to the broken one? or will he look to the form according to which he made the other? HERMOGENES: To the latter, I should imagine. SOCRATES: Might not that be justly called the true or ideal shuttle? HERMOGENES: I think so. SOCRATES: And whatever shuttles are wanted, for the manufacture of garments, thin or thick, of flaxen, woollen, or other material, ought all of them to have the true form of the shuttle; and whatever is the shuttle best adapted to

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each kind of work, that ought to be the form which the maker produces in each case. HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And the same holds of other instruments: when a man has discovered the instrument which is naturally adapted to each work, he must express this natural form, and not others which he fancies, in the material, whatever it may be, which he employs; for example, he ought to know how to put into iron the forms of awls adapted by nature to their several uses? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And how to put into wood forms of shuttles adapted by nature to their uses? HERMOGENES: True. SOCRATES: For the several forms of shuttles naturally answer to the several kinds of webs; and this is true of instruments in general. HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: Then, as to names: ought not our legislator also to know how to put the true natural name of each thing into sounds and syllables, and to make and give all names with a view to the ideal name, if he is to be a namer in any true sense? And we must remember that different legislators will not use the same syllables. For neither does every smith, although he may be making the same instrument for the same purpose, make them all of the same iron. The form must be the same, but the material may vary, and still the instrument may be equally good of whatever iron made, whether in Hellas or in a foreign country;–there is no difference. HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: And the legislator, whether he be Hellene or barbarian, is not therefore to be deemed by you a worse legislator, provided he gives the true and proper form of the name in whatever syllables; this or that country makes no matter. HERMOGENES: Quite true. SOCRATES: But who then is to determine whether the proper form is given to the shuttle, whatever sort of wood may be used? the carpenter who makes, or the weaver who is to use them? HERMOGENES: I should say, he who is to use them, Socrates. SOCRATES: And who uses the work of the lyre-maker? Will not he be the man who knows how to direct what is being done, and who will know also whether the work is being well done or not? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And who is he? HERMOGENES: The player of the lyre. SOCRATES: And who will direct the shipwright? HERMOGENES: The pilot. SOCRATES: And who will be best able to direct the legislator in his work, and will know whether the work is well done, in this or any other country? Will not the user be the man? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And this is he who knows how to ask questions? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And how to answer them? HERMOGENES: Yes.

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SOCRATES: And him who knows how to ask and answer you would call a dialectician? HERMOGENES: Yes; that would be his name. SOCRATES: Then the work of the carpenter is to make a rudder, and the pilot has to direct him, if the rudder is to be well made. HERMOGENES: True. SOCRATES: And the work of the legislator is to give names, and the dialectician must be his director if the names are to be rightly given? HERMOGENES: That is true. SOCRATES: Then, Hermogenes, I should say that this giving of names can be no such light matter as you fancy, or the work of light or chance persons; and Cratylus is right in saying that things have names by nature, and that not every man is an artificer of names, but he only who looks to the name which each thing by nature has, and is able to express the true forms of things in letters and syllables. HERMOGENES: I cannot answer you, Socrates; but I find a difficulty in changing my opinion all in a moment, and I think that I should be more readily persuaded, if you would show me what this is which you term the natural fitness of names. SOCRATES: My good Hermogenes, I have none to show. Was I not telling you just now (but you have forgotten), that I knew nothing, and proposing to share the enquiry with you? But now that you and I have talked over the matter, a step has been gained; for we have discovered that names have by nature a truth, and that not every man knows how to give a thing a name. HERMOGENES: Very good. SOCRATES: And what is the nature of this truth or correctness of names? That, if you care to know, is the next question. HERMOGENES: Certainly, I care to know. SOCRATES: Then reflect. HERMOGENES: How shall I reflect? SOCRATES: The true way is to have the assistance of those who know, and you must pay them well both in money and in thanks; these are the Sophists, of whom your brother, Callias, has–rather dearly–bought the reputation of wisdom. But you have not yet come into your inheritance, and therefore you had better go to him, and beg and entreat him to tell you what he has learnt from Protagoras about the fitness of names. HERMOGENES: But how inconsistent should I be, if, whilst repudiating Protagoras and his truth (’Truth’ was the title of the book of Protagoras; compare Theaet.), I were to attach any value to what he and his book affirm! SOCRATES: Then if you despise him, you must learn of Homer and the poets. HERMOGENES: And where does Homer say anything about names, and what does he say? SOCRATES: He often speaks of them; notably and nobly in the places where he distinguishes the different names which Gods and men give to the same things. Does he not in these passages make a remarkable statement about the correctness of names? For the Gods must clearly be supposed to call things by their right and natural names; do you not think so? HERMOGENES: Why, of course they call them rightly, if they call them at all. But to what are you referring?

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SOCRATES: Do you not know what he says about the river in Troy who had a single combat with Hephaestus? ’Whom,’ as he says, ’the Gods call Xanthus, and men call Scamander.’ HERMOGENES: I remember. SOCRATES: Well, and about this river–to know that he ought to be called Xanthus and not Scamander–is not that a solemn lesson? Or about the bird which, as he says, ’The Gods call Chalcis, and men Cymindis:’ to be taught how much more correct the name Chalcis is than the name Cymindis–do you deem that a light matter? Or about Batieia and Myrina? (Compare Il. ’The hill which men call Batieia and the immortals the tomb of the sportive Myrina.’) And there are many other observations of the same kind in Homer and other poets. Now, I think that this is beyond the understanding of you and me; but the names of Scamandrius and Astyanax, which he affirms to have been the names of Hector’s son, are more within the range of human faculties, as I am disposed to think; and what the poet means by correctness may be more readily apprehended in that instance: you will remember I dare say the lines to which I refer? (Il.) HERMOGENES: I do. SOCRATES: Let me ask you, then, which did Homer think the more correct of the names given to Hector’s son–Astyanax or Scamandrius? HERMOGENES: I do not know. SOCRATES: How would you answer, if you were asked whether the wise or the unwise are more likely to give correct names? HERMOGENES: I should say the wise, of course. SOCRATES: And are the men or the women of a city, taken as a class, the wiser? HERMOGENES: I should say, the men. SOCRATES: And Homer, as you know, says that the Trojan men called him Astyanax (king of the city); but if the men called him Astyanax, the other name of Scamandrius could only have been given to him by the women. HERMOGENES: That may be inferred. SOCRATES: And must not Homer have imagined the Trojans to be wiser than their wives? HERMOGENES: To be sure. SOCRATES: Then he must have thought Astyanax to be a more correct name for the boy than Scamandrius? HERMOGENES: Clearly. SOCRATES: And what is the reason of this? Let us consider:–does he not himself suggest a very good reason, when he says, ’For he alone defended their city and long walls’ ? This appears to be a good reason for calling the son of the saviour king of the city which his father was saving, as Homer observes. HERMOGENES: I see. SOCRATES: Why, Hermogenes, I do not as yet see myself; and do you? HERMOGENES: No, indeed; not I. SOCRATES: But tell me, friend, did not Homer himself also give Hector his name? HERMOGENES: What of that?

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SOCRATES: The name appears to me to be very nearly the same as the name of Astyanax–both are Hellenic; and a king (anax) and a holder (ektor) have nearly the same meaning, and are both descriptive of a king; for a man is clearly the holder of that of which he is king; he rules, and owns, and holds it. But, perhaps, you may think that I am talking nonsense; and indeed I believe that I myself did not know what I meant when I imagined that I had found some indication of the opinion of Homer about the correctness of names. HERMOGENES: I assure you that I think otherwise, and I believe you to be on the right track. SOCRATES: There is reason, I think, in calling the lion’s whelp a lion, and the foal of a horse a horse; I am speaking only of the ordinary course of nature, when an animal produces after his kind, and not of extraordinary births;–if contrary to nature a horse have a calf, then I should not call that a foal but a calf; nor do I call any inhuman birth a man, but only a natural birth. And the same may be said of trees and other things. Do you agree with me? HERMOGENES: Yes, I agree. SOCRATES: Very good. But you had better watch me and see that I do not play tricks with you. For on the same principle the son of a king is to be called a king. And whether the syllables of the name are the same or not the same, makes no difference, provided the meaning is retained; nor does the addition or subtraction of a letter make any difference so long as the essence of the thing remains in possession of the name and appears in it. HERMOGENES: What do you mean? SOCRATES: A very simple matter. I may illustrate my meaning by the names of letters, which you know are not the same as the letters themselves with the exception of the four epsilon, upsilon, omicron, omega; the names of the rest, whether vowels or consonants, are made up of other letters which we add to them; but so long as we introduce the meaning, and there can be no mistake, the name of the letter is quite correct. Take, for example, the letter beta–the addition of eta, tau, alpha, gives no offence, and does not prevent the whole name from having the value which the legislator intended–so well did he know how to give the letters names. HERMOGENES: I believe you are right. SOCRATES: And may not the same be said of a king? a king will often be the son of a king, the good son or the noble son of a good or noble sire; and similarly the offspring of every kind, in the regular course of nature, is like the parent, and therefore has the same name. Yet the syllables may be disguised until they appear different to the ignorant person, and he may not recognize them, although they are the same, just as any one of us would not recognize the same drugs under different disguises of colour and smell, although to the physician, who regards the power of them, they are the same, and he is not put out by the addition; and in like manner the etymologist is not put out by the addition or transposition or subtraction of a letter or two, or indeed by the change of all the letters, for this need not interfere with the meaning. As was just now said, the names of Hector and Astyanax have only one letter alike, which is tau, and yet they have the same meaning. And how little in common with the letters of their names has Archepolis (ruler of the city)–and yet the meaning is the same. And there are many other names which just mean ’king.’ Again, there are several names for a general, as, for example, Agis (leader) and Polemarchus (chief in war) and Eupolemus (good warrior); and others which

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denote a physician, as Iatrocles (famous healer) and Acesimbrotus (curer of mortals); and there are many others which might be cited, differing in their syllables and letters, but having the same meaning. Would you not say so? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: The same names, then, ought to be assigned to those who follow in the course of nature? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And what of those who follow out of the course of nature, and are prodigies? for example, when a good and religious man has an irreligious son, he ought to bear the name not of his father, but of the class to which he belongs, just as in the case which was before supposed of a horse foaling a calf. HERMOGENES: Quite true. SOCRATES: Then the irreligious son of a religious father should be called irreligious? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: He should not be called Theophilus (beloved of God) or Mnesitheus (mindful of God), or any of these names: if names are correctly given, his should have an opposite meaning. HERMOGENES: Certainly, Socrates. SOCRATES: Again, Hermogenes, there is Orestes (the man of the mountains) who appears to be rightly called; whether chance gave the name, or perhaps some poet who meant to express the brutality and fierceness and mountain wildness of his hero’s nature. HERMOGENES: That is very likely, Socrates. SOCRATES: And his father’s name is also according to nature. HERMOGENES: Clearly. SOCRATES: Yes, for as his name, so also is his nature; Agamemnon (admirable for remaining) is one who is patient and persevering in the accomplishment of his resolves, and by his virtue crowns them; and his continuance at Troy with all the vast army is a proof of that admirable endurance in him which is signified by the name Agamemnon. I also think that Atreus is rightly called; for his murder of Chrysippus and his exceeding cruelty to Thyestes are damaging and destructive to his reputation–the name is a little altered and disguised so as not to be intelligible to every one, but to the etymologist there is no difficulty in seeing the meaning, for whether you think of him as ateires the stubborn, or as atrestos the fearless, or as ateros the destructive one, the name is perfectly correct in every point of view. And I think that Pelops is also named appropriately; for, as the name implies, he is rightly called Pelops who sees what is near only (o ta pelas oron). HERMOGENES: How so? SOCRATES: Because, according to the tradition, he had no forethought or foresight of all the evil which the murder of Myrtilus would entail upon his whole race in remote ages; he saw only what was at hand and immediate, –or in other words, pelas (near), in his eagerness to win Hippodamia by all means for his bride. Every one would agree that the name of Tantalus is rightly given and in accordance with nature, if the traditions about him are true. HERMOGENES: And what are the traditions? SOCRATES: Many terrible misfortunes are said to have happened to him in his life–last of all, came the utter ruin of his country; and after his death he had the stone suspended (talanteia) over his head in the world below–all this

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agrees wonderfully well with his name. You might imagine that some person who wanted to call him Talantatos (the most weighted down by misfortune), disguised the name by altering it into Tantalus; and into this form, by some accident of tradition, it has actually been transmuted. The name of Zeus, who is his alleged father, has also an excellent meaning, although hard to be understood, because really like a sentence, which is divided into two parts, for some call him Zena, and use the one half, and others who use the other half call him Dia; the two together signify the nature of the God, and the business of a name, as we were saying, is to express the nature. For there is none who is more the author of life to us and to all, than the lord and king of all. Wherefore we are right in calling him Zena and Dia, which are one name, although divided, meaning the God through whom all creatures always have life (di on zen aei pasi tois zosin uparchei). There is an irreverence, at first sight, in calling him son of Cronos (who is a proverb for stupidity), and we might rather expect Zeus to be the child of a mighty intellect. Which is the fact; for this is the meaning of his father’s name: Kronos quasi Koros (Choreo, to sweep), not in the sense of a youth, but signifying to chatharon chai acheraton tou nou, the pure and garnished mind (sc. apo tou chorein). He, as we are informed by tradition, was begotten of Uranus, rightly so called (apo tou oran ta ano) from looking upwards; which, as philosophers tell us, is the way to have a pure mind, and the name Uranus is therefore correct. If I could remember the genealogy of Hesiod, I would have gone on and tried more conclusions of the same sort on the remoter ancestors of the Gods,–then I might have seen whether this wisdom, which has come to me all in an instant, I know not whence, will or will not hold good to the end. HERMOGENES: You seem to me, Socrates, to be quite like a prophet newly inspired, and to be uttering oracles. SOCRATES: Yes, Hermogenes, and I believe that I caught the inspiration from the great Euthyphro of the Prospaltian deme, who gave me a long lecture which commenced at dawn: he talked and I listened, and his wisdom and enchanting ravishment has not only filled my ears but taken possession of my soul,and to-day I shall let his superhuman power work and finish the investigation of names–that will be the way; but to-morrow, if you are so disposed, we will conjure him away, and make a purgation of him, if we can only find some priest or sophist who is skilled in purifications of this sort. HERMOGENES: With all my heart; for am very curious to hear the rest of the enquiry about names. SOCRATES: Then let us proceed; and where would you have us begin, now that we have got a sort of outline of the enquiry? Are there any names which witness of themselves that they are not given arbitrarily, but have a natural fitness? The names of heroes and of men in general are apt to be deceptive because they are often called after ancestors with whose names, as we were saying, they may have no business; or they are the expression of a wish like Eutychides (the son of good fortune), or Sosias (the Saviour), or Theophilus (the beloved of God), and others. But I think that we had better leave these, for there will be more chance of finding correctness in the names of immutable essences;–there ought to have been more care taken about them when they were named, and perhaps there may have been some more than human power at work occasionally in giving them names. HERMOGENES: I think so, Socrates.

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SOCRATES: Ought we not to begin with the consideration of the Gods, and show that they are rightly named Gods? HERMOGENES: Yes, that will be well. SOCRATES: My notion would be something of this sort:–I suspect that the sun, moon, earth, stars, and heaven, which are still the Gods of many barbarians, were the only Gods known to the aboriginal Hellenes. Seeing that they were always moving and running, from their running nature they were called Gods or runners (Theous, Theontas); and when men became acquainted with the other Gods, they proceeded to apply the same name to them all. Do you think that likely? HERMOGENES: I think it very likely indeed. SOCRATES: What shall follow the Gods? HERMOGENES: Must not demons and heroes and men come next? SOCRATES: Demons! And what do you consider to be the meaning of this word? Tell me if my view is right. HERMOGENES: Let me hear. SOCRATES: You know how Hesiod uses the word? HERMOGENES: I do not. SOCRATES: Do you not remember that he speaks of a golden race of men who came first? HERMOGENES: Yes, I do. SOCRATES: He says of them– ’But now that fate has closed over this race They are holy demons upon the earth, Beneficent, averters of ills, guardians of mortal men.’ (Hesiod, Works and Days.) HERMOGENES: What is the inference? SOCRATES: What is the inference! Why, I suppose that he means by the golden men, not men literally made of gold, but good and noble; and I am convinced of this, because he further says that we are the iron race. HERMOGENES: That is true. SOCRATES: And do you not suppose that good men of our own day would by him be said to be of golden race? HERMOGENES: Very likely. SOCRATES: And are not the good wise? HERMOGENES: Yes, they are wise. SOCRATES: And therefore I have the most entire conviction that he called them demons, because they were daemones (knowing or wise), and in our older Attic dialect the word itself occurs. Now he and other poets say truly, that when a good man dies he has honour and a mighty portion among the dead, and becomes a demon; which is a name given to him signifying wisdom. And I say too, that every wise man who happens to be a good man is more than human (daimonion) both in life and death, and is rightly called a demon. HERMOGENES: Then I rather think that I am of one mind with you; but what is the meaning of the word ’hero’ ? (Eros with an eta, in the old writing eros with an epsilon.) SOCRATES: I think that there is no difficulty in explaining, for the name is not much altered, and signifies that they were born of love. HERMOGENES: What do you mean? SOCRATES: Do you not know that the heroes are demigods? HERMOGENES: What then?

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SOCRATES: All of them sprang either from the love of a God for a mortal woman, or of a mortal man for a Goddess; think of the word in the old Attic, and you will see better that the name heros is only a slight alteration of Eros, from whom the heroes sprang: either this is the meaning, or, if not this, then they must have been skilful as rhetoricians and dialecticians, and able to put the question (erotan), for eirein is equivalent to legein. And therefore, as I was saying, in the Attic dialect the heroes turn out to be rhetoricians and questioners. All this is easy enough; the noble breed of heroes are a tribe of sophists and rhetors. But can you tell me why men are called anthropoi?–that is more difficult. HERMOGENES: No, I cannot; and I would not try even if I could, because I think that you are the more likely to succeed. SOCRATES: That is to say, you trust to the inspiration of Euthyphro. HERMOGENES: Of course. SOCRATES: Your faith is not vain; for at this very moment a new and ingenious thought strikes me, and, if I am not careful, before to-morrow’s dawn I shall be wiser than I ought to be. Now, attend to me; and first, remember that we often put in and pull out letters in words, and give names as we please and change the accents. Take, for example, the word Dii Philos; in order to convert this from a sentence into a noun, we omit one of the iotas and sound the middle syllable grave instead of acute; as, on the other hand, letters are sometimes inserted in words instead of being omitted, and the acute takes the place of the grave. HERMOGENES: That is true. SOCRATES: The name anthropos, which was once a sentence, and is now a noun, appears to be a case just of this sort, for one letter, which is the alpha, has been omitted, and the acute on the last syllable has been changed to a grave. HERMOGENES: What do you mean? SOCRATES: I mean to say that the word ’man’ implies that other animals never examine, or consider, or look up at what they see, but that man not only sees (opope) but considers and looks up at that which he sees, and hence he alone of all animals is rightly anthropos, meaning anathron a opopen. HERMOGENES: May I ask you to examine another word about which I am curious? SOCRATES: Certainly. HERMOGENES: I will take that which appears to me to follow next in order. You know the distinction of soul and body? SOCRATES: Of course. HERMOGENES: Let us endeavour to analyze them like the previous words. SOCRATES: You want me first of all to examine the natural fitness of the word psuche (soul), and then of the word soma (body)? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: If I am to say what occurs to me at the moment, I should imagine that those who first used the name psuche meant to express that the soul when in the body is the source of life, and gives the power of breath and revival (anapsuchon), and when this reviving power fails then the body perishes and dies, and this, if I am not mistaken, they called psyche. But please stay a moment; I fancy that I can discover something which will be more acceptable to the disciples of Euthyphro, for I am afraid that they will scorn this explanation. What do you say to another?

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HERMOGENES: Let me hear. SOCRATES: What is that which holds and carries and gives life and motion to the entire nature of the body? What else but the soul? HERMOGENES: Just that. SOCRATES: And do you not believe with Anaxagoras, that mind or soul is the ordering and containing principle of all things? HERMOGENES: Yes; I do. SOCRATES: Then you may well call that power phuseche which carries and holds nature (e phusin okei, kai ekei), and this may be refined away into psuche. HERMOGENES: Certainly; and this derivation is, I think, more scientific than the other. SOCRATES: It is so; but I cannot help laughing, if I am to suppose that this was the true meaning of the name. HERMOGENES: But what shall we say of the next word? SOCRATES: You mean soma (the body). HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: That may be variously interpreted; and yet more variously if a little permutation is allowed. For some say that the body is the grave (sema) of the soul which may be thought to be buried in our present life; or again the index of the soul, because the soul gives indications to (semainei) the body; probably the Orphic poets were the inventors of the name, and they were under the impression that the soul is suffering the punishment of sin, and that the body is an enclosure or prison in which the soul is incarcerated, kept safe (soma, sozetai), as the name soma implies, until the penalty is paid; according to this view, not even a letter of the word need be changed. HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that we have said enough of this class of words. But have we any more explanations of the names of the Gods, like that which you were giving of Zeus? I should like to know whether any similar principle of correctness is to be applied to them. SOCRATES: Yes, indeed, Hermogenes; and there is one excellent principle which, as men of sense, we must acknowledge,–that of the Gods we know nothing, either of their natures or of the names which they give themselves; but we are sure that the names by which they call themselves, whatever they may be, are true. And this is the best of all principles; and the next best is to say, as in prayers, that we will call them by any sort or kind of names or patronymics which they like, because we do not know of any other. That also, I think, is a very good custom, and one which I should much wish to observe. Let us, then, if you please, in the first place announce to them that we are not enquiring about them; we do not presume that we are able to do so; but we are enquiring about the meaning of men in giving them these names,–in this there can be small blame. HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that you are quite right, and I would like to do as you say. SOCRATES: Shall we begin, then, with Hestia, according to custom? HERMOGENES: Yes, that will be very proper. SOCRATES: What may we suppose him to have meant who gave the name Hestia? HERMOGENES: That is another and certainly a most difficult question. SOCRATES: My dear Hermogenes, the first imposers of names must surely have been considerable persons; they were philosophers, and had a good deal to

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say. HERMOGENES: Well, and what of them? SOCRATES: They are the men to whom I should attribute the imposition of names. Even in foreign names, if you analyze them, a meaning is still discernible. For example, that which we term ousia is by some called esia, and by others again osia. Now that the essence of things should be called estia, which is akin to the first of these (esia = estia), is rational enough. And there is reason in the Athenians calling that estia which participates in ousia. For in ancient times we too seem to have said esia for ousia, and this you may note to have been the idea of those who appointed that sacrifices should be first offered to estia, which was natural enough if they meant that estia was the essence of things. Those again who read osia seem to have inclined to the opinion of Heracleitus, that all things flow and nothing stands; with them the pushing principle (othoun) is the cause and ruling power of all things, and is therefore rightly called osia. Enough of this, which is all that we who know nothing can affirm. Next in order after Hestia we ought to consider Rhea and Cronos, although the name of Cronos has been already discussed. But I dare say that I am talking great nonsense. HERMOGENES: Why, Socrates? SOCRATES: My good friend, I have discovered a hive of wisdom. HERMOGENES: Of what nature? SOCRATES: Well, rather ridiculous, and yet plausible. HERMOGENES: How plausible? SOCRATES: I fancy to myself Heracleitus repeating wise traditions of antiquity as old as the days of Cronos and Rhea, and of which Homer also spoke. HERMOGENES: How do you mean? SOCRATES: Heracleitus is supposed to say that all things are in motion and nothing at rest; he compares them to the stream of a river, and says that you cannot go into the same water twice. HERMOGENES: That is true. SOCRATES: Well, then, how can we avoid inferring that he who gave the names of Cronos and Rhea to the ancestors of the Gods, agreed pretty much in the doctrine of Heracleitus? Is the giving of the names of streams to both of them purely accidental? Compare the line in which Homer, and, as I believe, Hesiod also, tells of ’Ocean, the origin of Gods, and mother Tethys (Il.–the line is not found in the extant works of Hesiod.).’ And again, Orpheus says, that ’The fair river of Ocean was the first to marry, and he espoused his sister Tethys, who was his mother’s daughter.’ You see that this is a remarkable coincidence, and all in the direction of Heracleitus. HERMOGENES: I think that there is something in what you say, Socrates; but I do not understand the meaning of the name Tethys. SOCRATES: Well, that is almost self-explained, being only the name of a spring, a little disguised; for that which is strained and filtered (diattomenon, ethoumenon) may be likened to a spring, and the name Tethys is made up of these two words. HERMOGENES: The idea is ingenious, Socrates. SOCRATES: To be sure. But what comes next?–of Zeus we have spoken. HERMOGENES: Yes.

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SOCRATES: Then let us next take his two brothers, Poseidon and Pluto, whether the latter is called by that or by his other name. HERMOGENES: By all means. SOCRATES: Poseidon is Posidesmos, the chain of the feet; the original inventor of the name had been stopped by the watery element in his walks, and not allowed to go on, and therefore he called the ruler of this element Poseidon; the epsilon was probably inserted as an ornament. Yet, perhaps, not so; but the name may have been originally written with a double lamda and not with a sigma, meaning that the God knew many things (Polla eidos). And perhaps also he being the shaker of the earth, has been named from shaking (seiein), and then pi and delta have been added. Pluto gives wealth (Ploutos), and his name means the giver of wealth, which comes out of the earth beneath. People in general appear to imagine that the term Hades is connected with the invisible (aeides) and so they are led by their fears to call the God Pluto instead. HERMOGENES: And what is the true derivation? SOCRATES: In spite of the mistakes which are made about the power of this deity, and the foolish fears which people have of him, such as the fear of always being with him after death, and of the soul denuded of the body going to him (compare Rep.), my belief is that all is quite consistent, and that the office and name of the God really correspond. HERMOGENES: Why, how is that? SOCRATES: I will tell you my own opinion; but first, I should like to ask you which chain does any animal feel to be the stronger? and which confines him more to the same spot,–desire or necessity? HERMOGENES: Desire, Socrates, is stronger far. SOCRATES: And do you not think that many a one would escape from Hades, if he did not bind those who depart to him by the strongest of chains? HERMOGENES: Assuredly they would. SOCRATES: And if by the greatest of chains, then by some desire, as I should certainly infer, and not by necessity? HERMOGENES: That is clear. SOCRATES: And there are many desires? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And therefore by the greatest desire, if the chain is to be the greatest? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: And is any desire stronger than the thought that you will be made better by associating with another? HERMOGENES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: And is not that the reason, Hermogenes, why no one, who has been to him, is willing to come back to us? Even the Sirens, like all the rest of the world, have been laid under his spells. Such a charm, as I imagine, is the God able to infuse into his words. And, according to this view, he is the perfect and accomplished Sophist, and the great benefactor of the inhabitants of the other world; and even to us who are upon earth he sends from below exceeding blessings. For he has much more than he wants down there; wherefore he is called Pluto (or the rich). Note also, that he will have nothing to do with men while they are in the body, but only when the soul is liberated from the desires and evils of the body. Now there is a great deal of philosophy and reflection in that; for in their liberated state he can bind them with the desire of virtue,

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but while they are flustered and maddened by the body, not even father Cronos himself would suffice to keep them with him in his own far-famed chains. HERMOGENES: There is a deal of truth in what you say. SOCRATES: Yes, Hermogenes, and the legislator called him Hades, not from the unseen (aeides)–far otherwise, but from his knowledge (eidenai) of all noble things. HERMOGENES: Very good; and what do we say of Demeter, and Here, and Apollo, and Athene, and Hephaestus, and Ares, and the other deities? SOCRATES: Demeter is e didousa meter, who gives food like a mother; Here is the lovely one (erate)–for Zeus, according to tradition, loved and married her; possibly also the name may have been given when the legislator was thinking of the heavens, and may be only a disguise of the air (aer), putting the end in the place of the beginning. You will recognize the truth of this if you repeat the letters of Here several times over. People dread the name of Pherephatta as they dread the name of Apollo,–and with as little reason; the fear, if I am not mistaken, only arises from their ignorance of the nature of names. But they go changing the name into Phersephone, and they are terrified at this; whereas the new name means only that the Goddess is wise (sophe); for seeing that all things in the world are in motion (pheromenon), that principle which embraces and touches and is able to follow them, is wisdom. And therefore the Goddess may be truly called Pherepaphe (Pherepapha), or some name like it, because she touches that which is in motion (tou pheromenon ephaptomene), herein showing her wisdom. And Hades, who is wise, consorts with her, because she is wise. They alter her name into Pherephatta now-a-days, because the present generation care for euphony more than truth. There is the other name, Apollo, which, as I was saying, is generally supposed to have some terrible signification. Have you remarked this fact? HERMOGENES: To be sure I have, and what you say is true. SOCRATES: But the name, in my opinion, is really most expressive of the power of the God. HERMOGENES: How so? SOCRATES: I will endeavour to explain, for I do not believe that any single name could have been better adapted to express the attributes of the God, embracing and in a manner signifying all four of them,–music, and prophecy, and medicine, and archery. HERMOGENES: That must be a strange name, and I should like to hear the explanation. SOCRATES: Say rather an harmonious name, as beseems the God of Harmony. In the first place, the purgations and purifications which doctors and diviners use, and their fumigations with drugs magical or medicinal, as well as their washings and lustral sprinklings, have all one and the same object, which is to make a man pure both in body and soul. HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: And is not Apollo the purifier, and the washer, and the absolver from all impurities? HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: Then in reference to his ablutions and absolutions, as being the physician who orders them, he may be rightly called Apolouon (purifier); or in respect of his powers of divination, and his truth and sincerity, which is the same as truth, he may be most fitly called Aplos, from aplous (sincere), as in the

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Thessalian dialect, for all the Thessalians call him Aplos; also he is aei Ballon (always shooting), because he is a master archer who never misses; or again, the name may refer to his musical attributes, and then, as in akolouthos, and akoitis, and in many other words the alpha is supposed to mean ’together,’ so the meaning of the name Apollo will be ’moving together,’ whether in the poles of heaven as they are called, or in the harmony of song, which is termed concord, because he moves all together by an harmonious power, as astronomers and musicians ingeniously declare. And he is the God who presides over harmony, and makes all things move together, both among Gods and among men. And as in the words akolouthos and akoitis the alpha is substituted for an omicron, so the name Apollon is equivalent to omopolon; only the second lambda is added in order to avoid the ill-omened sound of destruction (apolon). Now the suspicion of this destructive power still haunts the minds of some who do not consider the true value of the name, which, as I was saying just now, has reference to all the powers of the God, who is the single one, the everdarting, the purifier, the mover together (aplous, aei Ballon, apolouon, omopolon). The name of the Muses and of music would seem to be derived from their making philosophical enquiries (mosthai); and Leto is called by this name, because she is such a gentle Goddess, and so willing (ethelemon) to grant our requests; or her name may be Letho, as she is often called by strangers–they seem to imply by it her amiability, and her smooth and easy-going way of behaving. Artemis is named from her healthy (artemes), well-ordered nature, and because of her love of virginity, perhaps because she is a proficient in virtue (arete), and perhaps also as hating intercourse of the sexes (ton aroton misesasa). He who gave the Goddess her name may have had any or all of these reasons. HERMOGENES: What is the meaning of Dionysus and Aphrodite? SOCRATES: Son of Hipponicus, you ask a solemn question; there is a serious and also a facetious explanation of both these names; the serious explanation is not to be had from me, but there is no objection to your hearing the facetious one; for the Gods too love a joke. Dionusos is simply didous oinon (giver of wine), Didoinusos, as he might be called in fun,–and oinos is properly oionous, because wine makes those who drink, think (oiesthai) that they have a mind (noun) when they have none. The derivation of Aphrodite, born of the foam (aphros), may be fairly accepted on the authority of Hesiod. HERMOGENES: Still there remains Athene, whom you, Socrates, as an Athenian, will surely not forget; there are also Hephaestus and Ares. SOCRATES: I am not likely to forget them. HERMOGENES: No, indeed. SOCRATES: There is no difficulty in explaining the other appellation of Athene. HERMOGENES: What other appellation? SOCRATES: We call her Pallas. HERMOGENES: To be sure. SOCRATES: And we cannot be wrong in supposing that this is derived from armed dances. For the elevation of oneself or anything else above the earth, or by the use of the hands, we call shaking (pallein), or dancing. HERMOGENES: That is quite true. SOCRATES: Then that is the explanation of the name Pallas? HERMOGENES: Yes; but what do you say of the other name? SOCRATES: Athene?

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HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: That is a graver matter, and there, my friend, the modern interpreters of Homer may, I think, assist in explaining the view of the ancients. For most of these in their explanations of the poet, assert that he meant by Athene ’mind’ (nous) and ’intelligence’ (dianoia), and the maker of names appears to have had a singular notion about her; and indeed calls her by a still higher title, ’divine intelligence’ (Thou noesis), as though he would say: This is she who has the mind of God (Theonoa);–using alpha as a dialectical variety for eta, and taking away iota and sigma (There seems to be some error in the MSS. The meaning is that the word theonoa = theounoa is a curtailed form of theou noesis, but the omitted letters do not agree.). Perhaps, however, the name Theonoe may mean ’she who knows divine things’ (Theia noousa) better than others. Nor shall we be far wrong in supposing that the author of it wished to identify this Goddess with moral intelligence (en ethei noesin), and therefore gave her the name ethonoe; which, however, either he or his successors have altered into what they thought a nicer form, and called her Athene. HERMOGENES: But what do you say of Hephaestus? SOCRATES: Speak you of the princely lord of light (Phaeos istora)? HERMOGENES: Surely. SOCRATES: Ephaistos is Phaistos, and has added the eta by attraction; that is obvious to anybody. HERMOGENES: That is very probable, until some more probable notion gets into your head. SOCRATES: To prevent that, you had better ask what is the derivation of Ares. HERMOGENES: What is Ares? SOCRATES: Ares may be called, if you will, from his manhood (arren) and manliness, or if you please, from his hard and unchangeable nature, which is the meaning of arratos: the latter is a derivation in every way appropriate to the God of war. HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: And now, by the Gods, let us have no more of the Gods, for I am afraid of them; ask about anything but them, and thou shalt see how the steeds of Euthyphro can prance. HERMOGENES: Only one more God! I should like to know about Hermes, of whom I am said not to be a true son. Let us make him out, and then I shall know whether there is any meaning in what Cratylus says. SOCRATES: I should imagine that the name Hermes has to do with speech, and signifies that he is the interpreter (ermeneus), or messenger, or thief, or liar, or bargainer; all that sort of thing has a great deal to do with language; as I was telling you, the word eirein is expressive of the use of speech, and there is an often-recurring Homeric word emesato, which means ’he contrived’–out of these two words, eirein and mesasthai, the legislator formed the name of the God who invented language and speech; and we may imagine him dictating to us the use of this name: ’O my friends,’ says he to us, ’seeing that he is the contriver of tales or speeches, you may rightly call him Eirhemes.’ And this has been improved by us, as we think, into Hermes. Iris also appears to have been called from the verb ’to tell’ (eirein), because she was a messenger. HERMOGENES: Then I am very sure that Cratylus was quite right in saying that I was no true son of Hermes (Ermogenes), for I am not a good hand at

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speeches. SOCRATES: There is also reason, my friend, in Pan being the double-formed son of Hermes. HERMOGENES: How do you make that out? SOCRATES: You are aware that speech signifies all things (pan), and is always turning them round and round, and has two forms, true and false? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Is not the truth that is in him the smooth or sacred form which dwells above among the Gods, whereas falsehood dwells among men below, and is rough like the goat of tragedy; for tales and falsehoods have generally to do with the tragic or goatish life, and tragedy is the place of them? HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: Then surely Pan, who is the declarer of all things (pan) and the perpetual mover (aei polon) of all things, is rightly called aipolos (goatherd), he being the two-formed son of Hermes, smooth in his upper part, and rough and goatlike in his lower regions. And, as the son of Hermes, he is speech or the brother of speech, and that brother should be like brother is no marvel. But, as I was saying, my dear Hermogenes, let us get away from the Gods. HERMOGENES: From these sort of Gods, by all means, Socrates. But why should we not discuss another kind of Gods–the sun, moon, stars, earth, aether, air, fire, water, the seasons, and the year? SOCRATES: You impose a great many tasks upon me. Still, if you wish, I will not refuse. HERMOGENES: You will oblige me. SOCRATES: How would you have me begin? Shall I take first of all him whom you mentioned first–the sun? HERMOGENES: Very good. SOCRATES: The origin of the sun will probably be clearer in the Doric form, for the Dorians call him alios, and this name is given to him because when he rises he gathers (alizoi) men together or because he is always rolling in his course (aei eilein ion) about the earth; or from aiolein, of which the meaning is the same as poikillein (to variegate), because he variegates the productions of the earth. HERMOGENES: But what is selene (the moon)? SOCRATES: That name is rather unfortunate for Anaxagoras. HERMOGENES: How so? SOCRATES: The word seems to forestall his recent discovery, that the moon receives her light from the sun. HERMOGENES: Why do you say so? SOCRATES: The two words selas (brightness) and phos (light) have much the same meaning? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: This light about the moon is always new (neon) and always old (enon), if the disciples of Anaxagoras say truly. For the sun in his revolution always adds new light, and there is the old light of the previous month. HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: The moon is not unfrequently called selanaia. HERMOGENES: True.

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SOCRATES: And as she has a light which is always old and always new (enon neon aei) she may very properly have the name selaenoneoaeia; and this when hammered into shape becomes selanaia. HERMOGENES: A real dithyrambic sort of name that, Socrates. But what do you say of the month and the stars? SOCRATES: Meis (month) is called from meiousthai (to lessen), because suffering diminution; the name of astra (stars) seems to be derived from astrape, which is an improvement on anastrope, signifying the upsetting of the eyes (anastrephein opa). HERMOGENES: What do you say of pur (fire) and udor (water)? SOCRATES: I am at a loss how to explain pur; either the muse of Euthyphro has deserted me, or there is some very great difficulty in the word. Please, however, to note the contrivance which I adopt whenever I am in a difficulty of this sort. HERMOGENES: What is it? SOCRATES: I will tell you; but I should like to know first whether you can tell me what is the meaning of the pur? HERMOGENES: Indeed I cannot. SOCRATES: Shall I tell you what I suspect to be the true explanation of this and several other words?–My belief is that they are of foreign origin. For the Hellenes, especially those who were under the dominion of the barbarians, often borrowed from them. HERMOGENES: What is the inference? SOCRATES: Why, you know that any one who seeks to demonstrate the fitness of these names according to the Hellenic language, and not according to the language from which the words are derived, is rather likely to be at fault. HERMOGENES: Yes, certainly. SOCRATES: Well then, consider whether this pur is not foreign; for the word is not easily brought into relation with the Hellenic tongue, and the Phrygians may be observed to have the same word slightly changed, just as they have udor (water) and kunes (dogs), and many other words. HERMOGENES: That is true. SOCRATES: Any violent interpretations of the words should be avoided; for something to say about them may easily be found. And thus I get rid of pur and udor. Aer (air), Hermogenes, may be explained as the element which raises (airei) things from the earth, or as ever flowing (aei rei), or because the flux of the air is wind, and the poets call the winds ’air- blasts,’ (aetai); he who uses the term may mean, so to speak, air-flux (aetorroun), in the sense of wind-flux (pneumatorroun); and because this moving wind may be expressed by either term he employs the word air (aer = aetes rheo). Aither (aether) I should interpret as aeitheer; this may be correctly said, because this element is always running in a flux about the air (aei thei peri tou aera reon). The meaning of the word ge (earth) comes out better when in the form of gaia, for the earth may be truly called ’mother’ (gaia, genneteira), as in the language of Homer (Od.) gegaasi means gegennesthai. HERMOGENES: Good. SOCRATES: What shall we take next? HERMOGENES: There are orai (the seasons), and the two names of the year, eniautos and etos.

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SOCRATES: The orai should be spelt in the old Attic way, if you desire to know the probable truth about them; they are rightly called the orai because they divide (orizousin) the summers and winters and winds and the fruits of the earth. The words eniautos and etos appear to be the same,– ’that which brings to light the plants and growths of the earth in their turn, and passes them in review within itself (en eauto exetazei)’: this is broken up into two words, eniautos from en eauto, and etos from etazei, just as the original name of Zeus was divided into Zena and Dia; and the whole proposition means that his power of reviewing from within is one, but has two names, two words etos and eniautos being thus formed out of a single proposition. HERMOGENES: Indeed, Socrates, you make surprising progress. SOCRATES: I am run away with. HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: But am not yet at my utmost speed. HERMOGENES: I should like very much to know, in the next place, how you would explain the virtues. What principle of correctness is there in those charming words–wisdom, understanding, justice, and the rest of them? SOCRATES: That is a tremendous class of names which you are disinterring; still, as I have put on the lion’s skin, I must not be faint of heart; and I suppose that I must consider the meaning of wisdom (phronesis) and understanding (sunesis), and judgment (gnome), and knowledge (episteme), and all those other charming words, as you call them? HERMOGENES: Surely, we must not leave off until we find out their meaning. SOCRATES: By the dog of Egypt I have a not bad notion which came into my head only this moment: I believe that the primeval givers of names were undoubtedly like too many of our modern philosophers, who, in their search after the nature of things, are always getting dizzy from constantly going round and round, and then they imagine that the world is going round and round and moving in all directions; and this appearance, which arises out of their own internal condition, they suppose to be a reality of nature; they think that there is nothing stable or permanent, but only flux and motion, and that the world is always full of every sort of motion and change. The consideration of the names which I mentioned has led me into making this reflection. HERMOGENES: How is that, Socrates? SOCRATES: Perhaps you did not observe that in the names which have been just cited, the motion or flux or generation of things is most surely indicated. HERMOGENES: No, indeed, I never thought of it. SOCRATES: Take the first of those which you mentioned; clearly that is a name indicative of motion. HERMOGENES: What was the name? SOCRATES: Phronesis (wisdom), which may signify phoras kai rhou noesis (perception of motion and flux), or perhaps phoras onesis (the blessing of motion), but is at any rate connected with pheresthai (motion); gnome (judgment), again, certainly implies the ponderation or consideration (nomesis) of generation, for to ponder is the same as to consider; or, if you would rather, here is noesis, the very word just now mentioned, which is neou esis (the desire of the new); the word neos implies that the world is always in process of creation. The giver of the name wanted to express this longing of the soul, for the original name was neoesis, and not noesis; but eta took the place of a double epsilon.

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The word sophrosune is the salvation (soteria) of that wisdom (phronesis) which we were just now considering. Epioteme (knowledge) is akin to this, and indicates that the soul which is good for anything follows (epetai) the motion of things, neither anticipating them nor falling behind them; wherefore the word should rather be read as epistemene, inserting epsilon nu. Sunesis (understanding) may be regarded in like manner as a kind of conclusion; the word is derived from sunienai (to go along with), and, like epistasthai (to know), implies the progression of the soul in company with the nature of things. Sophia (wisdom) is very dark, and appears not to be of native growth; the meaning is, touching the motion or stream of things. You must remember that the poets, when they speak of the commencement of any rapid motion, often use the word esuthe (he rushed); and there was a famous Lacedaemonian who was named Sous (Rush), for by this word the Lacedaemonians signify rapid motion, and the touching (epaphe) of motion is expressed by sophia, for all things are supposed to be in motion. Good (agathon) is the name which is given to the admirable (agasto) in nature; for, although all things move, still there are degrees of motion; some are swifter, some slower; but there are some things which are admirable for their swiftness, and this admirable part of nature is called agathon. Dikaiosune (justice) is clearly dikaiou sunesis (understanding of the just); but the actual word dikaion is more difficult: men are only agreed to a certain extent about justice, and then they begin to disagree. For those who suppose all things to be in motion conceive the greater part of nature to be a mere receptacle; and they say that there is a penetrating power which passes through all this, and is the instrument of creation in all, and is the subtlest and swiftest element; for if it were not the subtlest, and a power which none can keep out, and also the swiftest, passing by other things as if they were standing still, it could not penetrate through the moving universe. And this element, which superintends all things and pierces (diaion) all, is rightly called dikaion; the letter k is only added for the sake of euphony. Thus far, as I was saying, there is a general agreement about the nature of justice; but I, Hermogenes, being an enthusiastic disciple, have been told in a mystery that the justice of which I am speaking is also the cause of the world: now a cause is that because of which anything is created; and some one comes and whispers in my ear that justice is rightly so called because partaking of the nature of the cause, and I begin, after hearing what he has said, to interrogate him gently: ’Well, my excellent friend,’ say I, ’but if all this be true, I still want to know what is justice.’ Thereupon they think that I ask tiresome questions, and am leaping over the barriers, and have been already sufficiently answered, and they try to satisfy me with one derivation after another, and at length they quarrel. For one of them says that justice is the sun, and that he only is the piercing (diaionta) and burning (kaonta) element which is the guardian of nature. And when I joyfully repeat this beautiful notion, I am answered by the satirical remark, ’What, is there no justice in the world when the sun is down?’ And when I earnestly beg my questioner to tell me his own honest opinion, he says, ’Fire in the abstract’; but this is not very intelligible. Another says, ’No, not fire in the abstract, but the abstraction of heat in the fire.’ Another man professes to laugh at all this, and says, as Anaxagoras says, that justice is mind, for mind, as they say, has absolute power, and mixes with nothing, and orders all things, and passes through all things. At last, my friend, I find myself in far greater perplexity about the nature of justice than I was before I began to learn. But still I am of opinion that the name, which

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has led me into this digression, was given to justice for the reasons which I have mentioned. HERMOGENES: I think, Socrates, that you are not improvising now; you must have heard this from some one else. SOCRATES: And not the rest? HERMOGENES: Hardly. SOCRATES: Well, then, let me go on in the hope of making you believe in the originality of the rest. What remains after justice? I do not think that we have as yet discussed courage (andreia),–injustice (adikia), which is obviously nothing more than a hindrance to the penetrating principle (diaiontos), need not be considered. Well, then, the name of andreia seems to imply a battle;– this battle is in the world of existence, and according to the doctrine of flux is only the counterflux (enantia rhon): if you extract the delta from andreia, the name at once signifies the thing, and you may clearly understand that andreia is not the stream opposed to every stream, but only to that which is contrary to justice, for otherwise courage would not have been praised. The words arren (male) and aner (man) also contain a similar allusion to the same principle of the upward flux (te ano rhon). Gune (woman) I suspect to be the same word as goun (birth): thelu (female) appears to be partly derived from thele (the teat), because the teat is like rain, and makes things flourish (tethelenai). HERMOGENES: That is surely probable. SOCRATES: Yes; and the very word thallein (to flourish) seems to figure the growth of youth, which is swift and sudden ever. And this is expressed by the legislator in the name, which is a compound of thein (running), and allesthai (leaping). Pray observe how I gallop away when I get on smooth ground. There are a good many names generally thought to be of importance, which have still to be explained. HERMOGENES: True. SOCRATES: There is the meaning of the word techne (art), for example. HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: That may be identified with echonoe, and expresses the possession of mind: you have only to take away the tau and insert two omichrons, one between the chi and nu, and another between the nu and eta. HERMOGENES: That is a very shabby etymology. SOCRATES: Yes, my dear friend; but then you know that the original names have been long ago buried and disguised by people sticking on and stripping off letters for the sake of euphony, and twisting and bedizening them in all sorts of ways: and time too may have had a share in the change. Take, for example, the word katoptron; why is the letter rho inserted? This must surely be the addition of some one who cares nothing about the truth, but thinks only of putting the mouth into shape. And the additions are often such that at last no human being can possibly make out the original meaning of the word. Another example is the word sphigx, sphiggos, which ought properly to be phigx, phiggos, and there are other examples. HERMOGENES: That is quite true, Socrates. SOCRATES: And yet, if you are permitted to put in and pull out any letters which you please, names will be too easily made, and any name may be adapted to any object. HERMOGENES: True.

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SOCRATES: Yes, that is true. And therefore a wise dictator, like yourself, should observe the laws of moderation and probability. HERMOGENES: Such is my desire. SOCRATES: And mine, too, Hermogenes. But do not be too much of a precisian, or ’you will unnerve me of my strength (Iliad.).’ When you have allowed me to add mechane (contrivance) to techne (art) I shall be at the top of my bent, for I conceive mechane to be a sign of great accomplishment –anein; for mekos has the meaning of greatness, and these two, mekos and anein, make up the word mechane. But, as I was saying, being now at the top of my bent, I should like to consider the meaning of the two words arete (virtue) and kakia (vice); arete I do not as yet understand, but kakia is transparent, and agrees with the principles which preceded, for all things being in a flux (ionton), kakia is kakos ion (going badly); and this evil motion when existing in the soul has the general name of kakia, or vice, specially appropriated to it. The meaning of kakos ienai may be further illustrated by the use of deilia (cowardice), which ought to have come after andreia, but was forgotten, and, as I fear, is not the only word which has been passed over. Deilia signifies that the soul is bound with a strong chain (desmos), for lian means strength, and therefore deilia expresses the greatest and strongest bond of the soul; and aporia (difficulty) is an evil of the same nature (from a (alpha) not, and poreuesthai to go), like anything else which is an impediment to motion and movement. Then the word kakia appears to mean kakos ienai, or going badly, or limping and halting; of which the consequence is, that the soul becomes filled with vice. And if kakia is the name of this sort of thing, arete will be the opposite of it, signifying in the first place ease of motion, then that the stream of the good soul is unimpeded, and has therefore the attribute of ever flowing without let or hindrance, and is therefore called arete, or, more correctly, aeireite (ever-flowing), and may perhaps have had another form, airete (eligible), indicating that nothing is more eligible than virtue, and this has been hammered into arete. I daresay that you will deem this to be another invention of mine, but I think that if the previous word kakia was right, then arete is also right. HERMOGENES: But what is the meaning of kakon, which has played so great a part in your previous discourse? SOCRATES: That is a very singular word about which I can hardly form an opinion, and therefore I must have recourse to my ingenious device. HERMOGENES: What device? SOCRATES: The device of a foreign origin, which I shall give to this word also. HERMOGENES: Very likely you are right; but suppose that we leave these words and endeavour to see the rationale of kalon and aischron. SOCRATES: The meaning of aischron is evident, being only aei ischon roes (always preventing from flowing), and this is in accordance with our former derivations. For the name-giver was a great enemy to stagnation of all sorts, and hence he gave the name aeischoroun to that which hindered the flux (aei ischon roun), and that is now beaten together into aischron. HERMOGENES: But what do you say of kalon? SOCRATES: That is more obscure; yet the form is only due to the quantity, and has been changed by altering omicron upsilon into omicron. HERMOGENES: What do you mean? SOCRATES: This name appears to denote mind.

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HERMOGENES: How so? SOCRATES: Let me ask you what is the cause why anything has a name; is not the principle which imposes the name the cause? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: And must not this be the mind of Gods, or of men, or of both? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: Is not mind that which called (kalesan) things by their names, and is not mind the beautiful (kalon)? HERMOGENES: That is evident. SOCRATES: And are not the works of intelligence and mind worthy of praise, and are not other works worthy of blame? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: Physic does the work of a physician, and carpentering does the works of a carpenter? HERMOGENES: Exactly. SOCRATES: And the principle of beauty does the works of beauty? HERMOGENES: Of course. SOCRATES: And that principle we affirm to be mind? HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: Then mind is rightly called beauty because she does the works which we recognize and speak of as the beautiful? HERMOGENES: That is evident. SOCRATES: What more names remain to us? HERMOGENES: There are the words which are connected with agathon and kalon, such as sumpheron and lusiteloun, ophelimon, kerdaleon, and their opposites. SOCRATES: The meaning of sumpheron (expedient) I think that you may discover for yourself by the light of the previous examples,–for it is a sister word to episteme, meaning just the motion (pora) of the soul accompanying the world, and things which are done upon this principle are called sumphora or sumpheronta, because they are carried round with the world. HERMOGENES: That is probable. SOCRATES: Again, cherdaleon (gainful) is called from cherdos (gain), but you must alter the delta into nu if you want to get at the meaning; for this word also signifies good, but in another way; he who gave the name intended to express the power of admixture (kerannumenon) and universal penetration in the good; in forming the word, however, he inserted a delta instead of a nu, and so made kerdos. HERMOGENES: Well, but what is lusiteloun (profitable)? SOCRATES: I suppose, Hermogenes, that people do not mean by the profitable the gainful or that which pays (luei) the retailer, but they use the word in the sense of swift. You regard the profitable (lusiteloun), as that which being the swiftest thing in existence, allows of no stay in things and no pause or end of motion, but always, if there begins to be any end, lets things go again (luei), and makes motion immortal and unceasing: and in this point of view, as appears to me, the good is happily denominated lusiteloun–being that which looses (luon) the end (telos) of motion. Ophelimon (the advantageous) is derived from ophellein, meaning that which creates and increases; this latter is a common Homeric word, and has a foreign character. HERMOGENES: And what do you say of their opposites?

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SOCRATES: Of such as are mere negatives I hardly think that I need speak. HERMOGENES: Which are they? SOCRATES: The words axumphoron (inexpedient), anopheles (unprofitable), alusiteles (unadvantageous), akerdes (ungainful). HERMOGENES: True. SOCRATES: I would rather take the words blaberon (harmful), zemiodes (hurtful). HERMOGENES: Good. SOCRATES: The word blaberon is that which is said to hinder or harm (blaptein) the stream (roun); blapton is boulomenon aptein (seeking to hold or bind); for aptein is the same as dein, and dein is always a term of censure; boulomenon aptein roun (wanting to bind the stream) would properly be boulapteroun, and this, as I imagine, is improved into blaberon. HERMOGENES: You bring out curious results, Socrates, in the use of names; and when I hear the word boulapteroun I cannot help imagining that you are making your mouth into a flute, and puffing away at some prelude to Athene. SOCRATES: That is the fault of the makers of the name, Hermogenes; not mine. HERMOGENES: Very true; but what is the derivation of zemiodes? SOCRATES: What is the meaning of zemiodes?–let me remark, Hermogenes, how right I was in saying that great changes are made in the meaning of words by putting in and pulling out letters; even a very slight permutation will sometimes give an entirely opposite sense; I may instance the word deon, which occurs to me at the moment, and reminds me of what I was going to say to you, that the fine fashionable language of modern times has twisted and disguised and entirely altered the original meaning both of deon, and also of zemiodes, which in the old language is clearly indicated. HERMOGENES: What do you mean? SOCRATES: I will try to explain. You are aware that our forefathers loved the sounds iota and delta, especially the women, who are most conservative of the ancient language, but now they change iota into eta or epsilon, and delta into zeta; this is supposed to increase the grandeur of the sound. HERMOGENES: How do you mean? SOCRATES: For example, in very ancient times they called the day either imera or emera (short e), which is called by us emera (long e). HERMOGENES: That is true. SOCRATES: Do you observe that only the ancient form shows the intention of the giver of the name? of which the reason is, that men long for (imeirousi) and love the light which comes after the darkness, and is therefore called imera, from imeros, desire. HERMOGENES: Clearly. SOCRATES: But now the name is so travestied that you cannot tell the meaning, although there are some who imagine the day to be called emera because it makes things gentle (emera different accents). HERMOGENES: Such is my view. SOCRATES: And do you know that the ancients said duogon and not zugon? HERMOGENES: They did so. SOCRATES: And zugon (yoke) has no meaning,–it ought to be duogon, which word expresses the binding of two together (duein agoge) for the pur-

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pose of drawing;–this has been changed into zugon, and there are many other examples of similar changes. HERMOGENES: There are. SOCRATES: Proceeding in the same train of thought I may remark that the word deon (obligation) has a meaning which is the opposite of all the other appellations of good; for deon is here a species of good, and is, nevertheless, the chain (desmos) or hinderer of motion, and therefore own brother of blaberon. HERMOGENES: Yes, Socrates; that is quite plain. SOCRATES: Not if you restore the ancient form, which is more likely to be the correct one, and read dion instead of deon; if you convert the epsilon into an iota after the old fashion, this word will then agree with other words meaning good; for dion, not deon, signifies the good, and is a term of praise; and the author of names has not contradicted himself, but in all these various appellations, deon (obligatory), ophelimon (advantageous), lusiteloun (profitable), kerdaleon (gainful), agathon (good), sumpheron (expedient), euporon (plenteous), the same conception is implied of the ordering or all-pervading principle which is praised, and the restraining and binding principle which is censured. And this is further illustrated by the word zemiodes (hurtful), which if the zeta is only changed into delta as in the ancient language, becomes demiodes; and this name, as you will perceive, is given to that which binds motion (dounti ion). HERMOGENES: What do you say of edone (pleasure), lupe (pain), epithumia (desire), and the like, Socrates? SOCRATES: I do not think, Hermogenes, that there is any great difficulty about them–edone is e (eta) onesis, the action which tends to advantage; and the original form may be supposed to have been eone, but this has been altered by the insertion of the delta. Lupe appears to be derived from the relaxation (luein) which the body feels when in sorrow; ania (trouble) is the hindrance of motion (alpha and ienai); algedon (distress), if I am not mistaken, is a foreign word, which is derived from aleinos (grievous); odune (grief) is called from the putting on (endusis) sorrow; in achthedon (vexation) ’the word too labours,’ as any one may see; chara (joy) is the very expression of the fluency and diffusion of the soul (cheo); terpsis (delight) is so called from the pleasure creeping (erpon) through the soul, which may be likened to a breath (pnoe) and is properly erpnoun, but has been altered by time into terpnon; eupherosune (cheerfulness) and epithumia explain themselves; the former, which ought to be eupherosune and has been changed euphrosune, is named, as every one may see, from the soul moving (pheresthai) in harmony with nature; epithumia is really e epi ton thumon iousa dunamis, the power which enters into the soul; thumos (passion) is called from the rushing (thuseos) and boiling of the soul; imeros (desire) denotes the stream (rous) which most draws the soul dia ten esin tes roes– because flowing with desire (iemenos), and expresses a longing after things and violent attraction of the soul to them, and is termed imeros from possessing this power; pothos (longing) is expressive of the desire of that which is not present but absent, and in another place (pou); this is the reason why the name pothos is applied to things absent, as imeros is to things present; eros (love) is so called because flowing in (esron) from without; the stream is not inherent, but is an influence introduced through the eyes, and from flowing in was called esros (influx) in the old time when they used omicron for omega, and is called eros, now that omega is substituted for omicron. But why do you not give me another word?

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HERMOGENES: What do you think of doxa (opinion), and that class of words? SOCRATES: Doxa is either derived from dioxis (pursuit), and expresses the march of the soul in the pursuit of knowledge, or from the shooting of a bow (toxon); the latter is more likely, and is confirmed by oiesis (thinking), which is only oisis (moving), and implies the movement of the soul to the essential nature of each thing–just as boule (counsel) has to do with shooting (bole); and boulesthai (to wish) combines the notion of aiming and deliberating–all these words seem to follow doxa, and all involve the idea of shooting, just as aboulia, absence of counsel, on the other hand, is a mishap, or missing, or mistaking of the mark, or aim, or proposal, or object. HERMOGENES: You are quickening your pace now, Socrates. SOCRATES: Why yes, the end I now dedicate to God, not, however, until I have explained anagke (necessity), which ought to come next, and ekousion (the voluntary). Ekousion is certainly the yielding (eikon) and unresisting–the notion implied is yielding and not opposing, yielding, as I was just now saying, to that motion which is in accordance with our will; but the necessary and resistant being contrary to our will, implies error and ignorance; the idea is taken from walking through a ravine which is impassable, and rugged, and overgrown, and impedes motion–and this is the derivation of the word anagkaion (necessary) an agke ion, going through a ravine. But while my strength lasts let us persevere, and I hope that you will persevere with your questions. HERMOGENES: Well, then, let me ask about the greatest and noblest, such as aletheia (truth) and pseudos (falsehood) and on (being), not forgetting to enquire why the word onoma (name), which is the theme of our discussion, has this name of onoma. SOCRATES: You know the word maiesthai (to seek)? HERMOGENES: Yes;–meaning the same as zetein (to enquire). SOCRATES: The word onoma seems to be a compressed sentence, signifying on ou zetema (being for which there is a search); as is still more obvious in onomaston (notable), which states in so many words that real existence is that for which there is a seeking (on ou masma); aletheia is also an agglomeration of theia ale (divine wandering), implying the divine motion of existence; pseudos (falsehood) is the opposite of motion; here is another ill name given by the legislator to stagnation and forced inaction, which he compares to sleep (eudein); but the original meaning of the word is disguised by the addition of psi; on and ousia are ion with an iota broken off; this agrees with the true principle, for being (on) is also moving (ion), and the same may be said of not being, which is likewise called not going (oukion or ouki on = ouk ion). HERMOGENES: You have hammered away at them manfully; but suppose that some one were to say to you, what is the word ion, and what are reon and doun?– show me their fitness. SOCRATES: You mean to say, how should I answer him? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: One way of giving the appearance of an answer has been already suggested. HERMOGENES: What way? SOCRATES: To say that names which we do not understand are of foreign origin; and this is very likely the right answer, and something of this kind may be true of them; but also the original forms of words may have been lost in the

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lapse of ages; names have been so twisted in all manner of ways, that I should not be surprised if the old language when compared with that now in use would appear to us to be a barbarous tongue. HERMOGENES: Very likely. SOCRATES: Yes, very likely. But still the enquiry demands our earnest attention and we must not flinch. For we should remember, that if a person go on analysing names into words, and enquiring also into the elements out of which the words are formed, and keeps on always repeating this process, he who has to answer him must at last give up the enquiry in despair. HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: And at what point ought he to lose heart and give up the enquiry? Must he not stop when he comes to the names which are the elements of all other names and sentences; for these cannot be supposed to be made up of other names? The word agathon (good), for example, is, as we were saying, a compound of agastos (admirable) and thoos (swift). And probably thoos is made up of other elements, and these again of others. But if we take a word which is incapable of further resolution, then we shall be right in saying that we have at last reached a primary element, which need not be resolved any further. HERMOGENES: I believe you to be in the right. SOCRATES: And suppose the names about which you are now asking should turn out to be primary elements, must not their truth or law be examined according to some new method? HERMOGENES: Very likely. SOCRATES: Quite so, Hermogenes; all that has preceded would lead to this conclusion. And if, as I think, the conclusion is true, then I shall again say to you, come and help me, that I may not fall into some absurdity in stating the principle of primary names. HERMOGENES: Let me hear, and I will do my best to assist you. SOCRATES: I think that you will acknowledge with me, that one principle is applicable to all names, primary as well as secondary–when they are regarded simply as names, there is no difference in them. HERMOGENES: Certainly not. SOCRATES: All the names that we have been explaining were intended to indicate the nature of things. HERMOGENES: Of course. SOCRATES: And that this is true of the primary quite as much as of the secondary names, is implied in their being names. HERMOGENES: Surely. SOCRATES: But the secondary, as I conceive, derive their significance from the primary. HERMOGENES: That is evident. SOCRATES: Very good; but then how do the primary names which precede analysis show the natures of things, as far as they can be shown; which they must do, if they are to be real names? And here I will ask you a question: Suppose that we had no voice or tongue, and wanted to communicate with one another, should we not, like the deaf and dumb, make signs with the hands and head and the rest of the body? HERMOGENES: There would be no choice, Socrates. SOCRATES: We should imitate the nature of the thing; the elevation of our hands to heaven would mean lightness and upwardness; heaviness and down-

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wardness would be expressed by letting them drop to the ground; if we were describing the running of a horse, or any other animal, we should make our bodies and their gestures as like as we could to them. HERMOGENES: I do not see that we could do anything else. SOCRATES: We could not; for by bodily imitation only can the body ever express anything. HERMOGENES: Very true. SOCRATES: And when we want to express ourselves, either with the voice, or tongue, or mouth, the expression is simply their imitation of that which we want to express. HERMOGENES: It must be so, I think. SOCRATES: Then a name is a vocal imitation of that which the vocal imitator names or imitates? HERMOGENES: I think so. SOCRATES: Nay, my friend, I am disposed to think that we have not reached the truth as yet. HERMOGENES: Why not? SOCRATES: Because if we have we shall be obliged to admit that the people who imitate sheep, or cocks, or other animals, name that which they imitate. HERMOGENES: Quite true. SOCRATES: Then could I have been right in what I was saying? HERMOGENES: In my opinion, no. But I wish that you would tell me, Socrates, what sort of an imitation is a name? SOCRATES: In the first place, I should reply, not a musical imitation, although that is also vocal; nor, again, an imitation of what music imitates; these, in my judgment, would not be naming. Let me put the matter as follows: All objects have sound and figure, and many have colour? HERMOGENES: Certainly. SOCRATES: But the art of naming appears not to be concerned with imitations of this kind; the arts which have to do with them are music and drawing? HERMOGENES: True. SOCRATES: Again, is there not an essence of each thing, just as there is a colour, or sound? And is there not an essence of colour and sound as well as of anything else which may be said to have an essence? HERMOGENES: I should think so. SOCRATES: Well, and if any one could express the essence of each thing in letters and syllables, would he not express the nature of each thing? HERMOGENES: Quite so. SOCRATES: The musician and the painter were the two names which you gave to the two other imitators. What will this imitator be called? HERMOGENES: I imagine, Socrates, that he must be the namer, or namegiver, of whom we are in search. SOCRATES: If this is true, then I think that we are in a condition to consider the names ron (stream), ienai (to go), schesis (retention), about which you were asking; and we may see whether the namer has grasped the nature of them in letters and syllables in such a manner as to imitate the essence or not. HERMOGENES: Very good. SOCRATES: But are these the only primary names, or are there others? HERMOGENES: There must be others.

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SOCRATES: So I should expect. But how shall we further analyse them, and where does the imitator begin? Imitation of the essence is made by syllables and letters; ought we not, therefore, first to separate the letters, just as those who are beginning rhythm first distinguish the powers of elementary, and then of compound sounds, and when they have done so, but not before, they proceed to the consideration of rhythms? HERMOGENES: Yes. SOCRATES: Must we not begin in the same way with letters; first separating the vowels, and then the consonants and mutes (letters which are neither vowels nor semivowels), into classes, according to the received distinctions of the learned; also the semivowels, which are neither vowels, nor yet mutes; and distinguishing into classes the vowels themselves? And when we have perfected the classification of things, we shall give them names, and see whether, as in the case of letters, there are any classes to which they may be all referred (cf. Phaedrus); and hence we shall see their natures, and see, too, whether they have in them classes as there are in the letters; and when we have well considered all this, we shall know how to apply them to what they resemble–whether one letter is used to denote one thing, or whether there is to be an admixture of several of them; just, as in painting, the painter who wants to depict anything sometimes uses purple only, or any other colour, and sometimes mixes up several colours, as his method is when he has to paint flesh colour or anything of that kind–he uses his colours as his figures appear to require them; and so, too, we shall apply letters to the expression of objects, either single letters when required, or several letters; and so we shall form syllables, as they are called, and from syllables make nouns and verbs; and thus, at last, from the combinations of nouns and verbs arrive at language, large and fair and whole; and as the painter made a figure, even so shall we make speech by the art of the namer or the rhetorician, or by some other art. Not that I am literally speaking of ourselves, but I was carried away– meaning to say that this was the way in which (not we but) the ancients formed language, and what they put together we must take to pieces in like manner, if we are to attain a scientific view of the whole subject, and we must see whether the primary, and also whether the secondary elements are rightly given or not, for if they are not, the composition of them, my dear Hermogenes, will be a sorry piece of work, and in the wrong direction. HERMOGENES: That, Socrates, I can quite believe. SOCRATES: Well, but do you suppose that you will be able to analyse them in this way? for I am certain that I should not. HERMOGENES: Much less am I likely to be able. SOCRATES: Shall we leave them, then? or shall we seek to discover, if we can, something about them, according to the measure of our ability, saying by way of preface, as I said before of the Gods, that of the truth about them we know nothing, and do but entertain human notions of them. And in this present enquiry, let us say to ourselves, before we proceed, that the higher method is the one which we or others who would analyse language to any good purpose must follow; but under the circumstances, as men say, we must do as well as we can. What do you think? HERMOGENES: I very much approve. SOCRATES: That objects should be imitated in letters and syllables, and so find expression, may appear ridiculous, Hermogenes, but it cannot be avoided– there is no better principle to which we can look for the truth of first names.

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Deprived of this, we must have recourse to divine help, like the tragic poets, who in any perplexity have their gods waiting in the air; and must get out of our difficulty in like fashion, by saying that ’the Gods gave the first names, and therefore they are right.’ This will be the best contrivance, or perhaps that other notion may be even better still, of deriving them from some barbarous people, for the barbarians are older than we are; or we may say that antiquity has cast a veil over them, which is the same sort of excuse as the last; for all these are not reasons but only ingenious excuses for having no reasons concerning the truth of words. And yet any sort of ignorance of first or primitive names involves an ignorance of secondary words; for they can only be explained by the primary. Clearly then the professor of languages should be able to give a very lucid explanation of first names, or let him be assured he will only talk nonsense about the rest. Do you not suppose this to be true? HERMOGENES: Certainly, Socrates. SOCRATES: My first notions of original names are truly wild and ridiculous, though I have no objection to impart them to you if you desire, and I hope that you will communicate to me in return anything better which you may have. HERMOGENES: Fear not; I will do my best. SOCRATES: In the first place, the letter rho appears to me to be the general instrument expressing all motion (kinesis). But I have not yet explained the meaning of this latter word, which is just iesis (going); for the letter eta was not in use among the ancients, who only employed epsilon; and the root is kiein, which is a foreign form, the same as ienai. And the old word kinesis will be correctly given as iesis in corresponding modern letters. Assuming this foreign root kiein, and allowing for the change of the eta and the insertion of the nu, we have kinesis, which should have been kieinsis or eisis; and stasis is the negative of ienai (or eisis), and has been improved into stasis. Now the letter rho, as I was saying, appeared to the imposer of names an excellent instrument for the expression of motion; and he frequently uses the letter for this purpose: for example, in the actual words rein and roe he represents motion by rho; also in the words tromos (trembling), trachus (rugged); and again, in words such as krouein (strike), thrauein (crush), ereikein (bruise), thruptein (break), kermatixein (crumble), rumbein (whirl): of all these sorts of movements he generally finds an expression in the letter R, because, as I imagine, he had observed that the tongue was most agitated and least at rest in the pronunciation of this letter, which he therefore used in order to express motion, just as by the letter iota he expresses the subtle elements which pass through all things. This is why he uses the letter iota as imitative of motion, ienai, iesthai. And there is another class of letters, phi, psi, sigma, and xi, of which the pronunciation is accompanied by great expenditure of breath; these are used in the imitation of such notions as psuchron (shivering), xeon (seething), seiesthai, (to be shaken), seismos (shock), and are always introduced by the giver of names when he wants to imitate what is phusodes (windy). He seems to have thought that the closing and pressure of the tongue in the utterance of delta and tau was expressive of binding and rest in a place: he further observed the liquid movement of lambda, in the pronunciation of which the tongue slips, and in this he found the expression of smoothness, as in leios (level), and in the word oliothanein (to slip) itself, liparon (sleek), in the word kollodes (gluey), and the like: the heavier sound of gamma detained the slipping tongue, and the union of the two gave the notion of a glutinous clammy nature, as in glischros, glukus, gloiodes. The nu he ob-

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served to be sounded from within, and therefore to have a notion of inwardness; hence he introduced the sound in endos and entos: alpha he assigned to the expression of size, and nu of length, because they are great letters: omicron was the sign of roundness, and therefore there is plenty of omicron mixed up in the word goggulon (round). Thus did the legislator, reducing all things into letters and syllables, and impressing on them names and signs, and out of them by imitation compounding other signs. That is my view, Hermogenes, of the truth of names; but I should like to hear what Cratylus has more to say. HERMOGENES: But, Socrates, as I was telling you before, Cratylus mystifies me; he says that there is a fitness of names, but he never explains what is this fitness, so that I cannot tell whether his obscurity is intended or not. Tell me now, Cratylus, here in the presence of Socrates, do you agree in what Socrates has been saying about names, or have you something better of your own? and if you have, tell me what your view is, and then you will either learn of Socrates, or Socrates and I will learn of you. CRATYLUS: Well, but surely, Hermogenes, you do not suppose that you can learn, or I explain, any subject of importance all in a moment; at any rate, not such a subject as language, which is, perhaps, the very greatest of all. HERMOGENES: No, indeed; but, as Hesiod says, and I agree with him, ’to add little to little’ is worth while. And, therefore, if you think that you can add anything at all, however small, to our knowledge, take a little trouble and oblige Socrates, and me too, who certainly have a claim upon you. SOCRATES: I am by no means positive, Cratylus, in the view which Hermogenes and myself have worked out; and therefore do not hesitate to say what you think, which if it be better than my own view I shall gladly accept. And I should not be at all surprized to find that you have found some better notion. For you have evidently reflected on these matters and have had teachers, and if you have really a better theory of the truth of names, you may count me in the number of your disciples. CRATYLUS: You are right, Socrates, in saying that I have made a study of these matters, and I might possibly convert you into a disciple. But I fear that the opposite is more probable, and I already find myself moved to say to you what Achilles in the ’Prayers’ says to Ajax,– ’Illustrious Ajax, son of Telamon, lord of the people, You appear to have spoken in all things much to my mind.’ And you, Socrates, appear to me to be an oracle, and to give answers much to my mind, whether you are inspired by Euthyphro, or whether some Muse may have long been an inhabitant of your breast, unconsciously to yourself. SOCRATES: Excellent Cratylus, I have long been wondering at my own wisdom; I cannot trust myself. And I think that I ought to stop and ask myself What am I saying? for there is nothing worse than self-deception–when the deceiver is always at home and always with you–it is quite terrible, and therefore I ought often to retrace my steps and endeavour to ’look fore and aft,’ in the words of the aforesaid Homer. And now let me see; where are we? Have we not been saying that the correct name indicates the nature of the thing:–has this proposition been sufficiently proven? CRATYLUS: Yes, Socrates, what you say, as I am disposed to think, is quite true. SOCRATES: Names, then, are given in order to instruct? CRATYLUS: Certainly.

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SOCRATES: And naming is an art, and has artificers? CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: And who are they? CRATYLUS: The legislators, of whom you spoke at first. SOCRATES: And does this art grow up among men like other arts? Let me explain what I mean: of painters, some are better and some worse? CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: The better painters execute their works, I mean their figures, better, and the worse execute them worse; and of builders also, the better sort build fairer houses, and the worse build them worse. CRATYLUS: True. SOCRATES: And among legislators, there are some who do their work better and some worse? CRATYLUS: No; there I do not agree with you. SOCRATES: Then you do not think that some laws are better and others worse? CRATYLUS: No, indeed. SOCRATES: Or that one name is better than another? CRATYLUS: Certainly not. SOCRATES: Then all names are rightly imposed? CRATYLUS: Yes, if they are names at all. SOCRATES: Well, what do you say to the name of our friend Hermogenes, which was mentioned before:–assuming that he has nothing of the nature of Hermes in him, shall we say that this is a wrong name, or not his name at all? CRATYLUS: I should reply that Hermogenes is not his name at all, but only appears to be his, and is really the name of somebody else, who has the nature which corresponds to it. SOCRATES: And if a man were to call him Hermogenes, would he not be even speaking falsely? For there may be a doubt whether you can call him Hermogenes, if he is not. CRATYLUS: What do you mean? SOCRATES: Are you maintaining that falsehood is impossible? For if this is your meaning I should answer, that there have been plenty of liars in all ages. CRATYLUS: Why, Socrates, how can a man say that which is not?–say something and yet say nothing? For is not falsehood saying the thing which is not? SOCRATES: Your argument, friend, is too subtle for a man of my age. But I should like to know whether you are one of those philosophers who think that falsehood may be spoken but not said? CRATYLUS: Neither spoken nor said. SOCRATES: Nor uttered nor addressed? For example: If a person, saluting you in a foreign country, were to take your hand and say: ’Hail, Athenian stranger, Hermogenes, son of Smicrion’–these words, whether spoken, said, uttered, or addressed, would have no application to you but only to our friend Hermogenes, or perhaps to nobody at all? CRATYLUS: In my opinion, Socrates, the speaker would only be talking nonsense. SOCRATES: Well, but that will be quite enough for me, if you will tell me whether the nonsense would be true or false, or partly true and partly false:– which is all that I want to know.

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CRATYLUS: I should say that he would be putting himself in motion to no purpose; and that his words would be an unmeaning sound like the noise of hammering at a brazen pot. SOCRATES: But let us see, Cratylus, whether we cannot find a meetingpoint, for you would admit that the name is not the same with the thing named? CRATYLUS: I should. SOCRATES: And would you further acknowledge that the name is an imitation of the thing? CRATYLUS: Certainly. SOCRATES: And you would say that pictures are also imitations of things, but in another way? CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: I believe you may be right, but I do not rightly understand you. Please to say, then, whether both sorts of imitation (I mean both pictures or words) are not equally attributable and applicable to the things of which they are the imitation. CRATYLUS: They are. SOCRATES: First look at the matter thus: you may attribute the likeness of the man to the man, and of the woman to the woman; and so on? CRATYLUS: Certainly. SOCRATES: And conversely you may attribute the likeness of the man to the woman, and of the woman to the man? CRATYLUS: Very true. SOCRATES: And are both modes of assigning them right, or only the first? CRATYLUS: Only the first. SOCRATES: That is to say, the mode of assignment which attributes to each that which belongs to them and is like them? CRATYLUS: That is my view. SOCRATES: Now then, as I am desirous that we being friends should have a good understanding about the argument, let me state my view to you: the first mode of assignment, whether applied to figures or to names, I call right, and when applied to names only, true as well as right; and the other mode of giving and assigning the name which is unlike, I call wrong, and in the case of names, false as well as wrong. CRATYLUS: That may be true, Socrates, in the case of pictures; they may be wrongly assigned; but not in the case of names–they must be always right. SOCRATES: Why, what is the difference? May I not go to a man and say to him, ’This is your picture,’ showing him his own likeness, or perhaps the likeness of a woman; and when I say ’show,’ I mean bring before the sense of sight. CRATYLUS: Certainly. SOCRATES: And may I not go to him again, and say, ’This is your name’ ?– for the name, like the picture, is an imitation. May I not say to him– ’This is your name’ ? and may I not then bring to his sense of hearing the imitation of himself, when I say, ’This is a man’; or of a female of the human species, when I say, ’This is a woman,’ as the case may be? Is not all that quite possible? CRATYLUS: I would fain agree with you, Socrates; and therefore I say, Granted. SOCRATES: That is very good of you, if I am right, which need hardly be disputed at present. But if I can assign names as well as pictures to objects,

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the right assignment of them we may call truth, and the wrong assignment of them falsehood. Now if there be such a wrong assignment of names, there may also be a wrong or inappropriate assignment of verbs; and if of names and verbs then of the sentences, which are made up of them. What do you say, Cratylus? CRATYLUS: I agree; and think that what you say is very true. SOCRATES: And further, primitive nouns may be compared to pictures, and in pictures you may either give all the appropriate colours and figures, or you may not give them all–some may be wanting; or there may be too many or too much of them–may there not? CRATYLUS: Very true. SOCRATES: And he who gives all gives a perfect picture or figure; and he who takes away or adds also gives a picture or figure, but not a good one. CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: In like manner, he who by syllables and letters imitates the nature of things, if he gives all that is appropriate will produce a good image, or in other words a name; but if he subtracts or perhaps adds a little, he will make an image but not a good one; whence I infer that some names are well and others ill made. CRATYLUS: That is true. SOCRATES: Then the artist of names may be sometimes good, or he may be bad? CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: And this artist of names is called the legislator? CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: Then like other artists the legislator may be good or he may be bad; it must surely be so if our former admissions hold good? CRATYLUS: Very true, Socrates; but the case of language, you see, is different; for when by the help of grammar we assign the letters alpha or beta, or any other letters to a certain name, then, if we add, or subtract, or misplace a letter, the name which is written is not only written wrongly, but not written at all; and in any of these cases becomes other than a name. SOCRATES: But I doubt whether your view is altogether correct, Cratylus. CRATYLUS: How so? SOCRATES: I believe that what you say may be true about numbers, which must be just what they are, or not be at all; for example, the number ten at once becomes other than ten if a unit be added or subtracted, and so of any other number: but this does not apply to that which is qualitative or to anything which is represented under an image. I should say rather that the image, if expressing in every point the entire reality, would no longer be an image. Let us suppose the existence of two objects: one of them shall be Cratylus, and the other the image of Cratylus; and we will suppose, further, that some God makes not only a representation such as a painter would make of your outward form and colour, but also creates an inward organization like yours, having the same warmth and softness; and into this infuses motion, and soul, and mind, such as you have, and in a word copies all your qualities, and places them by you in another form; would you say that this was Cratylus and the image of Cratylus, or that there were two Cratyluses? CRATYLUS: I should say that there were two Cratyluses. SOCRATES: Then you see, my friend, that we must find some other principle of truth in images, and also in names; and not insist that an image is no longer

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an image when something is added or subtracted. Do you not perceive that images are very far from having qualities which are the exact counterpart of the realities which they represent? CRATYLUS: Yes, I see. SOCRATES: But then how ridiculous would be the effect of names on things, if they were exactly the same with them! For they would be the doubles of them, and no one would be able to determine which were the names and which were the realities. CRATYLUS: Quite true. SOCRATES: Then fear not, but have the courage to admit that one name may be correctly and another incorrectly given; and do not insist that the name shall be exactly the same with the thing; but allow the occasional substitution of a wrong letter, and if of a letter also of a noun in a sentence, and if of a noun in a sentence also of a sentence which is not appropriate to the matter, and acknowledge that the thing may be named, and described, so long as the general character of the thing which you are describing is retained; and this, as you will remember, was remarked by Hermogenes and myself in the particular instance of the names of the letters. CRATYLUS: Yes, I remember. SOCRATES: Good; and when the general character is preserved, even if some of the proper letters are wanting, still the thing is signified;–well, if all the letters are given; not well, when only a few of them are given. I think that we had better admit this, lest we be punished like travellers in Aegina who wander about the street late at night: and be likewise told by truth herself that we have arrived too late; or if not, you must find out some new notion of correctness of names, and no longer maintain that a name is the expression of a thing in letters or syllables; for if you say both, you will be inconsistent with yourself. CRATYLUS: I quite acknowledge, Socrates, what you say to be very reasonable. SOCRATES: Then as we are agreed thus far, let us ask ourselves whether a name rightly imposed ought not to have the proper letters. CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: And the proper letters are those which are like the things? CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: Enough then of names which are rightly given. And in names which are incorrectly given, the greater part may be supposed to be made up of proper and similar letters, or there would be no likeness; but there will be likewise a part which is improper and spoils the beauty and formation of the word: you would admit that? CRATYLUS: There would be no use, Socrates, in my quarrelling with you, since I cannot be satisfied that a name which is incorrectly given is a name at all. SOCRATES: Do you admit a name to be the representation of a thing? CRATYLUS: Yes, I do. SOCRATES: But do you not allow that some nouns are primitive, and some derived? CRATYLUS: Yes, I do. SOCRATES: Then if you admit that primitive or first nouns are representations of things, is there any better way of framing representations than by assimilating them to the objects as much as you can; or do you prefer the notion

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of Hermogenes and of many others, who say that names are conventional, and have a meaning to those who have agreed about them, and who have previous knowledge of the things intended by them, and that convention is the only principle; and whether you abide by our present convention, or make a new and opposite one, according to which you call small great and great small–that, they would say, makes no difference, if you are only agreed. Which of these two notions do you prefer? CRATYLUS: Representation by likeness, Socrates, is infinitely better than representation by any chance sign. SOCRATES: Very good: but if the name is to be like the thing, the letters out of which the first names are composed must also be like things. Returning to the image of the picture, I would ask, How could any one ever compose a picture which would be like anything at all, if there were not pigments in nature which resembled the things imitated, and out of which the picture is composed? CRATYLUS: Impossible. SOCRATES: No more could names ever resemble any actually existing thing, unless the original elements of which they are compounded bore some degree of resemblance to the objects of which the names are the imitation: And the original elements are letters? CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: Let me now invite you to consider what Hermogenes and I were saying about sounds. Do you agree with me that the letter rho is expressive of rapidity, motion, and hardness? Were we right or wrong in saying so? CRATYLUS: I should say that you were right. SOCRATES: And that lamda was expressive of smoothness, and softness, and the like? CRATYLUS: There again you were right. SOCRATES: And yet, as you are aware, that which is called by us sklerotes, is by the Eretrians called skleroter. CRATYLUS: Very true. SOCRATES: But are the letters rho and sigma equivalents; and is there the same significance to them in the termination rho, which there is to us in sigma, or is there no significance to one of us? CRATYLUS: Nay, surely there is a significance to both of us. SOCRATES: In as far as they are like, or in as far as they are unlike? CRATYLUS: In as far as they are like. SOCRATES: Are they altogether alike? CRATYLUS: Yes; for the purpose of expressing motion. SOCRATES: And what do you say of the insertion of the lamda? for that is expressive not of hardness but of softness. CRATYLUS: Why, perhaps the letter lamda is wrongly inserted, Socrates, and should be altered into rho, as you were saying to Hermogenes and in my opinion rightly, when you spoke of adding and subtracting letters upon occasion. SOCRATES: Good. But still the word is intelligible to both of us; when I say skleros (hard), you know what I mean. CRATYLUS: Yes, my dear friend, and the explanation of that is custom. SOCRATES: And what is custom but convention? I utter a sound which I understand, and you know that I understand the meaning of the sound: this is what you are saying? CRATYLUS: Yes.

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SOCRATES: And if when I speak you know my meaning, there is an indication given by me to you? CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: This indication of my meaning may proceed from unlike as well as from like, for example in the lamda of sklerotes. But if this is true, then you have made a convention with yourself, and the correctness of a name turns out to be convention, since letters which are unlike are indicative equally with those which are like, if they are sanctioned by custom and convention. And even supposing that you distinguish custom from convention ever so much, still you must say that the signification of words is given by custom and not by likeness, for custom may indicate by the unlike as well as by the like. But as we are agreed thus far, Cratylus (for I shall assume that your silence gives consent), then custom and convention must be supposed to contribute to the indication of our thoughts; for suppose we take the instance of number, how can you ever imagine, my good friend, that you will find names resembling every individual number, unless you allow that which you term convention and agreement to have authority in determining the correctness of names? I quite agree with you that words should as far as possible resemble things; but I fear that this dragging in of resemblance, as Hermogenes says, is a shabby thing, which has to be supplemented by the mechanical aid of convention with a view to correctness; for I believe that if we could always, or almost always, use likenesses, which are perfectly appropriate, this would be the most perfect state of language; as the opposite is the most imperfect. But let me ask you, what is the force of names, and what is the use of them? CRATYLUS: The use of names, Socrates, as I should imagine, is to inform: the simple truth is, that he who knows names knows also the things which are expressed by them. SOCRATES: I suppose you mean to say, Cratylus, that as the name is, so also is the thing; and that he who knows the one will also know the other, because they are similars, and all similars fall under the same art or science; and therefore you would say that he who knows names will also know things. CRATYLUS: That is precisely what I mean. SOCRATES: But let us consider what is the nature of this information about things which, according to you, is given us by names. Is it the best sort of information? or is there any other? What do you say? CRATYLUS: I believe that to be both the only and the best sort of information about them; there can be no other. SOCRATES: But do you believe that in the discovery of them, he who discovers the names discovers also the things; or is this only the method of instruction, and is there some other method of enquiry and discovery. CRATYLUS: I certainly believe that the methods of enquiry and discovery are of the same nature as instruction. SOCRATES: Well, but do you not see, Cratylus, that he who follows names in the search after things, and analyses their meaning, is in great danger of being deceived? CRATYLUS: How so? SOCRATES: Why clearly he who first gave names gave them according to his conception of the things which they signified–did he not? CRATYLUS: True.

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SOCRATES: And if his conception was erroneous, and he gave names according to his conception, in what position shall we who are his followers find ourselves? Shall we not be deceived by him? CRATYLUS: But, Socrates, am I not right in thinking that he must surely have known; or else, as I was saying, his names would not be names at all? And you have a clear proof that he has not missed the truth, and the proof is–that he is perfectly consistent. Did you ever observe in speaking that all the words which you utter have a common character and purpose? SOCRATES: But that, friend Cratylus, is no answer. For if he did begin in error, he may have forced the remainder into agreement with the original error and with himself; there would be nothing strange in this, any more than in geometrical diagrams, which have often a slight and invisible flaw in the first part of the process, and are consistently mistaken in the long deductions which follow. And this is the reason why every man should expend his chief thought and attention on the consideration of his first principles:–are they or are they not rightly laid down? and when he has duly sifted them, all the rest will follow. Now I should be astonished to find that names are really consistent. And here let us revert to our former discussion: Were we not saying that all things are in motion and progress and flux, and that this idea of motion is expressed by names? Do you not conceive that to be the meaning of them? CRATYLUS: Yes; that is assuredly their meaning, and the true meaning. SOCRATES: Let us revert to episteme (knowledge) and observe how ambiguous this word is, seeming rather to signify stopping the soul at things than going round with them; and therefore we should leave the beginning as at present, and not reject the epsilon, but make an insertion of an iota instead of an epsilon (not pioteme, but epiisteme). Take another example: bebaion (sure) is clearly the expression of station and position, and not of motion. Again, the word istoria (enquiry) bears upon the face of it the stopping (istanai) of the stream; and the word piston (faithful) certainly indicates cessation of motion; then, again, mneme (memory), as any one may see, expresses rest in the soul, and not motion. Moreover, words such as amartia and sumphora, which have a bad sense, viewed in the light of their etymologies will be the same as sunesis and episteme and other words which have a good sense (compare omartein, sunienai, epesthai, sumpheresthai); and much the same may be said of amathia and akolasia, for amathia may be explained as e ama theo iontos poreia, and akolasia as e akolouthia tois pragmasin. Thus the names which in these instances we find to have the worst sense, will turn out to be framed on the same principle as those which have the best. And any one I believe who would take the trouble might find many other examples in which the giver of names indicates, not that things are in motion or progress, but that they are at rest; which is the opposite of motion. CRATYLUS: Yes, Socrates, but observe; the greater number express motion. SOCRATES: What of that, Cratylus? Are we to count them like votes? and is correctness of names the voice of the majority? Are we to say of whichever sort there are most, those are the true ones? CRATYLUS: No; that is not reasonable. SOCRATES: Certainly not. But let us have done with this question and proceed to another, about which I should like to know whether you think with me. Were we not lately acknowledging that the first givers of names in states, both Hellenic and barbarous, were the legislators, and that the art which gave

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names was the art of the legislator? CRATYLUS: Quite true. SOCRATES: Tell me, then, did the first legislators, who were the givers of the first names, know or not know the things which they named? CRATYLUS: They must have known, Socrates. SOCRATES: Why, yes, friend Cratylus, they could hardly have been ignorant. CRATYLUS: I should say not. SOCRATES: Let us return to the point from which we digressed. You were saying, if you remember, that he who gave names must have known the things which he named; are you still of that opinion? CRATYLUS: I am. SOCRATES: And would you say that the giver of the first names had also a knowledge of the things which he named? CRATYLUS: I should. SOCRATES: But how could he have learned or discovered things from names if the primitive names were not yet given? For, if we are correct in our view, the only way of learning and discovering things, is either to discover names for ourselves or to learn them from others. CRATYLUS: I think that there is a good deal in what you say, Socrates. SOCRATES: But if things are only to be known through names, how can we suppose that the givers of names had knowledge, or were legislators before there were names at all, and therefore before they could have known them? CRATYLUS: I believe, Socrates, the true account of the matter to be, that a power more than human gave things their first names, and that the names which are thus given are necessarily their true names. SOCRATES: Then how came the giver of the names, if he was an inspired being or God, to contradict himself? For were we not saying just now that he made some names expressive of rest and others of motion? Were we mistaken? CRATYLUS: But I suppose one of the two not to be names at all. SOCRATES: And which, then, did he make, my good friend; those which are expressive of rest, or those which are expressive of motion? This is a point which, as I said before, cannot be determined by counting them. CRATYLUS: No; not in that way, Socrates. SOCRATES: But if this is a battle of names, some of them asserting that they are like the truth, others contending that THEY are, how or by what criterion are we to decide between them? For there are no other names to which appeal can be made, but obviously recourse must be had to another standard which, without employing names, will make clear which of the two are right; and this must be a standard which shows the truth of things. CRATYLUS: I agree. SOCRATES: But if that is true, Cratylus, then I suppose that things may be known without names? CRATYLUS: Clearly. SOCRATES: But how would you expect to know them? What other way can there be of knowing them, except the true and natural way, through their affinities, when they are akin to each other, and through themselves? For that which is other and different from them must signify something other and different from them. CRATYLUS: What you are saying is, I think, true.

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SOCRATES: Well, but reflect; have we not several times acknowledged that names rightly given are the likenesses and images of the things which they name? CRATYLUS: Yes. SOCRATES: Let us suppose that to any extent you please you can learn things through the medium of names, and suppose also that you can learn them from the things themselves–which is likely to be the nobler and clearer way; to learn of the image, whether the image and the truth of which the image is the expression have been rightly conceived, or to learn of the truth whether the truth and the image of it have been duly executed? CRATYLUS: I should say that we must learn of the truth. SOCRATES: How real existence is to be studied or discovered is, I suspect, beyond you and me. But we may admit so much, that the knowledge of things is not to be derived from names. No; they must be studied and investigated in themselves. CRATYLUS: Clearly, Socrates. SOCRATES: There is another point. I should not like us to be imposed upon by the appearance of such a multitude of names, all tending in the same direction. I myself do not deny that the givers of names did really give them under the idea that all things were in motion and flux; which was their sincere but, I think, mistaken opinion. And having fallen into a kind of whirlpool themselves, they are carried round, and want to drag us in after them. There is a matter, master Cratylus, about which I often dream, and should like to ask your opinion: Tell me, whether there is or is not any absolute beauty or good, or any other absolute existence? CRATYLUS: Certainly, Socrates, I think so. SOCRATES: Then let us seek the true beauty: not asking whether a face is fair, or anything of that sort, for all such things appear to be in a flux; but let us ask whether the true beauty is not always beautiful. CRATYLUS: Certainly. SOCRATES: And can we rightly speak of a beauty which is always passing away, and is first this and then that; must not the same thing be born and retire and vanish while the word is in our mouths? CRATYLUS: Undoubtedly. SOCRATES: Then how can that be a real thing which is never in the same state? for obviously things which are the same cannot change while they remain the same; and if they are always the same and in the same state, and never depart from their original form, they can never change or be moved. CRATYLUS: Certainly they cannot. SOCRATES: Nor yet can they be known by any one; for at the moment that the observer approaches, then they become other and of another nature, so that you cannot get any further in knowing their nature or state, for you cannot know that which has no state. CRATYLUS: True. SOCRATES: Nor can we reasonably say, Cratylus, that there is knowledge at all, if everything is in a state of transition and there is nothing abiding; for knowledge too cannot continue to be knowledge unless continuing always to abide and exist. But if the very nature of knowledge changes, at the time when the change occurs there will be no knowledge; and if the transition is always going on, there will always be no knowledge, and, according to this view, there will be no one to know and nothing to be known: but if that which knows

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and that which is known exists ever, and the beautiful and the good and every other thing also exist, then I do not think that they can resemble a process or flux, as we were just now supposing. Whether there is this eternal nature in things, or whether the truth is what Heracleitus and his followers and many others say, is a question hard to determine; and no man of sense will like to put himself or the education of his mind in the power of names: neither will he so far trust names or the givers of names as to be confident in any knowledge which condemns himself and other existences to an unhealthy state of unreality; he will not believe that all things leak like a pot, or imagine that the world is a man who has a running at the nose. This may be true, Cratylus, but is also very likely to be untrue; and therefore I would not have you be too easily persuaded of it. Reflect well and like a man, and do not easily accept such a doctrine; for you are young and of an age to learn. And when you have found the truth, come and tell me. CRATYLUS: I will do as you say, though I can assure you, Socrates, that I have been considering the matter already, and the result of a great deal of trouble and consideration is that I incline to Heracleitus. SOCRATES: Then, another day, my friend, when you come back, you shall give me a lesson; but at present, go into the country, as you are intending, and Hermogenes shall set you on your way. CRATYLUS: Very good, Socrates; I hope, however, that you will continue to think about these things yourself.

Chapter 7

Critias Source text found at http://www.gutenberg.net/etext98/criti10.txt1

7.1

Introduction

By Benjamin Jowett The Critias is a fragment which breaks off in the middle of a sentence. It was designed to be the second part of a trilogy, which, like the other great Platonic trilogy of the Sophist, Statesman, Philosopher, was never completed. Timaeus had brought down the origin of the world to the creation of man, and the dawn of history was now to succeed the philosophy of nature. The Critias is also connected with the Republic. Plato, as he has already told us (Tim.), intended to represent the ideal state engaged in a patriotic conflict. This mythical conflict is prophetic or symbolical of the struggle of Athens and Persia, perhaps in some degree also of the wars of the Greeks and Carthaginians, in the same way that the Persian is prefigured by the Trojan war to the mind of Herodotus, or as the narrative of the first part of the Aeneid is intended by Virgil to foreshadow the wars of Carthage and Rome. The small number of the primitive Athenian citizens (20,000), ‘which is about their present number’ (Crit.), is evidently designed to contrast with the myriads and barbaric array of the Atlantic hosts. The passing remark in the Timaeus that Athens was left alone in the struggle, in which she conquered and became the liberator of Greece, is also an allusion to the later history. Hence we may safely conclude that the entire narrative is due to the imagination of Plato, who has used the name of Solon and introduced the Egyptian priests to give verisimilitude to his story. To the Greek such a tale, like that of the earth-born men, would have seemed perfectly accordant with the character of his mythology, and not more marvellous than the wonders of the East narrated by Herodotus and others: he might have been deceived into believing it. But it appears strange that later ages should have been imposed upon by the fiction. As many attempts have been made to find the great island of Atlantis, as to discover the country of the lost tribes. Without regard to the description of Plato, and without a suspicion that the whole narrative is 1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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a fabrication, interpreters have looked for the spot in every part of the globe, America, Arabia Felix, Ceylon, Palestine, Sardinia, Sweden. Timaeus concludes with a prayer that his words may be acceptable to the God whom he has revealed, and Critias, whose turn follows, begs that a larger measure of indulgence may be conceded to him, because he has to speak of men whom we know and not of gods whom we do not know. Socrates readily grants his request, and anticipating that Hermocrates will make a similar petition, extends by anticipation a like indulgence to him. Critias returns to his story, professing only to repeat what Solon was told by the priests. The war of which he was about to speak had occurred 9000 years ago. One of the combatants was the city of Athens, the other was the great island of Atlantis. Critias proposes to speak of these rival powers first of all, giving to Athens the precedence; the various tribes of Greeks and barbarians who took part in the war will be dealt with as they successively appear on the scene. In the beginning the gods agreed to divide the earth by lot in a friendly manner, and when they had made the allotment they settled their several countries, and were the shepherds or rather the pilots of mankind, whom they guided by persuasion, and not by force. Hephaestus and Athena, brother and sister deities, in mind and art united, obtained as their lot the land of Attica, a land suited to the growth of virtue and wisdom; and there they settled a brave race of children of the soil, and taught them how to order the state. Some of their names, such as Cecrops, Erechtheus, Erichthonius, and Erysichthon, were preserved and adopted in later times, but the memory of their deeds has passed away; for there have since been many deluges, and the remnant who survived in the mountains were ignorant of the art of writing, and during many generations were wholly devoted to acquiring the means of life...And the armed image of the goddess which was dedicated by the ancient Athenians is an evidence to other ages that men and women had in those days, as they ought always to have, common virtues and pursuits. There were various classes of citizens, including handicraftsmen and husbandmen and a superior class of warriors who dwelt apart, and were educated, and had all things in common, like our guardians. Attica in those days extended southwards to the Isthmus, and inland to the heights of Parnes and Cithaeron, and between them and the sea included the district of Oropus. The country was then, as what remains of it still is, the most fertile in the world, and abounded in rich plains and pastures. But in the course of ages much of the soil was washed away and disappeared in the deep sea. And the inhabitants of this fair land were endowed with intelligence and the love of beauty. The Acropolis of the ancient Athens extended to the Ilissus and Eridanus, and included the Pnyx, and the Lycabettus on the opposite side to the Pnyx, having a level surface and deep soil. The side of the hill was inhabited by craftsmen and husbandmen; and the warriors dwelt by themselves on the summit, around the temples of Hephaestus and Athene, in an enclosure which was like the garden of a single house. In winter they retired into houses on the north of the hill, in which they held their syssitia. These were modest dwellings, which they bequeathed unaltered to their children’s children. In summer time the south side was inhabited by them, and then they left their gardens and dining-halls. In the midst of the Acropolis was a fountain, which gave an abundant supply of cool water in summer and warm in winter; of this there are still some traces. They were careful to preserve the number of fighting men and

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women at 20,000, which is equal to that of the present military force. And so they passed their lives as guardians of the citizens and leaders of the Hellenes. They were a just and famous race, celebrated for their beauty and virtue all over Europe and Asia. And now I will speak to you of their adversaries, but first I ought to explain that the Greek names were given to Solon in an Egyptian form, and he enquired their meaning and translated them. His manuscript was left with my grandfather Dropides, and is now in my possession...In the division of the earth Poseidon obtained as his portion the island of Atlantis, and there he begat children whose mother was a mortal. Towards the sea and in the centre of the island there was a very fair and fertile plain, and near the centre, about fifty stadia from the plain, there was a low mountain in which dwelt a man named Evenor and his wife Leucippe, and their daughter Cleito, of whom Poseidon became enamoured. He to secure his love enclosed the mountain with rings or zones varying in size, two of land and three of sea, which his divine power readily enabled him to excavate and fashion, and, as there was no shipping in those days, no man could get into the place. To the interior island he conveyed under the earth springs of water hot and cold, and supplied the land with all things needed for the life of man. Here he begat a family consisting of five pairs of twin male children. The eldest was Atlas, and him he made king of the centre island, while to his twin brother, Eumelus, or Gadeirus, he assigned that part of the country which was nearest the Straits. The other brothers he made chiefs over the rest of the island. And their kingdom extended as far as Egypt and Tyrrhenia. Now Atlas had a fair posterity, and great treasures derived from mines—among them that precious metal orichalcum; and there was abundance of wood, and herds of elephants, and pastures for animals of all kinds, and fragrant herbs, and grasses, and trees bearing fruit. These they used, and employed themselves in constructing their temples, and palaces, and harbours, and docks, in the following manner:–First, they bridged over the zones of sea, and made a way to and from the royal palace which they built in the centre island. This ancient palace was ornamented by successive generations; and they dug a canal which passed through the zones of land from the island to the sea. The zones of earth were surrounded by walls made of stone of divers colours, black and white and red, which they sometimes intermingled for the sake of ornament; and as they quarried they hollowed out beneath the edges of the zones double docks having roofs of rock. The outermost of the walls was coated with brass, the second with tin, and the third, which was the wall of the citadel, flashed with the red light of orichalcum. In the interior of the citadel was a holy temple, dedicated to Cleito and Poseidon, and surrounded by an enclosure of gold, and there was Poseidon’s own temple, which was covered with silver, and the pinnacles with gold. The roof was of ivory, adorned with gold and silver and orichalcum, and the rest of the interior was lined with orichalcum. Within was an image of the god standing in a chariot drawn by six winged horses, and touching the roof with his head; around him were a hundred Nereids, riding on dolphins. Outside the temple were placed golden statues of all the descendants of the ten kings and of their wives; there was an altar too, and there were palaces, corresponding to the greatness and glory both of the kingdom and of the temple. Also there were fountains of hot and cold water, and suitable buildings surrounding them, and trees, and there were baths both of the kings and of private individuals, and separate baths for women, and also for cattle. The water from

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the baths was carried to the grove of Poseidon, and by aqueducts over the bridges to the outer circles. And there were temples in the zones, and in the larger of the two there was a racecourse for horses, which ran all round the island. The guards were distributed in the zones according to the trust reposed in them; the most trusted of them were stationed in the citadel. The docks were full of triremes and stores. The land between the harbour and the sea was surrounded by a wall, and was crowded with dwellings, and the harbour and canal resounded with the din of human voices. The plain around the city was highly cultivated and sheltered from the north by mountains; it was oblong, and where falling out of the straight line followed the circular ditch, which was of an incredible depth. This depth received the streams which came down from the mountains, as well as the canals of the interior, and found a way to the sea. The entire country was divided into sixty thousand lots, each of which was a square of ten stadia; and the owner of a lot was bound to furnish the sixth part of a war-chariot, so as to make up ten thousand chariots, two horses and riders upon them, a pair of chariot-horses without a seat, and an attendant and charioteer, two hoplites, two archers, two slingers, three stone-shooters, three javelin-men, and four sailors to make up the complement of twelve hundred ships. Each of the ten kings was absolute in his own city and kingdom. The relations of the different governments to one another were determined by the injunctions of Poseidon, which had been inscribed by the first kings on a column of orichalcum in the temple of Poseidon, at which the kings and princes gathered together and held a festival every fifth and every sixth year alternately. Around the temple ranged the bulls of Poseidon, one of which the ten kings caught and sacrificed, shedding the blood of the victim over the inscription, and vowing not to transgress the laws of their father Poseidon. When night came, they put on azure robes and gave judgment against offenders. The most important of their laws related to their dealings with one another. They were not to take up arms against one another, and were to come to the rescue if any of their brethren were attacked. They were to deliberate in common about war, and the king was not to have the power of life and death over his kinsmen, unless he had the assent of the majority. For many generations, as tradition tells, the people of Atlantis were obedient to the laws and to the gods, and practised gentleness and wisdom in their intercourse with one another. They knew that they could only have the true use of riches by not caring about them. But gradually the divine portion of their souls became diluted with too much of the mortal admixture, and they began to degenerate, though to the outward eye they appeared glorious as ever at the very time when they were filled with all iniquity. The all-seeing Zeus, wanting to punish them, held a council of the gods, and when he had called them together, he spoke as follows:– No one knew better than Plato how to invent ‘a noble lie.’ Observe (1) the innocent declaration of Socrates, that the truth of the story is a great advantage: (2) the manner in which traditional names and indications of geography are intermingled (‘Why, here be truths!’): (3) the extreme minuteness with which the numbers are given, as in the Old Epic poetry: (4) the ingenious reason assigned for the Greek names occurring in the Egyptian tale: (5) the remark that the armed statue of Athena indicated the common warrior life of men and women: (6) the particularity with which the third deluge before that of Deucalion is affirmed to have been the great destruction: (7) the happy guess that great geological changes have been effected by water: (8) the indulgence of

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the prejudice against sailing beyond the Columns, and the popular belief of the shallowness of the ocean in that part: (9) the confession that the depth of the ditch in the Island of Atlantis was not to be believed, and ‘yet he could only repeat what he had heard’, compared with the statement made in an earlier passage that Poseidon, being a God, found no difficulty in contriving the watersupply of the centre island: (10) the mention of the old rivalry of Poseidon and Athene, and the creation of the first inhabitants out of the soil. Plato here, as elsewhere, ingeniously gives the impression that he is telling the truth which mythology had corrupted. The world, like a child, has readily, and for the most part unhesitatingly, accepted the tale of the Island of Atlantis. In modern times we hardly seek for traces of the submerged continent; but even Mr. Grote is inclined to believe in the Egyptian poem of Solon of which there is no evidence in antiquity; while others, like Martin, discuss the Egyptian origin of the legend, or like M. de Humboldt, whom he quotes, are disposed to find in it a vestige of a widelyspread tradition. Others, adopting a different vein of reflection, regard the Island of Atlantis as the anticipation of a still greater island—the Continent of America. ‘The tale,’ says M. Martin, ‘rests upon the authority of the Egyptian priests; and the Egyptian priests took a pleasure in deceiving the Greeks.’ He never appears to suspect that there is a greater deceiver or magician than the Egyptian priests, that is to say, Plato himself, from the dominion of whose genius the critic and natural philosopher of modern times are not wholly emancipated. Although worthless in respect of any result which can be attained by them, discussions like those of M. Martin (Timee) have an interest of their own, and may be compared to the similar discussions regarding the Lost Tribes (2 Esdras), as showing how the chance word of some poet or philosopher has given birth to endless religious or historical enquiries. (See Introduction to the Timaeus, Chapter 32.1, page 1789 ff.) In contrasting the small Greek city numbering about twenty thousand inhabitants with the barbaric greatness of the island of Atlantis, Plato probably intended to show that a state, such as the ideal Athens, was invincible, though matched against any number of opponents (cp. Rep.). Even in a great empire there might be a degree of virtue and justice, such as the Greeks believed to have existed under the sway of the first Persian kings. But all such empires were liable to degenerate, and soon incurred the anger of the gods. Their Oriental wealth, and splendour of gold and silver, and variety of colours, seemed also to be at variance with the simplicity of Greek notions. In the island of Atlantis, Plato is describing a sort of Babylonian or Egyptian city, to which he opposes the frugal life of the true Hellenic citizen. It is remarkable that in his brief sketch of them, he idealizes the husbandmen ‘who are lovers of honour and true husbandmen,’ as well as the warriors who are his sole concern in the Republic; and that though he speaks of the common pursuits of men and women, he says nothing of the community of wives and children. It is singular that Plato should have prefixed the most detested of Athenian names to this dialogue, and even more singular that he should have put into the mouth of Socrates a panegyric on him (Tim.). Yet we know that his character was accounted infamous by Xenophon, and that the mere acquaintance with him was made a subject of accusation against Socrates. We can only infer that in this, and perhaps in some other cases, Plato’s characters have no reference to the actual facts. The desire to do honour to his own family, and the connection with Solon, may have

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suggested the introduction of his name. Why the Critias was never completed, whether from accident, or from advancing age, or from a sense of the artistic difficulty of the design, cannot be determined.

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Critias [106a-121c] Translated by Benjamin Jowett PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Critias, Hermocrates, Timaeus, Socrates. TIMAEUS: How thankful I am, Socrates, that I have arrived at last, and, like a weary traveller after a long journey, may be at rest! And I pray the being who always was of old, and has now been by me revealed, to grant that my words may endure in so far as they have been spoken truly and acceptably to him; but if unintentionally I have said anything wrong, I pray that he will impose upon me a just retribution, and the just retribution of him who errs is that he should be set right. Wishing, then, to speak truly in future concerning the generation of the gods, I pray him to give me knowledge, which of all medicines is the most perfect and best. And now having offered my prayer I deliver up the argument to Critias, who is to speak next according to our agreement. (Tim.) CRITIAS: And I, Timaeus, accept the trust, and as you at first said that you were going to speak of high matters, and begged that some forbearance might be shown to you, I too ask the same or greater forbearance for what I am about to say. And although I very well know that my request may appear to be somewhat ambitious and discourteous, I must make it nevertheless. For will any man of sense deny that you have spoken well? I can only attempt to show that I ought to have more indulgence than you, because my theme is more difficult; and I shall argue that to seem to speak well of the gods to men is far easier than to speak well of men to men: for the inexperience and utter ignorance of his hearers about any subject is a great assistance to him who has to speak of it, and we know how ignorant we are concerning the gods. But I should like to make my meaning clearer, if you will follow me. All that is said by any of us can only be imitation and representation. For if we consider the likenesses which painters make of bodies divine and heavenly, and the different degrees of gratification with which the eye of the spectator receives them, we shall see that we are satisfied with the artist who is able in any degree to imitate the earth and its mountains, and the rivers, and the woods, and the universe, and the things that are and move therein, and further, that knowing nothing precise about such matters, we do not examine or analyze the painting; all that is required is a sort of indistinct and deceptive mode of shadowing them forth. But when a person endeavours to paint the human form we are quick at finding out defects, and our familiar knowledge makes us severe judges of any one who does not render every point of similarity. And we may observe the same thing to happen in discourse; we are satisfied with a picture of divine and heavenly things which has very little likeness to them; but we are more precise in our criticism of mortal and human things. Wherefore if at the moment of speaking I cannot suitably express my meaning, you must excuse me, considering that to form approved likenesses of human things is the reverse of easy. This is what I want to suggest to you, and at the same time to beg, Socrates, that I may have not less, but more indulgence conceded to me in what I am about to say. Which favour, if I am right in asking, I hope that you will be ready to grant. SOCRATES: Certainly, Critias, we will grant your request, and we will grant

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the same by anticipation to Hermocrates, as well as to you and Timaeus; for I have no doubt that when his turn comes a little while hence, he will make the same request which you have made. In order, then, that he may provide himself with a fresh beginning, and not be compelled to say the same things over again, let him understand that the indulgence is already extended by anticipation to him. And now, friend Critias, I will announce to you the judgment of the theatre. They are of opinion that the last performer was wonderfully successful, and that you will need a great deal of indulgence before you will be able to take his place. HERMOCRATES: The warning, Socrates, which you have addressed to him, I must also take to myself. But remember, Critias, that faint heart never yet raised a trophy; and therefore you must go and attack the argument like a man. First invoke Apollo and the Muses, and then let us hear you sound the praises and show forth the virtues of your ancient citizens. CRITIAS: Friend Hermocrates, you, who are stationed last and have another in front of you, have not lost heart as yet; the gravity of the situation will soon be revealed to you; meanwhile I accept your exhortations and encouragements. But besides the gods and goddesses whom you have mentioned, I would specially invoke Mnemosyne; for all the important part of my discourse is dependent on her favour, and if I can recollect and recite enough of what was said by the priests and brought hither by Solon, I doubt not that I shall satisfy the requirements of this theatre. And now, making no more excuses, I will proceed. Let me begin by observing first of all, that nine thousand was the sum of years which had elapsed since the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them; this war I am going to describe. Of the combatants on the one side, the city of Athens was reported to have been the leader and to have fought out the war; the combatants on the other side were commanded by the kings of Atlantis, which, as I was saying, was an island greater in extent than Libya and Asia, and when afterwards sunk by an earthquake, became an impassable barrier of mud to voyagers sailing from hence to any part of the ocean. The progress of the history will unfold the various nations of barbarians and families of Hellenes which then existed, as they successively appear on the scene; but I must describe first of all the Athenians of that day, and their enemies who fought with them, and then the respective powers and governments of the two kingdoms. Let us give the precedence to Athens. In the days of old, the gods had the whole earth distributed among them by allotment (Cp. Polit.) There was no quarrelling; for you cannot rightly suppose that the gods did not know what was proper for each of them to have, or, knowing this, that they would seek to procure for themselves by contention that which more properly belonged to others. They all of them by just apportionment obtained what they wanted, and peopled their own districts; and when they had peopled them they tended us, their nurselings and possessions, as shepherds tend their flocks, excepting only that they did not use blows or bodily force, as shepherds do, but governed us like pilots from the stern of the vessel, which is an easy way of guiding animals, holding our souls by the rudder of persuasion according to their own pleasure;–thus did they guide all mortal creatures. Now different gods had their allotments in different places which they set in order. Hephaestus and Athene, who were brother and sister, and sprang from the same father, having a common nature, and being united also in the love of philosophy

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and art, both obtained as their common portion this land, which was naturally adapted for wisdom and virtue; and there they implanted brave children of the soil, and put into their minds the order of government; their names are preserved, but their actions have disappeared by reason of the destruction of those who received the tradition, and the lapse of ages. For when there were any survivors, as I have already said, they were men who dwelt in the mountains; and they were ignorant of the art of writing, and had heard only the names of the chiefs of the land, but very little about their actions. The names they were willing enough to give to their children; but the virtues and the laws of their predecessors, they knew only by obscure traditions; and as they themselves and their children lacked for many generations the necessaries of life, they directed their attention to the supply of their wants, and of them they conversed, to the neglect of events that had happened in times long past; for mythology and the enquiry into antiquity are first introduced into cities when they begin to have leisure (Cp. Arist. Metaphys.), and when they see that the necessaries of life have already been provided, but not before. And this is the reason why the names of the ancients have been preserved to us and not their actions. This I infer because Solon said that the priests in their narrative of that war mentioned most of the names which are recorded prior to the time of Theseus, such as Cecrops, and Erechtheus, and Erichthonius, and Erysichthon, and the names of the women in like manner. Moreover, since military pursuits were then common to men and women, the men of those days in accordance with the custom of the time set up a figure and image of the goddess in full armour, to be a testimony that all animals which associate together, male as well as female, may, if they please, practise in common the virtue which belongs to them without distinction of sex. Now the country was inhabited in those days by various classes of citizens;– there were artisans, and there were husbandmen, and there was also a warrior class originally set apart by divine men. The latter dwelt by themselves, and had all things suitable for nurture and education; neither had any of them anything of their own, but they regarded all that they had as common property; nor did they claim to receive of the other citizens anything more than their necessary food. And they practised all the pursuits which we yesterday described as those of our imaginary guardians. Concerning the country the Egyptian priests said what is not only probable but manifestly true, that the boundaries were in those days fixed by the Isthmus, and that in the direction of the continent they extended as far as the heights of Cithaeron and Parnes; the boundary line came down in the direction of the sea, having the district of Oropus on the right, and with the river Asopus as the limit on the left. The land was the best in the world, and was therefore able in those days to support a vast army, raised from the surrounding people. Even the remnant of Attica which now exists may compare with any region in the world for the variety and excellence of its fruits and the suitableness of its pastures to every sort of animal, which proves what I am saying; but in those days the country was fair as now and yielded far more abundant produce. How shall I establish my words? and what part of it can be truly called a remnant of the land that then was? The whole country is only a long promontory extending far into the sea away from the rest of the continent, while the surrounding basin of the sea is everywhere deep in the neighbourhood of the shore. Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which

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I am speaking; and during all this time and through so many changes, there has never been any considerable accumulation of the soil coming down from the mountains, as in other places, but the earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight. The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, as in the case of small islands, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left. But in the primitive state of the country, its mountains were high hills covered with soil, and the plains, as they are termed by us, of Phelleus were full of rich earth, and there was abundance of wood in the mountains. Of this last the traces still remain, for although some of the mountains now only afford sustenance to bees, not so very long ago there were still to be seen roofs of timber cut from trees growing there, which were of a size sufficient to cover the largest houses; and there were many other high trees, cultivated by man and bearing abundance of food for cattle. Moreover, the land reaped the benefit of the annual rainfall, not as now losing the water which flows off the bare earth into the sea, but, having an abundant supply in all places, and receiving it into herself and treasuring it up in the close clay soil, it let off into the hollows the streams which it absorbed from the heights, providing everywhere abundant fountains and rivers, of which there may still be observed sacred memorials in places where fountains once existed; and this proves the truth of what I am saying. Such was the natural state of the country, which was cultivated, as we may well believe, by true husbandmen, who made husbandry their business, and were lovers of honour, and of a noble nature, and had a soil the best in the world, and abundance of water, and in the heaven above an excellently attempered climate. Now the city in those days was arranged on this wise. In the first place the Acropolis was not as now. For the fact is that a single night of excessive rain washed away the earth and laid bare the rock; at the same time there were earthquakes, and then occurred the extraordinary inundation, which was the third before the great destruction of Deucalion. But in primitive times the hill of the Acropolis extended to the Eridanus and Ilissus, and included the Pnyx on one side, and the Lycabettus as a boundary on the opposite side to the Pnyx, and was all well covered with soil, and level at the top, except in one or two places. Outside the Acropolis and under the sides of the hill there dwelt artisans, and such of the husbandmen as were tilling the ground near; the warrior class dwelt by themselves around the temples of Athene and Hephaestus at the summit, which moreover they had enclosed with a single fence like the garden of a single house. On the north side they had dwellings in common and had erected halls for dining in winter, and had all the buildings which they needed for their common life, besides temples, but there was no adorning of them with gold and silver, for they made no use of these for any purpose; they took a middle course between meanness and ostentation, and built modest houses in which they and their children’s children grew old, and they handed them down to others who were like themselves, always the same. But in summer-time they left their gardens and gymnasia and dining halls, and then the southern side of the hill was made use of by them for the same purpose. Where the Acropolis now is there was a fountain, which was choked by the earthquake, and has left only the few small streams which still exist in the vicinity, but in those days the fountain gave an abundant supply of water for all and of suitable temperature in summer and in winter. This is how they dwelt, being the guardians of their

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own citizens and the leaders of the Hellenes, who were their willing followers. And they took care to preserve the same number of men and women through all time, being so many as were required for warlike purposes, then as now—that is to say, about twenty thousand. Such were the ancient Athenians, and after this manner they righteously administered their own land and the rest of Hellas; they were renowned all over Europe and Asia for the beauty of their persons and for the many virtues of their souls, and of all men who lived in those days they were the most illustrious. And next, if I have not forgotten what I heard when I was a child, I will impart to you the character and origin of their adversaries. For friends should not keep their stories to themselves, but have them in common. Yet, before proceeding further in the narrative, I ought to warn you, that you must not be surprised if you should perhaps hear Hellenic names given to foreigners. I will tell you the reason of this: Solon, who was intending to use the tale for his poem, enquired into the meaning of the names, and found that the early Egyptians in writing them down had translated them into their own language, and he recovered the meaning of the several names and when copying them out again translated them into our language. My greatgrandfather, Dropides, had the original writing, which is still in my possession, and was carefully studied by me when I was a child. Therefore if you hear names such as are used in this country, you must not be surprised, for I have told how they came to be introduced. The tale, which was of great length, began as follows:– I have before remarked in speaking of the allotments of the gods, that they distributed the whole earth into portions differing in extent, and made for themselves temples and instituted sacrifices. And Poseidon, receiving for his lot the island of Atlantis, begat children by a mortal woman, and settled them in a part of the island, which I will describe. Looking towards the sea, but in the centre of the whole island, there was a plain which is said to have been the fairest of all plains and very fertile. Near the plain again, and also in the centre of the island at a distance of about fifty stadia, there was a mountain not very high on any side. In this mountain there dwelt one of the earth-born primeval men of that country, whose name was Evenor, and he had a wife named Leucippe, and they had an only daughter who was called Cleito. The maiden had already reached womanhood, when her father and mother died; Poseidon fell in love with her and had intercourse with her, and breaking the ground, inclosed the hill in which she dwelt all round, making alternate zones of sea and land larger and smaller, encircling one another; there were two of land and three of water, which he turned as with a lathe, each having its circumference equidistant every way from the centre, so that no man could get to the island, for ships and voyages were not as yet. He himself, being a god, found no difficulty in making special arrangements for the centre island, bringing up two springs of water from beneath the earth, one of warm water and the other of cold, and making every variety of food to spring up abundantly from the soil. He also begat and brought up five pairs of twin male children; and dividing the island of Atlantis into ten portions, he gave to the first-born of the eldest pair his mother’s dwelling and the surrounding allotment, which was the largest and best, and made him king over the rest; the others he made princes, and gave them rule over many men, and a large territory. And he named them all; the eldest, who was the first king, he named Atlas, and after him the whole island and the ocean were called Atlantic. To his twin brother, who was born after

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him, and obtained as his lot the extremity of the island towards the pillars of Heracles, facing the country which is now called the region of Gades in that part of the world, he gave the name which in the Hellenic language is Eumelus, in the language of the country which is named after him, Gadeirus. Of the second pair of twins he called one Ampheres, and the other Evaemon. To the elder of the third pair of twins he gave the name Mneseus, and Autochthon to the one who followed him. Of the fourth pair of twins he called the elder Elasippus, and the younger Mestor. And of the fifth pair he gave to the elder the name of Azaes, and to the younger that of Diaprepes. All these and their descendants for many generations were the inhabitants and rulers of divers islands in the open sea; and also, as has been already said, they held sway in our direction over the country within the pillars as far as Egypt and Tyrrhenia. Now Atlas had a numerous and honourable family, and they retained the kingdom, the eldest son handing it on to his eldest for many generations; and they had such an amount of wealth as was never before possessed by kings and potentates, and is not likely ever to be again, and they were furnished with everything which they needed, both in the city and country. For because of the greatness of their empire many things were brought to them from foreign countries, and the island itself provided most of what was required by them for the uses of life. In the first place, they dug out of the earth whatever was to be found there, solid as well as fusile, and that which is now only a name and was then something more than a name, orichalcum, was dug out of the earth in many parts of the island, being more precious in those days than anything except gold. There was an abundance of wood for carpenter’s work, and sufficient maintenance for tame and wild animals. Moreover, there were a great number of elephants in the island; for as there was provision for all other sorts of animals, both for those which live in lakes and marshes and rivers, and also for those which live in mountains and on plains, so there was for the animal which is the largest and most voracious of all. Also whatever fragrant things there now are in the earth, whether roots, or herbage, or woods, or essences which distil from fruit and flower, grew and thrived in that land; also the fruit which admits of cultivation, both the dry sort, which is given us for nourishment and any other which we use for food—we call them all by the common name of pulse, and the fruits having a hard rind, affording drinks and meats and ointments, and good store of chestnuts and the like, which furnish pleasure and amusement, and are fruits which spoil with keeping, and the pleasant kinds of dessert, with which we console ourselves after dinner, when we are tired of eating—all these that sacred island which then beheld the light of the sun, brought forth fair and wondrous and in infinite abundance. With such blessings the earth freely furnished them; meanwhile they went on constructing their temples and palaces and harbours and docks. And they arranged the whole country in the following manner:– First of all they bridged over the zones of sea which surrounded the ancient metropolis, making a road to and from the royal palace. And at the very beginning they built the palace in the habitation of the god and of their ancestors, which they continued to ornament in successive generations, every king surpassing the one who went before him to the utmost of his power, until they made the building a marvel to behold for size and for beauty. And beginning from the sea they bored a canal of three hundred feet in width and one hundred feet in depth and fifty stadia in length, which they carried through to the outermost zone, making a passage from the sea up to this, which became a harbour, and leaving

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an opening sufficient to enable the largest vessels to find ingress. Moreover, they divided at the bridges the zones of land which parted the zones of sea, leaving room for a single trireme to pass out of one zone into another, and they covered over the channels so as to leave a way underneath for the ships; for the banks were raised considerably above the water. Now the largest of the zones into which a passage was cut from the sea was three stadia in breadth, and the zone of land which came next of equal breadth; but the next two zones, the one of water, the other of land, were two stadia, and the one which surrounded the central island was a stadium only in width. The island in which the palace was situated had a diameter of five stadia. All this including the zones and the bridge, which was the sixth part of a stadium in width, they surrounded by a stone wall on every side, placing towers and gates on the bridges where the sea passed in. The stone which was used in the work they quarried from underneath the centre island, and from underneath the zones, on the outer as well as the inner side. One kind was white, another black, and a third red, and as they quarried, they at the same time hollowed out double docks, having roofs formed out of the native rock. Some of their buildings were simple, but in others they put together different stones, varying the colour to please the eye, and to be a natural source of delight. The entire circuit of the wall, which went round the outermost zone, they covered with a coating of brass, and the circuit of the next wall they coated with tin, and the third, which encompassed the citadel, flashed with the red light of orichalcum. The palaces in the interior of the citadel were constructed on this wise:–In the centre was a holy temple dedicated to Cleito and Poseidon, which remained inaccessible, and was surrounded by an enclosure of gold; this was the spot where the family of the ten princes first saw the light, and thither the people annually brought the fruits of the earth in their season from all the ten portions, to be an offering to each of the ten. Here was Poseidon’s own temple which was a stadium in length, and half a stadium in width, and of a proportionate height, having a strange barbaric appearance. All the outside of the temple, with the exception of the pinnacles, they covered with silver, and the pinnacles with gold. In the interior of the temple the roof was of ivory, curiously wrought everywhere with gold and silver and orichalcum; and all the other parts, the walls and pillars and floor, they coated with orichalcum. In the temple they placed statues of gold: there was the god himself standing in a chariot—the charioteer of six winged horses—and of such a size that he touched the roof of the building with his head; around him there were a hundred Nereids riding on dolphins, for such was thought to be the number of them by the men of those days. There were also in the interior of the temple other images which had been dedicated by private persons. And around the temple on the outside were placed statues of gold of all the descendants of the ten kings and of their wives, and there were many other great offerings of kings and of private persons, coming both from the city itself and from the foreign cities over which they held sway. There was an altar too, which in size and workmanship corresponded to this magnificence, and the palaces, in like manner, answered to the greatness of the kingdom and the glory of the temple. In the next place, they had fountains, one of cold and another of hot water, in gracious plenty flowing; and they were wonderfully adapted for use by reason of the pleasantness and excellence of their waters. They constructed buildings about them and planted suitable trees, also they made cisterns, some open to the heaven, others roofed over, to be used in winter as warm baths; there were

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the kings’ baths, and the baths of private persons, which were kept apart; and there were separate baths for women, and for horses and cattle, and to each of them they gave as much adornment as was suitable. Of the water which ran off they carried some to the grove of Poseidon, where were growing all manner of trees of wonderful height and beauty, owing to the excellence of the soil, while the remainder was conveyed by aqueducts along the bridges to the outer circles; and there were many temples built and dedicated to many gods; also gardens and places of exercise, some for men, and others for horses in both of the two islands formed by the zones; and in the centre of the larger of the two there was set apart a race-course of a stadium in width, and in length allowed to extend all round the island, for horses to race in. Also there were guard-houses at intervals for the guards, the more trusted of whom were appointed to keep watch in the lesser zone, which was nearer the Acropolis; while the most trusted of all had houses given them within the citadel, near the persons of the kings. The docks were full of triremes and naval stores, and all things were quite ready for use. Enough of the plan of the royal palace. Leaving the palace and passing out across the three harbours, you came to a wall which began at the sea and went all round: this was everywhere distant fifty stadia from the largest zone or harbour, and enclosed the whole, the ends meeting at the mouth of the channel which led to the sea. The entire area was densely crowded with habitations; and the canal and the largest of the harbours were full of vessels and merchants coming from all parts, who, from their numbers, kept up a multitudinous sound of human voices, and din and clatter of all sorts night and day. I have described the city and the environs of the ancient palace nearly in the words of Solon, and now I must endeavour to represent to you the nature and arrangement of the rest of the land. The whole country was said by him to be very lofty and precipitous on the side of the sea, but the country immediately about and surrounding the city was a level plain, itself surrounded by mountains which descended towards the sea; it was smooth and even, and of an oblong shape, extending in one direction three thousand stadia, but across the centre inland it was two thousand stadia. This part of the island looked towards the south, and was sheltered from the north. The surrounding mountains were celebrated for their number and size and beauty, far beyond any which still exist, having in them also many wealthy villages of country folk, and rivers, and lakes, and meadows supplying food enough for every animal, wild or tame, and much wood of various sorts, abundant for each and every kind of work. I will now describe the plain, as it was fashioned by nature and by the labours of many generations of kings through long ages. It was for the most part rectangular and oblong, and where falling out of the straight line followed the circular ditch. The depth, and width, and length of this ditch were incredible, and gave the impression that a work of such extent, in addition to so many others, could never have been artificial. Nevertheless I must say what I was told. It was excavated to the depth of a hundred feet, and its breadth was a stadium everywhere; it was carried round the whole of the plain, and was ten thousand stadia in length. It received the streams which came down from the mountains, and winding round the plain and meeting at the city, was there let off into the sea. Further inland, likewise, straight canals of a hundred feet in width were cut from it through the plain, and again let off into the ditch leading to the sea: these canals were at intervals of a hundred stadia, and by them they

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brought down the wood from the mountains to the city, and conveyed the fruits of the earth in ships, cutting transverse passages from one canal into another, and to the city. Twice in the year they gathered the fruits of the earth—in winter having the benefit of the rains of heaven, and in summer the water which the land supplied by introducing streams from the canals. As to the population, each of the lots in the plain had to find a leader for the men who were fit for military service, and the size of a lot was a square of ten stadia each way, and the total number of all the lots was sixty thousand. And of the inhabitants of the mountains and of the rest of the country there was also a vast multitude, which was distributed among the lots and had leaders assigned to them according to their districts and villages. The leader was required to furnish for the war the sixth portion of a war-chariot, so as to make up a total of ten thousand chariots; also two horses and riders for them, and a pair of chariot-horses without a seat, accompanied by a horseman who could fight on foot carrying a small shield, and having a charioteer who stood behind the manat-arms to guide the two horses; also, he was bound to furnish two heavy-armed soldiers, two archers, two slingers, three stone-shooters and three javelin-men, who were light-armed, and four sailors to make up the complement of twelve hundred ships. Such was the military order of the royal city—the order of the other nine governments varied, and it would be wearisome to recount their several differences. As to offices and honours, the following was the arrangement from the first. Each of the ten kings in his own division and in his own city had the absolute control of the citizens, and, in most cases, of the laws, punishing and slaying whomsoever he would. Now the order of precedence among them and their mutual relations were regulated by the commands of Poseidon which the law had handed down. These were inscribed by the first kings on a pillar of orichalcum, which was situated in the middle of the island, at the temple of Poseidon, whither the kings were gathered together every fifth and every sixth year alternately, thus giving equal honour to the odd and to the even number. And when they were gathered together they consulted about their common interests, and enquired if any one had transgressed in anything, and passed judgment, and before they passed judgment they gave their pledges to one another on this wise:–There were bulls who had the range of the temple of Poseidon; and the ten kings, being left alone in the temple, after they had offered prayers to the god that they might capture the victim which was acceptable to him, hunted the bulls, without weapons, but with staves and nooses; and the bull which they caught they led up to the pillar and cut its throat over the top of it so that the blood fell upon the sacred inscription. Now on the pillar, besides the laws, there was inscribed an oath invoking mighty curses on the disobedient. When therefore, after slaying the bull in the accustomed manner, they had burnt its limbs, they filled a bowl of wine and cast in a clot of blood for each of them; the rest of the victim they put in the fire, after having purified the column all round. Then they drew from the bowl in golden cups, and pouring a libation on the fire, they swore that they would judge according to the laws on the pillar, and would punish him who in any point had already transgressed them, and that for the future they would not, if they could help, offend against the writing on the pillar, and would neither command others, nor obey any ruler who commanded them, to act otherwise than according to the laws of their father Poseidon. This was the prayer which each of them offered up for himself and for his descendants,

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at the same time drinking and dedicating the cup out of which he drank in the temple of the god; and after they had supped and satisfied their needs, when darkness came on, and the fire about the sacrifice was cool, all of them put on most beautiful azure robes, and, sitting on the ground, at night, over the embers of the sacrifices by which they had sworn, and extinguishing all the fire about the temple, they received and gave judgment, if any of them had an accusation to bring against any one; and when they had given judgment, at daybreak they wrote down their sentences on a golden tablet, and dedicated it together with their robes to be a memorial. There were many special laws affecting the several kings inscribed about the temples, but the most important was the following: They were not to take up arms against one another, and they were all to come to the rescue if any one in any of their cities attempted to overthrow the royal house; like their ancestors, they were to deliberate in common about war and other matters, giving the supremacy to the descendants of Atlas. And the king was not to have the power of life and death over any of his kinsmen unless he had the assent of the majority of the ten. Such was the vast power which the god settled in the lost island of Atlantis; and this he afterwards directed against our land for the following reasons, as tradition tells: For many generations, as long as the divine nature lasted in them, they were obedient to the laws, and well-affectioned towards the god, whose seed they were; for they possessed true and in every way great spirits, uniting gentleness with wisdom in the various chances of life, and in their intercourse with one another. They despised everything but virtue, caring little for their present state of life, and thinking lightly of the possession of gold and other property, which seemed only a burden to them; neither were they intoxicated by luxury; nor did wealth deprive them of their self-control; but they were sober, and saw clearly that all these goods are increased by virtue and friendship with one another, whereas by too great regard and respect for them, they are lost and friendship with them. By such reflections and by the continuance in them of a divine nature, the qualities which we have described grew and increased among them; but when the divine portion began to fade away, and became diluted too often and too much with the mortal admixture, and the human nature got the upper hand, they then, being unable to bear their fortune, behaved unseemly, and to him who had an eye to see grew visibly debased, for they were losing the fairest of their precious gifts; but to those who had no eye to see the true happiness, they appeared glorious and blessed at the very time when they were full of avarice and unrighteous power. Zeus, the god of gods, who rules according to law, and is able to see into such things, perceiving that an honourable race was in a woeful plight, and wanting to inflict punishment on them, that they might be chastened and improve, collected all the gods into their most holy habitation, which, being placed in the centre of the world, beholds all created things. And when he had called them together, he spake as follows–2

2 The

rest of the Dialogue of Critias has been lost.

Chapter 8

Crito Source text found at http://www.gutenberg.net/etext99/crito10.txt1

8.1

Introduction

By Benjamin Jowett The Crito seems intended to exhibit the character of Socrates in one light only, not as the philosopher, fulfilling a divine mission and trusting in the will of heaven, but simply as the good citizen, who having been unjustly condemned is willing to give up his life in obedience to the laws of the state... The days of Socrates are drawing to a close; the fatal ship has been seen off Sunium, as he is informed by his aged friend and contemporary Crito, who visits him before the dawn has broken; he himself has been warned in a dream that on the third day he must depart. Time is precious, and Crito has come early in order to gain his consent to a plan of escape. This can be easily accomplished by his friends, who will incur no danger in making the attempt to save him, but will be disgraced for ever if they allow him to perish. He should think of his duty to his children, and not play into the hands of his enemies. Money is already provided by Crito as well as by Simmias and others, and he will have no difficulty in finding friends in Thessaly and other places. Socrates is afraid that Crito is but pressing upon him the opinions of the many: whereas, all his life long he has followed the dictates of reason only and the opinion of the one wise or skilled man. There was a time when Crito himself had allowed the propriety of this. And although some one will say ‘the many can kill us,’ that makes no difference; but a good life, in other words, a just and honourable life, is alone to be valued. All considerations of loss of reputation or injury to his children should be dismissed: the only question is whether he would be right in attempting to escape. Crito, who is a disinterested person not having the fear of death before his eyes, shall answer this for him. Before he was condemned they had often held discussions, in which they agreed that no man should either do evil, or return evil for evil, or betray the right. Are these principles to be altered because the circumstances of Socrates are altered? Crito admits that 1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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they remain the same. Then is his escape consistent with the maintenance of them? To this Crito is unable or unwilling to reply. Socrates proceeds:–Suppose the Laws of Athens to come and remonstrate with him: they will ask ‘Why does he seek to overturn them?’ and if he replies, ‘they have injured him,’ will not the Laws answer, ‘Yes, but was that the agreement? Has he any objection to make to them which would justify him in overturning them? Was he not brought into the world and educated by their help, and are they not his parents? He might have left Athens and gone where he pleased, but he has lived there for seventy years more constantly than any other citizen.’ Thus he has clearly shown that he acknowledged the agreement, which he cannot now break without dishonour to himself and danger to his friends. Even in the course of the trial he might have proposed exile as the penalty, but then he declared that he preferred death to exile. And whither will he direct his footsteps? In any well-ordered state the Laws will consider him as an enemy. Possibly in a land of misrule like Thessaly he may be welcomed at first, and the unseemly narrative of his escape will be regarded by the inhabitants as an amusing tale. But if he offends them he will have to learn another sort of lesson. Will he continue to give lectures in virtue? That would hardly be decent. And how will his children be the gainers if he takes them into Thessaly, and deprives them of Athenian citizenship? Or if he leaves them behind, does he expect that they will be better taken care of by his friends because he is in Thessaly? Will not true friends care for them equally whether he is alive or dead? Finally, they exhort him to think of justice first, and of life and children afterwards. He may now depart in peace and innocence, a sufferer and not a doer of evil. But if he breaks agreements, and returns evil for evil, they will be angry with him while he lives; and their brethren the Laws of the world below will receive him as an enemy. Such is the mystic voice which is always murmuring in his ears. That Socrates was not a good citizen was a charge made against him during his lifetime, which has been often repeated in later ages. The crimes of Alcibiades, Critias, and Charmides, who had been his pupils, were still recent in the memory of the now restored democracy. The fact that he had been neutral in the death-struggle of Athens was not likely to conciliate popular good-will. Plato, writing probably in the next generation, undertakes the defence of his friend and master in this particular, not to the Athenians of his day, but to posterity and the world at large. Whether such an incident ever really occurred as the visit of Crito and the proposal of escape is uncertain: Plato could easily have invented far more than that (Phaedr.); and in the selection of Crito, the aged friend, as the fittest person to make the proposal to Socrates, we seem to recognize the hand of the artist. Whether any one who has been subjected by the laws of his country to an unjust judgment is right in attempting to escape, is a thesis about which casuists might disagree. Shelley (Prose Works) is of opinion that Socrates ‘did well to die,’ but not for the ‘sophistical’ reasons which Plato has put into his mouth. And there would be no difficulty in arguing that Socrates should have lived and preferred to a glorious death the good which he might still be able to perform. ‘A rhetorician would have had much to say upon that point.’ It may be observed however that Plato never intended to answer the question of casuistry, but only to exhibit the ideal of patient virtue which refuses to do the least evil in order to avoid the greatest, and to show his master maintaining in death the opinions which he had professed in his life. Not ‘the

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world,’ but the ‘one wise man,’ is still the paradox of Socrates in his last hours. He must be guided by reason, although her conclusions may be fatal to him. The remarkable sentiment that the wicked can do neither good nor evil is true, if taken in the sense, which he means, of moral evil; in his own words, ‘they cannot make a man wise or foolish.’ This little dialogue is a perfect piece of dialectic, in which granting the ‘common principle,’ there is no escaping from the conclusion. It is anticipated at the beginning by the dream of Socrates and the parody of Homer. The personification of the Laws, and of their brethren the Laws in the world below, is one of the noblest and boldest figures of speech which occur in Plato.

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Crito: the text

Crito [43a-54e] Translated by Benjamin Jowett PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Socrates, Crito. SCENE: The Prison of Socrates. SOCRATES: Why have you come at this hour, Crito? it must be quite early. CRITO: Yes, certainly. SOCRATES: What is the exact time? CRITO: The dawn is breaking. SOCRATES: I wonder that the keeper of the prison would let you in. CRITO: He knows me because I often come, Socrates; moreover. I have done him a kindness. SOCRATES: And are you only just arrived? CRITO: No, I came some time ago. SOCRATES: Then why did you sit and say nothing, instead of at once awakening me? CRITO: I should not have liked myself, Socrates, to be in such great trouble and unrest as you are-indeed I should not: I have been watching with amazement your peaceful slumbers; and for that reason I did not awake you, because I wished to minimize the pain. I have always thought you to be of a happy disposition; but never did I see anything like the easy, tranquil manner in which you bear this calamity. SOCRATES: Why, Crito, when a man has reached my age he ought not to be repining at the approach of death. CRITO: And yet other old men find themselves in similar misfortunes, and age does not prevent them from repining. SOCRATES: That is true. But you have not told me why you come at this early hour. CRITO: I come to bring you a message which is sad and painful; not, as I believe, to yourself, but to all of us who are your friends, and saddest of all to me. SOCRATES: What? Has the ship come from Delos, on the arrival of which I am to die? CRITO: No, the ship has not actually arrived, but she will probably be here to-day, as persons who have come from Sunium tell me that they have left her there; and therefore to-morrow, Socrates, will be the last day of your life. SOCRATES: Very well, Crito; if such is the will of God, I am willing; but my belief is that there will be a delay of a day. CRITO: Why do you think so? SOCRATES: I will tell you. I am to die on the day after the arrival of the ship? CRITO: Yes; that is what the authorities say. SOCRATES: But I do not think that the ship will be here until to-morrow; this I infer from a vision which I had last night, or rather only just now, when you fortunately allowed me to sleep.

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CRITO: And what was the nature of the vision? SOCRATES: There appeared to me the likeness of a woman, fair and comely, clothed in bright raiment, who called to me and said: O Socrates, ‘The third day hence to fertile Phthia shalt thou go.’ (Homer, Il.) CRITO: What a singular dream, Socrates! SOCRATES: There can be no doubt about the meaning, Crito, I think. CRITO: Yes; the meaning is only too clear. But, oh! my beloved Socrates, let me entreat you once more to take my advice and escape. For if you die I shall not only lose a friend who can never be replaced, but there is another evil: people who do not know you and me will believe that I might have saved you if I had been willing to give money, but that I did not care. Now, can there be a worse disgrace than this-that I should be thought to value money more than the life of a friend? For the many will not be persuaded that I wanted you to escape, and that you refused. SOCRATES: But why, my dear Crito, should we care about the opinion of the many? Good men, and they are the only persons who are worth considering, will think of these things truly as they occurred. CRITO: But you see, Socrates, that the opinion of the many must be regarded, for what is now happening shows that they can do the greatest evil to any one who has lost their good opinion. SOCRATES: I only wish it were so, Crito; and that the many could do the greatest evil; for then they would also be able to do the greatest good- and what a fine thing this would be! But in reality they can do neither; for they cannot make a man either wise or foolish; and whatever they do is the result of chance. CRITO: Well, I will not dispute with you; but please to tell me, Socrates, whether you are not acting out of regard to me and your other friends: are you not afraid that if you escape from prison we may get into trouble with the informers for having stolen you away, and lose either the whole or a great part of our property; or that even a worse evil may happen to us? Now, if you fear on our account, be at ease; for in order to save you, we ought surely to run this, or even a greater risk; be persuaded, then, and do as I say. SOCRATES: Yes, Crito, that is one fear which you mention, but by no means the only one. CRITO: Fear not-there are persons who are willing to get you out of prison at no great cost; and as for the informers they are far from being exorbitant in their demands-a little money will satisfy them. My means, which are certainly ample, are at your service, and if you have a scruple about spending all mine, here are strangers who will give you the use of theirs; and one of them, Simmias the Theban, has brought a large sum of money for this very purpose; and Cebes and many others are prepared to spend their money in helping you to escape. I say, therefore, do not hesitate on our account, and do not say, as you did in the court (compare Apol.), that you will have a difficulty in knowing what to do with yourself anywhere else. For men will love you in other places to which you may go, and not in Athens only; there are friends of mine in Thessaly, if you like to go to them, who will value and protect you, and no Thessalian will give you any trouble. Nor can I think that you are at all justified, Socrates, in betraying your own life when you might be saved; in acting thus you are playing into the hands of your enemies, who are hurrying on your destruction. And further I should say that you are deserting your own children; for you might bring them up and educate them; instead of which you go away and leave them, and they will have

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to take their chance; and if they do not meet with the usual fate of orphans, there will be small thanks to you. No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nurture and education. But you appear to be choosing the easier part, not the better and manlier, which would have been more becoming in one who professes to care for virtue in all his actions, like yourself. And indeed, I am ashamed not only of you, but of us who are your friends, when I reflect that the whole business will be attributed entirely to our want of courage. The trial need never have come on, or might have been managed differently; and this last act, or crowning folly, will seem to have occurred through our negligence and cowardice, who might have saved you, if we had been good for anything; and you might have saved yourself, for there was no difficulty at all. See now, Socrates, how sad and discreditable are the consequences, both to us and you. Make up your mind then, or rather have your mind already made up, for the time of deliberation is over, and there is only one thing to be done, which must be done this very night, and if we delay at all will be no longer practicable or possible; I beseech you therefore, Socrates, be persuaded by me, and do as I say. SOCRATES: Dear Crito, your zeal is invaluable, if a right one; but if wrong, the greater the zeal the greater the danger; and therefore we ought to consider whether I shall or shall not do as you say. For I am and always have been one of those natures who must be guided by reason, whatever the reason may be which upon reflection appears to me to be the best; and now that this chance has befallen me, I cannot repudiate my own words: the principles which I have hitherto honoured and revered I still honour, and unless we can at once find other and better principles, I am certain not to agree with you; no, not even if the power of the multitude could inflict many more imprisonments, confiscations, deaths, frightening us like children with hobgoblin terrors (compare Apol.). What will be the fairest way of considering the question? Shall I return to your old argument about the opinions of men?–we were saying that some of them are to be regarded, and others not. Now were we right in maintaining this before I was condemned? And has the argument which was once good now proved to be talk for the sake of talking-mere childish nonsense? That is what I want to consider with your help, Crito:–whether, under my present circumstances, the argument appears to be in any way different or not; and is to be allowed by me or disallowed. That argument, which, as I believe, is maintained by many persons of authority, was to the effect, as I was saying, that the opinions of some men are to be regarded, and of other men not to be regarded. Now you, Crito, are not going to die to-morrow-at least, there is no human probability of this, and therefore you are disinterested and not liable to be deceived by the circumstances in which you are placed. Tell me then, whether I am right in saying that some opinions, and the opinions of some men only, are to be valued, and that other opinions, and the opinions of other men, are not to be valued. I ask you whether I was right in maintaining this? CRITO: Certainly. SOCRATES: The good are to be regarded, and not the bad? CRITO: Yes. SOCRATES: And the opinions of the wise are good, and the opinions of the unwise are evil? CRITO: Certainly. SOCRATES: And what was said about another matter? Is the pupil who

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devotes himself to the practice of gymnastics supposed to attend to the praise and blame and opinion of every man, or of one man only-his physician or trainer, whoever he may be? CRITO: Of one man only. SOCRATES: And he ought to fear the censure and welcome the praise of that one only, and not of the many? CRITO: Clearly so. SOCRATES: And he ought to act and train, and eat and drink in the way which seems good to his single master who has understanding, rather than according to the opinion of all other men put together? CRITO: True. SOCRATES: And if he disobeys and disregards the opinion and approval of the one, and regards the opinion of the many who have no understanding, will he not suffer evil? CRITO: Certainly he will. SOCRATES: And what will the evil be, whither tending and what affecting, in the disobedient person? CRITO: Clearly, affecting the body; that is what is destroyed by the evil. SOCRATES: Very good; and is not this true, Crito, of other things which we need not separately enumerate? In questions of just and unjust, fair and foul, good and evil, which are the subjects of our present consultation, ought we to follow the opinion of the many and to fear them; or the opinion of the one man who has understanding? ought we not to fear and reverence him more than all the rest of the world: and if we desert him shall we not destroy and injure that principle in us which may be assumed to be improved by justice and deteriorated by injustice;–there is such a principle? CRITO: Certainly there is, Socrates. SOCRATES: Take a parallel instance:–if, acting under the advice of those who have no understanding, we destroy that which is improved by health and is deteriorated by disease, would life be worth having? And that which has been destroyed is-the body? CRITO: Yes. SOCRATES: Could we live, having an evil and corrupted body? CRITO: Certainly not. SOCRATES: And will life be worth having, if that higher part of man be destroyed, which is improved by justice and depraved by injustice? Do we suppose that principle, whatever it may be in man, which has to do with justice and injustice, to be inferior to the body? CRITO: Certainly not. SOCRATES: More honourable than the body? CRITO: Far more. SOCRATES: Then, my friend, we must not regard what the many say of us: but what he, the one man who has understanding of just and unjust, will say, and what the truth will say. And therefore you begin in error when you advise that we should regard the opinion of the many about just and unjust, good and evil, honorable and dishonorable.-‘Well,’ some one will say, ‘but the many can kill us.’ CRITO: Yes, Socrates; that will clearly be the answer.

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SOCRATES: And it is true; but still I find with surprise that the old argument is unshaken as ever. And I should like to know whether I may say the same of another proposition-that not life, but a good life, is to be chiefly valued? CRITO: Yes, that also remains unshaken. SOCRATES: And a good life is equivalent to a just and honorable one-that holds also? CRITO: Yes, it does. SOCRATES: From these premisses I proceed to argue the question whether I ought or ought not to try and escape without the consent of the Athenians: and if I am clearly right in escaping, then I will make the attempt; but if not, I will abstain. The other considerations which you mention, of money and loss of character and the duty of educating one’s children, are, I fear, only the doctrines of the multitude, who would be as ready to restore people to life, if they were able, as they are to put them to death-and with as little reason. But now, since the argument has thus far prevailed, the only question which remains to be considered is, whether we shall do rightly either in escaping or in suffering others to aid in our escape and paying them in money and thanks, or whether in reality we shall not do rightly; and if the latter, then death or any other calamity which may ensue on my remaining here must not be allowed to enter into the calculation. CRITO: I think that you are right, Socrates; how then shall we proceed? SOCRATES: Let us consider the matter together, and do you either refute me if you can, and I will be convinced; or else cease, my dear friend, from repeating to me that I ought to escape against the wishes of the Athenians: for I highly value your attempts to persuade me to do so, but I may not be persuaded against my own better judgment. And now please to consider my first position, and try how you can best answer me. CRITO: I will. SOCRATES: Are we to say that we are never intentionally to do wrong, or that in one way we ought and in another way we ought not to do wrong, or is doing wrong always evil and dishonorable, as I was just now saying, and as has been already acknowledged by us? Are all our former admissions which were made within a few days to be thrown away? And have we, at our age, been earnestly discoursing with one another all our life long only to discover that we are no better than children? Or, in spite of the opinion of the many, and in spite of consequences whether better or worse, shall we insist on the truth of what was then said, that injustice is always an evil and dishonour to him who acts unjustly? Shall we say so or not? CRITO: Yes. SOCRATES: Then we must do no wrong? CRITO: Certainly not. SOCRATES: Nor when injured injure in return, as the many imagine; for we must injure no one at all? (E.g. compare Rep.) CRITO: Clearly not. SOCRATES: Again, Crito, may we do evil? CRITO: Surely not, Socrates. SOCRATES: And what of doing evil in return for evil, which is the morality of the many-is that just or not? CRITO: Not just. SOCRATES: For doing evil to another is the same as injuring him?

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CRITO: Very true. SOCRATES: Then we ought not to retaliate or render evil for evil to any one, whatever evil we may have suffered from him. But I would have you consider, Crito, whether you really mean what you are saying. For this opinion has never been held, and never will be held, by any considerable number of persons; and those who are agreed and those who are not agreed upon this point have no common ground, and can only despise one another when they see how widely they differ. Tell me, then, whether you agree with and assent to my first principle, that neither injury nor retaliation nor warding off evil by evil is ever right. And shall that be the premiss of our argument? Or do you decline and dissent from this? For so I have ever thought, and continue to think; but, if you are of another opinion, let me hear what you have to say. If, however, you remain of the same mind as formerly, I will proceed to the next step. CRITO: You may proceed, for I have not changed my mind. SOCRATES: Then I will go on to the next point, which may be put in the form of a question:–Ought a man to do what he admits to be right, or ought he to betray the right? CRITO: He ought to do what he thinks right. SOCRATES: But if this is true, what is the application? In leaving the prison against the will of the Athenians, do I wrong any? or rather do I not wrong those whom I ought least to wrong? Do I not desert the principles which were acknowledged by us to be just-what do you say? CRITO: I cannot tell, Socrates, for I do not know. SOCRATES: Then consider the matter in this way:–Imagine that I am about to play truant (you may call the proceeding by any name which you like), and the laws and the government come and interrogate me: ‘Tell us, Socrates,’ they say; ‘what are you about? are you not going by an act of yours to overturn usthe laws, and the whole state, as far as in you lies? Do you imagine that a state can subsist and not be overthrown, in which the decisions of law have no power, but are set aside and trampled upon by individuals?’ What will be our answer, Crito, to these and the like words? Any one, and especially a rhetorician, will have a good deal to say on behalf of the law which requires a sentence to be carried out. He will argue that this law should not be set aside; and shall we reply, ‘Yes; but the state has injured us and given an unjust sentence.’ Suppose I say that? CRITO: Very good, Socrates. SOCRATES: ‘And was that our agreement with you?’ the law would answer; ‘or were you to abide by the sentence of the state?’ And if I were to express my astonishment at their words, the law would probably add: ‘Answer, Socrates, instead of opening your eyes-you are in the habit of asking and answering questions. Tell us,–What complaint have you to make against us which justifies you in attempting to destroy us and the state? In the first place did we not bring you into existence? Your father married your mother by our aid and begat you. Say whether you have any objection to urge against those of us who regulate marriage?’ None, I should reply. ‘Or against those of us who after birth regulate the nurture and education of children, in which you also were trained? Were not the laws, which have the charge of education, right in commanding your father to train you in music and gymnastic?’ Right, I should reply. ‘Well then, since you were brought into the world and nurtured and educated by us, can you deny in the first place that you are our child and slave, as your fathers were before

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you? And if this is true you are not on equal terms with us; nor can you think that you have a right to do to us what we are doing to you. Would you have any right to strike or revile or do any other evil to your father or your master, if you had one, because you have been struck or reviled by him, or received some other evil at his hands?–you would not say this? And because we think right to destroy you, do you think that you have any right to destroy us in return, and your country as far as in you lies? Will you, O professor of true virtue, pretend that you are justified in this? Has a philosopher like you failed to discover that our country is more to be valued and higher and holier far than mother or father or any ancestor, and more to be regarded in the eyes of the gods and of men of understanding? also to be soothed, and gently and reverently entreated when angry, even more than a father, and either to be persuaded, or if not persuaded, to be obeyed? And when we are punished by her, whether with imprisonment or stripes, the punishment is to be endured in silence; and if she lead us to wounds or death in battle, thither we follow as is right; neither may any one yield or retreat or leave his rank, but whether in battle or in a court of law, or in any other place, he must do what his city and his country order him; or he must change their view of what is just: and if he may do no violence to his father or mother, much less may he do violence to his country.’ What answer shall we make to this, Crito? Do the laws speak truly, or do they not? CRITO: I think that they do. SOCRATES: Then the laws will say: ‘Consider, Socrates, if we are speaking truly that in your present attempt you are going to do us an injury. For, having brought you into the world, and nurtured and educated you, and given you and every other citizen a share in every good which we had to give, we further proclaim to any Athenian by the liberty which we allow him, that if he does not like us when he has become of age and has seen the ways of the city, and made our acquaintance, he may go where he pleases and take his goods with him. None of us laws will forbid him or interfere with him. Any one who does not like us and the city, and who wants to emigrate to a colony or to any other city, may go where he likes, retaining his property. But he who has experience of the manner in which we order justice and administer the state, and still remains, has entered into an implied contract that he will do as we command him. And he who disobeys us is, as we maintain, thrice wrong: first, because in disobeying us he is disobeying his parents; secondly, because we are the authors of his education; thirdly, because he has made an agreement with us that he will duly obey our commands; and he neither obeys them nor convinces us that our commands are unjust; and we do not rudely impose them, but give him the alternative of obeying or convincing us;–that is what we offer, and he does neither. ‘These are the sort of accusations to which, as we were saying, you, Socrates, will be exposed if you accomplish your intentions; you, above all other Athenians.’ Suppose now I ask, why I rather than anybody else? they will justly retort upon me that I above all other men have acknowledged the agreement. ‘There is clear proof,’ they will say, ‘Socrates, that we and the city were not displeasing to you. Of all Athenians you have been the most constant resident in the city, which, as you never leave, you may be supposed to love (compare Phaedr.). For you never went out of the city either to see the games, except once when you went to the Isthmus, or to any other place unless when you were on military service; nor did you travel as other men do. Nor had you any curiosity to know other states or their laws: your affections did not go beyond us and our

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state; we were your especial favourites, and you acquiesced in our government of you; and here in this city you begat your children, which is a proof of your satisfaction. Moreover, you might in the course of the trial, if you had liked, have fixed the penalty at banishment; the state which refuses to let you go now would have let you go then. But you pretended that you preferred death to exile (compare Apol.), and that you were not unwilling to die. And now you have forgotten these fine sentiments, and pay no respect to us the laws, of whom you are the destroyer; and are doing what only a miserable slave would do, running away and turning your back upon the compacts and agreements which you made as a citizen. And first of all answer this very question: Are we right in saying that you agreed to be governed according to us in deed, and not in word only? Is that true or not?’ How shall we answer, Crito? Must we not assent? CRITO: We cannot help it, Socrates. SOCRATES: Then will they not say: ‘You, Socrates, are breaking the covenants and agreements which you made with us at your leisure, not in any haste or under any compulsion or deception, but after you have had seventy years to think of them, during which time you were at liberty to leave the city, if we were not to your mind, or if our covenants appeared to you to be unfair. You had your choice, and might have gone either to Lacedaemon or Crete, both which states are often praised by you for their good government, or to some other Hellenic or foreign state. Whereas you, above all other Athenians, seemed to be so fond of the state, or, in other words, of us her laws (and who would care about a state which has no laws?), that you never stirred out of her; the halt, the blind, the maimed, were not more stationary in her than you were. And now you run away and forsake your agreements. Not so, Socrates, if you will take our advice; do not make yourself ridiculous by escaping out of the city. ‘For just consider, if you transgress and err in this sort of way, what good will you do either to yourself or to your friends? That your friends will be driven into exile and deprived of citizenship, or will lose their property, is tolerably certain; and you yourself, if you fly to one of the neighbouring cities, as, for example, Thebes or Megara, both of which are well governed, will come to them as an enemy, Socrates, and their government will be against you, and all patriotic citizens will cast an evil eye upon you as a subverter of the laws, and you will confirm in the minds of the judges the justice of their own condemnation of you. For he who is a corrupter of the laws is more than likely to be a corrupter of the young and foolish portion of mankind. Will you then flee from well-ordered cities and virtuous men? and is existence worth having on these terms? Or will you go to them without shame, and talk to them, Socrates? And what will you say to them? What you say here about virtue and justice and institutions and laws being the best things among men? Would that be decent of you? Surely not. But if you go away from well-governed states to Crito’s friends in Thessaly, where there is great disorder and licence, they will be charmed to hear the tale of your escape from prison, set off with ludicrous particulars of the manner in which you were wrapped in a goatskin or some other disguise, and metamorphosed as the manner is of runaways; but will there be no one to remind you that in your old age you were not ashamed to violate the most sacred laws from a miserable desire of a little more life? Perhaps not, if you keep them in a good temper; but if they are out of temper you will hear many degrading things; you will live, but how?–as the flatterer of all men, and the servant of all men; and doing what?–eating and drinking in Thessaly, having gone abroad in order that

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you may get a dinner. And where will be your fine sentiments about justice and virtue? Say that you wish to live for the sake of your children-you want to bring them up and educate them-will you take them into Thessaly and deprive them of Athenian citizenship? Is this the benefit which you will confer upon them? Or are you under the impression that they will be better cared for and educated here if you are still alive, although absent from them; for your friends will take care of them? Do you fancy that if you are an inhabitant of Thessaly they will take care of them, and if you are an inhabitant of the other world that they will not take care of them? Nay; but if they who call themselves friends are good for anything, they will-to be sure they will. ‘Listen, then, Socrates, to us who have brought you up. Think not of life and children first, and of justice afterwards, but of justice first, that you may be justified before the princes of the world below. For neither will you nor any that belong to you be happier or holier or juster in this life, or happier in another, if you do as Crito bids. Now you depart in innocence, a sufferer and not a doer of evil; a victim, not of the laws, but of men. But if you go forth, returning evil for evil, and injury for injury, breaking the covenants and agreements which you have made with us, and wronging those whom you ought least of all to wrong, that is to say, yourself, your friends, your country, and us, we shall be angry with you while you live, and our brethren, the laws in the world below, will receive you as an enemy; for they will know that you have done your best to destroy us. Listen, then, to us and not to Crito.’ This, dear Crito, is the voice which I seem to hear murmuring in my ears, like the sound of the flute in the ears of the mystic; that voice, I say, is humming in my ears, and prevents me from hearing any other. And I know that anything more which you may say will be vain. Yet speak, if you have anything to say. CRITO: I have nothing to say, Socrates. SOCRATES: Leave me then, Crito, to fulfil the will of God, and to follow whither he leads.

Chapter 9

Eryxias Source text found at http://www.gutenberg.net/etext99/ryxis10.txt1 See Appendix G, page 2043 ff.).

9.1

Introduction

By Benjamin Jowett Much cannot be said in praise of the style or conception of the Eryxias. It is frequently obscure; like the exercise of a student, it is full of small imitations of Plato:–Phaeax returning from an expedition to Sicily (compare Socrates in the Charmides from the army at Potidaea), the figure of the game at draughts, borrowed from the Republic, etc. It has also in many passages the ring of sophistry. On the other hand, the rather unhandsome treatment which is exhibited towards Prodicus is quite unlike the urbanity of Plato. Yet there are some points in the argument which are deserving of attention. (1) That wealth depends upon the need of it or demand for it, is the first anticipation in an abstract form of one of the great principles of modern political economy, and the nearest approach to it to be found in an ancient writer. (2) The resolution of wealth into its simplest implements going on to infinity is a subtle and refined thought. (3) That wealth is relative to circumstances is a sound conception. (4) That the arts and sciences which receive payment are likewise to be comprehended under the notion of wealth, also touches a question of modern political economy. (5) The distinction of post hoc and propter hoc, often lost sight of in modern as well as in ancient times. These metaphysical conceptions and distinctions show considerable power of thought in the writer, whatever we may think of his merits as an imitator of Plato.

1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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Eryxias: the text

Eryxias [392a-406a] By a Platonic imitator (see Appendix G). Translated by Benjamin Jowett PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Socrates, Eryxias, Erasistratus, Critias. SCENE: The portico of a temple of Zeus. It happened by chance that Eryxias the Steirian was walking with me in the Portico of Zeus the Deliverer, when there came up to us Critias and Erasistratus, the latter the son of Phaeax, who was the nephew of Erasistratus. Now Erasistratus had just arrived from Sicily and that part of the world. As they approached, he said, Hail, Socrates! SOCRATES: The same to you, I said; have you any good news from Sicily to tell us? ERASISTRATUS: Most excellent. But, if you please, let us first sit down; for I am tired with my yesterday’s journey from Megara. SOCRATES: Gladly, if that is your desire. ERASISTRATUS: What would you wish to hear first? he said. What the Sicilians are doing, or how they are disposed towards our city? To my mind, they are very like wasps: so long as you only cause them a little annoyance they are quite unmanageable; you must destroy their nests if you wish to get the better of them. And in a similar way, the Syracusans, unless we set to work in earnest, and go against them with a great expedition, will never submit to our rule. The petty injuries which we at present inflict merely irritate them enough to make them utterly intractable. And now they have sent ambassadors to Athens, and intend, I suspect, to play us some trick.–While we were talking, the Syracusan envoys chanced to go by, and Erasistratus, pointing to one of them, said to me, That, Socrates, is the richest man in all Italy and Sicily. For who has larger estates or more land at his disposal to cultivate if he please? And they are of a quality, too, finer than any other land in Hellas. Moreover, he has all the things which go to make up wealth, slaves and horses innumerable, gold and silver without end. I saw that he was inclined to expatiate on the riches of the man; so I asked him, Well, Erasistratus, and what sort of character does he bear in Sicily? ERASISTRATUS: He is esteemed to be, and really is, the wickedest of all the Sicilians and Italians, and even more wicked than he is rich; indeed, if you were to ask any Sicilian whom he thought to be the worst and the richest of mankind, you would never hear any one else named. I reflected that we were speaking, not of trivial matters, but about wealth and virtue, which are deemed to be of the greatest moment, and I asked Erasistratus whom he considered the wealthier,–he who was the possessor of a talent of silver or he who had a field worth two talents? ERASISTRATUS: The owner of the field. SOCRATES: And on the same principle he who had robes and bedding and such things which are of greater value to him than to a stranger would be richer

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than the stranger? ERASISTRATUS: True. SOCRATES: And if any one gave you a choice, which of these would you prefer? ERASISTRATUS: That which was most valuable. SOCRATES: In which way do you think you would be the richer? ERASISTRATUS: By choosing as I said. SOCRATES: And he appears to you to be the richest who has goods of the greatest value? ERASISTRATUS: He does. SOCRATES: And are not the healthy richer than the sick, since health is a possession more valuable than riches to the sick? Surely there is no one who would not prefer to be poor and well, rather than to have all the King of Persia’s wealth and to be ill. And this proves that men set health above wealth, else they would never choose the one in preference to the other. ERASISTRATUS: True. SOCRATES: And if anything appeared to be more valuable than health, he would be the richest who possessed it? ERASISTRATUS: He would. SOCRATES: Suppose that some one came to us at this moment and were to ask, Well, Socrates and Eryxias and Erasistratus, can you tell me what is of the greatest value to men? Is it not that of which the possession will best enable a man to advise how his own and his friend’s affairs should be administered?– What will be our reply? ERASISTRATUS: I should say, Socrates, that happiness was the most precious of human possessions. SOCRATES: Not a bad answer. But do we not deem those men who are most prosperous to be the happiest? ERASISTRATUS: That is my opinion. SOCRATES: And are they not most prosperous who commit the fewest errors in respect either of themselves or of other men? ERASISTRATUS: Certainly. SOCRATES: And they who know what is evil and what is good; what should be done and what should be left undone;–these behave the most wisely and make the fewest mistakes? Erasistratus agreed to this. SOCRATES: Then the wisest and those who do best and the most fortunate and the richest would appear to be all one and the same, if wisdom is really the most valuable of our possessions? Yes, said Eryxias, interposing, but what use would it be if a man had the wisdom of Nestor and wanted the necessaries of life, food and drink and clothes and the like? Where would be the advantage of wisdom then? Or how could he be the richest of men who might even have to go begging, because he had not wherewithal to live? I thought that what Eryxias was saying had some weight, and I replied, Would the wise man really suffer in this way, if he were so ill-provided; whereas if he had the house of Polytion, and the house were full of gold and silver, he would lack nothing?

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ERYXIAS: Yes; for then he might dispose of his property and obtain in exchange what he needed, or he might sell it for money with which he could supply his wants and in a moment procure abundance of everything. SOCRATES: True, if he could find some one who preferred such a house to the wisdom of Nestor. But if there are persons who set great store by wisdom like Nestor’s and the advantages accruing from it, to sell these, if he were so disposed, would be easier still. Or is a house a most useful and necessary possession, and does it make a great difference in the comfort of life to have a mansion like Polytion’s instead of living in a shabby little cottage, whereas wisdom is of small use and it is of no importance whether a man is wise or ignorant about the highest matters? Or is wisdom despised of men and can find no buyers, although cypress wood and marble of Pentelicus are eagerly bought by numerous purchasers? Surely the prudent pilot or the skilful physician, or the artist of any kind who is proficient in his art, is more worth than the things which are especially reckoned among riches; and he who can advise well and prudently for himself and others is able also to sell the product of his art, if he so desire. Eryxias looked askance, as if he had received some unfair treatment, and said, I believe, Socrates, that if you were forced to speak the truth, you would declare that you were richer than Callias the son of Hipponicus. And yet, although you claimed to be wiser about things of real importance, you would not any the more be richer than he. I dare say, Eryxias, I said, that you may regard these arguments of ours as a kind of game; you think that they have no relation to facts, but are like the pieces in the game of draughts which the player can move in such a way that his opponents are unable to make any countermove. (Compare Republic.) And perhaps, too, as regards riches you are of opinion that while facts remain the same, there are arguments, no matter whether true or false, which enable the user of them to prove that the wisest and the richest are one and the same, although he is in the wrong and his opponents are in the right. There would be nothing strange in this; it would be as if two persons were to dispute about letters, one declaring that the word Socrates began with an S, the other that it began with an A, and the latter could gain the victory over the former. Eryxias glanced at the audience, laughing and blushing at once, as if he had had nothing to do with what had just been said, and replied,–No, indeed, Socrates, I never supposed that our arguments should be of a kind which would never convince any one of those here present or be of advantage to them. For what man of sense could ever be persuaded that the wisest and the richest are the same? The truth is that we are discussing the subject of riches, and my notion is that we should argue respecting the honest and dishonest means of acquiring them, and, generally, whether they are a good thing or a bad. Very good, I said, and I am obliged to you for the hint: in future we will be more careful. But why do not you yourself, as you introduced the argument, and do not think that the former discussion touched the point at issue, tell us whether you consider riches to be a good or an evil? I am of opinion, he said, that they are a good. He was about to add something more, when Critias interrupted him:–Do you really suppose so, Eryxias? Certainly, replied Eryxias; I should be mad if I did not: and I do not fancy that you would find any one else of a contrary opinion. And I, retorted Critias, should say that there is no one whom I could not

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compel to admit that riches are bad for some men. But surely, if they were a good, they could not appear bad for any one? Here I interposed and said to them: If you two were having an argument about equitation and what was the best way of riding, supposing that I knew the art myself, I should try to bring you to an agreement. For I should be ashamed if I were present and did not do what I could to prevent your difference. And I should do the same if you were quarrelling about any other art and were likely, unless you agreed on the point in dispute, to part as enemies instead of as friends. But now, when we are contending about a thing of which the usefulness continues during the whole of life, and it makes an enormous difference whether we are to regard it as beneficial or not,–a thing, too, which is esteemed of the highest importance by the Hellenes:–(for parents, as soon as their children are, as they think, come to years of discretion, urge them to consider how wealth may be acquired, since by riches the value of a man is judged):– When, I say, we are thus in earnest, and you, who agree in other respects, fall to disputing about a matter of such moment, that is, about wealth, and not merely whether it is black or white, light or heavy, but whether it is a good or an evil, whereby, although you are now the dearest of friends and kinsmen, the most bitter hatred may arise betwixt you, I must hinder your dissension to the best of my power. If I could, I would tell you the truth, and so put an end to the dispute; but as I cannot do this, and each of you supposes that you can bring the other to an agreement, I am prepared, as far as my capacity admits, to help you in solving the question. Please, therefore, Critias, try to make us accept the doctrines which you yourself entertain. CRITIAS: I should like to follow up the argument, and will ask Eryxias whether he thinks that there are just and unjust men? ERYXIAS: Most decidedly. CRITIAS: And does injustice seem to you an evil or a good? ERYXIAS: An evil. CRITIAS: Do you consider that he who bribes his neighbour’s wife and commits adultery with her, acts justly or unjustly, and this although both the state and the laws forbid? ERYXIAS: Unjustly. CRITIAS: And if the wicked man has wealth and is willing to spend it, he will carry out his evil purposes? whereas he who is short of means cannot do what he fain would, and therefore does not sin? In such a case, surely, it is better that a person should not be wealthy, if his poverty prevents the accomplishment of his desires, and his desires are evil? Or, again, should you call sickness a good or an evil? ERYXIAS: An evil. CRITIAS: Well, and do you think that some men are intemperate? ERYXIAS: Yes. CRITIAS: Then, if it is better for his health that the intemperate man should refrain from meat and drink and other pleasant things, but he cannot owing to his intemperance, will it not also be better that he should be too poor to gratify his lust rather than that he should have a superabundance of means? For thus he will not be able to sin, although he desire never so much. Critias appeared to be arguing so admirably that Eryxias, if he had not been ashamed of the bystanders, would probably have got up and struck him. For he thought that he had been robbed of a great possession when it became obvious

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to him that he had been wrong in his former opinion about wealth. I observed his vexation, and feared that they would proceed to abuse and quarrelling: so I said,–I heard that very argument used in the Lyceum yesterday by a wise man, Prodicus of Ceos; but the audience thought that he was talking mere nonsense, and no one could be persuaded that he was speaking the truth. And when at last a certain talkative young gentleman came in, and, taking his seat, began to laugh and jeer at Prodicus, tormenting him and demanding an explanation of his argument, he gained the ear of the audience far more than Prodicus. Can you repeat the discourse to us? Said Erasistratus. SOCRATES: If I can only remember it, I will. The youth began by asking Prodicus, In what way did he think that riches were a good and in what an evil? Prodicus answered, as you did just now, that they were a good to good men and to those who knew in what way they should be employed, while to the bad and the ignorant they were an evil. The same is true, he went on to say, of all other things; men make them to be what they are themselves. The saying of Archilochus is true:– ’Men’s thoughts correspond to the things which they meet with.’ Well, then, replied the youth, if any one makes me wise in that wisdom whereby good men become wise, he must also make everything else good to me. Not that he concerns himself at all with these other things, but he has converted my ignorance into wisdom. If, for example, a person teach me grammar or music, he will at the same time teach me all that relates to grammar or music, and so when he makes me good, he makes things good to me. Prodicus did not altogether agree: still he consented to what was said. And do you think, said the youth, that doing good things is like building a house,–the work of human agency; or do things remain what they were at first, good or bad, for all time? Prodicus began to suspect, I fancy, the direction which the argument was likely to take, and did not wish to be put down by a mere stripling before all those present:–(if they two had been alone, he would not have minded):–so he answered, cleverly enough: I think that doing good things is a work of human agency. And is virtue in your opinion, Prodicus, innate or acquired by instruction? The latter, said Prodicus. Then you would consider him a simpleton who supposed that he could obtain by praying to the Gods the knowledge of grammar or music or any other art, which he must either learn from another or find out for himself? Prodicus agreed to this also. And when you pray to the Gods that you may do well and receive good, you mean by your prayer nothing else than that you desire to become good and wise:–if, at least, things are good to the good and wise and evil to the evil. But in that case, if virtue is acquired by instruction, it would appear that you only pray to be taught what you do not know. Hereupon I said to Prodicus that it was no misfortune to him if he had been proved to be in error in supposing that the Gods immediately granted to us whatever we asked:–if, I added, whenever you go up to the Acropolis you earnestly entreat the Gods to grant you good things, although you know not whether they can yield your request, it is as though you went to the doors of the grammarian and begged him, although you had never made a study of the

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art, to give you a knowledge of grammar which would enable you forthwith to do the business of a grammarian. While I was speaking, Prodicus was preparing to retaliate upon his youthful assailant, intending to employ the argument of which you have just made use; for he was annoyed to have it supposed that he offered a vain prayer to the Gods. But the master of the gymnasium came to him and begged him to leave because he was teaching the youths doctrines which were unsuited to them, and therefore bad for them. I have told you this because I want you to understand how men are circumstanced in regard to philosophy. Had Prodicus been present and said what you have said, the audience would have thought him raving, and he would have been ejected from the gymnasium. But you have argued so excellently well that you have not only persuaded your hearers, but have brought your opponent to an agreement. For just as in the law courts, if two witnesses testify to the same fact, one of whom seems to be an honest fellow and the other a rogue, the testimony of the rogue often has the contrary effect on the judges’ minds to what he intended, while the same evidence if given by the honest man at once strikes them as perfectly true. And probably the audience have something of the same feeling about yourself and Prodicus; they think him a Sophist and a braggart, and regard you as a gentleman of courtesy and worth. For they do not pay attention to the argument so much as to the character of the speaker. But truly, Socrates, said Erasistratus, though you may be joking, Critias does seem to me to be saying something which is of weight. SOCRATES: I am in profound earnest, I assure you. But why, as you have begun your argument so prettily, do you not go on with the rest? There is still something lacking, now you have agreed that (wealth) is a good to some and an evil to others. It remains to enquire what constitutes wealth; for unless you know this, you cannot possibly come to an understanding as to whether it is a good or an evil. I am ready to assist you in the enquiry to the utmost of my power: but first let him who affirms that riches are a good, tell us what, in his opinion, is wealth. ERASISTRATUS: Indeed, Socrates, I have no notion about wealth beyond that which men commonly have. I suppose that wealth is a quantity of money (compare Arist. Pol.); and this, I imagine, would also be Critias’ definition. SOCRATES: Then now we have to consider, What is money? Or else later on we shall be found to differ about the question. For instance, the Carthaginians use money of this sort. Something which is about the size of a stater is tied up in a small piece of leather: what it is, no one knows but the makers. A seal is next set upon the leather, which then passes into circulation, and he who has the largest number of such pieces is esteemed the richest and best off. And yet if any one among us had a mass of such coins he would be no wealthier than if he had so many pebbles from the mountain. At Lacedaemon, again, they use iron by weight which has been rendered useless: and he who has the greatest mass of such iron is thought to be the richest, although elsewhere it has no value. In Ethiopia engraved stones are employed, of which a Lacedaemonian could make no use. Once more, among the Nomad Scythians a man who owned the house of Polytion would not be thought richer than one who possessed Mount Lycabettus among ourselves. And clearly those things cannot all be regarded as possessions; for in some cases the possessors would appear none the richer thereby: but, as I was saying, some one of them is thought in one place to be money, and the

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possessors of it are the wealthy, whereas in some other place it is not money, and the ownership of it does not confer wealth; just as the standard of morals varies, and what is honourable to some men is dishonourable to others. And if we wish to enquire why a house is valuable to us but not to the Scythians, or why the Carthaginians value leather which is worthless to us, or the Lacedaemonians find wealth in iron and we do not, can we not get an answer in some such way as this: Would an Athenian, who had a thousand talents weight of the stones which lie about in the Agora and which we do not employ for any purpose, be thought to be any the richer? ERASISTRATUS: He certainly would not appear so to me. SOCRATES: But if he possessed a thousand talents weight of some precious stone, we should say that he was very rich? ERASISTRATUS: Of course. SOCRATES: The reason is that the one is useless and the other useful? ERASISTRATUS: Yes. SOCRATES: And in the same way among the Scythians a house has no value because they have no use for a house, nor would a Scythian set so much store on the finest house in the world as on a leather coat, because he could use the one and not the other. Or again, the Carthaginian coinage is not wealth in our eyes, for we could not employ it, as we can silver, to procure what we need, and therefore it is of no use to us. ERASISTRATUS: True. SOCRATES: What is useful to us, then, is wealth, and what is useless to us is not wealth? But how do you mean, Socrates? said Eryxias, interrupting. Do we not employ in our intercourse with one another speech and violence (?) and various other things? These are useful and yet they are not wealth. SOCRATES: Clearly we have not yet answered the question, What is wealth? That wealth must be useful, to be wealth at all,–thus much is acknowledged by every one. But what particular thing is wealth, if not all things? Let us pursue the argument in another way; and then we may perhaps find what we are seeking. What is the use of wealth, and for what purpose has the possession of riches been invented,–in the sense, I mean, in which drugs have been discovered for the cure of disease? Perhaps in this way we may throw some light on the question. It appears to be clear that whatever constitutes wealth must be useful, and that wealth is one class of useful things; and now we have to enquire, What is the use of those useful things which constitute wealth? For all things probably may be said to be useful which we use in production, just as all things which have life are animals, but there is a special kind of animal which we call ’man.’ Now if any one were to ask us, What is that of which, if we were rid, we should not want medicine and the instruments of medicine, we might reply that this would be the case if disease were absent from our bodies and either never came to them at all or went away again as soon as it appeared; and we may therefore conclude that medicine is the science which is useful for getting rid of disease. But if we are further asked, What is that from which, if we were free, we should have no need of wealth? can we give an answer? If we have none, suppose that we restate the question thus:–If a man could live without food or drink, and yet suffer neither hunger nor thirst, would he want either money or anything else in order to supply his needs? ERYXIAS: He would not.

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SOCRATES: And does not this apply in other cases? If we did not want for the service of the body the things of which we now stand in need, and heat and cold and the other bodily sensations were unperceived by us, there would be no use in this so-called wealth, if no one, that is, had any necessity for those things which now make us wish for wealth in order that we may satisfy the desires and needs of the body in respect of our various wants. And therefore if the possession of wealth is useful in ministering to our bodily wants, and bodily wants were unknown to us, we should not need wealth, and possibly there would be no such thing as wealth. ERYXIAS: Clearly not. SOCRATES: Then our conclusion is, as would appear, that wealth is what is useful to this end? Eryxias once more gave his assent, but the small argument considerably troubled him. SOCRATES: And what is your opinion about another question:–Would you say that the same thing can be at one time useful and at another useless for the production of the same result? ERYXIAS: I cannot say more than that if we require the same thing to produce the same result, then it seems to me to be useful; if not, not. SOCRATES: Then if without the aid of fire we could make a brazen statue, we should not want fire for that purpose; and if we did not want it, it would be useless to us? And the argument applies equally in other cases. ERYXIAS: Clearly. SOCRATES: And therefore conditions which are not required for the existence of a thing are not useful for the production of it? ERYXIAS: Of course not. SOCRATES: And if without gold or silver or anything else which we do not use directly for the body in the way that we do food and drink and bedding and houses,–if without these we could satisfy the wants of the body, they would be of no use to us for that purpose? ERYXIAS: They would not. SOCRATES: They would no longer be regarded as wealth, because they are useless, whereas that would be wealth which enabled us to obtain what was useful to us? ERYXIAS: O Socrates, you will never be able to persuade me that gold and silver and similar things are not wealth. But I am very strongly of opinion that things which are useless to us are not wealth, and that the money which is useful for this purpose is of the greatest use; not that these things are not useful towards life, if by them we can procure wealth. SOCRATES: And how would you answer another question? There are persons, are there not, who teach music and grammar and other arts for pay, and thus procure those things of which they stand in need? ERYXIAS: There are. SOCRATES: And these men by the arts which they profess, and in exchange for them, obtain the necessities of life just as we do by means of gold and silver? ERYXIAS: True. SOCRATES: Then if they procure by this means what they want for the purposes of life, that art will be useful towards life? For do we not say that silver is useful because it enables us to supply our bodily needs? ERYXIAS: We do.

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SOCRATES: Then if these arts are reckoned among things useful, the arts are wealth for the same reason as gold and silver are, for, clearly, the possession of them gives wealth. Yet a little while ago we found it difficult to accept the argument which proved that the wisest are the wealthiest. But now there seems no escape from this conclusion. Suppose that we are asked, ’Is a horse useful to everybody?’ will not our reply be, ’No, but only to those who know how to use a horse?’ ERYXIAS: Certainly. SOCRATES: And so, too, physic is not useful to every one, but only to him who knows how to use it? ERYXIAS: True. SOCRATES: And the same is the case with everything else? ERYXIAS: Yes. SOCRATES: Then gold and silver and all the other elements which are supposed to make up wealth are only useful to the person who knows how to use them? ERYXIAS: Exactly. SOCRATES: And were we not saying before that it was the business of a good man and a gentleman to know where and how anything should be used? ERYXIAS: Yes. SOCRATES: The good and gentle, therefore will alone have profit from these things, supposing at least that they know how to use them. But if so, to them only will they seem to be wealth. It appears, however, that where a person is ignorant of riding, and has horses which are useless to him, if some one teaches him that art, he makes him also richer, for what was before useless has now become useful to him, and in giving him knowledge he has also conferred riches upon him. ERYXIAS: That is the case. SOCRATES: Yet I dare be sworn that Critias will not be moved a whit by the argument. CRITIAS: No, by heaven, I should be a madman if I were. But why do you not finish the argument which proves that gold and silver and other things which seem to be wealth are not real wealth? For I have been exceedingly delighted to hear the discourses which you have just been holding. SOCRATES: My argument, Critias (I said), appears to have given you the same kind of pleasure which you might have derived from some rhapsode’s recitation of Homer; for you do not believe a word of what has been said. But come now, give me an answer to this question. Are not certain things useful to the builder when he is building a house? CRITIAS: They are. SOCRATES: And would you say that those things are useful which are employed in house building,–stones and bricks and beams and the like, and also the instruments with which the builder built the house, the beams and stones which they provided, and again the instruments by which these were obtained? CRITIAS: It seems to me that they are all useful for building. SOCRATES: And is it not true of every art, that not only the materials but the instruments by which we procure them and without which the work could not go on, are useful for that art? CRITIAS: Certainly.

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SOCRATES: And further, the instruments by which the instruments are procured, and so on, going back from stage to stage ad infinitum,–are not all these, in your opinion, necessary in order to carry out the work? CRITIAS: We may fairly suppose such to be the case. SOCRATES: And if a man has food and drink and clothes and the other things which are useful to the body, would he need gold or silver or any other means by which he could procure that which he now has? CRITIAS: I do not think so. SOCRATES: Then you consider that a man never wants any of these things for the use of the body? CRITIAS: Certainly not. SOCRATES: And if they appear useless to this end, ought they not always to appear useless? For we have already laid down the principle that things cannot be at one time useful and at another time not, in the same process. CRITIAS: But in that respect your argument and mine are the same. For you maintain if they are useful to a certain end, they can never become useless; whereas I say that in order to accomplish some results bad things are needed, and good for others. SOCRATES: But can a bad thing be used to carry out a good purpose? CRITIAS: I should say not. SOCRATES: And we call those actions good which a man does for the sake of virtue? CRITIAS: Yes. SOCRATES: But can a man learn any kind of knowledge which is imparted by word of mouth if he is wholly deprived of the sense of hearing? CRITIAS: Certainly not, I think. SOCRATES: And will not hearing be useful for virtue, if virtue is taught by hearing and we use the sense of hearing in giving instruction? CRITIAS: Yes. SOCRATES: And since medicine frees the sick man from his disease, that art too may sometimes appear useful in the acquisition of virtue, e.g. when hearing is procured by the aid of medicine. CRITIAS: Very likely. SOCRATES: But if, again, we obtain by wealth the aid of medicine, shall we not regard wealth as useful for virtue? CRITIAS: True. SOCRATES: And also the instruments by which wealth is procured? CRITIAS: Certainly. SOCRATES: Then you think that a man may gain wealth by bad and disgraceful means, and, having obtained the aid of medicine which enables him to acquire the power of hearing, may use that very faculty for the acquisition of virtue? CRITIAS: Yes, I do. SOCRATES: But can that which is evil be useful for virtue? CRITIAS: No. SOCRATES: It is not therefore necessary that the means by which we obtain what is useful for a certain object should always be useful for the same object: for it seems that bad actions may sometimes serve good purposes? The matter will be still plainer if we look at it in this way:–If things are useful towards the several ends for which they exist, which ends would not come into existence

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without them, how would you regard them? Can ignorance, for instance, be useful for knowledge, or disease for health, or vice for virtue? CRITIAS: Never. SOCRATES: And yet we have already agreed–have we not?–that there can be no knowledge where there has not previously been ignorance, nor health where there has not been disease, nor virtue where there has not been vice? CRITIAS: I think that we have. SOCRATES: But then it would seem that the antecedents without which a thing cannot exist are not necessarily useful to it. Otherwise ignorance would appear useful for knowledge, disease for health, and vice for virtue. Critias still showed great reluctance to accept any argument which went to prove that all these things were useless. I saw that it was as difficult to persuade him as (according to the proverb) it is to boil a stone, so I said: Let us bid ’good-bye’ to the discussion, since we cannot agree whether these things are useful and a part of wealth or not. But what shall we say to another question: Which is the happier and better man,–he who requires the greatest quantity of necessaries for body and diet, or he who requires only the fewest and least? The answer will perhaps become more obvious if we suppose some one, comparing the man himself at different times, to consider whether his condition is better when he is sick or when he is well? CRITIAS: That is not a question which needs much consideration. SOCRATES: Probably, I said, every one can understand that health is a better condition than disease. But when have we the greatest and the most various needs, when we are sick or when we are well? CRITIAS: When we are sick. SOCRATES: And when we are in the worst state we have the greatest and most especial need and desire of bodily pleasures? CRITIAS: True. SOCRATES: And seeing that a man is best off when he is least in need of such things, does not the same reasoning apply to the case of any two persons, of whom one has many and great wants and desires, and the other few and moderate? For instance, some men are gamblers, some drunkards, and some gluttons: and gambling and the love of drink and greediness are all desires? CRITIAS: Certainly. SOCRATES: But desires are only the lack of something: and those who have the greatest desires are in a worse condition than those who have none or very slight ones? CRITIAS: Certainly I consider that those who have such wants are bad, and that the greater their wants the worse they are. SOCRATES: And do we think it possible that a thing should be useful for a purpose unless we have need of it for that purpose? CRITIAS: No. SOCRATES: Then if these things are useful for supplying the needs of the body, we must want them for that purpose? CRITIAS: That is my opinion. SOCRATES: And he to whom the greatest number of things are useful for his purpose, will also want the greatest number of means of accomplishing it, supposing that we necessarily feel the want of all useful things? CRITIAS: It seems so.

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SOCRATES: The argument proves then that he who has great riches has likewise need of many things for the supply of the wants of the body; for wealth appears useful towards that end. And the richest must be in the worst condition, since they seem to be most in want of such things.

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Chapter 10

Euthydemus Source text found at http://www.gutenberg.net/etext99/uthyd10.txt1

10.1

Introduction

By Benjamin Jowett The Euthydemus, though apt to be regarded by us only as an elaborate jest, has also a very serious purpose. It may fairly claim to be the oldest treatise on logic; for that science originates in the misunderstandings which necessarily accompany the first efforts of speculation. Several of the fallacies which are satirized in it reappear in the Sophistici Elenchi of Aristotle and are retained at the end of our manuals of logic. But if the order of history were followed, they should be placed not at the end but at the beginning of them; for they belong to the age in which the human mind was first making the attempt to distinguish thought from sense, and to separate the universal from the particular or individual. How to put together words or ideas, how to escape ambiguities in the meaning of terms or in the structure of propositions, how to resist the fixed impression of an ’eternal being’ or ’perpetual flux,’ how to distinguish between words and things–these were problems not easy of solution in the infancy of philosophy. They presented the same kind of difficulty to the half-educated man which spelling or arithmetic do to the mind of a child. It was long before the new world of ideas which had been sought after with such passionate yearning was set in order and made ready for use. To us the fallacies which arise in the pre-Socratic philosophy are trivial and obsolete because we are no longer liable to fall into the errors which are expressed by them. The intellectual world has become better assured to us, and we are less likely to be imposed upon by illusions of words. The logic of Aristotle is for the most part latent in the dialogues of Plato. The nature of definition is explained not by rules but by examples in the Charmides, Lysis, Laches, Protagoras, Meno, Euthyphro, Theaetetus, Gorgias, Republic; the nature of division is likewise illustrated by examples in the Sophist 1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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and Statesman; a scheme of categories is found in the Philebus; the true doctrine of contradiction is taught, and the fallacy of arguing in a circle is exposed in the Republic; the nature of synthesis and analysis is graphically described in the Phaedrus; the nature of words is analysed in the Cratylus; the form of the syllogism is indicated in the genealogical trees of the Sophist and Statesman; a true doctrine of predication and an analysis of the sentence are given in the Sophist; the different meanings of one and being are worked out in the Parmenides. Here we have most of the important elements of logic, not yet systematized or reduced to an art or science, but scattered up and down as they would naturally occur in ordinary discourse. They are of little or no use or significance to us; but because we have grown out of the need of them we should not therefore despise them. They are still interesting and instructive for the light which they shed on the history of the human mind. There are indeed many old fallacies which linger among us, and new ones are constantly springing up. But they are not of the kind to which ancient logic can be usefully applied. The weapons of common sense, not the analytics of Aristotle, are needed for their overthrow. Nor is the use of the Aristotelian logic any longer natural to us. We no longer put arguments into the form of syllogisms like the schoolmen; the simple use of language has been, happily, restored to us. Neither do we discuss the nature of the proposition, nor extract hidden truths from the copula, nor dispute any longer about nominalism and realism. We do not confuse the form with the matter of knowledge, or invent laws of thought, or imagine that any single science furnishes a principle of reasoning to all the rest. Neither do we require categories or heads of argument to be invented for our use. Those who have no knowledge of logic, like some of our great physical philosophers, seem to be quite as good reasoners as those who have. Most of the ancient puzzles have been settled on the basis of usage and common sense; there is no need to reopen them. No science should raise problems or invent forms of thought which add nothing to knowledge and are of no use in assisting the acquisition of it. This seems to be the natural limit of logic and metaphysics; if they give us a more comprehensive or a more definite view of the different spheres of knowledge they are to be studied; if not, not. The better part of ancient logic appears hardly in our own day to have a separate existence; it is absorbed in two other sciences: (1) rhetoric, if indeed this ancient art be not also fading away into literary criticism; (2) the science of language, under which all questions relating to words and propositions and the combinations of them may properly be included. To continue dead or imaginary sciences, which make no signs of progress and have no definite sphere, tends to interfere with the prosecution of living ones. The study of them is apt to blind the judgment and to render men incapable of seeing the value of evidence, and even of appreciating the nature of truth. Nor should we allow the living science to become confused with the dead by an ambiguity of language. The term logic has two different meanings, an ancient and a modern one, and we vainly try to bridge the gulf between them. Many perplexities are avoided by keeping them apart. There might certainly be a new science of logic; it would not however be built up out of the fragments of the old, but would be distinct from them–relative to the state of knowledge which exists at the present time, and based chiefly on the methods of Modern Inductive philosophy. Such a science might have two legitimate fields: first, the refutation and explanation of false philosophies still hovering in the air as they appear from the point of view of later experience or are comprehended in the history of

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the human mind, as in a larger horizon: secondly, it might furnish new forms of thought more adequate to the expression of all the diversities and oppositions of knowledge which have grown up in these latter days; it might also suggest new methods of enquiry derived from the comparison of the sciences. Few will deny that the introduction of the words ’subject’ and ’object’ and the Hegelian reconciliation of opposites have been ’most gracious aids’ to psychology, or that the methods of Bacon and Mill have shed a light far and wide on the realms of knowledge. These two great studies, the one destructive and corrective of error, the other conservative and constructive of truth, might be a first and second part of logic. Ancient logic would be the propaedeutic or gate of approach to logical science,– nothing more. But to pursue such speculations further, though not irrelevant, might lead us too far away from the argument of the dialogue. The Euthydemus is, of all the Dialogues of Plato, that in which he approaches most nearly to the comic poet. The mirth is broader, the irony more sustained, the contrast between Socrates and the two Sophists, although veiled, penetrates deeper than in any other of his writings. Even Thrasymachus, in the Republic, is at last pacified, and becomes a friendly and interested auditor of the great discourse. But in the Euthydemus the mask is never dropped; the accustomed irony of Socrates continues to the end... Socrates narrates to Crito a remarkable scene in which he has himself taken part, and in which the two brothers, Dionysodorus and Euthydemus, are the chief performers. They are natives of Chios, who had settled at Thurii, but were driven out, and in former days had been known at Athens as professors of rhetoric and of the art of fighting in armour. To this they have now added a new accomplishment–the art of Eristic, or fighting with words, which they are likewise willing to teach ’for a consideration.’ But they can also teach virtue in a very short time and in the very best manner. Socrates, who is always on the look-out for teachers of virtue, is interested in the youth Cleinias, the grandson of the great Alcibiades, and is desirous that he should have the benefit of their instructions. He is ready to fall down and worship them; although the greatness of their professions does arouse in his mind a temporary incredulity. A circle gathers round them, in the midst of which are Socrates, the two brothers, the youth Cleinias, who is watched by the eager eyes of his lover Ctesippus, and others. The performance begins; and such a performance as might well seem to require an invocation of Memory and the Muses. It is agreed that the brothers shall question Cleinias. ’Cleinias,’ says Euthydemus, ’who learn, the wise or the unwise?’ ’The wise,’ is the reply; given with blushing and hesitation. ’And yet when you learned you did not know and were not wise.’ Then Dionysodorus takes up the ball: ’Who are they who learn dictation of the grammar-master; the wise or the foolish boys?’ ’The wise.’ ’Then, after all, the wise learn.’ ’And do they learn,’ said Euthydemus, ’what they know or what they do not know?’ ’The latter.’ ’And dictation is a dictation of letters?’ ’Yes.’ ’And you know letters?’ ’Yes.’ ’Then you learn what you know.’ ’But,’ retorts Dionysodorus, ’is not learning acquiring knowledge?’ ’Yes.’ ’And you acquire that which you have not got already?’ ’Yes.’ ’Then you learn that which you do not know.’ Socrates is afraid that the youth Cleinias may be discouraged at these repeated overthrows. He therefore explains to him the nature of the process to which he is being subjected. The two strangers are not serious; there are jests at the mysteries which precede the enthronement, and he is being initiated into the mysteries of the sophistical ritual. This is all a sort of horse-play, which

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is now ended. The exhortation to virtue will follow, and Socrates himself (if the wise men will not laugh at him) is desirous of showing the way in which such an exhortation should be carried on, according to his own poor notion. He proceeds to question Cleinias. The result of the investigation may be summed up as follows:– All men desire good; and good means the possession of goods, such as wealth, health, beauty, birth, power, honour; not forgetting the virtues and wisdom. And yet in this enumeration the greatest good of all is omitted. What is that? Good fortune. But what need is there of good fortune when we have wisdom already:–in every art and business are not the wise also the fortunate? This is admitted. And again, the possession of goods is not enough; there must also be a right use of them which can only be given by knowledge: in themselves they are neither good nor evil– knowledge and wisdom are the only good, and ignorance and folly the only evil. The conclusion is that we must get ’wisdom.’ But can wisdom be taught? ’Yes,’ says Cleinias. The ingenuousness of the youth delights Socrates, who is at once relieved from the necessity of discussing one of his great puzzles. ’Since wisdom is the only good, he must become a philosopher, or lover of wisdom.’ ’That I will,’ says Cleinias. After Socrates has given this specimen of his own mode of instruction, the two brothers recommence their exhortation to virtue, which is of quite another sort. ’You want Cleinias to be wise?’ ’Yes.’ ’And he is not wise yet?’ ’No.’ ’Then you want him to be what he is not, and not to be what he is?–not to be–that is, to perish. Pretty lovers and friends you must all be!’ Here Ctesippus, the lover of Cleinias, interposes in great excitement, thinking that he will teach the two Sophists a lesson of good manners. But he is quickly entangled in the meshes of their sophistry; and as a storm seems to be gathering Socrates pacifies him with a joke, and Ctesippus then says that he is not reviling the two Sophists, he is only contradicting them. ’But,’ says Dionysodorus, ’there is no such thing as contradiction. When you and I describe the same thing, or you describe one thing and I describe another, how can there be a contradiction?’ Ctesippus is unable to reply. Socrates has already heard of the denial of contradiction, and would like to be informed by the great master of the art, ’What is the meaning of this paradox? Is there no such thing as error, ignorance, falsehood? Then what are they professing to teach?’ The two Sophists complain that Socrates is ready to answer what they said a year ago, but is ’non-plussed’ at what they are saying now. ’What does the word ”non-plussed” mean?’ Socrates is informed, in reply, that words are lifeless things, and lifeless things have no sense or meaning. Ctesippus again breaks out, and again has to be pacified by Socrates, who renews the conversation with Cleinias. The two Sophists are like Proteus in the variety of their transformations, and he, like Menelaus in the Odyssey, hopes to restore them to their natural form. He had arrived at the conclusion that Cleinias must become a philosopher. And philosophy is the possession of knowledge; and knowledge must be of a kind which is profitable and may be used. What knowledge is there which has such a nature? Not the knowledge which is required in any particular art; nor again the art of the composer of speeches, who knows how to write them, but cannot speak them, although he too must be admitted to be a kind of enchanter of wild animals. Neither is the knowledge which we are seeking the knowledge of the general. For the general makes over his prey to the statesman, as the huntsman does to the cook, or the taker of quails to the keeper of quails; he has not the

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use of that which he acquires. The two enquirers, Cleinias and Socrates, are described as wandering about in a wilderness, vainly searching after the art of life and happiness. At last they fix upon the kingly art, as having the desired sort of knowledge. But the kingly art only gives men those goods which are neither good nor evil: and if we say further that it makes us wise, in what does it make us wise? Not in special arts, such as cobbling or carpentering, but only in itself: or say again that it makes us good, there is no answer to the question, ’good in what?’ At length in despair Cleinias and Socrates turn to the ’Dioscuri’ and request their aid. Euthydemus argues that Socrates knows something; and as he cannot know and not know, he cannot know some things and not know others, and therefore he knows all things: he and Dionysodorus and all other men know all things. ’Do they know shoemaking, etc?’ ’Yes.’ The sceptical Ctesippus would like to have some evidence of this extraordinary statement: he will believe if Euthydemus will tell him how many teeth Dionysodorus has, and if Dionysodorus will give him a like piece of information about Euthydemus. Even Socrates is incredulous, and indulges in a little raillery at the expense of the brothers. But he restrains himself, remembering that if the men who are to be his teachers think him stupid they will take no pains with him. Another fallacy is produced which turns on the absoluteness of the verb ’to know.’ And here Dionysodorus is caught ’napping,’ and is induced by Socrates to confess that ’he does not know the good to be unjust.’ Socrates appeals to his brother Euthydemus; at the same time he acknowledges that he cannot, like Heracles, fight against a Hydra, and even Heracles, on the approach of a second monster, called upon his nephew Iolaus to help. Dionysodorus rejoins that Iolaus was no more the nephew of Heracles than of Socrates. For a nephew is a nephew, and a brother is a brother, and a father is a father, not of one man only, but of all; nor of men only, but of dogs and sea-monsters. Ctesippus makes merry with the consequences which follow: ’Much good has your father got out of the wisdom of his puppies.’ ’But,’ says Euthydemus, unabashed, ’nobody wants much good.’ Medicine is a good, arms are a good, money is a good, and yet there may be too much of them in wrong places. ’No,’ says Ctesippus, ’there cannot be too much gold.’ And would you be happy if you had three talents of gold in your belly, a talent in your pate, and a stater in either eye?’ Ctesippus, imitating the new wisdom, replies, ’And do not the Scythians reckon those to be the happiest of men who have their skulls gilded and see the inside of them?’ ’Do you see,’ retorts Euthydemus, ’what has the quality of vision or what has not the quality of vision?’ ’What has the quality of vision.’ ’And you see our garments?’ ’Yes.’ ’Then our garments have the quality of vision.’ A similar play of words follows, which is successfully retorted by Ctesippus, to the great delight of Cleinias, who is rebuked by Socrates for laughing at such solemn and beautiful things. ’But are there any beautiful things? And if there are such, are they the same or not the same as absolute beauty?’ Socrates replies that they are not the same, but each of them has some beauty present with it. ’And are you an ox because you have an ox present with you?’ After a few more amphiboliae, in which Socrates, like Ctesippus, in self-defence borrows the weapons of the brothers, they both confess that the two heroes are invincible; and the scene concludes with a grand chorus of shouting and laughing, and a panegyrical oration from Socrates:– First, he praises the indifference of Dionysodorus and Euthydemus to public opinion; for most persons would rather be refuted by such arguments

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than use them in the refutation of others. Secondly, he remarks upon their impartiality; for they stop their own mouths, as well as those of other people. Thirdly, he notes their liberality, which makes them give away their secret to all the world: they should be more reserved, and let no one be present at this exhibition who does not pay them a handsome fee; or better still they might practise on one another only. He concludes with a respectful request that they will receive him and Cleinias among their disciples. Crito tells Socrates that he has heard one of the audience criticise severely this wisdom,–not sparing Socrates himself for countenancing such an exhibition. Socrates asks what manner of man was this censorious critic. ’Not an orator, but a great composer of speeches.’ Socrates understands that he is an amphibious animal, half philosopher, half politician; one of a class who have the highest opinion of themselves and a spite against philosophers, whom they imagine to be their rivals. They are a class who are very likely to get mauled by Euthydemus and his friends, and have a great notion of their own wisdom; for they imagine themselves to have all the advantages and none of the drawbacks both of politics and of philosophy. They do not understand the principles of combination, and hence are ignorant that the union of two good things which have different ends produces a compound inferior to either of them taken separately. Crito is anxious about the education of his children, one of whom is growing up. The description of Dionysodorus and Euthydemus suggests to him the reflection that the professors of education are strange beings. Socrates consoles him with the remark that the good in all professions are few, and recommends that ’he and his house’ should continue to serve philosophy, and not mind about its professors. ... There is a stage in the history of philosophy in which the old is dying out, and the new has not yet come into full life. Great philosophies like the Eleatic or Heraclitean, which have enlarged the boundaries of the human mind, begin to pass away in words. They subsist only as forms which have rooted themselves in language–as troublesome elements of thought which cannot be either used or explained away. The same absoluteness which was once attributed to abstractions is now attached to the words which are the signs of them. The philosophy which in the first and second generation was a great and inspiring effort of reflection, in the third becomes sophistical, verbal, eristic. It is this stage of philosophy which Plato satirises in the Euthydemus. The fallacies which are noted by him appear trifling to us now, but they were not trifling in the age before logic, in the decline of the earlier Greek philosophies, at a time when language was first beginning to perplex human thought. Besides he is caricaturing them; they probably received more subtle forms at the hands of those who seriously maintained them. They are patent to us in Plato, and we are inclined to wonder how any one could ever have been deceived by them; but we must remember also that there was a time when the human mind was only with great difficulty disentangled from such fallacies. To appreciate fully the drift of the Euthydemus, we should imagine a mental state in which not individuals only, but whole schools during more than one generation, were animated by the desire to exclude the conception of rest, and therefore the very word ’this’ (Theaet.) from language; in which the ideas of space, time, matter, motion, were proved to be contradictory and imaginary; in which the nature of qualitative change was a puzzle, and even differences of degree, when applied to abstract notions, were not understood; in which there was no analysis of grammar, and mere puns or plays of words received serious

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attention; in which contradiction itself was denied, and, on the one hand, every predicate was affirmed to be true of every subject, and on the other, it was held that no predicate was true of any subject, and that nothing was, or was known, or could be spoken. Let us imagine disputes carried on with religious earnestness and more than scholastic subtlety, in which the catchwords of philosophy are completely detached from their context. (Compare Theaet.) To such disputes the humour, whether of Plato in the ancient, or of Pope and Swift in the modern world, is the natural enemy. Nor must we forget that in modern times also there is no fallacy so gross, no trick of language so transparent, no abstraction so barren and unmeaning, no form of thought so contradictory to experience, which has not been found to satisfy the minds of philosophical enquirers at a certain stage, or when regarded from a certain point of view only. The peculiarity of the fallacies of our own age is that we live within them, and are therefore generally unconscious of them. Aristotle has analysed several of the same fallacies in his book De Sophisticis Elenchis, which Plato, with equal command of their true nature, has preferred to bring to the test of ridicule. At first we are only struck with the broad humour of this ’reductio ad absurdum:’ gradually we perceive that some important questions begin to emerge. Here, as everywhere else, Plato is making war against the philosophers who put words in the place of things, who tear arguments to tatters, who deny predication, and thus make knowledge impossible, to whom ideas and objects of sense have no fixedness, but are in a state of perpetual oscillation and transition. Two great truths seem to be indirectly taught through these fallacies: (1) The uncertainty of language, which allows the same words to be used in different meanings, or with different degrees of meaning: (2) The necessary limitation or relative nature of all phenomena. Plato is aware that his own doctrine of ideas, as well as the Eleatic Being and Not- being, alike admit of being regarded as verbal fallacies. The sophism advanced in the Meno, ’that you cannot enquire either into what you know or do not know,’ is lightly touched upon at the commencement of the Dialogue; the thesis of Protagoras, that everything is true to him to whom it seems to be true, is satirized. In contrast with these fallacies is maintained the Socratic doctrine that happiness is gained by knowledge. The grammatical puzzles with which the Dialogue concludes probably contain allusions to tricks of language which may have been practised by the disciples of Prodicus or Antisthenes. They would have had more point, if we were acquainted with the writings against which Plato’s humour is directed. Most of the jests appear to have a serious meaning; but we have lost the clue to some of them, and cannot determine whether, as in the Cratylus, Plato has or has not mixed up purely unmeaning fun with his satire. The two discourses of Socrates may be contrasted in several respects with the exhibition of the Sophists: (1) In their perfect relevancy to the subject of discussion, whereas the Sophistical discourses are wholly irrelevant: (2) In their enquiring sympathetic tone, which encourages the youth, instead of ’knocking him down,’ after the manner of the two Sophists: (3) In the absence of any definite conclusion–for while Socrates and the youth are agreed that philosophy is to be studied, they are not able to arrive at any certain result about the art which is to teach it. This is a question which will hereafter be answered in the Republic; as the conception of the kingly art is more fully developed in the Politicus, and the caricature of rhetoric in the Gorgias. The characters of the Dialogue are easily intelligible. There is Socrates once

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more in the character of an old man; and his equal in years, Crito, the father of Critobulus, like Lysimachus in the Laches, his fellow demesman (Apol.), to whom the scene is narrated, and who once or twice interrupts with a remark after the manner of the interlocutor in the Phaedo, and adds his commentary at the end; Socrates makes a playful allusion to his money-getting habits. There is the youth Cleinias, the grandson of Alcibiades, who may be compared with Lysis, Charmides, Menexenus, and other ingenuous youths out of whose mouths Socrates draws his own lessons, and to whom he always seems to stand in a kindly and sympathetic relation. Crito will not believe that Socrates has not improved or perhaps invented the answers of Cleinias (compare Phaedrus). The name of the grandson of Alcibiades, who is described as long dead, (Greek), and who died at the age of fortyfour, in the year 404 B.C., suggests not only that the intended scene of the Euthydemus could not have been earlier than 404, but that as a fact this Dialogue could not have been composed before 390 at the soonest. Ctesippus, who is the lover of Cleinias, has been already introduced to us in the Lysis, and seems there too to deserve the character which is here given him, of a somewhat uproarious young man. But the chief study of all is the picture of the two brothers, who are unapproachable in their effrontery, equally careless of what they say to others and of what is said to them, and never at a loss. They are Arcades ambo et cantare pares et respondere parati. Some superior degree of wit or subtlety is attributed to Euthydemus, who sees the trap in which Socrates catches Dionysodorus. The epilogue or conclusion of the Dialogue has been criticised as inconsistent with the general scheme. Such a criticism is like similar criticisms on Shakespeare, and proceeds upon a narrow notion of the variety which the Dialogue, like the drama, seems to admit. Plato in the abundance of his dramatic power has chosen to write a play upon a play, just as he often gives us an argument within an argument. At the same time he takes the opportunity of assailing another class of persons who are as alien from the spirit of philosophy as Euthydemus and Dionysodorus. The Eclectic, the Syncretist, the Doctrinaire, have been apt to have a bad name both in ancient and modern times. The persons whom Plato ridicules in the epilogue to the Euthydemus are of this class. They occupy a border-ground between philosophy and politics; they keep out of the dangers of politics, and at the same time use philosophy as a means of serving their own interests. Plato quaintly describes them as making two good things, philosophy and politics, a little worse by perverting the objects of both. Men like Antiphon or Lysias would be types of the class. Out of a regard to the respectabilities of life, they are disposed to censure the interest which Socrates takes in the exhibition of the two brothers. They do not understand, any more than Crito, that he is pursuing his vocation of detecting the follies of mankind, which he finds ’not unpleasant.’ (Compare Apol.) Education is the common subject of all Plato’s earlier Dialogues. The concluding remark of Crito, that he has a difficulty in educating his two sons, and the advice of Socrates to him that he should not give up philosophy because he has no faith in philosophers, seems to be a preparation for the more peremptory declaration of the Meno that ’Virtue cannot be taught because there are no teachers.’ The reasons for placing the Euthydemus early in the series are: (1) the similarity in plan and style to the Protagoras, Charmides, and Lysis;–the relation of Socrates to the Sophists is still that of humorous antagonism, not, as in the

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later Dialogues of Plato, of embittered hatred; and the places and persons have a considerable family likeness; (2) the Euthydemus belongs to the Socratic period in which Socrates is represented as willing to learn, but unable to teach; and in the spirit of Xenophon’s Memorabilia, philosophy is defined as ’the knowledge which will make us happy;’ (3) we seem to have passed the stage arrived at in the Protagoras, for Socrates is no longer discussing whether virtue can be taught–from this question he is relieved by the ingenuous declaration of the youth Cleinias; and (4) not yet to have reached the point at which he asserts ’that there are no teachers.’ Such grounds are precarious, as arguments from style and plan are apt to be (Greek). But no arguments equally strong can be urged in favour of assigning to the Euthydemus any other position in the series.

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Euthydemus: the text

Euthydemus [271a-307c] Translated by Benjamin Jowett PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Socrates, who is the narrator of the Dialogue. Crito, Cleinias, Euthydemus, Dionysodorus, Ctesippus. SCENE: The Lyceum. CRITO: Who was the person, Socrates, with whom you were talking yesterday at the Lyceum? There was such a crowd around you that I could not get within hearing, but I caught a sight of him over their heads, and I made out, as I thought, that he was a stranger with whom you were talking: who was he? SOCRATES: There were two, Crito; which of them do you mean? CRITO: The one whom I mean was seated second from you on the righthand side. In the middle was Cleinias the young son of Axiochus, who has wonderfully grown; he is only about the age of my own Critobulus, but he is much forwarder and very goodlooking: the other is thin and looks younger than he is. SOCRATES: He whom you mean, Crito, is Euthydemus; and on my left hand there was his brother Dionysodorus, who also took part in the conversation. CRITO: Neither of them are known to me, Socrates; they are a new importation of Sophists, as I should imagine. Of what country are they, and what is their line of wisdom? SOCRATES: As to their origin, I believe that they are natives of this part of the world, and have migrated from Chios to Thurii; they were driven out of Thurii, and have been living for many years past in these regions. As to their wisdom, about which you ask, Crito, they are wonderful– consummate! I never knew what the true pancratiast was before; they are simply made up of fighting, not like the two Acarnanian brothers who fight with their bodies only, but this pair of heroes, besides being perfect in the use of their bodies, are invincible in every sort of warfare; for they are capital at fighting in armour, and will teach the art to any one who pays them; and also they are most skilful in legal warfare; they will plead themselves and teach others to speak and to compose speeches which will have an effect upon the courts. And this was only the beginning of their wisdom, but they have at last carried out the pancratiastic art to the very end, and have mastered the only mode of fighting which had been hitherto neglected by them; and now no one dares even to stand up against them: such is their skill in the war of words, that they can refute any proposition whether true or false. Now I am thinking, Crito, of placing myself in their hands; for they say that in a short time they can impart their skill to any one. CRITO: But, Socrates, are you not too old? there may be reason to fear that. SOCRATES: Certainly not, Crito; as I will prove to you, for I have the consolation of knowing that they began this art of disputation which I covet, quite, as I may say, in old age; last year, or the year before, they had none of their new wisdom. I am only apprehensive that I may bring the two strangers into disrepute, as I have done Connus the son of Metrobius, the harp-player,

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who is still my music-master; for when the boys who go to him see me going with them, they laugh at me and call him grandpapa’s master. Now I should not like the strangers to experience similar treatment; the fear of ridicule may make them unwilling to receive me; and therefore, Crito, I shall try and persuade some old men to accompany me to them, as I persuaded them to go with me to Connus, and I hope that you will make one: and perhaps we had better take your sons as a bait; they will want to have them as pupils, and for the sake of them willing to receive us. CRITO: I see no objection, Socrates, if you like; but first I wish that you would give me a description of their wisdom, that I may know beforehand what we are going to learn. SOCRATES: In less than no time you shall hear; for I cannot say that I did not attend–I paid great attention to them, and I remember and will endeavour to repeat the whole story. Providentially I was sitting alone in the dressingroom of the Lyceum where you saw me, and was about to depart; when I was getting up I recognized the familiar divine sign: so I sat down again, and in a little while the two brothers Euthydemus and Dionysodorus came in, and several others with them, whom I believe to be their disciples, and they walked about in the covered court; they had not taken more than two or three turns when Cleinias entered, who, as you truly say, is very much improved: he was followed by a host of lovers, one of whom was Ctesippus the Paeanian, a well-bred youth, but also having the wildness of youth. Cleinias saw me from the entrance as I was sitting alone, and at once came and sat down on the right hand of me, as you describe; and Dionysodorus and Euthydemus, when they saw him, at first stopped and talked with one another, now and then glancing at us, for I particularly watched them; and then Euthydemus came and sat down by the youth, and the other by me on the left hand; the rest anywhere. I saluted the brothers, whom I had not seen for a long time; and then I said to Cleinias: Here are two wise men, Euthydemus and Dionysodorus, Cleinias, wise not in a small but in a large way of wisdom, for they know all about war,–all that a good general ought to know about the array and command of an army, and the whole art of fighting in armour: and they know about law too, and can teach a man how to use the weapons of the courts when he is injured. They heard me say this, but only despised me. I observed that they looked at one another, and both of them laughed; and then Euthydemus said: Those, Socrates, are matters which we no longer pursue seriously; to us they are secondary occupations. Indeed, I said, if such occupations are regarded by you as secondary, what must the principal one be; tell me, I beseech you, what that noble study is? The teaching of virtue, Socrates, he replied, is our principal occupation; and we believe that we can impart it better and quicker than any man. My God! I said, and where did you learn that? I always thought, as I was saying just now, that your chief accomplishment was the art of fighting in armour; and I used to say as much of you, for I remember that you professed this when you were here before. But now if you really have the other knowledge, O forgive me: I address you as I would superior beings, and ask you to pardon the impiety of my former expressions. But are you quite sure about this, Dionysodorus and Euthydemus? the promise is so vast, that a feeling of incredulity steals over me. You may take our word, Socrates, for the fact. Then I think you happier in having such a treasure than the great king is in the possession of his kingdom. And please to tell me whether you intend to exhibit your wisdom; or what will you do? That is why

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we have come hither, Socrates; and our purpose is not only to exhibit, but also to teach any one who likes to learn. But I can promise you, I said, that every unvirtuous person will want to learn. I shall be the first; and there is the youth Cleinias, and Ctesippus: and here are several others, I said, pointing to the lovers of Cleinias, who were beginning to gather round us. Now Ctesippus was sitting at some distance from Cleinias; and when Euthydemus leaned forward in talking with me, he was prevented from seeing Cleinias, who was between us; and so, partly because he wanted to look at his love, and also because he was interested, he jumped up and stood opposite to us: and all the other admirers of Cleinias, as well as the disciples of Euthydemus and Dionysodorus, followed his example. And these were the persons whom I showed to Euthydemus, telling him that they were all eager to learn: to which Ctesippus and all of them with one voice vehemently assented, and bid him exhibit the power of his wisdom. Then I said: O Euthydemus and Dionysodorus, I earnestly request you to do myself and the company the favour to exhibit. There may be some trouble in giving the whole exhibition; but tell me one thing,–can you make a good man of him only who is already convinced that he ought to learn of you, or of him also who is not convinced, either because he imagines that virtue is a thing which cannot be taught at all, or that you are not the teachers of it? Has your art power to persuade him, who is of the latter temper of mind, that virtue can be taught; and that you are the men from whom he will best learn it? Certainly, Socrates, said Dionysodorus; our art will do both. And you and your brother, Dionysodorus, I said, of all men who are now living are the most likely to stimulate him to philosophy and to the study of virtue? Yes, Socrates, I rather think that we are. Then I wish that you would be so good as to defer the other part of the exhibition, and only try to persuade the youth whom you see here that he ought to be a philosopher and study virtue. Exhibit that, and you will confer a great favour on me and on every one present; for the fact is I and all of us are extremely anxious that he should become truly good. His name is Cleinias, and he is the son of Axiochus, and grandson of the old Alcibiades, cousin of the Alcibiades that now is. He is quite young, and we are naturally afraid that some one may get the start of us, and turn his mind in a wrong direction, and he may be ruined. Your visit, therefore, is most happily timed; and I hope that you will make a trial of the young man, and converse with him in our presence, if you have no objection. These were pretty nearly the expressions which I used; and Euthydemus, in a manly and at the same time encouraging tone, replied: There can be no objection, Socrates, if the young man is only willing to answer questions. He is quite accustomed to do so, I replied; for his friends often come and ask him questions and argue with him; and therefore he is quite at home in answering. What followed, Crito, how can I rightly narrate? For not slight is the task of rehearsing infinite wisdom, and therefore, like the poets, I ought to commence my relation with an invocation to Memory and the Muses. Now Euthydemus, if I remember rightly, began nearly as follows: O Cleinias, are those who learn the wise or the ignorant? The youth, overpowered by the question blushed, and in his perplexity looked at me for help; and I, knowing that he was disconcerted, said: Take courage, Cleinias, and answer like a man whichever you think; for my belief is that you will derive the greatest benefit from their questions. Whichever he answers, said Dionysodorus, leaning forward so as to catch my ear, his face beaming with laughter, I prophesy that he will be refuted, Socrates. While he was speaking

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to me, Cleinias gave his answer: and therefore I had no time to warn him of the predicament in which he was placed, and he answered that those who learned were the wise. Euthydemus proceeded: There are some whom you would call teachers, are there not? The boy assented. And they are the teachers of those who learn–the grammar-master and the lyre-master used to teach you and other boys; and you were the learners? Yes. And when you were learners you did not as yet know the things which you were learning? No, he said. And were you wise then? No, indeed, he said. But if you were not wise you were unlearned? Certainly. You then, learning what you did not know, were unlearned when you were learning? The youth nodded assent. Then the unlearned learn, and not the wise, Cleinias, as you imagine. At these words the followers of Euthydemus, of whom I spoke, like a chorus at the bidding of their director, laughed and cheered. Then, before the youth had time to recover his breath, Dionysodorus cleverly took him in hand, and said: Yes, Cleinias; and when the grammarmaster dictated anything to you, were they the wise boys or the unlearned who learned the dictation? The wise, replied Cleinias. Then after all the wise are the learners and not the unlearned; and your last answer to Euthydemus was wrong. Then once more the admirers of the two heroes, in an ecstasy at their wisdom, gave vent to another peal of laughter, while the rest of us were silent and amazed. Euthydemus, observing this, determined to persevere with the youth; and in order to heighten the effect went on asking another similar question, which might be compared to the double turn of an expert dancer. Do those, said he, who learn, learn what they know, or what they do not know? Again Dionysodorus whispered to me: That, Socrates, is just another of the same sort. Good heavens, I said; and your last question was so good! Like all our other questions, Socrates, he replied–inevitable. I see the reason, I said, why you are in such reputation among your disciples. Meanwhile Cleinias had answered Euthydemus that those who learned learn what they do not know; and he put him through a series of questions the same as before. Do you not know letters? He assented. All letters? Yes. But when the teacher dictates to you, does he not dictate letters? To this also he assented. Then if you know all letters, he dictates that which you know? This again was admitted by him. Then, said the other, you do not learn that which he dictates; but he only who does not know letters learns? Nay, said Cleinias; but I do learn. Then, said he, you learn what you know, if you know all the letters? He admitted that. Then, he said, you were wrong in your answer. The word was hardly out of his mouth when Dionysodorus took up the argument, like a ball which he caught, and had another throw at the youth. Cleinias, he said, Euthydemus is deceiving you. For tell me now, is not learning acquiring knowledge of that which one learns? Cleinias assented. And knowing is having knowledge at the time? He agreed. And not knowing is not having knowledge at the time? He admitted that. And are those who acquire those who have or have not a thing? Those who have not. And have you not admitted that those who do not know are of the number of those who have not? He nodded assent. Then those who learn are of the class of those who acquire, and not of those who have? He agreed. Then, Cleinias, he said, those who do not know learn, and not those who know. Euthydemus was proceeding to give the youth a third fall; but I knew that he was in deep water, and therefore, as I wanted to give him a respite lest he should be disheartened, I said to him consolingly: You must not be surprised, Cleinias, at the singularity of their mode of speech: this I say because you may not understand what the two

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strangers are doing with you; they are only initiating you after the manner of the Corybantes in the mysteries; and this answers to the enthronement, which, if you have ever been initiated, is, as you will know, accompanied by dancing and sport; and now they are just prancing and dancing about you, and will next proceed to initiate you; imagine then that you have gone through the first part of the sophistical ritual, which, as Prodicus says, begins with initiation into the correct use of terms. The two foreign gentlemen, perceiving that you did not know, wanted to explain to you that the word ’to learn’ has two meanings, and is used, first, in the sense of acquiring knowledge of some matter of which you previously have no knowledge, and also, when you have the knowledge, in the sense of reviewing this matter, whether something done or spoken by the light of this newly-acquired knowledge; the latter is generally called ’knowing’ rather than ’learning,’ but the word ’learning’ is also used; and you did not see, as they explained to you, that the term is employed of two opposite sorts of men, of those who know, and of those who do not know. There was a similar trick in the second question, when they asked you whether men learn what they know or what they do not know. These parts of learning are not serious, and therefore I say that the gentlemen are not serious, but are only playing with you. For if a man had all that sort of knowledge that ever was, he would not be at all the wiser; he would only be able to play with men, tripping them up and oversetting them with distinctions of words. He would be like a person who pulls away a stool from some one when he is about to sit down, and then laughs and makes merry at the sight of his friend overturned and laid on his back. And you must regard all that has hitherto passed between you and them as merely play. But in what is to follow I am certain that they will exhibit to you their serious purpose, and keep their promise (I will show them how); for they promised to give me a sample of the hortatory philosophy, but I suppose that they wanted to have a game with you first. And now, Euthydemus and Dionysodorus, I think that we have had enough of this. Will you let me see you explaining to the young man how he is to apply himself to the study of virtue and wisdom? And I will first show you what I conceive to be the nature of the task, and what sort of a discourse I desire to hear; and if I do this in a very inartistic and ridiculous manner, do not laugh at me, for I only venture to improvise before you because I am eager to hear your wisdom: and I must therefore ask you and your disciples to refrain from laughing. And now, O son of Axiochus, let me put a question to you: Do not all men desire happiness? And yet, perhaps, this is one of those ridiculous questions which I am afraid to ask, and which ought not to be asked by a sensible man: for what human being is there who does not desire happiness? There is no one, said Cleinias, who does not. Well, then, I said, since we all of us desire happiness, how can we be happy?–that is the next question. Shall we not be happy if we have many good things? And this, perhaps, is even a more simple question than the first, for there can be no doubt of the answer. He assented. And what things do we esteem good? No solemn sage is required to tell us this, which may be easily answered; for every one will say that wealth is a good. Certainly, he said. And are not health and beauty goods, and other personal gifts? He agreed. Can there be any doubt that good birth, and power, and honours in one’s own land, are goods? He assented. And what other goods are there? I said. What do you say of temperance, justice, courage: do you not verily and indeed think, Cleinias, that we shall be more right in ranking them as goods than in not ranking them as goods? For a dispute

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might possibly arise about this. What then do you say? They are goods, said Cleinias. Very well, I said; and where in the company shall we find a place for wisdom–among the goods or not? Among the goods. And now, I said, think whether we have left out any considerable goods. I do not think that we have, said Cleinias. Upon recollection, I said, indeed I am afraid that we have left out the greatest of them all. What is that? he asked. Fortune, Cleinias, I replied; which all, even the most foolish, admit to be the greatest of goods. True, he said. On second thoughts, I added, how narrowly, O son of Axiochus, have you and I escaped making a laughing-stock of ourselves to the strangers. Why do you say so? Why, because we have already spoken of good-fortune, and are but repeating ourselves. What do you mean? I mean that there is something ridiculous in again putting forward good- fortune, which has a place in the list already, and saying the same thing twice over. He asked what was the meaning of this, and I replied: Surely wisdom is good-fortune; even a child may know that. The simple-minded youth was amazed; and, observing his surprise, I said to him: Do you not know, Cleinias, that flute-players are most fortunate and successful in performing on the flute? He assented. And are not the scribes most fortunate in writing and reading letters? Certainly. Amid the dangers of the sea, again, are any more fortunate on the whole than wise pilots? None, certainly. And if you were engaged in war, in whose company would you rather take the risk–in company with a wise general, or with a foolish one? With a wise one. And if you were ill, whom would you rather have as a companion in a dangerous illness–a wise physician, or an ignorant one? A wise one. You think, I said, that to act with a wise man is more fortunate than to act with an ignorant one? He assented. Then wisdom always makes men fortunate: for by wisdom no man would ever err, and therefore he must act rightly and succeed, or his wisdom would be wisdom no longer. We contrived at last, somehow or other, to agree in a general conclusion, that he who had wisdom had no need of fortune. I then recalled to his mind the previous state of the question. You remember, I said, our making the admission that we should be happy and fortunate if many good things were present with us? He assented. And should we be happy by reason of the presence of good things, if they profited us not, or if they profited us? If they profited us, he said. And would they profit us, if we only had them and did not use them? For example, if we had a great deal of food and did not eat, or a great deal of drink and did not drink, should we be profited? Certainly not, he said. Or would an artisan, who had all the implements necessary for his work, and did not use them, be any the better for the possession of them? For example, would a carpenter be any the better for having all his tools and plenty of wood, if he never worked? Certainly not, he said. And if a person had wealth and all the goods of which we were just now speaking, and did not use them, would he be happy because he possessed them? No indeed, Socrates. Then, I said, a man who would be happy must not only have the good things, but he must also use them; there is no advantage in merely having them? True. Well, Cleinias, but if you have the use as well as the possession of good things, is that sufficient to confer happiness? Yes, in my opinion. And may a person use them either rightly or wrongly? He must use them rightly. That is quite true, I said. And the wrong use of a thing is far worse than the non-use; for the one is an evil, and the other is neither a good nor an evil. You admit that? He assented. Now in the working and use of wood, is not that which gives the right use simply the knowledge of the carpenter? Nothing else, he said. And surely, in the

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manufacture of vessels, knowledge is that which gives the right way of making them? He agreed. And in the use of the goods of which we spoke at first–wealth and health and beauty, is not knowledge that which directs us to the right use of them, and regulates our practice about them? He assented. Then in every possession and every use of a thing, knowledge is that which gives a man not only good-fortune but success? He again assented. And tell me, I said, O tell me, what do possessions profit a man, if he have neither good sense nor wisdom? Would a man be better off, having and doing many things without wisdom, or a few things with wisdom? Look at the matter thus: If he did fewer things would he not make fewer mistakes? if he made fewer mistakes would he not have fewer misfortunes? and if he had fewer misfortunes would he not be less miserable? Certainly, he said. And who would do least–a poor man or a rich man? A poor man. A weak man or a strong man? A weak man. A noble man or a mean man? A mean man. And a coward would do less than a courageous and temperate man? Yes. And an indolent man less than an active man? He assented. And a slow man less than a quick; and one who had dull perceptions of seeing and hearing less than one who had keen ones? All this was mutually allowed by us. Then, I said, Cleinias, the sum of the matter appears to be that the goods of which we spoke before are not to be regarded as goods in themselves, but the degree of good and evil in them depends on whether they are or are not under the guidance of knowledge: under the guidance of ignorance, they are greater evils than their opposites, inasmuch as they are more able to minister to the evil principle which rules them; and when under the guidance of wisdom and prudence, they are greater goods: but in themselves they are nothing? That, he replied, is obvious. What then is the result of what has been said? Is not this the result- - that other things are indifferent, and that wisdom is the only good, and ignorance the only evil? He assented. Let us consider a further point, I said: Seeing that all men desire happiness, and happiness, as has been shown, is gained by a use, and a right use, of the things of life, and the right use of them, and good- fortune in the use of them, is given by knowledge,–the inference is that everybody ought by all means to try and make himself as wise as he can? Yes, he said. And when a man thinks that he ought to obtain this treasure, far more than money, from a father or a guardian or a friend or a suitor, whether citizen or stranger–the eager desire and prayer to them that they would impart wisdom to you, is not at all dishonourable, Cleinias; nor is any one to be blamed for doing any honourable service or ministration to any man, whether a lover or not, if his aim is to get wisdom. Do you agree? I said. Yes, he said, I quite agree, and think that you are right. Yes, I said, Cleinias, if only wisdom can be taught, and does not come to man spontaneously; for this is a point which has still to be considered, and is not yet agreed upon by you and me– But I think, Socrates, that wisdom can be taught, he said. Best of men, I said, I am delighted to hear you say so; and I am also grateful to you for having saved me from a long and tiresome investigation as to whether wisdom can be taught or not. But now, as you think that wisdom can be taught, and that wisdom only can make a man happy and fortunate, will you not acknowledge that all of us ought to love wisdom, and you individually will try to love her? Certainly, Socrates, he said; I will do my best. I was pleased at hearing this; and I turned to Dionysodorus and Euthydemus and said: That is an example, clumsy and tedious I admit, of the sort of exhortations which I would have you give; and I hope that one of you will set forth what I have been saying in a more artistic

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style: or at least take up the enquiry where I left off, and proceed to show the youth whether he should have all knowledge; or whether there is one sort of knowledge only which will make him good and happy, and what that is. For, as I was saying at first, the improvement of this young man in virtue and wisdom is a matter which we have very much at heart. Thus I spoke, Crito, and was all attention to what was coming. I wanted to see how they would approach the question, and where they would start in their exhortation to the young man that he should practise wisdom and virtue. Dionysodorus, who was the elder, spoke first. Everybody’s eyes were directed towards him, perceiving that something wonderful might shortly be expected. And certainly they were not far wrong; for the man, Crito, began a remarkable discourse well worth hearing, and wonderfully persuasive regarded as an exhortation to virtue. Tell me, he said, Socrates and the rest of you who say that you want this young man to become wise, are you in jest or in real earnest? I was led by this to imagine that they fancied us to have been jesting when we asked them to converse with the youth, and that this made them jest and play, and being under this impression, I was the more decided in saying that we were in profound earnest. Dionysodorus said: Reflect, Socrates; you may have to deny your words. I have reflected, I said; and I shall never deny my words. Well, said he, and so you say that you wish Cleinias to become wise? Undoubtedly. And he is not wise as yet? At least his modesty will not allow him to say that he is. You wish him, he said, to become wise and not, to be ignorant? That we do. You wish him to be what he is not, and no longer to be what he is? I was thrown into consternation at this. Taking advantage of my consternation he added: You wish him no longer to be what he is, which can only mean that you wish him to perish. Pretty lovers and friends they must be who want their favourite not to be, or to perish! When Ctesippus heard this he got very angry (as a lover well might) and said: Stranger of Thurii–if politeness would allow me I should say, A plague upon you! What can make you tell such a lie about me and the others, which I hardly like to repeat, as that I wish Cleinias to perish? Euthydemus replied: And do you think, Ctesippus, that it is possible to tell a lie? Yes, said Ctesippus; I should be mad to say anything else. And in telling a lie, do you tell the thing of which you speak or not? You tell the thing of which you speak. And he who tells, tells that thing which he tells, and no other? Yes, said Ctesippus. And that is a distinct thing apart from other things? Certainly. And he who says that thing says that which is? Yes. And he who says that which is, says the truth. And therefore Dionysodorus, if he says that which is, says the truth of you and no lie. Yes, Euthydemus, said Ctesippus; but in saying this, he says what is not. Euthydemus answered: And that which is not is not? True. And that which is not is nowhere? Nowhere. And can any one do anything about that which has no existence, or do to Cleinias that which is not and is nowhere? I think not, said Ctesippus. Well, but do rhetoricians, when they speak in the assembly, do nothing? Nay, he said, they do something. And doing is making? Yes. And speaking is doing and making? He agreed. Then no one says that which is not, for in saying what is not he would be doing something; and you have already acknowledged that no one can do what is not. And therefore, upon your own showing, no one says what is false; but if Dionysodorus says anything, he says what is true and what is. Yes, Euthydemus, said Ctesippus; but he speaks of things in a certain way and manner, and not as they really are. Why, Ctesippus, said Dionysodorus, do you mean to say that any one speaks of things as they

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are? Yes, he said–all gentlemen and truth-speaking persons. And are not good things good, and evil things evil? He assented. And you say that gentlemen speak of things as they are? Yes. Then the good speak evil of evil things, if they speak of them as they are? Yes, indeed, he said; and they speak evil of evil men. And if I may give you a piece of advice, you had better take care that they do not speak evil of you, since I can tell you that the good speak evil of the evil. And do they speak great things of the great, rejoined Euthydemus, and warm things of the warm? To be sure they do, said Ctesippus; and they speak coldly of the insipid and cold dialectician. You are abusive, Ctesippus, said Dionysodorus, you are abusive! Indeed, I am not, Dionysodorus, he replied; for I love you and am giving you friendly advice, and, if I could, would persuade you not like a boor to say in my presence that I desire my beloved, whom I value above all men, to perish. I saw that they were getting exasperated with one another, so I made a joke with him and said: O Ctesippus, I think that we must allow the strangers to use language in their own way, and not quarrel with them about words, but be thankful for what they give us. If they know how to destroy men in such a way as to make good and sensible men out of bad and foolish ones– whether this is a discovery of their own, or whether they have learned from some one else this new sort of death and destruction which enables them to get rid of a bad man and turn him into a good one–if they know this (and they do know this–at any rate they said just now that this was the secret of their newly-discovered art)–let them, in their phraseology, destroy the youth and make him wise, and all of us with him. But if you young men do not like to trust yourselves with them, then fiat experimentum in corpore senis; I will be the Carian on whom they shall operate. And here I offer my old person to Dionysodorus; he may put me into the pot, like Medea the Colchian, kill me, boil me, if he will only make me good. Ctesippus said: And I, Socrates, am ready to commit myself to the strangers; they may skin me alive, if they please (and I am pretty well skinned by them already), if only my skin is made at last, not like that of Marsyas, into a leathern bottle, but into a piece of virtue. And here is Dionysodorus fancying that I am angry with him, when really I am not angry at all; I do but contradict him when I think that he is speaking improperly to me: and you must not confound abuse and contradiction, O illustrious Dionysodorus; for they are quite different things. Contradiction! said Dionysodorus; why, there never was such a thing. Certainly there is, he replied; there can be no question of that. Do you, Dionysodorus, maintain that there is not? You will never prove to me, he said, that you have heard any one contradicting any one else. Indeed, said Ctesippus; then now you may hear me contradicting Dionysodorus. Are you prepared to make that good? Certainly, he said. Well, have not all things words expressive of them? Yes. Of their existence or of their non-existence? Of their existence. Yes, Ctesippus, and we just now proved, as you may remember, that no man could affirm a negative; for no one could affirm that which is not. And what does that signify? said Ctesippus; you and I may contradict all the same for that. But can we contradict one another, said Dionysodorus, when both of us are describing the same thing? Then we must surely be speaking the same thing? He assented. Or when neither of us is speaking of the same thing? For then neither of us says a word about the thing at all? He granted that proposition also. But when I describe something and you describe another thing, or I say something and you say nothing–is there any contradiction? How can he who speaks contradict him who speaks not? Here Ctesippus was silent;

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and I in my astonishment said: What do you mean, Dionysodorus? I have often heard, and have been amazed to hear, this thesis of yours, which is maintained and employed by the disciples of Protagoras, and others before them, and which to me appears to be quite wonderful, and suicidal as well as destructive, and I think that I am most likely to hear the truth about it from you. The dictum is that there is no such thing as falsehood; a man must either say what is true or say nothing. Is not that your position? He assented. But if he cannot speak falsely, may he not think falsely? No, he cannot, he said. Then there is no such thing as false opinion? No, he said. Then there is no such thing as ignorance, or men who are ignorant; for is not ignorance, if there be such a thing, a mistake of fact? Certainly, he said. And that is impossible? Impossible, he replied. Are you saying this as a paradox, Dionysodorus; or do you seriously maintain no man to be ignorant? Refute me, he said. But how can I refute you, if, as you say, to tell a falsehood is impossible? Very true, said Euthydemus. Neither did I tell you just now to refute me, said Dionysodorus; for how can I tell you to do that which is not? O Euthydemus, I said, I have but a dull conception of these subtleties and excellent devices of wisdom; I am afraid that I hardly understand them, and you must forgive me therefore if I ask a very stupid question: if there be no falsehood or false opinion or ignorance, there can be no such thing as erroneous action, for a man cannot fail of acting as he is acting–that is what you mean? Yes, he replied. And now, I said, I will ask my stupid question: If there is no such thing as error in deed, word, or thought, then what, in the name of goodness, do you come hither to teach? And were you not just now saying that you could teach virtue best of all men, to any one who was willing to learn? And are you such an old fool, Socrates, rejoined Dionysodorus, that you bring up now what I said at first–and if I had said anything last year, I suppose that you would bring that up too–but are nonplussed at the words which I have just uttered? Why, I said, they are not easy to answer; for they are the words of wise men: and indeed I know not what to make of this word ’nonplussed,’ which you used last: what do you mean by it, Dionysodorus? You must mean that I cannot refute your argument. Tell me if the words have any other sense. No, he replied, they mean what you say. And now answer. What, before you, Dionysodorus? I said. Answer, said he. And is that fair? Yes, quite fair, he said. Upon what principle? I said. I can only suppose that you are a very wise man who comes to us in the character of a great logician, and who knows when to answer and when not to answer–and now you will not open your mouth at all, because you know that you ought not. You prate, he said, instead of answering. But if, my good sir, you admit that I am wise, answer as I tell you. I suppose that I must obey, for you are master. Put the question. Are the things which have sense alive or lifeless? They are alive. And do you know of any word which is alive? I cannot say that I do. Then why did you ask me what sense my words had? Why, because I was stupid and made a mistake. And yet, perhaps, I was right after all in saying that words have a sense;–what do you say, wise man? If I was not in error, even you will not refute me, and all your wisdom will be non-plussed; but if I did fall into error, then again you are wrong in saying that there is no error,–and this remark was made by you not quite a year ago. I am inclined to think, however, Dionysodorus and Euthydemus, that this argument lies where it was and is not very likely to advance: even your skill in the subtleties of logic, which is really amazing, has not found out the way of throwing another and not falling yourself, now any more than of old. Ctesippus said: Men of

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Chios, Thurii, or however and whatever you call yourselves, I wonder at you, for you seem to have no objection to talking nonsense. Fearing that there would be high words, I again endeavoured to soothe Ctesippus, and said to him: To you, Ctesippus, I must repeat what I said before to Cleinias–that you do not understand the ways of these philosophers from abroad. They are not serious, but, like the Egyptian wizard, Proteus, they take different forms and deceive us by their enchantments: and let us, like Menelaus, refuse to let them go until they show themselves to us in earnest. When they begin to be in earnest their full beauty will appear: let us then beg and entreat and beseech them to shine forth. And I think that I had better once more exhibit the form in which I pray to behold them; it might be a guide to them. I will go on therefore where I left off, as well as I can, in the hope that I may touch their hearts and move them to pity, and that when they see me deeply serious and interested, they also may be serious. You, Cleinias, I said, shall remind me at what point we left off. Did we not agree that philosophy should be studied? and was not that our conclusion? Yes, he replied. And philosophy is the acquisition of knowledge? Yes, he said. And what knowledge ought we to acquire? May we not answer with absolute truth–A knowledge which will do us good? Certainly, he said. And should we be any the better if we went about having a knowledge of the places where most gold was hidden in the earth? Perhaps we should, he said. But have we not already proved, I said, that we should be none the better off, even if without trouble and digging all the gold which there is in the earth were ours? And if we knew how to convert stones into gold, the knowledge would be of no value to us, unless we also knew how to use the gold? Do you not remember? I said. I quite remember, he said. Nor would any other knowledge, whether of money-making, or of medicine, or of any other art which knows only how to make a thing, and not to use it when made, be of any good to us. Am I not right? He agreed. And if there were a knowledge which was able to make men immortal, without giving them the knowledge of the way to use the immortality, neither would there be any use in that, if we may argue from the analogy of the previous instances? To all this he agreed. Then, my dear boy, I said, the knowledge which we want is one that uses as well as makes? True, he said. And our desire is not to be skilful lyre-makers, or artists of that sort– far otherwise; for with them the art which makes is one, and the art which uses is another. Although they have to do with the same, they are divided: for the art which makes and the art which plays on the lyre differ widely from one another. Am I not right? He agreed. And clearly we do not want the art of the flute-maker; this is only another of the same sort? He assented. But suppose, I said, that we were to learn the art of making speeches– would that be the art which would make us happy? I should say, no, rejoined Cleinias. And why should you say so? I asked. I see, he replied, that there are some composers of speeches who do not know how to use the speeches which they make, just as the makers of lyres do not know how to use the lyres; and also some who are of themselves unable to compose speeches, but are able to use the speeches which the others make for them; and this proves that the art of making speeches is not the same as the art of using them. Yes, I said; and I take your words to be a sufficient proof that the art of making speeches is not one which will make a man happy. And yet I did think that the art which we have so long been seeking might be discovered in that direction; for the composers of speeches, whenever I meet them, always appear to me to be very extraordinary men, Cleinias, and their art is lofty and divine,

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and no wonder. For their art is a part of the great art of enchantment, and hardly, if at all, inferior to it: and whereas the art of the enchanter is a mode of charming snakes and spiders and scorpions, and other monsters and pests, this art of their’s acts upon dicasts and ecclesiasts and bodies of men, for the charming and pacifying of them. Do you agree with me? Yes, he said, I think that you are quite right. Whither then shall we go, I said, and to what art shall we have recourse? I do not see my way, he said. But I think that I do, I replied. And what is your notion? asked Cleinias. I think that the art of the general is above all others the one of which the possession is most likely to make a man happy. I do not think so, he said. Why not? I said. The art of the general is surely an art of hunting mankind. What of that? I said. Why, he said, no art of hunting extends beyond hunting and capturing; and when the prey is taken the huntsman or fisherman cannot use it; but they hand it over to the cook, and the geometricians and astronomers and calculators (who all belong to the hunting class, for they do not make their diagrams, but only find out that which was previously contained in them)–they, I say, not being able to use but only to catch their prey, hand over their inventions to the dialectician to be applied by him, if they have any sense in them. Good, I said, fairest and wisest Cleinias. And is this true? Certainly, he said; just as a general when he takes a city or a camp hands over his new acquisition to the statesman, for he does not know how to use them himself; or as the quail-taker transfers the quails to the keeper of them. If we are looking for the art which is to make us blessed, and which is able to use that which it makes or takes, the art of the general is not the one, and some other must be found. CRITO: And do you mean, Socrates, that the youngster said all this? SOCRATES: Are you incredulous, Crito? CRITO: Indeed, I am; for if he did say so, then in my opinion he needs neither Euthydemus nor any one else to be his instructor. SOCRATES: Perhaps I may have forgotten, and Ctesippus was the real answerer. CRITO: Ctesippus! nonsense. SOCRATES: All I know is that I heard these words, and that they were not spoken either by Euthydemus or Dionysodorus. I dare say, my good Crito, that they may have been spoken by some superior person: that I heard them I am certain. CRITO: Yes, indeed, Socrates, by some one a good deal superior, as I should be disposed to think. But did you carry the search any further, and did you find the art which you were seeking? SOCRATES: Find! my dear sir, no indeed. And we cut a poor figure; we were like children after larks, always on the point of catching the art, which was always getting away from us. But why should I repeat the whole story? At last we came to the kingly art, and enquired whether that gave and caused happiness, and then we got into a labyrinth, and when we thought we were at the end, came out again at the beginning, having still to seek as much as ever. CRITO: How did that happen, Socrates? SOCRATES: I will tell you; the kingly art was identified by us with the political. CRITO: Well, and what came of that? SOCRATES: To this royal or political art all the arts, including the art of the general, seemed to render up the supremacy, that being the only one which

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knew how to use what they produce. Here obviously was the very art which we were seeking–the art which is the source of good government, and which may be described, in the language of Aeschylus, as alone sitting at the helm of the vessel of state, piloting and governing all things, and utilizing them. CRITO: And were you not right, Socrates? SOCRATES: You shall judge, Crito, if you are willing to hear what followed; for we resumed the enquiry, and a question of this sort was asked: Does the kingly art, having this supreme authority, do anything for us? To be sure, was the answer. And would not you, Crito, say the same? CRITO: Yes, I should. SOCRATES: And what would you say that the kingly art does? If medicine were supposed to have supreme authority over the subordinate arts, and I were to ask you a similar question about that, you would say–it produces health? CRITO: I should. SOCRATES: And what of your own art of husbandry, supposing that to have supreme authority over the subject arts–what does that do? Does it not supply us with the fruits of the earth? CRITO: Yes. SOCRATES: And what does the kingly art do when invested with supreme power? Perhaps you may not be ready with an answer? CRITO: Indeed I am not, Socrates. SOCRATES: No more were we, Crito. But at any rate you know that if this is the art which we were seeking, it ought to be useful. CRITO: Certainly. SOCRATES: And surely it ought to do us some good? CRITO: Certainly, Socrates. SOCRATES: And Cleinias and I had arrived at the conclusion that knowledge of some kind is the only good. CRITO: Yes, that was what you were saying. SOCRATES: All the other results of politics, and they are many, as for example, wealth, freedom, tranquillity, were neither good nor evil in themselves; but the political science ought to make us wise, and impart knowledge to us, if that is the science which is likely to do us good, and make us happy. CRITO: Yes; that was the conclusion at which you had arrived, according to your report of the conversation. SOCRATES: And does the kingly art make men wise and good? CRITO: Why not, Socrates? SOCRATES: What, all men, and in every respect? and teach them all the arts,–carpentering, and cobbling, and the rest of them? CRITO: I think not, Socrates. SOCRATES: But then what is this knowledge, and what are we to do with it? For it is not the source of any works which are neither good nor evil, and gives no knowledge, but the knowledge of itself; what then can it be, and what are we to do with it? Shall we say, Crito, that it is the knowledge by which we are to make other men good? CRITO: By all means. SOCRATES: And in what will they be good and useful? Shall we repeat that they will make others good, and that these others will make others again, without ever determining in what they are to be good; for we have put aside the results of politics, as they are called. This is the old, old song over again;

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and we are just as far as ever, if not farther, from the knowledge of the art or science of happiness. CRITO: Indeed, Socrates, you do appear to have got into a great perplexity. SOCRATES: Thereupon, Crito, seeing that I was on the point of shipwreck, I lifted up my voice, and earnestly entreated and called upon the strangers to save me and the youth from the whirlpool of the argument; they were our Castor and Pollux, I said, and they should be serious, and show us in sober earnest what that knowledge was which would enable us to pass the rest of our lives in happiness. CRITO: And did Euthydemus show you this knowledge? SOCRATES: Yes, indeed; he proceeded in a lofty strain to the following effect: Would you rather, Socrates, said he, that I should show you this knowledge about which you have been doubting, or shall I prove that you already have it? What, I said, are you blessed with such a power as this? Indeed I am. Then I would much rather that you should prove me to have such a knowledge; at my time of life that will be more agreeable than having to learn. Then tell me, he said, do you know anything? Yes, I said, I know many things, but not anything of much importance. That will do, he said: And would you admit that anything is what it is, and at the same time is not what it is? Certainly not. And did you not say that you knew something? I did. If you know, you are knowing. Certainly, of the knowledge which I have. That makes no difference;–and must you not, if you are knowing, know all things? Certainly not, I said, for there are many other things which I do not know. And if you do not know, you are not knowing. Yes, friend, of that which I do not know. Still you are not knowing, and you said just now that you were knowing; and therefore you are and are not at the same time, and in reference to the same things. A pretty clatter, as men say, Euthydemus, this of yours! and will you explain how I possess that knowledge for which we were seeking? Do you mean to say that the same thing cannot be and also not be; and therefore, since I know one thing, that I know all, for I cannot be knowing and not knowing at the same time, and if I know all things, then I must have the knowledge for which we are seeking–May I assume this to be your ingenious notion? Out of your own mouth, Socrates, you are convicted, he said. Well, but, Euthydemus, I said, has that never happened to you? for if I am only in the same case with you and our beloved Dionysodorus, I cannot complain. Tell me, then, you two, do you not know some things, and not know others? Certainly not, Socrates, said Dionysodorus. What do you mean, I said; do you know nothing? Nay, he replied, we do know something. Then, I said, you know all things, if you know anything? Yes, all things, he said; and that is as true of you as of us. O, indeed, I said, what a wonderful thing, and what a great blessing! And do all other men know all things or nothing? Certainly, he replied; they cannot know some things, and not know others, and be at the same time knowing and not knowing. Then what is the inference? I said. They all know all things, he replied, if they know one thing. O heavens, Dionysodorus, I said, I see now that you are in earnest; hardly have I got you to that point. And do you really and truly know all things, including carpentering and leather-cutting? Certainly, he said. And do you know stitching? Yes, by the gods, we do, and cobbling, too. And do you know things such as the numbers of the stars and of the sand? Certainly; did you think we should say No to that? By Zeus, said Ctesippus, interrupting, I only wish that you would give me some proof which would enable me to know whether you speak

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truly. What proof shall I give you? he said. Will you tell me how many teeth Euthydemus has? and Euthydemus shall tell how many teeth you have. Will you not take our word that we know all things? Certainly not, said Ctesippus: you must further tell us this one thing, and then we shall know that you are speak the truth; if you tell us the number, and we count them, and you are found to be right, we will believe the rest. They fancied that Ctesippus was making game of them, and they refused, and they would only say in answer to each of his questions, that they knew all things. For at last Ctesippus began to throw off all restraint; no question in fact was too bad for him; he would ask them if they knew the foulest things, and they, like wild boars, came rushing on his blows, and fearlessly replied that they did. At last, Crito, I too was carried away by my incredulity, and asked Euthydemus whether Dionysodorus could dance. Certainly, he replied. And can he vault among swords, and turn upon a wheel, at his age? has he got to such a height of skill as that? He can do anything, he said. And did you always know this? Always, he said. When you were children, and at your birth? They both said that they did. This we could not believe. And Euthydemus said: You are incredulous, Socrates. Yes, I said, and I might well be incredulous, if I did not know you to be wise men. But if you will answer, he said, I will make you confess to similar marvels. Well, I said, there is nothing that I should like better than to be self- convicted of this, for if I am really a wise man, which I never knew before, and you will prove to me that I know and have always known all things, nothing in life would be a greater gain to me. Answer then, he said. Ask, I said, and I will answer. Do you know something, Socrates, or nothing? Something, I said. And do you know with what you know, or with something else? With what I know; and I suppose that you mean with my soul? Are you not ashamed, Socrates, of asking a question when you are asked one? Well, I said; but then what am I to do? for I will do whatever you bid; when I do not know what you are asking, you tell me to answer nevertheless, and not to ask again. Why, you surely have some notion of my meaning, he said. Yes, I replied. Well, then, answer according to your notion of my meaning. Yes, I said; but if the question which you ask in one sense is understood and answered by me in another, will that please you–if I answer what is not to the point? That will please me very well; but will not please you equally well, as I imagine. I certainly will not answer unless I understand you, I said. You will not answer, he said, according to your view of the meaning, because you will be prating, and are an ancient. Now I saw that he was getting angry with me for drawing distinctions, when he wanted to catch me in his springes of words. And I remembered that Connus was always angry with me when I opposed him, and then he neglected me, because he thought that I was stupid; and as I was intending to go to Euthydemus as a pupil, I reflected that I had better let him have his way, as he might think me a blockhead, and refuse to take me. So I said: You are a far better dialectician than myself, Euthydemus, for I have never made a profession of the art, and therefore do as you say; ask your questions once more, and I will answer. Answer then, he said, again, whether you know what you know with something, or with nothing. Yes, I said; I know with my soul. The man will answer more than the question; for I did not ask you, he said, with what you know, but whether you know with something. Again I replied, Through ignorance I have answered too much, but I hope that you will forgive me. And now I will answer simply that I always know what I know with something. And is that something, he rejoined, always the

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same, or sometimes one thing, and sometimes another thing? Always, I replied, when I know, I know with this. Will you not cease adding to your answers? My fear is that this word ’always’ may get us into trouble. You, perhaps, but certainly not us. And now answer: Do you always know with this? Always; since I am required to withdraw the words ’when I know.’ You always know with this, or, always knowing, do you know some things with this, and some things with something else, or do you know all things with this? All that I know, I replied, I know with this. There again, Socrates, he said, the addition is superfluous. Well, then, I said, I will take away the words ’that I know.’ Nay, take nothing away; I desire no favours of you; but let me ask: Would you be able to know all things, if you did not know all things? Quite impossible. And now, he said, you may add on whatever you like, for you confess that you know all things. I suppose that is true, I said, if my qualification implied in the words ’that I know’ is not allowed to stand; and so I do know all things. And have you not admitted that you always know all things with that which you know, whether you make the addition of ’when you know them’ or not? for you have acknowledged that you have always and at once known all things, that is to say, when you were a child, and at your birth, and when you were growing up, and before you were born, and before the heaven and earth existed, you knew all things, if you always know them; and I swear that you shall always continue to know all things, if I am of the mind to make you. But I hope that you will be of that mind, reverend Euthydemus, I said, if you are really speaking the truth, and yet I a little doubt your power to make good your words unless you have the help of your brother Dionysodorus; then you may do it. Tell me now, both of you, for although in the main I cannot doubt that I really do know all things, when I am told so by men of your prodigious wisdom–how can I say that I know such things, Euthydemus, as that the good are unjust; come, do I know that or not? Certainly, you know that. What do I know? That the good are not unjust. Quite true, I said; and that I have always known; but the question is, where did I learn that the good are unjust? Nowhere, said Dionysodorus. Then, I said, I do not know this. You are ruining the argument, said Euthydemus to Dionysodorus; he will be proved not to know, and then after all he will be knowing and not knowing at the same time. Dionysodorus blushed. I turned to the other, and said, What do you think, Euthydemus? Does not your omniscient brother appear to you to have made a mistake? What, replied Dionysodorus in a moment; am I the brother of Euthydemus? Thereupon I said, Please not to interrupt, my good friend, or prevent Euthydemus from proving to me that I know the good to be unjust; such a lesson you might at least allow me to learn. You are running away, Socrates, said Dionysodorus, and refusing to answer. No wonder, I said, for I am not a match for one of you, and a fortiori I must run away from two. I am no Heracles; and even Heracles could not fight against the Hydra, who was a she-Sophist, and had the wit to shoot up many new heads when one of them was cut off; especially when he saw a second monster of a sea-crab, who was also a Sophist, and appeared to have newly arrived from a sea-voyage, bearing down upon him from the left, opening his mouth and biting. When the monster was growing troublesome he called Iolaus, his nephew, to his help, who ably succoured him; but if my Iolaus, who is my brother Patrocles (the statuary), were to come, he would only make a bad business worse. And now that you have delivered yourself of this strain, said Dionysodorus, will you inform me whether Iolaus was the nephew of Heracles

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any more than he is yours? I suppose that I had best answer you, Dionysodorus, I said, for you will insist on asking–that I pretty well know–out of envy, in order to prevent me from learning the wisdom of Euthydemus. Then answer me, he said. Well then, I said, I can only reply that Iolaus was not my nephew at all, but the nephew of Heracles; and his father was not my brother Patrocles, but Iphicles, who has a name rather like his, and was the brother of Heracles. And is Patrocles, he said, your brother? Yes, I said, he is my half-brother, the son of my mother, but not of my father. Then he is and is not your brother. Not by the same father, my good man, I said, for Chaeredemus was his father, and mine was Sophroniscus. And was Sophroniscus a father, and Chaeredemus also? Yes, I said; the former was my father, and the latter his. Then, he said, Chaeredemus is not a father. He is not my father, I said. But can a father be other than a father? or are you the same as a stone? I certainly do not think that I am a stone, I said, though I am afraid that you may prove me to be one. Are you not other than a stone? I am. And being other than a stone, you are not a stone; and being other than gold, you are not gold? Very true. And so Chaeredemus, he said, being other than a father, is not a father? I suppose that he is not a father, I replied. For if, said Euthydemus, taking up the argument, Chaeredemus is a father, then Sophroniscus, being other than a father, is not a father; and you, Socrates, are without a father. Ctesippus, here taking up the argument, said: And is not your father in the same case, for he is other than my father? Assuredly not, said Euthydemus. Then he is the same? He is the same. I cannot say that I like the connection; but is he only my father, Euthydemus, or is he the father of all other men? Of all other men, he replied. Do you suppose the same person to be a father and not a father? Certainly, I did so imagine, said Ctesippus. And do you suppose that gold is not gold, or that a man is not a man? They are not ’in pari materia,’ Euthydemus, said Ctesippus, and you had better take care, for it is monstrous to suppose that your father is the father of all. But he is, he replied. What, of men only, said Ctesippus, or of horses and of all other animals? Of all, he said. And your mother, too, is the mother of all? Yes, our mother too. Yes; and your mother has a progeny of sea-urchins then? Yes; and yours, he said. And gudgeons and puppies and pigs are your brothers? And yours too. And your papa is a dog? And so is yours, he said. If you will answer my questions, said Dionysodorus, I will soon extract the same admissions from you, Ctesippus. You say that you have a dog. Yes, a villain of a one, said Ctesippus. And he has puppies? Yes, and they are very like himself. And the dog is the father of them? Yes, he said, I certainly saw him and the mother of the puppies come together. And is he not yours? To be sure he is. Then he is a father, and he is yours; ergo, he is your father, and the puppies are your brothers. Let me ask you one little question more, said Dionysodorus, quickly interposing, in order that Ctesippus might not get in his word: You beat this dog? Ctesippus said, laughing, Indeed I do; and I only wish that I could beat you instead of him. Then you beat your father, he said. I should have far more reason to beat yours, said Ctesippus; what could he have been thinking of when he begat such wise sons? much good has this father of you and your brethren the puppies got out of this wisdom of yours. But neither he nor you, Ctesippus, have any need of much good. And have you no need, Euthydemus? he said. Neither I nor any other man; for tell me now, Ctesippus, if you think it good or evil for a man who is sick to drink medicine when he wants it; or to go to war armed rather than unarmed. Good, I say.

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And yet I know that I am going to be caught in one of your charming puzzles. That, he replied, you will discover, if you answer; since you admit medicine to be good for a man to drink, when wanted, must it not be good for him to drink as much as possible; when he takes his medicine, a cartload of hellebore will not be too much for him? Ctesippus said: Quite so, Euthydemus, that is to say, if he who drinks is as big as the statue of Delphi. And seeing that in war to have arms is a good thing, he ought to have as many spears and shields as possible? Very true, said Ctesippus; and do you think, Euthydemus, that he ought to have one shield only, and one spear? I do. And would you arm Geryon and Briareus in that way? Considering that you and your companion fight in armour, I thought that you would have known better...Here Euthydemus held his peace, but Dionysodorus returned to the previous answer of Ctesippus and said:– Do you not think that the possession of gold is a good thing? Yes, said Ctesippus, and the more the better. And to have money everywhere and always is a good? Certainly, a great good, he said. And you admit gold to be a good? Certainly, he replied. And ought not a man then to have gold everywhere and always, and as much as possible in himself, and may he not be deemed the happiest of men who has three talents of gold in his belly, and a talent in his pate, and a stater of gold in either eye? Yes, Euthydemus, said Ctesippus; and the Scythians reckon those who have gold in their own skulls to be the happiest and bravest of men (that is only another instance of your manner of speaking about the dog and father), and what is still more extraordinary, they drink out of their own skulls gilt, and see the inside of them, and hold their own head in their hands. And do the Scythians and others see that which has the quality of vision, or that which has not? said Euthydemus. That which has the quality of vision clearly. And you also see that which has the quality of vision? he said. (Note: the ambiguity of (Greek), ’things visible and able to see,’ (Greek), ’the speaking of the silent,’ the silent denoting either the speaker or the subject of the speech, cannot be perfectly rendered in English. Compare Aristot. Soph. Elenchi (Poste’s translation):– ’Of ambiguous propositions the following are instances:– ’I hope that you the enemy may slay. ’Whom one knows, he knows. Either the person knowing or the person known is here affirmed to know. ’What one sees, that one sees: one sees a pillar: ergo, that one pillar sees. ’What you ARE holding, that you are: you are holding a stone: ergo, a stone you are. ’Is a speaking of the silent possible? ”The silent” denotes either the speaker are the subject of speech. ’There are three kinds of ambiguity of term or proposition. The first is when there is an equal linguistic propriety in several interpretations; the second when one is improper but customary; the third when the ambiguity arises in the combination of elements that are in themselves unambiguous, as in ”knowing letters.” ”Knowing” and ”letters” are perhaps separately unambiguous, but in combination may imply either that the letters are known, or that they themselves have knowledge. Such are the modes in which propositions and terms may be ambiguous.’ Yes, I do. Then do you see our garments? Yes. Then our garments have the quality of vision. They can see to any extent, said Ctesippus. What can they see? Nothing; but you, my sweet man, may perhaps imagine that they do not see; and certainly, Euthydemus, you do seem to me to have been caught napping when you were not asleep, and that if it be possible to speak and say nothing–you are doing so. And may there not be a silence of the speaker? said Dionysodorus. Impossible, said Ctesippus. Or a speaking of the silent? That is still more impossible, he

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said. But when you speak of stones, wood, iron bars, do you not speak of the silent? Not when I pass a smithy; for then the iron bars make a tremendous noise and outcry if they are touched: so that here your wisdom is strangely mistaken; please, however, to tell me how you can be silent when speaking (I thought that Ctesippus was put upon his mettle because Cleinias was present). When you are silent, said Euthydemus, is there not a silence of all things? Yes, he said. But if speaking things are included in all things, then the speaking are silent. What, said Ctesippus; then all things are not silent? Certainly not, said Euthydemus. Then, my good friend, do they all speak? Yes; those which speak. Nay, said Ctesippus, but the question which I ask is whether all things are silent or speak? Neither and both, said Dionysodorus, quickly interposing; I am sure that you will be ’non-plussed’ at that answer. Here Ctesippus, as his manner was, burst into a roar of laughter; he said, That brother of yours, Euthydemus, has got into a dilemma; all is over with him. This delighted Cleinias, whose laughter made Ctesippus ten times as uproarious; but I cannot help thinking that the rogue must have picked up this answer from them; for there has been no wisdom like theirs in our time. Why do you laugh, Cleinias, I said, at such solemn and beautiful things? Why, Socrates, said Dionysodorus, did you ever see a beautiful thing? Yes, Dionysodorus, I replied, I have seen many. Were they other than the beautiful, or the same as the beautiful? Now I was in a great quandary at having to answer this question, and I thought that I was rightly served for having opened my mouth at all: I said however, They are not the same as absolute beauty, but they have beauty present with each of them. And are you an ox because an ox is present with you, or are you Dionysodorus, because Dionysodorus is present with you? God forbid, I replied. But how, he said, by reason of one thing being present with another, will one thing be another? Is that your difficulty? I said. For I was beginning to imitate their skill, on which my heart was set. Of course, he replied, I and all the world are in a difficulty about the non-existent. What do you mean, Dionysodorus? I said. Is not the honourable honourable and the base base? That, he said, is as I please. And do you please? Yes, he said. And you will admit that the same is the same, and the other other; for surely the other is not the same; I should imagine that even a child will hardly deny the other to be other. But I think, Dionysodorus, that you must have intentionally missed the last question; for in general you and your brother seem to me to be good workmen in your own department, and to do the dialectician’s business excellently well. What, said he, is the business of a good workman? tell me, in the first place, whose business is hammering? The smith’s. And whose the making of pots? The potter’s. And who has to kill and skin and mince and boil and roast? The cook, I said. And if a man does his business he does rightly? Certainly. And the business of the cook is to cut up and skin; you have admitted that? Yes, I have admitted that, but you must not be too hard upon me. Then if some one were to kill, mince, boil, roast the cook, he would do his business, and if he were to hammer the smith, and make a pot of the potter, he would do their business. Poseidon, I said, this is the crown of wisdom; can I ever hope to have such wisdom of my own? And would you be able, Socrates, to recognize this wisdom when it has become your own? Certainly, I said, if you will allow me. What, he said, do you think that you know what is your own? Yes, I do, subject to your correction; for you are the bottom, and Euthydemus is the top, of all my wisdom. Is not that which you would deem your own, he said, that which you have in your own

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power, and which you are able to use as you would desire, for example, an ox or a sheep–would you not think that which you could sell and give and sacrifice to any god whom you pleased, to be your own, and that which you could not give or sell or sacrifice you would think not to be in your own power? Yes, I said (for I was certain that something good would come out of the questions, which I was impatient to hear); yes, such things, and such things only are mine. Yes, he said, and you would mean by animals living beings? Yes, I said. You agree then, that those animals only are yours with which you have the power to do all these things which I was just naming? I agree. Then, after a pause, in which he seemed to be lost in the contemplation of something great, he said: Tell me, Socrates, have you an ancestral Zeus? Here, anticipating the final move, like a person caught in a net, who gives a desperate twist that he may get away, I said: No, Dionysodorus, I have not. What a miserable man you must be then, he said; you are not an Athenian at all if you have no ancestral gods or temples, or any other mark of gentility. Nay, Dionysodorus, I said, do not be rough; good words, if you please; in the way of religion I have altars and temples, domestic and ancestral, and all that other Athenians have. And have not other Athenians, he said, an ancestral Zeus? That name, I said, is not to be found among the Ionians, whether colonists or citizens of Athens; an ancestral Apollo there is, who is the father of Ion, and a family Zeus, and a Zeus guardian of the phratry, and an Athene guardian of the phratry. But the name of ancestral Zeus is unknown to us. No matter, said Dionysodorus, for you admit that you have Apollo, Zeus, and Athene. Certainly, I said. And they are your gods, he said. Yes, I said, my lords and ancestors. At any rate they are yours, he said, did you not admit that? I did, I said; what is going to happen to me? And are not these gods animals? for you admit that all things which have life are animals; and have not these gods life? They have life, I said. Then are they not animals? They are animals, I said. And you admitted that of animals those are yours which you could give away or sell or offer in sacrifice, as you pleased? I did admit that, Euthydemus, and I have no way of escape. Well then, said he, if you admit that Zeus and the other gods are yours, can you sell them or give them away or do what you will with them, as you would with other animals? At this I was quite struck dumb, Crito, and lay prostrate. Ctesippus came to the rescue. Bravo, Heracles, brave words, said he. Bravo Heracles, or is Heracles a Bravo? said Dionysodorus. Poseidon, said Ctesippus, what awful distinctions. I will have no more of them; the pair are invincible. Then, my dear Crito, there was universal applause of the speakers and their words, and what with laughing and clapping of hands and rejoicings the two men were quite overpowered; for hitherto their partisans only had cheered at each successive hit, but now the whole company shouted with delight until the columns of the Lyceum returned the sound, seeming to sympathize in their joy. To such a pitch was I affected myself, that I made a speech, in which I acknowledged that I had never seen the like of their wisdom; I was their devoted servant, and fell to praising and admiring of them. What marvellous dexterity of wit, I said, enabled you to acquire this great perfection in such a short time? There is much, indeed, to admire in your words, Euthydemus and Dionysodorus, but there is nothing that I admire more than your magnanimous disregard of any opinion–whether of the many, or of the grave and reverend seigniors–you regard only those who are like yourselves. And I do verily believe that there are few who are like you, and who would approve of such arguments; the majority of mankind are so ignor-

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ant of their value, that they would be more ashamed of employing them in the refutation of others than of being refuted by them. I must further express my approval of your kind and public-spirited denial of all differences, whether of good and evil, white or black, or any other; the result of which is that, as you say, every mouth is sewn up, not excepting your own, which graciously follows the example of others; and thus all ground of offence is taken away. But what appears to me to be more than all is, that this art and invention of yours has been so admirably contrived by you, that in a very short time it can be imparted to any one. I observed that Ctesippus learned to imitate you in no time. Now this quickness of attainment is an excellent thing; but at the same time I would advise you not to have any more public entertainments; there is a danger that men may undervalue an art which they have so easy an opportunity of acquiring; the exhibition would be best of all, if the discussion were confined to your two selves; but if there must be an audience, let him only be present who is willing to pay a handsome fee;–you should be careful of this;–and if you are wise, you will also bid your disciples discourse with no man but you and themselves. For only what is rare is valuable; and ’water,’ which, as Pindar says, is the ’best of all things,’ is also the cheapest. And now I have only to request that you will receive Cleinias and me among your pupils. Such was the discussion, Crito; and after a few more words had passed between us we went away. I hope that you will come to them with me, since they say that they are able to teach any one who will give them money; no age or want of capacity is an impediment. And I must repeat one thing which they said, for your especial benefit,–that the learning of their art did not at all interfere with the business of money-making. CRITO: Truly, Socrates, though I am curious and ready to learn, yet I fear that I am not like-minded with Euthydemus, but one of the other sort, who, as you were saying, would rather be refuted by such arguments than use them in refutation of others. And though I may appear ridiculous in venturing to advise you, I think that you may as well hear what was said to me by a man of very considerable pretensions–he was a professor of legal oratory– who came away from you while I was walking up and down. ’Crito,’ said he to me, ’are you giving no attention to these wise men?’ ’No, indeed,’ I said to him; ’I could not get within hearing of them–there was such a crowd.’ ’You would have heard something worth hearing if you had.’ ’What was that?’ I said. ’You would have heard the greatest masters of the art of rhetoric discoursing.’ ’And what did you think of them?’ I said. ’What did I think of them?’ he said:– ’theirs was the sort of discourse which anybody might hear from men who were playing the fool, and making much ado about nothing.’ That was the expression which he used. ’Surely,’ I said, ’philosophy is a charming thing.’ ’Charming!’ he said; ’what simplicity! philosophy is nought; and I think that if you had been present you would have been ashamed of your friend–his conduct was so very strange in placing himself at the mercy of men who care not what they say, and fasten upon every word. And these, as I was telling you, are supposed to be the most eminent professors of their time. But the truth is, Crito, that the study itself and the men themselves are utterly mean and ridiculous.’ Now censure of the pursuit, Socrates, whether coming from him or from others, appears to me to be undeserved; but as to the impropriety of holding a public discussion with such men, there, I confess that, in my opinion, he was in the right. SOCRATES: O Crito, they are marvellous men; but what was I going to

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say? First of all let me know;–What manner of man was he who came up to you and censured philosophy; was he an orator who himself practises in the courts, or an instructor of orators, who makes the speeches with which they do battle? CRITO: He was certainly not an orator, and I doubt whether he had ever been into court; but they say that he knows the business, and is a clever man, and composes wonderful speeches. SOCRATES: Now I understand, Crito; he is one of an amphibious class, whom I was on the point of mentioning–one of those whom Prodicus describes as on the border-ground between philosophers and statesmen–they think that they are the wisest of all men, and that they are generally esteemed the wisest; nothing but the rivalry of the philosophers stands in their way; and they are of the opinion that if they can prove the philosophers to be good for nothing, no one will dispute their title to the palm of wisdom, for that they are themselves really the wisest, although they are apt to be mauled by Euthydemus and his friends, when they get hold of them in conversation. This opinion which they entertain of their own wisdom is very natural; for they have a certain amount of philosophy, and a certain amount of political wisdom; there is reason in what they say, for they argue that they have just enough of both, and so they keep out of the way of all risks and conflicts and reap the fruits of their wisdom. CRITO: What do you say of them, Socrates? There is certainly something specious in that notion of theirs. SOCRATES: Yes, Crito, there is more speciousness than truth; they cannot be made to understand the nature of intermediates. For all persons or things, which are intermediate between two other things, and participate in both of them–if one of these two things is good and the other evil, are better than the one and worse than the other; but if they are in a mean between two good things which do not tend to the same end, they fall short of either of their component elements in the attainment of their ends. Only in the case when the two component elements which do not tend to the same end are evil is the participant better than either. Now, if philosophy and political action are both good, but tend to different ends, and they participate in both, and are in a mean between them, then they are talking nonsense, for they are worse than either; or, if the one be good and the other evil, they are better than the one and worse than the other; only on the supposition that they are both evil could there be any truth in what they say. I do not think that they will admit that their two pursuits are either wholly or partly evil; but the truth is, that these philosopher- politicians who aim at both fall short of both in the attainment of their respective ends, and are really third, although they would like to stand first. There is no need, however, to be angry at this ambition of theirs– which may be forgiven; for every man ought to be loved who says and manfully pursues and works out anything which is at all like wisdom: at the same time we shall do well to see them as they really are. CRITO: I have often told you, Socrates, that I am in a constant difficulty about my two sons. What am I to do with them? There is no hurry about the younger one, who is only a child; but the other, Critobulus, is getting on, and needs some one who will improve him. I cannot help thinking, when I hear you talk, that there is a sort of madness in many of our anxieties about our children:–in the first place, about marrying a wife of good family to be the mother of them, and then about heaping up money for them– and yet taking no care about their education. But then again, when I contemplate any of those

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who pretend to educate others, I am amazed. To me, if I am to confess the truth, they all seem to be such outrageous beings: so that I do not know how I can advise the youth to study philosophy. SOCRATES: Dear Crito, do you not know that in every profession the inferior sort are numerous and good for nothing, and the good are few and beyond all price: for example, are not gymnastic and rhetoric and money- making and the art of the general, noble arts? CRITO: Certainly they are, in my judgment. SOCRATES: Well, and do you not see that in each of these arts the many are ridiculous performers? CRITO: Yes, indeed, that is very true. SOCRATES: And will you on this account shun all these pursuits yourself and refuse to allow them to your son? CRITO: That would not be reasonable, Socrates. SOCRATES: Do you then be reasonable, Crito, and do not mind whether the teachers of philosophy are good or bad, but think only of philosophy herself. Try and examine her well and truly, and if she be evil seek to turn away all men from her, and not your sons only; but if she be what I believe that she is, then follow her and serve her, you and your house, as the saying is, and be of good cheer.

Chapter 11

Euthyphro Source text found at http://www.gutenberg.net/etext99/uthph10.txt1

11.1

Introduction

In the Meno, Anytus had parted from Socrates with the significant words: ’That in any city, and particularly in the city of Athens, it is easier to do men harm than to do them good;’ and Socrates was anticipating another opportunity of talking with him. In the Euthyphro, Socrates is awaiting his trial for impiety. But before the trial begins, Plato would like to put the world on their trial, and convince them of ignorance in that very matter touching which Socrates is accused. An incident which may perhaps really have occurred in the family of Euthyphro, a learned Athenian diviner and soothsayer, furnishes the occasion of the discussion. This Euthyphro and Socrates are represented as meeting in the porch of the King Archon. (Compare Theaet.) Both have legal business in hand. Socrates is defendant in a suit for impiety which Meletus has brought against him (it is remarked by the way that he is not a likely man himself to have brought a suit against another); and Euthyphro too is plaintiff in an action for murder, which he has brought against his own father. The latter has originated in the following manner:–A poor dependant of the family had slain one of their domestic slaves in Naxos. The guilty person was bound and thrown into a ditch by the command of Euthyphro’s father, who sent to the interpreters of religion at Athens to ask what should be done with him. Before the messenger came back the criminal had died from hunger and exposure. This is the origin of the charge of murder which Euthyphro brings against his father. Socrates is confident that before he could have undertaken the responsibility of such a prosecution, he must have been perfectly informed of the nature of piety and impiety; and as he is going to be tried for impiety himself, he thinks that he cannot do better than learn of Euthyphro (who will be admitted by everybody, including the judges, to be an unimpeachable authority) what piety is, and what is impiety. What then is piety? 1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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Euthyphro, who, in the abundance of his knowledge, is very willing to undertake all the responsibility, replies: That piety is doing as I do, prosecuting your father (if he is guilty) on a charge of murder; doing as the gods do–as Zeus did to Cronos, and Cronos to Uranus. Socrates has a dislike to these tales of mythology, and he fancies that this dislike of his may be the reason why he is charged with impiety. ’Are they really true?’ ’Yes, they are;’ and Euthyphro will gladly tell Socrates some more of them. But Socrates would like first of all to have a more satisfactory answer to the question, ’What is piety?’ ’Doing as I do, charging a father with murder,’ may be a single instance of piety, but can hardly be regarded as a general definition. Euthyphro replies, that ’Piety is what is dear to the gods, and impiety is what is not dear to them.’ But may there not be differences of opinion, as among men, so also among the gods? Especially, about good and evil, which have no fixed rule; and these are precisely the sort of differences which give rise to quarrels. And therefore what may be dear to one god may not be dear to another, and the same action may be both pious and impious; e.g. your chastisement of your father, Euthyphro, may be dear or pleasing to Zeus (who inflicted a similar chastisement on his own father), but not equally pleasing to Cronos or Uranus (who suffered at the hands of their sons). Euthyphro answers that there is no difference of opinion, either among gods or men, as to the propriety of punishing a murderer. Yes, rejoins Socrates, when they know him to be a murderer; but you are assuming the point at issue. If all the circumstances of the case are considered, are you able to show that your father was guilty of murder, or that all the gods are agreed in approving of our prosecution of him? And must you not allow that what is hated by one god may be liked by another? Waiving this last, however, Socrates proposes to amend the definition, and say that ’what all the gods love is pious, and what they all hate is impious.’ To this Euthyphro agrees. Socrates proceeds to analyze the new form of the definition. He shows that in other cases the act precedes the state; e.g. the act of being carried, loved, etc. precedes the state of being carried, loved, etc., and therefore that which is dear to the gods is dear to the gods because it is first loved of them, not loved of them because it is dear to them. But the pious or holy is loved by the gods because it is pious or holy, which is equivalent to saying, that it is loved by them because it is dear to them. Here then appears to be a contradiction,–Euthyphro has been giving an attribute or accident of piety only, and not the essence. Euthyphro acknowledges himself that his explanations seem to walk away or go round in a circle, like the moving figures of Daedalus, the ancestor of Socrates, who has communicated his art to his descendants. Socrates, who is desirous of stimulating the indolent intelligence of Euthyphro, raises the question in another manner: ’Is all the pious just?’ ’Yes.’ ’Is all the just pious?’ ’No.’ ’Then what part of justice is piety?’ Euthyphro replies that piety is that part of justice which ’attends’ to the gods, as there is another part of justice which ’attends’ to men. But what is the meaning of ’attending’ to the gods? The word ’attending,’ when applied to dogs, horses, and men, implies that in some way they are made better. But how do pious or holy acts make the gods any better? Euthyphro explains that he means by pious acts, acts of service or ministration. Yes; but the ministrations of the husbandman, the physician, and the builder have an end. To what end do we serve the gods,

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and what do we help them to accomplish? Euthyphro replies, that all these difficult questions cannot be resolved in a short time; and he would rather say simply that piety is knowing how to please the gods in word and deed, by prayers and sacrifices. In other words, says Socrates, piety is ’a science of asking and giving’–asking what we want and giving what they want; in short, a mode of doing business between gods and men. But although they are the givers of all good, how can we give them any good in return? ’Nay, but we give them honour.’ Then we give them not what is beneficial, but what is pleasing or dear to them; and this is the point which has been already disproved. Socrates, although weary of the subterfuges and evasions of Euthyphro, remains unshaken in his conviction that he must know the nature of piety, or he would never have prosecuted his old father. He is still hoping that he will condescend to instruct him. But Euthyphro is in a hurry and cannot stay. And Socrates’ last hope of knowing the nature of piety before he is prosecuted for impiety has disappeared. As in the Euthydemus the irony is carried on to the end. The Euthyphro is manifestly designed to contrast the real nature of piety and impiety with the popular conceptions of them. But when the popular conceptions of them have been overthrown, Socrates does not offer any definition of his own: as in the Laches and Lysis, he prepares the way for an answer to the question which he has raised; but true to his own character, refuses to answer himself. Euthyphro is a religionist, and is elsewhere spoken of, if he be the same person, as the author of a philosophy of names, by whose ’prancing steeds’ Socrates in the Cratylus is carried away. He has the conceit and self- confidence of a Sophist; no doubt that he is right in prosecuting his father has ever entered into his mind. Like a Sophist too, he is incapable either of framing a general definition or of following the course of an argument. His wrong-headedness, one-sidedness, narrowness, positiveness, are characteristic of his priestly office. His failure to apprehend an argument may be compared to a similar defect which is observable in the rhapsode Ion. But he is not a bad man, and he is friendly to Socrates, whose familiar sign he recognizes with interest. Though unable to follow him he is very willing to be led by him, and eagerly catches at any suggestion which saves him from the trouble of thinking. Moreover he is the enemy of Meletus, who, as he says, is availing himself of the popular dislike to innovations in religion in order to injure Socrates; at the same time he is amusingly confident that he has weapons in his own armoury which would be more than a match for him. He is quite sincere in his prosecution of his father, who has accidentally been guilty of homicide, and is not wholly free from blame. To purge away the crime appears to him in the light of a duty, whoever may be the criminal. Thus begins the contrast between the religion of the letter, or of the narrow and unenlightened conscience, and the higher notion of religion which Socrates vainly endeavours to elicit from him. ’Piety is doing as I do’ is the idea of religion which first occurs to him, and to many others who do not say what they think with equal frankness. For men are not easily persuaded that any other religion is better than their own; or that other nations, e.g. the Greeks in the time of Socrates, were equally serious in their religious beliefs and difficulties. The chief difference between us and them is, that they were slowly learning what we are in process of forgetting. Greek mythology hardly admitted of the distinction

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between accidental homicide and murder: that the pollution of blood was the same in both cases is also the feeling of the Athenian diviner. He had not as yet learned the lesson, which philosophy was teaching, that Homer and Hesiod, if not banished from the state, or whipped out of the assembly, as Heracleitus more rudely proposed, at any rate were not to be appealed to as authorities in religion; and he is ready to defend his conduct by the examples of the gods. These are the very tales which Socrates cannot abide; and his dislike of them, as he suspects, has branded him with the reputation of impiety. Here is one answer to the question, ’Why Socrates was put to death,’ suggested by the way. Another is conveyed in the words, ’The Athenians do not care about any man being thought wise until he begins to make other men wise; and then for some reason or other they are angry:’ which may be said to be the rule of popular toleration in most other countries, and not at Athens only. In the course of the argument Socrates remarks that the controversial nature of morals and religion arises out of the difficulty of verifying them. There is no measure or standard to which they can be referred. The next definition, ’Piety is that which is loved of the gods,’ is shipwrecked on a refined distinction between the state and the act, corresponding respectively to the adjective (philon) and the participle (philoumenon), or rather perhaps to the participle and the verb (philoumenon and phileitai ). The act is prior to the state (as in Aristotle the energeia precedes the dunamis); and the state of being loved is preceded by the act of being loved. But piety or holiness is preceded by the act of being pious, not by the act of being loved; and therefore piety and the state of being loved are different. Through such subtleties of dialectic Socrates is working his way into a deeper region of thought and feeling. He means to say that the words ’loved of the gods’ express an attribute only, and not the essence of piety. Then follows the third and last definition, ’Piety is a part of justice.’ Thus far Socrates has proceeded in placing religion on a moral foundation. He is seeking to realize the harmony of religion and morality, which the great poets Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Pindar had unconsciously anticipated, and which is the universal want of all men. To this the soothsayer adds the ceremonial element, ’attending upon the gods.’ When further interrogated by Socrates as to the nature of this ’attention to the gods,’ he replies, that piety is an affair of business, a science of giving and asking, and the like. Socrates points out the anthropomorphism of these notions, (compare Symp.; Republic; Politicus.) But when we expect him to go on and show that the true service of the gods is the service of the spirit and the co-operation with them in all things true and good, he stops short; this was a lesson which the soothsayer could not have been made to understand, and which every one must learn for himself. There seem to be altogether three aims or interests in this little Dialogue: (1) the dialectical development of the idea of piety; (2) the antithesis of true and false religion, which is carried to a certain extent only; (3) the defence of Socrates. The subtle connection with the Apology and the Crito; the holding back of the conclusion, as in the Charmides, Lysis, Laches, Protagoras, and other Dialogues; the deep insight into the religious world; the dramatic power and play of the two characters; the inimitable irony, are reasons for believing that the Euthyphro is a genuine Platonic writing. The spirit in which the popular representations of mythology are denounced recalls Republic II. The virtue of

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piety has been already mentioned as one of five in the Protagoras, but is not reckoned among the four cardinal virtues of Republic IV. The figure of Daedalus has occurred in the Meno; that of Proteus in the Euthydemus and Io. The kingly science has already appeared in the Euthydemus, and will reappear in the Republic and Statesman. But neither from these nor any other indications of similarity or difference, and still less from arguments respecting the suitableness of this little work to aid Socrates at the time of his trial or the reverse, can any evidence of the date be obtained.

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Euthyphro

Euthyphro [2a-16a] Translated by Benjamin Jowett PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: Socrates, Euthyphro. SCENE: The Porch of the King Archon. EUTHYPHRO: Why have you left the Lyceum, Socrates? and what are you doing in the Porch of the King Archon? Surely you cannot be concerned in a suit before the King, like myself? SOCRATES: Not in a suit, Euthyphro; impeachment is the word which the Athenians use. EUTHYPHRO: What! I suppose that some one has been prosecuting you, for I cannot believe that you are the prosecutor of another. SOCRATES: Certainly not. EUTHYPHRO: Then some one else has been prosecuting you? SOCRATES: Yes. EUTHYPHRO: And who is he? SOCRATES: A young man who is little known, Euthyphro; and I hardly know him: his name is Meletus, and he is of the deme of Pitthis. Perhaps you may remember his appearance; he has a beak, and long straight hair, and a beard which is ill grown. EUTHYPHRO: No, I do not remember him, Socrates. But what is the charge which he brings against you? SOCRATES: What is the charge? Well, a very serious charge, which shows a good deal of character in the young man, and for which he is certainly not to be despised. He says he knows how the youth are corrupted and who are their corruptors. I fancy that he must be a wise man, and seeing that I am the reverse of a wise man, he has found me out, and is going to accuse me of corrupting his young friends. And of this our mother the state is to be the judge. Of all our political men he is the only one who seems to me to begin in the right way, with the cultivation of virtue in youth; like a good husbandman, he makes the young shoots his first care, and clears away us who are the destroyers of them. This is only the first step; he will afterwards attend to the elder branches; and if he goes on as he has begun, he will be a very great public benefactor. EUTHYPHRO: I hope that he may; but I rather fear, Socrates, that the opposite will turn out to be the truth. My opinion is that in attacking you he is simply aiming a blow at the foundation of the state. But in what way does he say that you corrupt the young? SOCRATES: He brings a wonderful accusation against me, which at first hearing excites surprise: he says that I am a poet or maker of gods, and that I invent new gods and deny the existence of old ones; this is the ground of his indictment. EUTHYPHRO: I understand, Socrates; he means to attack you about the familiar sign which occasionally, as you say, comes to you. He thinks that you are a neologian, and he is going to have you up before the court for this. He knows that such a charge is readily received by the world, as I myself know

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too well; for when I speak in the assembly about divine things, and foretell the future to them, they laugh at me and think me a madman. Yet every word that I say is true. But they are jealous of us all; and we must be brave and go at them. SOCRATES: Their laughter, friend Euthyphro, is not a matter of much consequence. For a man may be thought wise; but the Athenians, I suspect, do not much trouble themselves about him until he begins to impart his wisdom to others, and then for some reason or other, perhaps, as you say, from jealousy, they are angry. EUTHYPHRO: I am never likely to try their temper in this way. SOCRATES: I dare say not, for you are reserved in your behaviour, and seldom impart your wisdom. But I have a benevolent habit of pouring out myself to everybody, and would even pay for a listener, and I am afraid that the Athenians may think me too talkative. Now if, as I was saying, they would only laugh at me, as you say that they laugh at you, the time might pass gaily enough in the court; but perhaps they may be in earnest, and then what the end will be you soothsayers only can predict. EUTHYPHRO: I dare say that the affair will end in nothing, Socrates, and that you will win your cause; and I think that I shall win my own. SOCRATES: And what is your suit, Euthyphro? are you the pursuer or the defendant? EUTHYPHRO: I am the pursuer. SOCRATES: Of whom? EUTHYPHRO: You will think me mad when I tell you. SOCRATES: Why, has the fugitive wings? EUTHYPHRO: Nay, he is not very volatile at his time of life. SOCRATES: Who is he? EUTHYPHRO: My father. SOCRATES: Your father! my good man? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: And of what is he accused? EUTHYPHRO: Of murder, Socrates. SOCRATES: By the powers, Euthyphro! how little does the common herd know of the nature of right and truth. A man must be an extraordinary man, and have made great strides in wisdom, before he could have seen his way to bring such an action. EUTHYPHRO: Indeed, Socrates, he must. SOCRATES: I suppose that the man whom your father murdered was one of your relatives–clearly he was; for if he had been a stranger you would never have thought of prosecuting him. EUTHYPHRO: I am amused, Socrates, at your making a distinction between one who is a relation and one who is not a relation; for surely the pollution is the same in either case, if you knowingly associate with the murderer when you ought to clear yourself and him by proceeding against him. The real question is whether the murdered man has been justly slain. If justly, then your duty is to let the matter alone; but if unjustly, then even if the murderer lives under the same roof with you and eats at the same table, proceed against him. Now the man who is dead was a poor dependant of mine who worked for us as a field labourer on our farm in Naxos, and one day in a fit of drunken passion he got into a quarrel with one of our domestic servants and slew him. My father

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bound him hand and foot and threw him into a ditch, and then sent to Athens to ask of a diviner what he should do with him. Meanwhile he never attended to him and took no care about him, for he regarded him as a murderer; and thought that no great harm would be done even if he did die. Now this was just what happened. For such was the effect of cold and hunger and chains upon him, that before the messenger returned from the diviner, he was dead. And my father and family are angry with me for taking the part of the murderer and prosecuting my father. They say that he did not kill him, and that if he did, the dead man was but a murderer, and I ought not to take any notice, for that a son is impious who prosecutes a father. Which shows, Socrates, how little they know what the gods think about piety and impiety. SOCRATES: Good heavens, Euthyphro! and is your knowledge of religion and of things pious and impious so very exact, that, supposing the circumstances to be as you state them, you are not afraid lest you too may be doing an impious thing in bringing an action against your father? EUTHYPHRO: The best of Euthyphro, and that which distinguishes him, Socrates, from other men, is his exact knowledge of all such matters. What should I be good for without it? SOCRATES: Rare friend! I think that I cannot do better than be your disciple. Then before the trial with Meletus comes on I shall challenge him, and say that I have always had a great interest in religious questions, and now, as he charges me with rash imaginations and innovations in religion, I have become your disciple. You, Meletus, as I shall say to him, acknowledge Euthyphro to be a great theologian, and sound in his opinions; and if you approve of him you ought to approve of me, and not have me into court; but if you disapprove, you should begin by indicting him who is my teacher, and who will be the ruin, not of the young, but of the old; that is to say, of myself whom he instructs, and of his old father whom he admonishes and chastises. And if Meletus refuses to listen to me, but will go on, and will not shift the indictment from me to you, I cannot do better than repeat this challenge in the court. EUTHYPHRO: Yes, indeed, Socrates; and if he attempts to indict me I am mistaken if I do not find a flaw in him; the court shall have a great deal more to say to him than to me. SOCRATES: And I, my dear friend, knowing this, am desirous of becoming your disciple. For I observe that no one appears to notice you–not even this Meletus; but his sharp eyes have found me out at once, and he has indicted me for impiety. And therefore, I adjure you to tell me the nature of piety and impiety, which you said that you knew so well, and of murder, and of other offences against the gods. What are they? Is not piety in every action always the same? and impiety, again–is it not always the opposite of piety, and also the same with itself, having, as impiety, one notion which includes whatever is impious? EUTHYPHRO: To be sure, Socrates. SOCRATES: And what is piety, and what is impiety? EUTHYPHRO: Piety is doing as I am doing; that is to say, prosecuting any one who is guilty of murder, sacrilege, or of any similar crime–whether he be your father or mother, or whoever he may be–that makes no difference; and not to prosecute them is impiety. And please to consider, Socrates, what a notable proof I will give you of the truth of my words, a proof which I have already given to others:–of the principle, I mean, that the impious, whoever he may be,

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ought not to go unpunished. For do not men regard Zeus as the best and most righteous of the gods?–and yet they admit that he bound his father (Cronos) because he wickedly devoured his sons, and that he too had punished his own father (Uranus) for a similar reason, in a nameless manner. And yet when I proceed against my father, they are angry with me. So inconsistent are they in their way of talking when the gods are concerned, and when I am concerned. SOCRATES: May not this be the reason, Euthyphro, why I am charged with impiety–that I cannot away with these stories about the gods? and therefore I suppose that people think me wrong. But, as you who are well informed about them approve of them, I cannot do better than assent to your superior wisdom. What else can I say, confessing as I do, that I know nothing about them? Tell me, for the love of Zeus, whether you really believe that they are true. EUTHYPHRO: Yes, Socrates; and things more wonderful still, of which the world is in ignorance. SOCRATES: And do you really believe that the gods fought with one another, and had dire quarrels, battles, and the like, as the poets say, and as you may see represented in the works of great artists? The temples are full of them; and notably the robe of Athene, which is carried up to the Acropolis at the great Panathenaea, is embroidered with them. Are all these tales of the gods true, Euthyphro? EUTHYPHRO: Yes, Socrates; and, as I was saying, I can tell you, if you would like to hear them, many other things about the gods which would quite amaze you. SOCRATES: I dare say; and you shall tell me them at some other time when I have leisure. But just at present I would rather hear from you a more precise answer, which you have not as yet given, my friend, to the question, What is ’piety’ ? When asked, you only replied, Doing as you do, charging your father with murder. EUTHYPHRO: And what I said was true, Socrates. SOCRATES: No doubt, Euthyphro; but you would admit that there are many other pious acts? EUTHYPHRO: There are. SOCRATES: Remember that I did not ask you to give me two or three examples of piety, but to explain the general idea which makes all pious things to be pious. Do you not recollect that there was one idea which made the impious impious, and the pious pious? EUTHYPHRO: I remember. SOCRATES: Tell me what is the nature of this idea, and then I shall have a standard to which I may look, and by which I may measure actions, whether yours or those of any one else, and then I shall be able to say that such and such an action is pious, such another impious. EUTHYPHRO: I will tell you, if you like. SOCRATES: I should very much like. EUTHYPHRO: Piety, then, is that which is dear to the gods, and impiety is that which is not dear to them. SOCRATES: Very good, Euthyphro; you have now given me the sort of answer which I wanted. But whether what you say is true or not I cannot as yet tell, although I make no doubt that you will prove the truth of your words. EUTHYPHRO: Of course.

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SOCRATES: Come, then, and let us examine what we are saying. That thing or person which is dear to the gods is pious, and that thing or person which is hateful to the gods is impious, these two being the extreme opposites of one another. Was not that said? EUTHYPHRO: It was. SOCRATES: And well said? EUTHYPHRO: Yes, Socrates, I thought so; it was certainly said. SOCRATES: And further, Euthyphro, the gods were admitted to have enmities and hatreds and differences? EUTHYPHRO: Yes, that was also said. SOCRATES: And what sort of difference creates enmity and anger? Suppose for example that you and I, my good friend, differ about a number; do differences of this sort make us enemies and set us at variance with one another? Do we not go at once to arithmetic, and put an end to them by a sum? EUTHYPHRO: True. SOCRATES: Or suppose that we differ about magnitudes, do we not quickly end the differences by measuring? EUTHYPHRO: Very true. SOCRATES: And we end a controversy about heavy and light by resorting to a weighing machine? EUTHYPHRO: To be sure. SOCRATES: But what differences are there which cannot be thus decided, and which therefore make us angry and set us at enmity with one another? I dare say the answer does not occur to you at the moment, and therefore I will suggest that these enmities arise when the matters of difference are the just and unjust, good and evil, honourable and dishonourable. Are not these the points about which men differ, and about which when we are unable satisfactorily to decide our differences, you and I and all of us quarrel, when we do quarrel? (Compare Alcib.) EUTHYPHRO: Yes, Socrates, the nature of the differences about which we quarrel is such as you describe. SOCRATES: And the quarrels of the gods, noble Euthyphro, when they occur, are of a like nature? EUTHYPHRO: Certainly they are. SOCRATES: They have differences of opinion, as you say, about good and evil, just and unjust, honourable and dishonourable: there would have been no quarrels among them, if there had been no such differences–would there now? EUTHYPHRO: You are quite right. SOCRATES: Does not every man love that which he deems noble and just and good, and hate the opposite of them? EUTHYPHRO: Very true. SOCRATES: But, as you say, people regard the same things, some as just and others as unjust,–about these they dispute; and so there arise wars and fightings among them. EUTHYPHRO: Very true. SOCRATES: Then the same things are hated by the gods and loved by the gods, and are both hateful and dear to them? EUTHYPHRO: True. SOCRATES: And upon this view the same things, Euthyphro, will be pious and also impious?

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EUTHYPHRO: So I should suppose. SOCRATES: Then, my friend, I remark with surprise that you have not answered the question which I asked. For I certainly did not ask you to tell me what action is both pious and impious: but now it would seem that what is loved by the gods is also hated by them. And therefore, Euthyphro, in thus chastising your father you may very likely be doing what is agreeable to Zeus but disagreeable to Cronos or Uranus, and what is acceptable to Hephaestus but unacceptable to Here, and there may be other gods who have similar differences of opinion. EUTHYPHRO: But I believe, Socrates, that all the gods would be agreed as to the propriety of punishing a murderer: there would be no difference of opinion about that. SOCRATES: Well, but speaking of men, Euthyphro, did you ever hear any one arguing that a murderer or any sort of evil-doer ought to be let off? EUTHYPHRO: I should rather say that these are the questions which they are always arguing, especially in courts of law: they commit all sorts of crimes, and there is nothing which they will not do or say in their own defence. SOCRATES: But do they admit their guilt, Euthyphro, and yet say that they ought not to be punished? EUTHYPHRO: No; they do not. SOCRATES: Then there are some things which they do not venture to say and do: for they do not venture to argue that the guilty are to be unpunished, but they deny their guilt, do they not? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: Then they do not argue that the evil-doer should not be punished, but they argue about the fact of who the evil-doer is, and what he did and when? EUTHYPHRO: True. SOCRATES: And the gods are in the same case, if as you assert they quarrel about just and unjust, and some of them say while others deny that injustice is done among them. For surely neither God nor man will ever venture to say that the doer of injustice is not to be punished? EUTHYPHRO: That is true, Socrates, in the main. SOCRATES: But they join issue about the particulars–gods and men alike; and, if they dispute at all, they dispute about some act which is called in question, and which by some is affirmed to be just, by others to be unjust. Is not that true? EUTHYPHRO: Quite true. SOCRATES: Well then, my dear friend Euthyphro, do tell me, for my better instruction and information, what proof have you that in the opinion of all the gods a servant who is guilty of murder, and is put in chains by the master of the dead man, and dies because he is put in chains before he who bound him can learn from the interpreters of the gods what he ought to do with him, dies unjustly; and that on behalf of such an one a son ought to proceed against his father and accuse him of murder. How would you show that all the gods absolutely agree in approving of his act? Prove to me that they do, and I will applaud your wisdom as long as I live. EUTHYPHRO: It will be a difficult task; but I could make the matter very clear indeed to you.

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SOCRATES: I understand; you mean to say that I am not so quick of apprehension as the judges: for to them you will be sure to prove that the act is unjust, and hateful to the gods. EUTHYPHRO: Yes indeed, Socrates; at least if they will listen to me. SOCRATES: But they will be sure to listen if they find that you are a good speaker. There was a notion that came into my mind while you were speaking; I said to myself: ’Well, and what if Euthyphro does prove to me that all the gods regarded the death of the serf as unjust, how do I know anything more of the nature of piety and impiety? for granting that this action may be hateful to the gods, still piety and impiety are not adequately defined by these distinctions, for that which is hateful to the gods has been shown to be also pleasing and dear to them.’ And therefore, Euthyphro, I do not ask you to prove this; I will suppose, if you like, that all the gods condemn and abominate such an action. But I will amend the definition so far as to say that what all the gods hate is impious, and what they love pious or holy; and what some of them love and others hate is both or neither. Shall this be our definition of piety and impiety? EUTHYPHRO: Why not, Socrates? SOCRATES: Why not! certainly, as far as I am concerned, Euthyphro, there is no reason why not. But whether this admission will greatly assist you in the task of instructing me as you promised, is a matter for you to consider. EUTHYPHRO: Yes, I should say that what all the gods love is pious and holy, and the opposite which they all hate, impious. SOCRATES: Ought we to enquire into the truth of this, Euthyphro, or simply to accept the mere statement on our own authority and that of others? What do you say? EUTHYPHRO: We should enquire; and I believe that the statement will stand the test of enquiry. SOCRATES: We shall know better, my good friend, in a little while. The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods. EUTHYPHRO: I do not understand your meaning, Socrates. SOCRATES: I will endeavour to explain: we, speak of carrying and we speak of being carried, of leading and being led, seeing and being seen. You know that in all such cases there is a difference, and you know also in what the difference lies? EUTHYPHRO: I think that I understand. SOCRATES: And is not that which is beloved distinct from that which loves? EUTHYPHRO: Certainly. SOCRATES: Well; and now tell me, is that which is carried in this state of carrying because it is carried, or for some other reason? EUTHYPHRO: No; that is the reason. SOCRATES: And the same is true of what is led and of what is seen? EUTHYPHRO: True. SOCRATES: And a thing is not seen because it is visible, but conversely, visible because it is seen; nor is a thing led because it is in the state of being led, or carried because it is in the state of being carried, but the converse of this. And now I think, Euthyphro, that my meaning will be intelligible; and my meaning is, that any state of action or passion implies previous action or passion. It does not become because it is becoming, but it is in a state of

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becoming because it becomes; neither does it suffer because it is in a state of suffering, but it is in a state of suffering because it suffers. Do you not agree? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: Is not that which is loved in some state either of becoming or suffering? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: And the same holds as in the previous instances; the state of being loved follows the act of being loved, and not the act the state. EUTHYPHRO: Certainly. SOCRATES: And what do you say of piety, Euthyphro: is not piety, according to your definition, loved by all the gods? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: Because it is pious or holy, or for some other reason? EUTHYPHRO: No, that is the reason. SOCRATES: It is loved because it is holy, not holy because it is loved? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: And that which is dear to the gods is loved by them, and is in a state to be loved of them because it is loved of them? EUTHYPHRO: Certainly. SOCRATES: Then that which is dear to the gods, Euthyphro, is not holy, nor is that which is holy loved of God, as you affirm; but they are two different things. EUTHYPHRO: How do you mean, Socrates? SOCRATES: I mean to say that the holy has been acknowledged by us to be loved of God because it is holy, not to be holy because it is loved. EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: But that which is dear to the gods is dear to them because it is loved by them, not loved by them because it is dear to them. EUTHYPHRO: True. SOCRATES: But, friend Euthyphro, if that which is holy is the same with that which is dear to God, and is loved because it is holy, then that which is dear to God would have been loved as being dear to God; but if that which is dear to God is dear to him because loved by him, then that which is holy would have been holy because loved by him. But now you see that the reverse is the case, and that they are quite different from one another. For one (theophiles) is of a kind to be loved cause it is loved, and the other (osion) is loved because it is of a kind to be loved. Thus you appear to me, Euthyphro, when I ask you what is the essence of holiness, to offer an attribute only, and not the essence–the attribute of being loved by all the gods. But you still refuse to explain to me the nature of holiness. And therefore, if you please, I will ask you not to hide your treasure, but to tell me once more what holiness or piety really is, whether dear to the gods or not (for that is a matter about which we will not quarrel); and what is impiety? EUTHYPHRO: I really do not know, Socrates, how to express what I mean. For somehow or other our arguments, on whatever ground we rest them, seem to turn round and walk away from us. SOCRATES: Your words, Euthyphro, are like the handiwork of my ancestor Daedalus; and if I were the sayer or propounder of them, you might say that my arguments walk away and will not remain fixed where they are placed because I am a descendant of his. But now, since these notions are your own, you

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must find some other gibe, for they certainly, as you yourself allow, show an inclination to be on the move. EUTHYPHRO: Nay, Socrates, I shall still say that you are the Daedalus who sets arguments in motion; not I, certainly, but you make them move or go round, for they would never have stirred, as far as I am concerned. SOCRATES: Then I must be a greater than Daedalus: for whereas he only made his own inventions to move, I move those of other people as well. And the beauty of it is, that I would rather not. For I would give the wisdom of Daedalus, and the wealth of Tantalus, to be able to detain them and keep them fixed. But enough of this. As I perceive that you are lazy, I will myself endeavour to show you how you might instruct me in the nature of piety; and I hope that you will not grudge your labour. Tell me, then–Is not that which is pious necessarily just? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: And is, then, all which is just pious? or, is that which is pious all just, but that which is just, only in part and not all, pious? EUTHYPHRO: I do not understand you, Socrates. SOCRATES: And yet I know that you are as much wiser than I am, as you are younger. But, as I was saying, revered friend, the abundance of your wisdom makes you lazy. Please to exert yourself, for there is no real difficulty in understanding me. What I mean I may explain by an illustration of what I do not mean. The poet (Stasinus) sings– ’Of Zeus, the author and creator of all these things, You will not tell: for where there is fear there is also reverence.’ Now I disagree with this poet. Shall I tell you in what respect? EUTHYPHRO: By all means. SOCRATES: I should not say that where there is fear there is also reverence; for I am sure that many persons fear poverty and disease, and the like evils, but I do not perceive that they reverence the objects of their fear. EUTHYPHRO: Very true. SOCRATES: But where reverence is, there is fear; for he who has a feeling of reverence and shame about the commission of any action, fears and is afraid of an ill reputation. EUTHYPHRO: No doubt. SOCRATES: Then we are wrong in saying that where there is fear there is also reverence; and we should say, where there is reverence there is also fear. But there is not always reverence where there is fear; for fear is a more extended notion, and reverence is a part of fear, just as the odd is a part of number, and number is a more extended notion than the odd. I suppose that you follow me now? EUTHYPHRO: Quite well. SOCRATES: That was the sort of question which I meant to raise when I asked whether the just is always the pious, or the pious always the just; and whether there may not be justice where there is not piety; for justice is the more extended notion of which piety is only a part. Do you dissent? EUTHYPHRO: No, I think that you are quite right. SOCRATES: Then, if piety is a part of justice, I suppose that we should enquire what part? If you had pursued the enquiry in the previous cases; for instance, if you had asked me what is an even number, and what part of number

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the even is, I should have had no difficulty in replying, a number which represents a figure having two equal sides. Do you not agree? EUTHYPHRO: Yes, I quite agree. SOCRATES: In like manner, I want you to tell me what part of justice is piety or holiness, that I may be able to tell Meletus not to do me injustice, or indict me for impiety, as I am now adequately instructed by you in the nature of piety or holiness, and their opposites. EUTHYPHRO: Piety or holiness, Socrates, appears to me to be that part of justice which attends to the gods, as there is the other part of justice which attends to men. SOCRATES: That is good, Euthyphro; yet still there is a little point about which I should like to have further information, What is the meaning of ’attention’ ? For attention can hardly be used in the same sense when applied to the gods as when applied to other things. For instance, horses are said to require attention, and not every person is able to attend to them, but only a person skilled in horsemanship. Is it not so? EUTHYPHRO: Certainly. SOCRATES: I should suppose that the art of horsemanship is the art of attending to horses? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: Nor is every one qualified to attend to dogs, but only the huntsman? EUTHYPHRO: True. SOCRATES: And I should also conceive that the art of the huntsman is the art of attending to dogs? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: As the art of the oxherd is the art of attending to oxen? EUTHYPHRO: Very true. SOCRATES: In like manner holiness or piety is the art of attending to the gods?–that would be your meaning, Euthyphro? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: And is not attention always designed for the good or benefit of that to which the attention is given? As in the case of horses, you may observe that when attended to by the horseman’s art they are benefited and improved, are they not? EUTHYPHRO: True. SOCRATES: As the dogs are benefited by the huntsman’s art, and the oxen by the art of the oxherd, and all other things are tended or attended for their good and not for their hurt? EUTHYPHRO: Certainly, not for their hurt. SOCRATES: But for their good? EUTHYPHRO: Of course. SOCRATES: And does piety or holiness, which has been defined to be the art of attending to the gods, benefit or improve them? Would you say that when you do a holy act you make any of the gods better? EUTHYPHRO: No, no; that was certainly not what I meant. SOCRATES: And I, Euthyphro, never supposed that you did. I asked you the question about the nature of the attention, because I thought that you did not.

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EUTHYPHRO: You do me justice, Socrates; that is not the sort of attention which I mean. SOCRATES: Good: but I must still ask what is this attention to the gods which is called piety? EUTHYPHRO: It is such, Socrates, as servants show to their masters. SOCRATES: I understand–a sort of ministration to the gods. EUTHYPHRO: Exactly. SOCRATES: Medicine is also a sort of ministration or service, having in view the attainment of some object–would you not say of health? EUTHYPHRO: I should. SOCRATES: Again, there is an art which ministers to the ship-builder with a view to the attainment of some result? EUTHYPHRO: Yes, Socrates, with a view to the building of a ship. SOCRATES: As there is an art which ministers to the house-builder with a view to the building of a house? EUTHYPHRO: Yes. SOCRATES: And now tell me, my good friend, about the art which ministers to the gods: what work does that help to accomplish? For you must surely know if, as you say, you are of all men living the one who is best instructed in religion. EUTHYPHRO: And I speak the truth, Socrates. SOCRATES: Tell me then, oh tell me–what is that fair work which the gods do by the help of our ministrations? EUTHYPHRO: Many and fair, Socrates, are the works which they do. SOCRATES: Why, my friend, and so are those of a general. But the chief of them is easily told. Would you not say that victory in war is the chief of them? EUTHYPHRO: Certainly. SOCRATES: Many and fair, too, are the works of the husbandman, if I am not mistaken; but his chief work is the production of food from the earth? EUTHYPHRO: Exactly. SOCRATES: And of the many and fair things done by the gods, which is the chief or principal one? EUTHYPHRO: I have told you already, Socrates, that to learn all these things accurately will be very tiresome. Let me simply say that piety or holiness is learning how to please the gods in word and deed, by prayers and sacrifices. Such piety is the salvation of families and states, just as the impious, which is unpleasing to the gods, is their ruin and destruction. SOCRATES: I think that you could have answered in much fewer words the chief question which I asked, Euthyphro, if you had chosen. But I see plainly that you are not disposed to instruct me–clearly not: else why, when we reached the point, did you turn aside? Had you only answered me I should have truly learned of you by this time the nature of piety. Now, as the asker of a question is necessarily dependent on the answerer, whither he leads I must follow; and can only ask again, what is the pious, and what is piety? Do you mean that they are a sort of science of praying and sacrificing? EUTHYPHRO: Yes, I do. SOCRATES: And sacrificing is giving to the gods, and prayer is asking of the gods? EUTHYPHRO: Yes, Socrates. SOCRATES: Upon this view, then, piety is a science of asking and giving? EUTHYPHRO: You understand me capitally, Socrates.

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SOCRATES: Yes, my friend; the reason is that I am a votary of your science, and give my mind to it, and therefore nothing which you say will be thrown away upon me. Please then to tell me, what is the nature of this service to the gods? Do you mean that we prefer requests and give gifts to them? EUTHYPHRO: Yes, I do. SOCRATES: Is not the right way of asking to ask of them what we want? EUTHYPHRO: Certainly. SOCRATES: And the right way of giving is to give to them in return what they want of us. There would be no meaning in an art which gives to any one that which he does not want. EUTHYPHRO: Very true, Socrates. SOCRATES: Then piety, Euthyphro, is an art which gods and men have of doing business with one another? EUTHYPHRO: That is an expression which you may use, if you like. SOCRATES: But I have no particular liking for anything but the truth. I wish, however, that you would tell me what benefit accrues to the gods from our gifts. There is no doubt about what they give to us; for there is no good thing which they do not give; but how we can give any good thing to them in return is far from being equally clear. If they give everything and we give nothing, that must be an affair of business in which we have very greatly the advantage of them. EUTHYPHRO: And do you imagine, Socrates, that any benefit accrues to the gods from our gifts? SOCRATES: But if not, Euthyphro, what is the meaning of gifts which are conferred by us upon the gods? EUTHYPHRO: What else, but tributes of honour; and, as I was just now saying, what pleases them? SOCRATES: Piety, then, is pleasing to the gods, but not beneficial or dear to them? EUTHYPHRO: I should say that nothing could be dearer. SOCRATES: Then once more the assertion is repeated that piety is dear to the gods? EUTHYPHRO: Certainly. SOCRATES: And when you say this, can you wonder at your words not standing firm, but walking away? Will you accuse me of being the Daedalus who makes them walk away, not perceiving that there is another and far greater artist than Daedalus who makes them go round in a circle, and he is yourself; for the argument, as you will perceive, comes round to the same point. Were we not saying that the holy or pious was not the same with that which is loved of the gods? Have you forgotten? EUTHYPHRO: I quite remember. SOCRATES: And are you not saying that what is loved of the gods is holy; and is not this the same as what is dear to them–do you see? EUTHYPHRO: True. SOCRATES: Then either we were wrong in our former assertion; or, if we were right then, we are wrong now. EUTHYPHRO: One of the two must be true. SOCRATES: Then we must begin again and ask, What is piety? That is an enquiry which I shall never be weary of pursuing as far as in me lies; and I entreat you not to scorn me, but to apply your mind to the utmost, and tell

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me the truth. For, if any man knows, you are he; and therefore I must detain you, like Proteus, until you tell. If you had not certainly known the nature of piety and impiety, I am confident that you would never, on behalf of a serf, have charged your aged father with murder. You would not have run such a risk of doing wrong in the sight of the gods, and you would have had too much respect for the opinions of men. I am sure, therefore, that you know the nature of piety and impiety. Speak out then, my dear Euthyphro, and do not hide your knowledge. EUTHYPHRO: Another time, Socrates; for I am in a hurry, and must go now. SOCRATES: Alas! my companion, and will you leave me in despair? I was hoping that you would instruct me in the nature of piety and impiety; and then I might have cleared myself of Meletus and his indictment. I would have told him that I had been enlightened by Euthyphro, and had given up rash innovations and speculations, in which I indulged only through ignorance, and that now I am about to lead a better life.

Chapter 12

Gorgias Source text found at http://www.gutenberg.net/etext99/grgis10.txt1

12.1

Introduction

By Benjamin Jowett In several of the dialogues of Plato, doubts have arisen among his interpreters as to which of the various subjects discussed in them is the main thesis. The speakers have the freedom of conversation; no severe rules of art restrict them, and sometimes we are inclined to think, with one of the dramatis personae in the Theaetetus, that the digressions have the greater interest. Yet in the most irregular of the dialogues there is also a certain natural growth or unity; the beginning is not forgotten at the end, and numerous allusions and references are interspersed, which form the loose connecting links of the whole. We must not neglect this unity, but neither must we attempt to confine the Platonic dialogue on the Procrustean bed of a single idea. (Compare Introduction to the Phaedrus, chapter 24.1, page 1055.) Two tendencies seem to have beset the interpreters of Plato in this matter. First, they have endeavoured to hang the dialogues upon one another by the slightest threads; and have thus been led to opposite and contradictory assertions respecting their order and sequence. The mantle of Schleiermacher has descended upon his successors, who have applied his method with the most various results. The value and use of the method has been hardly, if at all, examined either by him or them. Secondly, they have extended almost indefinitely the scope of each separate dialogue; in this way they think that they have escaped all difficulties, not seeing that what they have gained in generality they have lost in truth and distinctness. Metaphysical conceptions easily pass into one another; and the simpler notions of antiquity, which we can only realize by an effort, imperceptibly blend with the more familiar theories of modern philosophers. An eye for proportion is needed (his own art of measuring) in the study of Plato, as well as of other great artists. We may hardly admit that the 1 This etext was prepared by Sue Asscher [email protected] See Appendix H, page 2045 ff. for information about the Gutenberg Project.

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moral antithesis of good and pleasure, or the intellectual antithesis of knowledge and opinion, being and appearance, are never far off in a Platonic discussion. But because they are in the background, we should not bring them into the foreground, or expect to discern them equally in all the dialogues. There may be some advantage in drawing out a little the main outlines of the building; but the use of this is limited, and may be easily exaggerated. We may give Plato too much system, and alter the natural form and connection of his thoughts. Under the idea that his dialogues are finished works of art, we may find a reason for everything, and lose the highest characteristic of art, which is simplicity. Most great works receive a new light from a new and original mind. But whether these new lights are true or only suggestive, will depend on their agreement with the spirit of Plato, and the amount of direct evidence which can be urged in support of them. When a theory is running away with us, criticism does a friendly office in counselling moderation, and recalling us to the indications of the text. Like the Phaedrus, the Gorgias has puzzled students of Plato by the appearance of two or more subjects. Under the cover of rhetoric higher themes are introduced; the argument expands into a general view of the good and evil of man. After making an ineffectual attempt to obtain a sound definition of his art from Gorgias, Socrates assumes the existence of a universal art of flattery or simulation having several branches:–this is the genus of which rhetoric is only one, and not the highest species. To flattery is opposed the true and noble art of life which he who possesses seeks always to impart to others, and which at last triumphs, if not here, at any rate in another world. These two aspects of life and knowledge appear to be the two leading ideas of the dialogue. The true and the false in individuals and states, in the treatment of the soul as well as of the body, are conceived under the forms of true and false art. In the development of this opposition there arise various other questions, such as the two famous paradoxes of Socrates (paradoxes as they are to the world in general, ideals as they may be more worthily called): (1) that to do is worse than to suffer evil; and (2) that when a man has done evil he had better be punished than unpunished; to which may be added (3) a third Socratic paradox or ideal, that bad men do what they think best, but not what they desire, for the desire of all is towards the good. That pleasure is to be distinguished from good is proved by the simultaneousness of pleasure and pain, and by the possibility of the bad having in certain cases pleasures as great as those of the good, or even greater. Not merely rhetoricians, but poets, musicians, and other artists, the whole tribe of statesmen, past as well as present, are included in the class of flatterers. The true and false finally appear before the judgment-seat of the gods below. The dialogue naturally falls into three divisions, to which the three characters of Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles respectively correspond; and the form and manner change with the stages of the argument. Socrates is deferential towards Gorgias, playful and yet cutting in dealing with the youthful Polus, ironical and sarcastic in his encounter with Callicles. In the first division the question is asked–What is rhetoric? To this there is no answer given, for Gorgias is soon made to contradict himself by Socrates, and the argument is transferred to the hands of his disciple Polus, who rushes to the defence of his master. The answer has at last to be given by Socrates himself, but before he can even explain his meaning to Polus, he must enlighten him upon the great subject of shams or flatteries. When Polus finds his favourite art reduced to the level of

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cookery, he replies that at any rate rhetoricians, like despots, have great power. Socrates denies that they have any real power, and hence arise the three paradoxes already mentioned. Although they are strange to him, Polus is at last convinced of their truth; at least, they seem to him to follow legitimately from the premises. Thus the second act of the dialogue closes. Then Callicles appears on the scene, at first maintaining that pleasure is good, and that might is right, and that law is nothing but the combination of the many weak against the few strong. When he is confuted he withdraws from the argument, and leaves Socrates to arrive at the conclusion by himself. The conclusion is that there are two kinds of statesmanship, a higher and a lower–that which makes the people better, and that which only flatters them, and he exhorts Callicles to choose the higher. The dialogue terminates with a mythus of a final judgment, in which there will be no more flattery or disguise, and no further use for the teaching of rhetoric. The characters of the three interlocutors also correspond to the parts which are assigned to them. Gorgias is the great rhetorician, now advanced in years, who goes from city to city displaying his talents, and is celebrated throughout Greece. Like all the Sophists in the dialogues of Plato, he is vain and boastful, yet he has also a certain dignity, and is treated by Socrates with considerable respect. But he is no match for him in dialectics. Although he has been teaching rhetoric all his life, he is still incapable of defining his own art. When his ideas begin to clear up, he is unwilling to admit that rhetoric can be wholly separated from justice and injustice, and this lingering sentiment of morality, or regard for public opinion, enables Socrates to detect him in a contradiction. Like Protagoras, he is described as of a generous nature; he expresses his approbation of Socrates’ manner of approaching a question; he is quite ’one of Socrates’ sort, ready to be refuted as well as to refute,’ and very eager that Callicles and Socrates should have the game out. He knows by experience that rhetoric exercises great influence over other men, but he is unable to explain the puzzle how rhetoric can teach everything and know nothing. Polus is an impetuous youth, a runaway ’colt,’ as Socrates describes him, who wanted originally to have taken the place of Gorgias under the pretext that the old man was tired, and now avails himself of the earliest opportunity to enter the lists. He is said to be the author of a work on rhetoric, and is again mentioned in the Phaedrus, as the inventor of balanced or double forms of speech (compare Gorg.; Symp.). At first he is violent and ill-mannered, and is angry at seeing his master overthrown. But in the judicious hands of Socrates he is soon restored to good-humour, and compelled to assent to the required conclusion. Like Gorgias, he is overthrown because he compromises; he is unwilling to say that to do is fairer or more honourable than to suffer injustice. Though he is fascinated by the power of rhetoric, and dazzled by the splendour of success, he is not insensible to higher arguments. Plato may have felt that there would be an incongruity in a youth maintaining the cause of injustice against the world. He has never heard the other side of the question, and he listens to the paradoxes, as they appear to him, of Socrates with evident astonishment. He can hardly understand the meaning of Archelaus being miserable, or of rhetoric being only useful in self- accusation. When the argument with him has fairly run out, Callicles, in whose house they are assembled, is introduced on the stage: he is with difficulty convinced that Socrates is in earnest; for if these things are true, then, as he says with real emotion, the foundations of society are upside

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down. In him another type of character is represented; he is neither sophist nor philosopher, but man of the world, and an accomplished Athenian gentleman. He might be described in modern language as a cynic or materialist, a lover of power and also of pleasure, and unscrupulous in his means of attaining both. There is no desire on his part to offer any compromise in the interests of morality; nor is any concession made by him. Like Thrasymachus in the Republic, though he is not of the same weak and vulgar class, he consistently maintains that might is right. His great motive of action is political ambition; in this he is characteristically Greek. Like Anytus in the Meno, he is the enemy of the Sophists; but favours the new art of rhetoric, which he regards as an excellent weapon of attack and defence. He is a despiser of mankind as he is of philosophy, and sees in the laws of the state only a violation of the order of nature, which intended that the stronger should govern the weaker (compare Republic). Like other men of the world who are of a speculative turn of mind, he generalizes the bad side of human nature, and has easily brought down his principles to his practice. Philosophy and poetry alike supply him with distinctions suited to his view of human life. He has a good will to Socrates, whose talents he evidently admires, while he censures the puerile use which he makes of them. He expresses a keen intellectual interest in the argument. Like Anytus, again, he has a sympathy with other men of the world; the Athenian statesmen of a former generation, who showed no weakness and made no mistakes, such as Miltiades, Themistocles, Pericles, are his favourites. His ideal of human character is a man of great passions and great powers, which he has developed to the utmost, and which he uses in his own enjoyment and in the government of others. Had Critias been the name instead of Callicles, about whom we know nothing from other sources, the opinions of the man would have seemed to reflect the history of his life. And now the combat deepens. In Callicles, far more than in any sophist or rhetorician, is concentrated the spirit of evil against which Socrates is contending, the spirit of the world, the spirit of the many contending against the one wise man, of which the Sophists, as he describes them in the Republic, are the imitators rather than the authors, being themselves carried away by the great tide of public opinion. Socrates approaches his antagonist warily from a distance, with a sort of irony which touches with a light hand both his personal vices (probably in allusion to some scandal of the day) and his servility to the populace. At the same time, he is in most profound earnest, as Chaerephon remarks. Callicles soon loses his temper, but the more he is irritated, the more provoking and matter of fact does Socrates become. A repartee of his which appears to have been really made to the ’omniscient’ Hippias, according to the testimony of Xenophon (Mem.), is introduced. He is called by Callicles a popular declaimer, and certainly shows that he has the power, in the words of Gorgias, of being ’as long as he pleases,’ or ’as short as he pleases’ (compare Protag.). Callicles exhibits great ability in defending himself and attacking Socrates, whom he accuses of trifling and word-splitting; he is scandalized that the legitimate consequences of his own argument should be stated in plain terms; after the manner of men of the world, he wishes to preserve the decencies of life. But he cannot consistently maintain the bad sense of words; and getting confused between the abstract notions of better, superior, stronger, he is easily turned round by Socrates, and only induced to continue the argument by the authority of Gorgias. Once, when Socrates is describing the manner in which the

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ambitious citizen has to identify himself with the people, he partially recognizes the truth of his words. The Socrates of the Gorgias may be compared with the Socrates of the Protagoras and Meno. As in other dialogues, he is the enemy of the Sophists and rhetoricians; and also of the statesmen, whom he regards as another variety of the same species. His behaviour is governed by that of his opponents; the least forwardness or egotism on their part is met by a corresponding irony on the part of Socrates. He must speak, for philosophy will not allow him to be silent. He is indeed more ironical and provoking than in any other of Plato’s writings: for he is ’fooled to the top of his bent’ by the worldliness of Callicles. But he is also more deeply in earnest. He rises higher than even in the Phaedo and Crito: at first enveloping his moral convictions in a cloud of dust and dialectics, he ends by losing his method, his life, himself, in them. As in the Protagoras and Phaedrus, throwing aside the veil of irony, he makes a speech, but, true to his character, not until his adversary has refused to answer any more questions. The presentiment of his own fate is hanging over him. He is aware that Socrates, the single real teacher of politics, as he ventures to call himself, cannot safely go to war with the whole world, and that in the courts of earth he will be condemned. But he will be justified in the world below. Then the position of Socrates and Callicles will be reversed; all those things ’unfit for ears polite’ which Callicles has prophesied as likely to happen to him in this life, the insulting language, the box on the ears, will recoil upon his assailant. (Compare Republic, and the similar reversal of the position of the lawyer and the philosopher in the Theaetetus). There is an interesting allusion to his own behaviour at the trial of the generals after the battle of Arginusae, which he ironically attributes to his ignorance of the manner in which a vote of the assembly should be taken. This is said to have happened ’last year’ (B.C. 406), and therefore the assumed date of the dialogue has been fixed at 405 B.C., when Socrates would already have been an old man. The date is clearly marked, but is scarcely reconcilable with another indication of time, viz. the ’recent’ usurpation of Archelaus, which occurred in the year 413; and still less with the ’recent’ death of Pericles, who really died twenty-four years previously (429 B.C.) and is afterwards reckoned among the statesmen of a past age; or with the mention of Nicias, who died in 413, and is nevertheless spoken of as a living witness. But we shall hereafter have reason to observe, that although there is a general consistency of times and persons in the Dialogues of Plato, a precise dramatic date is an invention of his commentators (Preface to Republic). The conclusion of the Dialogue is remarkable, (1) for the truly characteristic declaration of Socrates that he is ignorant of the true nature and bearing of these things, while he affirms at the same time that no one can maintain any other view without being ridiculous. The profession of ignorance reminds us of the earlier and more exclusively Socratic Dialogues. But neither in them, nor in the Apology, nor in the Memorabilia of Xenophon, does Socrates express any doubt of the fundamental truths of morality. He evidently regards this ’among the multitude of questions’ which agitate human life ’as the principle which alone remains unshaken.’ He does not insist here, any more than in the Phaedo, on the literal truth of the myth, but only on the soundness of the doctrine which is contained in it, that doing wrong is worse than suffering, and that a man should be rather than seem; for the next best thing to a man’s being just is that

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he should be corrected and become just; also that he should avoid all flattery, whether of himself or of others; and that rhetoric should be employed for the maintenance of the right only. The revelation of another life is a recapitulation of the argument in a figure. (2) Socrates makes the singular remark, that he is himself the only true politician of his age. In other passages, especially in the Apology, he disclaims being a politician at all. There he is convinced that he or any other good man who attempted to resist the popular will would be put to death before he had done any good to himself or others. Here he anticipates such a fate for himself, from the fact that he is ’the only man of the present day who performs his public duties at all.’ The two points of view are not really inconsistent, but the difference between them is worth noticing: Socrates is and is not a public man. Not in the ordinary sense, like Alcibiades or Pericles, but in a higher one; and this will sooner or later entail the same consequences on him. He cannot be a private man if he would; neither can he separate morals from politics. Nor is he unwilling to be a politician, although he foresees the dangers which await him; but he must first become a better and wiser man, for he as well as Callicles is in a state of perplexity and uncertainty. And yet there is an inconsistency: for should not Socrates too have taught the citizens better than to put him to death? And now, as he himself says, we will ’resume the argument from the beginning.’ Socrates, who is attended by his inseparable disciple, Chaerephon, meets Callicles in the streets of Athens. He is informed that he has just missed an exhibition of Gorgias, which he regrets, because he was desirous, not of hearing Gorgias display his rhetoric, but of interrogating him concerning the nature of his art. Callicles proposes that they shall go with him to his own house, where Gorgias is staying. There they find the great rhetorician and his younger friend and disciple Polus. SOCRATES: Put the question to him, Chaerephon. CHAEREPHON: What question? SOCRATES: Who is he?–such a question as would elicit from a man the answer, ’I am a cobbler.’ Polus suggests that Gorgias may be tired, and desires to answer for him. ’Who is Gorgias?’ asks Chaerephon, imitating the manner of his master Socrates. ’One of the best of men, and a proficient in the best and noblest of experimental arts,’ etc., replies Polus, in rhetorical and balanced phrases. Socrates is dissatisfied at the length and unmeaningness of the answer; he tells the disconcerted volunteer that he has mistaken the quality for the nature of the art, and remarks to Gorgias, that Polus has learnt how to make a speech, but not how to answer a question. He wishes that Gorgias would answer him. Gorgias is willing enough, and replies to the question asked by Chaerephon,– that he is a rhetorician, and in Homeric language, ’boasts himself to be a good one.’ At the request of Socrates he promises to be brief; for ’he can be as long as he pleases, and as short as he pleases.’ Socrates would have him bestow his length on others, and proceeds to ask him a number of questions, which are answered by him to his own great satisfaction, and with a brevity which excites the admiration of Socrates. The result of the discussion may be summed up as follows:– Rhetoric treats of discourse; but music and medicine, and other particular

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arts, are also concerned with discourse; in what way then does rhetoric differ from them? Gorgias draws a distinction between the arts which deal with words, and the arts which have to do with external actions. Socrates extends this distinction further, and divides all productive arts into two classes: (1) arts which may be carried on in silence; and (2) arts which have to do with words, or in which words are coextensive with action, such as arithmetic, geometry, rhetoric. But still Gorgias could hardly have meant to say that arithmetic was the same as rhetoric. Even in the arts which are concerned with words there are differences. What then distinguishes rhetoric from the other arts which have to do with words? ’The words which rhetoric uses relate to the best and greatest of human things.’ But tell me, Gorgias, what are the best? ’Health first, beauty next, wealth third,’ in the words of the old song, or how would you rank them? The arts will come to you in a body, each claiming precedence and saying that her own good is superior to that of the rest–How will you choose between them? ’I should say, Socrates, that the art of persuasion, which gives freedom to all men, and to individuals power in the state, is the greatest good.’ But what is the exact nature of this persuasion?–is the persevering retort: You could not describe Zeuxis as a painter, or even as a painter of figures, if there were other painters of figures; neither can you define rhetoric simply as an art of persuasion, because there are other arts which persuade, such as arithmetic, which is an art of persuasion about odd and even numbers. Gorgias is made to see the necessity of a further limitation, and he now defines rhetoric as the art of persuading in the law courts, and in the assembly, about the just and unjust. But still there are two sorts of persuasion: one which gives knowledge, and another which gives belief without knowledge; and knowledge is always true, but belief may be either true or false,–there is therefore a further question: which of the two sorts of persuasion does rhetoric effect in courts of law and assemblies? Plainly that which gives belief and not that which gives knowledge; for no one can impart a real knowledge of such matters to a crowd of persons in a few minutes. And there is another point to be considered:–when the assembly meets to advise about walls or docks or military expeditions, the rhetorician is not taken into counsel, but the architect, or the general. How would Gorgias explain this phenomenon? All who intend to become disciples, of whom there are several in the company, and not Socrates only, are eagerly asking:–About what then will rhetoric teach us to persuade or advise the state? Gorgias illustrates the nature of rhetoric by adducing the example of Themistocles, who persuaded the Athenians to build their docks and walls, and of Pericles, whom Socrates himself has heard speaking about the middle wall of the Piraeus. He adds that he has exercised a similar power over the patients of his brother Herodicus. He could be chosen a physician by the assembly if he pleased, for no physician could compete with a rhetorician in popularity and influence. He could persuade the multitude of anything by the power of his rhetoric; not that the rhetorician ought to abuse this power any more than a boxer should abuse the art of self- defence. Rhetoric is a good thing, but, like all good things, may be unlawfully used. Neither is the teacher of the art to be deemed unjust because his pupils are unjust and make a bad use of the lessons which they have learned from him. Socrates would like to know before he replies, whether Gorgias will quarrel with him if he points out a slight inconsistency into which he has fallen, or whether he, like himself, is one who loves to be refuted. Gorgias declares that

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he is quite one of his sort, but fears that the argument may be tedious to the company. The company cheer, and Chaerephon and Callicles exhort them to proceed. Socrates gently points out the supposed inconsistency into which Gorgias appears to have fallen, and which he is inclined to think may arise out of a misapprehension of his own. The rhetorician has been declared by Gorgias to be more persuasive to the ignorant than the physician, or any other expert. And he is said to be ignorant, and this ignorance of his is regarded by Gorgias as a happy condition, for he has escaped the trouble of learning. But is he as ignorant of just and unjust as he is of medicine or building? Gorgias is compelled to admit that if he did not know them previously he must learn them from his teacher as a part of the art of rhetoric. But he who has learned carpentry is a carpenter, and he who has learned music is a musician, and he who has learned justice is just. The rhetorician then must be a just man, and rhetoric is a just thing. But Gorgias has already admitted the opposite of this, viz. that rhetoric may be abused, and that the rhetorician may act unjustly. How is the inconsistency to be explained? The fallacy of this argument is twofold; for in the first place, a man may know justice and not be just–here is the old confusion of the arts and the virtues;–nor can any teacher be expected to counteract wholly the bent of natural character; and secondly, a man may have a degree of justice, but not sufficient to prevent him from ever doing wrong. Polus is naturally exasperated at the sophism, which he is unable to detect; of course, he says, the rhetorician, like every one else, will admit that he knows justice (how can he do otherwise when pressed by the interrogations of Socrates?), but he thinks that great want of manners is shown in bringing the argument to such a pass. Socrates ironically replies, that when old men trip, the young set them on their legs again; and he is quite willing to retract, if he can be shown to be in error, but upon one condition, which is that Polus studies brevity. Polus is in great indignation at not being allowed to use as many words as he pleases in the free state of Athens. Socrates retorts, that yet harder will be his own case, if he is compelled to stay and listen to them. After some altercation they agree (compare Protag.), that Polus shall ask and Socrates answer. ’What is the art of Rhetoric?’ says Polus. Not an art at all, replies Socrates, but a thing which in your book you affirm to have created art. Polus asks, ’What thing?’ and Socrates answers, An experience or routine of making a sort of delight or gratification. ’But is not rhetoric a fine thing?’ I have not yet told you what rhetoric is. Will you ask me another question–What is cookery? ’What is cookery?’ An experience or routine of making a sort of delight or gratification. Then they are the same, or rather fall under the same class, and rhetoric has still to be distinguished from cookery. ’What is rhetoric?’ asks Polus once more. A part of a not very creditable whole, which may be termed flattery, is the reply. ’But what part?’ A shadow of a part of politics. This, as might be expected, is wholly unintelligible, both to Gorgias and Polus; and, in order to explain his meaning to them, Socrates draws a distinction between shadows or appearances and realities; e.g. there is real health of body or soul, and the appearance of them; real arts and sciences, and the simulations of them. Now the soul and body have two arts waiting upon them, first the art of politics, which attends on the soul, having a legislative part and a judicial part; and another art attending on the body, which has no generic name, but may also be described as having two divisions, one of which is medicine and

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the other gymnastic. Corresponding with these four arts or sciences there are four shams or simulations of them, mere experiences, as they may be termed, because they give no reason of their own existence. The art of dressing up is the sham or simulation of gymnastic, the art of cookery, of medicine; rhetoric is the simulation of justice, and sophistic of legislation. They may be summed up in an arithmetical formula:– Tiring : gymnastic :: cookery : medicine :: sophistic : legislation. And, Cookery : medicine :: rhetoric : the art of justice. And this is the true scheme of them, but when measured only by the gratification which they procure, they become jumbled together and return to their aboriginal chaos. Socrates apologizes for the length of his speech, which was necessary to the explanation of the subject, and begs Polus not unnecessarily to retaliate on him. ’Do you mean to say that the rhetoricians are esteemed flatterers?’ They are not esteemed at all. ’Why, have they not great power, and can they not do whatever they desire?’ They have no power, and they only do what they think best, and never what they desire; for they never attain the true object of desire, which is the good. ’As if you, Socrates, would not envy the possessor of despotic power, who can imprison, exile, kill any one whom he pleases.’ But Socrates replies that he has no wish to put any one to death; he who kills another, even justly, is not to be envied, and he who kills him unjustly is to be pitied; it is better to suffer than to do injustice. He does not consider that going about with a dagger and putting men out of the way, or setting a house on fire, is real power. To this Polus assents, on the ground that such acts would be punished, but he is still of opinion that evil-doers, if they are unpunished, may be happy enough. He instances Archelaus, son of Perdiccas, the usurper of Macedonia. Does not Socrates think him happy?–Socrates would like to know more about him; he cannot pronounce even the great king to be happy, unless he knows his mental and moral condition. Polus explains that Archelaus was a slave, being the son of a woman who was the slave of Alcetas, brother of Perdiccas king of Macedon–and he, by every species of crime, first murdering his uncle and then his cousin and half-brother, obtained the kingdom. This was very wicked, and yet all the world, including Socrates, would like to have his place. Socrates dismisses the appeal to numbers; Polus, if he will, may summon all the rich men of Athens, Nicias and his brothers, Aristocrates, the house of Pericles, or any other great family– this is the kind of evidence which is adduced in courts of justice, where truth depends upon numbers. But Socrates employs proof of another sort; his appeal is to one witness only,–that is to say, the person with whom he is speaking; him he will convict out of his own mouth. And he is prepared to show, after his manner, that Archelaus cannot be a wicked man and yet happy. The evil-doer is deemed happy if he escapes, and miserable if he suffers punishment; but Socrates thinks him less miserable if he suffers than if he escapes. Polus is of opinion that such a paradox as this hardly deserves refutation, and is at any rate sufficiently refuted by the fact. Socrates has only to compare the lot of the successful tyrant who is the envy of the world, and of the wretch who, having been detected in a criminal attempt against the state, is crucified or burnt to death. Socrates replies, that if they are both criminal they are both miserable, but that the unpunished is the more miserable of the two. At this

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Polus laughs outright, which leads Socrates to remark that laughter is a new species of refutation. Polus replies, that he is already refuted; for if he will take the votes of the company, he will find that no one agrees with him. To this Socrates rejoins, that he is not a public man, and (referring to his own conduct at the trial of the generals after the battle of Arginusae) is unable to take the suffrages of any company, as he had shown on a recent occasion; he can only deal with one witness at a time, and that is the person with whom he is arguing. But he is certain that in the opinion of any man to do is worse than to suffer evil. Polus, though he will not admit this, is ready to acknowledge that to do evil is considered the more foul or dishonourable of the two. But what is fair and what is foul; whether the terms are applied to bodies, colours, figures, laws, habits, studies, must they not be defined with reference to pleasure and utility? Polus assents to this latter doctrine, and is easily persuaded that the fouler of two things must exceed either in pain or in hurt. But the doing cannot exceed the suffering of evil in pain, and therefore must exceed in hurt. Thus doing is proved by the testimony of Polus himself to be worse or more hurtful than suffering. There remains the other question: Is a guilty man better off when he is punished or when he is unpunished? Socrates replies, that what is done justly is suffered justly: if the act is just, the effect is just; if to punish is just, to be punished is just, and therefore fair, and therefore beneficent; and the benefit is that the soul is improved. There are three evils from which a man may suffer, and which affect him in estate, body, and soul;–these are, poverty, disease, injustice; and the foulest of these is injustice, the evil of the soul, because that brings the greatest hurt. And there are three arts which heal these evils–trading, medicine, justice–and the fairest of these is justice. Happy is he who has never committed injustice, and happy in the second degree he who has been healed by punishment. And therefore the criminal should himself go to the judge as he would to the physician, and purge away his crime. Rhetoric will enable him to display his guilt in proper colours, and to sustain himself and others in enduring the necessary penalty. And similarly if a man has an enemy, he will desire not to punish him, but that he shall go unpunished and become worse and worse, taking care only that he does no injury to himself. These are at least conceivable uses of the art, and no others have been discovered by us. Here Callicles, who has been listening in silent amazement, asks Chaerephon whether Socrates is in earnest, and on receiving the assurance that he is, proceeds to ask the same question of Socrates himself. For if such doctrines are true, life must have been turned upside down, and all of us are doing the opposite of what we ought to be doing. Socrates replies in a style of playful irony, that before men can understand one another they must have some common feeling. And such a community of feeling exists between himself and Callicles, for both of them are lovers, and they have both a pair of loves; the beloved of Callicles are the Athenian Demos and Demos the son of Pyrilampes; the beloved of Socrates are Alcibiades and philosophy. The peculiarity of Callicles is that he can never contradict his loves; he changes as his Demos changes in all his opinions; he watches the countenance of both his loves, and repeats their sentiments, and if any one is surprised at his sayings and doings, the explanation of them is, that he is not a free agent, but must always be imitating his two loves. And this is the

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explanation of Socrates’ peculiarities also. He is always repeating what his mistress, Philosophy, is saying to him, who unlike his other love, Alcibiades, is ever the same, ever true. Callicles must refute her, or he will never be at unity with himself; and discord in life is far worse than the discord of musical sounds. Callicles answers, that Gorgias was overthrown because, as Polus said, in compliance with popular prejudice he had admitted that if his pupil did not know justice the rhetorician must teach him; and Polus has been similarly entangled, because his modesty led him to admit that to suffer is more honourable than to do injustice. By custom ’yes,’ but not by nature, says Callicles. And Socrates is always playing between the two points of view, and putting one in the place of the other. In this very argument, what Polus only meant in a conventional sense has been affirmed by him to be a law of nature. For convention says that ’injustice is dishonourable,’ but nature says that ’might is right.’ And we are always taming down the nobler spirits among us to the conventional level. But sometimes a great man will rise up and reassert his original rights, trampling under foot all our formularies, and then the light of natural justice shines forth. Pindar says, ’Law, the king of all, does violence with high hand;’ as is indeed proved by the example of Heracles, who drove off the oxen of Geryon and never paid for them. This is the truth, Socrates, as you will be convinced, if you leave philosophy and pass on to the real business of life. A little philosophy is an excellent thing; too much is the ruin of a man. He who has not ’passed his metaphysics’ before he has grown up to manhood will never know the world. Philosophers are ridiculous when they take to politics, and I dare say that politicians are equally ridiculous when they take to philosophy: ’Every man,’ as Euripides says, ’is fondest of that in which he is best.’ Philosophy is graceful in youth, like the lisp of infancy, and should be cultivated as a part of education; but when a grown-up man lisps or studies philosophy, I should like to beat him. None of those over-refined natures ever come to any good; they avoid the busy haunts of men, and skulk in corners, whispering to a few admiring youths, and never giving utterance to any noble sentiments. For you, Socrates, I have a regard, and therefore I say to you, as Zethus says to Amphion in the play, that you have ’a noble soul disguised in a puerile exterior.’ And I would have you consider the danger which you and other philosophers incur. For you would not know how to defend yourself if any one accused you in a law-court,–there you would stand, with gaping mouth and dizzy brain, and might be murdered, robbed, boxed on the ears with impunity. Take my advice, then, and get a little common sense; leave to others these frivolities; walk in the ways of the wealthy and be wise. Socrates professes to have found in Callicles the philosopher’s touchstone; and he is certain that any opinion in which they both agree must be the very truth. Callicles has all the three qualities which are needed in a critic–knowledge, good-will, frankness; Gorgias and Polus, although learned men, were too modest, and their modesty made them contradict themselves. But Callicles is welleducated; and he is not too modest to speak out (of this he has already given proof), and his good-will is shown both by his own profession and by his giving the same caution against philosophy to Socrates, which Socrates remembers hearing him give long ago to his own clique of friends. He will pledge himself to retract any error into which he may have fallen, and which Callicles may point out. But he would like to know first of all what he and Pindar mean by natural

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justice. Do they suppose that the rule of justice is the rule of the stronger or of the better?’ ’There is no difference.’ Then are not the many superior to the one, and the opinions of the many better? And their opinion is that justice is equality, and that to do is more dishonourable than to suffer wrong. And as they are the superior or stronger, this opinion of theirs must be in accordance with natural as well as conventional justice. ’Why will you continue splitting words? Have I not told you that the superior is the better?’ But what do you mean by the better? Tell me that, and please to be a little milder in your language, if you do not wish to drive me away. ’I mean the worthier, the wiser.’ You mean to say that one man of sense ought to rule over ten thousand fools? ’Yes, that is my meaning.’ Ought the physician then to have a larger share of meats and drinks? or the weaver to have more coats, or the cobbler larger shoes, or the farmer more seed? ’You are always saying the same things, Socrates.’ Yes, and on the same subjects too; but you are never saying the same things. For, first, you defined the superior to be the stronger, and then the wiser, and now something else;–what DO you mean? ’I mean men of political ability, who ought to govern and to have more than the governed.’ Than themselves? ’What do you mean?’ I mean to say that every man is his own governor. ’I see that you mean those dolts, the temperate. But my doctrine is, that a man should let his desires grow, and take the means of satisfying them. To the many this is impossible, and therefore they combine to prevent him. But if he is a king, and has power, how base would he be in submitting to them! To invite the common herd to be lord over him, when he might have the enjoyment of all things! For the truth is, Socrates, that luxury and self-indulgence are virtue and happiness; all the rest is mere talk.’ Socrates compliments Callicles on his frankness in saying what other men only think. According to his view, those who want nothing are not happy. ’Why,’ says Callicles, ’if they were, stones and the dead would be happy.’ Socrates in reply is led into a half-serious, half-comic vein of reflection. ’Who knows,’ as Euripides says, ’whether life may not be death, and death life?’ Nay, there are philosophers who maintain that even in life we are dead, and that the body (soma) is the tomb (sema) of the soul. And some ingenious Sicilian has made an allegory, in which he represents fools as the uninitiated, who are supposed to be carrying water to a vessel, which is full of holes, in a similarly holey sieve, and this sieve is their own soul. The idea is fanciful, but nevertheless is a figure of a truth which I want to make you acknowledge, viz. that the life of contentment is better than the life of indulgence. Are you disposed to admit that? ’Far otherwise.’ Then hear another parable. The life of self-contentment and selfindulgence may be represented respectively by two men, who are filling jars with streams of wine, honey, milk,–the jars of the one are sound, and the jars of the other leaky; the first fils his jars, and has no more trouble with them; the second is always filling them, and would suffer extreme misery if he desisted. Are you of the same opinion still? ’Yes, Socrates, and the figure expresses what I mean. For true pleasure is a perpetual stream, flowing in and flowing out. To be hungry and always eating, to be thirsty and always drinking, and to have all the other desires and to satisfy them, that, as I admit, is my idea of happiness.’ And to be itching and always scratching? ’I do not deny that there may be happiness even in that.’ And to indulge unnatural desires, if they are abundantly satisfied? Callicles is indignant at the introduction of such topics. But he is reminded by Socrates that they are introduced, not by him, but by the maintainer of

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the identity of pleasure and good. Will Callicles still maintain this? ’Yes, for the sake of consistency, he will.’ The answer does not satisfy Socrates, who fears that he is losing his touchstone. A profession of seriousness on the part of Callicles reassures him, and they proceed with the argument. Pleasure and good are the same, but knowledge and courage are not the same either with pleasure or good, or with one another. Socrates disproves the first of these statements by showing that two opposites cannot coexist, but must alternate with one another–to be well and ill together is impossible. But pleasure and pain are simultaneous, and the cessation of them is simultaneous; e.g. in the case of drinking and thirsting, whereas good and evil are not simultaneous, and do not cease simultaneously, and therefore pleasure cannot be the same as good. Callicles has already lost his temper, and can only be persuaded to go on by the interposition of Gorgias. Socrates, having already guarded against objections by distinguishing courage and knowledge from pleasure and good, proceeds:–The good are good by the presence of good, and the bad are bad by the presence of evil. And the brave and wise are good, and the cowardly and foolish are bad. And he who feels pleasure is good, and he who feels pain is bad, and both feel pleasure and pain in nearly the same degree, and sometimes the bad man or coward in a greater degree. Therefore the bad man or coward is as good as the brave or may be even better. Callicles endeavours now to avert the inevitable absurdity by affirming that he and all mankind admitted some pleasures to be good and others bad. The good are the beneficial, and the bad are the hurtful, and we should choose the one and avoid the other. But this, as Socrates observes, is a return to the old doctrine of himself and Polus, that all things should be done for the sake of the good. Callicles assents to this, and Socrates, finding that they are agreed in distinguishing pleasure from good, returns to his old division of empirical habits, or shams, or flatteries, which study pleasure only, and the arts which are concerned with the higher interests of soul and body. Does Callicles agree to this division? Callicles will agree to anything, in order that he may get through the argument. Which of the arts then are flatteries? Flute-playing, harp-playing, choral exhibitions, the dithyrambics of Cinesias are all equally condemned on the ground that they give pleasure only; and Meles the harp-player, who was the father of Cinesias, failed even in that. The stately muse of Tragedy is bent upon pleasure, and not upon improvement. Poetry in general is only a rhetorical address to a mixed audience of men, women, and children. And the orators are very far from speaking with a view to what is best; their way is to humour the assembly as if they were children. Callicles replies, that this is only true of some of them; others have a real regard for their fellow-citizens. Granted; then there are two species of oratory; the one a flattery, another which has a real regard for the citizens. But where are the orators among whom you find the latter? Callicles admits that there are none remaining, but there were such in the days when Themistocles, Cimon, Miltiades, and the great Pericles were still alive. Socrates replies that none of these were true artists, setting before themselves the duty of bringing order out of disorder. The good man and true orator has a settled design, running through his life, to which he conforms all his words and actions; he desires to implant justice and eradicate injustice, to implant all virtue and eradicate all vice in the minds of his citizens. He is the physician who will not allow the sick

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man to indulge his appetites with a variety of meats and drinks, but insists on his exercising self-restraint. And this is good for the soul, and better than the unrestrained indulgence which Callicles was recently approving. Here Callicles, who had been with difficulty brought to this point, turns restive, and suggests that Socrates shall answer his own questions. ’Then,’ says Socrates, ’one man must do for two;’ and though he had hoped to have given Callicles an ’Amphion’ in return for his ’Zethus,’ he is willing to proceed; at the same time, he hopes that Callicles will correct him, if he falls into error. He recapitulates the advantages which he has already won:– The pleasant is not the same as the good–Callicles and I are agreed about that,–but pleasure is to be pursued for the sake of the good, and the good is that of which the presence makes us good; we and all things good have acquired some virtue or other. And virtue, whether of body or soul, of things or persons, is not attained by accident, but is due to order and harmonious arrangement. And the soul which has order is better than the soul which is without order, and is therefore temperate and is therefore good, and the intemperate is bad. And he who is temperate is also just and brave and pious, and has attained the perfection of goodness and therefore of happiness, and the intemperate whom you approve is the opposite of all this and is wretched. He therefore who would be happy must pursue temperance and avoid intemperance, and if possible escape the necessity of punishment, but if he have done wrong he must endure punishment. In this way states and individuals should seek to attain harmony, which, as the wise tell us, is the bond of heaven and earth, of gods and men. Callicles has never discovered the power of geometrical proportion in both worlds; he would have men aim at disproportion and excess. But if he be wrong in this, and if self-control is the true secret of happiness, then the paradox is true that the only use of rhetoric is in self-accusation, and Polus was right in saying that to do wrong is worse than to suffer wrong, and Gorgias was right in saying that the rhetorician must be a just man. And you were wrong in taunting me with my defenceless condition, and in saying that I might be accused or put to death or boxed on the ears with impunity. For I may repeat once more, that to strike is worse than to be stricken–to do than to suffer. What I said then is now made fast in adamantine bonds. I myself know not the true nature of these things, but I know that no one can deny my words and not be ridiculous. To do wrong is the greatest of evils, and to suffer wrong is the next greatest evil. He who would avoid the last must be a ruler, or the friend of a ruler; and to be the friend he must be the equal of the ruler, and must also resemble him. Under his protection he will suffer no evil, but will he also do no evil? Nay, will he not rather do all the evil which he can and escape? And in this way the greatest of all evils will befall him. ’But this imitator of the tyrant,’ rejoins Callicles, ’will kill any one who does not similarly imitate him.’ Socrates replies that he is not deaf, and that he has heard that repeated many times, and can only reply, that a bad man will kill a good one. ’Yes, and that is the provoking thing.’ Not provoking to a man of sense who is not studying the arts which will preserve him from danger; and this, as you say, is the use of rhetoric in courts of justice. But how many other arts are there which also save men from death, and are yet quite humble in their pretensions–such as the art of swimming, or the art of the pilot? Does not the pilot do men at least as much service as the rhetorician, and yet for the voyage from Aegina to Athens he does not charge more than two obols, and when he disembarks is quite unassuming in his demeanour? The

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reason is that he is not certain whether he has done his passengers any good in saving them from death, if one of them is diseased in body, and still more if he is diseased in mind–who can say? The engineer too will often save whole cities, and yet you despise him, and would not allow your son to marry his daughter, or his son to marry yours. But what reason is there in this? For if virtue only means the saving of life, whether your own or another’s, you have no right to despise him or any practiser of saving arts. But is not virtue something different from saving and being saved? I would have you rather consider whether you ought not to disregard length of life, and think only how you can live best, leaving all besides to the will of Heaven. For you must not expect to have influence either with the Athenian Demos or with Demos the son of Pyrilampes, unless you become like them. What do you say to this? ’There is some truth in what you are saying, but I do not entirely believe you.’ That is because you are in love with Demos. But let us have a little more conversation. You remember the two processes–one which was directed to pleasure, the other which was directed to making men as good as possible. And those who have the care of the city should make the citizens as good as possible. But who would undertake a public building, if he had never had a teacher of the art of building, and had never constructed a building before? or who would undertake the duty of state-physician, if he had never cured either himself or any one else? Should we not examine him before we entrusted him with the office? And as Callicles is about to enter public life, should we not examine him? Whom has he made better? For we have already admitted that this is the statesman’s proper business. And we must ask the same question about Pericles, and Cimon, and Miltiades, and Themistocles. Whom did they make better? Nay, did not Pericles make the citizens worse? For he gave them pay, and at first he was very popular with them, but at last they condemned him to death. Yet surely he would be a bad tamer of animals who, having received them gentle, taught them to kick and butt, and man is an animal; and Pericles who had the charge of man only made him wilder, and more savage and unjust, and therefore he could not have been a good statesman. The same tale might be repeated about Cimon, Themistocles, Miltiades. But the charioteer who keeps his seat at first is not thrown out when he gains greater experience and skill. The inference is, that the statesman of a past age were no better than those of our own. They may have been cleverer constructors of docks and harbours, but they did not improve the character of the citizens. I have told you again and again (and I purposely use the same images) that the soul, like the body, may be treated in two ways–there is the meaner and the higher art. You seemed to understand what I said at the time, but when I ask you who were the really good statesmen, you answer–as if I asked you who were the good trainers, and you answered, Thearion, the baker, Mithoecus, the author of the Sicilian cookery-book, Sarambus, the vintner. And you would be affronted if I told you that these are a parcel of cooks who make men fat only to make them thin. And those whom they have fattened applaud them, instead of finding fault with them, and lay the blame of their subsequent disorders on their physicians. In this respect, Callicles, you are like them; you applaud the statesmen of old, who pandered to the vices of the citizens, and filled the city with docks and harbours, but neglected virtue and justice. And when the fit of illness comes, the citizens who in like manner applauded Themistocles, Pericles, and others,

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will lay hold of you and my friend Alcibiades, and you will suffer for the misdeeds of your predecessors. The old story is always being repeated–’after all his services, the ungrateful city banished him, or condemned him to death.’ As if the statesman should not have taught the city better! He surely cannot blame the state for having unjustly used him, any more than the sophist or teacher can find fault with his pupils if they cheat him. And the sophist and orator are in the same case; although you admire rhetoric and despise sophistic, whereas sophistic is really the higher of the two. The teacher of the arts takes money, but the teacher of virtue or politics takes no money, because this is the only kind of service which makes the disciple desirous of requiting his teacher. Socrates concludes by finally asking, to which of the two modes of serving the state Callicles invites him:–’to the inferior and ministerial one,’ is the ingenuous reply. That is the only way of avoiding death, replies Socrates; and he has heard often enough, and would rather not hear again, that the bad man will kill the good. But he thinks that such a fate is very likely reserved for him, because he remarks that he is the only person who teaches the true art of politics. And very probably, as in the case which he described to Polus, he may be the physician who is tried by a jury of children. He cannot say that he has procured the citizens any pleasure, and if any one charges him with perplexing them, or with reviling their elders, he will not be able to make them understand that he has only been actuated by a desire for their good. And therefore there is no saying what his fate may be. ’And do you think that a man who is unable to help himself is in a good condition?’ Yes, Callicles, if he have the true self- help, which is never to have said or done any wrong to himself or others. If I had not this kind of self-help, I should be ashamed; but if I die for want of your flattering rhetoric, I shall die in peace. For death is no evil, but to go to the world below laden with offences is the worst of evils. In proof of which I will tell you a tale:– Under the rule of Cronos, men were judged on the day of their death, and when judgment had been given upon them they departed–the good to the islands of the blest, the bad to the house of vengeance. But as they were still living, and had their clothes on at the time when they were being judged, there was favouritism, and Zeus, when he came to the throne, was obliged to alter the mode of procedure, and try them after death, having first sent down Prometheus to take away from them the foreknowledge of death. Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus were appointed to be the judges; Rhadamanthus for Asia, Aeacus for Europe, and Minos was to hold the court of appeal. Now death is the separation of soul and body, but after death soul and body alike retain their characteristics; the fat man, the dandy, the branded slave, are all distinguishable. Some prince or potentate, perhaps even the great king himself, appears before Rhadamanthus, and he instantly detects him, though he knows not who he is; he sees the scars of perjury and iniquity, and sends him away to the house of torment. For there are two classes of souls who undergo punishment–the curable and the incurable. The curable are those who are benefited by their punishment; the incurable are such as Archelaus, who benefit others by becoming a warning to them. The latter class are generally kings and potentates; meaner persons, happily for themselves, have not the same power of doing injustice. Sisyphus and Tityus, not Thersites, are supposed by Homer to be undergoing everlasting punishment. Not that there is anything to prevent a great man from being a good

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one, as is shown by the famous example of Aristeides, the son of Lysimachus. But to Rhadamanthus the souls are only known as good or bad; they are stripped of their dignities and preferments; he despatches the bad to Tartarus, labelled either as curable or incurable, and looks with love and admiration on the soul of some just one, whom he sends to the islands of the blest. Similar is the practice of Aeacus; and Minos overlooks them, holding a golden sceptre, as Odysseus in Homer saw him ’Wielding a sceptre of gold, and giving laws to the dead.’ My wish for myself and my fellow-men is, that we may present our souls undefiled to the judge in that day; my desire in life is to be able to meet death. And I exhort you, and retort upon you the reproach which you cast upon me,– that you will stand before the judge, gaping, and with dizzy brain, and any one may box you on the ear, and do you all manner of evil. Perhaps you think that this is an old wives’ fable. But you, who are the three wisest men in Hellas, have nothing better to say, and no one will ever show that to do is better than to suffer evil. A man should study to be, and not merely to seem. If he is bad, he should become good, and avoid all flattery, whether of the many or of the few. Follow me, then; and if you are looked down upon, that will do you no harm. And when we have practised virtue, we will betake ourselves to politics, but not until we are delivered from the shameful state of ignorance and uncertainty in which we are at present. Let us follow in the way of virtue and justice, and not in the way to which you, Callicles, invite us; for that way is nothing worth. We will now consider in order some of the principal points of the dialogue. Having regard (1) to the age of Plato and the ironical character of his writings, we may compare him with himself, and with other great teachers, and we may note in passing the objections of his critics. And then (2) casting one eye upon him, we may cast another upon ourselves, and endeavour to draw out the great lessons which he teaches for all time, stripped of the accidental form in which they are enveloped. (1) In the Gorgias, as in nearly all the other dialogues of Plato, we are made aware that formal logic has as yet no existence. The old difficulty of framing a definition recurs. The illusive analogy of the arts and the virtues also continues. The ambiguity of several words, such as nature, custom, the honourable, the good, is not cleared up. The Sophists are still floundering about the distinction of the real and seeming. Figures of speech are made the basis of arguments. The possibility of conceiving a universal art or science, which admits of application to a particular subject-matter, is a difficulty which remains unsolved, and has not altogether ceased to haunt the world at the present day (compare Charmides). The defect of clearness is also apparent in Socrates himself, unless we suppose him to be practising on the simplicity of his opponent, or rather perhaps trying an experiment in dialectics. Nothing can be more fallacious than the contradiction which he pretends to have discovered in the answers of Gorgias (see above). The advantages which he gains over Polus are also due to a false antithesis of pleasure and good, and to an erroneous assertion that an agent and a patient may be described by similar predicates;–a mistake which Aristotle partly shares and partly corrects in the Nicomachean Ethics. Traces of a ’robust sophistry’ are likewise discernible in his argument with Callicles. (2) Although Socrates professes to be convinced by reason only, yet the

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argument is often a sort of dialectical fiction, by which he conducts himself and others to his own ideal of life and action. And we may sometimes wish that we could have suggested answers to his antagonists, or pointed out to them the rocks which lay concealed under the ambiguous terms good, pleasure, and the like. But it would be as useless to examine his arguments by the requirements of modern logic, as to criticise this ideal from a merely utilitarian point of view. If we say that the ideal is generally regarded as unattainable, and that mankind will by no means agree in thinking that the criminal is happier when punished than when unpunished, any more than they would agree to the stoical paradox that a man may be happy on the rack, Plato has already admitted that the world is against him. Neither does he mean to say that Archelaus is tormented by the stings of conscience; or that the sensations of the impaled criminal are more agreeable than those of the tyrant drowned in luxurious enjoyment. Neither is he speaking, as in the Protagoras, of virtue as a calculation of pleasure, an opinion which he afterwards repudiates in the Phaedo. What then is his meaning? His meaning we shall be able to illustrate best by parallel notions, which, whether justifiable by logic or not, have always existed among mankind. We must remind the reader that Socrates himself implies that he will be understood or appreciated by very few. He is speaking not of the consciousness of happiness, but of the idea of happiness. When a martyr dies in a good cause, when a soldier falls in battle, we do not suppose that death or wounds are without pain, or that their physical suffering is always compensated by a mental satisfaction. Still we regard them as happy, and we would a thousand times rather have their death than a shameful life. Nor is this only because we believe that they will obtain an immortality of fame, or that they will have crowns of glory in another world, when their enemies and persecutors will be proportionably tormented. Men are found in a few instances to do what is right, without reference to public opinion or to consequences. And we regard them as happy on this ground only, much as Socrates’ friends in the opening of the Phaedo are described as regarding him; or as was said of another, ’they looked upon his face as upon the face of an angel.’ We are not concerned to justify this idealism by the standard of utility or public opinion, but merely to point out the existence of such a sentiment in the better part of human nature. The idealism of Plato is founded upon this sentiment. He would maintain that in some sense or other truth and right are alone to be sought, and that all other goods are only desirable as means towards these. He is th