1902 Encyclopedia > Socrates. The Socratics.
Socrates. The Socratics.
(1) Socrates, Greek philosopher (c. 469 - 399 BC)
(2) The Socratics
SOCRATES, son of the statuary Sophroniscus and of the midwife Phænarete, was born at Athens, not earlier than 471 nor later than May or June 469 B.C. As a youth he received the customary instruction in gymnastic and music; and in after years he made himself acquainted with geometry and astronomy and studied the methods and the doctrines of the leaders of Greek thought and culture. He began life as a sculptor; and in the 2nd century A.D. a group of the Graces, supposed to be his work, was still to be seen on the road to the Acropolis. But he soon abandoned art and gave himself to what may best be called education, conceiving that he had a divine commission, witnessed by oracles, dreams, and signs, not indeed to teach any position doctrine, but to convict men of ignorance mistaking itself for knowledge, and by so doing to promote their intellectual and moral improvement. He was on terms of intimacy with some of the most distinguished of his Athenian contemporaries, and, at any rate in later life, was personally known to very many of his fellow-citizens. His domestic relations were, it is said, unhappy. The shrewishness of his wife Xanthippe became proverbial with the ancients, as it still is with ourselves. Aristotle, in his remarks upon genius and its degeneracy (Rhet., ii. 15), speaks of Socratess sons as dull and fatuous; and in Xenophons Memorabilia, one of them, Lamprocles, receives a formal rebuke for undutiful behaviour towards his mother.
Public life. Socrates served as a hoptile at Potidaea (432-429), where no one occasion he saved the life of Alcibiades, at Delium (424), and at a Amphipolis (422). In these campaigns his bravery and endurance were conspicuous. But, while he thus performed the ordinary duties of a Greek citizen with credit, he neither attained nor sought political position. His "divine voice," he said, had warned him to refrain from politics, presumably because office would have entailed the sacrifice of his principles and the abandonment of his proper vocation. Yet in 406 he was a member of the senate; and on the first day of the trial of the victors of Arginusæ, being president of the prytanes, he resistedæfirst, in conjunction with his colleagues, afterwards, when they yielded, aloneæthe illegal and unconstitutional proposal of Callixenus, that the fate of the eight generals should be decided by a single vote of the assembly. Not less courageous than this opposition to the "civium ardor prava jubentium" was his disregard of the "vultus isntantis tyranny" two years later. During the reign of terror of 404 the Thirty, anxious to implicate in their crimes men of repute who might otherwise have opposed their plans, ordered five citizens, one of whom was Socrates, to go to Salamis and bring thence their destined victim Leon. Socrates alone disobeyed. But, though he was exceptionally obnoxious to the Thirty,æas appears, not only in this incident, but also in their threat of punishment under a special ordinance forbidding "the teaching of the art of argument,"æit was reserved for the reconstituted democracy to bring him to trial and to put him to death. In 399, four years after the restoration and the amnesty, he was indicted as an offender against public morality. His accusers were Meletus the poet, Anytus the tanner, and Lycon the orator, all of them members of the democratic or patriot party who had returned from Phyle with Thrasybulus. The accusation ran thus: "Socrates is guilty, firstly, of denying the gods recognized by the state and introducing new divinities, and secondly, of corrupting the young." In his unpremeditated defence, so far from seeking to conciliate his judges, Socrates defied them. He was found guilty by 280 votes, it is supposed, against 220. Meletus having called for capital punishment, it now rested with the accused to make a counter-proposition; and there can be little doubt that, had Socrates without further remark suggested some smaller but yet substantial penalty, the proposal would have been accepted. But, to the amazement of the judges and the distress of his friends, Socrates proudly declared that for the services which he had rendered to the city he deserved, not punishment, but the reward of a public benefactor,æmaintenance in the Prytaneum at the cost of the state; and, although at the close of his speech he professed himself willing to pay a fine of one mina, and upon the urgent entreaties of his friends raised the amount of his offer to thirty minas, he made no attempt to disguise his indifference to the result. His attitude exasperated the judges, and the penalty of death was decreed by an increased majority. Then in a short address Socrates declared his contentment with his own conduct and with the sentence. Whether death was a dreamless sleep or a new life in Hades, where he would have opportunities of testing the wisdom of the heroes and the sages of antiquity, in either case he esteemed it a gain to die. In the same spirit he refused to take advantage of a scheme arranged by his friend Crito for an escape from prison. Under ordinary circumstances the condemned criminal drank the cup of hemlock on the day after the trial; but in the case of Socrates the rule that during the absence of the sacred ship sent annually to Delos no one should be put to death caused an exceptional delay. For thirty days he remained in imprisonment, receiving his intimates and conversion with them in his accustomed manner. How in his last conversation he argued that the wise man will regard approaching death with a cheerful confidence Plato relates in the Phaedo; and, while the central argumentæ which rests the doctrine of the souls immortality upon the theory of ideasæ must be accounted Platonic, in all other respects the narrative, though not that of an eye-witness, has the air of accuracy and truth.
But what were the personal characteristics which won for this man, poor in worthy goods, the affectionate regard of the best of his contemporaries? Why was it that the Athenians, forgetting his loyal performance of civic duties, his virtuous life, and his disinterested anxiety for their welfare, brought him trial, condemned him, put him to death? What were the principles upon which his teaching rested, and what was the message which, instant in season, out of season, he carried to his countrymen? How were his principles interpreted by his followers, and what influence did his teaching exert upon subsequent speculation? These are the questions which demand consideration in the present article.
Authorities. Happily, though Socrates left no writings behind him, and indeed, as will hereafter appear, was by his principles precluded from dogmatic exposition, we have in the Apopnemoneumata [Gk.] or Memoirs and other works of Xenophon records of Socratess conversation, and in the dialogues of Plato refined applications of his method. Xenophon, having no philosophical views of his own to develop, and no imagination to lead him astray, -- being, in fact, to Socrates what Boswell was to Johnson, -- is an excellent witness. The Apopnemoneumata [Gk. or Memorabilia are indeed confessedly apologetic, and it is easy to see that nothing is introduced which might embitter those who, hating Socrates, were ready to persecute the Socratics; but the plain, straightforward narrative of Socratess talk, on many occasions, with many dissimilar interlocutors, carries with it in its simplicity and congruity the evidence of substantial justice and truth. Plato, thought he understood his master better, is a less trustworthy authority, as he makes Socrates the mouthpiece of his own more advanced and even antagonistic doctrine. Yet to all appearance and Apology is a careful and exact account of Socratess habits and principles of action; the earlier dialogues, those which are commonly called "Socratic," represents, with such changes only as are necessitated by their form, Socratess method, and, if in the later and more important dialogues the doctrine is the doctrine of Plato, echoes of the masters teaching are still discoverable, approving themselves as such by their accord with the Xenophotean testimony. In the face of these two principal witnesses other evidence is of small importance.
Personal Characteristics. - What, then, were the persona characteristics of the man?
Personal appearance. Outwardly his presence was mean and his countenance grotesque. Short of stature, thick-necked, and somewhat corpulent, with prominent eyes, with nose upturned and nostrils outspreads, with large mouth and coarse lips, he seemed the embodiment of sensuality and even stupidity.
Moral qualities. Inwardly he was, as his friends knew, "so pious that he did nothing without taking counsel of the gods, so just that he never did an injury to any man, whilst he was the benefactory of his associates, so temperate that he never preferred pleasure to right, so wise that in judging of good and evil he was never at fault,æin a word, the best and the happiest of men." "His self-control was absolute; his powers of endurance were unfailing; he had so schooled himself to moderation that his scanty means satisfied all his wants." "To want nothing," he said himself, "is divine; to want as little as possible is the nearest possible approach to the divine life"; and accordingly he practised temperance and self-denial to a degree which some thought ostentatious and affected. Yet the hearty enjoyment of social pleasures was another of his marked characteristics; for to abstain from innocent gratification from fear of falling into excess would have seemed to him imply either a pedantic formalism or a lack of real self-control. In short, his strength of will, if by is very perfection it led to his theoretical identification of virtue and knowledge, secured him in practice against the ascetic extravagances of his associate Antisthenes.
Intellectual gifts. The intellectual gifts of Socrates were hardly less remarkable than his moral virtues. Naturally observant, acute, and thoughtful, he developed these qualities by constant an systematic use. The exercise of the mental powers was, he conceived, no mere occupation of leisure hours, but rather a sacred and ever-presented duty; because, moral terror being intellectual error translated into act, he who would live virtuously must first rid himself of ignorance and folly. He had, it may be conjectured, but little turn for philosophical speculation; yet by the careful study of the ethical problems which met him in himself and in others he acquired a remarkable tact in dealing with questions of practical morality; and in the course of the lifelong war which he waged against vagueness of thought and laxity of speech he made himself a singularly apt and ready reasoner.
Philanthropy. While he regarded the improvement, not only of himself but also of others, as a task divinely appointed to him, there was in his demeanour nothing exclusive or pharisaical. On the contrary, deeply conscious of his own limitations and infirmities, he felt and cherished a profound sympathy with erring humanity, and loved with a love passing the love of women fellow-men who had not learnt, as he had done, to overcome human frailties and weaknesses. Nevertheless great wrongs roused in him a righteous indignation which sometimes found expression in fierce and angry rebuke. Indeed it would seem that Plato in his idealized portrait gives his hero credit not only for a deeper philosophical insight but also for a greater urbanity than facts warranted. Hence, whilst those who knew him best met his affection with a regard equal to his own, there were, as will be seen hereafter, some who never forgave his stern reproofs, and many who regarded him as an impertinent busybody.
Patriotism. He was a true patriot. Deeply sensible of his debt to the city in which he had been and bred, he thought that in giving his life to the spread of sounder views in regard to ethical and political subjects he made no more than an imperfect return; and, when in the exercise of constitutional authority that city brought him to trial and threatened him with death, it was not so much his local attachment, strong though that sentiment was, as rather his sense of duty which forbade him to retire into exile before the trial began, to acquiesce in a sentence of banishment when the verdict had been given against him, and to accept the opportunity of escape which was offered him during his imprisonment. Yet his patriotism had none of the narrowness which was characteristic of the patriotism of his Greek contemporaries. His generous benevolence and unaffected philanthropy taught him to overstep the limits of the Athenian demus and the Hellenic race, and to regard himself as a "citizen of the world."
Humour. He was blest with an all-pervading humour, a subtle but kindly appreciation of the incongruities of human nature and conduct. In a less robust character this quality might have degenerated into sentimentality or cynicism; in Socrates, who had not a trace of either, it showed itself principally in what his contemporaries knew as his "accustomed irony." Profoundly sensible of the inconsistencies of his won thoughts and words and actions, and shrewdly suspecting that the like inconsistence were to be found in other men, he was careful always to place himself upon the standpoint of ignorance and to invite others to join him there, in order that, proving all things, he and they might hold fat that which is good. "Intellectually the acutest man of his age," says W.H. Thompson in a brilliant and instructive appendix to his edition of Platos Phaedrus, "he represents himself in all companies as the dullest person present. Morally the purest, he affects to be the slave of passion, and borrows the language of gallantry to describe a benevolence too exalted for the comprehension of his contemporaries. He is by turns an erastes [Gk.], a proagogos [Gk.], a mastropos [Gk.], a maieutikos [Gk.], disguising the sanctity of his true vocation by means suggestive of vile or ridiculous images. The same spirit of whimsical paradox leads him, in Xenophons Banquet, to argue that his own satyr-like visage was superior in beauty to that of the handsomest man present. That this irony was to some extent calculated is more than probable; it disarmed ridicule by anticipating it; it allayed jealousy and propitiated envy; and it possibly procured him admission into gay circles from which a more solemn teacher would have been excluded. But it had for its basis a real greatness of soul, a hearty and unaffected disregard of public opinion, a perfect disinterestedness, an entire abnegation of self. He made himself a fool that others by his folly might be made wise; he humbled himself to the level of those among whom his work lay that he might raise some few among them to his own level; he was all things to all men, if by any means he might with some." It would seem that his humorous depreciation of his own great qualities, this pretence of being no better than his neighbours, led to grave misapprehension amongst his contemporaries. That it was the foundation of the slanders of the Peripatetic Aristoxenus can hardly be doubted
Piety. Socrates was further a man of sincere and fervent piety. "No one," says Xenophon, "ever knew of his doing or saying anything profane or unholy." There was indeed in the popular mythology much which he could not accept. It was incredible, he argued, that the gods should have committed acts which would be disgraceful in the worst of men. Such stories, then, must be regarded as the inventions of lying poets. But, when he had thus purified the contemporary polytheism, he was able to reconcile it with his own steadfast belief in a Supreme Being, the intelligent and beneficent Creator of the universe, and to find in the national ritual the means of satisfying his religious aspirations. For proof of the existence of "the divine," he appealed to the providential arrangement of nature, to the universality of the belief, and to the revelations and warnings which are given to men through signs and oracles. Thinking that the soul of man partook of the divine, he maintained the doctrine of its immortality as an article of faith, but not of knowledge. While he held that, the gods alone knowing what is for mans benefit, man should pray, not for particular goods, but only for that which is good, he was regular in prayer and punctual in sacrifice. He looked to oracles and signs for guidance in those matters, and in those matters only, which could not be resolved by experience and judgment, and he further supposed himself to receive special warnings of a mantic character through what he called his "divine sign" (daimonion [Gk.], daimonion semeion [Gk.]).
Divine sign. Socratess frequent references to his "divine sign" were, says Xenophon, the origin of the charge of "introducing new divinities" brought against him by his accusers, and in early Christian times amongst Neoplatonic philosophers and fathers of the church, gave rise to the notion that he supposed himself to be attended by a "genius" or "daemon." Similarly in our own day spiritualists have attributed to him the beliefæwhich they justifyæin "an intelligent spiritual being who accompanied him through life,æin other words, a guardian spirit" (A.R. Wallace). But the very precise testimony of Xenophon and Plato shows plainly that Socrates did not regard his "customary sign" either as a divinity or as a genius. According to Xenophon, the sign was a warning, either to do or to do which it would be folly to neglect, not superseding ordinary prudence, but dealing with those uncertainties in respect of which other men found guidance in oracles and tokens; Socrates believed in it profoundly, and never disobeyed it. According to Plato, the sign was a "voice" which warned Socrates to refrain from some act which he contemplated; he heard it frequently and on the most trifling occasions; the phenomenon dated form his early years, and was, so far as he knew, peculiar to himself. These statements have been variously interpreted. Thus it has been maintained that, in laying claim to supernatural revelations, Socrates (1) committed a pious fraud, (2) indulged his "accustomed irony," (3) recognized the voice of conscience, (4) indicated a general belief in a divine mission, (5) described "the inward voice of his individual tact, which in consequence partly of his experience and penetration, partly of his knowledge of himself and exact appreciation of what was in harmony with his individuality, had attained to an unusual accuracy," (6) was mad ("était fou"), being subject not only to hallucinations of sense but also to be aberrations of reason. Xenophons testimony that Socrates was plainly sincere in his belief excludes the first and the second of these theories; the character of the warnings given, which are always concerned, not with the moral worth of actions, but with their uncertain results, warrants, the rejection of the third and the fourth; the fifth, while it sufficiently accounts for the matter of the warning, leaves unexplained its manner, the vocal utterance; the sixth, while it plausibly explains the manner of the warning, goes beyond the facts when it attributes to it irrationality of matter. It remains for us, then, modifying the fifth hypothesis, that of Diderot, Zeller, and others, and sixth, that of Lélut and Littré, and combining the two, to suppose that Socrates was subject, not indeed to delusions of mind, but to hallucinations of the sense of hearing, so that the rational suggestions of his own brain, exceptionally valuable in consequence of the accuracy and delicacy of his highly cultivated tact, seemed to him to be projected without him, and to be returned to him through the outward ear. It appears that, though in some of the best known instancesæfor example, those of Cowper and Sidney Walkeræhallucinations of the sense of hearing, otherwise closely resembling Socratess "divine sign," have been accompanied by partial derangement of reason, cases are not wanting in which "the thoughts transformed into external sensorial impressions" are perfectly rational.
Mode of life. The eccentricity of Socratess life was not less remarkable than the oddity of his appearance and the irony of his conversation. His whole time was spent in public,æin the market-place, the streets, the gymnasia. Thinking with Dr Johnson that "a great city is the school for studying life," he had no liking for the country, and seldom passed the gates. "Fields and trees," Plato makes him say, "wont teach me anything; the life of the streets will." He talked to all comers,æto the craftsman and the artist as willingly as to the poet or the politician,æquestioning them about their affairs, about the processes of their several occupations, about their notions of morality, in a word, about familiar matters in which they might be expected to take an interest. The ostensible of these interrogatories was to test, and thus either refute or explain, the famous oracle which had pronounced him the wisest of men. Conscious of his own ignorance, he had at first imagined that the God was mistaken. When, however, experience showed that those who esteemed themselves wise were unable to give an account of their knowledge, he had to admit that, as the oracle had said, he was wiser than others, in so far as, whilst they, being ignorant, supposed themselves to know, he, being ignorant, was aware of his ignorance. Such, according to the Apology, was Socratess account of his procedure and its results. But it is easy to see that the statement is coloured by the accustomed irony. When in the same speech Socrates tells his judges that he would never from fear of death or any other motive disobey the command of the god, and that, if they put him to death, the loss would be, not his, but theirs, since they would not readily find any one to take his place, it becomes plain that he conceived himself to hold a commission to educated, and was consciously seeking the intellectual and moral improvement of his countrymen. His end could not be achieved without the sacrifice of self. His meat and drink were of the poorest; summer and winter his coat was same; he was shoeless and shirtless. "A slave whose master made him live as you do," says a sophist in the Memorabilia, "would run away." But by the surrender of the luxuries and the comforts of life Socrates secured for himself the independence which was necessary that he might go about his appointed business, and therewith he was content.
Contemporary judgments. His message was to all, but it was variously received. Those who heard him perforce and occasionally were apt to regard his teaching either with indifference or with irritation,æwith indifference if, as might be, they failed to see in the elenchus anything more than elaborate trifling; with irritation if as was probable, they perceived that, in spite of his assumed ignorance, Socrates was well aware of the result to which their enforced answered tended. Amongst those who deliberately sought and sedulously cultivated his acquaintance there were some who attached themselves to him as they might have attached themselves to any ordinary sophist, conceiving that by temporary contact with so acute a reasoner they would best prepared themselves for the logomachies of the law courts, the assembly, and the senate. Again, there were others who saw in Socrates at once master, counselor, and friend, and hoped by associating with him "to become good men and true, capable of doing their duty by house and household, by relations and friends, by city and fellow-citizens" (Xenophon). Finally, there was a little knot of intimates who, having something of Socratess enthusiasm, entered more deeply than the rest into his principles, and, when he died, transmitted them to the next generation. Yet even those who belonged to this inner circle were united, not by any common doctrine, but by a common admiration for their masters intellect and character.
Plato's panegyric. For the paradoxes of Socratess personality and the eccentricity of his behaviour, if they offended the many, fascinated the few. "It is not easy for a man in my condition," says the intoxicated Alcibiades in Platos Symposium, "to describe the singularity of Socratess character. But I will try to tell his praises in similitudes. He is like the piping Silenes in the statuaries shops, which, when you open them, are found to contain images of gods. Or, again, he is like the satyr Marsyas, not only in outward appearanceæthat, Socrates, you will yourself allowæbut in other ways also. Like him, you are given to frolic,æI can produce evidence to that; and, above all, like him, you are a wonderful musician. Only there is this difference,æwhat he does with the help of his instrument you do with mere words; for whatsoever man, woman, or child hears you, or even a feeble report of what you have said, is struck with awe and possessed with admiration. As for myself, were I not afraid that you would think me more drunk than I am, I would tell you on oath how his words have moved me, - ay, and how they move me still. When I listen to him my heart beats with a more than Corybantic excitement; he has only to speak and my tears flow. Orators, such as Pericles, never moved me in this way,ænever roused my soul to the thought of my servile condition; but this Marsyas makes me think that life is not worth living so long as I am what I am. Even now, if I were to listen, I could not resist. So there is nothing for me but to stop my ears against this sirens song the fly for my life that I may not grow old sitting at his feet. No one would think that I had any shame in me; but I am ashamed in the presence of Socrates."
The Accusation and its Causes. - Popular prejudices. The life led by Socrates was not likely to win for him either the affection or the esteem of the vulgar. Those who did not know him personally, seeing him with the eyes of the comic poets, conceived him as a "visionary" (meteorologos) and a "bore" (adoleskhes). those who had faced him in argument, even if they had not smarted under his rebukes, had at any rate winced under his interrogatory, and regarded him in consequence with feelings of dislike and fear. But the eccentricity of his genius and the ill-will borne towards him by individuals are not themselves sufficient to account for the tragedy of 399. it thus becomes necessary to study the circumstances of the trial, and to investigate the motives which led the accusers to seek his death and the people of Athens to acquiesce in it.
The accusation. Socrates was accused (1) of denying the gods recognized by the state and introducing instead of them strange divinities (daimonia), and (2) of corrupting the young. The first of these charges rested upon the notorious fact that he supposed himself to be guided by a divine visitant or sign (daimonion). The second, Xenophon tells us, was supported by a series of particular allegations, -- (a) that he taught his associates to despise the institutions of the states, and especially election by lot; (b) that he had numbered amongst his associated Critias and Alcibiades, the most dangerous of the representatives of the oligarchical and democratical parties respectively; (c) that he taught the young to disobey parents and guardians and to prefer his own authority to theirs; (d) that he was in the habit of quoting mischievous passages of Homer and Hesiod to the prejudice of morality and democracy.
Strength of the defence. It is plain that the defence was not calculated to conciliate a hostile jury. Nevertheless, it is at first sight difficult to understand how an adverse verdict became possible. If Socrates rejected portions of the conventional mythology, he accepted the establishment faith and performed its offices with exemplary regularity. If he talked of a daiuonion the daiuonion was no new divinity, but a mantic sign divinely accorded to him, presumably by the gods of the state. If he questioned the propriety of certain of the institutions of Athens, he was prepared to yield an unhesitating obedience to all. He had never countenanced the misdeeds of Critias and Alcibiades, and indeed, by a sharp censure, had earned the undying hatred of one of them. Duty to parents he inculcated as he inculcated other virtues; and, if he made the son wiser than the father, surely that was not a fault. The citation of a few lines from the poets ought not to weigh against the clear evidence of his large-hearted patriotism; and it might be suspected that the accuser had strangely misrepresented his application of the familiar words.
Its weakness. To the modern reader Xenophons reply, of which the foregoing paragraph is in effect a summary, will probably seem sufficient, and more than sufficient. But it must not forgotten that Athenians of the old school approached the subject from an entirely different point of view. Socrates was in all things an innovator,æ in religion, inasmuch as he sought to eliminate from the theology of his contemporaries "those lies which poets tell"; in politics, inasmuch as he distrusted several institutions dear to Athenian democracy; in education, inasmuch as he waged war against authority, and in a certain sense made each man the measure of his own actions. It is because Socrates was an innovator that we, who see in him the founder of philosophical inquiry, regard him as a great man; it was because Socrates was an innovator that old-fashioned Athenians, who saw in the new-fangled culture the origin of all their recent distresses and disasters, regarded him as a great criminal. It is then, all in no wise strange that a majority was found first to pronounce him guilty, and afterwards, when he refused to make any submission and professed himself indifferent to any mitigation of the penalty, to pass upon him the sentence of death. That the verdict and the sentence were not in any way illegal is generally acknowledged.
Occasion of the attack. But, though, the popular distrust of eccentricity, the irritation of individuals and groups of individuals, the attitude of Socrates himself, and the prevalent dislike of the intellectual movement which he represented go far to account for the result on the trial, they do not explain the occasion of the attack. Socratess oddity and brusquerie were no new things; yet in the past, though they had made him unpopular, they had not brought him into the courts. His sturdy resistance to the demus in 406 and to the Thirty in 404 had passed, if not unnoticed, at all events unpunished. His political heresies and general unorthodoxy had not caused him to be excluded from the amnesty of 403. Why was it, then, that in 399, when Socratess idiosyncrasies were more than ever familiar, and when the constitution had been restored, the toleration hitherto extended to him was withdrawn? What were the special circumstance which induced three members of the patriot party, two of them leading politicians, to unite their efforts against one who apparently was so little formidable?
Political reasons for it. For an answer to this question it is necessary to look to the history of Athenian politics. Besides the oligrachical party, properly so called, which in 411 was represented by the Four Hundred and in 404 by the Thirty, and the mocratical party, which returned to power in 410 and in 403, there was at Athens during the last years of the Peloponnesian War a party of "moderate oligarchs," antagonistic to both. It was to secure the cooperation of the moderate party that the Four Hundred in 411 promised to constitute the Five thousand, and that the Thirty in 404 actually constituted the Three Thousand. It was in the hope of realizing the aspirations of the moderate party that Theramenes, its most prominent representatives, allied himself, first with the Four Hundred, afterwards with the Thirty. In 411 the policy of Theramenes was temporarily successful, the Five Thousand superseding the Four Hundred. In 404 the Thirty outwitted him; for, though they acted upon his advice so far as to constitute the Three Thousand, they were careful to keep all real power in their own hands. But on both occasions the "polity"æfor such, in the Aristotelian sense of the term, the constitution of 411-410 was, and the constitution of 404-403 professed to beæwas insecurely based, so that it was not long before the "unmixed democracy" was restored. The programme of the "moderates" -- which included (1) the limitation of the franchise, of by the exclusion of those who were unable to provide themselves with the panoply of a hoptile and thus to render to the city substantial service, (2) the abortion of payment for the performance of political functions, and, as it would seem, (3) the disuse of the lot in the election of magistrates -- found especial favour with the intellectual class. Thus Alcibiades and Antiphon were amongst its promoters, and Thucydides commends the constitution established after the fall of the Four Hundred as the best which in his time Athens had enjoyed. Now it is expressly stated the Socrates disliked election by lot; it is certain that, regarding paid educational service as a species of prostitution, he would account paid political service not a whit less odious; and the stress laid by the accuser upon the Homeric quotation (Iliad, ii. 188-202) -- which ends with the daimoni, atremas heso, kai allon mython akoue hoi seo pherteroi eisi. su d'aptolemos kai analkis, oute pot' en polemo enarithmios out' en boule [Gk.] -- becomes intelligible if we may suppose that Socrates, like Theramenes, wished to restrict the franchise to those who were rich enough to serve as hoptiles at their own expense. Thus, as might have been anticipated, Socrates was a "moderate," and the treatment which he received from both the extreme parties suggestæeven if with Grote we reject the story told by Diodorus (xiv. 5), how, when Theramenes was dragged from the altar, Socrates attempted a rescue -- that this sympathy with the moderate party was pronounced and notorious. Even in the monument of democratic triumph the "moderates" made themselves heard, Phormisius proposing that those alone should exercise the franchise who possessed land in Attica; and it is reasonable to suppose that their position was stronger 399 than in 403. These considerations seem to indicate an easy explanation of the indictment of Socrates by the democratic politicians. It was a blow struck at the "moderates," Socrates being singled our for attack because, though not a professional politician, he was the very type of the malcontent party, and had done much, probably more than any man, living to make and to foster views, which, if not in the strict sense of the term oligrachical, were confessedly hostile to the "unmixed democracy." His eccentricity and heterodoxy, as well as the personal animosities which he had provoked, doubtless contributed, as his accusers had foreseen, to bring about the conviction; but, in the judgment of the present writer, it was the fear of what may be called "philosophical radicalism" which prompted the action of Meletus, Anytus, and Lycon. The result did not disappoint their expectations. The friends of Socrates abandoned the struggle and retired into exile; and, when they returned to Athens, the most prominent of them, Plato, was careful to confine himself to theory, and to announce in emphatic terms his withdrawal from the practical politics his narrative city.
Method and Doctrine. - Socrates was not a "philosopher," nor yet a "teacher," but rather an "educator," having for his function "to rouse, persuade, and rebuke" (Plato, Apology, 30 E). Hence, in examining his lifes work it is proper to ask, not What was his philosophy? but What was his theory, and what was his practice, of education? It is true that he was brought to his theory of education by the study of previous philosophies, and that his practice led to the Platonic revival; but to attribute to him philosophy, except in that loose sense in which philosophy is ascribed to one who, denying the existence of such a thing, can give an account of disbelief, is misleading and even erroneous.
Theory of education. Socratess theory of education had for its basis a profound and consistent skepticism; that is to say, he not only rejected the conflicting theories of the physicists,æof whom "some conceived existence as a unity, others as a plurality; some affirmed perpetual motion, others perpetual rest; some declared becoming and perishing to be universal, others altogether denied such things," -- but also condemned, as a futile attempt to transcend the limitations of human intelligence, their philosophia, their "pursuit of knowledge for its own sake," unconsciously, or more probably consciously, Socrates rested his skepticism upon the Protagorean doctrine that man is the measure of his own sensations and feelings; whence he inferred, not only that knowledge such as the philosophers had sought, certain knowledge of nature and its laws, was unattainable, but also that neither he nor any other person had authority to overbear the opinions of another, or power to convey instruction to one who had it not. Accordingly, whereas Protagoras and others, abandoning physical speculation and coming forward as teachers of culture, claimed for themselves in this new field power to instruct and authority to dogmatize, Socrates, unable to reconcile himself to this inconsistency, proceeded with the investigation of principles until he found a resting-place, a pou sto, in the distinction between good and evil. While all opinions were equally true, of those opinions which were capable of being translated into act some, he conceived, were as working hypothesis more serviceable than others. It was here that the function of such a one as himself began. Though he had neither the right nor the power to force his opinions upon another, he might by a systematic interrogatory lead anther to substitute a better opinion for a worse, just a physician by appropriate remedies may enable his patient to substitute a healthy sense of taste for a morbid one. To administer such an interrogatory and thus to be the physician of souls was, Socrates thought, his divinely appointed duty; and, when he described himself as a "talker" or "converser," he not only negatively distinguished himself from whose who, whether philosophers of sophists, called themselves "teachers" (didaskaloi), but also positively indicated the method of question and answer (dialektikh) which he consistently preferred and habitually practised.
Dialectical method. That it was in this way that Socrates was brought to regard "dialect," "question and answer," as the only admissible method of education is, in the opinion of the present writer, no matter of mere conjecture. In the review of theories of knowledge which has come down to us in Platos Theaetetus mention is made (172 B) of certain "incomplete Protagoreans," who held that, while all impressions are equally true, one impression is better than another, and that the "wise man" is one who by his arguments causes good impressions to take the place of bad ones, thus reforming the soul of the individual or the laws of a state by a process similar to that of the physician or the farmer (166 D sq.); and these "incomplete Protagoreans" are identified with Socrates and the Socratics by their insistence (167 D) upon the characteristically Socratic distinction between disputation and dialects, as well as by other familiar traits of Socratic converse. In fact, this passage intelligible and significant if it is supposed to refer to the historical Socrates; and by teaching us to regard him as an "incomplete Protagorean" it supplies the link which connects his philosophical scepticism with his dialectical theory of education. It is no doubt possible that Socrates was unaware of the closeness of his relationship to Protagons; but the fact once stated, hardly admits of question.
Its two processes. In the application of the "dialectical" or "maieutic" method two processes are distinguishable,æthe destructive process, by which the worse opinion was eradicated, and the constructive process, by which the better opinion was induced. In general it was not mere "ignorance" with which Socrates had to contend, but "ignorance mistaking itself for knowledge" or "false conceit of wisdom,"æa more stubborn and a more formidable foe, who, safe so long as he remained in his entrenchments, must be drawn form them, circumvented, and surprised. Accordingly, taking his departure from some apparently remote principle or proposition to which the respondent yielded a assent, Socrates would draw from it an unexpected but undeniable consequence which was plainly inconsistent with the opinion impugned. In this way he brought his interlocutor to pass judgment upon himself, and reduced him to a state of "doubt" or "perplexity" (aporia). "Before I ever met you," says Meno in the dialogue which Plato called his name (79 E), "I was told that you spent your time in doubting and leading others to doubt; and it is a fact that your witcheries and spells have brought me to that condition; you are like torpedo: as it benumbs any one who approaches and touches it, so do you. For myself, my soul and tongue are benumbed, so that I have no answer to give you." Even if, as often happened, the respondent, baffled and disgusted by the elegkhos of destructive process, at this point withdrew from the inquiry, he had, in Socratess judgment, gained something; for, whereas formerly, being ignorant, he was in some sort conscious of his ignorance, and accordingly would be for the future more circumspect in action. If, however, having been thus convinced of ignorance, the respondent did not shrink from a new effort, Socrates was ready to aid him by further questions of a suggestive sort. Consistent thinking with a view to consistent action being the end of the inquiry, Socrates would direct the respondents attention to instances analogous to that in hand, and so lead him to frame for himself a generalization from which the passion and the prejudices of the moment were, as far as might be, excluded. In this constructive process, thought the element of surprise was no longer necessary, the interrogative form was studiously preserved, because it secured at each step the conscious and responsible assent of the learner.
Maieutic in Plato and Xenophon. Of the two processes of the dialectical method, the elegkhos or destructive process attracted the more attention, both in consequence of its novelty and because many of those who willingly or unwillingly submitted to it stopped short at the stage of "perplexity." But to Socrates and his inmates the constructive process was the proper and necessary sequel. It is true that in the dialogues of Plato the destructive process is not always, or even often, followed by construction, and that in the Memorabilia of Xenophon construction is not always, or even often, preceded by the destructive process. There is, however, is this nothing surprising. On the one hand, Xenophon, having for his principal purpose the defence of his master against vulgar calumny, seeks to show by effective examples the excellence of his positive teaching, and accordingly is not careful to distinguish, still less to emphasize, the negative procedure. On the other hand, Platos aim being not so much to preserve Socratess teaching as rather by written words to stimulate the reader to self-scrutiny, just as the spoken words of the master had stimulated the hearer, he is compelled by the very nature of his task to keep the constructive element in the background, and, where Socrates would have drawn an unmistakable conclusion, to confine himself to enigmatical hints. For example, when we compare Xenophons Memorabilia, iv. Æ, 2-4, with Platos Euthyphro, we not that, while in the former the interlocutor is led by a few suggestive questions to define "piety," as "the knowledge of those laws which are concerned with the god," in the latter, thought on a further scrutiny it appears that "piety" is "that part of justice which is concerned with the service of the gods," the conversation is ostensibly inconclusive. In short, Xenophon, a mere reporter of Socratess conversation, gives the results, but troubles himself little about the steps which led to them; Plato, who in early manhood was an educator of the Socratic type, withholds the results that he may secure the advantages of the elenctic stimulus.
Induction and definition. What, then, were the positive conclusions to which Socrates carried his hearers? And how were those positive conclusions obtained? Turning to Xenophon for an answer to these questions, we note (1) that the recorded conversations are concerned with practical action, political, moral, or artistic; (2) that in general there is a process from the known to the unknown through a generalization, expressed or implied; (3) that the generalizations are sometimes rules of conduct, justified by examination of known instances, sometimes definitions similarly established. Thus, in Memorabilia, iv. 1, é, Socrates argues from the known instances of horses and dogs that the best natures stand most in need of training and then applies the generalization to the instance under discussion, that of men; and in iv. 6, 13-14, he leads his interlocutor to a definition of "the good citizen," and then uses it to decide between two citizens for whom respectively superiority is claimed. Now in the former of these cases the processæwhich Aristotle would describe as "example" (paradeigma), and a modern might regard as "induction" of an uncritical sortæsufficiently explains itself. The conclusion is a provisional assurance that in the particular matter in hand a certain course of action is, or is not, to be adopted. But it is necessary to say a word of explanation about the later case, in which, the generalization being a definition that is to say, a declaration that to a given term the interlocutor attaches in general a specified meaning, the conclusion is a provisional assurance that the interlocutor may, or may not, without falling into inconsistency, apply the term in question to a certain person or act. Moral error, Socrates conceived, is largely due to the misapplication of general terms, which, once affixed to a person or to an act, possibly in a moment of passion or prejudice, too often stand in the way of sober and careful reflection. It was in order to exclude error of this sort that Socrates insisted upon to horizdesthai katholou with epaktikoi logoi for its basis. By requiring a definition and the reference to it of the act or person in question, he sought to secure in the individual at any rate consistency of thought, and, in so far, consistency of action. Accordingly he spent life in seeking and helping others to seek "the what" (to ti), or the definition, of the various words by which the moral quality of actions is described, valuing the results thus obtained, not as contributions to knowledge, but as means to right action in the multifarious relations of life.
Virtue is knowledge. While, however, Socrates sought neither knowledge, which in the strict sense of the world he held to be unattainable, nor yet, except as a means to right action, true opinion, the results of observation accumulated until they formed, not perhaps a system of ethics, but at any rate a body of ethical doctrine. Himself blessed with a will so powerful that it would almost without friction, he fell into the error of ignoring its operations, and was thus led to regard knowledge as the sole condition of well-doing. Where there is knowledge,æ that is to say, practical wisdom (phronesis), the only knowledge which he recognized,æ right action, he conceived, follows of itself; for no one knowingly prefers what is evil; and, if there are cases in which men seem to act against knowledge, the inference to be drawn is, not that knowledge and wrongdoing are compatible, but that in the cases in question the supposed knowledge was after all ignorance. Virtue, then, is knowledge, knowledge at once of end and of means irresistibly realizing itself in act. Whence it follows that the several virtues which are commonly distinguished are essentially one. "Piety," "justice," "courage," and "temperance" are the names which "wisdom" bears in different spheres of action: to be pious is to know, what is due to the gods; to be just is to know what is due to men; to be courageous is to know what is to be feared and what is not; to be temperate is to know how to use what is good and avoid what is evil. Further, inasmuch as virtue is knowledge, it can be acquired by education and training, though it is certain that one soul has by nature a greater aptitude than another for such acquisition.
Theory of the Good. But, if virtue is knowledge, what has this knowledge for its object? To this question Socrates replies, its object is the Good. What, then, is the Good? It is the useful, the advantageous. Utility, the immediate utility of the individual, thus becomes the measure of conduct and the foundation of all moral rule and legal enactment. Accordingly, each precept of which Socrates delivers himself is recommended on the ground that obedience to it will promote the pleasure, the comfort, the advancement, the wellbeing of the individual; and Prodicuss apologue of the Choice of Heracles, with its commonplace offers of worldly reward, is accepted as an adequate statement of the motives of virtuous action. Of the graver difficulties of ethical theory Socrates has no conception, having, as it would seem, so perfectly absorbed the lessons of what Plato calls "political virtue" that morality has become with him a second nature, and the scrutiny of its credentials from an external stand-point has ceased to be possible. His theory is indeed so little systematic that, whereas, as has been seen, virtue or wisdom has the Good for its object, he sometimes identifies the Good with virtue or wisdom, thus falling into the error which Plato (Republic, vi. 505 C), perhaps with distinct reference to Socrates, ascribes to certain "cultivated thinkers." In short, the ethical theory of Socrates, like the rest of his teaching, is by confession unscientific; it is the statement of the convictions of a remarkable nature, which statement emerges in the course of an appeal to the individual to study consistence in the interpretation of traditional rules of conduct. For a critical examination of the ethical teaching which is here described in outline, see ETHICS.
It has been seen that, so far from having any system, physical or metaphysical, to enunciate, Socrates rejected "the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake" as a delusion and a snare, -- a delusion, inasmuch as knowledge, properly so called, is unattainable, and a snare in so far as the pursuit of it draws us away from the study of conduct. He has therefore no claim to be regarded as the founder of a philosophical school. But he had made some tentative founder of a philosophical school. But he had made some tentative contributions to a theory of morality; he had shown both in his life and in his death that his principles stood the test of practical application; he had invented a method having for its end the rectification of opinion; and, above all, he had asserted "the autonomy of the individual intellect."
Socratic schools. Accordingly, not one school but several schools sprang up amongst his associates, those of them who had a turn for speculation taking severally from his teaching so much as their pre-existing tendencies and convictions allowed them to assimilate. Thus Aristippus of Cyrene interpreted hedonistically the theoretical morality; Antisthenes the Cynic copied and caricatured the austere example; Euclides of Megara practised and perverted the elenctic method; Plato the Academic, accepting the whole of the Socratic teaching, first developed it harmoniously in the sceptical spirit of its author, and, afterwards conceiving that he had found in Socratess agnosticism the germ of a philosophy, proceeded to construct a system which should embrace at once ontology, physics, and ethics. From the four schools thus established sprang subsequently four other schools, -- the Epicureans being the natural successors of the Cyrenaics, the Stoics of the Cynics, the Sceptics of the Megarians, and the Peripatetics of the Academy. In this way he teaching of Socrates made itself felt throughout the whole of the post-Socratic philosophy. Of the influence which he exercised upon Aristippus, Antisthenes, and Euclides, the "incomplete Socratics," as they are commonly called, as well as the "complete Socratic" Plato, something must now be said.
Incomplete Socratics. The "incomplete Socratics" were, like Socrates, skeptics; but, whereas Aristippus, who seems to have been in contact with Protagoreanism before he made acquaintance with Socrates, came to scepticism, as Protagoras had done, from the standpoint of the pluralists, Antisthenes, like his former master Gorgias, and Euclides, in whom the ancients rightly saw a successor of Zeno, came to scepticism from the standpoint of Eleatic monism. In other words, Aristippus was sceptical because, taking into account the subjective elements in sensation, he found himself compelled to regard what are called "things" as successions of feelings, which feelings are themselves absolutely distinct from one another; while Antisthenes and Euclides were sceptical because, like Zeno, they did not understand how the same thing could at the same moment bear various and inconsistent epithets, and consequently conceived all predication which was identical to be illegitimate. Thus Aristippus recognized only feelings, denying things; Antisthenes recognized things, denying attributions; and it is probable that in this matter Euclides was at once with him. For, though since Schleiermacher many historians, unnecessarily identifying the eidwn filoi of Platos Sophist with the Megarians, have ascribed to Euclides a theory of "ideas," and on the strength of this single passage thus conjecturally interpreted have added a new chapter to the history of Megarianism, it is difficult, if not impossible, to see how, if the founder of the school had broken loose from the trammels of the Zenonian paradox, his successors, and amongst them Stilpo, should have reconciled themselves, as they certainly did, to the Cynic denial of predication.
While the "incomplete Socratics" made no attempt to overpass the limits which Socrates had impose upon himself, within those limits they occupied each his department. Aristippus, a citizen of the world, drawn to Athens by the fame of Socrates, and retained there by the sincere affection which he conceived for him, interpreted the ethical doctrine of Socrates in accordance with his own theory of pleasure, which in its turn came under the refining influence of Socratess theory of fronhsis. Contrariwise, Antisthenes, a rugged but not ungenerous nature, a hater of pleasure, troubled himself little about ethical theory and gave his life to the imitation of his masters asceticism. Virtue, he held, depended upon "works," not upon arguments or lesions; all that was necessary to it was the strength of a Socrates (Diog. Laert., vi. 11). Yet here too Socratic theory of phronesis had a qualifying effect; so that Cyrenaic hedonism and Cynic asceticism sometimes exhibit unexpected approximations. The teaching of Euclides, though the Good is still supposed to be the highest object of knowledge, can hardly be said to have an ethical element; and in consequence of this deficiency the dialectic of Socrates degenerated in Megarian hands, first into a series of exercises in fallacies, secondly into a vulgar and futile eristic. In fact, the partial Socratisms of the incomplete Socratics necessarily suffered, even within their own narrow limits, by the dismemberment which the system had undergone. Apparently the maieutic theory of education was not valued by any of the three; and, however this may be, they deviated from Socratic tradition so far as to establish schools, and, as it would seem, to take fees like professional educators called Sophists.
Plato's metaphysical theories. Of the relations in which the metaphysic of Plato stood to the Socratic search for definitions there are of necessity almost as many theories as there are interpretations of the Platonic system. Hence in this place the writer must content himself with a summary statement of his own views. Initiated into philosophical speculation by the Heraclitean Cratylus, Plato began his intellectual life as an absolute sceptic, the followers of Heraclitus having towards the end of the 5th century pushed to its conclusion the unconscious scepticism of their master. There would have been then nothing to provoke surprise, if, leaving speculation, Plato had given himself to politics. In 407, however, he became acquainted with Socrates, who gave to his thoughts a new direction. Plato now found an occupation for his intellectual energies, as Socrates had done, in the scrutiny of his beliefs and the systematization of his principles of action. But it was not until the catastrophe of 399 that Plato gave himself to his lifes work. An exile, cut off from political ambitions, he came forward as the author of dialogues which aimed at producing upon readers the same effect which the voice of the master had produced upon hearers. For a time he was content thus to follow in the steps of Socrates, and of this period we have records in those dialogues which are commonly designated Socratic. But Plato had too decided a bend for metaphysics to linger long over propædeutic studies. Craving knowledgeænot merely provisional and subjective knowledge of ethical concepts, such as that which had satisfied Socrates, but knowledge of the causes and laws of the universe, such as that which the physicists had soughtæhe asked himself what was necessary that the "right opinion" which Socrates had obtained by abstraction from particular instances might be converted into "knowledge" properly so called. In this way Plato was led to assume for every Socratic universal a corresponding unity, eternal, immutable, suprasensual, to be the cause of those particulars which are called by the common name. on this assumption the Socratic definition or statement of the "what" of the universal, being obtained by the inspection of particulars, in some sort represented the unity, form, or "idea" from which they derived their characteristics, and in so far was valuable; but inasmuch as the inspection of the particulars was partial and imperfect, the Socratic definition was only a partial and imperfect representation of the eternal, immutable, suprasensual idea. How, then, was the imperfect representation of the idea to be converted into a perfect representation? To this question Platos answer was vague and tentative. By constant revision of the provisional definitions which imperfectly represented the ideas he hoped to bring them into such shapes that they should culminate in the definition of the supreme principle, the Good, from which the ideas themselves derive their being. If in this way we could pass from uncertified general notions, reflections of ideas, to the Good, so as to be able to say, not only that the Good causes the ideas to be what they are, but also that the Good causes the ideas to be what we conceive them, we might infer, he thought, that our definitions, hitherto provisional, are adequate representations of real existence. But the Platonism of this period had another ingredient. It has been that the Eleatic Zeno had rested his denial of plurality upon certain difficulties of predication, and that they continued to perplex Antisthenes as well as perhaps Euclides and others of Platos contemporaries. These difficulties must be disposed of it the new philosophy was to hold its ground; and accordingly, to be fundamental assertion of the existence of eternal immutable ideas, the objects of knowledge, Plato added two subordinate propositions, namely (1) "the idea is immanent in the particular," and (2) "there is an idea wherever a plurality of particulars is called by the same name." of these propositions the one was intended to explain the attribution of various and even inconsistent epithets to the same particular at the same time, whist the other was necessary to make this explanation available in the case of common terms other than the Socrates universals. Such was the Platonism of the Republic and the Phaedo, a provisional ontology, with a scheme of scientific research, which, as Plato honestly confessed, was no more than an unrealized aspiration. It was non-Socratic elements which made the weakness of this the earlier theory of ideas. Plato soon saw that the hypothesis of the ideas immanence in particulars entailed the sacrifice of its unity, whilst as a theory of predication that hypothesis was insufficient, because applicable to particulars only, not to the ideas themselves. But with cleared views about relations and negations the paradox of Zeno ceased to perplex; and with the consequent withdrawal of the two supplementary articles the development of the fundamental assumption of ideas, immutable, suprasensual, might be attempted afresh. In the more definite theory which Plato now propounded the ideas was no longer a Socratic universal, perfected and hypostatized, but rather the perfect type of a natural kind, to which type its imperfect numbers were related by imitation, whilst this relation was metaphysically explained by means of a "thoroughgoing idealism" (R. D. Archer-Hind). Thus, whereas in the earlier theory of ideas the ethical universal of Socrates had been held to have a first claim to hypostatization in the world of ideas, they are now peremptorily excluded, whilst the idealism which reconciles plurality and unity gives an entirely new significance to so much of the Socratic element as is still retained.
Plato's ethical theories. The growth of the metaphysical system necessarily influenced Platos ethical doctrines; but here his final position is less remote from that of Socrates. Content in the purely Socratic period to elaborate and to record ethical definitions such as Socrates himself might have propounded, as soon as the theory of ideas offered itself to Platos imagination he looked to it for the foundation of ethics as of all other sciences. Though in the earlier ages both of the individual and of the state a sound utilitarian morality of the Socratic sort was useful, may valuable, the morality of the future should, he thought, rest upon the knowledge of the Good. Such is the teaching of the Republic. But with the revision of the metaphysical system came a complete change in the view which Plato took of ethics and its prospects. Whilst in the previous period it had ranked as the first of sciences; because, though Good absolute still occupied the first place, Good relative and all its various formsæjustice, temperance, courage wisdomænot being ideas, were incapable of being "known." Hence it is that the ethical teaching of the later dialogues bears an intelligible, though perhaps unexpected, resemblance to the simple practical teaching of the unphilosophical Socrates.
Yet throughout these revolutions of doctrine Plato was ever true to the Socratic theory of education. His manner indeed changed; for, whereas in the earlier dialogues the characteristics of the master --
"The soft and intricate discourse,
The with that makes us tolerant perforce,
The mystic legend, and the verse that drops
As snowflakes shower on wintry forest tops,
The questions working wedge-like to the proof,
The threads of prayer form old religions woof,
The courteous skill of keen rebukes that chide
The learners folly and the sophists pride" --
are studiously and skillfully preserved, in the later dialogues Socrates first becomes metaphysical, then ceases to be protagonist, and at the last disappears from the scene. But in the later dialogues, as in the earlier, Platos aim is the aim which Socrates in his conversation never lost sight of, namely, the dialectical improvement of the learner.
Bibliography. Of the histories of Greek philosophy enumerated in the article PARMENIDES the most important for the study of Socratess life and work is Zeilers Philosophie d. Griechen. The part in question has been translated into English under the title of Socrates and the Socratic Schools, London, 1877. Schweglers Geschichte d. griechischen Philosophie will also be found instructive. It is plainly impossible to supply here such a list of special treatise as is given by Ueberweg in his Geschichte d. Philosophie, and still more so to provide a complete bibliography. But the following sources of information may be mentioned:-- F. Scheliermacher, "Ueber d. Werth d. Sokrates als Philosophen," in Abh. D. Berliner Akad. D. Wissensch., 1818, and Werke, iii., 2, 287-308, translated into English by C. Thirlwall, in the Philosophical Museum, Cambridge, 1833, ii. 538-555; L. F. Lélut, Du Démon de Socrate, Paris, 1836, 1856, reviewed by E. Littré in Médecine et Médecins, Paris, 1872; G. Grote, History of Greece, ch. lxviii., and Plato and the other Companions of Sokrates, London, 1865; C. F. Hermann, De Socratis accusatoribus, Göttingen, 1854; W. H. Thompson, The Phaedrus of Plato, London, 1868, Appendix I.; T. Widauer, D. Psychologie d. Willens bei Sokrates, &c., Innsbruck, 1877. For the view taken in the present article with regard to the daimonion, see the writers paper "On the daimonion of Socrates," in the Journal of Philology, v.; and comp. Chr. Meiners, Vermischte philosphische Schriften, Leipsic, 1776 -- "in moments of Schwärmerei Socrates took for the voice of an attendant genius what was in reality an instantaneous presentiment in regard to the issue of a contemplated act." For a fuller statement of the writers view of Platos relations to Socrates, see a paper on Platos Republic, vi. 509 D sq., in the Journal of Philology, x., and a series of papers on "Platos later Theory of Ideas," in vols. x., xi., xiii., xiv. of the same periodical. Comp. SOPHISTS and (by all means) ETHICS. (H. JA.)
The above article was written by: Henry Jackson, Litt.D., Fellow and Praelector in Ancient Philosophy, Trinity College, Cambridge.