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The scepticism of Protagoras went beyond theology and extended to all science whatever. Such, at least, seems to have been the force of his celebrated declaration that 鈥榤an is the measure of all things, both as regards their existence and their non-existence.鈥67 According to Plato, this doctrine followed from the identification of knowledge with sensible perception, which in its turn was based on a modified form of the Heracleitean theory of a perpetual flux. The series of external changes which constitutes Nature, acting on the series of internal changes which constitutes each man鈥檚 personality, produces particular sensations, and these alone are the true reality. They vary with every variation in the88 factors, and therefore are not the same for separate individuals. Each man鈥檚 perceptions are true for himself, but for himself alone. Plato easily shows that such a theory of truth is at variance with ordinary opinion, and that if all opinions are true, it must necessarily stand self-condemned. We may also observe that if nothing can be known but sensation, nothing can be known of its conditions. It would, however, be unfair to convict Protagoras of talking nonsense on the unsupported authority of the Theaet锚tus. Plato himself suggests that a better case might have been made out for the incriminated doctrine could its author have been heard in self-defence. We may conjecture that Protagoras did not distinguish very accurately between existence, knowledge, and applicability to practice. If we assume, what there seems good reason to believe, that in the great controversy of Nature versus Law, Protagoras sided with the latter, his position will at once become clear. When the champions of Nature credited her with a stability and an authority greater than could be claimed for merely human arrangements, it was a judicious step to carry the war into their territory, and ask, on what foundation then does Nature herself stand? Is not she, too, perpetually changing, and do we not become acquainted with her entirely through our own feelings? Ought not those feelings to be taken as the ultimate standard in all questions of right and wrong? Individual opinion is a fact which must be reckoned with, but which can be changed by persuasion, not by appeals to something that we none of us know anything about. Man is the measure of all things, not the will of gods whose very existence is uncertain, nor yet a purely hypothetical state of Nature. Human interests must take precedence of every other consideration. Hector meant nothing else when he preferred the obvious dictates of patriotism to inferences drawn from the flight of birds.Closely connected with the materialism of the Stoics, and equally adverse to the principles of Plato and Aristotle, was their fatalism. In opposition to this, Plotinus proceeds to develop the spiritualistic doctrine of free-will.438 In the previous discussion, we had to notice how closely his arguments resemble those employed by more modern controversialists. We have here to point out no less wide a difference between the two. Instead of presenting free-will as a fact of consciousness which is itself irreconcilable with the dependence of mental on material changes, our philosopher, conversely, infers that the soul must be free both from the conditions of mechanical causation and from the general interdependence of natural forces, because it is an individual substance.439 In truth, the phenomena of volition were handled by the ancient philosophers with a vagueness and a feebleness offering the most singular contrast to their powerful and discriminating grasp of other psychological problems. Of necessarianism, in the modern sense, they had no idea. Aristotle failed to see that, quite apart from external restraints, our choice may conceivably be determined with the utmost rigour by an internal motive; nor could he understand that the circumstances which make a man responsible for his actions do not amount to a release of his conduct from the law of universal causation. In this respect, Plato saw somewhat deeper than his disciple, but created298 fresh confusion by identifying freedom with the supremacy of reason over irrational desire.440 Plotinus generally adopts the Platonist point of view. According to this, the soul is free when she is extricated from the bonds of matter, and determined solely by the conditions of her spiritual existence. Thus virtue is not so much free as identical with freedom; while, contrariwise, vice means enslavement to the affections of the body, and therefore comes under the domain of material causation.441 Yet, again, in criticising the fatalistic theories which represent human actions as entirely predetermined by divine providence, he protests against the ascription of so much that is evil to so good a source, and insists that at least the bad actions of men are due to their own free choice.442

Be this as it may, Spinoza takes up the Aristotelian identification of logical with dynamical connexion, and gives it the widest possible development. For the Stagirite would not, at any rate, have dreamed of attributing any but a subjective existence to the demonstrative series, nor of extending it beyond the limits of our actual knowledge. Spinoza, on the other hand, assumes that the whole infinite chain of material causes is represented by a corresponding chain of eternal ideas; and this chain he calls the infinite intellect of God.566 Here, besides the necessities of systematisation, the411 influence of mediaeval realism is plainly evident. For, when the absolute self-existence of Plato鈥檚 Ideas had been surrendered in deference to Aristotle鈥檚 criticism, a home was still found for them by Plotinus in the eternal Nous, and by the Christian Schoolmen in the mind of God; nor did such a belief present any difficulties so long as the divine personality was respected. The pantheism of Spinoza, however, was absolute, and excluded the notion of any but a finite subjectivity. Thus the infinite intellect of God is an unsupported chain of ideas recalling the theory at one time imagined by Plato.567 Or its existence may be merely what Aristotle would have called potential; in other words, Spinoza may mean that reasons will go on evolving themselves so long as we choose to study the dialectic of existence, always in strict parallelism with the natural series of material movements constituting the external universe; and just as this is determined through all its parts by the totality of extension, or of all matter (whether moving or motionless) taken together, so also at the summit of the logical series stands the idea of God, from whose definition the demonstration of every lesser idea necessarily follows. It is true that in a chain of connected energies the antecedent, as such, must be always precisely equal to the consequent; but, apparently, this difficulty did not present itself to Spinoza, nor need we be surprised at this; for Kant, coming a century later, was still so imbued with Aristotelian traditions as, similarly, to derive the category of Cause and Effect from the relation between Reason and Consequent in hypothetical propositions.568

Mendicant prophets go to rich men鈥檚 doors and persuade them that they have a power committed to them of making atonement for their sins or those of their fathers by sacrifices or charms.... And they produce a host of books ... according to which they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour,155 and are equally at79 the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.156If private society exercised a demoralising influence on its most gifted members, and in turn suffered a still further debasement by listening to their opinions, the same fatal interchange of corruption went on still more actively in public life, so far, at least, as Athenian democracy was concerned. The people would tolerate no statesman who did not pamper199 their appetites; and the statesmen, for their own ambitious purposes, attended solely to the material wants of the people, entirely neglecting their spiritual interests. In this respect, Pericles, the most admired of all, had been the chief of sinners; for 鈥榟e was the first who gave the people pay and made them idle and cowardly, and encouraged them in the love of talk and of money.鈥 Accordingly, a righteous retribution overtook him, for 鈥榓t the very end of his life they convicted him of theft, and almost put him to death.鈥 So it had been with the other boasted leaders, Miltiades, Themistocles, and Cimon; all suffered from what is falsely called the ingratitude of the people. Like injudicious keepers, they had made the animal committed to their charge fiercer instead of gentler, until its savage propensities were turned against themselves. Or, changing the comparison, they were like purveyors of luxury, who fed the State on a diet to which its present 鈥榰lcerated and swollen condition鈥 was due. They had 鈥榝illed the city full of harbours, and docks, and walls, and revenues and all that, and had left no room for justice and temperance.鈥 One only among the elder statesmen, Aristeides, is excepted from this sweeping condemnation, and, similarly, Socrates is declared to have been the only true statesman of his time.127IV.

We have seen how Plato came to look on mathematics as217 an introduction to absolute knowledge. He now discovered a parallel method of approach towards perfect wisdom in an order of experience which to most persons might seem as far as possible removed from exact science鈥攊n those passionate feelings which were excited in the Greek imagination by the spectacle of youthful beauty, without distinction of sex. There was, at least among the Athenians, a strong intellectual element in the attachments arising out of such feelings; and the strange anomaly might often be seen of a man devoting himself to the education of a youth whom he was, in other respects, doing his utmost to corrupt. Again, the beauty by which a Greek felt most fascinated came nearer to a visible embodiment of mind than any that has ever been known, and as such could be associated with the purest philosophical aspirations. And, finally, the passion of love in its normal manifestations is an essentially generic instinct, being that which carries an individual most entirely out of himself, making him instrumental to the preservation of the race in forms of ever-increasing comeliness and vigour; so that, given a wise training and a wide experience, the maintenance of a noble breed may safely be entrusted to its infallible selection.134 All these points of view have been developed by Plato with such copiousness of illustration and splendour of language that his name is still associated in popular fancy with an ideal of exalted and purified desire.The other great ethical method of the eighteenth century, its hedonism, was closely connected with the sceptical movement in speculative philosophy, and, like that, received an entirely new significance by becoming associated with the idea of law. Those who isolate man from the universe are necessarily led to seek in his interests as such the sole regulator of his actions, and their sole sanction in the opinion of his fellows. Protagoras went already so far, notwithstanding his unwillingness to recognise pleasure as the supreme end; and in the system of his true successor, Aristippus, the most extreme hedonism goes hand in hand with the most extreme idealism; while with Epicurus, again, both are tempered by the influence of naturalism, imposing on him its conceptions of objective law alike in science and in practice. Still his system leaned heavily to the side of self-gratification pure and simple; and it was reserved for modern thought to establish a complete equilibrium between the two competing tendencies of Greek ethics. This has been effected in Utilitarianism; and those critics are entirely mistaken who, like M. Guyau, regard that system as a mere reproduction of Epicureanism. It might with full as much reason be called a modern version of Stoicism. The idea of humanity is essentially Stoic; to work for the good of humanity was a424 Stoic precept; and to sacrifice one鈥檚 own pleasure for that higher good is a virtue which would have satisfied the most rigorous demands of a Cleanthes, an Epict锚tus, or an Aurelius.All existence, according to Plotinus, proceeds from the One, which he also calls God. But God does not create the world by a conscious exercise of power; for, as we have seen, every form of consciousness is excluded from his definition.319 Neither does it proceed from him by emanation, for this would imply a diminution of his substance.469 It is produced by an overflow of his infinite power.470 Our philosopher tries to explain and defend this rather unintelligible mode of derivation by the analogy of physical substances and their actions. Light is constantly coming from the sun without any loss to the luminary itself.471 And all things are, in like manner, constantly communicating their proper virtue to others while remaining unaltered themselves. Here we have a good example of the close connexion between science and abstract speculation. People often talk as if metaphysics was something beyond the reach of verification. But some metaphysical theories admit, at any rate, of disproof, in so far as they are founded on false physical theories. Had Plotinus known that neither the sun nor anything else in Nature can produce force out of nothing, he would, very probably, have hesitated to credit the One with such a power.

The analogy between Thought and Extension under the two aspects of necessary connexion and mere contingent relation in co-existence or succession, was, in truth, more interesting to its author as a basis for his ethical than as a development of his metaphysical speculations. The two orders of relations represent, in their distinction, the opposition of science to opinion or imagination, the opposition of dutiful conviction to blind or selfish impulse. Spinoza borrows from the Stoics their identification of volition with belief; but in working out the consequences of this principle it is of Plato rather than of the Stoics that he reminds us. The passions are in his system what sense, imagination, and opinion were in that of the Athenian idealist; and his ethics may almost be called the metaphysics of the Republic turned outside in. Joy, grief and desire are more or less imperfect perceptions of reality鈥攁 reality not belonging to the external world but to the conscious subject itself.571 When Spinoza traces them to a consciousness or expectation of raised or lowered power, we recognise the influence of Hobbes; but when, here as elsewhere, he identifies power with existence, we detect a return to Greek forms of thought. The great conflict between illusion and reality is fought out once more; only, this time, it is about our own essence that we are first deceived and then enlightened. If the nature and origin of outward things are half revealed, half concealed by sense and imagination, our emotions are in like manner the obscuring and distorting medium through which we apprehend our inmost selves, and whatever adds to or takes away from the plenitude of our existence; and what science is to the one, morality and religion are to the other.387

An additional influence, not the less potent because unacknowledged, was the same craving for a principle of unity that had impelled early Greek thought to seek for the sole substance or cause of physical phenomena in some single material element, whether water, air, or fire; and just as these various principles were finally decomposed into the multitudinous atoms of Leucippus, so also, but much more speedily, did the general principle of knowledge tend to decompose itself into innumerable cognitions of the partial ends or utilities which action was directed to achieve. The need of a comprehensive generalisation again made itself felt, and all good was summed up under the head of happiness. The same difficulties recurred under another form. To define happiness proved not less difficult than to define use or practical knowledge. Three points of view offered themselves, and all three had been more or less anticipated by Socrates. Happiness might mean unmixed pleasure, or the exclusive cultivation of man鈥檚 higher nature, or voluntary subordination to a larger whole. The founder of Athenian philosophy used to present each of these, in turn, as an end, without recognising the possibility of a conflict between134 them; and it certainly would be a mistake to represent them as constantly opposed. Yet a truly scientific principle must either prove their identity, or make its choice among them, or discover something better. Plato seems to have taken up the three methods, one after the other, without coming to any very satisfactory conclusion. Aristotle identified the first two, but failed, or rather did not attempt to harmonise them with the third. Succeeding schools tried various combinations, laying more or less stress on different principles at different periods, till the will of an omnipotent Creator was substituted for every human standard. With the decline of dogmatic theology we have seen them all come to life again, and the old battle is still being fought out under our eyes. Speaking broadly, it may be said that the method which we have placed first on the list is more particularly represented in England, the second in France, and the last in Germany. Yet they refuse to be separated by any rigid line of demarcation, and each tends either to combine with or to pass into one or both of the rival theories. Modern utilitarianism, as constituted by John Stuart Mill, although avowedly based on the paramount value of pleasure, in admitting qualitative differences among enjoyments, and in subordinating individual to social good, introduces principles of action which are not, properly speaking, hedonistic. Neither is the idea of the whole by any means free from ambiguity. We have party, church, nation, order, progress, race, humanity, and the sum total of sensitive beings, all putting in their claims to figure as that entity. Where the pursuit of any single end gives rise to conflicting pretensions, a wise man will check them by reference to the other accredited standards, and will cherish a not unreasonable expectation that the evolution of life is tending to bring them all into ultimate agreement.It is generally assumed by the German critics that the atomic theory was peculiarly fitted to serve as a basis for the individualistic ethics of Epicureanism. To this we can hardly agree. The insignificance and powerlessness of the atoms, except when aggregated together in enormous numbers, would seem to be naturally more favourable to a system where the community went for everything and the individual for nothing; nor does the general acceptance of atomism by modern science seem to be accompanied by any relaxation of the social sentiment in its professors. Had the Stoics followed Democritus and Epicurus Heracleitus鈥攁t least a conceivable hypothesis鈥攕ome equally cogent reason would doubtless have been forthcoming to indicate the appropriateness of their choice.161 As it is, we have no evidence that Epicurus saw anything more in the atomic theory than a convenient explanation of the world on purely mechanical principles.Spinoza gathered up all the threads of speculation thus made ready for his grasp, when he defined God as a substance consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses his infinite and eternal essence; subsequently adding that the essence here spoken of is Power, and that two of the infinite attributes are Extension and Thought, whereof the particular things known to us are modes. Platonism had decomposed the world into two ideal principles, and had re-created it by combining them over again in various proportions, but they were not entirely reabsorbed and worked up into the concrete reality which resulted from their union; they were, so to speak, knotted together, but the ends continued to hang loose. Above and below the finite sphere of existence there remained as an unemployed surplus the infinite causal energy of the One and the infinite passive potentiality of Matter. Spinoza combined and identified the two opposing elements in the notion of a single substance as infinite in actuality as they had been in power. He thus gave its highest metaphysical expression406 to that common tendency which we traced through the prospects opened out by the Copernican astronomy, the revival of Atomism, the dynamical psychology of Hobbes, and the illimitable passion of the Renaissance, while, at the same time, preserving the unity of Plato鈥檚 idealism, and even making it more concentrated than before.

It would seem from this singular and touching expression of gratitude that the deathless idealism of Hellas found in Nero鈥檚 gift of a nominal liberty ample compensation for the very real and precious works of art of which she was despoiled on the occasion of his visit to her shores. At first sight, that visit looks like nothing better than a display of triumphant buffoonery on the one side and of servile adulation on the other. But, in reality, it was a turning-point in the history of civilisation, the awakening to new glories of a race in whom life had become, to all outward appearance, extinct. For more than a whole century the seat of intellectual supremacy had been established in Rome; and during the same period Rome herself had turned to the West rather than to the East for renovation and support. Caesar鈥檚 conquests were like the revelation of a new world; and three times over, when the two halves of the divided empire came into collision, the champion who commanded the resources of that world had won. Henceforth it was to her western provinces and to her western frontiers that Rome looked for danger, for aggrandisement, or for renown. In Horace鈥檚 time, men asked each other what the warlike Cantabrians were planning; and the personal presence of Augustus himself was needed before those unruly Iberians could be subdued. His adopted sons earned their first laurels at the expense of Alpine mountaineers. His later years are filled with German campaigns; and the great disaster of Varus must have riveted attention more closely than any victory to what was passing between the Rhine and the Elbe. Under Claudius, the conquest of Britain opened a new source of interest in the West, and, like Germany before, supplied a new title of triumph to the imperial family. Half the literary talent in Rome, the two Senecas, Lucan, and at a269 later period Martial and Quintilian, came from Spain, as also did Trajan, whose youth fall in this period.The next step was to create a method for determining the particular configuration on which any given property of matter depends. If such a problem could be solved at all, it would be by some new system of practical analysis. Bacon did not see this because he was a Schoolman, emancipated, indeed,377 from ecclesiastical authority, but retaining a blind faith in the power of logic. Aristotle鈥檚 Organon had been the great storehouse of aids to verbal disputation; it should now be turned into an instrument for the more successful prosecution of physical researches. What definitions were to the one, that Forms should be to the other; and both were to be determined by much the same process. Now Aristotle himself had emphatically declared that the concepts out of which propositions are constructed were discoverable by induction and by induction alone. With him, induction meant comparing a number of instances, and abstracting the one circumstance, if any, in which they agreed. When the object is to establish a proposition inductively, he has recourse to a method of elimination, and bids us search for instances which, differing in everything else, agree in the association of two particular marks.541 In the Topics he goes still further and supplies us with a variety of tests for ascertaining the relation between a given predicate and a given subject. Among these, Mill鈥檚 Methods of Difference, Residues, and Concomitant Variations are very clearly stated.542 But he does not call such modes of reasoning Induction. So far as he has any general name for them at all, it is Dialectic, that is, Syllogism of which the premises are not absolutely certain; and, as a matter of nomenclature, he seems to be right. There is, undoubtedly, a process by which we arrive at general conclusions from the comparison of particular instances; but this process in its purity is nothing more nor less than induction by simple enumeration. All other reasoning requires the aid of universal propositions, and is therefore, to that extent, deductive. The methods of elimination or, as they are now called, of experiment, involve at every step the assumption of378 general principles duly specified in the chapter of Mill鈥檚 Logic where they are analysed. And wherever we can rise immediately from, a single instance to a general law, it is because the examination of that single instance has been preceded by a chain of deductive reasoning.

If Zeller鈥檚 semi-Hegelian theory of history does scant justice to the variety and complexity of causes determining the evolution of philosophy, it also draws away attention from the ultimate elements, the matter, in an Aristotelian sense, of which that evolution consists. By this I mean the development of particular ideas as distinguished from thexvii systems into which they enter as component parts. Often the formation of a system depends on an accidental combination of circumstances, and therefore cannot be brought under any particular law of progress, while the ideas out of which it is constructed exhibit a perfectly regular advance on the form under which they last appeared. Others, again, are characterised by a remarkable fixity which enables them to persist unchanged through the most varied combinations and the most protracted intervals of time. But when each system is regarded as, so to speak, an organic individual, the complete and harmonious expression of some one phase of thought, and the entire series of systems as succeeding one another in strict logical order according to some simple law of evolution, there will be a certain tendency to regard the particular elements of each as determined by the character of the whole to which they belong, rather than by their intrinsic nature and antecedent history. And I think it is owing to this limitation of view that Zeller has not illustrated, so fully as could be desired, the subtler references by which the different schools of philosophy are connected with one another and also with the literature of their own and other times.V.

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It must not be supposed that the influx of Asiatic religions into Europe was attended by any loss of faith in the old gods of Greece and Italy, or by any neglect of their worship. The researches of Friedl?nder have proved the absolute erroneousness of such an idea, widely entertained as it has been. Innumerable monuments are in existence testifying to the continued authority of the Olympian divinities, and particularly of Jupiter, over the whole extent of the Roman empire. Ample endowments were still devoted to the maintenance of their service; their temples still smoked with sacrifices; their litanies were still repeated as a duty which it would have been scandalous to neglect; in all hours of public and private danger their help was still implored, and acknowledged by the dedication of votive offerings when the danger was overcome; it was still believed, as in the days of Homer, that they occasionally manifested themselves on earth, signalising their presence by works of superhuman power.339 Nor was there anything anomalous in this peaceable co-existence of the old with the new faiths. So far back as we can trace the records both of Greek and Roman polytheism, they are remarkable for their receptive and assimilative capacity. Apollo and Artemis were imported into Greece from Lycia, Heracles and Aphrodite from Phoenicia, Dionysus and Ares probably from220 Thrace. Roman religion under its oldest form included both a Latin or Sabine and an Etruscan element; at a subsequent period it became Hellenised without losing anything of its grave and decorous character. In Greece, the elastic system of divine relationships was stretched a little further so as to make room for the new comers. The same system, when introduced into Roman mythology, served to connect and enliven what previously had been so many rigid and isolated abstractions. With both, the supreme religious conception continued to be what it had been with their Aryan ancestors, that of a heavenly Father Jove; and the fashionable deities of the empire were received into the pantheon of Homer and Hesiod as recovered or adopted children of the same Olympian sire. The danger to Hellenistic polytheism was not from another form of the same type, but from a faith which should refuse to amalgamate with it on any terms; and in the environment created by Roman imperialism with its unifying and cosmopolitan character, such a faith, if it existed anywhere, could not fail in the long-run to supersede and extinguish its more tolerant rivals. But the immediate effect produced by giving free play to men鈥檚 religious instincts was not the concentration of their belief on a single object, or on new to the exclusion of old objects, but an extraordinary abundance and complexity of supernaturalism under all its forms. This general tendency, again, admits of being decomposed into two distinct currents, according as it was determined by the introduction of alien superstitions from without, or by the development of native and popular superstition from within. But, in each case, the retrogressive movement resulted from the same political revolution. At once critical and conservative, the city-aristocracies prevented the perennial germs of religious life from multiplying to any serious extent within the limits of their jurisdiction, no less vigilantly than they prohibited the importation of its completed products from abroad. We have now to study the221 behaviour of these germs when the restraint to which they had formerly been subjected was lightened or withdrawn.Again, Plato is false to his own rule when he selects his philosophic governors out of the military caste. If the same individual can be a warrior in his youth and an administrator255 in his riper years, one man can do two things well, though not at the same time. If the same person can be born with the qualifications both of a soldier and of a politician, and can be fitted by education for each calling in succession, surely a much greater number can combine the functions of a manual labourer with those of an elector. What prevented Plato from perceiving this obvious parallel was the tradition of the paterfamilias who had always been a warrior in his youth; and a commendable anxiety to keep the army closely connected with the civil power. The analogies of domestic life have also a great deal to do with his proposed community of women and children. Instead of undervaluing the family affections, he immensely overvalued them; as is shown by his supposition that the bonds of consanguinity would prevent dissensions from arising among his warriors. He should have known that many a home is the scene of constant wrangling, and that quarrels between kinsfolk are the bitterest of any. Then, looking on the State as a great school, Plato imagined that the obedience, docility, and credulity of young scholars could be kept up through a lifetime; that full-grown citizens would swallow the absurdest inventions; and that middle-aged officers could be sent into retirement for several years to study dialectic. To suppose that statesmen must necessarily be formed by the discipline in question is another scholastic trait. The professional teacher attributes far more practical importance to his abstruser lessons than they really possess. He is not content to wait for the indirect influence which they may exert at some remote period and in combination with forces of perhaps a widely different character. He looks for immediate and telling results. He imagines that the highest truth must have a mysterious power of transforming all things into its own likeness, or at least of making its learners more capable than other men of doing the world鈥檚 work. Here also Plato, instead of being too logical, was not logical256 enough. By following out the laws of economy, as applied to mental labour, he might have arrived at the separation of the spiritual and temporal powers, and thus anticipated the best established social doctrine of our time.104

There seem to be three principal points aimed at in the very ingenious theory which we have endeavoured to summarise as adequately as space would permit. Zeller apparently wishes to bring Socrates into line with the great tradition of early Greek thought, to distinguish him markedly from the Sophists, and to trace back to his initiative the intellectual method of Plato and Aristotle. We cannot admit that the threefold attempt has succeeded. It seems to us that a picture into which so much Platonic colouring has been thrown would for that reason alone, and without any further objection, be open to very grave suspicion. But even accepting the historical accuracy of everything that Plato has119 said, or of as much as may be required, our critic鈥檚 inferences are not justified by his authorities. Neither the Xenophontic nor the Platonic Socrates seeks knowledge for its own sake, nor does either of them offer a satisfactory definition of knowledge, or, indeed, any definition at all. Aristotle was the first to explain what science meant, and he did so, not by developing the Socratic notion, but by incorporating it with the other methods independently struck out by physical philosophy. What would science be without the study of causation? and was not this ostentatiously neglected by the founder of conceptualism? Again, Plato, in the Theaet锚tus, makes his Socrates criticise various theories of knowledge, but does not even hint that the critic had himself a better theory than any of them in reserve. The author of the Phaedo and the Republic was less interested in reforming the methods of scientific investigation than in directing research towards that which he believed to be alone worth knowing, the eternal ideas which underlie phenomena. The historical Socrates had no suspicion of transcendental realities; but he thought that a knowledge of physics was unattainable, and would be worthless if attained. By knowledge he meant art rather than science, and his method of defining was intended not for the latter but for the former. Those, he said, who can clearly express what they want to do are best secured against failure, and best able to communicate their skill to others. He made out that the various virtues were different kinds of knowledge, not from any extraordinary opinion of its preciousness, but because he thought that knowledge was the variable element in volition and that everything else was constant. Zeller dwells strongly on the Socratic identification of cognition with conduct; but how could anyone who fell at the first step into such a confusion of ideas be fitted either to explain what science meant or to come forward as the reformer of its methods? Nor is it correct to say that Socrates approached an object from every point of view, and took note of all its characteristic qualities. On the contrary, one would120 be inclined to charge him with the opposite tendency, with fixing his gaze too exclusively on some one quality, that to him, as a teacher, was the most interesting. His identification of virtue with knowledge is an excellent instance of this habit. So also is his identification of beauty with serviceableness, and his general disposition to judge of everything by a rather narrow standard of utility. On the other hand, Greek physical speculation would have gained nothing by a minute attention to definitions, and most probably would have been mischievously hampered by it. Aristotle, at any rate, prefers the method of Democritus to the method of Plato; and Aristotle himself is much nearer the truth when he follows on the Ionian or Sicilian track than when he attempts to define what in the then existing state of knowledge could not be satisfactorily defined. To talk about the various elements鈥攅arth, air, fire, and water鈥攁s things with which everybody was already familiar, may have been a crude unscientific procedure; to analyse them into different combinations of the hot and the cold, the light and the heavy, the dry and the moist, was not only erroneous but fatally misleading; it was arresting enquiry, and doing precisely what the Sophists had been accused of doing, that is, substituting the conceit for the reality of wisdom. It was, no doubt, necessary that mathematical terms should be defined; but where are we told that geometricians had to learn this truth from Socrates? The sciences of quantity, which could hardly have advanced a step without the help of exact conceptions, were successfully cultivated before he was born, and his influence was used to discourage rather than to promote their accurate study. With regard to the comprehensive all-sided examination of objects on which Zeller lays so much stress, and which he seems to regard as something peculiar to the conceptual method, it had unquestionably been neglected by Parmenides and Heracleitus; but had not the deficiency been already made good by their immediate successors? What else is the121 philosophy of Empedocles, the Atomists, and Anaxagoras, but an attempt鈥攚e must add, a by no means unsuccessful attempt鈥攖o recombine the opposing aspects of Nature which had been too exclusively insisted on at Ephesus and Elea? Again, to say that the Sophists had destroyed physical speculation by setting these partial aspects of truth against one another is, in our opinion, equally erroneous. First of all, Zeller here falls into the old mistake, long ago corrected by Grote, of treating the class in question as if they all held similar views. We have shown in the preceding chapter, if indeed it required to be shown, that the Sophists were divided into two principal schools, of which one was devoted to the cultivation of physics. Protagoras and Gorgias were the only sceptics; and it was not by setting one theory against another, but by working out a single theory to its last consequences, that their scepticism was reached; with no more effect, be it observed, than was exercised by Pyrrho on the science of his day. For the two great thinkers, with the aid of whose conclusions it was attempted to discredit objective reality, were already left far behind at the close of the fifth century; and neither their reasonings nor reasonings based on theirs, could exercise much influence on a generation which had Anaxagoras on Nature and the encyclopaedia of Democritus in its hands. There was, however, one critic who really did what the Sophists are charged with doing; who derided and denounced physical science on the ground that its professors were hopelessly at issue with one another; and this critic was no other than Socrates himself. He maintained, on purely popular and superficial grounds, the same sceptical attitude to which Protagoras gave at least the semblance of a psychological justification. And he wished that attention should be concentrated on the very subjects which Protagoras undertook to teach鈥攏amely, ethics, politics, and dialectics. Once more, to say that Socrates was conscious of not coming up to his own122 standard of true knowledge is inconsistent with Xenophon鈥檚 account, where he is represented as quite ready to answer every question put to him, and to offer a definition of everything that he considered worth defining. His scepticism, if it ever existed, was as artificial and short-lived as the scepticism of Descartes.

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