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V O LU M E I

TH E H I S TO RY O F

P H I LO S O P H Y

I O H ANN ES H I R S C H BE R G E R

TRA NSL ATED B Y

RT . REV . ANTH ONY N . FU ER S T

T H E BR U C E P U BL I S H I N G C OMPANY
M I L WA U K E E
1mm . O B STA T
J OANNE S A S C H UL I E N , S T D
. . . .

I M P R I M A UR T
4 AL B E R r Us
4 MEY E R' '
G .

Ar chiepiscopu: M ilwau c/z ie mir


5 in ll i, l 95 8

Th is w o r k is a tr anslatio n f ro m th e G er man Gamb ia/r te


def P h ilosop bie by J o h annes H ir sch b er ger , p u b lish ed by
Ver la g d
H e r e r 8: C c .
, F b g
r ei u r Br e is au ( er man ) g G y .

Lib r ar y o f C o ng r ess C ata lo g Car d N u mb er : 5 8 — 1 2 45 3

195 8 BY TH E BR U C E P S
UBL I H I NG CO M P ANY
M AD E I N TH E U N I TED su n s O F AM E R I C A
PREFAC E

THE NATUR E AND TH E V ALUE O F TH E


HIS TORY OF PHILOSOP HY

I . TH EH IS TORY OF P H I LO S O P H Y AS A H IS TORICAL S C IENCE


Th e history of philosophy is both a science of history and philos
o h ; it links two di f fe r ent fields of endea v o r A a science of histo r y
p y s .

it seeks to acquaint us with the wealth of thought bequeathed by


th e philosophers of the past and of the p r esent F o r this reason it .

pro vides us with whate ve r is known of thei r lives thei r works and , ,

thei r systems In so doing it not only po r tr ays what once actually


.
,

existed but also by de veloping the notions and the thoughts that
,

have been o r a re cu r rent seeks to make accessible to us a knowledge


,

of this rich heritage This is accomplished by examining the o rigins


.

of both th e men and thei r works by placing them in their p roper


,

relation to greate r Spheres of thought by correlating them with oth e r


,

contributions and with the all pe rvading spiritual and cultu ral cu r
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rents among peoples of v arious e ras and finally by unfolding fo r us


,

the fundamental suppositions and the ultimate ass umptions from


which the concepts the problems and the teachings of philosophy
, ,

have o riginally sp r ung as from a ma trix .

S hould the history of philosophy attempt to p r esent things as they


we re in reality it would by that very fact determine fo r itself a definite
,

method : on the one hand a continuous use of sou rces ; and on the
, ,

othe r a demand for obj ectivity o r freedom from bias The use of
, .

sources is a special achievement of the modern Science of histo ry .

Antiquity and the M iddle Ages had to be content with only second
o r thi r d hand repo r ts Today howeve r we not only consult the
-
.
, ,

sou rce s but we also ascertain with c ritical and painstaking diligence
Whethe r the w r itings which appear under the name of a certain ,

philosopher actually stem from him whether his manuscripts ha ve,

been p reserved without fals ification and in which period of his,

creati ve ability they we re w ritten ( textual criticism and chronology ) .

Th e histo ry of philosophy is therefore an introduction to the works


of the philosophers themselves We stri ve to be obj ecti ve in ou r his
.
v i P RE FACE
to r icalpresentation by taking great pains to report what was actually
said and in what sense it is actually to be understood without viewing ,

the matte r through the colored spectacles of a subj ective viewpo int .

We may not fo r example read into P lato a Neo Kantianism or into


, ,
-

Aristotle a blossoming S cholasticism Without a doubt an absolutely .


,

unprej udiced state of mind probably has neve r existed and probably
will neve r exist since e very scientific thinke r is a product of his

times and he pe r sonally cannot play fast and loose with the co n n ve

tions of his own age In pa rticular he will j udge e ve rything brought


.
,

into his purview by his own philosophy of life by his own peculiar ,

evaluations and by his own assumptions of which he himself is


, ,

perhaps not consciously aware This fact does not howeve r lead us
.
, ,

to th e conclusion that we must forego all imparti al ities in thought all ,

freedom from bias as an impossibility We must rather hold to


,
.

obj ectivity as an ideal of which we can be cer tain as we are of every ,

ideal that it can ne ve r be fully realized Bu t we must be determined


,
.

to keep this ideal always before us and calmly strive after it ; in fact ,

we should conside r it our neve r ending task to achieve it and we ,

can approach its r ealization more closely by being ever ready both

to learn and to discuss the findings of our in vestigations Whoever .

seeks after the truth and does not spare himself in its pursuit can
certainly expe ct to dis co v e r it

2 . HI S TOR Y OF P H ILO S OP H Y A S P H ILOS O P H Y


TH E
I S th e histo ry of philosophy only a hi sto ry of error ? Th history e

of philosophy is also a true and real philosophy It is not as some .


,

uninformed individuals have in correctly supposed a history of errors , .

Rightfully and manfully did H egel refute a con ception of th e history


of philosophy th at made of it a disorderly aggregation of opinions

.

P rofound thinkers are fully aware that th e history of philosophy ‘

is an ar duous and honorable search for truth N t only is it an . o

hono rable search but it is a constant one as well possessing inner


, ,

conti nu ty i .

O r the tru th in its entir e ty ? Bu t neither is it true that su ch a


history is as H egel who falls into an erro r at th e other extreme so
, , ,

boldly states a system in evolution It is n t a presentation of the


,

.

o

gradual and progressive self revelation of the mind and of truth in


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,

which everything follows so logi cally that we may ant pate the i ci

shape of things to come from what has gone before j ust as in a ,

textbook of geometry one proposition is de veloped from th e pre ceding ,


PRE FACE vii

and thus page by page geometrical truth unfolds for our delight .

Th e history of philosophy is indeed both a growth of th e spi rit and


a pie rcing of its secrets but the way it takes to reach this goal is
,
!

neithe r direct nor always logical and not always obj ectively deter
mined Alongside the milestone s o f truth there are also detours of
.

misunderstanding th e w rong road s of error and the disturbing


, ,

crossroads of chan ce Just as political history is not always a histori cal


.

process of obj ecti vely necessary actions but a narrative in which ,

a dictator s will to power or the caprice O f a mistress has described


its cou r se so chance plays a role in the histo ry of philosophy as does


,

everything irrational which springs from the subj ectivity and from
the freedom of the individu al who philosophi z es Whatever kind of .

a philosophy a man proposes depends as Fichte has said to a great , ,

extent upon the kind of a man he is No t a few philosophical p rob .

lems can be shown to trace thei r origin to the pe r sonal contradictions


manifest in the life of the philosopher or in the r i valry of the schools
then in existence Just as we cannot boldly state that the history of
.

philosophy is a history of errors so we may not maintain that it is ,

truth itself S uch a statement would not be true even if in a modern


.

variation of the H egelian concept we interpreted the totality of tru th


as philosophical existence Up to the present philosophy has not .
,

considered itself merely as an active existence but it has always ,

purposed to disco ver theoretical truths not simply truth ; and it ,


must continue to do so in the future .

S e lfr e velatio n of th e h uman mind Th e matte r is somewhat dif


-
.

fe en t when we inquire into the nature of precisely what the history


r

of philosoph y adds to actual philosophy O nce we pass th e barrier s of .

personal tempo r al and Spatial limitations by means of knowledge


, ,

that we have acquired of th e opinions of others we are liberated from ,

the th raldom of many subjective presumptions and app roach mo re and


mo re closely to th e consideration of tru th su b specie aete m ( un de r r
'

the app earance of eternity ) AS Ricker t says O nly through the study .
,

of history can we rid ou r selves of history Through the histo ry of .


philosophy we a rri ve at a histo rically grounded critical analysis of


human reason Th e Instruments of the human spirit its methods of
.
,

g
Th e o r i in al G er man tex t h as

Z u -siclz —selbst-Fi nde n des G ez stes
'

, w h ich is a tech

n ical te r m in H e mu st b e inter pr e te str ictly y it H e el mean t th e min th at


gl e an d d . B g d
w as aw aken in and mo v in to w ar
g matu r ity — th e min which in th e e innin did
g d d bg g
no t kn o w o r u n e r stan itse l b u t fi nally in th e co u r se o f th e matu r ing pr ocess b ecame
d d f ,

conscio u s o f itse lf ( Tr a ns lato r


)

s no te .
viii PRE FACE
appraisal its notions the tendency of its ideas the p roblems the
, , , ,

hypo theses and theories reveal its essence and its capabilities only
,

after centuries have passed O ften man has w restled with problems .

for decades in fact for centuries only to discove r at last that they
, ,

have in thei r fundamental notions been inco rrectly p ropounded


from the very beginning O n the basis of many such factual exper i .

en ce s we must always r eckon with the possibility that false p remises

have obtruded themselves in ou r thinking Notions such as repose .

and motion continuity and disc retion matte r and fo rm sensuality


, , ,

and Spirituality body and soul to mention onl y relati vely few today
, , ,

have developed into subj ect matte r fo r the most sub tle discussion s .

Ar e we always conscious of the fact that in the g r ay dawn of antiquity


th ese problems were fi r st discussed and de veloped on the basis of
material that today can no longe r p ro ve what it had proved then ?
Yet these notions still retain thei r o r igin al meaning H P oinca ré . .


W I O tC
'

O I I CC
'

In general we kn w th at a s k illf l arrangement f flinty bers


o u o

f rms th s kelet n f rt in sp n ges When th rgani matte dis


o e o o ce a o . e o c r

appears all that rema ns a fragile and rnamental tiss e f spi les
, i IS o u o cu .

In reality these are n th ing m re th an a sili e s material; b t wh at


o o c ou u

is m st inter sting is th f rm wh i h th i material h


o e md W e o c s as assu e . , e

w ld never h ave b en able t u nderstand it h ad we n t kn wn th


ou e o ,
o o e

living sp nge wh i h h d imprinted p n it pre isely th is f rm Th s


o c a u o c o . u

it is with th an ient int itive n ti ns f


e f rebears wh i h even
c u o o o ou r o ,
c ,

th gh we aband n th em n w h ave imprinted th eir f rms p n th


ou o o , o u o e

l gi al framew r k f ideas wh i h we h ave s b stit ted in th ir pla e


o c o o c u u e c .

Devoting ourselves to the history of philosophy we a re enabled to ,

delve to the root of things relating to th e purpose and the worth of


ou r thinking faculties : notions a re being pu rified p roblems are cor ,

r ectl
y stated th e way to the heart
, of the matte r is being cleared .

With this advance the histo ry of philosophy b ecomes of itself a


criti cism of knowledge and thereby constitutes philosophy in the full

meaning of the term .

H isto r i cism F o r this r eason the histo r y of philosophy need not


.

fear the reproach of hi sto r ci sm In past decades it may have been i .

guilty of what the learned designated as Alexandrianism : the b ringing


togethe r of museum pieces of thought which originally rep resented
knowledge but not wisdom because such a collection merely meant
, ,

stoking the mind with historical ballast ; the results for systemati c
philosophical knowledge of problems were not e valuated H owever .
,
PREFACE ix

if we conside r the histo ry of philosophy as the self r eflection of the


-

human mind this danger no longer exists and we are actually


,

brought face to face with true philosophy ; for we are then enabled
to advance to the obj ecti ve systematic solution of philosophical p rob
lems themsel ves Bu t embarking upon such a solution without the
.

foundation of sound historical philosophy is not seldom reduced to a


mere tilting with windmills Do n Q uixote fashion.
C O NT E NT S

P refa ce

PA RT I AN C IENT PH ILOSO PHY


.

P r eliminar y Re mar ks

S ec tio n 1. P r e-So cratic P hilosophy

C h apter 1 TH E P RE P H ILO S O P H IC AL P ERI D


-
O

P hilosophy and M yth

2 F RO M TH E M I LES I AN S TO TH E ELEAT I C S
I Th e M ilesians and the P ythagoreans
.

II H eraclitus and the Eleatics


.

3 F R OM TH E MEC H AN I S TS TO TH E S OP H I S T S
I The M echanists and A naxagoras
.

II Th e S ophists
.

S ec tio n 2. Attic P hilo so phy

4 S OCRATES AND H I S C IRCLE


Knowledge and Val e u

5 P LAT O — I : O N TH E GO OD AN D TH E TRU E
Th e G ood
Th e True
6 PLATO II—

M an
Th e Republi c
Th e World
God
Th e O ld A cademy
7 ARI S TOTLE I KN W LED GE
: O AN D S C IENCE
Writings
Knowledge and S cien ce
xi
8 ARI ST O TLE II : BE IN G AND BEIN GS
9 A RI S TOTLE — I II : ET H I CS AND P OLIT IC AL
T HEOR Y
Th e Good and the C
Th e O lder P eripatetics
om unity m
S ection 3. Th e P h ilo so phy o f H ellenism an d o f th e

Ro man Empire

10 TH E S T O I CS
Th e P hilosophers of Stoicism
Logic
P hysics
E thics

11 EP I CUREANS A C ADEM IC I ANS AND P ERI P ATETIC S


, ,

I Epi cureanism : An Ancient P hilosophy


.

of Life
Th e P hilosophers o fEpicureanism
Logic
P hysi cs
Ethi cs
II Academy and S cepticism
.

Th e M iddle and the Ne w A cademy


P y r rhoni c S cepti cism
III Th e P eripatetics
.

12 N E O P LA T ON I S M : A P H I L O S O P H Y AN D A RELIGI O N
-

The P reparation for N eo—P latonism


Neo P latonism
-

PAR T II . ME D IAEV A L PH I LOSO PHY

P r eli minar y Re mar ks

S ectio n 1 . P h il o so phy o f th e P atr istic P eriod

13 Y O UTH FUL C HRI S T I ANIT Y CONFRONTS ANC IEN T


P H I L O S OP H Y
14 TH E BEGI NNI NGS OF P ATRI STI O P H I LO SO P HY
CO NTE NTS xiii

ST .A U GUST INE TEAC HER


,
WES T
Tr uth
God
C reation
Th e S oul
Th e Good
Th e C ity of God

16 FRO M BOET H I US To TH E END OF TH E

P ATRI ST IC PERI OD
Boethius the Last Roman
,

Boethius and the M iddle Ages


Dionysius the P seudo Ar eopagite -

Th e En d of th e P atr istic P e r iod

S ection 2. The P hilosophy of Schol asti cism

I n tr o du ctio n : S cholasticism in Gener al


17 EARLY S C H OLA STI CI S M
I O rigins
.

II S t A nselm of C anterbury
. .

III P eter Abelard and M ediaeval


.

S ubjecti v ism
IV Th e S chool of C hartr es and M ediae val
.

H umanism
V M ysti cism
.

TH E DAWN OF TH E G OLDEN AGE OF

S C H OLAS TI C I S M
Introduction : Th e New Fo rces
Th e Re ception A ccorded to Aristotle
The Universities
Th e O r ders
I Th e S chool of O xfo r d : M athematics and
.

the N atural S ciences


II Th e O lde r F ranciscan S chool : Th e M en
.

of Au gu stianism
III S t Albert the G reat Th e Uni ver sal
. .
,

Docto r
i
x v CO NTENTS
ST . TH O M AS AQ U INA S I : EP I S TEM OLO G Y AND

GENERAL M ETAP HY S I C S
Knowledge
Being

S T T H O M A S AQ N s
. U I A — II : T HEOD I CY
,

P S Y C H O LO G Y E T H I C S
,

God
Th e S oul
M orality
Law and the S tate
Th e Rea ction to Thomisti c A ristotelianism
FR O M TH E AVE RRO I S TS To M A S TER EC K H ART
I Th e F aculty of Liberal Arts and the
.

A ve rr oists
II The Younger F r an cis can S chool
.

III M aster Eckhart ( 1260


. M ysti c
and S cholasti c
L ATE S C H O LA S TI C I S M F ROM O C K HA M
:

To CUS ANUS
I O ckham and O ckh anism
.

II N icholas of C u sa
.

Index of Names
Topi cal Index
H IS T O RY P H IL O S OP HY
P ART I

AN C I ENT P H IL O S OP HY

PREL IM INA RY RE MA RK S

TH E IMPORTANCE OF
ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

We may ask ou r sel ves why we should study ancient philosophy


in this moder n world A query of this kind touching as it does the
.
,

value of ancient philosophy can be disposed of in one sentence :


,

Ancient philosophy has gi v en to mankind the spiritual he ritage


upon whi ch Western philosophy still nourishes itself C onsidered .

merely on a quantitati ve basis ancient philosophy can lay claim to


,

one h alf of the intellectual history of Europe fo r it S tretches from ,

600 B C to AD 6 00 O f g reate r weight even than the quantitative is


. . . .

the intrinsic and qualitative value of this philosophy A ncient philos .

o h
p y never be comes antiquated W hen reading mediaeval autho
. r s we ,

find Aristotle quoted more frequently than any contemporary wri te r .

P latonic Nee P latonic and S toic concepts a r e included among the


,
-
,

fundamental ideas which suppo rt the ideology of the M iddle A ges Th e .

essential ideas of mode rn philosophy and of scientific thinking today


trace their origin to ant iquity Notions such as p rinciple element atom
.
, , ,

body spirit soul matte r and form potency and act substance and
, , , , ,

accident being and becoming causality wholeness meaning pu r


, , , , ,

pose notion idea category j udgment conclusion p roof science


, , , , , , , ,

hypothesis theory postulate axiom


, all we re developed by the
, ,

G reeks We would use them blindly and without due appreciation


.
,

if we Should not study thei r sources and their or iginal meaning We .

are moreover indebted to ancient philosophy not only fo r individual


, ,

basi c notions but we owe it our gratitude also fo r the essential


,

philosophical branches su ch as logic metaphysics ethics psychology, , , ,

and cosmo logy which it formulated and de veloped In addition .


,

antiquity saw the development of the most di verse systems of phil


2 A N C I E N T P H I L O SO P H Y
o sop hought : idealism realism scepticism materialism sensual
h ic t , , , ,

ism and their hybrids With such an understanding we a re able to


, .

piece together the reasons why E H offmann was able to conclude .

a chapte r on Greek P hilosophy C onside red as P ast and P resent


“ ”

with the sentence : It will be shown that in Greek philosophy the


fundamental ideological possibilities of thought we re thoroughly de


v e lop ed th e problems which are still valid first p ropounded
,
and ,

the various methods of solving th em methods which we S till pursue , ,

o ffered to the wo rld .

VISION DI
In order to obtain an o verview of the various epo chs we will ,

divide ancient philosophy into four periods Th e first of these covers .

the time before S ocrates and for this r eason it is called th e P e ,



r

S ocratic P eriod This is not represented in its essentials in Greece



.

itself but in the Greek colonies in Ionia lower Italy and S icily
, , , ,
.

Th e chief element is a philosophy of nature O nly late r when .


,

S ophism appea r s does man himself become the obj ect of ph ilo soph i
,

cal speculation and a problem to be solved Th e se cond period may be .

entitled A ttic P hilosophy because during it the motherland itself


,

begins to philosophize S oc rates P lato and Aristotle are the leading


.
, ,

thinkers and in them G reek philosophy reaches its zenith The whole
, .

array of philosophical problems nature morality state spirit soul , , , ,

all a re treated with identical intensity Th e flowering of philosophy .

cor r esponds to that period in G r eek history when politi cs dominated

the wo rld scene in the era of P ericles up to the reign of Alexander


the G reat The third period the so called P hilosophy of H ellenism
.
,
-
,

lies between the time of Alexander s rise to power and th e downfall ’

of the s ccessor states that is between 300 and 30 B C In this era


u , , , . .

we find the philosophical schools as the centers of attraction : the


A cademy the P eripatos the S toa and the garden of Epicurus Th e
, , , .

fo rth period embraces th e P hilosophy of the Age of th e Emperors


u

,

dating from th e middle of the first century to A D 5 29 at which . .


,

time Justinian closed th e P latonic Academy at A thens confiscated ,

its property and forbade all future philosophizing in A thens This


, .

period is no longer creative ; it rings the knell of all that h ad preceded .

S OUR CES
In ancient philosoph y we are confronted with the special problem
of sources Th e essential works of a gre at numbe r of ph ilO S Oph Cr S
.
~
4 ANCIE NT P HILOSOP H Y
minster M d : Th e Newman P ress
, .
,
A . W . enn
B ,
Th e Gr ee k
P h ilos oph er s ( L o nd on , 19 l 4 ) .
— E . Br eh ier , H is toir e de la ph ilo s o
ph ic ,

IA é ( aris Al an I Bu rnet, Gr ee k P h i
'
V ol L n ti u it P : c I 926 —
.
, q , .

losoph y P art I : Th ales to P lato ( London,


, Ear ly Gr e e k P h ilos oph y
( 4th cd Lo nd o n — F C C oplest o n, H is tor y ofP hilos oph y V o l 1,


. .
, .
, , .

Gr eece an d Ro me ( We stminster, M d : Th e Newman P ress, .

G omper z , Gr e e k Th in k er s 4 vols ( Lo ndon, 19 01


,
— L
. Rob in , .

Gr eek Th ough t an d th e Or igins of th e S cie n ti c S pir it ( Lo ndon,


A S tock l, H an db oo k ofthe H is tor y ofP h ilos oph y P art I : P r e S ch olas tic
. ,
-

P h ilosophy ( Du bl in
,
S ECTI ON 1
. P RE S OC RATI C P H I LO SOP HY
-

CHAPTER

TH E P R E P H IL O S OP H I CAL P E R I O D
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PHILOSOPHY AND MYTH

1 I DEA OF MY TH
.

O n the threshold of Greek philosophy stands something whi ch


in itself is unphilosophi cal the myth A myth is th e belief of a
— .
'

community concerning the great problems of th e world and of life ,

of gods and of men ; it lays down exactly what the people a re to


think and to do Drawn from popula r tr aditions a myth is accepted
.
,

without reflection gullibly and blindly Bu t as Aristotle himself


, .

remarks a philosopher is in a special sense a fr iend of the myth


, ,

because in it he will find problems which are the problems of the


philosopher Fo r this reason whenever A ristotle presents th e historical
.
,

status of a philosophical problem and the attempts that were made


to solve it he always mentions by preference the opinions of the very
,

ancient who at the very beginning theologi zed


” “
.

2 . THE M Y TH O L O G Y
H OM E R AND HES I O D
OF

H ere we must mention fi r st of all H ome r and H esiod and their


teachings concerning the lineage of th e gods ( theogony ) and the
origin o f the world ( cosmogony ) According to the mythology of
.

H omer th e cause of all becoming should be sought in the sea gods


,
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,

O ceanus and Th e th ys and also in the water by which the gods were
,

accustomed to swear and whi ch the poets called S tyx In H esiod .


,

the original founde rs of all things are Chaos Ethe r and E ros Bu t , , .

in these mythologies othe r problems are also touched upon : the


transitoriness of life the origin of evil the question of responsibility
, ,
6 A NCIE NT P H I LO S O P H Y
and of g ilt fate and necessity the life after death and similar prob
u , , ,

lems In the solution of such problems there is always manifest a


.

thoroughly imaginative speculation which I ntu i ti vely experienced


con crete reality with the perceptive eye of the poet and by general ,

i zing its intuition transferred its data to life and to the world and
, ,

thus interpreted the whole of being and of act .

3 .ORP H IC DOC TRINE


In the six th cent ry before C hrist a new mythology des cended u

upon Greece from the mountains of Thrace At its center we fi nd .

the god Dionysus ; its priest is O rpheus the Thracian S inger ,

and wonder worker N ietzsche was later to make of Dionysus a


-
.

symbol of life and of acceptance of life in all its sublimity and


depths Dionysus the god of wine was truly a god of life namely
.
, , ,

of productive nature and was venerated in the bacchanalia in a ,

r iotous earthly fashion The teachings of O rpheus however denote .


, ,

something radically di fferent from a mere acceptance of and assent


to life In him we find a curious mixture of asceticism and mysticism
.
,

th e cult of the soul and the longing fo r an afterlife problems —

broached in a manner alien to the thoughts of H omer s contempo ’

raries Th e soul is no longer blood but a spirit ; t ori g nates in a


.
, I i

world different from this ; it is banished to earth as a punishment


fo r an ancient crime ; it is chained to the body and must wander
with it until redeemed from its car n al desires Th e way to arrive at .

purification is through a se ries of food p rohibitions : laws forbidding ,

for instance meat and beans Gold fillets which were placed wi th
, .
,

th e dead in their graves were to be ocular proof that the soul rose “

p re from the pure and had s cceeded in escaping from the onerous
u

u

c ircle of births .

Th e views of the O rphic school on the fate of souls afte r death


are reflected in th e great eschatologi cal myths in the P latonic ,

Dialogues of G gias P h do and the Repu bli Th e O rphic doctrine


or , ae , c .

possessed at an early stage a well rounded theology and cosmogony -


.

According to it C h aos and N ight were pre sent in the beginning


, .

A understood by the O ph ic
s C haos denotes literally a yawning r s,

abyss or ch asm Th N ight begot an egg the wo rld egg and from
. e , ,

it proceeded winged Eros And he paired with the yawning chasm .

the winged sh adowy far distant Tartarus contrived to free our race
, , ,

and to lead it into the light P reviously there had been no race of .

immortals u ntil Eros united all things ; as he bound one thing to


,
TH E P RE -P HILO S OP HI CAL P ERIOD 7

another there arose the heavens and the ocean and earth and all
,

the gods of an immortal generation Acco rding to a still late r sou rce .

,

the origin of the C osmos was a dragon with the heads of a stee r and
of a lion ; in the middle of the two it bore the countenance of a go d
and on its shoulders wings This was known as the neve r aging god
, , .

of time Th e dragon begot a threefold seed moist e the r the boundless


.
, ,

yawning chasm and cloudy darkness and in addition another


, ,

wo rld egg .

All th is is fan ciful poetical intuition The schola r sees in O rphic


, .

m y thology palpable O riental tradition Th e dualism of b ody and


“ ”
.

soul this worldliness and otherwo r ldliness and in gene ral th e


,
-
,

transitory natu re of life forms are a drop of str ange blood in -


H ellenism The original hearth of such concepts may actually ha v e


.

been India where such ideas appea r in th e Upanishads the theological


, ,

commentaries of the Vedas They also may be found in th e religion .

of Zoroaste r on the tablelands of I ran as can be shown from th e ,

oldest C athas of th e Zend Avestas In any event these ideas are — .

part of the Aryan heritage .

4 . M Y TH AN D L O G OS
S till
more important than the questi on of the origin of these
notions is th e question of thei r survival Aristotle correctly info rms .

us (M eta III 4) that these notions were not science because the
, ,

ancient theologians handed down only th e traditional wealth of


“ ”

thought ; they did not advance p roof of thei r assertions H e draws a .

sharp line of demarcation between them and those who use th e “

language of proof ( i Si am ad é w A y ) and



from
o whom we can e s

e o vr es
, ,

therefore expe t genuine convictions By such expressions he u nder


, c

.

o

stood the philosopher In stressing th e decisive and methodical mo


.

ments of doubt of proofs and of argumentation he distinguishes


, , ,

between myth and philosophy although we must not forget that at ,

the very beginning he had granted that a friend of the myth was in
a certain sense a philosopher P hilosophy in contrast to the then .
,

c stomary my th
u was truly something novel With philosophy the
, .

individu al no longer lives on the spiritual riches of the community


but he is taught to rely on himself ; and by himself he must freely


and wi th mature deliberation disco ver truth for himself all the while ,

investigating and evaluating what he determines and holds to as true .

N aturally this approa ch is entirely di ffe rent from that employed by


the myth We may not howe ver forget that th e problems of the
.
, ,
8 A NCIE NT P HILO SOP H Y
myth as well as its notional intuition whi ch o riginated in the gray
,

dawn of uncritical antiquity per sist in the philosophi cal language


,

of today In this respect it is the task of epistemology to examine


.

whethe r o r not the supposedly rational intellectual faculties employed


in philosophy are all actually trustworthy
.
CHAPTER

FR O M TH E M IL E SI ANS T O TH E EL E AT I C S

I . TH E M ILE SI AN S AND TH E PY THA GORE AN S


M ATTER AND FORM

c radle of Greek p hilosophy was Ionia on the coast of Asia


Th e ,

Mino r It is in M iletus Ephesus C laz o menae C olophon and S amos


.
, , , ,

where we meet up with the majority of the pre S ocratics F or this -


.

reason pre S ocratic philosophy is sometimes te rmed Ionic philosophy


-
.

The chief interest of this group cente red as has repeatedly been ,

pointed out on the problems of nature As a consequence it has also


, .

been called a philosophy of nature Th e consideration of nature was .

exceptionally pronounced but I t would ne vertheless be more co rrect


,

to speak of its metaphysics r a the r than its philosophy of natu re .

Discourses of these pre S ocratics on th e primary causes and elements


suggest in gene ral th e principles of being Through the development .

of such ideas the essence of being as such is clarified ; thei r ideas a r e


,

not o ffered merely as an explanation of the ultimate mate rial co nstit


u en ts of natural bodies .

TH E MILESIANS
M iletus
opens the roundelay ; it gives us the first three pre S o cr a -

tics : Thales Anaximander and Anaximenes


, , .

1 . T HALES CF M I LE TU S ( C . 624—5 46

A ntiquity
regarded Thales as one of the seven wise men A ristotle .

canonizes him as the fathe r of philosophy M I ”


( 3 9 8 3b 20

eta .
, , ,

T h e Basic Wo r k s o f A isto tle ed by R M cK eo n ( N w Y ork :


[ r , . . e

Random H ouse p and P lato tells u s the S tory of


, .

his meeting with th e Thracian maidse rv ant who is supposed to


have laughed at him because while meditating on some abstruse ,

reality he fell headlong Into a ditch and pick ed himself up wet


,

9
10 A NCIENT PH ILOSOPH Y
and muddy H ere was a man who proposed to tea ch mankind
.

sublime truth but who was so blind that he could not avoid an
,

open ditch I S this an omen for the whole race of philosophe r s ?


.

Thales was however not at all impractical In M iletus he guided


, , .

the destiny of a nautical school built a canal to funnel o ff the water s ,

of the H alys and delive red many a sage piece of political ad vice
,
.

Wate r as Ar ch é or Fir st P rinciple An d what of his philosophy ? .

Aristotle tells us : Th e maj ority of those who began to philosophi z e


busied themselves with primary causes ( dpx i pr incipia) in the a
,

realm of the material These causes constitute the original essence


.

of all things ; from these they would arise and into them
they would return They would therefore be the elements
.

Eve r y particular entity would be merely an a ction a su f fering an , ,



undergoing ( 60 ) of this original essen ce C oncerning this pri

7 0 9 .

ma ry cause the Ar ch e individual thinkers up to this time had


, ,

entertained di fferent opinions Thales had discove red that this prin .

ci le was wate r
p ( see M eta I 3 ; ed M cK eo n p W h y espe
. cially
, , .
, .

water ? A ristotle himself did not know fo r sure Th is is however .


, ,

not very important .


Wisdom The original contribution of this M ilesian is ra ther

.

his notion of the primary cause of all being proposed by Thales for ,

the first time in the history of philosophy Ar istotle has said of .

metaphysics (M eta I 2 ; ed M cK eon p 69 1) that it conce rns


.
, , .
, .

itself no longer as a special science with aspects of being but wi th


be ing as such in its enti re ty that it seeks afte r th e p rimary cau ses


, ,

and that by such an attempt it ventures into a hithe rto hidden and
dif cult field and foste rs knowledge pur sued not for any p r actical
purpose but solely fo r the sake of knowledge itself This is pr eciselv .

what Thales attempted to do AS a consequence he did not consider .

his science to be ordinary knowledge but wisdom metaphysics and , , ,

philosophy Was h is an impractical undertaking ? P erhap s it was the


.

most p ractical undertaking inaugurated i n the name of all knowl


edge Fo r human beings be they average citizens or specialists in
.
,

scientific pu r suits who do not wish to dabble di rectly in philosophy


, ,

fashion mental pictures and form concepts which embrace the whole
of the world and of life Without such reflections they would be .

unable to face the world or to initiate any proj ect or to control their
feelings O rdina rily they do this only by fits and starts and without
.

me thod That Thales provided the impetus to put such reflections into
.

scientific form make s h im in fact the fathe r o f Western philosophy .


12 A NCIE NT P HILOSOP H Y
Apeir o n or th e Bo u n dle ss
In his determination of the p rinciple
.

of being he embarks upon a different approach than his predecesso r .

Ac cording to him Ar ch e is Apei r on ( the P r ima r y P r inciple is the

fi fi
Boundle ss ) which we can take to mean eithe r indefinite u nb ou n ded
in nity o r infinite in de niteness because by it we unde r stand not only
,

a logically imperfect limitation but also a spatially and tempo r ally


,

infinite ete rnal and omnipresent matter By such a concept Anaxi


, , .

mande r envisages th e p rinciple of being more uni ver sally than Thales .

This was only logical fo r when a per son fixes upon an ultimate cause
,

which may be verified in all being it must be as indeterminate and ,

indefinite as possible so that it may be come all to all A naximander


, .
,

as a consequence carr ied out the p rocess of abstraction to its ultimate


,

conclusions H e prescinded entirely from the pa rticula r and thus


.

arrived logically at his concept of the Apeiron H e ad vances fu r ther .

along the path that Thales had first opened but perhaps he p roceeded ,


too far fo r that which is entirely unbounded and entirely indefinite


,

cannot be anything real and cannot therefore explain reality Truly , , .


,

then in de n iten e ss cannot be an in nitu m In this respect the logical


,
.

o rde r is mistaken fo r the ontological orde r If we could th ink of the .

Apei ron as a thing e v en though this thing we r e only a ve ry diaph


,

anous and tenuous mate rial substance which is perhaps what ,

A naximande r had in mind then it would no longe r be a true Apei r on


, .

Fo r mation of th e Wo rld The teaching of Anaximande r on the


.

formation of the world re veals a comp rehensi ve and deep sea rching
gift of observation F rom the Apei ron have stemmed p rogressively
.

the antitheses contained in it : warmth and coldness th e moist and ,

th e d r y In the separation there a rose also an infinite numbe r of


.

worlds togethe r with thei r contents These wo rlds a re al ready .


“ ”

conceived as cosmos as we can recognize quite clea rly in the


symmetrically a r ranged cosmogony of Anaximande r .

To him the ea rth is a cylinder whose diamete r is th ree times as


great as I ts height Around it revolve at a distance 3 X 3 = 1 X 9
.

of the earth s r adius the sphere of the stars ; at 2 X 9 the spher e of


the moon ; and at 3 X 9 the sphere of the sun Upon ou r earth


, .
,

which was o riginally a fluid the process of separating out proceeded


,
“ ”

in much the same fashion as that by which li ving beings were formed
out of the moisture They Were at first surrounded by a thorny rind ;
.

these rinds were torn apart and th ere emerged the new fo rms M an .

himself owes his origin to originally primitive forms H is immediate .

ancestors had been fish which formerly li ved as S harks in the ocean ,
FROM TH E M ILE SIA NS To TH E ELEATIC S 13

but when they had developed to the extent that they were ab le
to exist outside the wate r they climbed out of the wate r to dry ,

lan d This is the fi r st intimation of a theo ry of the descent of species !


.

All these infinitely v a r ied wor lds we r e concei v ed of by Anaximande r


as li ving beings as demons and as gods ; this is again an ancient
, ,

form of anthropomo rphism r athe r than hylozoism and panth eism .

To see all contr aries reconciled in an original o r fundamental


fi r st p rin ciple and to e volv e and to explain v ariety from it is one
of the greatest ambitions of the histor y of philosophy We will meet .

With it again in P lato P lotinus Er iugen a Nicholas of Cu sa and , , , ,

H egel Anax imande r must ha v e been an outstanding thinke r


. .

3. ANAX I M ENES ( C 5 85 528 .


-

Anax irn en e s was a pupil of An axnn an der H e considered the ai r .

to be the Ar ch ? o r P rima ry P rinciple Th e high degree of abs traction .

e videnced in the Apei ron of A naximande r is again lowe red perhaps ,

to rescue reality from annihilation All things originated out of the .

ai r through the process of solidification and of dilution (mi m nt/cu s

pd m ) Distu rbed the ai r becomes fi r e ; solidified wind ; then



s .
,

clouds ; fu r the r through S till greater solidification wate r ; then the


, ,

ear th the n stone ; everything else traces its o rigin to this ( Diels Frag
,

,
.

13 A At the same time the ai r again appea r s as something li ving


and as some thing di vine This all lies in the direction which we ha ve .

followed in connection with Thales and Anaximande r .

PYTHAGOREANS TH E
With these we tu rn our gaze from the east to the west of Greece .

Bu t the connection with th e Ionians remains unbroken fo r P y thagoras ,

himself came from Ionia H e was howe ve r born in S amos Under .


, , .

the heading of P ythago rean many widely dive rgent ideas are brought
together in the ancient narrati ves and so we must first of all clarify ,

the exte rnal histo ry of the P yth ago reans .

1 EX TERNAL H I STORY
.

P ythago ras P y thagoras was b orn in S amos in 5 70 B C migrated


. . .
,

when about forty to C roton in Lower Italy where he must have


Th e sou r ce o f th e q u o tatio n s and th e r e f er e n ce to d
i eas co n taine d in th e f
o llo w in g
pa g es ar e k
ta en f
r o m Diels, w h o p e r o r me f d su ch a no bl e w or k to make th em b e tter

kn o wn ( Tr anslator
'
s n ote ) .
14 A N CIENT PH ILO S OP HY
enj oyed his greatest acti vity and moved finally to M etapon t where ,

h e died about the year 496 H era clitus confessed that he knew

mo r e than all othe r men but called him the forefather of all ,
” “

swindles This sharp criticism may hav e had its origin in th e an


.

tith esis e v ident in their peculiar philosophies O f life The autho r of .

th e statement everything is in flux could not be bothe red with a ”


, ,

world of eternal truths su ch as a kingdom of numbers offe r s In much .

the same fashion N ietzsche would later on cha racterize all idealism
as a sublime swindle P lato on the contrary declared : P ythago ras

.

, ,

was greatly beloved for his wisdom and ( his ) follower s a re to this ,

day quite celebrated for the order which was named after him ”

( p
R e .6 00
,b ; trans of B Jowett . in T h e D i lo gu es.o f P lato [N e w a

York : Random H ouse 1937 2 Vol I p ,


We know , .
, .

nothing more definite about P ythagoras H is personality has become .

shrouded in legend H e is not thought to have written anything


. .

Bu t he gathered around h imself a coterie of followers afte r the ,

fashion of a secret order ( league society o r b rotherhood ) who em , ,


b raced in a conservative manne r the theories of the master and


repeated them orally This brotherhood was a rr anged on ph ilo soph ico
.

scientific and religio ethical lines with a ve ry strong ascetical strain


-
.

From the intellectual outlook maintained by this orde r we may in ,

retr ospect conclude that P ythagoras was drawn by O rphic dualism ,

adopted the metempsychosis of th e O ph ics foste red comprehensive r ,

scientific interests and personally must have possessed a pronounced


,

mo ral and political flair fo r leader ship .

Th e o lder P yth ago re an b roth er hoo d Th e brotherhood that P yth ag .

oras himself founded and guided in Croton we call the older ,

P ythagorean brotherhood To it belonged the famous physician


.

A lcmaeon of C roton who had discovered that the b r ain was the
,

central psychic organ as well as the astronomer P hilolaus who


, , ,

taught long before the beginning of the new era that the earth did
not occupy the center of the universe In the seco nd half of the fifth .

century this brotherhood whi ch manifested a decided aristocratic ,

mental attitude and enj oyed great authority was dissolved by the ,

demo cr atic party of Greece but was revived soon thereafter , .

Th e younge r grou p Th e younge r P ythagorean brotherhood



.

had its headqua rte r s in Tarentum and existed there until the end
of the fou r th century Th e members of this group and only these
.

are designated by Aristotle when he speaks of the so called P yth ag “


-

o r ean s in Italy In this group we must keep separate two distin ct



.
FROM TH E M ILE SIA N S To TH E ELE A TIC S 15

tendencies : on the one hand the ak u smatik s or the P ythagorists


,

who clung conse rvatively to the traditional rules of life and followed
them quite ascetically They abstained from meat fish wine and
"

.
, , ,

beans refused to bathe held cultu re and science in low esteem and
, , ,

led a life dedicated to wandering and to beggary O n the other hand .


,

the M athematicians who cultivated the friendship of the intelle tual


,

c

aristo cracy esteemed both philosophy and science highly espe cially
, ,

m u sic mathemati cs geometry astronomy and medicine Among th


, , , ,
. e

members we may number Ar chytas of Tarentum whom P lato ,

ca lled his friend H icetas of S yracuse as well as th e P ythagoreans


, ,

Ecph an tu s and H er aclides of P ontus of the older Academy These .

last three taught e ven in thei r day that the earth re vol ved upon
its own axis Th e P eripatetic A rista rchus of S amos w as influenced
.

by H e aclides through S trato of Lampsacus Aristarchus as we


r .
,

know taught not only that the ear th revolved on its own axis
, ,

but also that it continues to r evolve in an ecliptic way a theo ry


whi ch S eleucus of S eleucia ( c 150 BC ) who is the C opernicus of .
,

antiquity then scientifically co rroborated


,

.

2 . P Y TH A GORE AN WAY OF L IFE


TH E
The inner mental attitude of the P ythagoreans led them to adopt
a mode of life peculiar to themselves ( Bl w e ydp w ) Its ba ck ground og v a e s .

is the teaching handed down by the O r ph ics concerning the trans


migration o f souls : the soul originated in another world committed ,

S in th ere must now chained to the body lead a life based upon
, , ,

penance and devoted to pilgrimages until it finally succeeds in ridding ,

itself of the body and of sensuality and in becoming again truly


sp iritual Th e body is the grave of the soul ( 3M 6m) C onsequently
.

it is necessary fo r the individual to embark upon a way of pu r i ca


tion This way of life included the following : as ceti cism which
.
G0 ! 0 .

,

involved abstinence from certain foods periodic silence a daily ex , ,

amination of conscience ( generally at night ) on the good and bad


actions of the day ; intellectual pursuits particularly philosophy and ,

mathematics whereby man becomes recollected and spi r itual ; the


,

cultivation of music which S hould de velop man s powers harmoni ’

o u sl
y by its int r insic harmony and by its conformity to laws ra the r

than give him pleasure by its melody ; and gymnastics whi ch helps ,

the individual bring the body u nder the control of the soul An .

additional characteristic of th e P ythagorean way of life was its ideal


of friendship and of th e broth erhood of all men This is but a natural .
16 ANCIE NT PHI LO SOP HY
outcome of the cultur e of the value of the soul and of the spirit .

In all thi s we can discern a strong idealistic concept of life .

3 . MET AP HY S I CS P YT HAG ORE ANS


OF TH E

Numbe r ; P e ras and Apei ro n ; h arm o n y an d co smo s In metaphysi cs .

th e P ythagoreans ha v e won fo r themsel v es undying fame be cause

they taught that number is the Ar ch ? o r P rimary P rinciple of all


things By this doctrine they r ecognized that the principle of being
.

is not to be found in matte r but in form Th e number is what , .

gives fo rm that by which the unlimited is made limited This is at


,
.

least what we can dr aw from the account of Aristotle concerning


th e P ythago r eans ( M eta I 5 ; ed M cKeo n p Aristotle s ac

.
, ,
. .
,

count is not entirely unambiguous but we may safely follow h is ,

conclusion fo r his statements con cerning the ultimate elements of


,

numbers the limited ( w p ) and the unlimited


,
'
e as point in
th is di rection We ha ve therefo re two princip les P e ras and Ap ei ron
.
, , ,

( the limited and the unlimited ) T h e decisi v e pr inciple is howe v er


.
, ,

the P e ras This makes numbe r a numbe r and it is hencefo rth the
.

principle with which the P ythagoreans will attack the p roblem of


metaphysi cs Great all perfecting all efficacious and heavenly as
.
,

,
-
, ,

the ultimate basis and guide of human life sha ring in all is the , ,

powe r of number without it all is unlimite d confused and ,

invisible ( 44 B 11 ; Diels Frag



, .

Th e obser vation which led to this thought may have been extr emely
S imple In mus i c we can appre ciate how the di f
. ferent tones have each
a definite relation to the length of the strings and especially how th e
h ar mo nics of the tones are characte r ized by st rong numerical rela
tio n sh ip s Th e frequency of oscillation of th e octa v e is to the keynote
.

as that of the fifth as that of the fourth note as P ene


tr ating and ingenious is th e t r ansfe r of this theory to the whole of

being AS Aristotle says : They [the P ythagoreans ] supposed the


.

elements of numbers to be the elements of all things and th e whole ,

heaven to be a musical scale and a numbe r (M eta I 5 ; 986 a 3; ed .


, , .

McKeon p , This theo r y was the fi r st impetus given to the


.

discussion of the harmony of th e spheres which constantly recurs in


the history of thought .

The great w o rld pe rio ds Th e concept of ha rmony is strikingly


-
.

expressed in the P ythago rean teaching on the great world periods -


.

Acco r ding to the P ythago reans the evolution of the wo r ld was not ,

in a S tr aight line but was accomplished in great cycles Th e star s .


FROM TH E M ILE SIA NS To TH E ELEATI C S 17

and the uni ve rse retu rn pe riodically to thei r orbits and the clock ,

of the wo rld runs ever on from eterni ty to eter nity This eternal ,
.

regress this everlasting return of all things extends to even the


, ,

minutest particles I will again stand befo re you with staff in hand
.

and will again teach you P ythagoras is supposed to have said In,

.

the doctrine of the eternal cycle of all things we can find the concept
of the cosmos developed most S harply This concept is widened to .

include all the othe r realms psychology ethics and the philo sophies , , ,

of law and of the S tate And philosophers tell us that communion


.

and friendship and o r derliness and tempe r ance and j ustice bind
togethe r heaven and earth and gods and men and t hat this univer se ,

is therefo re called C osmos o r o rder ( Gor gias 5 08 a ; ed Iow ett ”


, .
,

Vol I p
.
, . The basic cosmological concept with the P ythago reans
is nu mber .

H o w fertile the principle of numbers has b een in the histo r y of


th e mind is shown in the development of the mode r n natural sciences ,

which a re nourished eve r mo re and more by th e th eory of number .

A S H eisenberg said The P ythagorean disco ve ry is the strongest


impulse e ve r gi ven to human S cience When the mathematical '

structure is recognized as the essential element in musical ha rmony ,

the pu rposi ve order of natu re which surrounds us must be grounded , ,

in the mathematical core of the natural law .


Th e P ythago reans neve r taught that all things are shee r numbe r .

N arrati ves which mention that the P ythagoreans looked upon all
things as numbe r s a r e to b e conside r ed as abridged explanations of

thei r theo ry and a re not to be urged too S trongly F or the P yth ago .

reans exp ressly place th e limitant ( th e P e ras ) alongside the unlimited


( the A pei r on ) wi th the,explanation that whe r eve r form and number
are present the re must also be present addition and substance if
, ,

numbe r and form are to have any meaning at all .

The P ythagoreans are a necessa r y supplement and complement


to the M ilesians The M ilesians always stress the common element
.

that is basic in all things b ut o verlook the fact that the specific,

individuality of particula r things must also be explained We should .

not rest content with investigating solely that of which things are
constituted ; we must also see what becomes Of the prime matter
and how this What may be explained These details are supplied
“ ”
.

by the P ythagoreans without neglecting th e former For the first .

time they emphasized th e form which informs matter .


A NCIENT PHILOSOP H Y

II . HERA C LITUS AND TH E ELEATI C S


ING AND BE ING BEC O M

Thus fa r the p re—S ocr atics ha v e di r ected their investigation to


being : What consti tutes p rime matte r from which e ve rything comes ?
What makes things exactly what they are ? The beginning and the
end were ca refully studied b u t the tr ansition becoming had not
, , ,

itse lf been discus sed This p roblem now enters into the stream of
. ,

thought and immediately gives rise to a sensational thesis : Becom ing ,

motion is eve rything ; it co nstitutes e ve rything that men had to that


,

moment considered as bei ng When H eraclitus adopted this radical .

position he provoked the Eleatics to champion a position anti


,

thetically oppo sed According to them there is no such thing as


.

becoming and motion which men perceive everywhere S ince we


, .

shall study bo th these tendencies it will become cleare r to us what is


actually contained in the p roblem .

HERA CLITUS OF EPHESUS


( 0 . 5 44—484

Th e ancients labeled him the O bscur e H is was not an affable pe r .

so n alit H e kept at an aristocratic distance from the masses ; for


y .


what do they know o r understand ? They believe t h e ballad singers ,

and fo r their teache r they take the mob for they do not know that ,

the maj o rity ar e evil and only the minority good ( Diels F rag ,

, .

A single individual has more meaning for me than ten th ousand


other s p rovided he is W i thout peer ( Diels F rag


, H is teaching

, .

is difficult to unde r stand Th e fragments and the epigrams that have


.

been handed down to us are rare jewels fl in tlike and replete with ,

sombe r fire .

1 . T H O U G H T O F HE R A C L I T U S
TH E
Ever yth ing fl ow s Acco rding to Aristotle ( De Caelo III 1 ;

.
, ,

29 8 b a basic thesis of H eraclitus was : everything flows ; eve ry


thing is fluid everyth ing is in the state of flux and nothing pe r severes
,

in its unchanged state ( w i m pd ) In the wo r ds of A ristotle : But



a l/ .

what these thinke r s maintained was that all else has been generated
and as they said is flowing away nothing having any solidity ( De
,

,
’ ”

Cae lo III I ; 298 b 30; ed M cK eo n p


, , An d P lato remarks :
.
, .

H e r aclitus is supposed to say that all things are in motion and



20 A NCI E NT PH ILOSOPH Y
an d self extinction in the eternal becoming the one truly divine
-
,

commandment which r ules everything and by which all human “

laws a re substantiated that is receive the fo rce of law ( Diels Frags


, , , .

2 30, To him Logos means also Go d In a fashion similar


, .

to the theologian from Ephesus Jo hn the Evangelist who wrote , ,

centur ies later : An d the Wo r d was G o d ( m i 0 6 n 6 Aéy )


“ ”
e
~
s v os
,

the philosopher from Ephesus maintained : The one S up reme Being


we address as Zeus Th e differ ence was th at according to the phi
.

loso ph er the di vine coincided completely with the eternally changing


uni verse : God is day and night winte r and summe r wa r and

, ,

peace hunge r and satiety H e changes howe ve r ; j ust as fi re when it


, .
, ,

is blended wi th incense is named afte r the sweet odo r of both ,


( Diels Frag , Lo gos is.in the work of H e r



aclitus th e uni v e r sal”
, ,

law which go ve rns change and becoming Th e Logos is also the .

mind of the wo rld This Logos howeve r is not a transcendent .


, ,

personal spirit but an immanent law that go ve rns change


, .

2 AR IS TO TLE ON TH E RE LA TIVI S M OF HERACLITUS


.

In Opposition to H eraclitus A ristotle main tain ed that if e ve ry ,

thing is in flux there could be no such a thing as science and no


,

such a thing as truth (M ta I 6 ; X III N atu rally ou r concepts e .


, , ,

and ou r scientific j udgments are some thing pe rmanent ; the y a re


s hemata If howe ve r e verything is in th e state of flux whatever
c .
, , ,

these seek to represent eludes us enti rely and as a consequence th ese ,

concepts and j u dgments be come empty te r ms to which nothing in

reality corresponds There could be no knowledge of things which


.

were in a state of flux ( M eta X III 4; 1078 b 17 ; ed M cKeon p ”


.
, , .
, .

Is H eraclitus a nominalist ? Fragment 102 ( D iel s) would seem


to point in this direction This states that in the sight of God every .

thing is beautiful everything is j ust ; it is only men who maintain


,

that some things a r e unj ust o thers j ust Tr uly nom inalistic are as , .
,

a consequence only those H er aclitean s fo r example C r atylu s who


, , ,

held to an absolute becoming meaning the reby that there is ab so ,

lu tely nothing that can be found to be common in all S uch an .

absolute relativism is represented by the mode rn vitalist philosophies ,

e
g . those
.
, of N ietzsche and Klages N o matte r how often they appeal .

to H eraclitus in reality he is not thei r p rogenito r fo r although all


, ,

things may be to him in the state of flux he held fast always to ,

counte r pulling harmony law and the o gos



( i ) L C
'

- dp p w o n se v a , ,
.

quently science is for him still a possibility In his description of .


FROM TH E M ILE S IANS To TH E ELEATIC S 21

H eraclitus, Ar istotle must ha v e had in mind not H eraclitus but


rathe r the H er acliteans .

H o w then can we be ce r tain of permanent poles in the continuous


fl ow of appea rances ? Th e Eleatics o ffe r us a solution Thei r leade r .

P armenides had heard repor ts of H e raclitus and his teachin gs and


had busied himself with the problems he had raised .

TICS TH E ELEA

Three men brought fame to Elea in lowe r Italy : Xenophanes ,

P armenides and Zeno of Elea


, .

I . X ENOP H ANE S ( 0 . 5 70—4 75

This philosopher was born in C olophon I n Ionia Afte r many .

years of wandering he finally settled in Elea Through him this .

little hamlet became the seat of a famous philosophical school .

Xenophanes is an extremely original and independent thinke r H is .

tr avels had taught him to strike out on his own and to follow
no one s footsteps in his speculation With a c riti cal insight he

.

perceived that the gods of ancient mythology were created acco r ding
to th e image and likeness of man : Th e Ethiopians maintain that “

thei r gods are black skinned and flat nosed ; the Thr acians blue eyed
-
,
-

and redheaded ( Diels Frag ”


This S tatement represents the
,
.

fi rst known critical philosophy of religion Th e problem upon which


.

it touched is no pettie r than the question of a possible recognition of


a transcendent God Th e r st fruit of such a philosophy is the retr eat
.
-

of polytheism According to Xenophanes we must concei ve of the


.

gods in a diffe rent fashion than forme rly : O ne G o d the greatest “

among gods and men neither in form like unto mortals no r in


, ,

thought h e is entirely an eye enti rely a spirit enti rely an ear


. .
, , .

he abides ever in the selfsame place moving not at all ; no r doth ,

it beh t h im to go about now hithe r now thither ( Diels F rags 23 ”


, .
,

24,
is no longe r polytheism Is it actually monotheism ? M ore
This .

probably such statements must be interpreted in a pantheistic sense ,

for Aristotle writes : Wi th reference to the whole material universe


he [Xenophanes ] says the O ne is God (M eta I 5 ; 986 b 24; ed ”


.
, ,
.

M cK eo n p , S uch a view is also contained in the generally


.

pantheistic line of thought with which the pre S o cratics had co n -

cerned themselves And in the O n e God who abides ever in the


.

selfsame place moving not at all whom Xenophanes desc ribes we


, , ,
22 A NCI ENT P HILOSOPH Y
have thus ea rly an intimation of the one continuous cohe rent and ,

immanent Universe which P armenides taught .

2 .P ARM ENIDES ( 0 5 40 470 B C ) .


— . .

This philosophe r was born in E lea H e is supposed to have framed .

a constitution fo r the place of his birth In him as in all the men .

of those early times we find traces of a very practical vi ew of life .

Xenophanes is thought to have been his teacher Bu t in this case the .

pupil is greate r than the master ; he is actually the foremost r epr e


sen tative of the Eleatic philosophy H is writings bore the customary .

title : O n Natu r e ; they were written in heavy albeit stately hexi , ,

ters The first part of the poem of which we possess conside rable
.

portions deals with the way of tr uth This way leads to being ; upon .

this way walk P armenides and philosophy Th e second portion .

points out the way of opinion ; this leads to appearances ; or dinary


mortals may be found upon this road .

Th e w ay of truth 1 ) Being is To unde r stand th e way of tr uth



. .
,

three principles must be understood : Being can be spoken of and “

it can b e th e object of thought F or it is th e same thing that can be .

thought and that can be namely being ; contrariwise no thing is


, , ,

nothing or more Simply Being is th at which is ( Diels Frag


, , ,
“ ”
,
.

6 , This is not mere tautology ; nor is it a recognition of the p r in


cip le of identity drawn from logi c but simply a polemic directed ,

against the H eraclitean ontology of becom ing resulting from the ,

contr ary road the w ay of return ( m A p w A G ) ( D iels


“ ” “ ’ ’
cvr o os xe ev o s
, ,

Frag 6 which refutes clearly the notion of be coming advan ced


.
,

by H e raclitus one that is in volved in contradictions ( compare H r acli


,
e

tus Frag , P armenides merely wishes to assert : there is no


.

becoming ; there is only being If ever in ou r j udgments we make .

use of the expres sion is by it we speak expressly of being “

,

.

P a rmenides st resses I n his exposition the word being and thinks of


it as the opposite of the H eraclitean becoming which for P armenides “

,

represents non being because it is fluid and does not continue in


-

existence We realize that in this theory ancient spec lation seeks


. u

to express itself a speculation which takes for granted that being


,
“ ”

is something s tati c and po ssesses the meaning f immobility or o

repose just as today un critical thinke rs are accustomed to say : what


,

is that is and by such a S tatement attempt to describe a continuously


, ,

subsisting being .

This includes naturally the concept of identity ; logically and


FRO M TH E M ILE S I AN S To TH E ELE A TIC S 23

ontologically being is some thing identical wi th itself something ,

fo r whi h there is neithe r development nor time F ormally unde r


c .

stood it is the antithesis of the concept of H eraclitus An d this an


, .

ti th e sis may stem from the ancient formulation o f the noti on o f

being th at P armenides advanced The explanation that the concept of


.

being has a wider meaning and must include within its extension
not only x i and static self identity will not be advanced in a -

clea r manne r until P lato turns his mind to the subject in his Dialogues
the S oph ist and the P a menid s r e .

"
Thought and being a re the same ( Diels
i

2) Th o u gh t is b eing
“ “
.
,

F rag O r as a parallel passage p r esents it : A tho ught and that


.

of which we think a re the same fo r not without being where it , ,

is expressed will you be confronted by speculation ( Diels Frag


,

, .

8 34 , H is thought does not as Burnet maintains exp r ess a monism , ,

wherein only material being exists and the spirit is nothing individual
o r special Nor does it as C ohen claims infer that only spirit exists
.
, ,

and that matter is but an illusion Rather it simply expresses the


realistic th eory of k nowledge possessed by a sound h um
.
,

an reason
according to which our thinking is a rep roduction of the objecti ve
wo rld Thought is identical wi th being only insofar as it mir rors
.

an obj ect j ust as a copy mirrors the original maste rpiece By such .

phrases he does not advocate monism ( if we held this we would


only be anti ci pat ng future de velopments ) but he actually p ropounds
i ,

a dualism — a dualism so little infected with doubt that it assumes


that the contents of thought are an identical reproduction of the
contents of obj e ctive reality In this sense A ristotle o f
fer s a fu r th e r ex .

planation To say of what is that it is and of what is not that it is


:

not is tr e ( M eta IV 1011 b 27 ; 7 ; ed M cKeon p


, u .
, In the back
, .
, .

ground ho ve r s the metaphysical conviction that think ing and being


are co ordinate Being conceived as a continuou s state of flux does
-
.

not as H eraclitus appeared to assume escape from the fate of a


, ,

notion ha rdened into a mere scheme Th e Logos has its anti thesis .

in th e ontological orde r Aristotle admits this in its entirety when .

he states that the catego ries of the intellect may also be catego ries
of reality Th e philosophical bearing of this position becomes clear
.

when we represent to ourselves the antithetical pos ti on as S tated i

by N ietzsche : P a rmenides has said one cannot think of something


th at is not ; we are on th e opposite Side and we say th at which can ,

be thought must be a fiction .


3) O ne and all The re is a continuous being that is one and all


.

24 A NCIE NT P HILOSOP HY

( am , 6p m? way év iels Frag 8 5



o vve P armenides favo r s a
x s, D
é ,
.
,

u nity in the cosmos in the most radi cal form There are not seve r al .

worlds ; being is only one unive r sal and ubiquitous and everywhere
, ,

the same We cannot pa rtition it into eithe r multiplicity or v ariety


.
,

the individual and the substantial ; no r can We perceive v arious


degrees of intensity in it It is wi thout change and without motion ;
.

it knows nei the r becoming no r dissolution In eternal repose it lies .

befo re us motionless comparable in fo rm to a well rounded globe


,
-
,

en losed unifo rmly within its own p rope r bounda ries


c .

The argumentation he employs to p ro ve the impossibility of becom


ing is extr emely inter esting : H o w could being be destroyed ? H o w

could it originate ? Fo r if it did o riginate ( o r begin ) it is not hing ; and ,

in like fashion [it is nothing ] if it should begin to be in the future


, .

Thus its begin nings a re oblite rated and its dissolution forgotten ,

( D iels Frag
, 8 19 . This
, appea r s to be a play on words and we ,

are tempted to believe that in it we can detect the first str ir r ings of
th e speech mannerisms of erist i c the art of disputation as the Greeks ,

develo ped it at a late r period Bu t in reality we are faced with a rchaic


.

thoughts which cannot maste r the meaning of or gi ve fitting expres


sion to a continued existence both before and afte r denoted by the ,

con cept of being Being cannot originate because fo r these thinkers


.
,

being denotes what has always been and always will be If we should .

permit something to o riginate o r to dissolve we would acco r ding , ,

to thei r viewpoint deny by that ve ry fact being which we take for


, ,

granted eve ry time we speak of it and thus we would become guilty of ,

a contradi ction Finally we would be fo rced to agree that something


.

originates in something else ; then th e contradiction would be even


mo re striking We will find that the same di fficulty also confron ts
.

Anaxagoras ( compa r e bel o w p To clear up the di ffic lty


, . u

Ar istotle late r on int roduces the concept of p r i v atio n ( pn ) and



-
or e o Ls

his distinction between potency and act .

Being as p ropounded by P a rmenides a being which is always the ,

same motionless and persisting in its eternal repose o ffe rs an effecti ve


, ,

polemic to the doctrine of H e raclitus who according to his opponents , ,

recognized only becoming and variety and r efused to acknowledge the


permanent and the uni versal P armenides was led to de velop his .

strange thesis by his mania fo r abstr action which p rescinded enti r ely ,

from any specific determination and consequently resulted in an en


tir e ly undete r mined some thing similar to th e Apeiron of An axi,

mande r only that in his case it was called being Thus we can explain
, .
FROM TH E MILE S IANS To TH E ELE A TIC S 25

both universal sameness of his being and his denial of multiplicity


the .

Th e repose whi ch he ascribes to his being may be traced again to the


“ ”

ancient assumption that being denotes an existence identi cal with itself .

P a rmenides of set purpose had adopted spe culation as the only


way to arrive at truth In his poem he emphatically warns us through
.

a goddess to beware of sense experiences A void the way of investiga .


tion ; do not be enticed by the force of well entrenched habit to —

take this path To let the blind eye and the booming hearing and th e
.

tongue do as they please ; no decidedly no Through speculation


, .

bring to a decisive conclusion the disputatious examination ( Diels ”


,

Frag . This distinction between th e experiences o f the senses and


the knowledge of reason is retained throughout the course of the
history of philosophy Rationalism in manifold guises will always
.

follow the road which P armenides opened up for the first time In .

cont r ast to H eraclitus P armenides had shown the w ay which led


,

to fixed truths which are always ident cal with themselves : abstract i

reasoning By this advance we arrive at a fixed pole in the continuous


.

flow of appearances M any reasons led P armenides to substitute the


.

world of the Logos of thought for reality and to arrive at his own
, ,

peculia r concept of being First he failed to reali z e that all concepts


.
,

reached by abstract r easoning are only artificial c rystallizations and


schemati z ations of artificially stressed aspe cts and partial c rcumstances i

— e v en though these aspects and circumstan ces might be basi c and

essenti al — of a reality that is far more rich and manifold S econd .


,

he erroneously believed th at his world of ideas was the real world .

Those physi cists ( qb m l) to whom the unive r sal is everyth ing


v xo

and th e particula r nothing who deny all individuality and all plural
,

ity all change and all becoming and who permit the world to jell
, , ,

into an eternally unva rying and uniform monotone are called by


Aristotle a—ph ysicists natural scientists for whom nature
no longer exists because they have happily explained away the world
— acosmism .

In the same spirit later on S pinoza and H egel would debase the
individual o r singular because to them reality was a whole and the
,
“ ”

individual only a moment in the cosmic process and not at all true
“ ”

substance O nly the universal is essential to P armenides For H eraclit s


. . u

it is only the individual that has any meaning Wh o is right ? What .

is the true world : the world of the sense which stands in the eternal
flow of time but is itself only transitory a sense world of concrete ,

reality wi th its multiplicity and its fullness ; or the supernal abstract , ,


26 A N C I E NT P H I L O S O P H Y
ideational world of th e Logos and o f scien e with its pale al though c ,

widely valid niversals ? An d if th e essential is to be sought in the


,
u

uni versal in wh at universal must it then be sought ? In the species


,

o r in the gen s or in some still more sublime universality ? If we S hould


u

be asked to name th e essence of an individual dog what would ,

be more correct to say This is Fido or This terrier is a dog or This


:

is a living being or This is being ? P armenides held that this last


denomination was the more correct A ristotle ventured his answer .

to this problem by ma k ing a distinction between first and second


substance and by this distinction he preserved the rights both of the
individual and the universal Furthermore by teaching that being
.
,

is not a concept of genus be cause it must be under stood not univo


,

cally but analogi cally h e saved the multiformity of being at th e


, ,

same time ma k ing it possible to compare it with other s .

Th e w ay o f opi nion Bu t P a r menides does not appear to have


.

been entirely satisfied with his way of truth In certain respe cts h . e

c on edes th at th e way of op n on ( sag ) may also be valid O f the


c i i a .

portion of his poem which treats of this concession not m u ch is


p reserved Bu t from th e remnant wh ich we possess we are able to
.

perceive that an opinion exists not th rough the k nowledge of th e

intellect but through th at of th e senses O n th e basis of th sense . e

faculty arises th e image both of becoming and of m ltiplicity in u

the world In reality this image is h owever a de eption and the


.
, , c

work of the ph antasy or the imagination as S pinoza will say


,

later when he places h is feet on the path fi rst trod by P armenides .

According to P armenides sense knowledge is not ideal ; nonetheless


, ,

the great maj ority of people th masses are ontent with appear
— e — c

a n ce s and with opinion .

A s the end result of our st dy of P armenides we can draw the u

conclusion that scientific truth ; when it is a tually tru th remains c ,

eternal ; whereas we owe to H eraclitus the view that the actual world ,

insofar as it is present in space and in time flows on forever Th e , .

former is the world of though t the latter the world of sense , .

3 . ZEN O ( c . 460

also came from Elea and h e is thought to have been t h e


He
fa vorite pupil of P armenides Zeno is th e first of a not insigni fi cant
.

numbe r of philosophers who I n the struggle for th e right of free


speculation became th e vi ctims of tyranny H i writings bore th .
\
s e

usual title : Abo u t Natu r e Eleatic philosophy received from h im tha t;


.

28 A NCIE NT P HILO SOP H Y
th e in nite numbe r of places momentarily occupied into which the
flight of the arrow can be resolved ( 2) When he mentions being.
,

we are to think i mmediately of a positive real quantity of being .

Being can however denote some thing negative for we speak of it


, , ,

i n the p redication is An d the lead which the turtle holds in the


“ ”
.

race is such a negative q uantity S ince the Eleatics stick so slavishly


.

to the wo rd being they insinuate that th e turtle always keeps a


,

positive real distance ahead of Achilles (3) According to Zeno being


.
,

consists of blo cks of reality that are imm anent and knowable solely

in themselves but which we can perceive directly and immediately .

It is foreign to the speculation of the Eleatics to hold that speculation


c an determine a being by various indirect means and from seve r al

standpoints and consequently they refuse to recognize that a quantity


,

of movement can be measured in a variety of ways .

A ve r y special and final problem is the question of the relationship


between thought and being Th e Eleati cs take fo r granted th e theory
.

of images and assume that there is a complete identity between


knowledge and the object of the knowledge From this arise all .

their difficulties M any statements of theory will still have to be made


.

before the philosophe rs a rriv e at the conclusion that the soul possesses
its own set of laws ; that it avails itself only of certain aspects and
moments of being ; that it can often determine being only indirectly ;
and that it can on occasion bypass and build up a world of pure
thought that is alien to reality .
CHAPTER

FR O M TH E M E C HANIS T S T O TH E S OP H IS T S

I . TH E M E C HA NI S TS
A NAX A GORA S AND

H e r aclitus and the Eleatics adopted some v ery extreme positions


in the theo ries which they propounded It would indeed be strange .

if in the succeeding decades attempts should not ha ve been made to


reconcile the anti theses which had appeared S uch e ffo r ts we re made ; .

and as we have already seen in the case of H e raclitus opposing


, ,

theo ries were in deed thought provoking -


.

TH E ME C HANI S TS
Unde r this title we bring togethe r three philosophers who are
responsible fo r a new type of philosophy the theo ry of M echanism ,
.

F rom this period on this tendency will continue to find ever new
disciples an d follower s i n the history of Weste rn thought We will .

bette r be able to pass j udgment on it afte r we have lea rned to know


its fir st p roponents Empedocles Leucippus and Democritus , ,
.

I E D L S (0
. M P E OC E . 492 432
-

This philosophe r came from Ak r agas the mode rn Agrigento in ,

S icily H e was an extr aordina ry individual pa r tly lustr al priest seer


.
, , ,

and prophet partly wandering preacher and wonde r wo rker and


,
-
,

beyond all this a politician physician poet an d sobe r scienti st H is


, , , , .

era looked upon him as a p rodigy ; like a god he stalked th rough


the world C onsiderable fragments of his H ymns of Repa ration
.
“ ”

K e pp l an d his work on natu re ha v e been p rese rv ed Both we r e


( a a
) to .

written in ve r se .

Elements Th e first problem to whi ch Empedocles sought to r eply


.

was the question of the Ar ch e th e P rima ry P rin ciple Whe reas the , .

M ilesians recognized only one basic element he p roposed fo r con ,

sideration fou r original substances : fire wate r ai r and earth These , , , .

a re the four roots ( p éé p m ) of being To these four all things


“ ”
r i a .

29
30 A NCIE NT PH ILO S OP HY
tr ace thei r origin by the process of either composition or dissolution .

In th ei r quality howe ver they a re something final ; they were neither


, ,

cal led into nor w ill th ey pass out of existence ; only particles are
, ,

splintered from them and ente r into new combinations wi th th e


parti cles of oth er roots What men call becoming and dissoluti on

.

is therefore composition and separation There is no such thing


, , .

as a bi rth among mortal men ; neithe r is the r e an end in accu r sed


death but only composition and in terchange in the materials that a re
,

mixed ( D iels F rag ,


.

Fo r Empedocles becoming is merely a change of place H e con


, .

S ider ed his four roots as something both demoniacal and di vine ;


“ ”

they are named Zeus H ere N estis and Adoneu s The alchemists of , , , .

the Renaissance called th em spirits and they reappea r in the wo rks “

,

of Goethe as S alamande r Un dene S ylphe and C obold Th e names , , , .

have indeed disappeared but th e concept roots of being the notion , ,



,

of elements “
as we say today has remained F or it is this concept
— .

of elements which Empedocles b rought to light in his teaching on


the ultimate qualitative constituents of nature What he considered to .

be an actual element was not such in r eality and although he had


no ink ling of their actual numbe r he at least correctly perceived the ,

idea of element An d of equal importance is his second idea bound


.

up with this concept of element namely the idea of the eternity of , ,


'

prime matter in the world o r as the mode rns have renamed it the , ,

law of the conservation of matter .


Lo v e an d hate E mpedocles endowed his matte ; with force Th e


. .

original substances in some fashion or another must be put into


, ,

motion For him this took place by means of two elemental forces
. .
,

love and hate ( p A d


) T w o things will
c I I tell you

ca —: sometimes
v xo s .

one substance coalesces from several elements ; sometimes it separates


into its component parts This continuous interchange neve r ceases
. .

S ometimes all are j oined togeth e r in love ; sometimes the indi v idual
substances disuni te in the hatred of strife ( Diels Frag This , .

could be concei v ed almost as hylozoism ; it is r athe r an attempt to

explain being by taking for its basis certain notions of the spiritual
life of man .

M ech anism Bu t this does not give rise to the uncritical an


.

th o po mo ph ism to whi ch we are accustomed in mythology where


r r ,

the gods meddle in the a ffairs of the world as pleasure or caprice


dictates The continuous composition and dissolution takes place
.


alternately in the rotation of the cycles i n the rotation of time
,
” “

,
9, C“ ”
FROM TH E MECHA N ISTS To TH E S OP H ISTS 31

( Diels , F rags 26 1 ; 17 . A ll this is accomplished by th e law


, ,

which is being itself ; it is a ccomplished therefo re by itself ; it is


accomplished automatically .

For mation of th e wo r ld Th e four great epochs of the world .

alternate regula rly with one another in the rotation of the cycles In .

the first of these four periods that of the perfect S phere only love , ,

( harmony ) predominates E ve rything is one ; the re is no separation


. .

In the seco nd period discord interferes ; the unity is broken ; the


elements become divided and multiplicity increases In this pe riod .

the worlds arose We live in this period Finally disco r d is conquered


. .
,

and there is nothing save variety without unity the thi rd period : .

Bu t then in the fourth pe riod love asserts itself again and when
, , ,

it finally prevails at the end unity and ha rmony will again hold ,

sway Thus we have again th e epoch of the S phere and with it the
.

whole process begins all ove r again .

In this account of the cycles of the world it is interesting to obse rve


how Empedocles utilizes the ideas of a vortex spontaneous gene ration , ,

and morphological evolution Insofar as love brings togethe r the .

separated particles of the elements by means of a vortex we arrive


,

at the fo rmation of the first heavenly body or sphere By a fur ther


.

vor tex lik e fo rmation the r mamen t ai r and ethe r we re detached


, , , ,

and by a rotation of the earth water Through the bene cen t influ , .

ence of the sun s rays the first living beings came into existence upon

the ea r th Thei r original forms were monst rous ; only late r did th e
.

present fo rms evolve from them .

Th e wo rld o f spir its Empedocles b usied himself not only with


.

th e material world but also with the world of spirits o r of souls .

They should have found a home wi th the gods Bu t because of a .

blasphemy these souls wer e hurled down upon th e earth and here
,

they must undergo metempsychosis through a long series of reinca rna


t ons until they are again purified (
i ,
K fl pp
— cleansed is the title a a
'
oz
“ ”

of one of his books ) and libe rated from their bodies before they
may again enter into the next life H e re Empedocles is p ropounding .

O rphic P ythagorean views


-
.

K no w ledge H is theory of knowledge is worthy of note A t its


. .

core is the thought : we re cognize like by like In sense perception .

there is a meeting between an element in us and a simila r element


outside us With our own matte r we percei ve the earth ; wi th our
.

water water ; with our air divine ai r ; with our fire th e sco rching
, , ,

blaze ; with our love the love of the world ; and its hatred with our
, ,
32 A NCIENT P HILO SOP H Y
own sorry hate ( Diels Frag What he means by this becomes
, .

evident when we recall that we are best able to understand the


soul life of a stranger by comparing it with our own ; o r if we

remember that p h ilosophy requires that the categories of reason and


of being must in a certain sense he co ordinated and equated In the
, ,
-
.

ba ckground the problem of the relation between th ought and being


can be dis cerned .

Th e speculation of Empedo cles forms an interesting synthesis of


the do ctrine of H eraclitus and the Eleatics H e tend s imth e direction . -

of th e Eleati c philosophy when he teaches that there is a qualitatively


unchangeable being which never became and which is indestructible .

H is first world epoch in parti cular is constru cted on Eleatic prin ciples .

H e moves in the dire tion of H eraclitean thought when he propounds


c

th e theory which holds to a continuous composition and separation

wh ich for him constitutes becoming and which governs the other
world epochs Despite his constant un hangeable being we n d
.

that Empedocles insists upon be oming and motion H is attempt c


, c

.
, fi
to explain be oming as a constantly recu rring automatic happening
c ,

is novel In this as well as in the resolution of becoming to a mere


.

l cal ch an ge of primary parti cles we can perceive the first begi nn i ngs
o ,
,

of mechanisti speculation c .

2 . LEU CI P P US AND DE M OC RI TUS ( 0 . 46 0— 370

A n cient
documents usually consider these two philosophers as th e
typical representatives of atomism and materialism Th e glamour and .

the accomplishments of Democritus have entirely eclipsed Leucippus ,

so that we know s carcely any more of him than his name Democritus .

of Abde ra conseq uently appears to us as much greater than perhaps


, ,

he actually was H e is looked upon as a universal genius at least equal


.

in fame and in rank to A ristotle To warrant such a conclusion we .

nee d only ex amine the long list of his writings on the natural laws ,

nature the planets plants mankind the soul the perceptions of the
, , , , ,

senses color the manifold S tru cture of th e atom the laws of thought
, , , ,

th e appulses of circles and spheres proportionless lines and atoms , ,

numbers rhythm and harmony the art of poetry medical knowledge


, , , ,

agriculture painting tactics th e concept of the soul according to th e


, , ,

wise men life after death etc In this list we can detect the keen
, , .

and limitless curiosity of the scholar Were it not fo r a group of .

fragments all this would have remained unknown to us Democritus


, .

was theoretically a mater ialist ; practically he is one of the gre atest


FROM TH E MECHA N I STS To TH E SOP H ISTS 33

idealists of all times To be th e first to discove r a causal link between


.

seemingly dispa rate happenings would have made him happier than
to be the hero who captured the throne of P ersia In such feats .

he found rest fo r his soul H is contempo ra ries dubbed him the .


laughing philosopher .

Being 1 ) Th e ato m Th e fundamental concept in his philosophy


. .

was the ato m Fo r Democritus there was a uniform being wi thout


.

any qualitativ e di fferentiation Bu t this being is no longe r a con .

tin u o u s whole Demo critus breaks up the one being of P armenides


.
,

into very small parti cles whi ch are indivisible and are therefore called
atoms Just as Empedo cles developed the notion of an element so
.
,

Democritus developed the noti on of the atom Th e atom fills space .


,

is impenetrable and heavy ; it is eternal and indestr uctible Th e num .

be r of atoms is infinite It possesses no qualities ; all atoms are of the


.

same kind Bu t there are di fferences of form


. S i ckle shaped -
,

hook—shaped and spheri cal atoms ) as well as di ffe ren ces in size Th e
,
.

atoms furthermo re can be arranged in di fferent ways ; they can


, ,

occupy various positions We can explain the diversity of things .

by purely quantitative moments .

With regard to the qualities of being Demo critus again moved ,

toward P armenides Empedo cles too had not admitted qualitative


.

changes in the elements onl y a quantitative one but he had never, ,

th eless taken for granted four di f ferent basic elements fo r the con
s titu tio n of being For Demo critus as for P armenides being is uniform ;
.

there are no qualitative di fferences because the atoms are all alike ,
.

In opposition to P armenides Demo critus did concede other di ffe rences , ,

such as those i nvolving quantity and change of place The atoms .

possess vari ous forms and different quantities ; they differ in size ;
they onstantly shift from one arrangement to ano the r and from one
c

place to another thereby modifying th e obj ects which are composed


,

of th em We are aware of this change ; for example when the atoms


.
,

lie close together they alter appreciably the hardness and the weight

of objects .

H o w then are we to explain the v arious qualities of things of


, ,

which our sense perceptions make us aware e g sweetness bitter , . .


, ,

ness warmth various colors ? Democritus is entirely logical ; he ma i n


, ,
~

tains that these perceptions are entirely subj ective ( wimp) S ense pe r .

cep tio n s as they appear to us do n o t reprodu ce objective reality In


, , .

the quality of sensation that is experienced in our consciousness these ,

perceptions are absorbed by our sense o rgans which then tr anslate ,


34 AN C I E N T I S
P H LO O P HY

them into their own subjecti ve language O nly insofar as th e senses


.

make known to us differences of quantity ( extension form mass , , ,

hea viness hardness ) ar e they true to nature ( l ) By this Demo c


, ,
C l o et .

ritus anti cipates the differentiation between primary and se condary


sensory qualities advocated by Descartes and Locke in modern times .

H as the development of philosophy proved h im to be correct in his


con cept of the atom ? N o for we have a list of more th an ninety
,

elements and what is synonymous with this a like number of different


, ,

basic qualities of material being If we S hould however mull over .


, ,

the theory that all elements may be reduced to a n cleus of water u

atoms and a corresponding number of electrons we would reali ze ,

that Democritus by his theory had expressed an idea inspired by


, ,

genius .

2) S pace Allied to the notion of the atom is the on cept of empty


. c

S pace
. This must be taken for granted as soon as the postulate of
a S ingle continuous being is denied Non being empty unfilled space .
-
,

lies between being that is broken up into parti cles This con cept is .

as necessary fo r Democritus as the atom itself What is not is j ust .


“ ”

as mu ch real as what is ( Diels Frag This empty spa ce is partly



, .

in the bodies themselves because these are of a porou s nature and


, ,

partly outside the bodies .

3) M otio n Th e third component in the analysis of the world is


.

th e con ception of motion whi ch Demo critus proposes Th e atoms .

move about in empty space Thre e things are characteristic of this


.

motion : I t i s eternal takes place violently ( Big) that is under pres “ ”

sure and impulse and is self—caused ( m é p dm ) S implicius gives


, , ,

c r a r o v
, .

us an account of it : They contend that the atoms the primeval


bodies eternally move themselves in infinite emptiness by S heer


,

violence ( Diels Frag 67 A



, An d A ristotle asserts : There are
.

some who make the automaton entirely responsible for the m men t r a

and fo r all cosmic realities ; the vortex arises of itself as does that
motion which the universe has through separ ation and composition , ,

imparted to th e present order of things ( Diels F rag 6 8 A Th e



, .

basis for this concept of the vortex wh ich appears in his speculation
as well as in that of Empedocles is a simple observation : We may “

observe this in the sifting of seeds and in boulders in th e surf ; for


by the vortex in the sieve the lentils are separated from lentils ,

barley from barley and wheat from wheat ; in th sea on the oth er
,
e ,

hand by the crash of the waves the long S tones are brought loser
, c

to th e long and the round to the ro u nd as if the similarity of things


, ,
36 ANCIE NT P H ILOSOP HY
whethe r or not othe r causes are required in order fully to unde r stand
being And finally it is not difficult to perceive that th e theory of
.

Democritus investigates the parts into whi h being can be resolved c ,

but o verlooks the othe r facto r s that contribute to its unity Goeth e .

would say : You have the pieces in your hand What you nee d

.
,

though is th e mental bond that brings them together


,
.

K nowledge Democritus believed that the atoms alone su f


. ficed .

H o w completely he was captivated by this prin ciple we can assay


from his own assertion th at the soul is also composed of atoms .

Thought is simply the atom in motion N aturally sense knowledge .


,

is derived from the image s o r eidol whi ch detach themselves from a

O bj ects S tream into the sense organs then meet the atoms of the soul
, , .

F rom the meeting knowledge results Th e di fference between sense .

knowledge and intellectual knowledge is only a di fference of degree ;


thinking produces a fine r and mo re rapid atomic motion than does
sense perception In such a theory materialism is very apparent
. .

No thing else exists in the world save matter ; soul and spi r it a r e
neither individual no r unique ; they a re only atoms and atomic motion .

E thics M atters appear quite otherwise when we examine the ethics


.

of Democritus H is practi cal rules of condu ct are based upon a high


.

idealism Anyone who feels himself compelled to perform j oyously


.

actions which of themselves are upright and lawful will be happy


day and night and will in addition be strong and untroubled Co n .

tr ar iw ise whoeve r neglects j ustice and fails to act as he should


,

will be fi lled with disgust when he remembers his omissions and ,

he will taste remo rse and to r ture himself ( Diels Fr ag


, Valian t ”
,
.

is he who not only o v ercomes his enemies but also he who over ,

comes his desires M an y are lords of cities but b o n dsla e s of women



.
,
v

( D iels F rag , D o not strive


. after every plea sure but only afte r ,

the pleasure of beauty ( Diels F rag H is theory of a mo ral



, .

p rinciple does not appear to be in agreement with such statements .

Fo r when Democritus asks himself what the ultimate principle o f


good what the ultimate essence of good might be the answer
, , ,

state s : Goodness denotes ultimately pleasan tness ( d aw n) or agree


ableness A s a consequence th e Epicureans could press him into
.
,

service as a forerunner in support of their own theories All feelings .

are as all speculation merely atoms in motion In such a concept we


, , .

can plainly dis cern anew the mate r ialist ifonl y in theo r y S uch a code , .

of ethics fi ts in very conveniently with A tomism ; and the w hole


FROM TH E MECHA NISTS TO TH E S OP H I S TS 37

metaphysics the theory of knowledge and ethics — fo rms a well


, ,

rounded and compact system .

A N A X A G O R A S (0 5 8 . 00 42

Although chronologically earlie r Anaxagoras must be studied after ,

the Atomists For only then can S tudents fully app reciate the problems
.

that wer e created by mate rialism Anaxagoras of C laz omenae carried .

the philosophy of Ionia to Ath ens This evoked such a reaction among .

he r leading philosophe r s that he had to undergo a trial on the charge


of impiety F or he had theorized that the sun was not a god only
.
,

a red hot stone Anaxagoras anticipated the sentence that would have
-
.

been meted out and fled to Lampsacus where he died honored by , ,

all When his friends chided him because he was forced by circum
.

stances to die on foreign soil he is supposed to ha v e replied : The ,


way into the unde rworld is equidistant from all points of the com
pass H is work On Natu r e was sold in Athens as S o crates tells us
.

, ,

fo r a drachma .

1 H O M O I OM E RI ES
.

Th e mater ial
wo rld In A naxago ras we can plainly detect
o f th e .

the efforts which the pre So cratic philosophers made to solve th e -

p roblem of being and of becoming In his writings he o ffers us an .

entirely new solution H is starting point is th e supposition that I t i s


.

impossible for anything to arise out of no thing o r to be reduced to


nothingness C onsequently we should speak not of becoming bu t
.

of a new composition not of dissolution but of di vision Bu t what


, .

is it that is everywhere at the basis of becoming ? What is th e final


constituent element of the world ? Th e solution whi ch he o f fe red w as
derived from a simple obse rvation Th e ideas which are so s triking .

among th e pre S oc ratic philosopher s may usually be traced to j ust


-

such simple considerations Th e P ythagoreans arrived at thei r notion


.

of harmony by an examination of th e relation that exists between


tone and th e length Of a co rd Democritus hit upon th e notion of a .

world shaping vortex and its formati ve powe r by noting the processes
-

involved in the sifting Of wheat and in th e beat of waves on ocean


beaches A naxagoras also reflected long and deeply on human nourish
.

ment and asked himself : H w can hair grow from non hai r and “
o -
,

flesh from non fl esh ? ( Diels F rag -


From this consideration he

, .

concluded that the matter which


g av e r is e to S ome thin
g els e mu st
38 A N C I E N T P H I LO S O P H Y
have been germinally that which it later became Th e ultimate ele .

ments are seeds ( pj m ) and conseq uently at least q ualitatively


“ ”
o vr e

ua

are in essence like to the finished product ; they are h mo iomer ies o

( én p i
o co
p j o f S
e imilar— parts ) as A ristotle so aptly des cribes them A s , .

fo r Democrit s there was an infi nite number of qualitatively homo


u

en e u s atoms
o so for A naxagoras there is an infinite number of
g ,

qualitatively di fferent h omo iomer ies because the essences of finished


,

things are q ualitatively infinitely diverse These h o mo iomer ies are .


eternal indestru ctible and u nchangeable Th rough the preponderance


, , .

of a definite qualitative form e ve ry single thing is determined in its ,

own peculiar species That of which there is most in a thing that as


.

, ,

th e most clearly r e cogni z able factor is and was the individual thing

,

( D iels F rag , .

Anax agor as and Dem o c ritu s A naxago ras assumed a position .

diametri cally opposed to that of Democritus In the case of D moc . e

ritus we must deal with a man w h o is biased in favor of analysis ;


in A naxagoras with one who is prej udiced in favor of synthesis
, .

For Anaxagoras the f ormed reality alone should abso rb our attention ,

a primacy which Aristotle himself attributed to it C onsequently .

the h omo i mer ies must be endowed with fo rm For Demo critus only
o .

the unformed the most universal have meaning as they do for the
, ,

M ilesians and P armenides Th e q uestion must eventually be de .

velo ed more fully : Where must the essential be sought in the


p ,

universal or in the parti ular ? c

2 . NO US
world more than matte r S peculation that is oriented by
Th e .

sensory unities univocal meani ngs wholes and substances can be


, , ,

clearly recognized in the se cond cardinal con cept of A naxagoras his ,

doctrine of the spi rit ( 0 ) and its role in being and in the formaV0 9

tion of being By it the doctrine of Democritus is essentially aug


.

men te d and developed Aristotle has outlined clearly th e state of the


.

problem H e writes : For it is not likely either that fire or earth


.

or any such element Should be the reason why th ings manifest good
ness and beauty both in their being and in their coming to be o r ,

that those thinker s [those prio r to A naxagoras ] should ha ve supposed


it was ; nor again could it be right to entrust so great a matter to
spontaneity and chance When one man [Anaxagoras ] said then .
, ,

that reason was p resent as in animals so th roughout natu re — as —


,

the cause of o r de r and of all a rrangement he seemed like a sober


FROM TH E M EC HA N I STS To TH E S OP HISTS 39

man in con trast with the random talk of his predecesso rs (M eta
I 3; 984 b l 1 ff ; ed M cKeo n pp 695
, . .P lato de v eloped this idea , .

in a still mo re concrete fashion when he permitted S ocrates I n pri son ,

to question himself : Do I perhaps sit he r e because my body is made


up of bones and muscles or do I assign ten thousand othe r causes


of the same sort forgetting to mention the true cause which is that
,

the Ath enians have thought fit to condemn me and I have thought ,

it better and right to remain here and undergo my sentence ? ”

( P h a e do 9 8, d and ,0 ed Jowett Vol II pp 4


, 8 2 M ate
. r ialistic , .
, .

mechanistic causality does not therefore su ffi ce to explain all reality , , .

There are pro cesses whi ch take pla ce solely because a final o r pur
o siv e cause is operative
p .

Who leness pu rpo se spir it A longside that analytic method of


, , .

examining being which is restricted solely to the material elements


,

of being the re is now arranged a synthetic method which is devoted


,

to dealing with uni vocal meanings wholes and continuities of pur , ,

pose and of order S uch a teleological explanation of being is possible


.

solely on the supposition that there is a principle which is not only


logical but also dynamic ( 7 6 a l x i l X l n yw 1/ for o ec Ka O

t el.

e
'
r ov
,

it has all knowledge about everything and th e greatest


A naxago r as finds this prin ciple in a spirit whi ch is at one and
the same time the power both to th ink and to will H is N ou s .

o r Reason is the source of motion in th e universe ( Diels Frag ,


.

12 13) and also the principle of order This N ous is something


, .

infinite self ruling exists for itself is omniscient omnipotent and


,
-
, , , ,

dominant Anaxagoras did not it is true as Aristotle noted make


.
, , ,

a ve ry extensi v e use of this principle Bu t we must c redit him with .

certain original discoveries : he des cribed for the first time a new
( )
1
causali ty the regulative final or purposive cause ; ( 2) he stressed a
,

new k ind of being the spirit ; ( 3) he specified a new and unique


,

origin of motion Anaxagoras is the first dualist even though he did


.
,

not succeed in separating th e sp i ri tual entirely from the corporeal ,

fo r to him spir it is still the s u btlest and the pure st matte r .


3. WORLD
F ORM A T I ON O F TH E

What Anaxagoras had to say about the cosmogony is no longer


important In th e beginning when the eternal seeds
.
,
“ ”

wer e huddled together in confused ch aos th e spirit took hold begot ,

motion ( rotary impulse ) and caused a separation of th e seeds one


,

from another In this fashion orde r w as bro u ght into the w orld
.
40 A NCI E NT P H ILO S OP H Y

( D iels ,
Frags 5 9 A 42 ; B . Bu t th e r ole of the spirit was not ,

ended by this action Th e Spirit was not the creator of the world
.
,

r ath e r its architect and its builder ; but not even this completely for ,

th e mechanisti c causes i mmediately began to exert their power These .

causes produ ced certain e f fe ts by rotation ; they separated on the c

one side warmth dryness light thinness and on the other coldness
, , , , ,

moistur e darkness and thickness This separation continued until


, ,
.

the material world was fully organized and arranged ; but this process
was and is alw ays mech an istic ‘
.

O nly in the philosophy of P lato and A ristotle do idea and spirit


become th at power whi ch pervades all things and penetrates the -

formation of being down to the minutest organism Bu t it was .

Anaxagoras nevertheless who was the fir st to treat of the spirit and


, ,

its activity namely the power of reflection and the S trength to will
, ,
.

II . TH E SO PH I S T S
REVI S I ON OF TERM INOL O G Y AND OF VALUE S
In comparison to the wisdom of the Ionians the spirit of the ,

S ophists is indeed something quite surprising N o t only be ause it . c

busies itself with other topi cs — man takes the place of the world
but also because in its entire essen ce it is di fferently expressed In .

relation to the ancient w o r ld it is like an orator to a savant a trick


_
,

artist to an arti st a pettifogger to a lawyer


, .

SOPHISTS TH E
Th e fi r st among the S ophists both in time and i n importan ce , ,

is P rotagoras of Abdera ( c 48 1 41 1 Like all the other S ophists .



,

he too led a wandere r s life H e appear ed for a S hort while in A thens



.
l
,

came into contact with the most influential political personages and ,

exerted influence over public life Because of his writings on th e nature .

of the gods he was summoned for trial on th e harge of impiety


, c .

While fleeing this tribunal he died H is work O n T th contains , . ru

the famous di ctum : h o mo —me ns u r a M an is the measu re of all


things A little younger than P rotagoras was P o dicu s of Chios
.

r

( Julis )
. H e was a ctive also in politi c s In his book O n A g the . e

beautiful myth of H eraclitus S tands at the parting of ways A further .

and still younger contemporary of these figures is H ippias of Elis ,

a polyhisto r world travele r pompous orato r j ack o fall trades and


, , ,
- — -
,

p o litician O ne of the most r enowned names is that of Gorgias of


.
FROM TH E ME CHA NISTS TO TH E SOP HISTS 41

Leo ntini an extraordinarily gifted o rator and teache r


( 48 3 375

of rhetoric H e too occupied a prominent place in politics H is dis


. .

ci le s were C allicle s and C itias both typical representatives of the


p r ,

school might is right Th e last named C r itias was a relati ve of


, .
, ,

P lato When the oligarchy seized power in G r ee ce ( 404


. he was
the ringleade r of the Thirty About the year 427 Th r asymach u s he .
,

came known in A thens H e appears in th e first book of P lato s .


Repu blic P lato also dedicated Dialogues to P rotagoras Gorgias and


.
, ,

H ippias O n the other hand he neve r mentioned Antiphon of Athens


.
,

most of whose sophistic Fr agments have been p reserved .

1 .P OLI TICS AND R HE TORI C


What obj ecti ve did the S ophists aim at ? Th ey were tea chers of
vi r tue as has Often been said Bu t the Ar ch ? of which they often
,
.

spoke is not virtue but in its original meaning simply a proficiency


, ,

dexterity o r readiness AS used by them it denoted a political pro


, .

cien c
y political
, dexterity W e are now in the era of P e r i clean
.

imperialism This age needed men who are willing to fight and to
.

conque r prepa r ed to lay siege to the latest frontie r s ; this age needed
,

men who willed to su cceed who sought to perform great deeds who , ,

aimed to make names fo r themselves S ophist ry did mean education .


,

as has always been maintained but only political edu cation and the ,

formation of leaders not educati on i e popula r education as we


, , . .
, ,

understand it today Th e new horizons which the S ophists opened


.

naturally inspired the you th of thei r day with enthusiasm S o far .

did these ideas penetrate that it would not have taken much to bring
the populace to ca rry around on thei r Shoulder s the men who taught
the new way of life .

Th e means of achie v ing this goal was speech Bu t what kind of .

speech ? Natu rally it had to be brilliant Th e speake r had to be versed .

in all subj ects and he had to be able to speak always on an y subject


that was o ffer ed to him Bu t the speech also had to be convincing . .

Th e art of conv nci ng others was th e A ete of the S ophists H o w can


'

i r .

we convince others ? P rotagoras replied : The speaker must be able


to tu rn a weak argument into a strong one ( w ij w Ady p m r c

'
rr ov x

a r

w i ) Gorgias was of th e opinion that spee ch is a poison wi th which


o re v .

a person can do everything poison or bewitch C onsequently con , .


v ictio n does not serve simply to convey truth but to accomplish



,

whateve r the speaker might desire S uch use does not imply th at .

other s are con v inced rather that they ar e persuaded The S ophists
, .
42 A NCIENT P HILO SO P H Y
called the art they pu rposed to cultivate soul guidance
P lato retorted : No t soul guidance but soul ensnarement ; it is nothing ,

but disputation word j uggling equivocation ambiguity and verbal


, , , ,

sham battle Th e art is concerned not with obj ective tr uth but with
.
,

personal subj ective interest Because of this the term soph ist y acquired
. r

a disreputable meaning one which has persisted throughout the ,

centuries down to ou r own day .

2 . TH ES OP H I S T O U TLOO K UP ON L IFE
I S sophistry philosophy ? It is not wisdom in the mean ing whi ch
pre S ocratic metaphysics attached to it ; it is also not science in th t:
-

strict sense of the word It is not wrong howe ve r to devote a special


.
, ,

section to it in the history of philosoph y although perhaps too mu ch ,

honor was conferred upon it by declaring that in sophistr y philosophy


turns to man as its subj ect and deals with great problems in connec
tion wi th the theory of knowledge and the theory of value S ophistry .

recogni zed no problems ; it k new only propaganda I t was not too .

concerned with philosophi cal interest ; its primary concern was p r c a

ti cal aspirations Bu t we may speak of th e intellectual outlook that


.

the S ophists cultivated for even politicians may hanker afte r some
,

k ind of world view Behind this outlook there can be discerned


.
,

at least indirectly the looming figure of philosophy And this ar t


,
.

,

namely to philosophi ze in a p ractical fash ion in terms of a definite


,

outlook and of a standard of life produces a greater effe ct upon ,

the masses than a conscious theory of life even though the former ,

may be less firmly bolstered by argument and less positive in its


conclusions Fu rthermore individual S ophists occasionally took an
.
,

a tive part in direct philosophi cal spe ulation Under stood in this
c c .

sense we may single out two basi c on epts in th eir intellect al


, c c u

outlook their sceptical relativism and their doctrine of might


: .

Scep ticism and relativism Th e Ionians had purs u ed their phil


.

o so h ical tho ght without being disturbed by any doubt as to th


p u e

ability of human reason to arrive at truth Bu t with the S ophists this .

doubt appears P rotagoras contended that th ere are no universally


.

valid objective truths Th truth does not depend on the obj ect ;
. e

objective ontents of reality are not taken intentionally into th e mind


c ,

nor by every mind in the same way ; only th e subj e ct expresses itself .

We can look upon th ings either in this way or in that A S the in .


dividual thing appears to be to me so it is for me ; as it appears to ,

be to you so it is fo r you ( Diels F rag By that asse rtion man



, .
,
44

A NCIE NT P HILO SOP H Y


whatever was improper what individuals hold to be su ch and — —

from this entire mass choose whate ve r was still p rope r — what indi
vidu als again considered to be such not a single thing would —

remain but all would divide eve rything among themselves ( Diels
,

,

Frags 90 2 . Thus N omos signi fi es that a thing exists only by


, , ,

reason of law ( ear ) This leads to far reaching consequences An ti


y .
-
.

phon o ffers as his opinion : man can transgress against th e Nomos ,

but he should not permit himself to be seen H e considered even .

national ties as nonentities : all men ar e to him the same H ippias .

of EliS thinks along th e same lines ( P lato P r otagor as 337 c ) And , .

Alcidame s adds that slaves also ha v e equal r ights with free men .

Finally even r el gi ous no moi ar e rathe r r uthlessly b rushed aside


,
i

C on cerning the gods I am not able to know whether they exist o r


not M any obstacles are in th e way the obscu rity of the subj ect and
.
,

th e shortness of life contended P rotagoras ( Diels F rag


,

We , .

h ave been a ccustomed to hold as divine whate v e r was good o r useful


fo r man declared P r o dicu s And C r itias maintained : gods and
,

.

religion in its entirety are only inventions of a prudent man who


wished to frighten men wi th te rrible phantoms and with demons who
were endowed with the power of pee ring into the sec rets of men and
of states so that men would be impelled to obey th e laws of the
,

state even tho u gh the poli ce were not present


, .

3) N tu r l l w Bu t does perhaps the oth er notion the treatment


a a a .
, , ,

of what may be valid by virtue of natu re ( pi ) induce a real c i oa ,

obligation ? Th e S ophists indeed recognized a natural j ustice ( qS i ”


i o eI

Sl )
K a LO VA fter A ntiphon
. went to g r eat lengths to explain that man
was not obliged to obey purely human laws he continued : Whoever ,

acts contrary to one of those laws which sp ring from natu re as part
of ou r selves causes no less damage to himself e ven though his act
, ,

remains hidden to his fellowmen and no greater when it is known ,

by all fo r damage is based not only on op i ni on but also on truth


, ,

( D iels F rag , B u t the question .may still be asked : how should


we understand the term ph ysis ( pf ) ? M ight it be that which is c i oa

in conformity with nature the natural law the unwritten divine ,


” “

law that traces I ts or gi n not to yesterday o r today but has always


i ,

been valid to whi ch man has eve r appealed in vie w of human weak
,

ness from S ophocles ( Antigo ne 45 0 ff) down to H ugo Grotius ? , .

This signifies that eternal law whi ch fo rms the ideal framework
for nature itself according to which the world and man life and ,

histo ry should de velop H ippias speaks of such an unwritten law .


FROM TH E MEC HA NI STS To TH E S OP H I S T S 45

Xenophon M e m IV 4 r does the r e as Jaege r maintains lu r k


( , O .
, , , , ,

behind this concept nothing more than a weariness of law which is dis
gusted at the many repetitions and contradicto ry stipulations of party
politics and seeks refuge in natu re ra ther than in the capri ce of politi cal
pa r ties ? We could possibly read that into the declar ation of Antiphon
( D iels , Fr ag B u t when
. he explains the natural by the u seful
” “ ”

( vf uc bép )ovwe could think on the other hand that


, to th e S ophists ,

natural law is essentially identical wi th desire and is therefore , ,

cu iditas natur alis


p
'

( 8 7 B 44 ; D iels F rag , .

The notion of powe r Th e second fundamental thought of the


.

S ophists namely the discussion of the idea of power points in this


, , ,

di rection The idea is exp ressed most fo r cefully in C allicles and


C r iti as C allicles de v elops this thought in the Gor gias of P lato : In


.

natu re it is apparent that the strong have more than the weak That .

is thei r right ; it is a natural r ight O nly the weak the masses slave .
, ,

natures invent customs and laws to protect themselves O u r educa


, .

tio n al system and ou r culture adopt th ese fictions and with them

cu r b the st r ong Bu t let a st r ong man appea r he immediately seizes


.
,

powe r rides roughshod ove r conventions proj ects himself into the
, ,

fo reground provides well fo r himself and his kin satisfies his desi res
, ,

a rrogantly and without restraint and thus leads a princely existence ,


.

This is the natu r ally j ust man who is delineated fo r us (483 d ) Th e .

natu ral right no longe r denotes a law only nature ; it is individualism ,

and natu ralism because there a re no longe r any ideal obligations


,

which are superio r to nature — only flesh and blood desires and ,

instincts This is howeve r in reality chaos and anarchy This may


.
, , .

be deduced from the words of C r itias who contributes the h istor ic ,


o

e volutionistic theo r y to support his ideology There was a primeval .

state : in that period the life of man was disorganized and animal like -

and it was in subjection to brute fo r ce In that state there was no .


such thing as p raise for the noble nor punishment for the evildoer ; ,

only then it appear s to me did men fr ame laws ( Diels Frag


, ,

, .

In such a theory we disce r n the original state of Thomas H obb es “ ”

in which war was waged by all against all ( bellu m o mniu m co ntr a
o mnes
) and
, natural desires ( p
cu idi tas natu r alis
) exercised full sway
ove r the human heart while all the inhibitive norms were conside red
to be artistic inventions S heer customs which rested upon co n en
, ,
v

tion ; just as on the other hand we are able to detect something of


N ietzsche if not in the speeches at least in the terminology of
, , ,

C allicles conce r ning the weak the masses the lo r ds of creation their , , ,
46 A NCIE NT PHILO SOP H Y
arbitra r y decisions their lusts and their instincts thei r fulle r and
'

, ,

bette r being From this we are able to conclude that sophist ry was
.

not a mere intellectual movement of th e past but a tendency that ,

is capable e ven now as it was then of making fools of men We


, , .

might howe ve r hea r the obj ection : what has already been developed
, ,

in this secti on I S not sophistry in its entirety S ophistry as a whole


.

system has contributed much to or n ate dic e the liberal a rts er , ,

humanism the science of culture and international politics Th e


, , .

answer to such an obj ection may be found in P lato s P h ae dr u s : there ’

is much that we consider to be beautiful and great but in such ,

matte rs we may easily fall prey to illusion and to false appearance s .

To be able to grasp true beauty and authentic greatness we must


first know what is the true essence of man T discove r this is the. o

task of philosophy true philosophy The S ophists however neve r


, .
, ,

philosophized in the true sense of the word Appearances and words


.

meant more to them than essence and being P hilosophy must .

become more p rofound must delve ever deeper into the essences of
,

things This takes place actually in the succeeding e r a in A ttic


.
,

philosophy .
S EC TI ON 2 . ATTI C P HI LOSOPH Y

H eights and depths oftentimes in life may lie close togethe r


.

P erhaps the Greek spirit had to pass th r ough the lowlands of


sophistr y through its super ciality its glib speech its pulverizing
-
, ,

criti cism,its relativism and its scepticism so that S hocked and


,

menaced to th e very core it might react with all the power and
,

the strength that were latent withi n it And it was a mighty reaction
.

that sophistry evoked Th e men who o ccupy the cente r of the S tage
.

in this new era S ocrates P lato and Aristotle bring Greek phi
, ,

l soph y to its classi cal perfection and complete a work upon which
o

we moderns still dr aw They occupy themsel ves in part with the


.

S ophists but at the same time dissociate themselves from them Th e


, .

sound of thei r words reaches fa r beyond their epheme ral opponents


and makes itself hea rd in the future ; it penetrates down to our own
era and will continue to reverberate th roughout the centu ries .

CHAPTER

S O C RATE S AND H I S C I R C L E

KNOWLEDG E AN D V A L U E

SOCRATES
T speak of th e S ophists means also to speak of S ocrates S ome
o .

held him to be a S ophist and externally at least he had much in


, ,

common with them In reality h e was however to become their


.
, ,

conqueror In his life and in his speeches t is clear that for him
. i

there are objective universally valid tr uths and values


, .

47
48 A NCI ENT P HILO SOP HY

S OCRA TES TH E M AN
S ocrates was born at A thens 0 470 H is father was a s culptor
, .
,

his moth er a midwife Gainful occupation as such did not interest


.

h im only philosophy H e was not howeve r a philosopher of the


,
.
, ,

old Ionian school For him man is the proper subj ect of thought
.
,

man for whom bo th truth and value are to be found in reality .

S ocrates himself wrote nothing Instead of writing books he cul .

tivate d a living philosophy H e spoke to all whom he encountered


. .

A nd he always touched upon th e same topics Whethe r men were .

clear about themsel ves ( Do you know whether they knew


what tru th was and in what knowledge consisted ; and w hethe r they
,

had examined and understood th e worth of the indi vidual man .

P eople speak and speak about philosophi cal matters S ocrates listen ed g .
a

to the words they used and as k ed H o w do you mean this ? Exactly


'

.

what do you understand by that ? H ow would you prove this ? H ave


you reali zed and con sidered well the conclusions to be drawn from
what you have already said ? A e they in accord wi th the universal r

assumptions which you used ?


O ve r and o v er again he discovered that men k ne w nothing This .

was his art of examinat on his elen cti c or ex t is With th ose


i ,
e as .

who were of good will this kind of examination usually led to a


,

clarification of hi therto confused notions and to the adoption of a


health ier viewpoint This was his science of midwifery his maieutic
.

,

,

the method of learning through doing as we would say today This



.

art o r s cience he learned from his mother as he was accustomed ,

to say H e always left his audience with the impression that they
.

had not by any means exhausted the subj ect and that they had not
by any means attained the perfection of virtue H e said e ven of .

h imself : I know that I know nothing Bu t this was his irony



. .

It succeeded in disturbing and at th e same time spurring his listeners


to greater efforts H is irony was his best educative tool in dealing
.

with his fellow men .

T be sure those who held fast to traditional meth ods of pro


o ,

ce du e felt annoyed at S ocrates and became indignant at his ever


r

lasting criti cism An d they soon began to avail themselv es of an


.

eve r ready censure labeling him an innovato r and a revolutionary


, .

Even the stage in comedy sought to tear him down Eventually it


, , .

too was forced to confess : H unge r neve r brought him so low as to


make a fl atter er of him ( Ameip sias) S oc rates was indeed trouble



.
S OCRATE S AND ms C IRCLE 49

some but he was a person not easily daunted Xenophon recounts


, .

his bravery in the face of the enemy and lauds his endu rance of the
winter cold P lato describes his ability to remain sobe r throughout
.

an entire night of carousing Throughout the A rguis trial he clung


.

to his own personal opinions in defiance of an enraged mob and ,

when the Thirty Tyrants demanded his assistance in a political


assassination for reasons of S tate he refused point blank although ,
-
,

by doing so he endangered not only his own position but also his
life Bu t the hatred and the baiting of his enemies did not wane
. .

And eve r in th e background lurked the lurid figure of politi cs .

S oc r ates had been a friend of Alcibiades C onsequently in 399 .


, ,

politicians arraigned him on the charge of impiety alleging that ,

he corrupted the youth of Athens and had sought to introduce


new gods H e could have escaped from prison but he refused b e
.
,

ca use his inner voi ce his daimo n io n deterred him ; he did not wish

v
, ,

to be unfai thful to the trust that had been imposed upon him by
the Delphic god : to subj ect himself and his fellow citi zens to the
acid test of fidelity M en of A thens he said in his own defense
.
,

,

I honor and love you ; but I shall obey God rather than you and ,

while I have life and S trength I shall neve r cease from the p ractice
,

and the teaching of philosophy exho r ting anyone whom I meet and
,

saying to him after my manner : You my friend — a citizen of the ,

great and migh ty and wise city of A thens — are you not ashamed
of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honour and
reputation and caring so little about wisdom and tru th and the
,

greatest imp rovement of the so l whi ch you never regard or heed u ,

at all ( P lato Apology 29 ( 1; ed Jowett Vol I pp 412



, .
, .
, .

H e was nevertheless sentenced to die H e drank th e hemlock in .

peace and with resignation philosophizing to the very end with his
,

friends on the immortality of the soul P lato has erected an immortal .

memorial to him in his Apology in C itias and P h aedo as well as in, r ,

the Alcibiades spee ch in the S ymposiu m .

S o crates was philosophy itself come of age H e had philosophized .

not only with his intellect but also with his flesh and blood In him .

we learn co hcr etely what truth and value are H is philosophy was .

existential philosophy .

S OURCE PROBLE M S
Th e chief sour es of our biography of S o crates are Xenophon
c ,

P lato and A ristotle Th e higher the value we place on one source


, .
50 A NCIE NT PHILO SOPHY
th an on another and to the degree to which we exp ress a p refe rence
for one to another the bi ography of S ocrates receives a specific ,

interpretation and is given a defi nite cast C onsequently the various .

lives of S o crates di ffer from one anoth er as fo r instance th ose by _

, , ,

Joel Doering M aier Busse Burnet and S tenzel Th e main diffi culty
, , , , , .

arises from the fact that P lato besides idealizing the portrait of his ,

master oftentimes ascribes to him his own thoughts ; as a consequence


, ,

it is extremely difficult to differentiate between th e P latonic and th e


historical S ocrates In fact it would seem that absolute certitude about
.
-

the historical S ocrates can no longer be obtained It is still possible .


,

however to attempt an examination of the collected sources with a


,
c

careful and exhaustive s crutiny and through it to try to present a

well rounded and auth oritative account of h is speculative and ethical


-

a hievements Th e following presentation is we hope a step in


c .
, ,

th at direction In ou r analysis we can pick out one o r tw o problems


.

from a mass of confu sed traditions Upon these the entire specula .

tion and the entire activity of S ocrates fo cus : Th e question of knowl


edge and the q estion of values u .

1 . KNOWLE DGE
Unive rsal ideas Th e position which S ocrates took in relation to
.

k nowledge is admirably summari zed in the words of A ristotle : There “

are two things whi ch we must ascribe to S ocrates : the one inducti ve ‘

arguments ( Ew

i Adj ) and the other universal definitions
’ ‘ ’
a x r i xo /o r

( ép lg dé

o ) (
eo M e ta
ai XIII 4xa
; 107 8 b 27 ; ed M cK eo n

p .
, , , . .
, .

Experts have thought that in the éw O Aéy ( inductiv e a r gu ae K S os

ments ) the student of philosophy can di scern I nductive reasoning and


inductive proof This construction and this interpretation are not
.

entirely incorrect but they do express a typical modern nuance to


,

the extent that by the notion of indu ction understood in this sense
, ,

opposition to all rationalism and apri ori sm is expressed a view —

which is actually not fully solved in the mind of S ocrates H is forma .

tion of universal concepts has a much greater significance as A ristotle ,

explains in the Topics ( I put S imply it means : In arriving at , ,

k nowledge we start with concrete individual instances of experience ,

Study these individual cases in their singularity but by so doing we , ,

en ounter something always the same in each of the instan es and


c c ,

th s we pick out and stress that which presents the same char
u

acte r istics In this process we arrive at th e universal idea


. In dozens .

of cases P lato has given us samples of this S o cratic p rocedure and


52 A NCIE NT P H ILOSOPH Y
we can perceive S ocrates was formally interested in knowledge
AS , .

A ristotle expressly tells us that S o crates never philosophized about


nature in its entirety as h ad th e Ionians These philosophers had .

busied themselves with the materials of k nowledge ; S ocrates was


con cerned with methodologi cal and logi cal problems : how may we

arrive at gen ine and certain knowledge ? In this sense S oc rates


u ,

is a modern ph ilosopher .

2 . V AL U E

A gains t
the morality of Hedonism S ocrates adopts q uite a contra ry .

position in the problem of value In this the material aspect is for .


,

h im most important H e so u ght to discover W hat the good par


, .
,

ticu la ly the morally good considered from th e standpoint of content


r , ,

actually is A s a conseq uence for him the problem of value is an


.
,

ethical problem In solving it he had to perform first of all what might


.

be termed a negative task H e had to clea r away false notions .

concerning moral good When his era dealt with the problem of
.

value it did so with the help of the notions of good ( dy flé ) of


proficiency of virtue ( dp fi
,
a v ,

, i) and of happiness These


e
,

notions were capable of a threefold interpretation The term good .


could be understood in the meaning which utilitarianism a sc ribed


to it namely the useful the serviceable
, , Xp jm
, / a uo v
,

or in the meaning which hedonism gave it namely the pleasant , , ,

anything that suits the inclinations and desi res or in the mean
ing whi ch naturalism had attached to it to wit th e superiority and , ,

the might of rulers Ex w e i w l ) e


,
'
r r
'
v e l/a t .

O f these notions utilitarianism and naturalism do not o ffe r the


correct or final solution because the serviceable o r the powerful usually
are subservient to a superior purpose What this purpose was for .

the epoch of S o crates especially among the S ophists as well as fo r


, ,

the maj ority of the people can be defined as anything that results ,

in well being o r produces pleasure Fo r this reason men strove after


-
.

th e useful as well as after power Th e fi nal answer may be found .


,

as a conse q uence only in the philosophical system of hedonism With


, .

this ism S ocrates had to carry on a persistent battle H ow he Waged


“ ”
.

it we can deduce from the discussion relative to th e problem of


value which he carries on with C allicles as this discussion is described ,

for us by P lato in the Go gias ( 488 b 509 c ) In this lengthy debater — .


,

S o crates leads C allicl s step by step in his reasoning pro cesses Until
e

the latter reaches the point and actually perceives and concedes th at
S OCRATE S AND H I S CIRCLE 53

a reasonable person cannot gi ve assent to every inclination O therwise .

the desire for vulgarity o r fo r baseness would also have to be given


th e stamp of app r oval fo r example the desi r e to scratch which a
, ,

pe rson may experience when he su ffe r s from eczema or some kindred


skin disease In su ch circumstances the individual thus afflicted could
.

scratch himself his whole life th rough without feeling the desi red
relief To this C allicles agreed and so S ocrates made a distinction
.
,

between good desires and base desires ( o r lusts ) By so doing he .

administered the dea thblow to hedonism fo r desire and inclination ,

a re no longe r recognized as the final principle of the morally good .

A new criterion is p roposed a c rite rion which is supe r ior to desi re , ,

and a criterion which is divided into good and bad .

Th e go o d as k no wledge What is this new criterion ? S oc r ates now


.

had the task of p ropounding positi vely in what the essence of ethical
value actually consisted In the Dialogues which P lato w rote in his
.

youth we can perceive that his answer was ever this : We should be
,

wise and understanding ( qsé In the Dialogue enti tled


oo s,

Lach es b r a ve r y ; in E u thyph r o piety ; in Ch ar mides prudence ; in


, , ,

P r otago r as vi rtue in gene r al a r e said to be knowledge The person “


.
,

who knows is wise and th e wise man is good is concisely broached


,

to us and convincingly proved in the fi r st book of the Repu blic


( 35 0 b ) This. fits in with what A r istotle had to say fo r according ,
'

to him S ocrates was of th e belief that all vi rtues were forms of “

reason ; they consist in p ruden ce ( Nic Eth VI ”


.
,

S ome ha v e labeled this interpretation of the notion of moral v alue


as intellectualism What does this mean ? Th e ethi cs and pedagogy
.

of the age of rationalism inscribed this S ocratism on their banners “ ”

and considered that the statement virtue is knowledge was a con “

vertible j udgment of identity and fo r that reason concluded : Knowl ,


edge is vi r tue and avowed that they wer e capable of educating all
,

mankind ( especially to virtue ) simply by imparting knowledge and


inculcating rationalism In the past century certain thinkers believed
.

that they could express the thought of S ocrates more clearly by


using the terms n o ocr atic and ideal knowledge Rea son and
“ ” “
.
” “ ”


knowledge rightly understood would necessarily lead the individual ”

to perform the good action M ore recently S tenzel proposed another .

interpretation H e suggested that th e knowledge which S ocrates


.

envisioned pierced to th e core of reality and by so doing permitted


a mysterious magical attra ction and gra ce to flow from out the
,

substantiality of reality that drew us into th e sy stematic order of the


54 A NCI ENT P HI LO SOP H Y
u niverse around us and thus became a substitute fo r the acti vity of
th e will .

A ll this is however unhistorical and represents a typical mode rn


, ,

interpretation of notions that were characteristic only of ancient


thought Actually this supposed intellectualism of S ocrates is no
.

inte llectualism in the modern sense of th e word but is Simply a term ,

which is used by Greek philosophers when speculating on Tech ne


o r a rtistic a ctivity S ocrates avails himself of examples drawn from
.

the realm of Tech ne o r ar t whene ve r he p roposes a solution for th e ,

problem of ethical v alue We read i n th e Gor gias : Yes by the gods .


, ,

you are literally always talking of cobblers and fullers cooks and ,

do cto r s as if this had to do with ou r argument ( 49 1 a ; ed


,

.

Jowett Vol 1 p
, In the field of art knowledge is every thing
.
, . .

Under standing here denotes both the ability ( 86 0 ) va 0 at

and the work itself Th e wise and able craftsman ( m O a s

Smv y d ) is also a good craftsman ( dy dO


it s Knowledge a s

and value are identical Even the people of the modern world a re .

accustomed to use the same te rminology : H e knows his trade and ,

by so doing they incorrectly evaluate his ability by placing it entirely


on th e intellectual plane This interpretation and this alone is r e p on
. s

sible fo r terming S oc ratic ethics intellectualism E thical states a re .

looked upon as enti rely parallel to technical states A nyone who has .

learned and understood what it means to bu ild a house is a builde r '

and he builds ; and anyone who has learned of and understands a


parti cula r virtue if we push the analogy a bit fu r ther is virtu ous
, ,

and practi ces i rtue We can readily see how in su ch a con eption
V . c

the impression might be created that virtue may be taught one —

of the many problems which S ocrates dis ussed c .

With this as background we can understand another famous S tate .

ment of S ocrates : No man willingly does evil Understood literally



.

it would appear as if this statement might be a confession of deter min


ism Bu t we must examine the context from which it is taken and
.

the connection it has with previous statements to arrive at its true


meaning We are forced to admit that this too i s taken literally
.

from the era s speculatio n about Tech ne There the statement is in



.

familiar surroundings If in art something is made inco rrectly it is


.
,

always because the person who made it possessed nei th er knowledge


no r the requisite ability to create what he had in mind If he lack s .

these req uirements he must necessarily make it incorrectly Th e


,
.

compulsion which drove the individual in question to make the


SOCRATE S AND H I S CIRCLE 55

a rticle as he did cannot be traced back to the will that has not been
determined in any way but solely to the fact that the workman did
,

not understand any better the trade he professe d : in other words ,

he could not do better And only fo r this reason did he do the a t


. c

unwillingly .

Eu d aemonism Because of its o rigin in art the notion of mo r al


.
,

value which S ocrates propounded possessed th e ch a acte o f a value r r ,

of relation F or every notion of art and of artistic value connotes


.

usefulness fo r a specifi c purpose If you should ask me whether or.


not I knew of a value that might not be useful for some purpose I ,

would be forced to reply that I know of nothing of the kind and I ,

would be forced to confess further I do not wish to know anything , ,

as we read so Significantly in Xenophon ( M em III 8 And P lato .


, , ,

writes : We can speak of value when ( we say fo r instance ) that the


, ,

eyes are capable of and useful for seeing the body for running and ,

wrestling and in the same fashion for all living beings In this sense .

we have a good horse a good cock good quails good utensils good
, , , ,

instruments fo r music and th e other arts good activities good laws , , ,

and all o the r things of the same sort ( in othe r words we look to ,

the purpose whi ch they are calculated o r intended to serve ) (H ippi s ”


a

M io I 295
a r Thus S oc r atic ethics unde r the p ressure of its own
,

terminology degenerates into utilitarianism and is allied to welfare


morality as we can see especially in Xenophon There we find ( M em
, .

1 2 48 ) that S o crates cultivated the a cquaintan eship of young people


, , c

for the sake of making them good and ind strious so that they

u ,

could deal corre ctly with a household servants and guests friends , , ,

states and citizens If you should wish as has been customary to


, .
, ,

chara cterize su ch welfare morality as eudaemonism you co u ld pos ,

sibl
y do so but only if,you explain at the same time that eudaemonism
should then be classed as welfare morality for in itself the notion ,

of e d mo nia has a variety of meanings and serves as a vehicle for


u ae

all possible e thical principles Even the S toic ethics made use of the
.

term although the principles inherent in it had nothing in common


,

with thei r notion of weal o r woe M ore correctly we might say that .

it was hedonism fo r whatever in utilitarianism and in welfare


,

morality appears to produce well being depends as Kant has so —


, ,

c orrectly remarked upon ou r appetitive faculties hence upon desire


, ,

and inclinations even if we retain the notion of a S upreme Goodness


,

( su mmu m b o n u m) .

A lthough S ocrates, as we have already seen refused to accept ,


56 A N C I ENT P HI LO SOP H Y
desire and inclination as eth i cal principles and although he taught ,

the self ru le of the wise man man does not need material goods
— —

to be happy only virtue w e would not wander fa r from the truth


,

if we conceived S ocrates as a utilitarian a eudaemonist and perhaps , ,

also on occasion a hedonist Bu t he was su ch ( and deserved such


.

titles ) solely because he drew his basic ethical notions not only from
the sphere of speculation abo u t T ch ne but from his own individual
e

reflection as well A ctually he aimed at something entirely di ffe rent


.

th e pure ideal of a r ealisti c ethics We cannot phrase it more co r


.

rectl
y than it was worded in the G o gias : T h e greatest of all evils
r

is not to su ffer unj ustly but to act unj ustly In his own life he .

embodied something other than utilitarianism and hedonism Thus .

the re is manifest in himself a contradiction between his personality


and his will on the one hand and on the othe r the world of his
, , ,

own ethical concepts .

Bu t it was pre cisely this that spurred his greatest pupil P lato to , ,

speculative heights Ar e the ideas of T h ne usefulness for specific


. ec ,

p urposes in,clination and pleasure


, really capable of
, refle cting or of
reprodu cing the idealism of life and of the will as found in P lato s ’

mas ter ? M ust we not invent a new language a whole new set of ,

ideas to express it adeq ately and to be able to understand it all ?


u

In this respect there were indeed certain defi ciencies which had to
be remedied If we should overlook the lacunae of the S o cratic ethics
.

o r if we should hope to correct them artifi ially in ac ordance with c c

modern ideologies we would lose the entire background of problems


,

against which P latonic speculation can be seen to its best advantage .

S O C RAT I C S
TH E
We can best appreciate the uniqueness of S ocratic speculation
when we survey the circle which grouped around S ocrates th e so ,

called S ocratic school In this examination it becomes apparent that


.

the master was less concerned with handing down apodictic doc
trines to his pupils than with encouraging them to philosophize .

E specially is it beyond cavil that his discussion of the problem of


ethical value is capable of various interpretations and offers no final
solution For this reason the S o crati c s chools surprisingly enough
.

dive rge widely in thei r development of his doctrines Among his .

followers we must distinguish the M egarians the Elis Eretrians th e ,


-
,

C yni cs and the C y en aian s


,
r .
SOCRATE S AND H I S C I R C LE 57

1 . TH E ME G AR I AN S C H O O L
founder of this school was Eu clid of M egara ( 0 45 0 380
Th e .

H e sought to bring about a fusion between th e Eleatics and S o crates .

Th e one immovable un changeable being of the E leatics is for him


, ,

the Good of whi ch S ocrates had always spoken By this device


,
.

S o cratism took a detour into the realm of metaphysi cs Th e tenden cy .

of the M egarian s chool became better known through Eu bu lides one ,

of the oldest pupils of S o rates through Dio do u s C ronus ( dc ,


r .

and S tilpo ( c These were th e prominent figures in M egarian


.

diale ctics whi h developed more and more into pure pettifoggery
,
c

and thrived on falla y and paralogism C h ara cteristi c of this school


c .

is the famed horned argu ment What yo do not lose you still

. u ,

have Bu t you have never lost a pair of horns ; therefore you still
.

have a pair of horns S cattered among su h sophistry are many


. c

worthwhile ideas ; for example the lordly argument whi ch has been ,

as cribed to Dio do r u s C ronus by Aristotle himself This argument .

runs as follows : That alone is possible which really is o r which


really comes into existence By su ch argument a S hadowy world .

of possibles no longer exists alongside the world of realities as


A ristotle thought but the possible is only a modality of reality Th e
,
.

school also honored S ocrates ideal of autarchy or self su fli ciency ’ “ ”


-

wisdom and virtue suffi e for happiness an axiom whi h S tilpo


c —
c

treasured so highly and be q ueathed to the S toa ; for Zeno the founder ,

of the S toa was a pupil of S tilp o


, .

2 . ERETRI AN S CH O OL
TH E EL I s -

This s chool was opened by P h aido of Elis a former S lave who ,

gained his freedom thro u gh the efforts of S o crates From the time .

of his liberation onward philosophy o ffered him the salvation of


,

his soul and the road to freedom In this s chool th e contact with .

S o crates appears to have been very lose With M en edem the entirely c .
,

rationalistic terminology of S o crates reappears .

3 . C YNI CS
TH E
M ore important than these fi rst two schools are the C yni cs Their .

leader was A ntisthenes of A thens ( 445 H e taught in the Gym


n asiu m at C ynosarges This is th e rea son why the entire s chool bears
.

the name it does C ynics T him the weightiest contribution of



. o

S o cr atism to philosophy was the ideal of autarchy or self su ffi cien y -


c ,
58 A N C IE NT P H I LO S O P H Y
because to him noth ing was more important than virtue This alone .

S u fli ce s H e carried his rej ection of external goods to the extreme


. .


I would rather lose my mind than satisfy my desires This led .

him logically to despise cult re science religion national ties and u , , , ,

especially mores and propriety Whatever mankind refrained from .

doing for any of these reasons he practiced openly and without ,

shame merely to S how his utter contempt for and absolute detach
,

ment from material things By su ch an attitude th present day idea .


, e —

of C ynics and cyni cism re eived the nu ance whi ch characteri zes the

school itself Among other things he fostered th e cultivation of what


.
,

S o crates considered to be strength ( w p h x ) the narrow and


E e an x s
,

steep path to virtue wh ich became the ideal of self restraint toil and —
, ,

constancy as H ercules had exemplified them in his own life


time H er cu les also was the title f th e chief literary labo r of An
. o

tisth en e s From this it was but a step to the s stin e et abstin e of the
. u

stoical wise men S urprisingly this crass volitional orientation



.

,

clo thed itself in the language of intellectualism : Whoever lives n i

th is way is indeed a wise man is a person of discernment is a , ,

knowledgeable fellow Th e S oc ratic terminology was retained and


.
,

th rough its preservation we can appreciate how in the histo ry of ,

philosophy a distinction must be made between the exp ression of a


,

thought and the thought itself This is exemplified once again in th e .

philosophy of the C ynics .

Looked at from the standpoint of the theory of knowledge A n ,

tisth en e s is bo th a sensualist and a metaphysi cal materialist These .

deductions are based on an analysis of the argument which he carried


on with P lato of which the ancients give us a vivid ac ount A ccord
, c .

ing to them Antisthenes is supposed to have said : Yes my dear “

P lato I do see a h orse but not horsiness ( the ideal of a horse th


, , ,
e

universal idea of a horse ) To this P lato is reported to have replied


.

This is due to the fa ct Antis thenes that you do possess a good pair

, ,

of eyes but not a corresponding intellect This anecdote serves to


, .

impress upon us the fact that A ntisthenes admitted sensory impressions


and sensible representations b t considered universal ideas or ideas , u

as su ch mere fictions ( l ml f ) For this reason I t i s meaningless


ux a

err vo ca t .

to say : S ocrates is a man We may only declare : S ocrates is



.
” “

S o rates that is the S o crates whom I see S uch a view had at least

c , .

th is advantage : there can be no su ch thing as a differen ce of opinion .

O n person annot ontradict another



e c c .

Besides advo cating sensualism Antisthenes also expounded ma ,


60 ANCIENT P H ILOSOP H Y
and direct experience : O nly that which can be experienced is intel
ligible to us ( ad 60 {1p

S p w dj ) ; it is intelligible
vo v
-
71 09 on ( a u evo v

because it deals with direct sensory affection ( mpo w fO ) An d for i iz a os .

A r istippus this can be only desire H e understands this solely su bjec .

tively and sen su ali tically after the fashion of P r otago r ass M an is .

the measure of all things ; for he has the criterion of them in himself ,

and wh en he thinks that th ings are such as he experiences them to be ,

he thinks what is and is true to himself ( Th aet tu s 178 b ; ed e e , .

Jowett Vol II p,
This P lato tells Us grouping togethe r in the
.
, .
,

Th eaetet s P rotagoras Antisthenes and A ristippus because fo r all


u , , ,

three subj ective sensory experience and phenomena a re the decisi ve


elements of truth and of v alue ( see p In this sense Bentham i s .

later to write in the nineteenth century : What happiness is e very ,

man knows becau se W hat pleasu re is every man knows and what
, , ,

pai n every man knows Bu t what justi ce is this is what on every


I s, .

o ccasion is the subject matter of dispute ( Bentham Co mplete Wo ks -



,
r ,

Vol IX p .
, .

That not everyone knows what desire is and that in this respect
at least a person may be subj ect to the greatest deception may be
seen in the case of H egesias who was so little content with his own ,

type of hedonism that he quickly developed into a pessimist H e .

was given the honora ry title of death s advocate ( dd ) because ’


r eco i va r o s
,

in his lecture he constantly encouraged his listeners to commit


suicide until fi nally P to lemaiu s Lagu ( 323 285 ) forbade him by police
,

order to disseminate such propaganda .

H o w strange that the speculation of S ocrates S hould be interpreted


in such diverse ways by the ve ry circle that had gathered so closely
around him Was it because his philosophy was so mysterious o r so
.

fertile or so undeveloped ? Which of these various exegeses correctly


expressed the essence and the wishes of the M aster ? A decision cannot
be reached until we have learned to know something of his greatest
disciple the great figure that emerges from the circle P lato himself
, , .

B iblio graphy
F C C ople
. . st n o ,
A H is tor y o fP h ilos oph y
( Westminster , Md . : Th e New
man P s, res V o l I , pp 9 6 — 1 15 — V er giliu s e m ( . o
) , A H is
. . F r edit r
tor y o f P h ilos oph ical S ys te ms
( N ew o : P h lo o ph c l L b ,
Y rk i s i a i rary
pp 82
.
— 9 2 —Co a M . o ,
S ocr a te s th erM a n W h o Das n
ar e d (
to As k Bos o ,
tn
Be a n co P re ss l 9 53 ) .
— rt r
A hu Ke ny n o ers
Ro g , Th e S o cr atic P r o ble m
( Lo n do n : H . M ilfo r d I 933) , .

. . ay r
A E T lo , S ocr ates ( Ne w Yo k : D r .

Appleton 6: CC .
,
CHAPTER

PL AT O —
1 : ON TH E G OO D AND TH E T RUE

LIFE
P latowas born in 427 H e tra ces his lineage to the ancient
A thenian nobility and by this very fa ct he was born into th e cultural
‘ ,

and political turmoil of his time H is set purpose to mold th e world .


,

an d to fashion life is characteristic of his personality In his S eve nth


, .

L tt r whi ch contains many a tobiographical details P lato tells us


e e , u ,

how he resolved to adopt a publi c career as his vo cation in life Bu t .

when around 404 he experienced at firsthand the dictato r ship


of the Thirty and a year late r came to grips with the regime of the
,

democrats and learned of their rapacity through the unj ust co ndemna
tion of S ocrates he became di zz y as he himself writes and co n
,

,

fesses so that I finally became convinced th at present Republics


,

are woefully constru cted and labor under vi cious governments An d .

SO I saw myself driven to cultivate a true philosophy a r esolution ,

that I can praise in retrospect for it became for me a sou rce o f ,

knowledge of everything that is worthwhile o r at least of that which ,

either in public life or in individual circu mstances may be considered


as j ust M ankind will never succeed in freeing itself of its miseries
.
,

I exp lained to myself until ei ther the representatives of a genuine and


,

au thoritative philosophy are entrusted with the task of ruling the


Republi cs o r the possessors of power in th e Republi cs resolve to
become experts in philosophy under impulse from and in relation to
Divine P roviden ce ( Ep VII 324 b

.
, , ,

This theme which he form lates here for the first time will be
,
u ,

repeated throughout his whole life H e hoped his philosophy would .

prove to be the way to truth and as such would o ffer at the same
time a way to the good both in public and private life In pursuance .

of this purpose he took up th struggle against all those who were e

ignorant of the true nature of man especially against the S ophists


and the Rh etoricians To him these were artistic S treet cleaners and
.

62 A N CI E NT PH ILO SOPH Y
ooks who had an eye only for what men feel drawn toward and
c

like who flatter and mislead their disciples by glittering a ti cialitie


,

and by enticing ph rases b t who know nothing whatsoeve r of what


, u
r fi s

man really is and what he s hould be or become To teach these .

truth s to mankind is the task of the philosopher This P lato recognized .

as his own life s work ’


.

In his early youth P lato s ambition was to be a poet Afte r he had



.

stru ck up a friendship with S o crates he burned all his plays and


dedicated his writings and his life to philosophy that is to th e , ,

scientific investigation of knowledge and of value After the soul .

rending shock occasioned by the death of S oc r ates he fled to Euclid ,

in M egara Around 395 394. he retu rned home and took par t in

the Co rinthian War S ometime between 390 388 he traveled exten


.

sivel
y In the
. course of his j ourneys he v isited E ypt and C yrene and
g
finally went to Tarentum where he became acquainted with A rchytas,
.

Through this a cquaintanceship he came into contact wi th the


P y thagoreans and this conta ct colored his speculation giving di ec
, ,
r

tion to all his activity : for example his doctrine of the pre existence ,
-

of souls pedagogy his ethicopolitical Vi ews his eschatological myths


, , , ,

and especially the fo rm of science and the manne r in which his


Academ y was condu cted .

Through A rchytas he su cceeded in gaining entry into the court


of S yracuse and there he came to know Dionysius I Du ring his
, .

soj ou rn at the court P lato hoped to pe r suade this p rince to embody


,

his own ethicopoliti cal ideals into th e practical administration of the


S yra san kingdom Bu t this autocrat was too weak and too vacillat
cu .

ing ; h e chose to rule by caprice rathe r than by intelligence P lato s .


dreams were rudely shattered when due to th e intrigue of Dionysius , , ,

he was p t up fo r sale in the slave market of Aegina O nly by a


u .

stroke of good fo rtune was he discovered by Annicer is a S ocratic of ,

the C yr enean school and bought from unde r the noses of other
,

bidders When he returned to A thens P lato sought to repay the


.
,

ransom money to An nicer is but that philosopher refused Wi th it , .

P lato then pur chased a garden close to th e shrine of H eros Academos


and there founded his Academy in 387
If th is story is tr e the fi rst university to be established on European
u ,

soil was founded on the strangest of foundations the sum necessary ,

to purchase a philosopher from slavery By his lectures in the Academy .

P lato achieved greater fame than by his writings F or him writing was .


a beautiful pastime (P h aedr us 276 e ) Th e subj ects upon which he

, .
PL A TO I 63

discoursed in the were philosophy mathematics mi


Academy ,
e s

l im ( L et no one ignorant of geometry enter here ) is



dy wu pn
e er r os c a

s pposed to have been inscribed above the entrance and astronomy


u

,

perhaps also zoology and botany We must not however picture to .


, ,

o rselves the P latonic Academy as an institution dedi cated to learning


u

and research according to our concept of the modern university in ,

which the th eoreti cal intellectual development of the students is


,

stressed and their formation and guidance are relegated to the back
,

ground This latter aim was especially cultivated by the P latonic


.

A ademy A S a consequen ce of su ch an or entat i on movements which


c . i ,

influenced public life were generated within its confines In the .

ancient past philosophy was not solely the occupation of intellectuals


,

wh o were estranged from reality ; rather philosophy was considered


as a positive formative action upon reality as it was then known In .

this respect the P latonic Academy surpassed th e othe r schools of


the era Fo r it always had its finger on the pulse of the political
.

events of the times for example in C yrene M egalopolis Elis


, , , , ,

Macedonia A ssos Th e A cademy was especially the refuge and th e


, .

h aven for the opponents of tyrants and di ctators .

P lato himself was by no means a pure theorist H e set his heart .

on proving that his philosophi al ide al of a Republic was workable c .

A r ound 364 be cause of this prepossession and convi ction, he made


,

a second j ourney to S i cily this time to Dionysius II Th e effo rt


, .

resulted in failure H e made a third trip in 361 but this time only
.
,

to do a favor for his friend Dion This too remained sterile of .

results From that time on P lato studio sly avoided publi c a ffairs ;


. u

he lived only for his teaching and for his writing H died in 347 . e .

Immediately after his death legends arose which t an g ed and r s ur

t ansformed him into a son of Apollo


r .

WORK S
All th e works whi ch P lato published have been prese r ved With .

the exception of his Apology and his L ette s all are written in the r ,

form of dialogues Th e literary activity of P lato encompasses a period


.

O f approximately fifty years a full h alf centu ry Today we are able


, .

to a rrange the single works into their respective periods wi th a fair


degree of accuracy and so we can distinguish between the works of
,

his vo u th th ose of the period of transition those of his mature


, ,

years and those whi ch he composed in his old age


, .

Works of h is you th Among the fruits of his pen in his youth


.
64 A N CIENT P H ILOSOPH Y
Lach es treats of bravery ; Ch ar mid s of temperance ; Eu thyph r o of e

pie ty ; Th syma h s whi ch we read today as the fi rst book in the


ra c u ,

R pu blic of justi e ; P r o tago s of the essen ce of virtue in general


e , c ra .

To this period furth ermor e belong I o n H ippias I and I I the


, , , ,

Ap logy and Cr ito Th e dates of composition for these are ertainly


o . c

earlier than P lato s first jo rney to S icily All these Dialogues treat

u .

of the S ocratic problems of value and of knowledge in th e So crati c


man ner but all end in an apo ia or philosophical diffculty a
,
— r i

cir cu mstan ce which seems to indi cate that P lato even at this early

date had advanced farther than his master S ocrates .

P e rio d of tr an sitio n There follows a series of writings . those of


the transition period — in which new problems are mentioned more
and more frequently especially the theory of ideas To this gro u p
, .

belong Lysis which deals with friendship ; C atylu s whi ch treats of


, r ,

P lato s philosophy of spee ch ; E u th yde mu s whi ch ridicules the fal


lacions con lusions of the S ophists especially those of Antisthenes ;


c ,

and the minor M enexen s These Dialogues may also have been u .

written before the fi rst S i cilian adventure Afte r this misadventure .


,

M en o and G or gi must have been put togethe r because they reveal


as ,

the influence of the P ythagorean teaching concerning the transmigra


tion of souls The former touches upon the possibility of teaching
.

virtue and the latter is a fiery onslaught against the method and the
,

basic philosophi c outlook of the S ophists .

M aturity Th e writings which P lato au thored in his mat re years


. . u

are numbered among th e great masterpieces of the world s literature ’


.

Th e P h ed is a D ialogue on death : we must die to the senses and


a o

to the material world so th at the spirit the immortal soul might , ,

become free to wing its way into th e realm of ideas Th e S ymposi m . u

is a Dialogue on life : we should look for and love the beautif l ; and u

again as in the P h aedo by philosophy and pure knowledge so now


, , , ,

through Eros we are to rise to the kingdom of primeval beau ty and


,

of eternal value In P lato s chief work the ten boo k s of the R p bli
.

, e u c

( P o lit i a ) justi ce forms the chief topi c ; a ctually however these books
e , , ,

cove r the whole range of philosophy : th e theory of knowledge ,

metaphysi s e thi s pedagogy th e philosophy of h man rights and


c , c , ,
u

of the ideal republic Th e right and the true the world of ideals .
, ,

S hould be seen and appre ciated wherever they appear so that we ,

might live according to their di tates In heaven th e prototypes lie c .


ready so that everyone who is of good will may examine th em an d


,

mold himself after them Th e R p blic was fi nished about 374 .



e u
P L A TO I 65

After this there followed the P h aedr u s the work of consummate ar t ,

which deals with the subj ect of rhetoric but is in reality a summary ,

of th e entire P latonic philosophy and a very facile introduction to it ;


then the P a menides in which P lato gives an account of the
r ,

a or ias fo r hi s tea ching on ideas ; and finally the Th eae tetu s which
p ,

deals principally with p roblems concerning the theo ry of knowledge


and summarizes the views of H e r aclitus P rotagoras Antisthenes and , , ,

Ar isti ppus These works precede his se cond trip to S i cily


. .

O ld Age A fter this se cond j ourney ( 367 ) we ha v e the products


.

of his old age : S ophist S tates man and P h ileb s In these wo r ks we


"

, , u .

can perceive a change in th e interests whi ch oc cupy P lato O nly in .

P h ileb s does the p r oblem of value re cu r


u L ogico dialectical problems
— .

dominate his thinking Th e S ophist carries on and develops the


.

notions of the S ophists Th e S tates man deals with the politician


.

according to several viewpoints of definition content extent division , , , ,

and ramification Timae u s o ffers us an insight into cosmology F o r


. .

centuries this Dialogue a fforded a philosophy of life and presented


a concept of th e world which were held in esteem by th e Western
world To his last years we may trace the work which enri ches us
.

with so many parti lars of the life of P lato himself th e S eventh


cu ,

Letter H is final opus the twelve books of th e Laws ( No moi ) P lato


.
, ,

himself was nable to publish We read it today in a ve rsion which


u .

most probably S hould be as cribed to P hilip of O pus The Laws r esume .

the theme of the Rep blic Th e literary a ctivity of his late r yea r s is
u .

no longe r characterized by th e philosophical verve and th e speculative


flights which are evident in th e Rep blic Instead we find in detail u .

a wealth of politi cal j uridi cal religious and especially pedagogical


, , ,

ordinances Whoever plumbs the dep ths speculatively manifests his


.
,

love for the ri ches of life In them we become acutely aware of the
.

life experiences and the ripe wisdom of the true philosopher In his late r .

years P lato grew ever more tole rant H is radical demands fo r a .

common sharing of women and a consequent communal existence of


children and of communal utilization of goods whi ch had been p ro
pounded in th e R pu blic disappear in the L w s In the later works

e a .
,

S o crates who had usually led th e dis c ssion in the earlier D ialogues
, u ,

recedes more and more in the background In the Laws he disap .

pears entirely This alteration in the external form of the Dialogue


.

is also symptomati of a change in the speculation of P lato himself


c .

P lato has so far outstripped his tea cher that he can no longer put
his thoughts into his former mentor s mouth ’
.
66 A NCIENT P HIL OSO P H Y

S pu riou s .

In th e C or pu s P lato n icu m h a h as b e e t t n h ande d d wn o to u s th e f o llo w


in g w rk o s ar e co u n terf it e : H EP I Si xa lov .
( O n J u s tice ) , I I epl dper ijs ( O n

Vir tu e ) De modocus Sisyph u s, Er yxias, Axioch u s 3p m ( Th e Bou n dar ies )


, , , ,

Alcibiades I I H ippar ch us E r astai M o l ou b ful M i n es re ess d t are



or , , . ,

Alci biades I Th eages Epi n o mis O f h is l ,


o l 6 , 7, and 8 , . etters n y are
tr u stw o r th y

J hn
o Bu rnet ,
rd Univ rsity P ress
P lato nis Oper a 5 , v ls ( Oxf rd
o . o . O xfo e ,

f;
19 00 f O f .d C lain th
i l T t ) —
e F M C
x or r nf rd P l t Th y ss ca ex s . . . o o ,
a o s e or

of K n wl d g ( Lon d n K g an
e P l 1 93
e 5 ; a trans
o lati n f th
o Th t : t e au , o o e eae e u s

and th S phi t with mm ntary ) ; P l t C m l gy ( L nd n Kegan


e o s co e a o s
'
os o o o o :

P l 1937 ; a tra n l ti n f th Ti m
au ,
with mment ry ) ; P l t nd
s a o o e aeu s co a a o a

P m n id
ar
( L nd n
e K gan P a
es l 1 93 9 ; ao trans lati no f th : P m n id e u ,
o o e ar e es

with mm n t ry ) ; Th R p bli f P l t ( Oxf rd O f rd University


co e a e e u c o a o o : x o

Pr 1939 ; a tr n l ti n f th R p b li wi th
e ss, a mm n tary )
s a B J w tt
o o e e u c co e .
— . o e ,

Th Di l g
e f P l t a o 2 v l ( N w
u es Y r ko: R and m H e
a o, o s . e o o ou s ,

Th L b C las i l Libr ry ntains th G reek t t f P lat s Di l g ’


e oe s ca a co e ex o o a o u es

al ng with an En gli h tran lati n


o s s o .

Bibli o gr aphy
R D A ch e H
. . r r ind
-
,
Th e Ti mae u s f P lato ( London : Th e M acmillan o

C o mp an y ,
— F C . . C o plesto n H isto r y ofP hilos oph y ( We stmins ter
, ,

Md Th e Newman P re ss
. : , ,
I 127— 26 5 — R Demo s Th e P hilos oph y . .
,

ofP lato New Yo r k : C h arles S cri b ne r s n i


( G C F eld, P lato

So s, — . .

an d H is C o n te mpor ar ies ( L o nd n o : M e th u e n ,
— P . Fri e dlan de r ,
P la
to n ( 28
19 C G . r teo ,
P lato a n d th e O th e r C o mpa ni o n s o fS ocr ates
nd n J h n M rray — W F R H ar di A S t dy i P l t ( O
( L o o : o u , . . . e, u n a o x

f rd O f rd Univ r ity P r s
o : x o W Ja g r P id i V l I I ( N w
e s es ,
— . e e ,
a e a, o . e

Y rk Th M mill n C mpany
o : e ac G K r g r Ei n i h t n d L id
a o , . ue e ,
s c u e

e nsc h f

t a — R C L d e Pl t
g T h y f E t h i .
( L nd n K.
g an
o ,
a o s e or o cs o o : e

Pa l u ,
W L t l wsk i Th O ig n n d G wth fP l t L gi
— . u os a ,
e r i a ro o a o s o c

nd n N at r i z i J
( L o o P , p P l t n I d nl h

( p g
L . oR ,
a o s ee e re e ,
— . .

N ttl h ip L t
e es n th , R p bli ( Lond n Th M a millan C mpany
ec u r e s o e e u c o : e c o ,

C Ritter P l t n . in L b n in S h ift n
,
in
a o L h , se e e , se e c r e , se e e re

( M ii n h n
) V cl I e V , l I I o T
. h E n f P l t P h i o . e ss e ce o a o s
'

los op y (
h L n d n A ll n n d U
o nwin o :P S h rey eW h a t P la t S i d ,
— . o ,
a o a

( C h i g U nivcarsi t y f
o:C h i a g P ress e T h U n it y f
o P l t T h gh tc o ,
e o a o s

ou

( C h i ag U n iv
c r ity f
o: C h i a g P ress e s J S ten z e l
o P l t M th d c o ,
.
,
a o s

e o

Th pl i f h ( f f Pl w i i g ) wh i h J Z h

e ex
p i an at o n i or t e s u r o u sn e ss o cer ta n o ato s r t n s c . ur c er

ly d
r e cen t d i h i C p A d mi m
a v an ce n h s m W h or p us ca e cu as n o t et it acce tan ce o n

th e par t o f p h ilo lo ists g .


68 A NCIENT P HILOSO P H Y
he held exactly the same views as his teacher Always even in his .
,

earlier Dialogues H ippi I I and th R pu bli I P lato had t e


,
as e e c ,

fu ted in no mistaken terms the thesis that knowledge and ability


represented th e good with out further q ualifi cations H e says drily .

that the liar m st be the same as a truthful man and th e thief


u ,

would in nowise di ffer from the watchman fo r the liar as well as the ,

thief possess both knowledge and ability In fact anyone who performs .
,

an evil act of his own free will should be considered better than one
who does it against his will because t h e forme r pos sessed more ,

knowledge than the latter In these examples the j udgment of .


,

identity knowledge is value is carried with iron logic to its


,

,

bitterest conclusion and becomes involved in a r eductio ad absu r du m .

In the H ippi s I ( 296 d ) P lato states quite boldly : Because of these


a

examples we must flatly reject the fallacy that knowledge and ability
represent always and absolutely the good And M en exenu s char .

acter iz es shee r knowledge and shee r ability as that is a '


r a vo v
py ca
, ,

faculty capable of e veryth ing In an ideology which is predicated solely


.

on achievement and power the cleverest will de fa to always be the , c

first and always the most powerf l ; and the best liar can in fact u ,

S hould be ome the minister of propaganda


, c .

2 ENDS P URP O SES


.
,

L ate r on Aristotle returns to this problem and teaches also that


,

knowledge as su ch is morally indi fferent ; with it a person can do


everything ( py l ) ; and if we should make a distinction between
n a vov a

a lie and the truth we would be able to do so only b ecause there


,

is something that intervenes namely the intention Intention is


,

an attitude of the will and its evaluation depends upon the end and
the purpose which the will hoo ses If these are good so are the c .
,

intentions knowledge and ability ( M eta V 29 ; Eth Nic VIII


, , .
, , . .
, ,

P lato had already arrived at the same conclusion and as a con


se quence had developed it fo r his own system It is in the E u thyde mu s .

that he refers to something ( 5) to whi ch knowledge and ability



7

must be referred if they themselves are to be of any value What


, .

kind of ends these are and why they should be good is not clear
( E thu
yde m s 29 2 0 ; ed Jowett
u , Vol I p Bu t that
. after all is , .
, .
, ,

the whole q u estion .

3 . E RO S
Lysis . Th is problem is fairly well developed in Lysis . If every
P L A TO I 69

value in tu rn depends upon something else some other


value ) because it is what it is by reason of this some thin g else and ,

this supe rior something possesses its own value again because of
something still higher ( anothe r superio r end ) and this likewise is ,

e valuated by something else and so on into infi nity we must finally ,

a rrive at a dominant value of love ( p f pl ) Upon this dominant n rrr ov c v .

value depend all other existing v alues If we fail to accept such a basis .

fo r value such a source for value su ch a principle of v alue the


, , ,

whole chain of value relationships becomes worthless and meaningless .

What P lato su cceeds in bringing to ou r attention by this reasoning is


the p riority the apriority of evaluation F o r a thing to hav e a value
, .

means in the last instance to be gi ven preference to be able to lay


, , ,

a claim to our treasures and to ou r loves Value is not what is


.

actually loved but only that which by its very essen ce is capable of
being loved and therefore must be loved This is true in the r st .

instance only of supreme value but in deri v ation it holds also for ,

other values .

S ymp osiu m That the good in spite of its apriori nature in th e


.
,

face of all human v alues possesses a relationship to a subj ect and


,

its in clinations is shown in the S ymposiu m which treats of the ,

ph ilosophi cal problem of value in connection wi th the notion of


Eros When in th e E ros a person diligently makes use of th e beautiful
.

and the good he does so because they belong to him ( i i )


,
o xe o v
,

because they represent the p rototype the ideal of his natu re ( dpx l ,
a a

M )
o re — h iS own his best ego whi ch he lo v es e v en as he lo v es him
,

self and in loving which he is made happy and blessed That eve ry .

one should conside r as good that which makes human beings happy
is taken fo r granted and r equires no further explanation ( 205 c ) .

If human needs and the feeling of happiness are discussed in


.

connection wi th this p r oblem we should not immediately conclude


,

that P lato was attemptin g to teach eudaemonism o r even hedonism .

A lready in the Go gias in which S ocrates disputes with C allicle s


r

and his circle P lato had explained his rej ection of morality that is
,

based on th e natural inconstant appetiti ve faculty of man Even in


, .

the S ymposi m not e very Eros is canonized but only that Eros is
u ,

accepted whi h arouses enthusiasm for whateve r S hares in the p roto


c

type of the good and the beautiful ( p o wdy o ) and which fo r e



r
ao r
-
v v
,

this reason is itself valuable The prototype is valuable not because


.
,

we love it ; on the contrary we love it because it is valuable Insofar


, , .

as we a e concerned it is e ntirel y apriori ; it is alwa ys a being


r ,
70 A N C I ENT P H ILO S OP HY
without beginning or end without increa se or decrease with out , ,

limits and without a foundation laid down by anoth er A a uniform


,
. s

good it is entirely self sustaining Th e moral good therefore i s not



-
.
, ,

a value in the sense in which an obj ect sold in the market place has
value For such a v alue is determ i ned by the law of supply and
.

demand M oral good is absolute


. .

Th e e thi cs of P lato is therefore as objective and normative as


Kant s although it is not as is h i an eth i c of necessity or duty

, ,
s, .

Though E ros may be a g reat god the prototype of beauty is never ,

th eless independent of the con cessions or favors of men ; to be sure ,

it precedes them By means of this interpretation of P lato namely


.
, ,

that th e good belongs to man as does his original nature and as


such contributes to his happiness and bliss it becomes evident that ,

there emerges a truth which is not clearly expressed in Kant namely , ,

th at the good exercises an attraction over us and it appears as good


to us and not primarily as a du ty or necessity .

4. BE I NG

Being goo d in the Rep u b lic In what this good consi sts
and .

actually is not discussed in the S ymposi m Bu t how is this central u .

problem solved in P lato s masterpiece ? It is S igni fi ant that in the



c

Rep blic whe r e he finally develops ex p o fess th e idea of the good in


u ,
r o

itself 5 dy dd ) upo n which the whole guidance of th e Rep b lic


7 a v u

depends P lato must fin ally confess that he is unable to say dire ctly what
,

th e content of the good r eally is H e can only indirectly arrive at an .

app roximation of the idea of the good insofar as he des ribes W hat ,
c

kind of activity it can unfold Bu t even this definition through in .

direction is possible only by means of a figure of speech This figure .

is the famous comparison of the sun with the idea of the good
( 5 05 Just as in th e visible world the sun makes everyt h ing
perceptible live and grow so in the realm of the invisible the idea
, , ,

of the good is the ultimate reason for the fact that being itself is
known and possesses existence and essence Everything that is exists .

only because of the idea of the good Th e idea of the good itself .

is not being but stands above and beyond it ( é w Tij f f ) far ’


vr e xe a s o io as
,

surpassing everything both in power and in sublimity By this inter .

r etatio n the ethi cal problem glides imper ceptibly into th e provin ce
p

of metaphysi cs In the kingdom of being the kingdom of good S h o u ld


.

sh ine with great brilliance In this way th ere is opened a road by


.

which the content f the goo d can be ma de under sta ndabl e I n the
O .
P L A TO I 71

world of science we need apprehend only the realm of being and ,

in the truths connected with it we possess also values And when .

we examine these in the light of the one principle in which they are
all included and from which they may be deduced we possess in this ,

supreme principle the source reason of all value and the good in ,

itself is no longer a mere postulate but an infinitely fertile infinitely


, ,

rich idea .

A ssump tions of a metaphysics of value This conception r ests upon .

the theory that the basis of being is good because it is in fact an ,

ultimate basis B t beyond this we c n detect a more profound


. u a

presupposition namely that being itself is good Bu t being and


, , .

with th is we arrive fi nally at our last assumption — is good only


because P latonic metaphysi s Vi ews being under its aspect as final
c

cause A s we S hall see later ( cf p


. for P lato every ido ( form )
. . e s

is a wherefore ( ii g ) and therefore a good ; for purpose naturally



o
'

uek o

denotes a value for everyth ing that has reference to it or seeks to


achieve it Fo r this reason we find that A ristotle identifies his final
.

c ause with the good and offers as explanation that the final cause is
the ultimate cause of all change and of all motion (M eta I 3; 983 .
, , ,

a and that because of it God moves the whole world as a “

thing beloved ( J ”
and this movement on the part of
ig

God means that all things long for H im This well known statement .
-

of A ristotelian metaphysi cs becomes understandable only through


P lato s teleology of Forms or Ideas In P lato however th e genesis of

.
, ,

this parti c lar form of ontologi cal speculation may be found not
u

in an ontological but I n an ethical S tatement of the problem in Lysis .

In it we discover developed for the first time a hierarchy of teleological


val es in whi ch one value depends on the other and th e whole series
u

is an h ored to a supreme value S ince this teleological concept of the


c .

eidos is complete and universal it remains v alid also fo r ontology as


,

su ch and confers upon P latonic metaphysics its distinctive feature ,

so that the principle of being and along with it all being appear as
good S in e P lato created this world of ideas ph ilo ph ia per ennis
. c , so

has always assumed that God the creato r of the wo rld is good j ust
, , ,

as we take for granted for the same reason that being as such is good .

Bu t can we really assume that all being is actually good ? P rescind


ing from th e well —authenti cated atro cities that fill histo r y s pages

atrocities which obviously belong to th e category of being even “

in those segments of the world into which man cannot penetrate


with his misery the world still annot be said to be perfect in all
,
c
72 A NCIE NT P H I LO S OP H Y
respects For there is s u h a thing as physical evil Does G o d not
. c .

hold sway over an abysmal pit of horrors ? An d is not the prin iple c

of being from wh i h all reality is derived also a principle of evil


c

and conseq ently cannot be a uniform good ?


u
“ ”

S urprisingly the whole of an ient philosophy when it treats of c ,

being describes only ideal being ; to it evil ( wi kedness ) i s simply


,

non being Th e same is true also of P lato H i system of philosophy


-
. . s

is not as yet onscious that by evolving su h a concept it applies


c c

apriori a selective criterion and for that reason it teaches an ontology


that is itself determined apriori by pri n ciples of value and is con


sequently limited It is certainly not the whole being conceived in
.

theoretical truth that sets the limits upon th e good but it is the ,

ideal being that is being already determined by the principle of


, ,

value Bu t such an idea means that the decisive factor in the knowl
.

edge of the good is not being as such but o nly the criterion of value ,

whi h differentiates being from being In this we can detect the


c .

primacy of practi cal reason Bu t we must not forget that th e .

philosophers of this era knew nothing of such a distinction They .

spoke only of being It is in modern philosophy in the ethi cs of


.
,

Kant and in the philosophy of value that the knowledge of value is ,

made a problem For P lato the way to the concept of the good was
.

beyond being th rough truth


“ ” “
.

5 PLEASU RE
.

H is matu re D ialogu es on hedonism A lthough in his Rep blic . u

P lato transferred the ethical problem to the realm of metaphysi cs


and by so doing struck out upon a new path th at would become
chara cteristi c of him he could not rid himself of this purely e th ico
,

phenomenological problem In the Th ea tetu s he busies himself with . e

it and at th e same time takes up a discussion of sensualism ; these


questions are dealt with also in the Laws and in the P hileb u s In .

these works th e q uestion is phrased as follows : 13 good perhaps


identi al with pleasure ? To this question S o crates himself had given
c

a negative reply in the Gor gias Th e question and its definite answer .

occupied the Academy constantly At the basis of the discussion we .

find various Opinions on the q uestion that had been broached both
by A ristippus and Eudoxus To them P lato had to dedicate a special .

treatise .

First O f all he clarifi ed the term P leasure may mean practically


, .

anything Th e debauchee has his own peculiar pleasure as do th e


.
P LATO I 73

abstemious and the virtuous th e foolish as well as the wise Th e ,


.

common and therefore essential elements of pleasure may be sought

in the cravings th e clamo r ing and the satisfactions which are ex


, s,

er ien ced by ea ch individual ( P hile b u s 12 d ; 34 T h e good


p ,

then would be that afte r whi ch men craved and fo r whi ch th ey

strove In fact such an obj ect was good pre cisely because men longed
.

fo r it and it satisfied them when obtained Value has its sou rce in .

the concept of liking and of relish in a tendency as Kant


“ ” “

,
” “

,

has phrased it This had been th e theory of Eudoxus This in turn


. .
, ,

agrees perfectly with that theory placed in the mouth of Theaetetus


but which in reality stemmed from A ristippus who in this matter ,

advocated a theory of values parallel to P rotagoras sensualis m that ’

was based on theoreti al knowledge In matters which concern an


c .

experiencing of v alue and hence in the question of th e useful of ,

the good and the j ust of th e beau tiful and happiness itself every
, ,

thing depends upon purely personal feelings In this every man is .

an auto crat Whatever appears to a person as valuable is truly valu


.

able fo r him Whether or not he enj oys himself and is happy right
.

fully is not a matter of great concern What is important is the fact .

that he is happy and no one can rob h im of the good time he had ;
,

fo r it was at one time directly present to h im present in the sensible ,

pathos which he felt in th e affection of the lower appetiti ve faculty “

,

as Kant will express i t I n his philosophy later on For this reason .

it is fo r him always true evident and inamissible ( Th eaetetu s


,
” “

,
” “ ”
,

160 c ; 178 b ; P hil b u s 37 a b )e ,

Th e c ri ticism of P lato Although he championed ethi cs based on


.

truth and on j ustice P lato never became a rigorist as did Kant


,
.

Esp ecially in the evening of his life he r ealized how large a role
pleasure and love play in human life In ethi cs we deal as he .
,

said not with gods but with men P leasures and pains and desires
,
.

are a part of human nature and on them every mortal being must ,

of necessity hang and depend with the most eager interest ( Laws ”
,

732 ( 1; ed Jowett Vol II pp


.
,
As a consequence in P h ile b u s
.
, .
,

he decided in favor of a life compounded of pleasure and virtue ,

of pruden ce and passion H e had never chosen pleas re as a moral


. u

principle And no matter how strongly he advo cated happiness as


.

a value in opposition to C ynicism he fought j ust as strenuously ,

against the hedonism of the C yrenaics and every kind of eudaemon


ism according to which th e source and the essence of every value
is to be sought in pleasure and in nothing else .
74 ANCIE NT PH ILOSO PH Y
Headvanced three di fferent arguments to defend his position .

First it is not correct to maintain that the subj ecti ve fleeting sensory
,

feeling should be the criterion of value O ften enough late r on a .


, ,

thing which momentarily appeared to us to be valuable in reality


turned out to be absolutely worthless Fo r this reason he made a .
,

distinction between pleasures whi ch a re true and those which a re


false By so doing he employed obj e tive criteria and he conseq uently
. c

discovered that the experiencing of a pleasure as such is no longer


decisi ve and is neither the source nor the essen ce of value ( Th aetetu s e ,

169 d f ; 18 7 ; P h il b 36 5 3 b ) P leas re is furth ermore an p i n


e u s, c— . u a e ro ,

that is it is something that is undetermined and so permits of


,

increase and of diminution F or this reason pleasure is not univo cal


.
,

and it may sometimes happen that a thing that appears to us as


pleasurable could actually become unpleasant fo r pain also possesses ,

a capacity for increase and diminution ( P hil b us 27 d 31 c ) Finally e ,



.
,

pleasure belongs to the realm of becoming to the sphere of change , ,

because it denotes an experience or a su ffering C onsequently it may .

undergo successive stages of appearing disappearing o r changing , , .

Fo r a true good su ch states are impossible because it belongs to the ,

realm of being ( P hil b u s 5 3 c 55 ( I) e ,



.

O r de r of p leasu re F or this reason as pleasure should find a place


.
,

in our lives it o ght to be regulated and guided by moderation and


, u

orde r by reason and j udgment This is the conclusion arrived at in


, .

P h ile b s Bu t this means that pleasure is not a principle but a co n


u .

comitant phenomenon of the good Life itself is regulated by the .

ideal order It is at the same time the foundation fo r pleasure and


.

happiness N o t everything that causes pleasure is good but W hatever


.
,

is good causes pleasure F or what good can the j ust man have
.

which is separated from pleasure ( L w s 663 a ; ed Jowett Vol II ”


a , .
, .

p . and hence something that is a ccompanied by the pleasant



.

In fa t this law holds also for aesthetic satisfaction Th e applause of


c , .

some unquali fied individual is not decisive in the selection of what is


truly and genuinely beautiful but the applause of the cultu red and
,

the morally elite is because they possess an insight into obj ective
,

propriety that constitutes the essence of beauty ( Laws 658 e ) M ore , .

especially in the personal morality of th e individual we find that the


,

foundation for happiness is j ustice and not what a person feels and
th inks it to be : For the goods of which the many speak are not

really good health beauty wealth bodily gifts ( k een eye or


, , ,

qu i ck ear ) position and the power to satisfy all his appetites long
, ,
76 A N C I E NT P H ILOSOPH Y
and material world S u ch evil depends of necessity on this ( Th eaet tus
. e ,

176 a ) i e mortal nature and ear thly sphere ( ed Jowett Vol II


“ ”
, . .
, .
, .
,

p . Late r on the re will be proposed as a derivation of this


teaching which P lato o ffers here only as an explanation fo r the
,

defectiv e perfection of the world the theory that matter as such is ,

e vil At this stage of his development howeve r P lato does not as


.
, ,

yet ad vocate this more profound M anichaeism S ometimes students .

of P lato speak of an evil world soul which he was supposed to have —

invented for his system ( Laws 896 e By such a principle e v il


,

could be generated of necessity both in the physical and the mo ral


o r ders P erhaps such tendencies of P arsiism did appear occasion ally in
.

the Academy Bu t in the speculation of P lato they had no place P lato


. .
,

mo reover taught expressly that the operations of the wicked souls


,
“ ”

were meaningless and unimportant in comparison to the operations


of the cosmic soul A s a consequence it is extremely probable that
.
,

the so—called evil world—soul which he is thought to have taught was


nothing more than a passing reflection .

Limitatio ns o f P lato nism Bu t e vil is an incontestable r eality That


. .

it could not be fitted into the philosophy of P lato is a defect a defect ,

howeve r which can be found in all systems of idealism ( see p .

P lato took up this question aga i n 1n connection with his theodi cy .

A question wi th which all later theodi cies busied themsel v es also


caused him mental unrest : If there is a God how is it possible th a t ,

things happen in this world as though H e did not exist or as if H e

did not care to exercise H is providence over it ? In propounding such


problems for dis cussion the whole question of evil was again broached
,
.

TH E TRU E

second notion upon which P lato fo cused his philosophy


Th e
w as tr uth To speak of P lato is to speak of his theory of ideas or
.

forms We can approach this theory only by beginnin g wi th his


.

view of truth .

1 . N OTI ON or TRU TH
Truth
may be a property of our speculation and of our speech
logical truth It consists in having our j udgments co rrespond in
.

content W ith the facts whi ch they seek to rep roduce or express Tru th .

may also be a property of being When a being is as it should be .


,

it is true : ontologi cal truth In this sense we speak of true gold .


,
P LATO 1 77

true flowe r s tr ue men etc P lato knew both notions of t ru th O nto


, , . .

logical truth however was especially basic to his philosophy Th e


, , .

distinction between a true being ( 6 8 0 706 6 ) and a being that is 19 11 9



v

not true because it rests midway between being and non being per
,
-
,

vades his enti re speculation Th e p resupposition fo r these two mean


.

ings of the notion of truth is to be found in his view that eve rythin g
that is true must be unchangeable something that is always identical
with itself as he was accustomed to say F o r P lato then truth was
, .
, ,

ete rnal o r more correctly it was without time or beyond time F o r


, , .

centuries this concept of tru th gave direction to the speculation


and the philosophy of the West .

In orde r to understand the unique nature of P lato s teaching we “ ’

need only to examine the standpoint of that philosophy of life which


saw in this concept of t ruth a falsification as it believed of the , ,

eternal fluid reality and as a consequence sought something else as


tru th In such a philosophy truth is for example whatever is genuine
.
, , ,

experience o r whate ver is fruitful Th e historical reasons for P lato s



.
” ’

concept of truth must be sought in S ocrates and in his uni versal ideas
as well as in P armenides and his eternally motionless being No t in .

vain did the pionee r s of this new philosophy of life Nietzsche and ,

Klages di rect thei r efforts repeatedly against the philosophy of the


,

ancients Th e basic reason which led P lato to adopt th e position


.

he did was his ideal of a mathematical science which was for him ,

also the ideal fo r scien ce as su ch as it was to be later fo r Desca rtes


, ,

S pinoza and Kant , .

2 . TH E S O U RCE
TRU TH OF

S ensatio n What first interested P lato in his speculation on truth


.

was the question of its source Where do we find the truth ? In his .

solution he excludes fi r st of all the sense faculties as possible sources ;


he does this very decidedly from the very beginning and in a manne r
typical bo th for him and for all later rationalists F or him sensation .

is not only the subjective perception of th e senses but also the objec
tive realm o f the senses the material wo rld in space and in time
,
.

Th e perception of the senses is un reliable We continually experience .


,

for example that our own eyes repeatedly see things in a di fferent
,

light O f special interest is the fact that the same sensible events
.

may appea r di fferently to othe r people than they do to us This .

lack of certitude in matters of sense perception had occasioned


P armenides and especially th e S ophists to stress thei r relativity and ,
78 ANCIE NT P H ILO SOPH Y
in this P lato agrees with them H e also viewed the perceptions of .

the senses with a sceptical eye In the realm of the senses there is .

no knowledge that is ever the same and as a consequence there , ,

can be no truth For thi s reason the philosopher must die to his
.

body and to his senses as we read in the P h aedo ; otherwise he will ,

never be able to contemplate tr uth in all its purity .

In addition the world of the senses is also a world of change and


,

of perpetual motion where everything is in a state of fluidity This .

was the thesis of the H er aclitean s and it made a vivid impression ,

on P lato If everyth ing is in the state of flux in the world of reality


.
,

there can be in this sense wo rld neithe r tr u th no r science because


nothing continues in the same state whereas th e concept of truth ,

demands that a thing be in constant identity with itself .

Th e pe r ceptions of the senses finally neve r rep resented formal , ,

knowledge to P lato ; they were only the materials of knowledge .

Th e contents of these individual sense perceptions are constantly being


subj ected by us to an examination This examination reveals what is .

common to our various sensations and we express this common ,

element through our j udgments of identity It is this common element .


,

moreove r whi ch forms th e Object of scientific knowledge an d of


,

tru th Th e knowledge formed in j udgment can never again be


.

sentient because sensation is limited to one sense faculty ; here the


,

perceptions of the individual sense faculties are examined condensed , ,

and assimilated Fo r this r eason sensation cannot be a source of


.

truth ( Rep 5 23 ff Th eaetet s 185


.
, .
, u ,

Th e m ind The source of truth ought r ather to be sought in the


.

soul : when returning into herself she [the soul ] reflects then she

passes into the other world the region of purity and eternity and , , ,

immortality and unchangeableness which are her kindred


, then ,

she ceases from her erring ways and being in communion with the ,


unchanging is unchanging (P h aedo 79 d ; ed Jowett Vol I p ”
, . .
, .
,
.

By th e soul P lato designated the mind pure speculation ( min ,


o rs
,

ém arj n u
, Upon it all knowledge must draw only then ,

does it arrive at truth .

1) Ap ior z s m Bu t the mind needs this knowledge not indeed


'

r .

in orde r first to acquire truth ; fo r the mind has always possessed this
knowledge by virtue of its own nature H o w could he do this .

[re ollect
c
] U nless there were knowledge and right r eason al r eady
in him ? ( P h a do 73 a ; ed Jowett Vol I p

Knowledge for
e , .
, .
, .
,

example of identities as su ch the large and the small goodness


, , , ,
P LATO I 79

j ustice holiness man lyre in gene ral of eve r y essence as such


, , , , .

Notions thoughts certitudes ( M57 jp m iju ) are



éw

at

0 1 o ca e vo r a ra e or
, , , , ,

terms used by P lato to designate these essences In short they are the .
,

ideas These are al ways identical with themselves and they neve r
.

ch ange j ust as truth does not These ideas have been called innate “ ”
, .

or inborn It would be more correct to speak of them as apriori



.

truths or truths of the ideal order P lato himself said th at we wo u ld .

h ave seen these pure thoughts in the pre existen ce of the soul in the -

dwelling place of the gods and we would recall them again prompted ,

by th e perceptions of the senses in time and place ( d dp vnm r eco l v e

lection ) We do not regain or recover them solely by means of


.

sensation ; they are already present by reason of the glimpse we have


obtained of them in the state of pre existen ce P recisely in th is sense —
.

do we co nceive the notion of apriority A t the same time we recognize .

th at by su ch a con ception P lato had in mind an ar hetypal knowledge c

which reveals to us all being in ideal form .

2) Ba is of bis apr z o z s m Th e most important element in this


' '

s r .

train of thought is the attempt whi ch P lato made to prove the


apriority of certitude in the ideal order H is proof may be summar .

i e d in this fashion : Y ou cannot perceive sensations without pre


z

v io u sly permitting spiritual contents whi ch did not have thei r origin
in experience to ente r in and be employed by them If we compare .
,

for instance two pieces of wood ( as he mentions in the P h a do )


,
e ,

we find that the two are not entirely th e same but they do approach ,

more or less to the notion of e q uality What took place while making .

this comparison ? We related our representations of each of these


pieces of wood to the idea of equality and by so doing measured ,

j udged and arranged the pieces themselves We would not have


, .

been able to bring these two pieces together for a comparison


if we had not at the start possessed the idea of equality A s he .

phrases it more generally : Before we began to see o r hear or per


ce i e in any way we must have had a knowledge of absolute equality
v , ,

or we could not have referred to that standard the equals whi ch are
derived from th e senses for to that they all aspire and of that—
,

they fall short ( P h do 75 b ; ed Jowett Vol I p



ae , The .
, .
, .

Th e etet s further enumerates certain other apriori certitudes : identity


a u ,

difference opposition unity numeri cal precision straightness and


, , , , ,

c rookedness We perceive that these concepts which P lato propounds


.

are fundamental and underlie all knowledge An d if we should O bj ect .

that all universal ontents of knowledge are obtained by abstra ction


c ,
80 ANCIE NT P H ILOSOPH Y
and therefore trace their origin to the perceptions of the senses he ,

would answe r : You would be unable to begin the process of abstrae


tion unless you possessed fr om the very beginning such ideas as
identity equality similarity un ity and plu rality because otherwise
, , , , ,

a comparison which is the fi r st step in abstraction could not be


, ,

initiated In o rde r to be able to compare we must know in advance


.
,

the one and the many identity and diffe rence H ow othe rwise could
, .

we differentiate one representation from another ?


3) Th e extent of th e apr io r i To P lato not only were the funda.

mental notions of all knowledge apriori but advancing along the ,

same path he had already broken he explained th at everything that ,

exists in itself o r as s u h hence e very archetypal notion beauty as


c ,

such goodness j ustice piety in itself — in fact every essence is aprio ri


, , ,
- —

to the mind It therefore need neve r be acqui red again by expe rience
.

but can always be brought back into consciousness by recall and


recognition P lato is an exp ressed rationalist and idealist Th e enti re
. .

wo rld of th e senses both in time and in place is t ransferred by


him into the idea and into the pur e concept and it becomes unde r ,

stan dable only because it is viewed f rom this standpoint In or der .

that sense per ceptions as well as experience might became possible

fo r us the idea must first exist O nly by its medium can we in


, .

ter pr et the senses and thei r data .

4) Agains t mater ialis m The proof for the p resence Of apriori


.

elements in the human mind is also used by P lato against the


teaching of P rotagoras that all knowledge is only subj ective appea r
ance and opinion against the asse r tion of A ntisthenes that there is
,

nothing beyond the material senses and against the thesis of Aristippus
that all sense of v alue is a shee r individual experience By proposing .

universally valid non sentient and apriori contents of our mind


,
-
, ,

P lato knocks the props fr om under relativism phenomenalism sen


, ,

su alism and the individualism of value


, Even the most subj ective .

emotions of ou r senses and of ou r cravings ( qb B d i 0m


'
a b vea az
,
e c t/ 6 0
,

w v mi e
a
) are ne
os v er without the uni v ersally v alid non senso r y ,
-
,

logical and ethical categories ; and th is of course renders sensualism


,

and indi vidualism in the realm of values untenable P lato is the fi r st .

great adversary of materialism Late r philosophe r s constantly take .

refuge in his arguments .

S en s ation and reaso nin g Th e relation between sensation and


.

reasoning can now be more distinctly drawn When we present .

P lato as a rationalist and idealist we should not pi cture him as if ,


P LATO I 81

he were forced to stalk b lindly th rough the world and as if he


did not wish to avail himself of the senses O n the contr ar y they .
,

play a great pa r t in his theory of knowledge H e was accustomed .

to say that we think and we know by means of the senses starting ,


” “

wi th the senses by taking the senses into consideration Bu t what


,
” “
.

kind of a role is this ? P Natorp and the neo Kantian interp reter s.
-

of P lato believe that we can think of this role much as we would


think of it in Kantian philosophy Th e senses should furnish the .

material of experience while the mind by means of its apr io ristic


elements should classify this material and thus make experiences
, ,

possible O f course the ideas of P lato are not empty forms and func
.
,

tions but finished contents and we are not dealing with a limited ,

numbe r of original and basic functions ( catego ries ) but with an


unlimited assortment of notions : all knowledge of being and essence
is apriori Fo r this reason the re remains nothing that can be classified
.

o r a rranged The contents of knowledge are complete in their ex


.

istence They must only be made known This is a ccomplished by


. .

the sen ses .

P lato enlarges upon this theme very cleverly in the P h aedo : When
I see th e picture of a friend it reminds me of him insofar as it ,

affords me the oc casion actually to think of him in the way I had


al ready known about him potentially P ictures do not supply me with .

a likeness of my friends ; I already possessed that They are r espon .

sible solely fo r th e fact that I become conscious of the aprioristic


content which I already posse ss And this is also true whenever I .

see a straight line a circle a square a man a beast a plant or


, , , , , ,

anything else As a consequence in the works of P lato sensation is


.
,

considered to be a copy And j ust as we are able to understand a.

picture solely by reason of the obj ect from which it was copied ,

so we must refer all our sense perceptions to a prototype of which


the perceptions are copies To express this idea more clearly P lato .
,

coined the expression par ticipatio n The cognitional theo ,

r etical meaning of this con cept sign ifies that all knowledge in the

experimental dimensional world is an an alogism an interpretation


, {
“‘

of sense perceptions by referring them to a prototypal notion ( d ‘


vcz

Aéy ) as this is stated definitely in Th eaetetu s ( 186 a 10 and C


ov
,

It is e vident then that fo r P lato the role of the senses is a v ery


, ,

limited one Th e senses are not causes Of th e content of our knowl


.

edge They are also not the sources ; they are only the occasions of
.

our being conscious of ideas .


82 A NCIENT PH ILOSO PH Y
It is ve ry instructive to compare P lato and Kant on this particula r
q uestion B oth busy
. themselve s with apriori fa ctors Whereas in .

Kant the forms alone are apriori in P lato thei r conte nt is also In , .

Kant the content of knowledge is acquired ; in P lato it is already


existent According to Kant the senses actu ally a fford material for
.

the content of knowledge ; according to P lato they contribute nothing


to that content Kant represents a uni on of empiricism and rational
.

ism ; P lato is a pure rationalist .

D o xa ( opinio n ) If a person sh ould prove incapable of elevating


.

himself from sense knowledge to the ideas and remain bound by


sense perception as such his knowledge is not true knowledge but ,

rath er opin i on ( S f ) If knowledge r emains stationa ry i n the sense


o a .

world and 1 8 based exclusively on it the possesso r of such kn owledge ,

wo ld deal exclusively within the realm of the changeable and neve r


u

arrive at true knowledge because his knowledge would neve r attain ,

to p r op smon s and truths which remain eternally the same Just


o .

as H ume would later characte rize purely empiri cal and natural scien
ti c knowledge as belief so P lato designates it as sheer belief
,

Both reached this conclusion from the same conside r ation


as starting point namely we can never be su re of the constancy
, ,

of natural events A second reason why according to P lato empirical


.
, ,

knowledge is only opi n on lies in man s lack of insight into the i


facts of a case We may accidentally or through divine p r ovidence


.
“ ”

chance upon th e truth but if we do not know positi vely the con
,

n ectio n s existing between the a rguments we do not possess true ,

wisdom but we k now only by conj ecture or by pure chance Bu t we


, .

cannot rely on this P lato however does concede that we mus t be


.
, ,

res gned to the fact that the great maj ority of people do not know
i

bette r If an opinion accidentally true does not present true knowledge


.
,

it is still something more than non knowledge or nescience Th e ideal — .

still would be a true insight into the eternal unchangeable truth s , ,

into ideas and notions .

3 . O B J ECTS
KN OWLEDGE : IDEAS
OF

To the aprio r i notions of our minds cor respond suitable obj ects .

This world of O bjects interested P lato as much as did his sea rch for
the source of knowledge .

Th e fac t O f ideas P lato proved wi th clarity that the un changeable


.

ness of our intellectual certitudes stemmed from the fact that specula
tion concerns itself with obj ects which of themselves are absolutely
84 AN CIE NT PH I LOSOPH Y

eternally unchangeable Objects of true knowledge ar ise by vi r tue ofi


the pre existential glimpse we had of them in the pur e r eason
— .

Q u alities The P
. latonic idea is some thing non spatial timeless -
, ,

unchangeable accessible only to speculation Bu t we would like to


,

k now from the very start what kind of reality the ideas possess It is .

apparent that thei r reality is not the reality of senso ry s patial and , ,

temporal things ( r s extensa) They furthe rmore lack any psychi c


e .

reality ( es ogitan ) Th e S ymposi m 211 a 7 establishes that the


r e s . u , , ,

idea is neither actual thought no r knowledge Its reality is rather of .

the ideal o r der What this ideal reality is we learn by being given
.
,

examples of mathematical and logical associations of validity P roposi .

tions su ch as 2 X 2 are 4 the p roposition that the sides of an equi,

angular triangle are equal to each othe r etc cannot be changed by , .


,

an y powe r in this world They are not in time It would be . .

to ask when they began to be valid and whether if the wo rld ceased ,

to be they too wo u ld lose thei r validity No t e ven God is able to


, .

alte r the significance of their validity As Bolzano exp ressed it they .


,

are propositions whi ch hold true fo r God H imself .


M un dus in telligib ilis th e I nte lligible Wo rld This ideal r .

is Stronger than all other reality ; fo r the material world will


long disappeared but these propositions will still be valid
, .

contain furthermore the sublime structu ral plans of the


, ,

out being in any way dependent upon them Th e mate rial .

something else : it has its own gr avity ; it err s and has its
but it is never theless dominated and ruled by the ar tfu lne
idea as H egel will de clare later on P lato would truthfully

.

this material world exists by grace of the idea .

1 ) Th e ch ar acter o f r ealit
y i n th e w o r ld 0

P lato recognizes in ideal reality tr ue reality the ,

Leibniz so also for him the true ci r cle is not the one
, ,

on the blackboard but the ideal circle O nly fo r the .

laws of the ci rcle valid The former does not fulfill the .

for these laws because its line is protracted and it can


,

perfectly round ; and thus it is fo r all other ideas H as .

been a man who has fully exhausted th e idea of man an ,

perfect man ? In the kingdom of natu re do not


beasts and even inanimate beings with thei r
,

always h ave room despite thei r ,

the richness Of the idea of spe


the idea itself is inexhaustible
PLATO I 85

alone is perfect genuine and true reality ; whe reas all else stri ves
, ,

to reproduce it but in the attempt arri ves only at an app roximation


,

and an approximate value of it neve r at its tr ue value and its essence ,

itself From the senses then is de ri ved the knowledge that All
.

sensible things aim at an absolute equality of which they fall sho r t ”

( P h aedo 7
,5 b ; ed Jowett Vol I p . Indeed because of
, its .
, .
,

inexhaustibly ri ch produ ctive fruitfulness the wo rld of ideas is the ,

star kest reality Fo r this reason P lato differentiates between the world
.

of ideas q é mu ndu s intelligibilis the intelligible wo rld )


vo
-
r s, ,

and the visible wo rld ( 6 m Op d ma ndns sensibilis the world of


7 7 ; ar s, ,

sense ) and sees in the world of ideas the true and real wo rld while ,

in the sensible wo rld he percei ves only a copy which stands midway
between being and non being Although we might app roach the -
.

meaning of the ideal reality by means of the mathematical notion


of the significance of validity it would ne ver be in consonance with ,

the spi rit of P lato s philosophy if we looked upon the idea simply

as logical validity as Lotze has done F o r the mode r n notion of logical


, .

validity denotes a cer tain diminution of the degree of r eality since ,

mode rn speculation is accustomed to see true r eality only in physical


reality It is j ust the opposite fo r P lato : to him ideal reality is not
.

a diminution of the degree of reality but full and perfect reality ,


.

2) Th e co ntent of th e w or ld of ideas Insofar as the content of .

the Wor ld of ideas is con cer ned in the beginning P lato spoke only of ,

the ideas of th e good the beautiful the j ust as such and of , , ,

othe r eth ico aesthetical ideals Bu t the P h aedo r eveals idea s of logico
-
.

ontological r elations fo r example the idea of equality difference


, , , ,

opposition and finally th e idea of all essences in gener al Th rough


, .

this the doctrine of ideas was expanded to include the whole r ealm

of b eing — also natu re and ar t — fo r essen ces are to be found e very


whe re In the P ar menides ( 130 c d ) and the S ophist ( 227 a b ) if
.
, , ,

P lato w r ites as if he we r e fo r ced by ne cessity to a ccept the idea of


a hai r of di r t and of lice and of othe r things of little value we
, , , ,

should not forget that his doctrine Of ideas was originally a doctrine
of ideals ; but we may not believe that he changed the characte r of

his doctrine of ideas in his O ld age H e expressed only mo r e clearly .

what he could hav e said earlie r in the P h aedo wher e th e idea al ready ,

represented to him everything without exception — all that we are


able to seal by such terms as in itself o r the essence Th e idea
“ “ ” “
.

,

therefore stood fo r the quiddity of a being ; it was what determined a


,

being to a p r ecise and dete rminate mode ( S osein s b estimmth eit) ( 75 d ) .


86 ANCIE NT PH I LOSOPH Y
Q uite logically then we must also assume using modern ter
, , ,

min o logy the idea of S atan Does


, such an idea actually fit into the .

world of ideas and does it trace its origin ultimately to the idea of
the good ? By asking this qu estion w e come into contact with the
problem which we mentioned before ( see p H o w is it possible .

for all beings to be good ? H ere we can see how P lato s notion ran ’

into difficulties ; in the beginning the idea was valid only fo r a


limited area Ofbeing and was useful within it but now it is expanded ,

too b roadly and is extended to emb r ace still more arpas of being and


,

by su ch a generalization it ru ns into grave apor ias o r philosophical


dif culties .

Th e Wo r ld of S cience Fo r P lato the wo rld of ideas considered as


.
, ,

the true world was also the world of science and Of tru th We need
, .

but recall the citation in the P h aedo to which we have already


referred There we learned that when th é soul left to itself seeks to
.

understand being it ceases to err because it is occupied in the realm


, ,

of objects which are always identical with themselves An d this .


state Of soul is called wisdom ( P h aedo 79 b ; ed Jowett Vol I p ”


, .
, .
,
.

In the world of ideas tr uth is always in its p rope r place an d ,

it is in this world that the scientific theses and laws are properly
valid Bu t they are not stri ctly true in in the world of sense expe rience
. .

P togo r as said ( Frag 7 ) that the law of tangents might n


ro . o t be

valid because the line of the circle whi ch we draw rests on more , ,

than one point Fo r the physical wo rld this would be true but we
.
,

should nevertheles s not abandon the law By means of it we are


, , .

able to prove that we assume a world of objects othe r than sensible


an expanded world namely the ideal world of objects Fu r thermo r e
, , .
,

it is not true only of the wo rld of mathematics Eve ry natu r al s cience .

takes into account average values With their acceptance we leave .


,

the world of pure factual findings If we were to retain them we .


,

would be forced to adh ere firmly to individual results arrived at by


facts These alone a re act ally given By accepting average value we
. u .
,

exceed the positive given fact If we a ccept fo r examp le the estab .


, ,

lish ed specific weight of antimony then measu rements of actual ,

spe cimens would give figures differing from In one experiment


we might reach a higher in anothe r a lower figure O nly these vary,
.

ing results are discovered as pro ved fact and are tr uly positively
factual Th e average value on the othe r hand is arri ved at by calcu
.
, ,

lation and is actually a coup d etat in view of Sensible reality and its ’

r ights H ere the ideal wor ld is introduced and put in place of th e


.
88 ANCIENT P HIL OSOP H Y
them into the light of day his good intentions might possibly cost ,

him his life .

Th e p risoners nevertheless must be released from the ca ve Thi s


, , .

is the prime duty of th e philosopher : to liber ate men from the


physical material wo rld the wo rld of a ppear ances an d from the
,
— —

shado ws of unreality and to bring them into the realm of true being .

This true being is indeed not the SO called real space—time world -
,

whi ch lies under the earthly sun This is only a copy The really true . .

world of being is the world of ideas Th e first copy of this true .

wo rld corresponding to the obje cts whi ch were carr ied behind the
,

low wall in the ca ve is the space time world A copy O f this last
,
-
.

named kind of being and conse q uently a copy of a copy co r respond


, ,

ing to the sh adows on the wall is the world of imitation and of ,

counterfeit .

Th e co r e of this figur e or allegory is not only the thought that


ther e are various classes o r strata of being but also another idea ,

namely that one strata rests upon another The s hadowy world rises
, .

upon the space—time being of th e physi co real world ; this in tu rn -


, ,

rears itself upon ideal being For P lato that upon which something


.
,

rests and by which it can alone be concei ved and can be is the
, ,

hypothesis ( i mi ) ; that is
c a be ng that
n s
ec must fi r st be postulated , i

if any further being is to exis t at all .

The Absolu te 1) Th e idea ofideas The con cept of hypothesis is


. .

not limited to the relation of the various strata of being but is ,

referred also to the r elation of ideas one to another ( R p 5 09 e .


,

The r e a re subo r dinate ideas depending upon superio r ones on which


,

they are based and suppor ted And since a great numbe r of sub .

ordinate ideas have thei r p resuppositions and foundations in superior


ones and of these superio rs some are founded upon a fur the r and
,

still mo re sublime idea the basic ideas as in a genealogical tree


, , ,

become eve r fewe r and fewe r Bu t by that very fact the basic ideas .

become also mo re powerful because they are both extensi vely and ,

intensi vely greate r Finally we arri ve at th e summit of the pyr amid


.

of ideas at the idea of ideas upon which all othe r ideas depend and
,

are based because embracing as it does all others it also offer s a


, , ,

foundation for all Just as the sun bestows upon all things in th e
.

realm of the visible world being and life and pe rceptibility so in the ,

realm of the invisible the idea of ideas bestows upon being its essence
and its discernibility This supreme idea is dependent upon no other
. .

It is absolute ( dm éfl : Rep 5 10 b ; 5 11 b ) and self s uffi cient


er o v .
,
-
PLATO I 89

( i e ) A s a consequence i t no longer being in


x a vév : P h ae do , 101 .
, is

the accepted sense For all being there must be a basis ; the absolute
.
,

however is of a different kind It exists of itself and by itself and is


, .

as a result beyond all being ( w s it exceeds all other



err e x e

a 1
'

being both in power and in dignity With this we arrive again at the .


idea of the good as it is in itself to which we had as cended when ,

dealing with the problems bearing on ethical value .

2 ) Th e ts of this th eo r y o n th
e ec h istor y o f philos oph y With e .

these concepts we find our selves at the source of the philosophical


views which are found in eve ry stage of the histo ry of philosophy .


Related more o r less directly to them a r e the differentiations between
absolute and contingent being the ens a se and the ens ab alia the , ,

notion of a r atio s u iciens for all beings and the postulate of a



,

supreme cosmi c F irst C ause the proofs for the exi stence of God based
,

o n causality and contingency the identi fi cation of the con cept of God
,

with the idea of a s u mmu m ho n m the interpretati on of God as u ,

the implicatio of the wo rld and of the world as the expli atio of c

God the notion of emanation the dis cussion of the one and the
, ,

many ( é m 2 wa ) the p roof fo r the existence of God based on the



v y
,

degrees of perfe ction the idea of the sup r emely perfect being etc
, , .

D i alectics If in the metaphysics of P lato all being depends for


.

existence on and is under stood only by the sup reme idea it is only ,

natural that the first task of philosophy should be to dis cover all those
ide as whi ch are latent in every being and to in vestigate thei r r ange
and ramifi cations This task was the origin of the P latonic dialectic
. .

It is the explanation of being through the Logos as the basis of being .

1 ) Th logi l s ide In the P latoni c dialecti c we first generally view


e ca .

the logi cal aspect ; the later Dialogues in particular show P lato s out ’

spoken interest in diale cti cs in this logical sense This is a ctually a .

fact and in this context the idea fo r P lato has chiefly a logi cal
meaning Th e idea is a notion and as su ch exhibits a series of logi cal
.

contents by whi ch the mode of one being ( w Z q ale q iddita ) o ov


, u , u s

is characterized in contradi ction to something else ( E p liu d ) As r e ov


, a .

a universal Concept the idea is also a genus and a species and is


,

conne cted with other subordinate superior and co—ordinate notions , , .

To examine this intermixture of ideas ( ww f 56 y B com Ko v a 7 1! et/( r


2

munity o f kinds ) is the task of dialecti cs S hould we not say that



:

the division acco r ding to classes whi h neither makes the same other , c ,

no r makes the other the same is the business of th e diale cti cal ,

science ? Then surely be who can di vide rightly is able to see


, ,
90 ANCIE NT PH ILOS O PHY
c learly one form [idea ] pervading a scattered multitude and many ,

di fferent forms [ideas ] contained under one higher fo rm [idea ] ; and


again one form [idea ] knit togeth er into a single whole and per
,

vading many su h wholes and many forms [ideas ] existing only in


c , ,

separation an d isolation Th is is the knowledge of classes which deter


.

mines where they can have communion with one anoth er and where
not ( S phist 25 3 d ; ed Jowett Vol II p

o , . In this procedure , .
, .

we may follow a des cending s cale ( from top to bottom ) by dividing “ ”

the uni versal notion of genus into various species and by dividing ,

these again until we arrive at the in di idu m that which cannot v u ,


be di vided any fu r th ef Di ir e is An example of th is is the definition



: a s .

of the notion of an angler which occurs in the S ophist ( 219,

O r this pro cedure may be in the as cending s cale ( from th e bottom to


the top ) by abstracting the uni versal from the particular and from ,

th is universal the S till more universal and so on until we finally ,

arrive at the most universal idea possible whi ch includes all being :
diale cti cs in the stri ct sense .

2 ) Th e metaph ysi al meaning Bu t P lato was les s con cerned with


c .

th e logical relations of notions in regard to content and extension

than with the Logos as hypothesis as the foundational basis of being ,


.

H is dialectics stands in the servi ce of his metaphysics If in his later .

Dialogues P lato turns to logical problems we s h ould not think that ,

this constitutes a break in his philosophical system but rather that , ,

it is the completion of what he had already begun and for which he


had prepared th e way If there are ideas as the Dialogue s of his
.
,

mature years propose — namely the P h aedo the S ymposi m and , , u ,

the R pu blic if these ar e the ontological bases for othe r beings


e —
,

and if as a conseq uence of this inte r dependence of ideas eve r wider .

ontological bases begin to appear ; if finally an idea Of an idea exists , ,

as the ultimate foun dation of be ng P lato is then forced to occupy i ,

himself with the apparat s of his Logos wh i ch supports everything


u .

This is not playing with an idea for the sake of the ideas as we

sometimes do in arithmetical games but it is an attempt to explain ,

the whole gamut of being by presenting the stru ctural idea beh ind
the world Diale cti cs is pure physi cs pure biology pure anth ro
.
“ ”
,
“ ”
,
“ ”

p o lo gy be,cause it a ffords us all th e apriori truths ne cessa r y for the


various departments of s cien ce and with this the most fundamental
relationships of being Finally we are dealing here with evidence for
.
,

the footpri nts of God insofar as di alecti cs survey s the whole of being
,
92 ANCIE NT P HILOSOPH Y

Acq uisitive C r eative

I mmedi ate app r o p r i ation Bar ter

Th r ough stealth Th r ou gh w ar

Animate natu r e I nani mate n atur e

Water ani mals L an d ani mals


Fish Fow l

By in str uments By n ets

th at w ound

By day By nigh t

Th r o u gh a th r u st v
fr o m ab o e ( h ar p o o ni ng)
Th r ou gh a thr ust fr om b elow ( angling)

that each un it of all so called multiplicity ( plu r ality ) essentially


-

par ti ci pates in species and idea and thus insofar is identical ; on the
othe r hand th e outline and its systematical di vision show p recisely
that together with the tho ro ughly essential and identical idea there
, ,

appear others di fferi ng from it ( 3) An d finally it becomes clear that


.

ever y being is at the same time a non being I can rightly call what -
.

is a being also a non being in respect to another because it is not


-
,

that othe r H aving tho roughly examined the mys te ry of the com
.

munity of ideas we come to the realization that an either o r is


,

-

not correct : eithe r H er aclitu s or the Eleatics either one o r th e


z
,

many eithe r identity o r differentiation The right answe r is as


, .

well as Each school saw something of the truth ; both aspects do


.

positi vely exist : unity and plur ality identity and differentiation being
, ,

and non being And the key which permits the synthesis that bridges
-
.

these antitheses is the idea of parti cipation This key makes us aware .

of identity but it does not over look differentiation


, .

M e anin gs o f the Ide a 1 ) Co ncept F rom what has been said we


. .
,

can finally establish rather easily the di f fe rent meanings which a r e


attached to the idea in th e works of P lato We have already treated .

of its logi cal meaning : Th e idea is a universal concept ( Aéy ) This os .

is the heritage bequeathed it by S ocrates Bu t the concept is not .


“ ”

modern in the sense that it must be understoo d as the sum of certain


notes It is rather to be understood as the uniform spiritual and intui
.
, ,

tive fo rm which posses ses u niv er sal validity .


PLATO I 93

2) Esse nces To P lato a second meaning is e ven mo re impo rtant


. .

The idea is always also an essence ( é i ) and the refore s ignifies th e o o a


,

thing itself in its true being ( 3 6 5 wpdyp ) It has been already 011 7 7 ta .

stated howeve r that being here means ideal being being of the
, , ,

ideal or de r .

3) Ca s e Third the id ea is a cause ( i i ) It is this as a p r e


u .
,
a r a .

supposition as a hypothesis In this sense it becomes the reason fo r


, .

being C ause in this sense is likened to r atio That which has been
. .

placed as a foundation shares in the being of that which placed the


foundation it exists be cause the reason is p resent in it
(na
p i
o va a
) P lato pe r mits his
. S o crates to explain that he was una b le
to promise himself a t rue enlightenment concerning the wo rld dr awn
from material causes which the p r e S ocratic school had ad vanced —
,

and that fo r this reason he had tu rned to the ideas as a second “

course Th e ideas fo r m a new kind of cause the eidetical o r ideal



.
,

cause We can best represent it to ou r selves if we meditate on the


.

relationship of a picture to the O bject that is depicted in it The O bject .

portr ayed is togethe r wi th its form ( 28 ) the cause of the eidos 5 0 9

( form ) of the pictu r e T h e latter partakes of the fo r me r ; the


. fo r me r
is present in the latter Th e Timaeu s establishes quite clea rly that .

the whole world is nothing but a copy The Demiurge cr eated all .

things in accordance with the eternal ideas .

4) P u pos e From this there follows still a fou r th meaning of idea


r .
,

namely its character as goal o r purpose


, Because of it ther e
is always something else It is a that fo r the sake of which ( 5 .

0

2m
1 m ) Exp r essed mo r e gene rally : All being has a mean ing and
.

through this meaning it is always r eferred to some thing else superio r


to it It is a striving and a longing ( 6péy 0 wp b l Z O ) fo r the
. e0 ai
,
o vi e a ac

more sublime in the world : all sensible things stri ve to be like the “

idea (P h aedo 75 a b ; ed Jowett Vol I p



, S o fa r as the idea
, .
, .
, .

is intended as a purpose it appea rs to be a value ( dy bé ) Th rough ,


a v .

this concept of the idea a teleological feature is intr oduced into ,

P latoni c metaphysics P lato explains the infe r io r by the supe rio r


.
,

not vi ce vei sa Th e highe r species fo r him does not come into being
'
.
, ,

through evolution fro m lowe r fo rms A des cent of species on the .

basis of mechanical causes such as Darwin assumes would rep resent , ,

to P lato not evolution but a tremendous chaos Wher e b rute force .


holds sway senselessly fo rmation becomes impos sible As a con , .


sequence fo r him all e volution must be guided from above by an


,

anticipation of me ani ng and of purpose P lato is a representative of .


94 A NCIE NT P H ILO SOPH Y
an ideal mo rphology In th is respect th e statement recor ded in the
.

P rologue of S t John s G ospel : In the beginning was the wo r d


’ “ ”
.

o
( g )
L os has a meaning and accords with the facts W h at A naxago r as .

h ad not fully developed in his philosophy namely his failu r e to make ,

th e final cause a cause which would be regulati v e of all things as ,

P lato remarked in criticism P lato himself completed : eve r ything that


,

is subordinated exists because of something more sublime and so forth , ,

until we finally arrive at the absolute Because of this absolute every .


,

thing finally comes into existence And thus the e nti re un i ve rse is a .

cosmos a pyramid of being in whi ch e ve ry thing that somehow exists


, ,

has a relationship to and an association with the summit Eve rything .

on the pyramid endeavors to gain the summit and lo ves it O n this .

love the being of the world is dependent and is nourished Being itself .

is nothing more than a striving after and a quiescence in the idea


and consequen tly in the idea of ideas An d all strength and all .

striving are eternal repose in God the Lord , .

Ide as as nu mbers 1 ) I deal nu mbe s Ar istotle informs us mo re than


. r .

onc e and in express terms that for P lato the ideas were numbers In .

the Dialogues of his mature years and especially in th e lectu re of his


old age O n the G ood which has been lost P lato de votes his atten
,

,

,

tion in an intense fashion to the relation between ideas and number s .

To rea ch a definite conclusion on this vexing problem and con


t o ver sial issue
r we shoul d keep befo re ou r eyes the diair etical
,

o utline which has been sketched on a pre v ious page and we should ,

bear in mind two important statements of P lato which are re ported


for us in the S tates man ( 287 e ; 285 a ff) and the P hileb u s ( 16 .

d e ) According to these statements we may not arbitra rily dis


, .

se ct an idea but must divide it in a manne r that befits its natural


,

structure much after the fashion in which an anatomist dissects a


,

body acco r ding to the technique of his own science This means that .

we may not extract from an idea any mo r e o r any less than what is
actually contained within it If in the dialectical process we should
.
,

furthermore des cend from spe cies to species until we reached the
,

definitely final species ( d p 28 indivisible form ) which can


r o ov £ 0 9 :
“ ”

not be divided into still other more subo rdinate specie s because this
ultimate species embraces only individuals unde r it we wo uld ne ve r ,

be permitted to omit a species o r to add O thers by perhaps o verlooking


the fact that in this or in that object a new species is present o r has
not as yet emerged .

Whatever therefore appears to be new in the way of a new


, ,
96 ANCIE NT PH ILOSOPH Y
principle The Epino mis which p reser ves a great por tion of a lectur e
.
,

th at P lato gave in his old age O n th e Good shows that the natural , ,

series of numbers does actually tra ce its rise to th e O ne and to the



pacemaker that is to the doubling and the halving nature of duality
,

,
-

( 990 c ) T
. h e olde r A cademy fully dis cussed the derivati n of the
o
mathematical from the ideal numbe rs and their recip rocal r elations .

A ristotle espe cially ( M eta XI 6


, showed himself at variance
.
, ,

with h is master on this question .

Ar isto tle o n th e o r igin o f th e doctrin e of ideas C oncerning the


.

origin and the meaning of the doctrine of ideas we possess a v ery


detailed account in the work of Aristotle : H aving in his youth rst “

become familia r wi th C r atylu s and with the H eraclitean doctrines


( that all sensible things are eve r in a state of flux and the r e is no
knowledge about them ) these views he held even in his later years
, .

S o crates however was busying himself about ethical matters and


, ,

fixed thought fo r the first time on definitions ; P lato accepted his


teaching but held that the problem applied not to sensible things but
,

to entities of an other kind fo r this reason that the common de n i


tion could not be a definition of any sensible thing as they were always
,

,

changing Things of this o the r sort then he called Ideas and sensible
.
, , ,

things he said were all named after these and in vir tue of a relation
, ,

to these ; fo r the many existed by par ticipation in the Ideas that


have the same name as they (M eta I 6 987 a 31 987 b 10; ed ”
.
, , ,
— .

M cKeo n pp 700 , Looked at historically the doct r ine of ideas


.
,

is actually as Aristotle maintains the result of a controversy between


, ,

H eraclitus on the one hand and S o crates on the othe r F rom H e r a .

clitus P lato derived his evaluation of the visible sensible world ; from
, ,

S ocrates the retenti on of truth and science in general and of


, ,

uni versally valid notions in parti cula r If there are such things as .

universally valid certitudes there also must be corresponding correla


,

tive s to them obj e ctive thinkable ob j e cts the ideas as A ristotle so


, , ,

rightly stresses Th e basic reason that there must be a correspond


.

ing object lies in the epistemological realism and dualism which were

characte r istic of the whole of ancient philosophy and fo r whi ch ,

P armenides had coined the classical formula : the same obj ect is both
thought and being Thus for P lato there arose an entirely new wo rld
. .

This new land was further developed by his realism in the realm
of the theory of cognition by which he represented to himself as an
O bje ct only that which spe culation had al r eady found to be present and
P LATO I 97

which is ap riori to his speculation That these ideas ar e unchangeable .

and are eternally identical with themselves follows simply fr om the


same supposition In his own per sonal Obje ctive reasoning he had
.

always been confronted by ideas that wer e identical to themselves .

Fo r this reason the obj ects which per tained to them must be also
of the same kind Th e decisive element in his doctrine of ideas can
.

be foun d the r efore in the proof for the aprio r ity of the content
, ,

of ou r knowledge The world of ideas comes into existence at that


.

moment when the mind r ecognizes th e existen ce of uni versally valid


ap riori ce rtitudes that are opposed to sense experience which is me rely
subj ecti vely valuable Then on th e bas s of a r ealistic theo ry of
.
, i

knowledge objects corresponding to these certitudes are postulated


,

as actually existent It is quite tr ue that in the beginning the ideas


.

were only the eth ico aesthetic ideals Bu t it was p recisely in this sphere
-
.

that for S ocrates as A ristotle notes again so co r rectly and co n


— —

sequently also for P lato the universally valid con cepts become intel
,

ligible for the first time .

C h o r ismo s o r sep ar atio n A ristotle maintains that the idea was


.

sepa rated from sensible obj ects by a chasm S ensible obj ects stand .

alongside and outside of things ( O 83 r ams p} T fi ) By such a T . a o . r a t


. a

ra .

conception the world would veritably be torn in twain Th e ideas .

sway so to speak above the world As a consequen ce the mediae val


, , .
,

thinkers called them separated forms f o r mae sepa atae and so Raphael ,
r

in his masterpiece the S chool of Athens painted P lato with his


,

,

face raised toward the heavens looking to the supercelestial r egion “

,

that is to the world of ideas ; while Aristotle looks at the material


,

wo rld re cogni z ing that only ther e is true reality to be found By this
,
.

separation of th e universal and by its conse q uent autonomy P lato ,

differs from S ocrates as Aristotle so aptly remarks Th e latte r ac


,
.

ce pted th e unive r sal but he would have left it in the real space time
,
-

world ; wh er eas P lato separated it from and thus doubled the wo r ld , , .

Acco r ding to P lato the spa ce time world of the senses h as an actual
,
-

share o r parti cipation ( meth exis ) in the world of ideas because it is ,

a copy of th e i deal prototypes and because the Demiurge had created


the universe on the basis of these eternal ideas ; and whatever the
things of the sensible world actually are they exist de facto only by ,

participation in the idea Th e world of ideas nevertheless is always


.
, ,

something distinct something prope r alone being in the true sense


, ,

of the word ; whereas the sensible world is only an illusion a mean ,


98 ANCIENT PH ILOSOPH Y
between being and non being This chasm between the world of ideas
— .

and the sensible world disturbed Aristotle greatly and he thought


of it as a duplication of the world It has been the subj ect of dispute
.

whether or not Aristotle corre ctly interpreted the mean ng of the i

doctrine of ideas In an y case P lato could answer : I did not intend


. ,

to multiply the world fo r to me the visible wo rld does not represent


,

true reality For Aristotle it does ; and so from his standpoint and
.
,

onl y from his standpoint does such a duplication take place


, .

For P lato never theless the material wo r ld recedes into an unreal


, ,

illusion This world is not being but only the copy of an idea That
. .

whi ch for Aristotle denoted the real wo rld was to be found fo r

P lato only in the idea and only through it .

Bu t can P lato pe r sist in holding to this explanation ? Is sensible


reality actually nothing more than the copy of an idea ? If with
out it there can be no emergence of any ideas at all and if ,

without a definite perception of the senses there can be no emergence


of a definite idea is its meaning after all so tri vial ? Wheth er this
,

meaning denotes an occas on or a cause is unimportant for at least


i ,

fo r P lato there can be no knowledge o f ideas witho u t sensible reality .

An d if thi s sensible reality i s actually only an illusion why must the


,

idea appea r through a sensible thing at all ? Wh y do we not possess


only ideas if the only really true world is the world of ideas ? S ensible
,

reality created the same kind of a difficulty for P lato that th e problem
of evil had .
100 A NCIENT P H ILOSOPH Y
occasioned by the love of money and money has to be acquired fo r ,

th e sake and in the servi ce of the body b ed Jowett ”


( P h ae d o 66 ; , .
,

Vol I pp 449
.
, .

P lato a ctually repeats the di ctum of the P ythagoreans : the body


is the sepulcher of the soul ( 6 1 m body — mw Thus 0
,
“ '

a
,

we can understand his demand that we become only so closely as ‘

so ciate d wi th the body as i s actually necessary that we should never ,

permit ourselves to become satu rated with it and its nature We should .

hold ou r selves aloof from it until God redeems us completely ,


from it .

C onsequently the entire inte r est of P lato in man is con een


tr ated on the soul and his philosophi cal anth r opology is essentially
,

psychology Let us listen then to his solution of the problem relating


.
, ,

to the origin of the soul its es sence and its fate Ther e is a great
, , .

deal of mythological phraseology in which it is wrapped this -

readily be discerned but the philosophical kernel can ne er th eles


— v

be laid bare .

2 . TH E O RI GIN O F TH E S OU L

The o rigin of the soul can be traced to the Demiurge H e sow .

the seed and made a beginning ( Tima u s 41 if ed Jowett Vol


,

e , .
, .
, .

p . Th e human soul is not drawn from the wor ld soul as a p —

o r an emanation o r an offshoot It is true that some of the co .

out of whi ch the world soul is constituted ha ve been mixed-


if not in th e same proportion into its constitution : on the ,

elements that are indivisible eternal unchanging and , , ,

and on the other elements that are di visible as well as


,
"

that is constantly changing Bu t the human soul is truly .

the Demiurge himself just as the world soul originates ,


-

T m lato is the r efore neithe r an e man atio


( i a u s 4 1e P ,

pantheist Each soul is something sin


.

its home ; and there are as many souls as there are


Demiurge h as placed them in these stars as in a char iot
gr anted to each of them a view of the nature of the universe
made known to each of them the unchangeable laws of
This is no astr logi cal fan cy but an expression of P lato s co

o ,

that by virt e of its natural powers the soul apriori knows


u

truths and values so that it is able ,

life and for the world P lato was of t .

starry heavens fille d the heart of man


P LATO II 101

to him an intimation of supermundan e no rms To this extent the . .

soul s coming into existence was in the hands of God If th e soul



.

we re entirely th e wo rk of God it would almost necessarily become ,

entirely divine Bu t this could not be C onsequently the Demiu rge


. .

ent rusts it fo r its futu re journey to the car e of the cr eated gods “ ”

that is the ear th and the planets the instr uments of time
,
— S O that ,
“ ”

they might call the souls into existence clothe them with bodies , ,

nourish them and pe rmit them to grow and finally receive back


,

again the child ren of men w hen they disappea red fro m the face of
th e earth This was the
. rst bi rth of the soul in this spa e time world
c — .

O the r births would follow as we shall see immediately ,


.

3. THE ES S ENCE O F TH E S OU L

Th e spirit F irst of all we will try to establish from what


sou l as .
,

has already been said what can be known about the essence of
th e soul A cco r ding to P lato as is manifest from his teaching on its
.
,

immortality the soul is in visible immaterial spi ri tual and supe r


, , , ,

mundane ; and this is true not only of th e wo rld soul but also of -

th e human soul This is warranted by th e explanation that the


.

Demiu rge himself c r eated it What he created is an immo r tal being . .

O nly when it is tr ansfe rr ed to the inst r uments of time does it join


itself to a body an d only then do sense expe riences begin Th e im


, .

mate riality and the immo rtality of the soul ar e the themes of the
P h aedo : its supermundane home an d its natu r e are the topics of the
P h aedr u s .

1 ) Th e so u l an dan objection to the immateriality


se nsatio n . As
of the soul it is alleged that P lato held out for a sensory soul The
, .

created deities as he writes [these created gods ] imitating h im


, ,

[the D emiu r ge ] re ceived f r om him


, the immortal prin ciple of the
soul ; and around this they proceeded to fashion a mor tal body and ,

made it to be the vehicle of the soul and constructed within the


,

body a soul of another nature w hich was mo r tal subj ect to terrible ,

an d i rresistible a ections
f
f — r st of all pleasu re the greatest in cite , ,

ment to evil ; Then pain which deters fr om good ; also rashness and , (

fear two foolish counsellors anger har d to be appeased and hope


, , ,

e sily led astray these they mingled with irrational sense and
a —

with all daring love according to ne cessar y laws and so framed man
-
,

( Tim u s
ae 6 9 d ; ed
, Jowett Vol II p 48 ) .
, .
, .

2 ) Unity ofth e s o u l This discussion of another of a mortal sensory


.
,

soul should not convey the impression that in man ther e is actually
,

102 A NCIENT P H I LOSOPH Y


mo re than One soul It only means as P lato admits in the Repu blic
.
, ,

that the soul has vari ous distinct parts : ( ) reason o r the rational soul a

( A y w oé ) which
n x vcoincides
, with reasoning and with non senso r y -

meditation ; ( b ) the cour ageous soul to which belong the


noble ( o r highe r ) emotions such as ange r ambitio n courage and
, , , ,

hope ; and ( c) the instincti ve carnally appetitive soul


"

in which are rooted the appetitive and sexual desir es as well as ,

pleasure and a ver sion and the need of rest Although in the Timaeu s
, .

these par ts of the soul are actually lo calized in the head chest and , ,

abdomen P lato p resupposes only one human soul M an is composed


, .

of body and soul This unity of the human soul is clearly apparent
.

i n the P h aedr u s which compares the human soul with a pai r of


,

winged ho rses and a charioteer ( P h aedr u s 226 ; ed Jowett Vol I ”


, .
, .
,

p . Th e cha rioteer is the spirit soul ( reason ) ; the paired ho r ses -

are the othe r tw o parts the more noble the courageous the le ss
, , ,

noble the instinctive par t of the soul If the soul has matured and
, .

grown together it would appear that its immater iality is endangered


,

because sensible r eality is d r awn into the soul O n the othe r hand .
,

it is patent that to P lato the soul is something immaterial H o w .

this still pos sible ? Evidently because the soul in the tr uest sense
o f the wo r d i s fo r him only the spirit—soul This be comes e vident in .

the P h aedo The immor tal spir itual soul of which th e Dialogue
.
,

treats has become independent of all sensible r eality This is of


, .
,

course not possible in this world but it will be after death


, .

An d thus we see that this discussion of the two lowe r po r tions of


the soul attempts to take into account the fact that the spi ritu al
sou l exists in union with the body Th e Neo—P latonists debated very .

fie r cely whethe r o r not the senso ry soul persists in existence after


the death of the body I amblich u s affirmed it ; P lotinus P orphyry and
.
, ,

P ro clus denied it P lato holds with the latter because his discussion
.
,

of the sensory soul reflected his realization that the spiritual soul

could not show itself as pure spirit b u t also had to assimilate


the whole world of the senses Too bad it had to assimilate it as .
“ ”
,

he naturally thought For he would have preferred to deal with


.

man as a purely rational being ; but he was still unprej udiced enough
to realize that in this world we must at least take into consideration
corporeality and its sense per ceptions and its yearnings .

P lato was neithe r a materialist nor a sensualist No r did he align .

himself with the spi ritualists and the pan logists H e held to a r eason .

ab e m
l idd e ofthe roa d position thereby ten ding n atu r ally eno ugh
l “ ”
— - -
,
104 ANCIE NT PH ILOSOPH Y
all mo vement from without must ultimately b e reduced to self motion -
.

S elf motion stands at the ultimate beginning By such a concept the


-
.

psychic becomes an ontologi cal principle or ar ch e: insofar as a being '

is motion and life it is soul Again we come face to face with the
, .

truth : In the beginning



but this time the Logos denotes the
soul : In the beginning was the soul .

2 ) Th e ef fect ofth is t aching o n later sp u latio n This view r adi


e ec .

ates P latonic speculation down the centu ries In P lato himself these .

two concepts of soul stand unevenly one alongside the othe r In .

Aristotle they will be r econciled To him self mo v ement den o ted .


-

the fun damental notion of his metaphysi cs : the Unmoved M o ver


whose essence is pure spi rituality thought of thought ( dn ,

v o is

vmj w ) An d wi thin the world the soul as entelechy is to Aristotle


oe s .

also a p rinciple of life in all degrees of the o rganic e ven where there ,

is no spi rit or mind This view is held also by the S cholastics


. .

In modern times beginning with Desca r tes the second meaning


, ,

of the soul [as the p rinciple of life ] fades into the background In .

the new era the soul is only consciousness Bu t with the advent of .

Vitalism the othe r meaning [as the principle of life ] again asser ts
,

itself ; and in the vitalist philosophy of recent times especially in the ,

wo r ks of Ludwig Klages the soul is again championed with rene wed


,

emphasi s but in this re vi val the fir st meaning of the soul as the


,

mind is so rry to say positively excluded In his philosophy soul is


, , .
,

exactly the antithesis of the mind and the mind is its distinct ad ,

ver sar
y F or the
. ancients howeve r this created no di f
fi
, culty S oul can, .

be both mind and life .

S ou l as metaxy o r prin ciple o f mediation S ince th e soul is life .

and mo vement it becomes a medium between the idea and sensible


,

reality The human soul as mind is the seat of the knowledge of


.

ideas As a senso ry soul it is also the place into which the contents
.

of sensation flow in o r der on the one hand to awaken ideas and on , , ,

the o the r to be read and interp reted by the ideas Th e soul joins
,
.

the two extremes together The same is true also of the wo rld—soul . .

It is also th e seat of ideas of the ideas acco r ding to whi ch the wo rld
,

was fashioned As such it antedates the world S ince this wo rld soul
. .
-

as the fir st movement is the cause Of all other external motions and ,

as a consequence is naturally connected with the body the world soul ,


-

again b ridges the gap between the world of ideas and the materi al
wo rld By means of it the ideas are the sou rce of the material world
.

and endow it with its p r esent str uctu r e Th rough the soul the sensi .
P LATO II 105

ti ve faculty of man and of the world can first of all sha re in the
idea and this insofa r as the soul is both mind and movement The
,
.

doctrine of the parts of the soul seeks to symbolize nothing mor e


than this transition from the spiritual to th e sensory It is th e bridging .

over of dualism of the ch or ismu s This may be clearly per ceived in


, .

th e Ti ma s where the appetitive soul is interp r eted as the principle


eu ,

of life ( 77 a b ) .

It would be worthwhile to know how P lato j oins together these


two elements namely mind and movement What do these elements
, .

h ave n common ? Th e similarities and dissimilarities of P lato and


i

Leibniz on this q uestion o f


fer a fruitful fi eld f investigation o .

4 . TH E FATE O F TH E S OU L

I nc arnation especially typi al viewpoint in P lato s speculation


An

. c

is his teaching on the transmigration of souls O nce th e soul h as left .

the hands of the Demiurge it is transferred to the instruments of ,


ti me : it undergoes its fir st i n carnat on here upon this ear th This



i .

first birth is the same fo r all so that no soul can be discriminated ,

against At the conclusion of th is first life the soul appears along


.
,

with its mortal body before the j dgment seat of th e dead to give an u

acco nting of its cond u ct here upon earth Acco r ding to the judg
u .

ment passed upon it th e soul will either enter the land of the blessed
,

o r be expelled to the subterranean prison chamber of the damned .

This wandering las ts for a th sand years ou .

C hoice of life s course After it th ere follows the se cond birth In



. .

this rebi r th each soul chooses fo r itself its future lot From the world .

beyond the grave the souls pou r into the meado w of forgetfulness to
,

express their choice and a herald pro claims in a solemn fashion :


,

M o r tal souls behold a new cycle of life and mortality Y our genius

.
,

will not be allotted to you b t you will have to choose you r genius ; ,
u

and let him who draws the fi rst lot have the first choice and the life ,

whi ch he chooses S hall be his destiny Virtue is free and as a man .


,

honou r s o r dishonours h e he will have more or less of her ; the r,

responsibility is with th e h ooser God is j u stified ( Rep 6 17 ( 1;


c


.
,

ed Jowett Vol I p
.
, .
, .

The choi ce of a state of life is especially dangerous for men S ome .

choose a lot which to them appears to be beautiful and glorious fo r ,

example a tyranny but th e chooser will late r lament th at in s ch a


, ,
u

choi ce it was his fate to be for ced to wat ch his own children con

sumed by it Then those who have thus chosen re vile the God and
.
106 ANCIE NT PH ILOS O PH Y
a cc se H im of wrongdoing Bu t G o d is innocent ; we are the ones
u .

who have ch osen the Demon Virtue is without a master ; th at is .


,

everyone is able to acq uire it When we fail it is be cause ignorance .


,

and inor dinate desire have con q uered us An d these have also a

.

decisive voi ce in the election of a state of life because the s oul in its ,

pre vious existen ce had so guided itself and thereby h ad SO formed


itself that in this hoi ce of state it must act in conformity to what it
c

had made of itself The majority express thei r choice a cco r ding to
.

lifelong habits acquired in a p re vious existence ( Rep 620 a ) It be .


, .

comes a matter of self determination when a man at his second


-

birth chooses to assume the nature of a woman ; in his pre vious life
he had permitted his sen sitive faculty to lord over his reason and
thus he h ad be come effeminate If Aj ax should decide to become a .

lion it would be because in his former existence he had lived and


,

acted li k e that beast of prey If Ther sites S h ould choose to become


.

an ape the bu ffoon would have already lived as one


, .

It is impo rtant that in our lifetime the cha rioteer of the soul
,

mind and reason keep the reins firmly in his gr asp and that

by heck ing on them master the i r rational and th e emotional feel


c

ings sentiments passions and desires and by so doing guide us


, , ,

corre ctly and justly t h rough this life : A man must take with him
into the world below an adamantine faith in the truth and right ,

that there too he may be undazzled by the desire of wealth o r the


othe r allu rements of evil lest coming upon tyrannies and similar
, ,

villainies he do irremediable wrongs to others and su ffe r yet wor se


,

himself ( R p 6 19 a ; ed Jowett Vol I p



e .
, .Accordingly as , .
, .

the soul during its fi rst life on earth had contemplated to a greater
, ,

o r les s degree the eternal ideas and truth s and had sought to make
them its own to that same extent will th e soul in its later incarnation
,

attain to a higher or a lower stage of existence .

Table of v alu es for th e cho i ce o f life fo rms P lato presents us with - .

a hierarchy of values for life forms and this casts a brilliant light -
,

on his evaluation of man Th e soul that has contemplated as many


.

as possible of these eternal truths will r e cei v e the body of a philosopher

o r of a servant of beauty or of a muse or of an Eros Th e oul of . s

the next high est o rde r will ente r into the body of a king who has
ruled according to law Th e soul of th e following degree will ta k e
.

up its abode in the body of a S tatesman of a good father or of a , ,

good businessman Th at of the fourth stage will ente r into the fr ame
.

of a gymnast who lo ved physical exer cise o r of a zealous ad vocate of


108 A NCIE NT PH ILOSO P H Y
an mo re fixed until they solidify into e ver mo re definite patterns
d ,

until in the end a person is fo r ced into the car eer of his own choosing


.

Fr eedom is of cou rse always p resent wi thin the limits of hi s own


, ,

choice In P lato determini sm was unable to n d a foothold H e was a


. .

true ad vocate of th e freedom of the will C onsequently he was also a .

stanch defende r of th e cons ciousness of guilt H e preached t his doc .

trine with all the earnestness an d the mor al sublimity of an o rdained


p rophet heralding a new r eligion Th e eschatological my ths in the .

Gor gias ( 5 24 the P h aedo ( 107 and the Repu blic ( 614 ff) .

belong among the great monuments of human mo rality and the ,

reade r cannot peruse them without being deeply affected and elevated .

5 . C ONDU CT OF LI F E

Tr u e h appiness If such a fate is at stake it is ve ry impor tant that


.
,

p roper conduct be Observed And P lato was not only a theo retical
.

mor alist ; he was able also to fo rmulate tr uly p r actical no rms of


conduct All men wish to be happy Bu t as P lato de velops the
. .
,

thought they always seek happiness in the wrong places S ome look
, .

fo r it whe re ve r the natu ral appetites the lowe r po r tion of the soul , ,

demand it be sought consequently in ri ches in position in pleasur e


, , , , ,

and in passion But this does not constitute tr ue happiness Men of


. .

this kind are ne ver satisfied neve r content ; they ar e parched by


,

thei r carnal appetites because they a re sla ves to thei r passions and
,

thus become thei r own j ailo r s O the r s imagine that they can find .

happiness in ambition and in lust fo r power In them the cou rage .

ous part of the soul seizes the upper hand They are somewhat better .

Off than those first mentioned Bu t what they actually attain to here
.

on ea rth is at most to the rank of an hono rable soldier o r of a good


sportsman ; O ften enough they end up by being careerists o r success
ful business manage rs True happiness can be foun d only wher e t ruth
.

and values are esteemed highly and actually r ealized P ride and a .

sense of hono r a re wicked counselo rs but worse counselo r s are ,

carnal appet i tes .

O u r fir st task O nly clea r thinking gua r antees genuine happiness


.
,

because it alone leads the way to truth This way leads us onwar d .

by means of the eternal ideas Ignorance is as a consequence a true


.
, ,

sickness of the soul Knowledge and contemplation of the truth are


.

its rightful state When we reflect upon the ideas of God which ar e
.

reprodu ced after a fashion in c reation and when we understand ,

something of the di v ine o r de r ou r soul has the nourishment which


,
PL AT O n 109

it requ i res Fo r through th is reflection and under standing the soul


.

itself is co rrectly regulated What is still more impor tant the soul
approaches e ver mo re an d m
.
,

o r e closely to the in ne r riches of God


H imself whose essence is manifested in H is ideas and in H is act
,

of c reation and it becomes like to H im To fly away is to become


, .

like God as far as this is possible ; and to become like H im is to


,

become holy just and wise ( Th eaetetu s 176 b ; ed Jowett Vol II


, , .
, .
,

p 178 ) — this is the supreme goal of mankind P rotagoras had


. .

maintained : man is the measure of all things P lato says : God .

ought to be to us the measure of all things ( L ws 716 c ; ed Jowett a , .


,

Vol II p
.
, . The whole is an ethos of reality tr uth and righteous ,
, ,

ness P leasu re and pass i on are excluded as are ambition an d p ride


. .

These are indeed only blind leaders S ubj ective caprice with its .

a variciousness ( M w Ex desi r e to be satiated ) must remain silent


-
ri o ei v
,
“ ”
.

I n its place stands the motto which should be insc r ibed abo v e th e
Repu blic : Do your pa r t ( 5 é

i} wp d w
) W hat this is”
eve r yone
7 .
-
av r o r r e .

must know F o r learning and mo re learning are the nourishment


.

of the soul .

Th e har m oniou s man Is not this an expression of an oft reviled


.
-

intellectualism ? P lato did speak this language Bu t n reality he was . i

not an intellectualist The man who made Eros the subject of two
.

Dialogues n amely the S ymposiu m and the P h aed u s and fu r the r


, r ,

more declared in the Repu blic that b r ave ry and self master y are the -

basic vir tues of any tr ue community was himself convinced that ,

man cannot become holy th rough knowledge alone P lato favored .

a harmoniously balanced fo rmation of the enti re human being — and


in this there spoke th e voice of mature human experience A dispr o .

portion between the faculties of the body and of the soul is both
ugly and harmful to the whole A sturdy soul can by poorly dir ected .
,

study and resear ch as well as by ambition and passion cause a weak


, ,

body to succumb to si ckness C ontr ar iwise a physical culture prae .


,

ticed to an extreme can ruin both soul and mind because it leads to ,

mental laziness the most serious ailment that can overtake a man AS
, .

a consequence whoe ve r studies and learns should not forget physical


,

exer cise ; on the other hand whoeve r indulges in physi cal exe rcise ,

should not curtail the time devoted to de velopment of the mind ,

otherwise he will neve r a cquire the reputation of being a tr uly


cultu red human being P lato also recognized that fo r a full life man
.

requi res some happiness and joy and also a ce rtain amount of ,

pleasure In the Dialogues th e Laws and the P hileb us he took these


. ,
1 10 ANCIE NT P H I LO s OP H Y

matte rs into con side r ation and de clared himself to be in favor of a



mixed life that is to say a life composed of both contemplation
,

,

and pleasure In his own mind P lato was clear that no ir r r tional
.
,

element be it blood or race honor or pride instinct or feelin g will


, , , ,

to power o r ty r anny the subconsci ous or orgiasti c frenzy could be a


, ,

mo ral p rinciple that is to say a norm fo r life and its conduct Upon
, , .

the chariot of the soul only reason may stand Reason alone should .

hold the reins in its hands ; it must control everything e ven the sense ,

of hono r pleasure and satisfa tion By th eir hedonism the C yr enaics


, , c .
,

negle cted moral value ; the C ynics by thei r insi stence on virtue dis , ,

regarded the natu ral need fo r happiness which is in man P lato w as .

the first to teach us that man can be both good and happy at one and
th e same time ( f dy fld i S i/ y iy dm p) as A ristotle ’
i ); a s r e Ka . eI J a u ov ve r a t u ,

tells us in his panegyric on his maste r .

6 I M M ORTALITY
.

P lato s thoughts on t h e i mmortality of the soul o f fer a fitting climax


to his te aching on man These ideas are developed especially in the


.

P h aedo to which we might add the P h aedr u s 245 c the Repu blic
, ,

608 a and the Laws 8 95 f


, f There are three a rguments which P lato
.

advanced in defense of his position Fi rst i mmortality follows from .


,

the existence of the aprio ri content of ou r knowledge This content .

is not deri ved from our experiences of daily life It ne ver theless must .

have been acquired ; consequently the soul must have had a p revious
existence S trictly speaking such an argument pro ves only the pr e
.
,

existence of the soul not its immortality Th e postexistence ( a pa te


, . r

p )
ost is d r awn f r om a fu r the r consideration namely that all be com i ng , ,

and all dissolution rest upon the transition from one antithetical state
to its opposite : sleep follows an awakening ; Upon awakening sleep ; ,

from the cold warmth is engendered ; from the warmth cold ; and
, ,

so on Thus we can envisage the pre existence of the soul as a sleep to


.
-

which an awakening naturally belongs ; the awakening is again relieved


by sleep and so the process continues without end By such an
,
.

argument immortality is p ro ved .

The soul furthermore must be immo r tal because it is simple A


, , ,
.

thing ceases to be only when it is dissolved into component par ts ,

and things can be dissolved into parts only when they a re bodies .

That the soul is not material o r corporeal we concluded from a con


sideration of its relation to the idea Ideas are unifo rm always .

,

112 ANCIENT PH ILOSO PH Y
tr anslation Th e City ofGo d
, , 2 vols [New Yo rk : E
. . P Dutton ,
.

Vol I pp 229 230)


.
, .

U BL I C TH E REP

P lato wr ote of man not only as an indi vidual but also as a membe r
Of society and his speculation concerning the state is treasured as th e
,

most valuable and most renowned contribution of hi s whole phi


lo soph y which is truly ri ch in original thoughts In this we can
, .

appr eciate an ew how philosophy i n i ts classical period sought to be


a practical guide fo r mankind .

1 . O R I GI N OF TH E S TATE

state arises naturally both in its fir st beginnings and in the


A ,

essential outlines of its late r de velopments It is not free will or .

choice which b rings men to band together ; they follow an instinct


and a law of nature P lato therefore could not ha ve been an ad vocate
.
, ,

of a contract theo ry of a state in which the state is concei ved as tr acing


its origin to a simple choice of its citizenry and in which all de velop
ment is permitted to take place acco r ding to this same free choice .

H e ca rr ied on an effecti v e polemic against the opinion of the S ophists


( L aws 88 9 d
, f
f ) that in connection with
. a form of gove r nment a
man can do exactly as he pleases — as if in this matter there were no
objecti ve norms that wer e greate r than man himself By this theo ry .

P lato became the fathe r of the natu r al law up to the time Of H ugo
Grotius No matter how this theo ry is bolstered late r on Aristotle
.
-

himself gave it anothe r basis and an other interp r etation in any


case P lato was the fir st who challen ged the arbitr ary power of the
tyrant and of the commune with a court of highe r instan ce to which
mankind could appeal again and again whene ver it fell victim to its ,

own want of moderation .

2 . C LAS S ES

Wo rkmen Thus there originates directly from nature a social


.

o r der in the republic Because the individual is not self suppor ting
.
-

self—sustaining insofa r as the necessities of life are concerned he ,

not an autar ch ; he p roceeds to di vide wor k in a way that will


“ ”

beneficial to the whole S ome take upon themselves the task .

pro viding food ; other s manual labo r ; other s business an d commer


, ,

and thus there arises th e working class the p roducers , .

War rio r s S ince the citizens of th e republi


.
P LATO II 1 13

the dange r of becoming involved in hostilities o r wars from without


and from within they stand in need of guardians or soldier s O f
, .

necessity then there arises a professional military class Th e best of


, , .

these will naturally assume control of the state ; they will be r espo n
sible fo r both internal and external policy and thus they will for m
the ruling class the philosophe r kings P lato devoted a great deal
,

-
.

of attention to the class which defends the state the soldiers O n them , .

ever ything depends They must be educate d mo st carefully ; this means


.
,

of cou rse that they must become corpo rally fit and mentally able
,
.

1 ) E ducatio n of th e yo u ng A t this point P lato p r opounded his


.

pedagogi cal ideas Even fables with which men regale thei r children
.

should be carefully Chosen They may not fo r example co ntain


.
, ,

anything about the gods which would bring them into disrepute .

Enmities between the deities plots and counterplots in heaven about


, ,

which H omer poetized so gracefully should not be told to children ,


.

H o w can men be properly educated if they enter tain only a low


r egar d fo r th e highest beings there are ? Children should not be made
to listen to anything that smacks of cowar dice dissoluteness or , ,

dishonesty When we recount fo r their benefit the insulting and


.

abusi ve con versations between A chilles and Agamemnon the pas


,

sio n ate love of Zeus fo r H era the adulte ry which Ar es and A ph r odite
,

committed o r in general the moral in r mitie s such as haughty p r ide


, , ,

banality cruelty or rebellion against the gods and finally when


, , ,

telling such stories we make out that such wretches are really he roes ,

or when retailing them it would appear as if injusti ce brought


rewards and justi ce only penalties by so doing we would be con ,

tributing to the delinquency of j uveniles who as it is are all too


prone to be led astray If we should constantly seek to fill the minds
.

o f these young folk with s u ch examples of evil we would harm ,

these future leaders far more than we would inj ure young bulls
if we turned them out to l co w eede d pastures By grazing on o .

patches of such harmful fodder the cattle would suffer fo r the , ,

small por ti ons of the noxious weeds whi ch they mun ched would
t alesce to form a whole and this would fi nally become poisonous
o ,

ifnot death dealing — .

2 ) Th e cu lti atio n o f th e a t Fo r this reason plays mus c and


v r s .
, , i ,

painting must be carefully super vised O nly the deeds of the valorous .
,

should be portrayed In no sense should .

waste thei r t me on the enti cements of i

onate displays in fact any ,


1 14 ANCIE NT PH ILO S OPHY
th ing that is laughable effeminate or ch ildish to say nothing of the , , ,

dr amas which depict bestial li ves Th e sup reme norm of art is not .

the subjective pleasur e the fanatical transpo rt ; it is not the pleasu r ,

able sensation whi ch results from enticement and its satisfaction ; but
it is the objectively beautiful th e ontologically corre ct and the , ,

ethi cally valuable If we should permit pleasure and enj oyment to


.

h ave the fi nal voi ce in determining w h at is be a tiful and what is u

not we would find that a wicked kind of Theatro cracy had seized
,

con tr ol and that this in the tr uest sense of th e term denotes a lawless
, ,

libertinism Bu t in music th ere fi rst arose the universal con ceit o f


.

omnis cience and general lawlessness (Laws 701 a ; ed Jowett , .


,

Vol II p
.
, .

3) P h ysi al tr aining Greatest emphasis should be pla ced on physical


c .

training Th e guardians must become strong and sturdy in order to


.

be able to wage war For this reason the youth of the state must be .

inured to continence in sex matter s and be reared to moder ation in


eating and drinking They should be taught to take part in sports .

not fo r th e purpose of establishing reco r ds but to learn from them ,

h o w to b r ing the body unde r control A hardy race is one th at does .

not pay much attention to medical care Wounds and si ckness which .
,

the battle of life causes should be tr eated with appropriate remedies ,


.

Bu t to tr eat a b ody that has grown slack th rough la z iness and im


moderation should ne ve r be shown in the modern manner th at is “

,

,

to say by means of plasters and sal ves of bandages and baths of


, , ,

compresses and cupping glasses of diets and stri ct regime : this e v er ,

lasting round of docto r s and a hypochondriacal anxiety about the


state of one s health is no life at all ; it is dying by inches and is

unworthy of a man .

4) E u ge nics To promote a healthy race P lato o ffered some eugeni c


.
,

regulatives : The best of either sex should be united with the best

as often and the inferio r with the inferior as seldom as possible ;


, ,

and that they S hould rear the offspring of one sort of union but not ,

of the other if th e flock is to be maintained in r st rate condition


,
-

R
( pe 45
. 9 d
, ; ed Jowett Vol I p M alformed
. children should , .
,
.

be exposed The mentally incu rable and congenital criminals that


.
,

is mo r al degenerates should be put to death The norms which are


, ,
.

set up for communities of men and fo r p roperty in common ser ve


the same purpose namely to p rodu ce a eugenic r ace
, ,
.

5 ) Wo me n an d pr oper ty The guardians should remain unmarried .

and shoul d own no property so that their personal interests mi ght ,


1 16 ANCIE NT P H ILOSOPH Y
of that which is beautiful in itself and to furni sh ideas according
to whi ch the s tate migh t be administered .

1 ) Th e maste y of th b e t For there will never be an end of “


r e s .

wi ckedness among the peoples of the world if the philosophe rs do


not become kings and the kings philosophers What is j ustice ? is the
, .

theme of th e Rep bli Th e answer is given : j ust ce i s righteousness


u c . i ,

th at means everything in th e state among the citizens in the laws , , ,

and within instit tions s h ould be true should correspond to the


u , ,

ideal order No t what man would like to do but what a man sho u ld
.
,
'

do is the order th at is demanded fo r the state In this regard the


,

formula means : Do you r part ( s é m md w ) Truth wisdom and r av fi o


-
n e .
.

, ,

th e pu r est moral conation are the foundations upon which the

ideal polity or commonwealth is constructed C onseque ntly only .


,

the best should rule Th e state whi ch absorbed the attention of

.

P lato was an aristo cra cy .

2 ) M a te y of th e o ne b e t If only that one who was actually


s r s .

considere d the best headed the state and with this P lato reckons
“ ”

we would have a monarchy Th e man at the head of such a stat e .

Would be all—po w e fu l n t be cause he was a ctually the stron gest but


r ,
°

o ,

because by his wisdom and by his moral conduct he had become a


counselor of justi ce P ersonally he would not speak but justice would
.
,

find a voi ce in h im H e would not be a dictator a man of h oc uolo


.
,

( I will thi s) s ic i
, b o ( thus
u d o I command
e
) sit p r o r atio n e vo l u n tas ,

( let my will take the place of reason ) ; he wo uld be the inte r p r eter
of whatever was good absolutely and his will would be regulated ,

solely by prudence and reason C onsequently no limits would need .


,

to be placed on his j uri sdiction If consequently eithe r he or the .


, ,

noctu rnal counsel ( where conditions demand it ) should control

the entire political life of a people namely economy justice science , , , , ,

art religion and even marriage and the family and if in the asse rtion
, , ,

of his own th eories the rule r should go so fa r as sentence to de ath


anyone who violently disagreed with h is teaching on the state P lato ,

would consider such an exercise of power as little an encroachment


on individual freedom as another would not consider it an encroach
,

ment on academic freedom if a teacher should refuse to countenance


his pupil making a mistake in arithmetic S uch an all powerful .
-

monar ch P lato holds in the Rep bli would surpass any other r ule r
, u c,

who ruled entirely according to law A monarch is mu ch mor e .

flexible and much mor e adaptable Laws are always a fixed q uantity ; .

life is on the contrary ever di fferent and constantly ch anging O nce


, ,
.
P LATO II 117

a monarch were in th e possession of correct political prin ciples he ,

could r each th e proper decisions no matter wh at k ind of a situation ,

might confront him We will hear later on what kind of a refutation


.

Aristotle o f
fered to this theory .

3. F ORM S O F S TATES
Timo cr acy Besides the republic P lato mentioned other forms of
.
,

th e state : timo cr acy oligar chy demo cra cy and ty r anny A timocra cy
, , , .

would be r uled not by th e spiritually and morally elite but by those


who are fired by ambition : men who regard themselves as gifted and

talented because they are athletes or huntsmen or soldiers These are .

in clined to act on the spu r of the moment rather than with coolnes s and
calculation ; they are prone to wage wa r ra the r than to court peace ; they

are cunning and resourceful experts but without a liberal education ,

of mind and heart They are also avaricious ; consequently they own
.

property and enrich themselves in secret They se rv e their own per .

sonal inte rests rathe r than those of the community In the power of .

the state they are concer ned not S O mu ch with the state as they a re
,

with its power ; and this powe r is thei r s .

O ligarch y E tymologi cally an oligarchy denotes the rule Of the


.
,

few ; actually how ever it is the rule of the rich to the exclusion of
, ,

the poo r If in a timocr acy secret avarice was the ulcerous evil in the
.
,

oliga rchy the profit motive becomes the no rm of government In a .

timocracy at least the honorable and the courageous portions of the


so u l were in as cendancy ; in an oligarchy e ve rything is dominated by
the lower portion of the soul shee r covetousness Th e state is no — .

longer administered in accordance with reality and with righteous


ness but its administration is to be found in the hands of a
,

fe w usurers A S a consequence professional people do not o cc py


.
,
u

any important posts only politicians who pose as all k nowing


,
-
,

although de facto they ar e ignorant Under such a form of govern .

ment we have a primacy of politi cs which is in effect only O ffice ,

seeking and whi ch hinders all worthwhile endeavo r destroys internal ,

unity and con demns the state to impotency because the people no
, ,

longer find representation in the state only th e exploiting class ,


.

Demo cr acy A further deviation from the ideal is en v isaged by


.

P lato in a democracy I n such a state complete freedom of a ction


.

p revails A
. t least

they sa
y so as P lato remarked sarcasti
, cally There

.

is full freedom especially of speech A s a consequence in su ch a


,
.
,

state w e h ave no bindin g authority n i nviolable rights ; all ar e , o


1 18 ANCIE NT PH ILO SO PHY
equal and eve ryone is able to express himself as he pleases as in an ,

old clothes shop These and othe r kindred characteristics are p roper

.

to democracy which is a charming form of gove rnment full of


,

variety and diso r der and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and ,

unequals alike ( Rep 5 58 c ; ed Jowett Vol I p ”


P lato belie ves
.
, .
, .
, .

the real cor ruption of a democ racy is to be found in th e d emocr at


himself : H is life has neithe r law no r order ; and this distracted

existence he terms joy and bliss and freedom ( Rep 5 6 1 d ; ed .


, .

Jowett Vol I p ,
Th e souls of the many ha ve no eye which
.
, .

can endure the vision of the di v ine ophist 25 4 3 ; ed Jowett Vol


( S , .
,
.

II p, . In this we can discern the born aristocr at In addition .


,

P lato had undergone many ha r rowing expe r iences at the hands of


the democracy as it existed in Greece in his day And sophistry had .

turned both tru th and rights topsy—turvy License was called freedom .
,

rashness bravery shamelessness manliness debau che ry grandiosity


, ,
.

An d so we can ask oursel v es : M ust such conditions always exist ?


An d is it really t r ue that some possess the t r uth with absolute ce r ti
tude wher eas o ther s a re excluded from it with the same ce rtitude ?
,

Ty r an ny The most degene r ate form of the state is found in a


.

tyranny This is not the antithesis of democr acy but results from it
. .

Demo cr acy flourishes by an ex cess of freedom Wi ve s no longe r obey .

thei r husbands ; in fact e ven animals ar e mor e insolent and less ,

restrained in a democracy than under any othe r form of government ,

for as the mistr ess so also the poodle Even horses and other

, .

draught animals ar e mo re awar e of th e freedom ; thei r pace is more


stately and they cannot be b rought to give gr ound to the pedestr ians
all because the p rinciple of equality pre vails Bu t such excesses lead .

gradually to the downfall of fr eedom itself The tr uth being that .


the excessive increase of anything often cause s a reaction in the


opposite di rection ; and this is the case not only in the seasons and in
the vegetable and animal life but abo ve all else in the fo rms of ,

go vernment ( R p 564 a ; ed Jowett Vol I p



e In these internal
.
, .
,
.
, .

strifes the people need and dem and a leade r An d because they are .

accustomed to have always some Champion whom they set o ver


them se lves and nurse into greatness ( Rep 565 c ; ed Jowett Vol I .
, .
, .
,

p . it may even happen that such a leade r is ele vated still hi gher
by the wily magicians and ty r ant makers of the pa rty until he
“ ”
,

gets a taste of power just as a lion becomes a man eater j ust as soon ,

as he samples human flesh S uch a pampered individual becomes .

intoxicated by the powe r that he has tasted and begins to suffer fr om


120 ANCIE NT PH ILOSOPH Y
such governments are not polities at all no r are laws right which ,

are passed for the good of th e parti cu lar classes and not for the good
of the whole S tate S tates whi ch have su ch laws are not polities but
.

parties and their notions of j u stice are simply unmeaning (Laws


,
" ”
,

7 15 b ; ed Jowett Vol II pp 48 6
.
, P lato refused to accept such
.
, .

a totalitarian state ; it is the modern state of M achiavelli N O one .

should submit to su h a government ; a person should if necessa ry


c , ,

su ffer himself to be banished or he should emigrate of his own free


will If at last necessity plainly compels him to become an exile
.

from his native land rather than bow his neck to the yoke of sla very
,

and be ru led by inferiors and he has to fly an exile he must be and, ,

endu re all su ch trials rathe r than accept another form of go vernment


whi ch is likely to make men worse (Laws 770 d ; ed Jowett Vol ”
, .
,
.

II p
, .

Th e power o f law There is also a power of law and of truth


. .

This powe r P lato wi shed to be established in his republic H is state .

is a constitutional gove rnment and a powe r whi ch incorpo rates ,

j ustice in its laws and policies appears to him to be without blame :


From t h e fact that the polis of P lato is spatially limited it mu st
— ”

not contain more than 5 040 families w e can readily understand


that he did not intend it to become a wo rld p o wer or to gain control


over the whole world Decisive for a correct evaluation of his view
.

p oint is the fact that the P latonic state neither inte r nally nor exte r nally
manifest s any desire fo r material aggrandizement but always and ,

everywhere strove to do its part and the reby to achieve what had
“ ”

been pres cribed by an obje ctive ideal or de r that would be valid for ,

all men and would afford an effective curb to any strong arm policy “
-

.

Fo r this reason P lato was not t roubled by the problem s of the indi “

vidual and the community authority and freedom in internal ,


” “ ”

affairs by the poli cy of e conomi cs o r by the problems of nationalism


, ,

and imperialism in foreign affairs Th e eternal ideal order stands .


both for necessity and for freedom .

Basis fo r th e s tate If ever the motto i st ti f n d m nt m eg


.
, u i a u a e u r

nor u m had been true of any state it was certainly true of the
, ,

republic C onse q uently, P lato came to the conclusion that the cause
.

that brought about the downfall of any state or kingdom was not to
be sought in the cowardi ce or in the ignoran ce of military strategy
“ ” “ ”

either in the rulers or th e subjects but was due to th ei r general ,


degenera cy and espe ci ally to their ignorance of the most important


,

human affai rs (Law s 6 88 c ; ed Jowett Vol II p



, And this .
,
.
,
.

PLATO II 12 1

tr adi tion whi ch is tr e declares that cities of whi h some mortal u , c

man not God is th e ruler h ave no es ape from evils and toils , c .

We must hear k en both in private and in publi c life and regulate


, ,

ou r cities and h ouses according to law meaning by the very term ,



law th e distrib tion of the mind ( Law s 7 13 e ; ed Jowett Vol II

u

, .
, .
,

p .

Utopia H ave we understood correctly what P lato meant by the


.

ideal order ? An d would men hold fast to it once they had become
acq uainted with it ? This would be a supposition for the practi cal
e aa tio n
v of th e P latoni c precepts Be cause we entertain doubts .

about its feasibility we call the blueprint of the P latonic state a ,

Utopia It may be a Utopia but it deserves this name only insofar


.
,

as every ideal is a Utopia : in its full purity it is neither understoo d


nor has it been realized ; neverth eless it illuminates a world of error ,

both as a norm and as an everlasting object ve after which all things i

S trive and upon whi ch all men of good will are nourished .

TH E W O RL D
1 . V IS IB LE WORLD
TH E
Th e work that is ssential for an understanding of P lato s cos

e

mo lo gy is the Tim s Th is Dialog e h a influen ced th e world ae u . u s

picture ( W ltbild ) of the West perh aps more t h an any oth er book

e .

It was read in the M iddle Ages in the L atin translation of C i ce ro


and C h alcidiu s together with the latter s commentary on it ; it was ’

tapped especially by the mediaeval cosmographies and en cy clopedias ,

as for example those of William of C on hes or H onorius of Autun


, , c .

Even Galileo was inspired by it when h e set down th math emati cal e

draft for his cosmologi cal system A nd espe cially the teleologi cal .
-

study of nature moves in the orbit tra ced out by it down to our day ,

and merges into physi cotheology as it does there As in h is psy .

ch l gy so also in his cosmology P lato made opious u se of the


o o , , c

myth An d h e did th is fi rst of all becau se with in th sph ere of the


. e

space time wor ld there is no su h th ing as a stri t s cien ce as he


-
,
c c ,

h imself said ; and se cond be cause image and symbol permit s to ,


u

conj ecture abo t something th at a mere notion is unable to en compass


u .

P lato sharply and clearly di f ferentiated between th e physical world


and the world of ideas H e designated the ph ysi al as the visible . c

w orld ( d 6 p 6 ) in contradistin ction both to the wo ld of ideas



r rr o s a7

9 r

and the wo rld of becoming Th e wo rld of ideas is p rely intelligible . u .


122 ANCIE NT PH ILOS O PHY
The wo rld of becoming stands midway between being and non being ; -

no tr ue and distinct reality may be ascribed to it ; and it is ever


changing and consequently somet h ing manifold di visible indete , ,
r

minate unlimited boundless great and small Bu t what must be kept


, , , , .

in mind is the fact that the physical wo rld is posited n ti me and i

space ; it is only th e appearance of an idea in the sense of being a copy


of an idea Fo r this reason P lato decla red it partakes ( p
. of an r

idea and only for th is reason can it be p rolonged into something like an
apparent existence It is like unmolded wax whi ch is imp rinted with
.

an image by an idea or like a nurse who adopts and cares fo r a child


,

whose real father is the idea Just as sense per ception is possible and .

can be interpreted only by means of the idea so th e physical wo r ld ,

exists only through the idea .

2 F ORM ATI ON OF TH E WORLD


.

Th e myth Th e world exists only because of th e goodness of God


. .

H e was good and the good can neve r be jealous of anything And .

being free fro m j ealousy he desired that all things be as like himself
,

as they could be This is in the tr uest sense the origin of c reation


.
, ,

and of the wo rld as we shall do well in belie ving on the testimony


o f the wise men
( Ti m ae u s

29 e ; ed Jowett Vol II p The , .
, .
, .

Demiu rge is not howeve r the c r eator who called out of nothing
, ,

eve rything that exists H e found something p re existent namely


.
-
, ,

matter ; and his work consisted solely in this that finding the whole ,

visible sphere not at rest but mo ving in i rregular and diso r derly ,

fa shion out of the diso rde r b rought o r de r conside ring that this was
, ,

in every way bette r than the other The first thing that the ”

Demiurge formed was the cosmic soul This is a spir ifu al invisible .
, ,

rational and living substance It is a mixture of indi visible and


, .
“ ”

eternally unchanging reality on the one hand ; and on the other of


,

divisible and ever changing reality Just like the human s o ul it is .


,

clothed with a body the matter of the cosmos This soul ivi es
,
. v

th e cosmos and by its providence and its animate powe r forms the

universe : created gods men animals plants and inorgani c matter


, , , , .

Th e unive r se is S tratified : above the kingdom of inorganic matte r is


the plant kingdom ; above this the animals men and ultimately the , , ,

created gods that is the planets ( along with our earth ) an d the
“ ”
, ,

stars Th e higher we as cend so mu ch mo re intelligen ce we meet ; the


.
,

lower we des cend the less intelligence appears in phenomena An d


,
.

as a consequen ce the enti re uni ve rse became a living creature truly “


124 ANC I E NT PH ILO S O PH Y
assures us when it advan ces the theor y of the cosmic soul which regu
lates the universe by its providence ( pé m) and makes it a cosmos r vo

( T i m ae u s 30 b, 5 —c E v en mechanism r ecognizes purpose and


o r de r Th e book of Leucippus is entitled O n the M ind ( H pi ? )
.
“ ”
e van

and it is supposed to have taught that e very happening is a mean ing


ful conformity to law ( mi é Aéy
l/ Ta. m2 i
x d dy j ov all things h r

v kr s
,

[ happen ] with r ea son and of A r e su ch a r ti culations of

purpose possible without a mind whi h de vises them ? Is there such c

a thing as or de r without itself having been fir st ordered ? M echanism


must assume this Bu t P lato the fath er of the doctrine of idea s and
.
,

thereby also of the eternal propositions before God as far as th e


,

being of the world was concerned was of the opinion that its orde r
,

presupposes a being whi ch regulates and this being is not only an ,

obj ective goal or purpose but al so subjectively a living spirit Whethe r .

o r not the cosmic soul is the same thin g as God is debated Be that as .

it may in both instances there remains the fu r ther point that the
,

nous which pervades the universe presupposes a living prin iple



“ ”
c

from which it emanates : intelligence ( ) could not be present in vo s

anything whi ch was devoid of a soul ( Timae s 30 b 3; ed Jowett ”


u , .
,

Vol II p
.
, .

3) I n th e b eginning w as th e s o u l We have already tou ched upon



.

the theory that the living soul as a source of the intellect may also
be the source of power of causality ( cf p, N t only is the . . o

cosmic soul the ultimate cause of motion but in gener al all true ,

causali ty possesses somethin of the soul C ontempo r a r y philosophy


g .

recognizes in causality nothing mo r e than the regular transient su c ,

ce ssio n of two happenings or explains it by the concept of emanation


o r by the notion of identity P lato interpreted all causality according
.

to psychic experience whi ch is familiar to us in our self experience


,
-
.

Neithe r in his psy chology nor in his cosmology does he trace the
origin of the soul from the body but vice versa the psychic comes
, ,

first and affor ds us an explanation fo r all bodily movement in fact , ,

for all corporeal being Th e L w s place great emphasis on th is vigor


. a ,

o u sl
y attacking the position of the pre S o crati c s who had alway s had
-
,

recou rse to a material Ar ch e ( First P rin ciple ) : Nearly all seem to “

be igno rant of the natu re and the power of the soul especially in ,

what relates to her origin : they do not know th at she is among the
first of things and before all bodies and is the chief author of their
, ,

changes and transpositions (Law s 892 a ; ed Jowett Vol II p



, .
, .
,
.

Char acte r s and ma nners wishes and r easonings and t rue



, ,
P LATO II 125

opinions and reflections and re collections are pri or to the length ,

and the breadth and depth and strength of bodies if the soul is ,

prior to th e body ( L w s 896 d ; ed Jowett Vol II p ”


a , .
, .
, .

3 . MATTER
Eter nal m atte r Th e consequence of this theory would be pan
.

psy chism as ad vocated by Leibniz later on in his teaching on the


,

monads Bu t P lato no matter how indi vidualistic and unique we


.
,

may consider his philosophy to be would not willingly adopt such a ,

radical view Just as he has place for a mate rial wo rld in additi o n
.

to his world of ideas and for opinion besides knowledge and a less , ,

perfect state besides Utopia so in the Timaeus he acknowledges in ,

addition to a mind and a soul some thing el se as well The Demiurge .

is no t an omnipotent cr eato r of the world H e found matte r pr e .

existen t eternal With this he was forced to wo rk and it placed


, .
,

limitations on h is will The Demiurge sought to make all things well .


,

and nothing bad God desi r ed that all things should be good and
,

nothing bad so far as this was attainable ( Timaeu s 30 a 3; ed Jowett


,

, .
,

Vol II p .
, That he was not able to carr y out his will in all
.

respects was due to the matter at his disposal C onsequently beside .


,

th e works of his independent creative acti vity we can find works of



necessity To this group of works belongs everything that is
.

dependent upon matter as such P lato did not wish to as cribe to it .

causality in the tr ue sense of the word It is only a co—causality .


( and is as su h a blind m lit wandering


' '

) ( i

o v va en o v c A k i — ii
-
a e a r a .

cause mechanically ope ative causality as we would desc r ibe it


) , r ,
.

Th e true causality behind all be coming is always only the soul Bu t .

matter is also always present and this has inevitable consequences ,


.

Th e D emiurge cannot fashion the best possible world H ere we .

should also recall the thought expressed in the Th eaetetu s that evil ,


ho vers around the mortal nature and this earthly sphere ( Th eae ,

t t s 176 a ; ed Jowett Vol I I p


e u , . F o r ced by necessity P lato
, .
, .
,

grudgingly admitted that in his system he could only fit matter


poo rly For this reason he made an attempt to trace its origi n mo e
. r

g e o m e tr i o and hence ideally


c , .

I dealizati on o f matte r P lato derived the fou r elements of Em .

p e d o cle s wate r fire air and earth from the regular polyhedron
— —
, , , .

Th e earth as the heaviest element is made of hexagons ; fire the ,

ligh test and sharpest of tetragons because such bodies have th e fewest
,

p lane s rfaces and


u th e sharpest points By simila r reason air is made .
126 ANC IE NT PH ILO SO PH Y
of o ctahedrons and wate r of i cosahedrons Th e elementary polyhedrons .

in turn consist of original triangles of such a kind that the formation


of th e speci fi c elements is commensurate with them These original .

triangles are made from faces these in turn from lines an d these , ,

ultimately from points Th e points are however measurable and S tem


.

from the O n e This theo r y of original triangles appeared to answer


.

in a special way th e atomic theo ry that had been propounded by


Demo critus P lato o ccupied himself t h erefore with the Ar ch ( F ir st
'

.
, ,
e

P rinciple ) problem of the pre—S ocratics .

4. S P ACE AN D TI M E
xten sa Th e result is a new A ch e or First P rinciple
Res e . r

space Fo r it is this to whi ch the deri vation of matter from the p ristine
.

triangle inevitably led ; and this space is mathematical space which in ,

P lato is considered as matte r A s late r in the wo r ks of Desca r tes so


.
,

h ere the corporeal appear s simply as extension as if there we r e no ,

distinction between physical and mathematical bodies Rationalism .

s eeks o ve r and over again to r esolve the world into me r e concepts .

P lato howeve r was fully awa r e that his de r i vation was open to
, ,

question To him it was only a spur ious notion by whi ch we master


.
“ ”

for ourselves spatial material ; and to him space and matter wer e
something obscure puz zling and scarcely credible According

,
” “

,

.

to him w e must not always in5 1st that th er e is space We beholding .


,

as in a dream say of all existence that it must of necessity be in


,

some place and occupy a space ( Timaeu s 52 b ; ed Jowett Vol II ”


, .
, .
,

p . Time also is not absolutely necessary Time exists only where .

there is corporeal change Time came into existence only with the
.

world of bodies the material world P lato points out that being
,
.

exists of whi ch it would be meaningless to ask : Where ? and When ?


An d this is the being whi ch P lato considered in the fir st pla ce Bu t .

h e con ceded t h at everything does not end with th e wo r ld of ideas ;


that we also have space and matter e ven if this contingent world of


,

be oming is not true reality


c .

Th e aporia o r philosophic al di f cu lty S hould we d fa to refuse . e c

to a scribe causality to matte r ? If variou s things are der ived by neces


sity from the essen ce of matte r should we not necess arily designate
,

as an effe ct that whi ch is necessarily derived ? And if it is an effect ,

is it not also reality ? H ere he repeats in cosmology the th eo retical


problem of knowledge con cerning the relation that exists between
pure reasoning and sense perceptions In his theo ry of knowledge .
128 ANC IE NT PH I LOSOPH Y
mo ves itself the soul For this reason the soul is prior to the body ;
.

and so it was an unpardonable error on the part of th e pre S ocratics -

not to have recogni z ed this By their materialistic attitude these .

philosophers advan ced th e cause of atheism S ouls are as experience .


,

again demonstrates either good or bad O nly an ordered movement


, .

can proceed from a good soul ; from a wicked one we can expe ct

only disordered move ment Th e great and far reaching cycles o f .


-

movement in nature espe cially those of the heavenly bodies are


, ,

stri ctly regular and we ll ordered Disorderly mo vements in nature are


-
.

exceptions rather than the rule and are limited in their significance


.

As a conse q u en ce we m st assume that the dominant souls fro m


, u

which the cosmic movements derive are b en e cen t and orderly and
thus the s preme soul namely that one wh ich is responsible for
u , ,

the most universal and reliable mo vements is also the most perfect ,

and the best possible S in ce we know that there is disorder in the


.

world we must take for granted that th ere are many souls or at
, ,

least more th an one in order to b e able to explain these disturban ce s


,

and disorders Bu t it is essential that we k now of th e existence of a


.

perfect soul In comparison to it all the exceptions are of no


.

impo rtan ce .

This train of thought in P lato does not result inevitably in a pure


monotheism ; nor does it posit a creator of the world but only a
world constru ctor also possibly only an immanent G d namely the
-
,
o ,
.

world soul Bu t we are not compelled to interpret P lato too stri ctly
-
.
,

fo r the world soul is prior to the cosmos and the spiritual is prior to

length and breadth and depth — all of whi ch would lead us to c n o

clu de that God is trans cendent Be that as it may P lato had fur .
,

n ish ed the groun dwor k for the A ristotelian proofs of the existen ce of

God based on motion We an righ tly appreciate and j u tly evaluate


. c s

the proofs for th e existen ce of an U nmoved M over in th e seventh and


eighth books of Aristotle s P h ysi s only when we h ave before us what

c ,

P lato wrote on this subje ct in the work of his later years .

Th e dialectical w ay to G o d Th e diale ctical proof or approa ch to .

God is the as cent from hypothesis to hypothesis u ntil we rea ch the


An h ypoth eto n or the Un conditioned First P rin ciple the ultimate
, ,

basi s of being which itself lies beyond being s rpassing everything , u

both in power and in value We have already seen something of .

this ascent ( see p 91 In the history of philosophi cal systems


.

it affords the steppingstone to another histori cally later proof for


the existen ce of G d namely the proof from causality and contingency
o , ,
.
PLATO II 129

A parallel to the dialecti cal as cent to God whi ch is pe rfected in ,

reasoning is the approach through the beautiful upon which we


,

journey in Eros Th e S ymp i m had sketched it in that section in


. os u

which Diotima t eaches S o crates that art of lo ving which blossoms


into pristine lo ve a love which leaves no appetite unsated but is itself
,

absolutely and entirely self sufficient ( i d ) an absolute in whi ch


- xa v v
,

the soul can take its repose It is a prin ciple upon which S t Augus. .

tine later draws when he coined h is now famous phrase O u r hea rt ,


is restless until it rests in Thee Th e dialectical approach gi ves us .

a tr afi scen dent God in a monoth eistic sense P lato had indeed often .

adapted the colloquial usages of popula r religion to his own pu rposes


and had frequently mentioned a variety of gods but without doubt ,

h e w as personally a monotheist In those passages whe r e his earnest .

ness finds outlet and he reprodu ces his innermost thoughts he regu ,

la ly spea k s of God rather th an of the gods


r .

2 . TH E ES S E NCE OF G OD

If someon e had questioned him about the essen ce of God P lato ,

would no doubt have replied as he did when interrogated about ,

the essen ce of goodness Th e subje ct is so sublime that I would


:

rather not give a dire ct answer to you r question We can howe ve r .


, ,

ar ri ve at an approximation of his views b y an examination of the


train of th ough t that is pertinent to this subje ct If we should keep .

before our eyes the diale ctical approa ch to God it would be clear ,

to us that as far as P lato was concerned the essen ce of God is to be


, ,

sought in aseity as well as in H is absolute value God is Being itself : .

and H e is also the Goo d If one thinks through the physical approach
.

to God it be comes evident to us that God is pur e actuality God is


, .

life and God is act P lato did not however know a personal God
.
, , .

3 .
I U S TI P I C ATI O N O F G OD

Ancient
deism P lato was well aware of the chief problem of
.

theodi cy the justification of God in view of the disor der senseless


, ,

ness immorality and evil in the world After he had proved the
, , .

exi sten ce of G o d in answer to atheism he turned his attention to ,

those doubting Thomases w h o would indeed be only too glad to


believe that God exists but who in view of their dysteleology ( the
, ,

the purposelessness in nature ) had reached the conclu ,

had inde ed created the world but when H e had ,

( L w s 8 99 d 900 b ; a ,

130 A NC IE NT PH ILO S O PHY
908 b c) This is the line of reasoning characterized in modern
.

philosophy as dei sm We have already intimated how this problem


.

in theodicy can be solved ( cf p 76 . .

Th e v iew o f th e w ho le We are told that a speci fi c e rr o r lies


. .

h idden in this objection that is raised against the goodne ss of G o d .

M an is ac customed to judge obje cts and relations by me ans of his


own limited viewpoint which takes into consideration only th e subject
and its momentary situation ; he does not in fact cannot look at , , ,

th e whole If we should keep this n mind we would find that many


. i ,

things would present an entirely di fferent aspect and the accent on


value would change radi cally An d finally we should ponder well .

th at man s life her e on earth does not represent man s whole life
’ ’
.

There is a continued existen ce after death ; and if we should wish to


speak of the j ustice of God we must also take into account what ,

takes place in that other life O nly petty souls are accustomed to .

overlook and neglect facts Noble souls on th e contrary survey eve ry:
.
, ,

thing in their purview even life beyond the grave and nothing that
,

is of importan ce fo r man es capes thei r scrutiny If you say : I am .

small and will creep into the depths of the earth or I am high and ,

will fly up to heaven you are not so small o r so high but that you
,

sh ould pay the fitting penalty either here o r in the world below or ,

in some still more savage place whither you Shall be conveyed ”

( L aw s 90
, 5 a ; ed Jowett Vol II
. p Thi s is the viewpoin t
, .
, .

whi ch we meet with in all C h ristian thinkers when they point to


th e j usti fi cation of God in eternity and whi ch will reappear again ,

with Kant when he tries to corroborate his postulates for the immo r
tality of the soul .


4 . G OD AND M AN
Ben e omnipo tence What relation exists between G o d and
cen t .

man ? In the work done in the e vening of his life when the ph ilo so ,

pher stands on the very threshold of eternity the meaning of God ,

occupies an exceptionally large place in his speculation We human .

beings as we read there are only marvelous masterpie ces shaped by


, ,

the hands of God fashioned perhaps as H is playthings or perhaps f


,
or

a more sublime purpose ; in any case we are H is prope rty , ,

and as it were marionettes in H is hands H e alone hold s .

by whi ch they are played and H e alone di rects our life


affair s are hardly worth considering in earnest ( Law s ”
,
132 ANC IE NT PH ILOS O PHY
reflections ou the existen ce essence providence j usti ce and holiness , , , ,

of God in the Laws P lato became the founder of natural th eology


,

o r theodicy whi ch will in the future play a great role in the history
, , ,

of philosophi cal thought in th e West Today when we busy our selves .

wi th th e notion of natur al theology we con centrate on its antithes is ,

to revealed r e ligion This is however not its original meaning Th e


.
, ,
.

expression itself goes back to Varro th e contemporary of C i cero ,


.

Varro differen tiates three different speeches or dis cour ses abo ut “

God th e poetical ( fab ul ous ) th e poli tical and th e natur al ( or



: , ,

ph ilosophi cal ) P oetical theology may be equated with mythology


. .

It has only an aes thetical meaning Th e politi cal is identical with .

the publi c cult of the S tate therefore with the Observan ce of feasts ,

an d ceremonies whi ch the cal endar pres cribes Thi s politi cal religion .

is not con cerned wi th th e tr ue or the false but is practi ced for reasons
of politi o adminis trative nature as M u ciu s S caevola the Rom an
c -
, ,

pontifex said so laconi cally but as onl y a tr ue Roman could In


, .

the case of natur al th eology however more is at stake th an aestheti cal , ,

pleas u re and political expedien cy ; it deals rather with th e philosophical


sear ch for tr uth concern ing God The content of natural theology is .

made up of wh atever man can know and prove on th e basis of his


own experien e and of h i refle cti on on nature an d th e world This
c s .

th eology see k s after real tr uth by the aid of s cien ce Th e ph ilo so .

p h er h ave
s left be h ind many boo k s on cerning this [natural ] theology c

( S t. A ugustine D Ci D i ,
B k V I
e h V ) as S
a t . A gustin e e , .
,
c .
, . u

cites from Varro Th e first in this long series of men was P lato
. .

TH E O LD ACADEM Y
Th e men who ta ght in th e A cademy immediately after P lato s
u

death ar e grouped together and are known to the history of philosophy


u nder the title th O ld A cademy Th e leaders of th e school in this
,
e .

period were : P lato s nephew and immediate su essor S peu sippu s



cc ,

( 34 7 Xeno cra tes ( 338 P o le mo n and C rates


( 269 O n e of the most renowned among the great schola r s
in this O ld A cademy was H er acli des of P ontus ( see above p ,
.

H is presen ce along with that of th e famous math emati ci an ,

P hilip of O pus and th e noted botanist Dio cles leads us to sur


, , ,

mi se th at in th e O ld A cademy various bran ches of science were


foster ed in addition to philosophy Basi cally however the school .
, ,

continued to retain as its essential feature the ch aracteris ti cs of the


P ythagorean Broth erh o d E ven in p h ilosop hi al leadership P yth ago
o . c ,
P LATO II 133

rean tendencies p revailed more than they had wi th th e mature


P lato F o r this r eason one of the chief problems with which the
.

s chool busied itself was the relation that exists between ideas and
number s P lato had distinguished between ideal numbers and mathe
.

matical numbe rs S peu sippu s retained only mathematical numbers


. .

Xenocr ates maintained that ideal and mathematical numbers were


identi cal Anothe r frequently dis cussed question was the relation that
.

exists between sensible reali ty and thought in which P lato s dualism


,

was re vived A third problem had its origin in the theory of pleasure
. .

H ere again the thinke r s mitigated P lato s dogmatism and listed


exte rnal goods among th e factors wh ich produce happiness By so .

do ing the Academy e vinced a greater liberalism than the ethics of


the C ynics and S toi cs had permitted Toward the end of the period
.

of development radical tendencies began to assert themselves These


, .

were foreign to genuine P latonism : they were partly mysti cal partly ,

p r e scien ti c atti tudes They. were insti gated by Xenocrates : Th e

Academy b r an ched out into O riental speculation N ature was demon .

iz e d Th e do ctr ine of numbers became imaginative : number one is


.

the first God H e is a spirit the father and the king of the heavens ;
,

number two is femi ni ne the mother of the gods she i s soul and
,

sh e r ules the world beneath heaven Th e v arious degrees of knowl


.

edge that P lato had championed were grossly lo calized : the obj ect
of knowledge is to be found at the o ther side of heaven the obje ct ,

of sense percepti on here on earth and th e obj e ct of opinion is


18 ,

h eaven itself O nly in the M iddle A ademy do th e tenden cies again


. c

be come moder ate .


C H A P TE R

A R I S T O TL E I : KN OWL E D G E AND SC I E NC E

IFE L

A ristotle was not a native Athenian ; he came from S tagira in


,

Thrace where he was born in 384 B C H is fathe r was physi cian to


, . .

th e King of M a cedonia Amyn tas Aristotle himself linked his fate


, .

to the M acedonian ideal With it he was to fall At the age of eighteen


. .

he entered the Academy and remained attached to it until th e death


of P lato some twenty years later During his lifetime he gr eatly
, .

admired his maste r In the elegy which he dedi cated to him he


.
,

speaks of the friendship whi ch bound them togethe r and says that ,

P lato was a man who so surpassed the common herd that it was
impossible for anyone indis criminately to sing his p raises save those
who proved themselves worthy of him The fact that late r on Aristotle .

would di ffer appreciably from P lato in his thought in no way


detracted from his veneration and his frien dship for him F or whi le .

both [P lato and truth ] are dear piety requires us to honor tr uth above
,

ou r friends wrote Ar istotle in his N ico m ch ean Eth i s ( 1096 a


,

a c

Bu t the reade r has the impression nevertheless that Aristotle s



, ,

cri t i ci sm of his maste r was not always s n e z a ct t dio O ftentimes i r s u .

it is farfetched ; it is not always basi c and many times it is petty .

Afte r P lato s death A ristotle went to A ssos in the p rincipality of


Troas and pla ced himself u nde r the aegis of P rince H ermias of
Atar n eu s There togethe r with other member s of the Academy he
.
, ,

founded a kind of affiliate branch of the P latonic school Bu t Aristotle .

remained in Assos only three year s After a brief stay at M itylene .

in Lesbos where he met his successor Theophrastus he turned his , ,

footsteps to the cou rt of P hilip of M acedonia and at the latter s ’

request assumed th e education of h is so n Alexander then but , ,

thirteen years of age .

When A lexander as cended th e throne in A ristotle


to Athens and in 335 founded in the holy precin cts of Apollo Lyce
his own philosophical school which he named after the place
,

which it was located the Lyceum Like the Academy itself it was
, .

134
136 ANC I E NT PH I LO SO PHY
be buried as she herself had wis h ed it Th e last instru ction r
, .

quested and provided that Nicanor his foster brother who had served , ,

as an officer at the headquarters of Alexander fulfill the vow which ,

A ristotle had made for him to carr y out Afte r a safe r eturn to the .

fathe rland he S hould dedi cate in S tagira statues fou r ells high to
,

Zeus the S avior ; and to A thena the prote tre s


, , c s .

WR I T I N G S
M u ch of wh at Aristotle wrote has been lost and even what we do ,

possess is not in ve ry good order O n the basis of the viewpoint he .

had in mind when he wrote we di vide th e works which Ar isfo tle ,

fo rmally published into the so called exoteri c writings ( éfw pm i M y m - r e o


,

M y ) and those not formally published the so called



é S S p
x e o e I/ o e er
, ,
-

acroamati c writings ( d p j i Adj im mW ) also known as x o a u a n xo /o z , a / a f er


,

the esoteric or doctrinal writings Intended for the general publi c .


,

the first type dating from the years of his early manhood were
, ,

esteemed as liter a ry masterpieces and were for the most part in the
dialogue form We possess only fragments of these Th e writings of
. .

th e othe r type were hastily drawn u p outlines designed as le ctures —

and delivered in A ssos and especially in the Lyceum They were first
, .

published by Andronicus of Rhodes in 6 0 5 0 E C ; they were lost for —


. .

years After their di scovery antiquity drew its inspi r ation almo st
.
,

exclusively from them and th ereby neglected th e wo r ks of his mo re


youthful years This in turn led eventu ally to an almos
.

of affairs ; the phi


development th at had taken place in Aristotle in the inter val
quoted from h is various wo r ks indiscriminately as if they ha ,

been written from one and the same Vi ewpo i nt and as if they
all of equal value O nly after the appearan ce of W I aege r s
. .

( translated by R R .

ofH is D e v elo me nt ( O xford : O xford University P ress


p ,

evaluated the fragments of his earlier works wer e scholars able t


,

a just estimate of the Spe culative growth of Ar istotle and to ,

stand his writings including th e fragments in a manne r be ttin


chronological sequence With t h is important fa cto r in mind we c
.
,

distinguish three periods : th e p eriod of the Academy the period ,

transition and the period of his activity in th e


,

Th pi i
e o h ly 2 5 p
n on f h C p
t at o n A i li m i g i d er ce n t o t e or us r s to te cu s e n u ne an

h
t e h w k f Th p h
r e st t e or ( m i i d by I Z i h i
o eo r astu s as a nta n e . i rc er n

un d G i 19 5 2 ) i
e st, j d b y ph il l gi l h Ai l
s r e ecte o o ca r e sear c on r sto t e .
AR I S TO TLE I 137

Th eperiod of th e Academy In the fi rst period ( 367 A ristotle .

continued to follow the lines laid down by P lato In the Dialogue .

E u de mo s fo r example ,he tea che s the pre —existen ce and the un ,

mortality of the so ul togethe r with o ther simila r thoughts j ust as ,

th e P latonic dialogue P h ed had outlined them H e also ch ampioned a o .

the intuition of ideas and the doctrine of reminis cen ce ( An mnesis ) a

and saw in the immaterial and solely spiritual existen ce the real and
essential being of man Body and soul are still perfectly dualistic for .
,

they are con sidered to be separate substan ces Aristotle s P ot eptic s .



r r u

is an appeal fo r a conduct of life based on pur e philosophy with


reference to the eternal ideas simila r to the motto whi ch P lato had
ins cribed for his Repu blic : In hea ven ther e exists ready made a
prototype th at anyone who is of good will can see it and can mold his
,

own true self a ccording to it O the r works of this period are the .

Dialogues O n l st ce P litics the S oph i t the S ympo iu m O n th e


'

u i , o , s , s ,

Goo d O n I d s and O n P ayer


, ea , r .

Th e p eriod of tr ansition Th e transition period is reflected in the .

writings he authored a t A ssos Lesbos and at the M acedonian court , ,


.

C hara cteristic of this pe r iod is the Dialogue O n P h ilo s oph y In the .

second book of this work he offers a criti cism of P lato s theory of ’

ideas In the thir d he begins to unfold the basic con cepts o f h is own

cosmology and he gives a faint inkling of a concept basi c to h is own


,

metaphysics that of the Unmoved M over H e continues however to


, .
, ,

u se the concepts cur r ent in late r P latoni c philosophy as we find them ,

expressed in the Epino mis .

In this period th ere originated those earlier portions of his do ctrinal


writings whi ch W I aeger considers as his original metaphysi cs ( M ta
. e .
,

I III XI 1 8 XII with th e exception O f C hapte r 8 XIII 9 and 10


, , ,

, , , ,

and XIV ) the original ethi cs ( Eth Bu d I II III and VII ) the
, . .
, , , , ,

original politi cal ph ilosophy ( P l II III VII and VIII ) and the o .
, , , , ,

original physics ( P h ys I 11 ; De Co eli H pi p ; D Ge n t Cor .


, ,
s, e . O tJ

a V OI i
-

e . e

i ! 00 poi s )
'
H epi y eve O ews '

Ka .

Lyce u m In the period of the Lyceum we can list his oth er doc
.

'

trinal w r itings with the exception of the abo ve mentioned earlier


r

p o rtions W e can distinguish fi v e types of writings :


.
( )
1 Th e Wa r /
( s

o n L o gic : K n p i ( Cate
go r iae P ae dica m
ar i n ta) ;
/eH p i écs
p mj i ( D , r e e ve a s e

I nt p et tio n ) ;
er r a p p and ie p ( A n al tica P r ior a et
y 7r

or e a.
'
io r e a

P o ster io r a ) ; To m mi T
( p );
i mfw eAey xwv ( D e S oph isticis
'
H epi

o ca p O o c to n
'

Ele nchis ) . L ater


on these were , gath ered together and entitled the
Or gan o n , because the philo soph ers recognized that in logic was to be
138 ANC IE NT PH ILO S OPHY
found the co rrect procedure that should be employed by the s ciences .

M eta h ysical Wr itings : P m ?) d p m ( y A u sc lt tio )


( )
2 T h e
p P h s ica ( u a n oa s u a ,

the philosophy of the natu ral sciences written from a metaphysical


point of view in eight books ; 6 W e 6 p i ( M etaph y ica) the
,
7 1 . 7 ; c vo ua s ,

gen e ral teaching of A ristotle on being as such its characte risti cs and ,

its causes in four teen books Th e title is purely fo rtuitous and de notes
,
.

only that these books were placed after the eight books of the P h ysics
in the edition of the do ctrinal works p repared by Andr onicus ( 3) .

Wr itings o n th e Natur al S ciences : H pi p pw (M eteo ologi a) a e er eas



v r c ,

kind of physical geography ; H pi 6 i pi ( H isto r ic: A n imaliu me


) 7 . O TO at ,

a systematic zoology in ten books : H pi 593W p p w ( De P ar tib us e O



i v

Animaliu m) on the parts of animals ; H pZca


,
m w p l ( D e I n essu e e e as c

Animaliu m) on th e gait of an imal s ; H pi Céw


, j w
( D e M o tu e v K cvr o e s

Animaliu m) on the mo vement of animals ; H pi Z


, b y é w D
( e e o r ev o e s

Ge ner atio ne Animaliu m) on the generation of animals ; H pi /v ii ,


e t s

D e Anima on the soul in th r ee v olumes To this may be added a


( ) , , .

whole series of so called lesser writings on the natural S ciences ( P ar va


-

Natu r alia) ( 4) Eth ical and P olitical Wr itings : H 0 & N n fx


. u< i xo a aa

ca Nico mach ea a systematic ethi s in ten bo o ks published by


( E th i ) c , ,

Aristotle s son and entitled after him ; I I Am d ( P o liti a) eight books



o x c ,

on the sociological political and juridical philosophi cal theories of


, ,

Aristotle ; H k l A 0q ( A e n ie nsiu m Res P u blica ) the only



h

-
w t
e a va i v ,


constitution of the 15 8 collected by A r istotle that has been prese rv ed .

This was rediscovered in 189 1 ( 5 ) P hilologic l Wr itings : T x ) . a


'
e vr


n pm} ( Ar s Rh eto r ica) on the art of oratory ;
m H pi w nm i ( D e
,
e or o ;

P oetica) on the art of poet ry


, .

S pu r iou s
Categor ies 10—15 ( P os tpr aedicamenta ; Boo
) k Fo u r o f th e M ete or ology;
De M u ndo; Boo k Ten of th e H istor y ofAni mals; O n th e A maz in g P er
ce ptio ns of S ou nd; On P lants; O n C olor s; O n I n di visi ble Li nes; M agna
M or alia; M ech anics; Oecon o mics P h ysi ogno mics; Rh e tor ica ad Alexan ,

dr u m M etaphysics I and P h ysics V II are th e wo r k s o f h is p u pils Th e


. .

P r o ble matica are po st Aristo te lian, b u t are based o n Aristo telian no te s


-
.

Academia Regia Bo r u ssica, 5 v o ls , 183 1— 1 8


Ari s totelis Oper a , e didit .

( it
c ati ns o taken
ar e from th is edition ) Fragments : Ar istotelis Fr ag .

edidit V . Rose A selectio n o f th e fr agments with late r


140 ANC IE NT PH ILOSOPH Y
The ultimate elements are to be found in the co n ept ( notion idea ) c , ,

j u dgment and r ea o ning E ven today these form the th re e most im


, s .

por tant topics of logic Everywhere Aristotle sought to define and to


.

divide Even in his logic we can detect the attempt he made to


.

investigate the sense wo rld in all its variety and to arr ange and to
classify the con crete Aristotle examined the elementary forms of the
.

mind not onl y for theoretical but al so fo r very practi cal purposes H e .

sought to Offe r mankind a method for unassailable scientific specula ,

tion demonstration and refutation This occurs especially in the topic


, , .

and elenctic ( indi rect r efutation Ofproof ) H is logic as a consequence .


, ,

is no t only theo retical but also practi cal At the same time he bu sied .

himself with the problem Of how far ou r rational faculties conside red ,

formally as instruments are in o rder as well as whether they actually


,

grasp the mate rials Of knowledge which they should grasp that is his , ,

logic is not only formal but also material ; I t I s as we would say today , ,

a theo ry of knowledge .

Th e co ncept I ) Th e co n ept of co n cept Th e ultimate element


. c .

which Aristotle s analysis Of the mind re veals is the concept : I call


’ “

that a term [concept ] into which the premi se is resolved i e both , . .


,

the p redicate and that Of which it is predi cated ( P r Anal I 1 ; ”


. .
, ,

16 ; ed M cKeo n p
. The concept itself is not a p redication
, .
,

a j udgment and as a consequen ce is neither true no r false


, .

concept stag fo r example is fi r st O f all only a word as ar


,

, ,

gene ral all representations whi ch Aristotle forms of


especially as viewed from the aspe ct Of language Ar .

Of fered his students a fo rmal teaching on th e con cept H e .

whateve r had already been established by S ocrate


concept 18 always general and embraces th e per manent
sary in short whateve r is essential That the concept
, , .

quiddity the o us a I s constantly


, z ,

the con cept implicitly at least the function O f predication If


, ,
.

concept emb r a ces the essence it must also lead to truth ; for an ess ,

is the essence Of something This however was neve r fo rmally



.
, ,

ceded by Ar istotle but is rather taken for granted and is expla


,

by the role which the idea O f essen ce ( Ad/ 7 l ) pla a


0 9 7 7 g o o ae


whe re it is presupposed as a representatio n of being and not
as a constituent part fpossible judgments O .

2 ) Th e de nitio n Th e con cept that is formed correctly is called


.
.

definition Th e definition is inten ded to determi ne


precisely as possible the essence of an O bject so that its quiddity
ARI S TOTLE I 141

sh arply differentiated from that of all othe r beings and becomes pe r


fectly intelligible in its own species The r ule fo r such a definition is .

as follows : the definition is given by stating the genus and the


difference which fo rms the species ( the specific difference ) This .

me ans : an O bject is always classified in a uni versal genus which is


presupposed as already known F o r example the numeral three ( 3) .
,

is determined by the uni versal genus number ; since there ar e many ,

numbers the unive rsal genus number must be narrowed down by


, , ,

a further determination so that only 3 can be under stood among th e


,

inany nu mber s that might possibly be mentioned Th is I s done by


G

g i ving t h at dete r minate species which is cha r acte r istic Of 3 an d

differentiates it from all O ther number s n amely the fact that 3 is , ,



the first une ven number ( P ost An II 13 ; ed M cKeon pp 175

. .
, , .
, .

By the specific differen ce the species itself arises fr om the various


gene ra Th e definition as a consequence always denotes the concept
.
, ,

Of species .

3) G n u s and species In this connectio n A ristotle makes use Of


e .
,

th e concepts O f genus and species What genus is and what species is .

he ne ver expressly de veloped in his philosophy but on one occasion ,

he explained genus by me ans Of specie s : A genus is what is pre “ ‘ ’

dicated in the catego ry Of essence of a numbe r of things exhibiting


differences in kind [species ] ( Top I 5 ; 102 a 31 ; ed McK eo n ”
.
, , .
,

p . H e defin ed species by means of the genus species are com ,


p osed of the genus and the di f


f erentiae ( M e ta X 7 10 5 7 b 7 ; ed ”
, ,
.

McKeo n p , A r istotle indicated ( P o st A


. II 13) how we could . h .
, ,

arrive at the genus namely by emphasizing the identity that is com


, ,

m u mto dif ferent O bjects S ince he did not think O f secondary identities
.

O f the identity O f essence fo r its part the essence is more


(
the concept Ofuniversali ty essence is nothing
the genus ) we are constantly running around ,

species ar e not explained materially as fo r , ,

to the uniformity Of str uctu re or to the organs


to hereditary p roperties but only fo rmally by the ,

idea by whi ch the essence is determined by the universal


,

universal in turn by the essence This whole explanation .


,

is not a petitio pr incipii fo r him be cause the notions of ,

d idos or specific form borrowed f om P latoni c dialecti cs


e r

known .

and the spe cies do not need


142 ANC I E NT PH I LOS OPHY
their essence in thei r own content which we are not fo rced fir st to ,

obtain by abstraction from the many but which we already know


ap riori ; as a consequence the problem of the formation of spec1es
,

does not exist at all Without th e method of the diaeres i s ( di vision )


.

there would be no Aristotelian definitio n The defin ition is both a .

logi cal and ontological orientation within the system of concepts into
which the P latonic dialectic arrange s all being It was a P latonist .
,

P orphy ry who developed the genealogical tree of being the so —called


, ,

P orphy rian t r ee which we must keep constantly befor e ou r eyes if


,

fi fi
we wish to understand genus species and definition in thei r o riginal
, ,

meaning The outline fo r the formulation of a defin ition ( genu s


.

p r o xim u m a i er e n

tia s
pe ci ca — -
p r oximate genus and “

fer ence ) is th e outline of the P o rphy rian tr ee It is extr emely



.

char acte ristic because of its relation to the histor y of philosophy


, ,

that before offering a se ries of r ules fo r the framing of a defin ition ,

Ar istotle de sc r ibes the genus which ente r s into the definition as a


prio r by natu re and bette r known This would not be a logical .


concept but rathe r the ontological ciaos ( fo rm ) of P lato An d when '


.

Aristotle demands that the definition always mention the


is next closest he again follows in the footsteps o f P lato
, ,

great emphasis on the postulate that in the diaer esis no , ,

eve r omitted ( cf p O nly the concept o f specific


. .

intr oduced by Aristotle .

4) Categor ies Bu t something that is genuinely Ar i


.

classification of concepts The S tagi rite disco ve red .

which we employ in ou r premises can be arranged


With this obse rv ation Aristotle offered us the fi rst
,

It contains ten schemata fo r fo rms that can be


ou r concepts designate an essence ( a substance )
quanti ty quality relation place time situation
, , , , , ,

passion The catego ries themsel ves may be furth


.

broad types O n the one hand there is sub stance


.

in itself and hence p


the othe r hand the r e are the nine
an accident is that which may be
precise determination O n this th .

The accidental determinations of


subst
acci d
able
144 A NCIENT PH ILOSOPH Y
j udgment ] r e veals that a given attribute attaches or does not attach
to a gi ven subj ect ( P ost An II 3; 9 1 a 1 ; ed M cKeo n pp 16 1
. .
, ,
.
, .

The j udgment develops further the genesis of knowledge which


had begun with th e con cept Th e attributes of wh ich Aristotle speaks
p

here ar e nothing other th an the accidents which we have already


mentioned It is impo r tant to obse rv e that the accidents :possess a
.

defin ite relation to substance Aristotle had recognized this and as a


.

conseque nce di vided them accordingly By S O doing we are shown


that at least fo r h imbeing is regulated and put into a definite order
.

by defin ite inner relationships To unco ver these 13 the task of .

scientific judgment S cien ce is not a monologue of the mind on the


.

basis of special r ules as is often supposed in modern times but a


, ,

dialogue of the mind with the world of bei ng with whi ch it e njoys
equality of rights and o ve r against which it S tands .

3) Wh at is tr u th ? To this co rr esponds th e A ristotelian no tion of


tru th This has a decidedly obj ecti ve characte r To say of what is
. .

that it is and of what is not that it is not is t rue (M eta IV 7 ;


, ,

.
, ,

101 1 b 27 ; ed M cK eo n p
. It is not because we think truly
, .

that you are pale that you ar e pale but because you are pale we w h o
, ,

say this have the truth (M eta IX 10 ; 105 1 b 7 ; ed M cKeon p



.
, , .
, .

The truth does not depend therefore upon a subjecti ve view , ,

point upon faith o r a mer e wish upon the usefulness or the fruit
, ,

fulness of a theo r y up o n the spirit of the times or upon blood o r r ace


,
.

This philosopher of ancient Greece was able to represent to himse lf


as truth only a p r oposition whi ch reproduced the obj ectivity of reality .

Modern psy cho logism or pragmati sm would ha ve been possible for


the S ophists but not for A ristotle
, .

4) Logical p edicatio n Bu t how can we be ce r tain of the truth ?


r .

Th e above cited text gives us an explanation : H e w h o thinks the



-

sepa rated to be separated and th e combined to be combined has


the truth while he whose thought is in a state contra ry to that of
,

the objects is in er ror ( M eta IX 10 105 1 b 38 40 ; ed M cKeon , ,



.
,

p. This corresponds with the defi nition of judgment as a union


o r conj o ining of concepts o r notions What plays the decisive role in .

the uni tive possibilities of con cepts the content of the concept or the , ,

insight into reality ? Neo S cholasti cs who consciously adopt the views
-

of Aristotle speak of a co n uenientia o r a disc epantia o n eptu u r c c

se
( an agreement o r di sagr eement of

and see in the positive or negative


ARI S TOTLE I 145

if th e meaning of the concept alone wer e decisive Th e judgment .

w ould then co nsist of an analysis of con cepts and the ultimate de cisive ,

principle would not be reality but the principle of identity or of ,

co ntradiction In this r atio nalistic fashion we must understand the


.

j udgment that P lato had before his eyes a j udgment in whi ch the ,

predi cation is actually contained as E H offmann h as so corre ctly , .

m th exis ; that is the predicate s h ar s in o r pa tak es of


e ,
e r

the j udgment copula is means ,


,

of the concepts inv olved A ristotle .


,

( IX 1 0 ) refers very distin ctly


, to r eality .

or the possible separation of con cepts is


e alit
y and not upon the meaning
, of the
as such By this Aristotle adopted a position di fferent from
.

P lato F o r P lato the Logos is reality itself Ideas are called


. .

Wd M ( things
a Ta themselves ) and here we ca n pass judg
,

tio n ally and analyti cally on the compatibility o r the in co m

the basis of the content of the con cepts


selves By appealing to reality r ather than to the con cept Aristotle
.
,

us clearly to understand that he intends to travel by other paths


those whi ch P lato used Th e Logos is only a means of thin k ing
.
,

a way to reality ; it is not reality itself .

Th e s bject ofju dgmen t M atters are q uite di fferent where the


u .

ct of the j udgment is con cerned A ristotle realized th at the essence .

judgment as a predication necessarily required a subject of


it is predicated but which could not be the predi cate itself
, .

is the subj ect of the j udgment ? P atently it must always be


we cannot predi cate anything of someth ing
evident that an ac cident does not o ffer us
lty For the subje ct of a j udgment presupposes
.
,

e r ef o e it must be the s bstance r u ,

quiddity th e ?
,
ij w —
r ) th at which a thing is for ex

r c v s at
,

being o r the quiddity whi ch belongs to man This last inter .

tar tle s us If the quiddity as the subje ct of a judgment must


.

something in this case to a man is it really a subje ct an


, , ,

ate of wh ich someth ing is predicated but which is itself no


r a predicate ? It belongs to the dative case and is predi cated
for example if I say that C allias is a man in thi s instance I
, ,

that humanity belongs to Gallias


.

sto rle ,however found a way out of the difficulty ; he made a


,

ctio n between rst and second substan es O nly the fi rst sub c .
146 ANC I ENT P H ILO SO PHY
stance is something that is un iq lI e and enti rely par ticular preci ’

this man C allias and only the first substance is a substance in


true sense of the word because it alone can ne v e r be pred ,

but conver sely it is itself the subject of a p redication Th is .

judgment which leads A ristotle to a basic concept of his


philosophy and we should ne ve r lose sight of it when
,

to e valuate the Ar istotelian concept of substan ce Th e second .

stance is that which is common to se ve ral individuals ; it is


speci es the specific essence for example man I n general ; this
, , ,

also be p r edicated While we would naturally expect that Aris


.

would explain o usz a ( essence ) in the sense of


the ideal subject of a judgment this is surpris ,

case ; r athe r it is the second substance i


to which Aristotle loo ks fo r the
By so doing he pays t r ibute to the P latonic method of rea
A lthough acco r ding to his own philosophy the first substan ce
stance absolutely and to him eve rything particula r S tands
fo reground he ne ver theless permits science to remain in that
,

to which P lato had consigned it : in the realm of uni versal C


An d although Ar istotle r ejects the concept of th e world
( j
x é a uo s
r d ) he still
vo r r r emainssenough
, of a P latonist to
solely the uni ve rsal as th e object of science S cience does not .

itself wi th Callias o r with indi viduals but with man as s ,

in like fashion with othe r substances The particular is an


,
.

i e something inexp r essible which can ne ve r be exhausted


. .
,

of uni ve rsal concepts By this theo ry Aristotle made possibl


.

evaluation of the particula r in its solitar y S ingularity .

Th e syllo gism 1 ) Th e positio n of th e syllogis m


.

logic H is theo r y conce r ning the syllogism in its ideal


.

the solid cente r of Ar istotelian logic H is disciples .

an original contribution and later centu


a rtist ry H is ad versaries ridiculed it as
.

dialecticism In any case Aristotle dev


.
,

described its various forms formulated ,

care to point out various e rrors whi ch might possibly


conclusions This was necessa ry fo r the syllogism was to him
.
,

foundation of all sciences To develop a s cien ce meant to prove .


,

the syllogism was proof absolutely .

2 ) Th e n atio n an d f o r ms of th e syll gis m A syllogism is a o .

cou rse in whi ch certain things being S tated something other ,


148 ANC I ENT P H ILOSOPH Y
of the unive rsal from par ticular instances H e gave to this derivati o n .

the indu ction ) the form of a syllogism but one that is a syllo ,

gism in form only If th e univer sal results from an examination of


.

eve ry individual instan ce Afist tle calls this type of induction an


, o

epagoge ( an argument by indu ction ) If all the indi vidual instances .

cannot be S ifted it is then called a paradigmatic syllogism ( P r An


,
'
. .
,

II 23
, A s a furth er form of the syllogism Aristotle r ecognized the
enthymeme in which a co nclusion is drawn from a S ign which is
,

connected with ce rtain facts ( P r An II the p robable syllogism


. .
, ,

( ci k o s,) I n which only probable p r op o sitions form the basis of the


syllogism ( P r An 11 27 ) the en stase in which one premi se I S
. .
, , ,

contrary to the other ( P r An II furthermore the dialectical


. .
, , ,

otherwise called the epich eir eme which is based not on logical neces
,

sity but on the opinion of expe r ts ( n do x ) ; e a

designed to persuade ; the eristic which employs only fallacious


,

and offers only a fallacious conclusion and is therefore gener al


a fallacy ( a par alogism ) .

Aristotle devo ted a great deal of attention to th e question


syllogism s cientific or not ? O nly the demonstrative syllogism
tic syllogism ) whi ch r esults in a logically
s cientific ; it is th e syllogism as su ch In such a syllogism .

position is that th e basic propositions are certain H o w .


,

soon see In a number of the above mentioned special


.
-

forms this cannot always be verified .

Th e pu r p s e of th e syllogis m In what does the spe


o .

of the syllogism its so called stringency consist ? Its force


,
-
,

this that the final term is contained in the middle and


, ,

the first term ; by this means the derivation of


the first is made possible and follows logically If for examp .
,

following syllogism is valid : All men are mortal Bu t S o cr .

a man Therefore S ocrates is mortal it is valid because the


.
,

O f S o crates is contained in his humanity ; it is thus tr uly stated .

to prove a thing means to see that which we seek to prove


thing itself ; whethe r it is identical with it or contained in its
sion is ultimately a matter of indi fference .

4) Ar isto teli n syllo gis m and P lato nic dialectics It is


a .

important for us to possess clear notions on the method of


that has been employed thus far If we S hould keep be .

the explan ation of the first figure of the syllogism t


to Aristotle all other figures can be reduced the
,
ARIS TOTLE I 149

in the middle term and th e middle in the major term w e are


,

reminded almo st unconsciously of P latonic diale ctics which was also ,

concern ed with th e con cept of meth exis ( parti cipation ) Ther e the .

subo r dinate eidos ( form ) is contained in the superio r and proceeds

from it because it is established by it ; on this account the eido s


,

( fo r m ) in the works of P lato is also designated as hypothesis a ,

terminology whi ch appears literally in Aristotle ( P An I 1 ; 24 b r . .


, ,

The Ar istotelian syllogism is P latonic dialectic If we should not .

conceive of the syllogis m in this fashion it would be come meaning ,

less ; to infe r from the univer sal a ssertion that all men are mo r tal
that S ocrates is also mo r tal would be the most useless thing in the
wo rld : it would be entirely supe rfluous Fo r have I not already S tated .

th is when I determined in general tha t all men ar e mortal ? What is


left fo r me to infer ? Aside from the fact that when I S tate the
p roposition that all men are m o rtal I must myself have known ,

unfo r eh an d that S ocr ates was mortal Bu t when I as does P lato know .
, ,

gall individual things by r eason of a supe r io r idea wh en the supe r io r ,

idea itself is not de rived from the particular but the parti cular from it '

g hen it is reasonable to see in the premises the conclusion whi ch is

pdr aw n from them Th e A ristotelian syllogism is fo r this reason a pa r t


a .

b f metaphysi cs not me r ely a chess game with concepts as pieces as


, ,

logic not infre q uently rep resents it .

5 ) Th e ap io i by natu r e an d th e b tter k n o w n We would appr eci


r r e .

rate t his the more if we should ask ou r selves the question : What is

meant by the logically p rio r o r the so called logical demonstr ation



“ ”
-
,

o f which mention is made so frequently in all the scien ces Logi cal .

d emonstration as has been so frequ ently stated is proof ; proof deals



, ,

w ith the logi cal prio r wi th p remise s through which something


“ ”
«
,

p o sterio r is established This view .i s actually g enuine A r istotelian


his philosophy the logically prio r is called the p p
,
i 1r O T€ 0v Ka

the prior and bette r known ; p p


“ ”
7r 0 re

ov

the prior by nature ; o r p p i AB the wh olly prior



7r or e
'
ov c vr t s
,

.

S tin gu ish es it from the 6 a i the prio r in regar d “

p p w p é 7r

r e ov s f s,

and offers as an explanation : That which is prior in regard


that means in regar d to ou r knowledge is always the concrete
, ,

of which sense knowledge makes u s cognizant O n the .

d that which is prio r by its very nature and whi ch is also


, ,

known is the universal which in regard to our knowledge


,

posterior because first of all we perceive according to


, ,

the pa rticular ( Top VI 4 ; P hys 1 1 ; P r An II 23;


.
, , .
, , .
,
15 0 ANC I E NT PH ILO SO PHY
P os t An . I M ode rn logic develops this thought by explaining
.
, ,

the universal is prior in the sense of being logical p roof Bu t what .

do es the phrase logically prio r actually mean ? If actually all knowl


“ ”

edge p roceeds from the parti cular and th e sensible it is meaningless ,

to say that the uni ver sal is prio r and it is much mo re wi thout point
to say that it is bette r known o r mo re ce r tain All thi s would be .

true if it were based on th e P latonic theo ry of knowledge accor ding