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conduct is the best? that Xenophon took these preliminary and introductory discussions for the whole of the Socratic philosophy of life, and hence drew a picture of the latter, representing, it is true, his own but not the platform of the real Socrates? This view has no doubt its truth, but it is hardly the whole truth. We can readily believe that Xenophon found the more tangible foundation for moral precepts which judges them by their consequences both clearer and more intelligible than the deeper one which regards their working on the inner condition of man. We naturally, therefore, expect his description to give the preference to this to him more intelligible explanation even at the cost of the other; and to throw the other more into the background than the actual state of the case warrants. We must, therefore, allow double value to such Socratic utterances as he reports implying a deeper moral life. We cannot, however, consider him so bad a guide as to report utterances which Socrates never expressed, nor can we give to these utterances a meaning by means of which they can be brought into full accord with Plato's description of the Socratic ethics.

Take for instance the dialogues with Aristippus,2 where Socrates is asked to point out a thing good,

This is, in the main, the view of Brandis, Rhein. Mus. v. Niebuhr u. Brandis, i. b, 138; Gr. Röm. Phil. ii. a, 40; Gesch. d. Entwickl. i. 238; Ribbing, Sokrat. Stud. i. 115; Volquard

sen, Dæmon d. Sokr. 4, who
reproduces Xenophon's sayings
as incorrectly as he does.

2 Mem. iii. 8.



and afterwards a thing beautiful, and both times
answers that goodness and beauty consist in nothing
else save a subserviency to certain purposes.1 What
inducement had Socrates here to withhold his own
opinion? Was Aristippus one of the unripe un-
philosophic heads, not in a condition to understand
his views? Was he not rather in addition to Plato
and Euclid one of the most independent and intel-
lectually best educated thinkers in the Socratic
circle? Why should Socrates say to him: everything
is good and beautiful for that to which it bears a
good relation, and hence the same thing may in rela-
tion to one be a good, to another an evil? Why
does he not add: one thing there is which is always
and unconditionally good, that which improves the
soul? Or did he add it, and Xenophon omit it
although the main point ?2 and was this so in other
cases ? 3
We could only be justified in such an
assumption, were it shown that Socrates could not
possibly have spoken as Xenophon makes him speak,
or that his utterances cannot possibly have had the
meaning, which they have according to Xenophon's
account; to prove which it is not sufficient to appeal
to the contradiction with which Socrates is otherwise
charged. It is certainly a contradiction to call
virtue the highest end of life, and at the same time
to recommend it because of the advantages it brings : 5


1 See p. 149, 4.

2 As Mem. iv. 6, 8.
Brandis, 1. c.

4 As Brandis, 1. c. asserts. Conf. Dissen, 1. c. 88; Ritter, Gesch. d. Phil. ii. 70.

5 What Brandis has elsewhere asserted appears to be less open to objection, viz. that Socrates distinguishes mere good fortune from really faring well, and that he only

and Plato recognising this contradiction has avoided it. Still the question really is, whether and to what extent Socrates has avoided it, and nothing can justify our assuming, that he cannot possibly have been involved in it. For is there not a contradiction in Kant rejecting most decidedly for the moral estimate of our actions every standard based on

allows happiness in its ordinary sense a place among things relatively good. The former statement is in Mem. iii. 9, 14; but this distinction even by a decided advocate of Eudæmonism, such as Aristippus, could be admitted, assuming that true and lasting happiness is to be attained not by the uncertain favour of chance, but by one's own activity and understanding, and that man must not make himself dependent on extreme circumstances, but ensure a lasting enjoyment of life by rising superior to himself and his surroundings. If Brandis (Entw. i. 237) declares this impossible, he need simply be referred to the fact that in the Cyrenaic and Epicurean schools such views are actually met with. See below, ch. xiv. B, 5, and Zeller's Stoics, Epicureans, &c., p. 44. For the latter statement Brandis appeals to Mem. iv. 2, 34. Here Euthydemus has to be convinced of his ignorance in respect of good and evil. After it has been proved that all things considered by Euthydemus to be goods, wisdom included, may, under certain circum

stances, be disadvantageous, Euthydemus says: KivÕUVEVEL— ἀναμφιλογώτατον ἀγαθὸν εἶναι τὸ evdaμoveiv, to which Socrates replies: eye μÝ TIS αŮтd ¿§ ἀμφιλόγων ἀγαθῶν συντιθείη, or as it is immediately explained, εἴ γε μὴ προσθήσομεν αὐτῷ κάλλος ἢ ἰσχὺν ἢ πλοῦτον ἢ δόξαν ἢ καί


ἄλλο τῶν τοιούτων, since among all these things there is none which is not the source of much evil. Far from denying, this proceeds on the distinct understanding that happiness is the highest goodwhich Greek ethics invariably presuppose; neither is it called simply an ἀμφίλογον ἀγαθὸν, except in the case that it is compounded of ἀμφίλογα ἀγαθὰ, i.e. of such things as under certain circumstances lead to evil, and are not simply ȧyalà, but sometimes κаká. Still less is this statement at variance with passages which estimate the value of every thing and of every action by its consequences, a standard being the very thing which Socrates is here laying down.

1 As Plato has already remarked, Rep. ii. 362, E.; Phædo, 68 D.





experience, and afterwards deciding the question as to what maxims are suited to the principle of universal legislation, having regard to the consequences which would follow were they universally adopted? Is there not a contradiction in the same writer, at one time waging war à outrance against Eudæmonism, at another founding the belief in the existence of God on the demand for a bliss corresponding to worth? Is not the critic of pure reason, in asserting the independent existence of a thing and at the same time unconditionally denying that it can be known, entangled in a contradiction so blatant, that Fichte was of the opinion that if it really assumed the independent existence of a thing, he would rather regard it as the work of a strange coincidence, than of human brains? Can the historian therefore make the philosopher of Königsberg say what he did not say? Can he violently set aside these contradictions instead of explaining them? And would it be so inconceivable that the same thing should be true of the Socratic doctrine? The philosopher wishes to build moral conduct upon knowledge. In point of form his conception of knowledge is so indefinite, that it includes besides philosophical convictions, every kind of skill derived from experience. In point of matter it suffers from a similar indefiniteness. The subject matter of practical knowledge is the good, and the good is the useful, or what is the same thing the expedient. But in


1 See p. 147.

2 Conf. p. 149, 4; 1 and 2.

The identity of the good and the useful is also presupposed

what this consists, Socrates according to all accounts has not expressed with sufficient precision to avoid all ambiguity in his ethics. In passages of Plato from which we can gather the views of the Socrates of history, with some certainty, he does not even go beyond saying that intellectual culture, care for the soul, must be the most important end for man. Still to refer all human actions to this as their ultimate and final purpose is impossible for his unsystematic and casual ethical theories, unsupported by any comprehensive psychological research. Hence other ends having to do with man's well-being in the most varied ways come apparently independently to support that highest moral purpose, and moral activity itself appears as a means towards attaining these ends. If therefore Xenophon reports a number of Socratic dialogues in which things are so represented, we may still maintain that they do not exhaust the Socratic basis of ethics; but we have no right to question the accuracy of his description, supported as it is by many traces in Plato, nor yet to twist it into its opposite by assuming that we have here only the beginnings of dialogues the real object of which must be a very different one. Their accuracy on the contrary is vouched for by the circum

in the passages quoted from Plato on p. 152, although the conception of the useful is somewhat extended there.

Compare the sound remarks of Strümpell, Gesch. d. Prakt. Phil. d. Gr. 138, resulting in this: Socrates made no such

distinction in kind in the con-
ception of the ayalov, as to
regard the ȧyad belonging to
virtues as moral good, all
other good as good for the
understanding only, and conse-
quently as only useful and


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