Page images


Sophists at one by means of which it might be governed.

The aristocratic tone of this view of the state appears to be contradicted by the ease with which Socrates rose above the social prejudices of his nation, meeting the ruling contempt for trade by the maxim that no useful activity, be it what it may, but only idleness and activity need call forth shame. Still both come from a common source. For just as Socrates will have the position of the individual in the state settled according to his achievements, so conversely he will have every action appreciated which leads to any good result. Here, as elsewhere, the conception of good is his highest standard.

One consequence of the political character of Greek morality was that the problem proposed to the virtuous man was customarily summed up as doing good to friends and harm to foes. This very definition is put into the mouth of Socrates 2 by Xenophon, who likewise considers it most natural to feel pain at the success of enemies. On the other hand, in one of the earliest and most historical of Plato's dia

(4) Love for enemies.

Mem. i. 2, 56. In keeping as the son of a poor labourer. with this, he urges a friend Xenophon and Plato as men of (ii. 7) to employ the maids of rank and property. his house in wool work, and 2 Mem. ii. 6, 35: kal ÓTi šyuwanother (ii. 8) to seek for occu- κας ανδρός αρετήν είναι νικάν τους pation as a steward, refuting μέν φίλους εν ποιoύντα τους δε in both cases the objection, εχθρούς κακώς. that such an occupation was 3. Mem. iii. 9, 8: pobvov unbecoming for free σκοπών ό,τι είη, λύπην μέν τινα, Xenophon held different εξεύρισκεν αυτόν όντα, ούτε μέντου view (see (Ec. 4. 2, and 6, 5), την επί φίλων ατυχίαις ούτε την and it is well known that επ' εχθρών ευτυχίαις γιγνομένην.. Plato did also. Socrates speaks




logues,' Socrates declares it to be wrong to injure another : injury is the same thing as wrong-doing, and wrong-doing may never be permitted, not even towards one from whom wrong-doing has been suffered. The contradiction of these two accounts is hard to get over : 2 for assuming it to be granted that the Socrates of Xenophon is only speaking from a popular point of view, still the fact would remain that Xenophon cannot have been conversant with explanations such as those given by Plato. No doubt Plato's account even in the Crito cannot be regarded as strictly conformable to truth ; still it may well be questioned whether he can be credited with such a flagrant deviation from his master's teaching 3 as this would be. That there is such a possibility cannot be denied; we must then be content to leave it in uncertainty as to which were the real principles of Socrates on this subject.4

i Crito 49, A. Also Rep. i. principle opposed to slavery. 334, B.

If he held many things which 2' The remark of Meiners according to Greek prejudices (Gesch. der Wissenschaft. ii. belonged to slaves not to be 456) will not pass muster that unworthy of a free-man, it by Socrates considered it allow- no means follows that he disable to do harm (bodily) to approved of slavery; and the enemies, but not to injure view that slavery is contrary them in respect of their true to nature (mentioned by Ariswell-being, Xenophon express- totle, Polit. i. 3) is not attrily allowing kakws Toleiv while buted to Socrates as its author. Plato as expressly forbids it. Had it belonged to him, it 3 See p. 153.

would undoubtedly have been 4 Still less are we justified so mentioned. But the whole in asserting—as Hildebrand connection does not suit Soappears inclined to do (* Xeno- crates, to whom the distinction phont. et Arist. de Economia between poet and vóugs is publica Doctrina, part i. Marb. foreign. We ought rather to 1845)—that Socrates was in think of the Cynics.

hung hock, i-nettle





means to ends in nature.

CHAP. ENQUIRIES into nature, we have seen, did not form VIII.

part of the scheme of Socrates. Nevertheless, the A. Subor, line of his speculations led him to a peculiar view of dination of

nature and its design. One who so thoughtfully turned over the problem of human life from all sides as he did, could not leave unnoticed its countless relations to the outer world; and judging them by the standard which was his highest type—the standard of utility for man—could not but come to the conviction that the whole arrangement of nature was subservient to the well-being of the human race, in short that it was adapted to a purpose and good.' To his mind, however, all that is good and expedient appears of necessity to be the work of reason; for just as man cannot do what is useful without intelligence, no more is it possible for what is useful to exist without intelligence. His view of nature,

1 For Socrates, as has been crates is desirous of convincing already shown, understands by a friend of the existence of the the good what is useful for Gods, and hence proposes the

question: Whether more intel2 See Mem. i. 4, 2, in which ligence is not required to prothe argument from analogy is duce living beings than to promost clearly brought out. So- duce paintings like those of



therefore, was essentially that of a relation of means to ends, and that not a deeper relation going into the inner bearings of the several parts, and the purpose of its existence and growth inherent in every natural being. On the contrary, all things are referred as a matter of experience to the well-being of man as their highest end, and that they serve this purpose is also set forth simply as a matter of fact, and as due to a reason which, like an artificer, has endued them with this accidental reference to purpose. As in the Socratic ethics, the wisdom regulating human actions becomes a superficial reflection as to the use of particular acts, so, too, Socrates can only conceive of the wisdom which formed the world in a manner equally superficial. He shows what care has been taken to provide for man, in that he has light, water, fire, and air, in that not only the sun shines by day, but also the moon and the stars by night; in that the heavenly bodies serve for divisions of seasons, that the earth brings forth food and other necessaries, and that the change of seasons prevents excessive heat or cold. He reminds of the advantages which are derived from cattle, from oxen, from pigs, horses, and other

Polycletus and Zeuxis ? Aristo- he is obliged to confess, rà fm?
demus will only allow this ωφελεία γινόμενα γνώμης είναι
conditionally, and in one special pya. Compare also Plato,
case, einep ve uss Túxn tivi åxx' Phædo, 29, A., although, ac-
υπό γνώμης ταύτα γεγένηται, but cording to what has been said,
he is immediately met by So- p. 59, we have not in this pas-
crates with the question: Tôv sage a strictly historical ac-
o è återudptws exóvtwv 8tov éveká count, and Arist. M. Mor. i. 1;
εστι και των φανερώς επ' ωφελεία 1183, b, 9.
όντων πότερα τύχης, και πότερα 1 Mem, i. 4; iv. 3.
γνώμης έργα κρίνεις ; Πρέπει μεν,


animals. To prove the wisdom of the Craftsman who made man,' he refers to the organism of the human body, to the structure of the organs of sense, to the erect posture of man, to the priceless dexterity of his hands. He sees a proof of a divine Providence in the natural impulse for propagation and self-preservation, in the love for children, in the fear of death. He never wearies of exalting the intellectual advantages of man, his ingenuity, his memory, his intelligence, his language, his religious disposition. He considers it incredible that a belief in God and in Providence should be naturally inborn in all men, and have maintained itself from time immemorial, clinging not to individuals only in the ripest years of their age, but to whole nations and communities, unless it were true. He appeals also to special revelations vouchsafed to men for their good, either by prophecy or portent. Unscientific, doubtless, these arguments may appear, still they became in the sequel of importance for philosophy.

As Socrates by his moral enquiries, notwithstanding all their defects, is the founder of a scientific doctrine of morals, so by his theory of the relation of means to ends, notwithstanding its popular character, he is the founder of that ideal view of nature which ever after reigned supreme in the natural philosophy of the Greeks, and which with ail its abuses has proved itself of so much value

1 In Mem. i. 4, 12, a remark των αφροδισίων ηδονάς τοις μεν is found indicative of the popu- άλλοις ζώοις δούναι περιγράψαντας lar character of these general του έτους χρόνον, ημίν δε συνεχώς considerations : το δε και τας μέχρι γήρως ταύτα παρέχειν.

« PreviousContinue »