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for the empirical study of nature. True, he was not himself aware that he was engaged on natural science, having only considered the relation of means to ends in the world, in the moral interest of piety. Still from our previous remarks it follows how closely his view of nature was connected with the theory of the knowledge of conceptions, how even its defects were due to the universal imperfection of his intellectual method.
1 Mem. i. 1, 19; 3, 3; 4, 11; iv. 3, 3.
2 Mem. iv. 3, 16.
3 Compare Zeller's Introduction to his Philos. d. Griechen, p. 3.
4 Mem. i. 4, 5 ; 7, 17: δ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ποιῶν ἀνθρώπους,—σοφοῦ TIVOS dnμloupyoυ Kal piλ(Wov— τὸν τοῦ θεοῦ ὀφθαλμὸν, τὴν τοῦ δεοῦ φρόνησιν.
Asking further what idea we should form to our- B. God selves of creative reason, the reply is, that Socrates mostly speaks of Gods in a popular way as many,' no doubt thinking, in the first place, of the Gods of the popular faith.2 Out of this multiplicity the idea of the oneness of God,3 an idea not unknown to the Greek religion, rises with him into prominence, as is not infrequently met with at that time. In one passage he draws a curious distinction between the creator and ruler of the universe and the rest of the Gods.5 Have we not here that union of polytheism and
5 Mem. iv. 3, 13. The Gods are invisible; of Te yàp ăλλo ἡμῖν τὰ ἀγαθὰ διδόντες οὐδὲν τούτων εἰς τοὐμφανὲς ἰόντες δίδόασιν, καὶ ὁ τὸν ὅλον κόσμον συντάτ
των τε καὶ συνέχων, ἐν ᾧ πάντα
(1) Popular use of the term
monotheism, so readily suggested to a Greek by his mythology, which consisted in reducing the many Gods to be the many instruments of the One Supreme God?
(2) God conceived as the
In as far as Socrates was led to the notion of One Supreme Being by the reasonable arrangement of the Reason of world, the idea which he formed to himself of this
Being (herein resembling Heraclitus and Anaxagoras) was as the reason of the world, which he conceives of as holding the same relation to the world that the soul does to the body.' Herewith are most closely connected his high and pure ideas of God as a being invisible, all-wise, all-powerful, present everywhere. As the soul, without being visible, produces visible effects in the body, so does God in the world. As the soul exercises unlimited dominion over the small portion of the world which belongs to it, its individual body, so God exercises dominion over the whole world. As the soul is present in all parts of its body, so God is present throughout the Universe. And if the soul, notwithstanding the limitations by which it is confined, can perceive what is distant, and have thoughts of the most varied kinds, surely the know
1 Mem. i. 4, 8 : σὺ δὲ σαὐτὸν φρόνιμόν τι δοκεῖς ἔχειν, ἄλλοθι δὲ οὐδαμοῦ οὐδὲν οἴει φρόνιμον εἶναι . καὶ τάδε τὰ ὑπερμεγέθη καὶ πλῆθος ἄπειρα (the elements, or generally, the parts of the world) δι ̓ ἀφροσύνην τινὰ οὕτως οἴει εὐτάκτως ἔχειν; 17: κατάμαθε ὅτι καὶ δ σὸς νοῦς ἐνῶν τὸ σὸν σῶμα ὅπως βούλεται μεταχειρίζεται· οἴεσθαι οὖν χρὴ καὶ τὴν ἐν
τῷ παντὶ φρόνησιν τὰ πάντα ὅπως ἂν αὐτῇ ἡδὺ ᾖ, οὕτω τίθεσθαι· καὶ μὴ τὸ σὸν μὲν ὄμμα δύνασθαι ἐπὶ πολλὰ στάδια ἐξικνεῖσθαι, τὸν δὲ τοῦ θεοῦ ὀφθαλμὸν ἀδύνατον εἶναι ἅμα πάντα ὁρᾶν· μηδὲ, τὴν σὴν μὲν ψυχὴν καὶ περὶ τῶν ἐνθάδε καὶ περὶ τῶν ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ καὶ Σικελίᾳ δύνασθαι φροντίζειν, τὴν δὲ τοῦ θεοῦ φρόνησιν μὴ ἱκανὴν εἶναι ἅμα πάντων ἐπιμελεῖσθαι.
ledge and care of God must be able to embrace all and more.1 Besides had not a belief in the providential care of God been already 2 taken for granted, in the argument for His existence from the relation of means to ends? Was not the best explanation of this care to be found in the analogous care which the human soul has for the body? A special proof of this providence Socrates thought to discern in oracles: 3 by them the most important things, which could not otherwise be known, are revealed to man. It must then be equally foolish to despise oracles, or to consult them in cases capable of being solved by our own reflection.4 From this conviction followed, as a matter of course, the worship of God, prayer, sacrifices, and obedience.5.
As to the form and manner of worship, Socrates, as we already know, wished every one to follow the custom of his people. At the same time he propounds purer maxims corresponding with his own idea of God. He would not have men pray for particular, least of all for external goods, but only to ask for what is good for who but God knows what is advantageous for man, or knows it so fully? And, with
1 Compare the words in Mem. i. 4, 18: If you apply to the Gods for prophecy, yvwon To θεῖον ὅτι τοσοῦτον καὶ τοιοῦτόν ἐστιν, ὥσθ ̓ ἅμα πάντα δρᾶν καὶ πάντα ἀκούειν καὶ πανταχοῦ παρεῖναι, καὶ ἅμα πάντων ἐπιμελεῖσθαι· and the words, Ibid. iv. 3, 12: ὅτι δέ γε ἀληθῆ λέγω γνώσῃ, ἂν μὴ ἀναμένῃς, ἕως ἂν τὰς μορφὰς
Tŵv leŵv tons also i. 1, 19.
4 Ibid. i. 1, 6. Conf. p. 77, 3; 65, 5.
5 Compare Mem. iv. 3, 14; ii. 2, 14.
See p. 149, 1; 76, 7.
(3) The worship of
regard to sacrifices, he declared that the greatness of the sacrifice is unimportant compared with the spirit of the sacrificer, and that the more pious the man, the more acceptable will the offering be, so that it correspond with his means.1 Abstaining on principle from theological speculations, and not seeking to explore the nature of God, but to lead his fellow men to piety, he never felt the need of combining the various elements of his religious belief into one. united conception, or of forming a perfectly consistent picture, and so avoiding the contradictions which that belief may easily be shown to contain.3
C. Dignity of man. His im
A certain divine element Socrates, like others before him, thought to discern within the soul of mortality. man. Perhaps with this thought is connected his belief in immediate revelations of God to the human soul, such as he imagined were vouchsafed to himself. Welcome as this theory must have been to a philosopher paying so close an attention to the moral and spiritual nature of man, it does not appear that Socrates ever attempted to support it by argument. Just as little do we find in him a scientific proof of the immortality of the soul, although he was inclined to this belief partly by his high opinion of the dignity
1 Mem. i. 3, 2; iv. 3, 17.
8 We have all the less reason
believing in only one God. This assumption would belie not only the definite and repeated assertions of Xenophon, but also Socrates' unflinching love of truth.
4 Mem. iv. 3, 14: ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ ἀνθρώπου γε ψυχὴ, εἴπερ τι καὶ ἄλλο τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων, τοῦ θείου μeréxel.
of man, partly, too, on grounds of expediency. Nay, rather, in Plato's Apology,2 at a moment when the witholding of a conviction can least be supposed, he expressed himself on this question with much doubt and caution.3 The language, too, used by the dying Cyrus in Xenophon agrees so well herewith, that we are driven to assume that Socrates considered the existence of the soul after death to be indeed probable, without, however, pretending to any certain knowledge on the point. It was accepted by him as an article of faith, the intellectual grounds for which belonged no doubt to those problems which surpass the powers of man."
The above description of the philosophy of Socrates rests on the exclusive authority of Xenophon, Plato, and Aristotle. What later writers say is for the most part taken from these sources, and whenever it goes beyond them, there is no guarantee for its accuracy. It is, however, just possible that some genuine utterances of Socrates may have been preserved in the writings of Eschines and others, which are omitted by our authorities. In that category place the statement of Cleanthes quoted by Clement (Strom. ii. 417, D.), and repeated by Cicero (Off. iii. 3, 11), that Socrates taught the identity of justice and happiness, cursing the man who first made a distinction between them: the statements in Cic. Off. ii. 12, 43 (taken from Xen. Mem. ii. 6, 39; conf. Cyrop. i. 6, 22) ; in Seneca, Epist. 28, 2 ; 104, 7 (travelling is of no good
1 Compare Hermann in Marburger Lectionskatalog, 1835–6, Plat. 684.
2 40, C.; after his condemnation.
3 Death is either an external sleep, or a transition to a new life, but in neither case is it an evil.
4 Cyrop. viii. 7, 10. Several reasons are first adduced in favour of immortality, but they need to be greatly strengthened to be anything like rigid proofs. (Compare particularly § 19 with Plato's Phædo, 105, C.) In conclusion, the possibility of the soul's dying with the body is left an open question, but in either case death is stated to be the end of all evils.
5 He actually says in Plato, Apol. 29, A. Conf. 37, B.: death is feared as the greatest evil, whilst it may be the greatest good: èyà dè . . . oùк εἰδὼς ἱκανῶς περὶ τῶν ἐν ̓Αΐδου οὕτω καὶ οἴομαι οὐκ εἰδέναι.