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future retribution; and even of this change traces may be seen in the poetry of the time of Euripides.2 Lastly, in connection herewith an ascetic code of morals has come into vogue, enjoining abstinence from animal food, celibacy," the avoidance of certain defilements, and the wearing of white clothing. Philosophy, it is true, could only appropriate in an intellectual form the general idea of this asceticism, the renunciation of what belongs to the senses. Not till a later time did it embrace it as a whole with all its external belongings, in the system of the Neopythagoreans. Before that time came, thanks to the state of intellectual life and mental development in Greece, it had entered itself on another and a more brilliant career.
1 Comp. Zeller, Vol. I. 54, 388, 581, 654.
2 Besides Euripides (p. 19, 1), Melanippides (Fr. 6 in Bergk, Lyr. Gr. p. 982) appears to have regarded the soul as immortal. Io, too (Fr. 4 in Bergk, p. 464), appropriates the Pythagorean belief in immortality. A resolution of souls into æther may also be implied in the popular belief mentioned by Aristophanes (Peace, 832), that the dead become stars.
3 See Euripid., Hippol. 949; Fr. 475; Plato, Laws, vi. 782, C., comparing therewith the principles of Empedocles and Pythagoras.
Probably Eurip., Fr. 884, refers to this.
holds up Hippolytus as a type
6 Φεύγω γένεσίν τε βροτῶν καὶ
5 That this was a part of Orphic perfection may be gathered from Euripides, who
CHARACTER AND PROGRESS OF GREEK PHILOSOPHY IN
THE age of Socrates inherited from that which had gone before it a rich treasure of religious ideas, of moral principles, and scientific conceptions; at the same time it had declined at every point from the earlier tone of thought and custom. Traditional lines seemed now to be all too narrow; new paths had been discovered; new problems pressed for solution. The legendary ideas respecting the Gods and the state after death, had lost all meaning for the great majority of the educated; the very existence of the Gods had been denied by many; ancient customs had fallen into disuse; the orderliness of civil life, the simplicity and purity of domestic life, had given place to a wanton dissoluteness of conduct, and an unscrupulous pursuit of pleasure and profit. Principles subversive of all law and of all right were being unblushingly advocated with the cheerful approval of the younger generation. The severity and grandeur of the earlier art, the lucid beauty, the classic grace, the self-contained dignity of the later art, began to resolve themselves into the study of 1 Conf. Plato, Rep. i. 330, D.
mere effect; whilst under the influence of sophistry, philosophy had come to disbelieve, not only in individual systems, but also in the whole course of previous enquiry, and even in the possibility of knowledge at all.
Far, however, from being exhausted hereby, the spirit of Greece was only completely delivered by the throes and struggles of the fifth century. Its mental horizon was widened; its thought was sharpened; its views and conceptions enriched. Its whole consciousness had gained a new field since its success in renowned exploits and glorious undertakings. If the meridian of classic art and of free political life was past towards the close of this period, still the newly-awakened culture of the understanding was full of intellectual promise for the future; for sophistry had been destructive, not constructive, only suggesting, not accomplishing. Some new and thorough change was called for to satisfy not only practical but also intellectual requirements. Ancient propriety of conduct, and the received philosophic teaching having been once ousted by the altered spirit of the times, simple return thereto became impossible. But to despair on this account of all knowledge, and of all principles of morality, was most precipitate. Allowing even that the received view of both was inadequate, it by no means followed, that all science, and all morality was impossible. On the contrary, the more the pernicious consequences of such a view were exposed, the more urgent became the duty of avoiding them by a thorough
A. Distinction of Socratic
from preSocratic philosophy.
(1) The pre-Socra
tional; the Socratic
resting on knowledge.
transformation of the whole tone of feeling and thought, without, however, attempting the impossible task of simply restoring the past.
For this purpose some new path must be struck out. What that path should be, a far-sighted eye could discern with sufficient clearness by the aid of the experience of the past. Traditional propriety of conduct had given way before the spirit of innovation, inasmuch as it rested upon instinct and custom, and not on any clear recognition of necessity. He who would undertake a permanent restoration of moral life must found it upon knowledge. Earlier philosophy had been unable to satisfy the requirements of the times, because it had been directed exclusively to a study of nature; because to the mass of men it did not give sufficient preliminary education for the work of life, nor to the thinking spirit any clue to the problem of its being and destiny. New philosophy must meet this want, must direct its attention to the sphere of mind and morals, and work into shape the ample supply of ethical ideas underlying religion, poetry and received custom. Earlier systems had succumbed before the doubts of sophistry, inasmuch as their method was too one-sided, depending too little on definite conceptions respecting the nature and problem of knowledge to be able to withstand a searching criticism which destroyed their several platforms by means of each other, and argued from the change and uncertainty of the phenomena of the senses that knowledge must be impossible. No building that would last could be erected except
by laying the foundations deeper, except by finding some means of supplementing these several points of view by each other, of harmonising them when contradictory in some higher bond of union,' and of grasping the unchangeable essence of things amid changing appearances. The means wanted was supplied by Dialectic, the art of forming conceptions, and the result was philosophical Idealism. Thus the knowledge of the faults and deficiencies in existing circumstances led naturally to the turn taken by philosophy after the time of Socrates. Scientific ethics became necessary because of the tottering of moral convictions; a wider enquiry, because of the narrowness of the philosophy of nature; a critical method, because of the contradiction of dogmatic systems; a philosophy of conceptions, because of the uncertainty of the observations of the senses; Idealism, because of the unsatisfactory nature of a materialistic view of the world.
the dialectical tendency is supreme.
Precisely these features distinguish the Socratic (2) The pre-Socraphilosophy from that of the previous period. The tic philopre-Socratic philosophy was simply and solely a sophy a study of philosophy of nature; 2 the transitional philosophy nature; of the Sophists was the first to leave nature for the Socra tic of conethical and dialectical questions. After Socrates ceptions. His own atten
1 Comp. Zeller's Phil. der Griechen, Part I. p. 854, 860.
2 In the sense given, Ibid. I. 155.