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ted in its
Herewith the whole field of philosophical inquiry
is excluded from the province of the da povlov. This (c) Limi- field Socrates, more than any one of his predecessors, applicae
claimed for intelligent knowledge and a thorough understanding. As a matter of fact, no instance occurs of a scientific principle or a general moral law being referred to the datuóvior. Nor must the sage's conviction of his own higher mission be confounded with his belief in the heavenly sign, nor the deity by whom he considered himself commissioned to sift men be identified with the δαιμόνιον.' The fact that Socrates thought to hear the heavenly voice from the time when he was a boy, ought to be sufficient evidence to warn against such an error;? for at that time he cannot possibly have had any thought of a philosophic calling. That voice, moreover, according to Plato, always deterring, never prompting,3 cannot have been the source of the positive command of the deity to which Socrates
or detrimental to the doer. ăplota yiyvolvto).
referred his activity as a teacher.' Nor is it ever deduced therefrom, either by Xenophon or by Plato. Socrates indeed says that the deity had given him the task of sifting men, that the deity had forced him to this line of life ;? but he never says that he had received this commission from the δαιμόνιον.3 Το this he is only indebted for peculiar assistance in his philosophic calling, which consists more particularly in its dissuading him from proving faithless to his calling by meddling with politics.4
Lastly, the daimóviov has been often regarded as the voice of conscience, but this view is at once too wide and too narrow. Understanding by conscience the moral consciousness in general, and more particularly the moral sense as far as this finds expression in the moral estimate of our every action, its monitions are not confined to future things as are the monitions of the Socratic daimóviov. Nay, more, it more frequently makes itself felt in the first place by the approval or disapproval following upon i See p. 60, 2; 82, 1.
Griech. Phil. i. 243 is a modi. ? Plato, Apol. 23, B. ; 28, D. ; fication of the above). Breiten33, C.; Theæt. 150, C.
bach, Zeitschrift für das Gym3 It is not true, as Vol. nasialwesen, 1863,
p. 499; quardsen, l. c. B., says, that Rötscher, Arist. 256. Ribbing, in Plato, Apol. 31, D., Socrates too, 1. c. 27, defends this view, mentions the daubviov as the observing, however, that the first and exclusive αίτιον of his δαιμόνιον (1) only manifests mode of life. He there only itself as conscientia antecedens attributes to the datuóvlov his and concomitans, not as conabstinence from politics, not scientia subsequens; and (2) his attention to philosophy. that its meaning is not ex. 4 See p. 86, 2.
hausted with the conception of 5 Stapfer, Biogr. Univers. T. conscience, but that it figures xlii. Socrate, p. 531 ; Brandis, as 'practical moral tact in reGesch. d. Griech. Röm. Phil. spect of personal relations and ii. a, 60 (Gesch. d. Entwick. d. particular actions.'
actions. Again, conscience exclusively refers to the moral value or worthlessness of an action, whereas the heavenly sign in Socrates always bears reference to the consequences of actions. Therein Plato, no less than Xenophon, sees a peculiar kind of prophecy. Allowing that Socrates was occasionally mistaken as to the character of the feelings and impulses which appeared to him revelations, that now and then he was of opinion that the deity had forbidden him something for the sake of its prejudicial consequences when the really forbidding power was his moral sense, yet the same cannot be said of all the utterances of the δαιμόνιον. Doubtless in deterring him from taking up politics, the real motive lay in the feeling that a political career was incompatible with his conviction of an important higher calling, to which he had devoted his life. It may, therefore, be said that in this case a scruple of conscience had assumed the form of a heavenly voice. But in forbidding to prepare a speech for judicial defence, this explanation will no longer apply. Here the only explanation which can be given of the heavenly voice, is that such a taking in hand of his own personal interests did not commend itself to the sage’s line of thought, and that it appeared unworthy of him to defend himself otherwise than by a plain statement of the truth requiring no preparation.
Volquardsen l. c. confounds Apol. 17, A., as meaning that it two things in explaining the was not a question of a simple prohibition, mentioned by Xen. defence, but of a defence in Mem. iv. 8, 4, to prepare a the usual legal style with all defence in the sense of Plato, the tricks and maneuvres of
All this, however, has little to do with judgments respecting what is morally admissible or not, and has much to do with the questions as to what is suited or unsuited to the individual character of the philosopher. Still less can the decision respecting the receiving back pupils who have once deserted him, be referred to conscience. The question here really was as to the capacity of the respective persons to profit by his instructions. It involved, therefore, a criticism of character. The jokes, too, which Socrates and his friends permitted themselves as to the datuóvlov 2 were wholly out of place, if the Saluóvlov were conscience. As far as they are founded on fact, they afford a proof that the saluóvlov must be distinguished from moral sense or conscience; and it is quite in harmony herewith to hear Socrates say, that the heavenly voice often made itself heard on quite unimportant occasions. Remembering further that Socrates was more than anyone else, perhaps, bent on referring actions to clear conceptions, and accordingly excluded from the field of prophecy, and therefore from the province of the dawóviov, every
an orator. In Xenophon's ac- very much worthy of himself. count there is not a word of But as Cron in Eos. i. 175 this. Had this been his mean- observes : what idea must we ing, it must somehow have form to ourselves of Socrates, been indicated in the sequel; if he required the assistance of it would have been said that the dalubviov to keep him back the daybvlov kept him from de- from that which he clearly fending himself, because a de
saw to be incompatible with fence in keeping with his prin- his principles ? ciples would have been useless ; See above p. 86, 2, No. 4, it is by no means a matter of 2 Ibid, No. 5, 7. course that he would not have 3 Ibid. No, 3. been able to get up a speech
CHAP. thing that might be known by personal reflection, IV.
we shall see how little right we have to understand the Salmóviov as having principally or wholly to do
with the moral value of an action. (d) Philo
The heavenly voice appears rather to be the sophical erplana- general form, which a vivid, but in its origin unextion of the δαιμόνιον. .
plored sense of the propriety of a particular action assumed for the personal consciousness of Socrates.? The actions to which this sense referred could, as we have seen, be most varied in content and importance. Quite as varied must the inward processes and motives have been out of which it grew.
It might be some conscientious scruple pressing on the sense of the sage without his being fully conscious thereof. It might be some apprehension of the consequences of a step, such as sometimes rises as a first impression with all decidedness in the experienced observer of men and of circumstances, before it is even possible for him to account to himself for the reasons of his misgiving. It might be that an action in itself neither immoral nor inappropriate, jarred on Socrates' feelings, as not being in harmony with his peculiar mode of being and conduct. It might be that on unimportant occasions all those unaccountable influences and impulses came into play, which contribute so much to our mental attitude and de
1 See p. 89, 4.
of which he had discovered. 2 The last remark follows Xor does it conflict herewith, not only from what has been that after the heavenly voice stated, p. 89, 4, but it is also has made itself heard, he afterinconceivable that Socrates wards considers what can have could have referred to a higher led the Gods to thus reveal inspiration impulses the sources their will.