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cisions; all the more so in proportion as the object itself affords less definite grounds for decision. In this respect the Sapóviov has been rightly called 'the inner voice of individual tact,'' understanding by tact a general sense of propriety in word and action as exemplified in the most varied relations of life in small things as well as in great. This sense Socrates early noticed in himself as unusually strong,3 and subsequently by his peculiarly keen and unwearied observation of himself and other men he developed it to such a pitch of accuracy, that it was seldom or as he believed never at fault. Its psychological origin was, however, concealed from his own consciousness. It assumed for him from the beginning the appearance of a foreign influence, a higher revelation, an oracle.1

Herein is seen the strength of the hold which the beliefs of his countrymen had over Socrates;



1 Hermann, Platonismus i. The genius of Socrates is not 236 similarly Krische, For- Socrates himself. . . . but an schung. i. 231. oracle, which, however, is not external, but subjective, his oracle. It bore the form of knowledge, which was, however, connected with a certain unconsciousness.

The objections hereto raised by Volquardsen, pp. 56, 63, and Alberti, Socr. 68, are partly answered by the argument which has preceded. Besides, they have more reference to words than to things. So far as this is the case, there is no use in disputing. By tact we understand not only social but moral tact, not only acquired but natural tact, and this word seems very appropriate to express the sense which Socrates described as the δαιμόνιον.

5 Krische 1. c.: What is not in our power, what our nature cannot bear, and what is not naturally found in our impulses or our reflections, is involuntary, or according to the notion of the ancients, heavenly: to this category belong enthusiasm and prophecy, the violent throb of desire, the mighty force of feelings.

3 See p. 88, 3.

4 Hegel, Gesch. d. Phil. ii. 77:





herewith, too, are exposed to view the limits of his self-knowledge. Feelings whose origin he has not discovered are seen to exercise over him an irresistible power. On the other hand, the Saiμóviov when it does speak, takes the place of the usual signs and portents. Hegel1 not without reason sees herein a proof that the determining motives of action, which in the case of the Greek oracles were things purely external, have come to be sought in man himself. To misgivings incapable of being resolved into clear conceptions, a high importance was here attached; in them a very revelation of deity was seen, proving most clearly that the human mind, in a way hitherto foreign to Greeks, had come to occupy itself with. itself, and carefully to observe what transpired within. The power which these feelings early exercised over Socrates, the devotion with which he even then listened for the voice within, affords an insight into the depths of his emotional nature. In the boy we see the embryo of the man, for whom self-knowledge was the most pressing business of life, for whom untiring observation of his moral and mental conditions, analysis of notions and actions, reasoning as to their character and testing of their value were primary necessities.2

The same tone of mind also shows itself in other peculiarities of Socrates, to his contemporaries appearing so strange. At times he was seen lost in thought, so as to be unconscious of what transpired around

Hegel 1. c. and Recht's
Philosophie, § 279, p. 369.

2 Conf. Plato, Apol. 38, A. See above, p. 60, 3.

him; at times going on his way regardless of the habits of his fellows; his whole appearance displaying a far-reaching indifference to external things, a onesided preference of the useful to the beautiful. What do all these traits show if not the importance which he attached to the study of self, to the solitary work of thought, to a free determination of self independent of foreign judgments? Remarkable as it may seem to find the dryness of the man of intellect and the enthusiasm of the man of feeling united in one and the same person, both features may be referred to a common source. What distinguishes Socrates in his general conduct from his fellow-citizens was this power of inward concentration. This struck his cotemporaries as being so foreign an element, and thereby an irreparable breach was made in the artistic unity of Greek life.

What the general importance of this peculiarity may be, and what traces it has left in history, are questions to answer which we must enquire into the Socratic philosophy.




A. Xeno phon and Plato.




To give an accurate account of the philosophy of Socrates is a work of some difficulty, owing to the wellknown divergence of the earliest accounts. Socrates committed nothing to writing himself; 1 of the works of his pupils, in which he is introduced as speaking, only those of Xenophon and Plato are preserved.2 These are, however, so little alike, that we gather from the one quite a different view of the teaching of Socrates to what the other gives us. Among early historians of philosophy it was the fashion to construct a picture of the Athenian sage, without principles and criticism, indiscriminately from the writings of Xenophon and Plato, no less than from

The unimportant poetical attempts of his last days (Plato, Phædo, 60, C.) can hardly be counted as writings, even if they were extant. They appear, however, to have been very soon lost. The Pean at least, which Themist. (Or. ii. 27, c.) considers genuine, was rejected by the ancient critics, according to Diog. ii. 42. The spuriousness of the Socratic letters is beyond question, and that Socrates committed no

thing to writing is clear from the silence of Xenophon, Plato, and all antiquity, not to mention the positive testimony of Cic. de Orat. iii. 16, 60; Diog. i. 16; Plut. De Alex. Virt. i. 4. A conclusive discussion on this point in refutation of the views of Leo Allatius is given by Olearius in Stanl. Hist. Phil. 198.

2 For instance, those of Æschines, Antisthenes, Phædo.

later, and for the most part indifferent, authorities. Since the time of Brucker, however, Xenophon came to be regarded as the only authority to be perfectly trusted for the philosophy of Socrates; to all others, Plato included, at most only a supplementary value was allowed. Quite recently, however, Schleiermacher has lodged a protest against this preference of Xenophon. Xenophon, he argues, not being a philosopher himself, was scarcely capable of understanding a philosopher like Socrates. The object, moreover, of the Memorabilia was a limited one, to defend his teacher from definite charges. We are therefore justified in assuming à priori that there was more in Socrates than Xenophon describes. Indeed, there must have been more, or he could not have played the part he did in the history of philosophy, nor have exerted so marvellous a power of attraction on the most intellectual and cultivated. men of his time. The character, too, which Plato gives him would otherwise have too flatly contradicted the picture of him present to the mind of his reader. Besides, Xenophon's dialogues create the impression that philosophic matter has, with detriment to its meaning, been put into the unphilosophic language of every-day life; and that there are gaps left, to supply which we are obliged to go to Plato. Not that we can go so far as Meiners, and say that only those

1 On the philosophical merits p. 50. Conf. Gesch. d. Phil. O Socrates, Schleiermacher, p. 81. Werke, iii. 2, 293, first printed in Abhandlungen der Berliner Academie, Philos. Kl. 1818,

2 Geschichte der Wissenschaften in Griechenland und Rom, ii. 420.


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