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ted in its applica tion.
Herewith the whole field of philosophical inquiry is excluded from the province of the dauóviov. This field Socrates, more than any one of his predecessors, 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 Saiμóviov. 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 dauóviov.' 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.
1 This was often done in former times; for instance by Meiners, Verm. Schrift. iii. 24, and still more so by Lélut, 1. c. p. 113, who sees in the feds from whom Socrates derived his vocation a proof of his belief in a genius. The same mistake is committed by Volquardsen, 1. c. p. 9, 12, against whose view see Alberti, Socr, 56.
2 K Tαidós. See above p. 87, 1.
3 See p. 87, 2.
referred his activity as a teacher.1
Lastly, the Sapóviov 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 Sapóviov. Nay, more, it more frequently makes itself felt in the first place by the approval or disapproval following upon
Griech. Phil. i. 243 is a modi-
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 ali 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.1
1 Volquardsen 1. c. confounds two things in explaining the prohibition, mentioned by Xen. Mem. iv. 8, 4, to prepare a defence in the sense of Plato,
Apol. 17, A., as meaning that it was not a question of a simple defence, but of a defence in the usual legal style with all the tricks and manœuvres 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 Sapóviov2 were wholly out of place, if the Satuóviov were conscience. As far as they are founded on fact, they afford a proof that the Sapóviov 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 Sapóviov, every
an orator. In Xenophon's account there is not a word of this. Had this been his meaning, it must somehow have been indicated in the sequel; it would have been said that the dauóviov kept him from defending himself, because a defence in keeping with his principles would have been useless; it is by no means a matter of course that he would not have been able to get up a speech
very much worthy of himself.
See above p. 86, 2, No. 4.
(d) Philosophical erplana
tion of the δαιμόνιον.
thing that might be known by personal reflection,' we shall see how little right we have to understand the Saiμóviov as having principally or wholly to do with the moral value of an action.
The heavenly voice appears rather to be the general form, which a vivid, but in its origin unexplored sense of the propriety of a particular action assumed for the personal consciousness of Socrates.2 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.
2 The last remark follows not only from what has been stated, p. 89, 4, but it is also inconceivable that Socrates could have referred to a higher inspiration impulses the sources
of which he had discovered. Nor does it conflict herewith, that after the heavenly voice has made itself heard, he afterwards considers what can have led the Gods to thus reveal their will.