Essays on the Platonic Ethics

By Thomas Maguire


















Introduction

The following essays on the Republic, Protagoras, Meno, Gorgias, and Philebus, are taken altogether from the text of Plato. They develop views diametrically opposed to those of Mr. Grote. But, as the opinions of the great historian are identical with the tenets, which Plato spent his life in opposing, and as they exhibit modern Positivism in its most improved form, the admirer of Plato will not regret Mr. Grote's critique:

         One stroke he aims,
That may determine, and not need repeat
As not of power.

And we may be tolerably certain, that if Mr, Grote's exposition, which is professedly derived from the text of Plato, pure and simple, can be answered without exceeding the same limits, the Academy need fear no new assault. It has been thought advisable to limit the discussion to the Dialogues specified, as they contain all that is necessary for understanding the Ethics of Plato. Some repetitions, which are essential to the logical coherence of the discussion, have been found unavoidable. Lawyers and Mathematicians repeat their formulae, as often as is necessary, because they address a specially educated audience only. Metaphysicians would do the same, were it not for a notion, somewhat prevalent, that every one, who can read, is a metaphysician. But, to suppose that anyone, without some natural capacity and special training, can understand a metaphysical treatise, is as absurd as to imagine him mastering Fearne's Remainders in a railway carriage.

I have to thank the Board of Trinity College for their liberality in assisting the publication of these essays, and the President of this College for the interest he has taken in the work.

Queen's College, Galway
August, 1870

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Essay I. The Republic

Judging from the brief notice in the History of Greece, Mr. Grote's detailed examination of Plato's Republic was not likely to exhibit much sympathy with Platonic teaching. As a contribution to scientific ethics, Mr. Grote had pronounced that incomparable Dialogue a failure. Plato had not proved his main point, that Justice was intrinsically desirable; and as he only answered his opponents by constructing an imaginary Republic, he virtually confessed his defeat. (History Vol. VIII., p. 534).

In his more recent work, Mr. Grote, still constant to his earlier views, has examined the main thesis of the Republic at considerable length, and a doctrine in professed opposition to that of Plato, is expounded with much force. But whatever be the merits of the exposition taken by itself — and they are great — it is utterly irrelevant as a critique on the Republic. And to prove its irrelevancy is the object of this Section.

The student of Plato is doubtless familiar with the Republic; but the following outlines of its general argument may be found useful in duly arranging Mr. Grote's objections, and the answers thereto. Moreover, the best refutation of Mr. Grote's rival doctrine is furnished by the Dialogue itself, if we only keep [p2] before us the subject of the discussion and Plato's conduct of the argument.

The subject of the Dialogue is Justice. Glauco, who opposes Socrates, begins with the postulate, Certain things are desirable. These he divides into three classes. The first class contains those things, which are desirable in themselves, without considering their consequences. The second contains those things which are desirable, both in themselves and in their consequences. And the third contains those things which are desirable in their consequences, but not in themselves. Now Justice has certain consequences, and these consequences are admitted to be desirable. Is Justice then to be placed in the second class, or in the third?

Undesirable things may be similarly classified. The first class contains those things, which are undesirable in themselves, without considering their consequences. The second contains those things, which are undesirable both in themselves and in their consequences. And the third class contains those things, which are desirable in themselves but undesirable in their consequences. Now Injustice has certain consequences; and these are admitted to be undesirable. Is Injustice, then, to be placed in the second class or in the third? Socrates stands alone in the opinion that Justice belongs to the second class of desirable things, and that Injustice belongs to the second class of undesirable things. Glauco and his brother Adimantus, though anxious to agree with their great opponent, support the view held by every body except Socrates — a view universally taught as both important and true — that Justice is desirable for its consequences only, but that these consequences are cheaply purchased by the antecedent sacrifice which they require. So, vice-versa, Injustice. "Our pleasant vices" cost us far too much.

To clear the question of irrelevant matter — to prevent [p3] confusion between Justice considered on the one hand as an intrinsic quality lodged within the breast of the right-doer, and Justice considered on the other as productive of certain overt consequences — Glauco supposes that the intrinsically just man incurs, because of his justice, the very worst effects of detected injustice; while all the honours and emoluments of sterling justice are heaped upon its counterfeit. His brother Adimantus, to set the question in a still stronger light, supposes that the popular doctrine has been reduced to system, and put in practice by an able and unscrupulous man. Adimantus then brings forward the following extreme case: — It is admitted that the effects only of Justice are desirable. The wise man will, therefore, secure them more easily by pretending to be just; and as he is successful in his pretences — for he is wise — he will escape detection, and secretly indulge in the pleasant iniquities, which, on the showing of the popular creed, are desirable in themselves, and will leave all the trouble of being really just to the righteous fool. Now the wise man is a consummate artist; he will therefore appear most just, when, in reality, he is most unjust. On the other hand the just man, who does not see all this, must be a bungling fool, who will therefore appear unjust, while he is really just. Both will be treated according to outward show and not according to their inward deserts. Socrates is now called on to make good his point, and shew that even in this extreme case, where the usual consequences of Justice and Injustice are transposed. Justice is preferable to Injustice, and that it is regarded in this light by the martyr himself.

Socrates is aware of the difficulties of the task; he however accepts the challenge, and finally claims the victory, which is acknowledged by his opponents in the Dialogue — the brothers of Plato. Plato consequently seems to wish us to believe that his argument in behalf of intrinsic Justice is conclusive. [p4]

Plato's argument to prove that Justice under any circumstances is preferable to Injustice under any circumstances is three-fold. The first argument occupies by far the larger portion of the Dialogue, extending from p. 368 to p. 580c, and against certain points in this Mr. Grote directs his main attack. The second extends from p. 580c to 583c, and the third and last argument, which Plato looks on as the strongest, from p. 583c to 588. The two last are briefly criticised by Mr. Grote in connection with the point suggested by the first. The remaining thirty-odd pages of the Dialogue are mainly devoted to the outward consequences of Justice and Injustice, here and hereafter. With these however — the second thesis of the Republic — we are not now concerned.


I. The first argument deserves careful consideration. It gives us Plato's Psychology in relation to his Ethics. The argument is founded on the radical differences between the three elements of the human soul, which are the objects of ethical science, viz. the Rational, the Irascible, and the Concupiscible. The terms Irascible and Concupiscible, which are by no means accurate renderings of the Greek, in accordance with Plato's habit of calling a class after its most marked species, denote two much wider genera. The Rational element contains the Intuitive and Discursive faculties — Reason and Understanding. The Irascible contains the Emotional moiety of the will, and the Sentimental and Moral feelings of our Psychology. The Concupiscible contains not only the primary Appetites, but also our acquired likings for the means of indulging them — Wealth and Power considered as ministering to luxury. These three elements are the raw materials of the Four Virtues, as will be seen.

Now, objects are more easily studied on a larger, than on a smaller scale; and Socrates holding that Justice in a community differs, for the purpose in hand, [p5] in no respect from Justice in an individual, proceeds to observe it in the larger specimen. For this purpose he traces the growth of an imaginary Commonwealth, so far as its rudimentary development is analogous to the inner life of the individual, whose capabilities have received due culture. The typical form — which is the same in both individual and community — is then set up as the model, which shows us the short-comings of actual polities and of living men.

The analogy between the terms Community and Man rests on the Division of Labour. This is the point on which the stress is laid. The individual displays the Division of Labour on a small scale, the Community on a large. But the statement of the analogy runs thus: — as Division of Labour is to the Community, so is Division of Labour to the Individual: not vice-versa. The Community is brought in for the sake of the Individual, and not the Individual for the sake of the Community. Unless we keep this in mind, the whole of the first argument, that is nearly the whole of the Dialogue, becomes a chaos.

The Division of Labour being the foundation of the analogy, the Division of Labour requires that both in the larger and smaller unit, each class and each faculty be exclusively confined to its special functions. For the purport of the analogy, each class is thus the analogous faculty magnified, and each faculty is the class diminished. Such Division of Labour Socrates considers the only means of insuring complete Justice in either sphere. But in order to give free play to the inherent tendencies of Faculty and Class, we require a field perfectly free from all antagonistic influences. But such a state of things has never yet been seen on earth; it may however come into being, as Time is fertile in possibilities. And until the New Commonwealth come, the solitary Seer must content himself with contemplating the ideal Exemplar, and strive to [p6] realise, as best he may, the Division of Labour within the realms of Self. That Division cannot however be completely realised until the Fair City glitters in the sun. Typical Justice requires a typical sphere.

The foundation of the analogy — Division of Labour — requires that Class should be distinct from Class, and Faculty from Faculty. How are we to insure distinctness in the latter set? Psychology supplies the means. The ground-principle of Plato's Psychology is that, if the objects of our faculties be radically different, and if the results of attaining those objects be radically different, the several faculties to which those objects are adjusted are distinct in kind, at least for the purposes of Ethics.

To apply this: — A hungry man wants food: he has therefore one feeling appetite. But whether it is better to indulge the appetite in the particular case or not is a question reserved for the Reason to decide and not for the Appetite. Had we no feeling, save Appetite, we should rush blindly on its object, but the critical and calculating faculty — Reason — tells us that in certain cases the gratification will be too dearly bought. Whether we hearken to the dictates of Reason or not, is quite immaterial to the purpose which Plato has in view. The dictate of the Reason does not take the categorical form Thou Shalt, Thou Shalt Not — it employs the conditional If. From these facts, namely, that Appetite seeks relief only, knowing nothing of consequences at all, while Reason recounts to us the consequences of every kind, which are completely ignored by Appetite, we infer that Reason is intrinsically fitted to direct Appetite, while Appetite shows no fitness for directing Reason.

But Psychology presents us with a second set of facts, which confirm this inference. Under peculiar circumstances, when we indulge an appetite, we are angry with ourselves for so doing; while we do not [p7] find that any regret follows the exercise of self-control as such. Consequently, self-disapprobation is in favour of self-control, and not in favour of indulgence. Therefore, both the Rational and Emotional elements are fitted to direct Appetite, but Appetite is not fitted to direct them.

Now Reason points out certain cases in which Emotion may, like Appetite, be productive of harm. Consequently, by parity of reasoning, Reason is fitted to direct Emotion also. Reason, therefore, is the sole Casuist and supreme Director whose dictates may be disobeyed, but from whose judgment there is no appeal.

But Reason does something more than dissuade; Reason points out the cases in which both Emotion and Appetite may be indulged with advantage, but always within certain limits, and always with regard for consequences, 571e-589b.

From this set of facts — part of everyone's experience — Plato deduces his Four Virtues. His names for these are in English, Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice. Our terms are all inadequate, and besides, are positively misleading, but Plato's meaning is clearly seen in the account which he gives of the several qualities. The Four Virtues are deduced as follows: — we, in the first instance, proceed to gratify our appetites: we, in the first instance, shrink from pain and danger. But Reason points out certain cases, in which it is better not to follow our primary inclinations. Reason, in certain cases, tells us it is better not to indulge Appetite, and that it is better not to shirk danger. And with these dictates of Reason, Emotion sympathises and visits with its displeasure the Appetite which has not been guided by the advice of its well-wisher. We have here in these few facts, the Four Platonic Virtues.

The Rational Faculty distinguishes the several cases of conduct one from the other, and reckons up the cost [p8] of every kind incurred in each particular case. Distinguishing, foreseeing, and computation, are all of the essence of the Platonic Prudence.

The frame of mind, which keeps steadily before us the dictates of Reason, as to when it is better to curb appetite and when it is better to face danger, is Fortitude. Our word is more than half too narrow, being only equivalent to the smaller moiety of the Greek term, expressing as it does, only Steadiness in facing danger.

Our "Fortitude" leaves out altogether the larger half of Plato's notion; namely, cool judgment in estimating the several kinds of pleasure. The word Άνδρεία was probably suggested to Plato by the common metaphor — ἥττων — applied to one, who is "overcome" by pleasure or pain, and so does not exhibit Άνδρεία in the fight. Laws 863d. Fortitude, understood as not only suppressing fear in obedience to Reason, but curbing Appetite as well, gives rise to a certain relation between the Faculties, as directing and directed.

When this mutual relation is thoroughly established and carried into the whole of the inner life, we have Σωφροσύνη — Temperance — the permanent relation of the Faculties as directing and directed. Our word is miserably inadequate, as the Greek term denotes conscious self-direction according to Reason — self-direction moreover not by way of repression, but of guidance. Fortitude and Temperance are each the complement of the other: Fortitude from without and Temperance from within. Fortitude must confront all dangers and all pleasures— all that affects the sense; and Temperance convert Fortitude into self-direction,

        Until endurance grow
Sinewed with action, and the full-grown will
Circled thro' all experiences, pure law,
Commeasure perfect freedom.

Now, since Temperance establishes the relative [p9] Direction between Prudence and Appetite; and since such Direction is carried on in conformity to Fortitude, which in turn observes the dictates of Reason; and since Reason dictates always what will be on the whole the best, it follows that the supremacy of Temperance growing out of Fortitude, will place Reason, Emotion, and Appetite each in its proper position, and thereby allow each to devote itself to its special function. But when the Faculties perform each its special function, the Division of Labour is perfected, and that too in the inmost life. And the Division of Labour when thus organised, perfected, and secured, whether in the community or in the individual, is the Platonic Justice.

Our word Justice is calculated to mislead, pointing as it does, to certain transactions between man and man. To us, to apply the same word to civic dealings and to a certain state of the inner life, appears rather forced. Etymology and usage however show that in the Greek, no such chasm separates the two applications. Likeness: Rule adapted to a particular case: Judicial decision: Rule in general: Law and Morality: such are the several transitions which may be traced in the meaning of the parent-word down from Homer to Plato. Hence the abstract term Δικαιοσύνη may be much better expressed by Regularity, if we take care not to exclude from the latter notion some reference to particular cases and circumstances "and proportionate modification. So understood, the word exactly expresses analogous states of Commonwealth and Individual; but it also possibly called up in the minds of Plato's pupils some of his favourite metaphors, which were intended to suggest some of his most important doctrines. His metaphors are often taken from athletic training and diet; Vice is "bad condition" from over feeding, and Virtue is "proper form" resulting from moderation. Republic 444d-e. We find the ethical and gymnastical notions combined in the punning reference to the [p10] Champion Pulydamas, Republic I. 338c-d, and the just man in the Republic is the victorious wrestler at the grand meeting. Moreover all the Virtues except Prudence are the effect of habit and training, Republic VII. 518c-d, Laws 963e, and so, the kindred notions Vigour, Moderation, Measure, would recall the cardinal doctrine of the Limit and its Opposite, the two factors of Plato's most abstruse Metaphysics. Were it not out of place, it would be easy to show how the Four Virtues may be evolved from these two elements, the Limit and the Opposite. We may however see how the term rendered Justice is, without being strained, applicable to both polities and individuals.

The Four Virtues thus embody in its highest perfection the Division of Labour; and the Intellect observing the adaptation between the Faculties and their Objects, and between the Faculties themselves all united in one systematic whole and working to one end, will contemplate the spectacle with deep exultation — an exultation which once felt it would not exchange for any outward prosperity, and this is the first phase of intrinsic Justice considered exclusively in relation to the Faculties themselves.

Vice, by parity of reasoning, consists in the undue preponderance of some one or more of the lower motives in the internal system. Its worst phase is the habitual supremacy of the most useless and violent animal cravings. Republic 575a. In this last state, the patient is utterly insensible to all the higher pleasures; he is delivered up, bound hand and foot, to an appetite at once capricious and despotic, and utterly reckless of consequence. Why the just man would prefer his own condition, though in the midst of the worst possible surroundings to that of the slave of appetite in the midst of the best possible surroundings, will be seen from the Second and Third arguments. And here closes the first argument in behalf of intrinsic Justice. [p11] It is in brief: — Division of Labour in the individual gives rise to intrinsic Regularity, i.e. Justice, and intrinsic Justice awakens a vivid sense of systematic inner life. To this Vice is dead. In the former case, each faculty works in subordination to the vital whole, and thereby secures the highest functional regularity. In the latter the system is almost completely paralysed, and the partial vitality is spasmodic and abnormal. Here, we witness

The crime of Sense avenged by Sense.

One characteristic of the Four Platonic Virtues deserves notice. They are essentially non-social; they do not contemplate in the first instance man in contact with man. Fortitude, it is true, deals with the objects of the senses: and the objects of the senses are likewise the objects of Legal Right and Obligation. Phaedo 66b-d, Republic 373d-e, 580d-e. But the coincidence is accidental. Fortitude regards the objects of the senses, as provocatives of Desire and of Fear; but it is a Desire and a Fear which call us to self-discipline and not to outward social movement. From the Platonic point of view, the Temptation in the Desert was in the highest degree an exercise of the Four Platonic Virtues; and a life so spent is at least, conceivable. Platonic Justice — "Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control" — is in one sense self-regarding, and must necessarily be so. But the associations connected with the word self, are so inveterate, that the notion sought to be conveyed is more clearly marked out by the negative — non-social.


II. The Second argument is based on the immediate differences of the several Pleasures attached to the three faculties; — that is Pleasures regarded as pleasures simply without reference either to their ethical value, or to their metaphysical properties. The pleasures of the Rational element are derived, not only from abstract science in its modern sense, but also from knowledge in [p12] its high Platonic meaning, viz. the contemplative study of Real Existence, and the gradual approach to ethical Perfection, which Justice ensures. The pleasures of Emotion are derived from Emulation, Ambition, and Admiration both active and passive: while the pleasures of Appetite flow from attaining the objects of the Senses, and in the second instance from the means of indulging them — Wealth and Power devoted to luxury. Now as we have three pleasures, we have three kinds of pleasure-hunters, the Lover of Truth, the Lover of Honour, and the Lover of Means or Money. Who is to decide between the three, as each of the three stands up for his own pursuit? The Lover of Truth — the Philosopher only. He alone has tried all three; he alone has tasted the pleasures of satisfied Intelligence, of satisfied Emotion, and of satisfied Sense: while the Lover of Honour only knows the two last, and the Lover of Luxury the last only. The Lover of Truth having compared all three as pleasures simply, gives the first place to the pleasures of Reason, the second to the pleasures of Emotion, and the third to the pleasures of Sense. To prefer one pleasure to another requires a knowledge of both. This principle, which is of the greatest importance in the Platonic Ethics, is the second argument on behalf of Justice.


III. The Third Argument is built on the differences in pleasures, scientifically analysed and ranged according to their objective properties. The pleasures of the rational faculties differ from the others in being both Real and Pure; each word having a technical meaning. They are Real, because they are derived from Real Existence, and from Supreme Perfection; they are real likewise, because they do not owe their brilliancy to contrast, but shine with their own light. They are Pure, i.e. unmixed with pain, because, neither in their beginning nor in their consequences are they connected with pain. On the other hand, the pleasures [p13] of Emotion and of Sense are essentially alleviations of a painful want, and owe much of their piquancy to Contrast. So great is the force of Contrast, that the bare Cessation of pain appears positively pleasant and the reaction from excitement, positively irksome, when each is contrasted with the preceding condition. We have, moreover, an experiment (by way of Variation) which is in favour of the pleasures of the higher organ. The pleasures of Ambition and the pleasures of Sense, are better secured the more they are pursued under the guidance of Reason and Calculation. Rational pleasure is therefore adjudged the Prize, by the only competent tribunal, and by the admission of adversaries. And this is the third argument in support of Justice pitted against Injustice — the heaviest of the three falls which Plato's champion gives his opponent. There only remains to see him the crowned and honoured of man and God. But with his subsequent career we have nothing to do.

It will be seen that the threefold argument in behalf of Justice, forms one systematic whole. The first is from the nature of the Faculties. The third is from the nature of the Objects of the faculties, and the second is from the Results of union between faculties and objects. Now, as we only know a faculty in relation to its object, and in the results arising from the union of both. Republic V. 477d, it is plain that each argument implies the other two. The threefold argument consequently exhibits Justice complete in all its parts, Faculty, Object, and Result. And Platonic Justice as we have seen is, in the first instance, essentially non-social. It is intrinsic in its structure, its material, and always, though not exclusively, in its purpose. In its course it comes in contact with a social atmosphere, but its limb only is immersed.

But it will also be seen that the more Justice in the Platonic sense is realised, the more completely will Justice in the common sense be carried into practice. [p14] Fortitude, the first step to inner Justice, deals with the objects of the senses — Bodily States. Republic V. 429c-d, 442c. The Platonic equivalents comprehend also Wealth and Power. Now, these are the baits which lure men to infringe the rights of others, and give rise to wars and seditions. Phaedo 66c. Republic II. 373d-e, IX. 586a-b. It follows therefore that Fortitude, in proportion to its efficacy, will insure a due regard for the duties we owe to others. Consequently, Platonic Justice will secure civic Justice, but always accidentally.

Plato's account of the origin of certain of the virtues tends in the same direction. Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice are in some respects analogous to bodily qualities; they are the creatures of training and of habit. Republic VII. 518d-e. On the other hand, every human soul possesses the faculty of intellectual intuition, φρόνησις — Prudence. The intuitive power is equal in all men, and at all times. Republic VII. 518c-e, the strength of the instrument is always unimpaired, but the field of vision may be more or less obstructed. Hence the object of ethical discipline is to minimise obstruction, and allow the prudential organ full range. But this is done by Fortitude, which reduces to the lowest point, the influence of the various bodily states. And Fortitude is the first step to the other virtues. That discipline therefore which maximises Fortitude, Temperance and Justice, will minimise the attractions of sensual pleasure, and the allurements of Wealth and Power. Such discipline therefore will ensure a regard for our social duties. Plato's view of Prudence, as contrasted with the other Virtues, finds expression in his doctrines, "No one is willingly bad;" "Virtue is Science." It also gives his answer to the famous question. Is virtue teachable? Prudence is not: the other virtues are.

Now the word Justice, — Regularity par excellence — expresses a certain condition of the inner man, which [p15] accidentally may be one of the antecedents to the overt observance of the rights of others, and Plato thinks it the best and most effectual. Republic 465b. And this antecedent — Regularity par excellence — he calls "real" Justice. But the observance of social duties may proceed from other motives beside such Regularity. And the observance of social duties from any other motive except Regularity, he calls Seeming, as opposed to Real. But it would be a mistake to suppose that "Seeming" must mean sham. "Seeming" in Plato — noun and verb — expresses the whole Material Creation; everything subject to the law of Cause and Effect, in short all the objects of sensible perception. Republic V. 476 to end; VI. 510a, 534a. In this way "Seeming" is opposed to "Being" — invisible intelligible Reality, which is not subject to the law of Antecedence and Consequence. So we find the Antithesis, — Being and Seeming — in Plato's Ethics, as well as in his Metaphysics. Hence Real Justice is a certain invisible condition of the inner life, and "Seeming Justice comprehends all the overt acts and consequences to which the invisible condition may, in its turn, among other antecedents, give rise. But Seeming Justice is not necessarily hypocrisy. Hypocrisy, it is true, is the crowning accomplishment of Glauco's client; for it is the worst case of seeming. Republic II. 361, a. But although the hypocrite assumes the trappings of the just man, the just man has, notwithstanding, the better right to wear them. Glauco's client — the accomplished hypocrite — would scrupulously discharge the duties necessary to sustain his part; the typical Guardian in the Fair City would discharge all his duties. The former would " seem" just; the latter would both "be" and "seem" just. In fact, the tenth book of the Republic recounts the "seeming" effects of Justice. The Just man holds office: he marries and gives in marriage: all that is the "seeming" — overt — sensible [p16] effects of Justice. Republic X. 612d-613c. There is, therefore, nothing contemptuous in Plato's use of the term Seeming Justice, as Mr. Grote imagines. Vol. III., p. 137. In fact, the passage in the Laws, which he quotes as contradicting the views of "seeming" Justice in the Republic, exactly confirms what is contended for here. Correct estimate from others is to be prized on account of its connection with Stirling worth, "but not otherwise," says Plato. Laws XII. 950c. Mr. Grote's critique totally ignores the real meaning of "seeming" and "being"; an Antithesis which we know from Aristotle gave birth to Platonism. Metaphysics A. 6. M. 4. Mr. Grote was probably misled by Glauco's case, where hypocrisy is introduced as the crowning vice. But Plato as usual makes the most marked species stand for the genus. At all events, to ignore the proper force of "seeming," is in a Platonic critic, an error in digestione prima.

It appears, then, that the term rendered Justice, properly expresses Regularity, and is in this sense strictly applicable to analogous conditions of Polities and of Individuals. It also appears that a certain particular polity — the typical Fair City — is introduced to illustrate the condition of the typical individual, and not vice versa. It also appears that the particular condition of the individual is a certain invisible arrangement of the inmost faculties, which is called by Plato Real Justice, and opposed to Seeming Justice. It also appears that Seeming Justice comprehends every overt observance of social duties of which Law and Ethics take cognisance; and that Real and Seeming Justice may coexist in the same individual. And, finally, it appears that Platonic Justice guarantees civic Justice most effectually, but always accidentally. When we come to consider Mr. Grote's criticisms, these conclusions will, it is hoped, bear fruit.

The question in debate between Glauco and Socrates [p17] may now be restated with advantage. "The overt consequences of Justice are desirable and nothing else," says Vox Populi. "If so," says Glauco, "the condition of the just-doer, which is the antecedent to these desirable consequences, must be undesirable." "Not so," replies Socrates, "laying out of count all the overt consequences you mention, the antecedent may, under certain conditions, evolve certain other consequences, which are invisible and uncommunicable, and these fresh consequences may be preeminently desirable." "If so," says Glauco, "Vox Populi is wrong. Justice is desirable in itself and in its consequences; Justice is good both in Being and in Seeming, intus et in cute. How may we generate this new set of consequents?"

Let us now hear Mr. Grote: —

"The opponents, whom the Platonic Socrates seeks to confute, held that Justice is an obligation in itself onerous to the Agent, but indispensable in order to ensure him just dealing and estimation from others — that injustice is a path in itself easy and inviting to the Agent, but necessary to be avoided, because he forfeits his chance of securing Justice from others, and draws upon himself hatred and other evil consequences. This doctrine (argues Plato) represents the advantages of Justice to the just Agent, as arising, not from his being actually just, but from his seeming to be so, and being reported by others to be so; in like manner it represents the misery of injustice to the unjust Agent as arising, not from his being actually unjust, but from his being reputed so by others. The inference which a man will naturally draw from hence (adds Plato) is, that he must aim only at seeming to be just, not at being just in reality (Republic II. 366c.); that he must seek to avoid the reputation of injustice, not injustice in reality; that the mode of life most enviable is to be unjust in reality, but just in seeming; to study the means of decoying others into a belief that you are just, or of coercing [p18] others into submission to your injustice. This indeed cannot be done, unless you are strong or artful; if you are weak or simple-minded, the best thing which you can do is to be just. The weak alone are gainers by Justice, the strong are losers by it, and gainers by Injustice.

"These are legitimate corollaries (so Glaukon and Adeimantus are made to argue) from the doctrine preached by fathers to their children that the obligations of Justice are in themselves onerous to the just Agent, and remunerative only so far as they determine just conduct on the part of others towards him. Plato means not that fathers, in exhorting their children actually drew these corollaries, but that if they had followed out their doctrine consistently, they would have drawn them; and that there is no way of escaping them except by adopting the doctrine of the Platonic Socrates — That Justice is in itself a source of happiness to the just Agent, and Injustice a source of misery to the unjust Agent, however each of them may be esteemed or treated by others.

"Now upon this we may observe, that Plato from anxiety to escape corollaries which are only partially true, and which, in so far as they are true, may be obviated by precautions, has endeavoured to accredit a fiction misrepresenting the constant phenomena and standing conditions of social life. Among these conditions, reciprocity of services is one of the most fundamental. The difference of feeling which attaches to the services which a man renders, called duties or obligations, and the services which he receives from others, called his rights, is alike obvious and undeniable. Each individual has both duties and rights; each individual is both an Agent towards others, and a Patient or Sentient from others. He is required to be just towards others, they are required to be just towards him; he, in his actions, must have [p19] regard (within certain limits) to their comfort and security; they in their actions must have regard to his. If he has obligations towards them, he has also rights towards them; or (which is the same thing) they have obligations towards him. If punishment is requisite to deter him from doing wrong towards them, it is equally requisite to deter them from doing wrong to him. Whoever theorises upon society, contemplating it as a connected system including different individual agents, must accept this Reciprocity as a fundamental condition. The rights and obligations of each towards the rest must form inseparable and correlative parts of the theory. Each agent must be dealt with by us according to his works, and must be able to reckon beforehand on being so dealt with: — on escaping injury and hurt, and securing Justice from others, if he behave justly towards them. The theory supposes that whether just or unjust, he will appear to others as he really is, and will be appreciated accordingly.

"The fathers of families, whose doctrine Plato censures, adopted this doctrine of Reciprocity, and built upon it their exhortations to their children, "Be just to others; without that condition you cannot expect that they will be just to you." Plato objects to their doctrine, on the ground that it assumed Justice to be onerous to the just Agent, and therefore indirectly encouraged the evading of the onerous preliminary condition, for the purpose of extorting or stealing the valuable consequent without earning it fairly. Persons acting thus unfairly would efface Reciprocity by taking away the antecedent. Now Plato, in correcting them, sets up a counter-doctrine which effaces Reciprocity by removing the Consequent. His counter-doctrine promises me that if I am just towards others, I shall be happy in and through that single circumstance, and that I ought not to care whether they behave justly or not towards me. Reciprocity thus disappears. The authoritative terms [p20] right and obligation lose all their specific meaning." Vol. III., p. 135-7.

Considered as a stricture on the main thesis of the Republic, Mr. Grote's objections amount to this; first, that the mode, in which Plato brings on the question, misrepresents the popular belief; and second, that the popular belief, unlike Plato's counter-doctrine, embodies a matter of fact, which is the fundamental condition of society, and which Plato's doctrine completely effaces.

As to the way in which Plato states the question, it would be hard to find one better fitted to put the point at issue in the strongest light. In this way: — The subject of the Dialogue is Justice. What is Justice? In the first Book, various definitions are rejected, not only because they are inadequate, but mainly because the method employed is vicious. We were inquiring into the accidents and consequences of Justice before we found out what Justice was in itself. Let us begin again. Let us insulate Justice; let us cut off all communication between it and the outer world, and watch the effects which it, when thus insulated, produces on the inner life of the Agent. Republic 358b; 366e; 367e; 368c; 612b; 614a. Justice is now insulated, and Socrates is ready to begin, but Adimantus is not satisfied, so he deduces from the popular belief the most extreme possible consequences, puts them together as the legitimate result of its real, though covert, tendencies, and in this shape the subject is brought forward.

As to the way in which Plato states the question, it would be hard to find one better fitted to put the point at issue in the strongest light. In this way: — The subject of the Dialogue is Justice. What is Justice? In the first Book, various definitions are rejected, not only because they are inadequate, but mainly because the method employed is vicious. We were inquiring into the accidents and consequences of Justice before we found out what Justice was in itself. Let us begin again. Let us insulate Justice; let us cut off all communication between it and the outer world, and watch the effects which it, when thus insulated, produces on the inner life of the Agent. Republic 358b; 366e; 367e; 368c; 612b; 614a. Justice is now insulated, and Socrates is ready to begin, but Adimantus is not satisfied, so he deduces from the popular belief the most extreme possible consequences, puts them together as the legitimate result of its real, though covert, tendencies, and in this shape the subject is brought forward.

Is not the experiment crucial? A is generally found along with a set of circumstances, B. X, which is the opposite of A, is generally found along with another set, Y. B is always pleasant; Y is always unpleasant. We want to know what A is like without B. Now if A is known, X is likewise known: since A and X are opposites. We therefore insulate A from B, and plunge it, so prepared, into a new set of conditions. Now, of new conditions the most novel possible is Y, [p21] for Y being unpleasant is the opposite of the old set, B, which is pleasant. Unless we do this, we cannot tell if A by itself is pleasant or not. And if A, when in contact with Y, still manifests pleasant properties, we may be certain that it is pleasant in itself. At the same time, this is by no means saying that A would not be better if accompanied by its old attendant, B. But it is precisely because B is pleasant that we require the experiment. We must disguise the Princess to test the disinterestedness of her suitors.

So, when fathers exhort their children to pursue A solely on account of B, and to shun X solely on account of Y, teaching at the same time that X is as pleasant as A is unpleasant (if not more so), young Athens may naturally argue, to the astonishment of his father. Republic II. 365, "Your old-fashioned drug is, you admit, nauseous in the extreme, but my new specific has all the effects of yours, and is besides remarkably pleasant to the palate; with your permission I shall use the new." Glaucous client accordingly — incarnate Injustice — typifies the extreme case of the popular theory. And an extreme case is the logician's proof charge.

A word as to Plato's two types. All writers on abstract subjects put out of consideration, for the time being, all counteracting agencies. They state tendencies only. Ethical writers accordingly, to shew what a given motive is taken singly, assume that a man is actuated by no other; the hungry man is all hunger, and the benevolent man all benevolence, like Dickens's oddities with a single point. Now, Plato does what all ethical writers do, but he does it in a livelier way. As an ethical speculator, he wishes to contrast the best motive with all other motives. As an artist, he personifies the best motive, and presents us with the Guardian of Callipolis. Republic VII. 549b. Other motives are not the best. They may, therefore, be the worst. [p22] Accordingly, Plato selects the worst, clothes it with flesh and blood, and introduces us to the client of Glauco. — Tyranny in little — Injustice incarnate. Now in real life, men act from mixed motives; no one is as bad as Glauco's protégé. Republic I. 352c, and the Fair City is not yet on Earth. But the mixture of motives in practice is no reason why an ethical writer should not separate motives in theory. On the contrary, the mixture of motives in practice is just the reason why they must be separated in theory. And such a separation, when personified, is a type.

Plato, therefore, does not, as Mr. Grote appears to convey, tender us his two types as practical alternatives. As a practical moralist he does not say "Be Hyperion, if not, you must be the Satyr." No, as a practical moralist he teaches us to maximise Hyperion, and minimise the Satyr. But as an ethical experimenter, he wishes to study the two types in their fullest perfection, and under new conditions. He therefore transposes the usual concomitants of each. He joins the best inward motives to the worst outward circumstances, and the worst inward motives to the best outward circumstances, and Glauco and his brother are his assistants in the Inversion of the Experiment. The question, therefore, owes its alternative form, not to Plato's "anxiety to escape consequences," but to Plato's anxiety to elicit conclusions; to the skill of the Analyst, and not to the one-sided rhetoric of the preacher. Grote III., 158., vid. e. contra. Republic X. 612b-c; V., 472c; II. p. 361a-b; 363a; 367b.

Mr. Grote's next charge is that Plato endeavours to accredit a fiction which misrepresents the constant phenomena and standing conditions of social life. Glauco's client and Plato's Guardian are both wrong, and the popular creed is right. Society depends on Reciprocity. Reciprocity expresses the correlation of Payment and Receipt as antecedent and consequent. [p23] Plato's parody of the popular creed effaces Reciprocity by taking away the Antecedent: Glauco's friend will not pay, but insists on being paid; or rather pays himself. Plato in correcting him sets up a counter-doctrine, which effaces Reciprocity by removing the Consequent. Plato affects to derive such pleasure from Payment that he can afford to dispense with Receipt. In either case one of the two props is removed, and society comes to the ground.

The answer is obvious. Platonic Justice, the subject of the main thesis of the Republic, has, in the first instance, nothing to do with Reciprocity, and therefore cannot efface it. But in the second instance, so far as Platonic Justice deals with Reciprocity, Platonic Justice is its strongest support, as far as such security can be unilateral. The two cases must be separately considered.


I. Justice in the first instance, as it regards the agent. Platonic Justice — Typical Virtue — is essentially one. This requires explanation. Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice, are Qualities, which coexist so inseparably, that we cannot apprehend any One, without at the same time apprehending the other Three. This can be proved. The proof rests on the complex fact, that while Reason on the one hand is fitted to direct Appetite, Appetite on the other is not fitted to direct Reason. This is all we want. This single fact contains the four inseparable Qualities.

Because; a thing directing implies a thing directed, and both together a relation between them, as directing and directed. The three moments are therefore inseparable, any given One implying the other Two.

In the present case, the thing directing is Reason, and the thing directed is Appetite. Now Reason, directing Appetite, is the ethical Quality, Prudence.

But Appetite looks two opposite ways. On the one side, it regards outer objects; on the other, the Agent's self. Now, Appetite directed by Reason, and looking [p24] outwards, is the ethical Quality, Fortitude; and so directed and looking inwards, the ethical Quality, Temperance. That is, the directing Reason is Prudence, and the directed Appetite, both Fortitude and Temperance.

Consequently, Prudence, Fortitude and Temperance discharge each their special functions. But, since the three qualities are inseparable, and since the three — each and all — discharge their special functions, we have the three Qualities uniting in the one ethical Quality, Justice, and the one Quality Justice coinciding with the ethical Total, Virtue. The three just Qualities converge to Virtue; Virtue diverges to the three just Qualities. Virtue is a Whole as opposed to a Sum of Parts. Justice is a Sum of Parts as opposed to a Whole. Justice, in a word, is Virtue in parts, and Virtue is Justice complete. The notions are equivalent, but not identical.

But since Justice is Division of Labour, and since Virtue is Justice as a whole. Virtue must be some Quality by which the Agent discharges his special function (Republic IV. 433d). Now to discharge a special function implies some fitness, as a matter of fact. And such fitness may, according to Plato, be discerned in everything, whether it be an organic whole, such as a man, or a horse, or an organic part, such as an eye or a limb; or an inorganic implement, such as a pruning-hook, or the like (Republic I. 352e). Consequently Virtue is the Efficiency of Fitness. Human Virtue is therefore the Efficiency which results from the fitness of the Agent for his special function. But the special function indicated by the relation of Reason and Appetite, is Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance.

Justice, thus being a relation between Reason and Appetite, must be intrinsic. And likewise its opposite. Injustice. This may be seen in the eighth and ninth books. The four types of Injustice — the four Unjust [p25] Men — have a family likeness. In each of the four some motive, which is not wholly rational, has gained, more or less, the upper hand. Either Sentiment or Sense has acquired ascendancy. And the political sketches which accompany the portraits illustrate disunion at home and not intervention from abroad, (cf. Republic VIII. 547c, with 550b; 552a, with 553d-e; 557a, with 561c-d; 567d, with 573c). Therefore Platonic Justice and Platonic Injustice are relations between Reason and Appetite; and as such they must be intrinsic.

Now Reciprocity means the correlation of Duty and Right — of Payment and Receipt. This has been admirably set forth by Mr. Grote. But Duty is merely one man's Liability to penalty at the hands of another; and Right is the Power which exacts it. Therefore Plato's Justice and Mr. Grote's Reciprocity have nothing in common.


II. Justice in the second instance as regarding society. Here we have two cases: Platonic justice in the ideal Society; and Platonic justice in a Society which recognises Private Rights. Republic 464c.

The ideal Society required is one in which no antagonistic elements appear, all such having been previously either utilised or nullified. We cannot therefore argue against such a society, because some other exhibits the elements of antagonism in full play. But, although Mr. Grote elsewhere (p. 219.) vindicates the Republic against such objections, yet he falls into them himself when he argues, from the actual efficacy of Reciprocity, against Platonic justice.

Now Plato recognizes Reciprocity even in his ideal City. He did not therefore intend his own justice to act in place of Reciprocity.

His Guardians are supported by the State, and have no private property. They are therefore placed above the wants and temptations of ordinary life. They have [p26] moreover undergone a long and special training for office, and are duly honoured in their own Republic.

But, even so, the Guardian is reluctant to take part in politics, and submits to the necessity. Republic VII. 540b, only because his private happiness must yield to that of the community. Republic 420b. He knows, moreover, that the very existence of his caste is identified with that of the Fair City. Republic 499b, 540b. And the Guardian, who from selfish motives deserts his order, will soon find reason to bewail his short-sightedness. 466a-b. Plato, therefore, did not wish his Justice should even in the Republic supersede the ordinary motives to Outlay. And the fact, that some of the receipts come in at once, does not annihilate the real unpleasantness of Outlay in itself. But, so far as Platonic Justice supplies an additional motive to outlay, so far it lessens the unpleasantness of the sacrifice. The ordinary motive to outlay is the hope of receipt; and Platonic justice is a pressure in the same direction.

In an ordinary society, where private rights are established, and Reciprocity consequently covers all the dealings between man and man, it is obvious that Platonic Justice is a new motive towards Payment. So far, therefore, as Payment is likely to attract Receipt, and so keep up Reciprocity, Platonic Justice strengthens that prop of society which rests on the agent's private interest. Platonic Justice ensures the doing unto others what they ought to do in return, but the prospect of return is neither its sole nor chief motive.

Plato, it is true, speaks of the uselessness in actual life of the Searcher after truth, and the Searcher after truth is the only man who has any notion of scientific Justice. But his uselessness is not his fault, the blame rests with those who do not see his value, and will not listen to his counsels. Republic 489b. Now the admitted uselessness to Society of the Searcher after truth suggests the question, "What value did Plato set on [p27] the man who acted up to his lights, but knew nothing of scientific justice?

Mr. Mill, following Mr. Grote, puts the following case as an ad ahsurdum of the Platonic doctrine: —

"In the Republic, the excellence and inherent felicity of the just life are as impressively insisted on and enforced by arguments of greater substance. But, as Mr. Grote justly remarks, those arguments, even if conclusive, are addressed to the wrong point; for the life they suppose is not that of the simply just man, but of the philosopher. They are not applicable to the typical just man, to such a person as Aristeides, who is no dialectician, soars to no speculative heights, and is no nearer than other people to a Vision of the Self-existent Ideas, but who, at every personal sacrifice, persistently acts up to the rules of virtue acknowledged by the worthiest of his countrymen. It is not obvious, what place there was for Aristeides in the Platonic theory of Virtue, nor how he was to be adjusted to the doctrine of Plato and of the historical Sokrates that Virtue is a branch of knowledge, and that no one is unjust willingly. Aristeides probably had the same notions of justice as his contemporaries, and could as little as any of them have answered Sokratic interrogatories by a definition of it, which would have been proof against all objections. The conformity of his will to it, the never being unjust willingly, was probably the chief moral difference between him and ordinary men. Plato might indeed have said that Aristeides had the most indispensable point of knowledge — he knew that the just man must be the happiest. But Aristeides was not the kind of man of whom Plato has more or less successfully, proved this; and the true Platonic doctrine is that it is impossible to be just, without knowing (in the high Platonic meaning of knowledge) what Justice is." — Essays, Vol. III., 340-1.

Now, in actual life, motives are mixed. Republic 500c-d. [p28] We do not generally act from one single motive, and most motives are not the best. The man who falls seven times a day is not as perfect as the faultless type who does not fall once. He is not, therefore, typically just, but he has fewer falls than he who falls seventy-seven times. To call Aristides the justest man in Athens meant that Aristides was more sure-footed than the rest of the Athenians, not that he never stumbled.

Now the case of a man like Aristides must have presented itself to Plato. The noble line of Aeschylus, which the full theatre applied to Aristides, is referred to in the Republic, and serves as the text of the discourse. It embodies the Platonic antithesis of "being and seeming" in a single verse. Aristides, therefore, in the technical language of the treatise would be represented by the Timocratic man — the best man under existing circumstances. He is elsewhere specially alluded to.

The motives of such a man are golden in the main: there is, however, an ingredient of silver, but nothing base. 550b. He is guided by Reason, but Reason is alloyed with Sentiment, and so far he falls short of the purity of the standard type. Republic VIII. 548-9.

In the Laws, Plato, when discussing the rationale of a Penal Code, and therefore aiming at practical objects, adheres to the views expounded in the Republic. Justice does not consist in benefits conferred, nor does Injustice consist in damage inflicted, but in the settled character of the Agent and in the modus operandi, as opposed to the consequences of his actions. Even though he cause damage, his Justice is saved whole, provided he acts from regard to what he judges will be best. Laws IX. 864a. Aristides, then, was just in the popular sense, but not in the ideal. Although he fell short of the ideal Type, he indefinitely approached it, and was so far just. [p29]

Like other ethical writers Plato formed an ideal of Justice and Happiness. From this ideal every human being deviates more or less. Republic 500d, 546a. Between the Extremes — the least and the greatest deviation — there are infinite degrees, 445c. Of these Plato selects Four which he describes at length, — the Four great Epochs in the Decline and Fall. To this description he devotes the whole of his eighth book and the half of his ninth; besides warning us of his intentions at the close of his fourth. We are constantly told of Plato's artistic skill; in the eyes of many, the only merit he possesses. Yet according to Mr. Grote and Mr. Mill, Plato devoted nearly a fifth of his masterpiece to describing what on his own showing could possibly have no existence — namely. Degrees in practical Justice. According to Mr. Grote and Mr. Mill, Plato was bound in consistency to bracket Aristides with Archelaus.

We may illustrate the working of Platonic Justice in actual life by an example from la petite morale, suggested by a passage in the Republic 484d. A man by being polite generally secures civility in return; and this is the motive expressed by the proverb "civility costs nothing," implying that it brings in a great deal. But in addition to the Vulgar Motive, some people are polite, because politeness comes from within; because they could not be otherwise without forfeiting self-respect. Now the latter motive is the more efficient of the two. But are the two motives incompatible? And if the truly well-bred man does not always receive a return in kind for his civility, is he thereby precluded from reminding his inferior of Reciprocity by a quid pro quo? And may not, what is true of the smaller, be likewise true of the greater Code? 425a.

The Just man will, in Plato's opinion, regard Reciprocity as the means of satisfying such necessary wants as are not deleterious, 559b, but when his payments [p30] are all made, and his receipts all gathered in, he has another account to look to, one in which he is both his own Debtor and his own Creditor, and of which the items are Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, Justice. And even supposing the worst comes to the worst, that his income is interrupted, he can still contemplate with satisfaction the balance in his favour in the Grand Account.

If this estimate of the Platonic Ethics be correct, it is obvious that Reciprocity — the Seeming Justice of the Dialogue — is but the occasion, the accidental occasion, of the Platonic Fortitude, the most outward of the Platonic Quality. Fortitude, the peculiar meaning of which in Plato must not be forgotten, will fully insure the observance on our part of our duty to others. But this is not its sole office. Fortitude gives occasion to Temperance, and Temperance in its turn gives Justice room to work, each and all being organised by directing Prudence. Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice on the one hand, may be considered as overt modes of Reciprocity. Phaedo 69a. Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice, on the other hand may be considered as inward principles of action, and permanent objects of reflex thought. The relation between them, when so distinguished, is slight, and slight as it is, accidental only. We cannot therefore argue from one sphere to the other — from the Mutual relation of the constituents of the former, to the Mutual relation of the constituents of the latter. But this is what Mr. Grote does. We may, however, see that the principle of Reciprocity does not, in the first instance, come in contact with Platonic justice at all, while so far as they are related in the second instance. Reciprocity is strengthened by Platonic justice, which supports itself. So much for the fiction which Plato is so anxious to accredit.

Some points about Plato's ethical champion — the [p31] just man — deserve notice and bring out most strongly the Platonic view of Morality. A modern writers describing the virtuous man struggling with misfortune and worsted in the strife, would be sure to dwell on the consolation he derived from the approval of his conscience. He was beaten, it was true, but he had fought a good fight, and that consoled him. Of this, there is not a word in the Republic, unless, which is possible, it is included in the sense of internal harmony, which the just man feels. But the point on which — Plato dwells is, not that the just man having acted justly, consoles himself with the thought that he did act justly. On the contrary, although the just man acts in the first instance proprio motu, he yet thereby secures his retreat to a distinct class of positive pleasures, which make up his mental pabulum, and which cannot be cut off. Had he acted unjustly, these pleasures would have been intercepted. Just conduct is the price — the paltry price — of the internal harmony, and of the spectacle to which it admits him — the intuition of Reality.

Neither is the Platonic Morality emotional or sentimental. Both Emotion and Sentiment are some of the raw materials of Morality in the hands of Prudence, but Plato holds that to be ruled by sentiment is one evil only, second to being ruled by the Senses. Republic 586c-d.

In one sense therefore — and that in the strictest — Plato's Morality is one of Calculation. In the Republic, the name given to the Moral Faculty, at least thirteen times, is that which calculates, reckons, adds up. Nor is this metaphorical. That which counts is closely connected with Number and Measure, which are not only as with us, conditions of scientific exactness, but also, in Plato's eyes, the Real Elements of Supreme Perfection.

But although the Platonic Morality is essentially one of calculation, it cannot be called either selfish or [p32] even self-regarding in the modern sense of the term. Before we can employ the word self in the Platonic ethics, we must free it from two notions, with which modern speculation has connected it. These two notions are the exclusion of the good of others, and the modification of the Object by the Subject in the relation Knowledge. As was before observed, Platonic Justice is, in the first instance, non-social, but in the second instance we have seen how Fortitude ensures the good of others. And in the higher cognitions, Plato held that the cognitive faculty sees (for such is his favourite metaphor) the Object as it is, the faculty itself remaining unchanged; and, that the Object continues unchanged in and during the process of cognition. The unchangeableness of both Object and Subject in the higher cognitions was his counter-doctrine to the all-pervading Mutability of Heraclitus. And the unchangeableness of both Terms in cognition was carried through the Platonic Ethics. We are consequently freed from some questions which perplex modern speculation, as to the nature of the Moral Faculty, and its mode of procedure. These two questions are obviated by Plato's doctrine of cognition. The Subject, knowing the Object as it is, cannot but know it, as it is: and the Subject knows the Object as it is, because the Object continues unchanged. And this is true, as well in the ethics as in the metaphysics of Plato.

We have seen that Plato refuses to acknowledge either the Emotions or the Senses as directors of conduct. The Reason is therefore left in undisturbed authority. When we act according to Reason ourselves, or estimate from that point the conduct of others, the question is narrowed to this: — What is the Criterion of Morality? In the words of Mr. Grote,

"What is the common property or point of similarity between Prudence, Courage, Temperance, and Justice, by reason [p33] of which each is termed Virtue? What are the characteristic points of difference, by reason of which Virtue sometimes receives one of these names, sometimes another?"

Mr. Grote answers: —

"Courage, Prudence, Temperance, Justice — all of them mental attributes of rational voluntary agents — have also the common property of being absolutely essential to the life of the agent and the maintenance of society; and of being above that degree tutelary against the sufferings, and beneficial to the happiness of both. This tutelary or beneficent tendency is the common objective property signified by the general term Virtue, and is implicated with the subjective property the sentiment of approbation. The four opposite qualities are designated by the general term Vice or Defect, connoting both the maleficent tendency and the sentiment of disapprobation." Vol. 3. p. 455-7.

The tendencies, which Mr. Grote points out, would not have been questioned by Plato. They are in fact the subject of the second thesis of the Republic. Some of them belong to the province of overt or "Seeming" Justice, and some of them to the outward effects of Fortitude. For, it is obvious that Fortitude, if perfectly carried out, would supersede the sanctions of Positive Law, Republic 442b-c; 429b-d; 430a-b, and the minor offices — la petite morale — would be fully observed. Republic 425a. But the Platonic ethics do not regard these tendencies as the whole of ethics.

That happiness — satisfaction of some kind — is our being's end and aim, Plato, like other writers, certainly holds. Republic 505d-e. But whose happiness? Undoubtedly, in the first instance, that of the Agent himself: the happiness of the Agent is the basis of the structure. In what does the Agent's happiness consist? In the pleasure resulting from systematic development of all the Agent's faculties. Republic 402d, [p34] 441e-442a. 443d-e. How is such development to be ensured? By Division of Labour — by confining each faculty to its special function. Republic 433c-d. How is that function to be ascertained? By studying each faculty in relation to its appropriate object — in a word, by Psychology. 436b-e. And the preliminary investigation completed, the ethical calculator will arrange the several items according to their scientific value, his Organon being Experience and Reasoning. He will make use of that test which every system of ethics must make use of, — which every one who judges another's conduct must make use of — the difference of pleasures in kind.

Human conduct has two aspects with each of which ethical science is bound to deal. Modern Utilitarianism dwells on that common tendency of the four ethical qualities, which is overt and more obvious. Plato dwells mainly, as his argument required, but not exclusively, on that common tendency, which is unseen but more important. With the modern, the Motive does not affect the ethical quality of the Action; with Plato the Motive is everything — the Motive considered, not as the antecedent of Action, but as the index of the condition of the Agent. The Greek, filled with a higher sense of individual dignity, regarded conduct in its immediate relation to the all-important unit — the full member of the polity founded by the Gods and Heroes whose blood he claimed; the modern, in a more amiable but less lofty spirit, merges his individuality in the aggregate of sentient existence. Plato regarded the action without overlooking the act, the modern regards the act only. The inner antecedent to all action — the living force which sets it in motion — the permanent condition of the inmost self as dependent on the mutual adjustment of Reason, Emotion and Sense — this is what Plato points to, as of infinitely greater importance than any social results however extensive. The inner [p35] state of Reason, Emotion, and Sense, is not only, as with the modern, a means to the general good, it is also something more. The state of Reason, Emotion, and Sense is the only means whereby the Agent himself secures his own incommunicable good. And as that good is inseparably combined with the particular state of Reason, Emotion, and Sense, that state is likewise an End. Both systems — the Greek and the English — are agreed as to the End of human Action; they are likewise agreed as to its overt and more palpable results, but Plato points out other Results which are more permanent and infinitely more important. Each Philosophy points to the same End; which of the two is fitted to produce the nobler Type, and therefore the surer Means?

Mr. Grote has told us, how the Platonic view of Justice, is contradicted by fact. We are now to see Plato divided against himself, and witness the usual catastrophe. The Platonic doctrine, we are told, effaces Reciprocity, and in thus eliminating Reciprocity, Plato contradicts his own theory respecting the genesis and foundation of society. "What is the explanation," asks Mr. Grote, "he himself gives (in this very Republic) of the primary origin of a City? It arises (he says) from the fact, that each individual among us is not self-sufficing, but full of wants. All having many wants, each takes to himself others as fellows, and auxiliaries to supply them." Vol. III., p. 137. He thus recognises the mutual dependence of need and service, and so, the principle of Reciprocity which his doctrine of Justice effaces. The answer is, Mr. Grote has failed to see the real purport of the Typical City, as well as the point on which the stress of the analogy rests. The object of the Typical Commonwealth is not to throw light upon the natural growth of society, but to illustrate the ethics of the individual. The Typical City is brought forward only as a model on a larger scale of the [p36] structure of the smaller specimen. Republic 368d-e, 420b-c, 434d. The object of the treatise is the ethics of the individual, and the only reason why this is ever overlooked seems to be the long and earnest discussion of certain social topics. We should, however, recollect that in Plato's time notes and excursus were unknown, but above all, keep in view the Greek notion that Man was the Political Animal, who required social union as the means of developing even his individual powers. But lest he should forget the real subject of the treatise, Plato even in his political sketches reminds us of his hero, the Just individual, as Homer recalls Achilles, by continual allusions, scattered through the whole of the first argument. Republic V. 472b-e. instar omnium.

Mr. Grote has fallen into other misconceptions, by not always keeping in mind that the subject of the treatise is individual and not Social Ethics. He charges Plato with overlooking our liability to injury at each other's hands, note p. 139, and with neglecting to provide security against such possibilities. Against these, however, Plato amply provides. The Guardians, themselves above suspicion, will see that the state receive no detriment from the subject Many, who will not be allowed to violate their legal and social duties. Republic IV. 465b. cf. 414a-b, 433e.

Mr. Grote also reproaches Plato with not providing a special education for the subject Many. But since the treatise is properly ethical, and not social in its main object, the subject Many is intended to illustrate the subject Appetite — the seat of the Heraclitan Many — τὸ γὰρ λυπούμενον καὶ ἡδόμενον αὐτῆς (sc. ψυχῆς) ὅπερ δῆμός τε καὶ πλῆθος πόλεώς ἐστιν. III. 689a-b — which in Plato's eyes must be ruled even for its own good, but whose necessary wants are to be attended to. Republic IX. 589b. As the treatise is not political, the purpose of the Fair City is subsidiary only, and its structure is consequently displayed in its most rudimentary form. [p37]

The object of the treatise is individual Ethics, and the Typical City is to be used in teaching the science. The model displays on a larger scale that Division of Labour, which Plato wishes us to copy on a smaller. And to show the universality of the principle, he points out that the Division of Labour is ethnical also: we have the fighting Scythian, the money-loving Phoenician, and the thinking Greek. Republic 435e. We thus have an ascending series — Faculty, Class, City, Race, all united in the Civitas Dei, each and all carrying out the Division of Labour ordained by the Grand Task-master. But to object to Plato's view of individual Justice, because Reciprocity exists in certain societies, is as absurd as to say, that Platonic Justice would not work in Scythia or Tyre. We might as well object that Plato's psychology must be wrong, because the many- headed hybrid, to which he compares the soul, is anatomically impossible. Republic IX. 588.

But Plato, according to Mr. Grote, has stultified himself still further. Mr. Grote denies the pertinence of the analogy between the city and individual man. "To a certain extent the analogy is real, but it fails in a main point which Plato's inference requires as a basis. From the happiness of a community all composed of just men, you cannot draw any fair inference to that of one just man in an unjust community." Vol. III., p. 141-2. But this is again to overlook the real purport of the Typical City. To illustrate intrinsic Justice in the individual, we study civic Justice in the model, and we find that in each case it consists essentially of Division of Labour. This is the point of resemblance on which the analogy rests.

Now, Justice is Division of Labour. By following out this principle perfectly, both City and Individual will be perfectly happy; and short of perfect happiness, they will be more happy, the nearer they approach it; less happy the further each recedes. In this sense the [p38] Fair City is an ideal or perfect type — a supposition perfectly legitimate in Ethics where the type is assumed to be without flaw, both for scientific treatment, and practical purposes. But although the Fair City has not yet seen the Sun, and may never come into being save under extraordinary circumstances, Republic 499bc, 592, the ideal City still answers one of its ends. The conception serves as the perfect standard to which, in Plato's opinion, our conduct ought to approximate; and for this high purpose it matters little whether the Platonic Republic ever exists on earth or not. The solitary pilgrim can still dimly discern the inscription on its gate — Justice is of Divided Labour. This he can apply to himself and realise, at least in part. Republic IX. 592.

Now although the typical individual would be perfectly happy in the typical Society, Plato does not mean that Socrates in prison actually realised that consummate felicity. What he means is that Justice under any circumstances is preferable to Injustice Lender any circumstances — that the just man, suffering for Justice's sake, would not, if offered, change places with the wrong-doer. "I would like," says Socrates in the Gorgias, "neither to inflict nor to suffer wrong, but if I must choose one of the two, I prefer to suffer wrong." Gorgias 469b-c. And the reason he gives is remarkable. He prefers to suffer wrong, because he fears, lest, if he do wrong, his soul should become incurably diseased.

Now this metaphor disease, occurs in the argument for. Immortality in this very Republic. And on this metaphor Mr. Grote in his notice of the Gorgias founds an objection which deserves consideration; it is, moreover, answered in the Republic: — Archelaus, king of Macedonia, obtains supreme power by the very worst means. Most people envy his condition, but Socrates does not. His soul is incurably diseased by the crimes [p39] by which he obtained his power.

"Plato," says Mr. Grote, "is misled by his ever-repeated analogy between bodily health and mental health; real in some respects, not real in others. When a man is in bad bodily health, his sensations warn him of it. … Conversely, in the absence of any such warnings, and in the presence of certain positive sensations, he knows himself to be in tolerable or good health. If Socrates or Archelaus were both in good bodily health, or both in bad bodily health, each would be made aware of the fact by analogous evidences. But by what measure are we to determine when a man is in a good or bad mental state? By his own feelings? In that case, Archelaus and Socrates are in a mental state equally good; each is satisfied with his own. By the judgment of the bystander? Archelaus will then be the better off of the two; at least his admirers and enviers will out-number those of Socrates." Vol. II., pp. 111, 112.

The Republic furnishes the answer. Taking Socrates and Archelaus by themselves, the opinion of Socrates is decisive. Archelaus does not know the whole of the feelings of Socrates: he is therefore blind to the difference between himself and Socrates. On the other hand, Socrates can compare the condition of both, and he deliberately prefers his own. Republic 409e. Socrates is alone the judge, as he has some experience of both; Archelaus knows only his own. Republic 582a-d.

That Plato was aware of the difference between bodily and mental health pointed out by Mr. Grote is certain, for he says expressly that Archelaus is not aware of his condition. Gorgias 471b. Moreover, Plato constantly compares the life of the man who believes sensible perception to be ultimate reality, to that state of dreaming in which our fancies are most wild, and all regard for waking reality is lost. Republic 476c. Insensibility is therefore the worst symptom of the case. But, metaphor apart, the test is valid; no one can prefer [p40] any given pleasure to another, unless he has either tried both, or witnessed their effects when tried on others. Granting that there is a pleasure in being mad, who would exchange sanity for madness? And why not? Because, we would answer, with Plato, sane persons have experience of the effects of sanity in themselves, and witness them in others: sane persons can also witness the effects of madness in others: they compare both and prefer sanity. So, also, persons who recover from insanity prefer to continue sane. On the other hand, no one would appeal to the lunatic himself. And unless Plato is right, why not? Similarly, in a minor degree, of drunkenness and violent anger. A pig can form no notion of the mental resources of Socrates, but Socrates can form a notion more or less vivid of the entire resources of the pig. Republic 535e. Yet Socrates would prefer his own. Is he wrong? And if he is not wrong, Plato's point is proved — Pleasures differ in kind, cf. Mill. Utilitarianism, 10-16.

Our word happiness is calculated to mislead us by its associations. Happiness is generally regarded as something permanently distinct from the antecedents which lead to it — something which a man retires to and enjoys, when his toils are past. There is, too, in our word a strong infusion of material comforts and belongings. To call a man engaged in an arduous task happy, before its close, seems out of place, and contentment, not happiness, is the word we apply to a disregard of comfort. But Plato's notion is different. The highest satisfaction he compares to seeing; the born philosopher is "fond of gazing on Truth" (Republic V. 475e.) calmly, but not without awe,

θαμβήσας κατὰ θυμόν· ὀΐσσατο γὰρ θεόν εἶναι.

Plato's main thesis, that Intrinsic Regularity under the most adverse circumstances is preferable to Intrinsic Irregularity under the most favourable circumstances, Mr. Grote meets with a dilemma; and this dilemma [p 41] Mr. Mill considers irrefragable, as may be seen from the extract given above.

The Dilemma is: — The word Justice must be take in either the ordinary, or in the Platonic Sense.

If we take Justice in the ordinary sense, Plato has not proved his point, for he only proves, if his premisses be true, the happiness of the man, who is just in the Platonic sense: which was not the point to be proved. The point to be proved was, the happiness, say, of Socrates in adversity.

If we take Justice in the Platonic sense, Plato's premisses are not true. For, the platonically just man is not completely self-sufficing, nor can any human being be so. But Plato's conclusion implies that the just man is completely self-sufficing. Plato's premisses are therefore not true. p. 147.

Now Plato undertook to prove, as was shown, the effects of Intrinsic Justice of the purest type on the Agent himself. But Intrinsic Justice can only exist in the intrinsically just man: no one else can know it or appreciate it. Justice, like Sanity, proves itself; while Injustice, like Insanity, is no proof that the opposite state is not better. Platonic happiness is the consequence of Platonic Justice, and implies a recipient: and the sole recipient and percipient is the just man in the Platonic sense. But this was what Plato undertook to prove as the theoretic or typical conclusion of the piece.

As to the other horn, Mr. Grote and Mr. Mill, because Plato's typical Justice and Happiness do not admit of qualification, because they are types, argue that Plato's conclusion is wrong. Now Platonic Justice, so far as it depends on φρόνησις. Prudence, which is always at par, admits of no degrees. But Emotion and Sense are, in Plato's Psychology, forces which, more or less, counteract Prudence. The Agent consequently may so far deviate from the line of Prudence, and, so, of Justice, and, so, of Happiness. But the deviations of [p42] the Agent are due, not to any variations in Prudence, which is constant, but to variations in Emotion and Sense, which are variables. Their intensity may be indefinitely diminished, but they cannot be completely nullified in this world, and accordingly every human being must deviate more or less from Justice and Happiness. Therefore Justice, and its consequence, Happiness, will be inversely as the deviations. And this is what Plato undertook to prove, as a practical conclusion.

Mr. Grote having failed to keep steadily in view the real purport of the typical City, and the real point on which the stress of the analogy rests, sees nothing but inconsistency in the Republic. He, consequently comes to the conclusion, that Plato, though unable to reconcile his cherished sentiments with fact, was at the same time unwilling to abandon them, and that, thus divided in his allegiance, he confounded the offices of the Preacher and the Searcher after truth. The Searcher brings forward all facts indifferently without regard to their moral value; the Preacher, whose object is the improvement of his hearers, dwells on those tendencies which induce us to do good, well knowing that the opposite side is quite strong enough already; he bends the crooked stick in one direction, until he gives it proper straightness. But Plato is not merely one-sided, like the Preacher, he runs counter to obvious matters of fact, and moreover contradicts himself. His doctrine of Justice is subverted by the principle of Reciprocity — the very principle which he makes the basis of his model Republic. He is thus at once inconsistent with himself and with Fact. Such is Mr. Grote's view of the Republic from "his own point" of observation.

One question only then remains. Is Mr. Grote's point of view the proper one or not? An illustration from a field which the Anti-Platonist regards as sacred — the field of Physical research — is the best reply. [p43] There, Similarities and Dissimilarities are blended in apparently inextricable confusion. The investigator may begin with either the Similarities or the Dissimilarities. The History of Philosophy is in favour of commencing with the former. Had Newton devoted his attention, in the first instance, to the differences between an apple and the heavenly bodies, we should not probably have had the Law of Gravitation. Reason, moreover, is in favour of commencing with Similarities. If we commence with differences, we may become unable to discern any thing but differences; if we commence with agreements, we may become able to see that, what once appeared differences, are no longer such. So it is with Plato. If we are anxious to find out inconsistencies in appearance — in "seeming" but not in "being" — we shall find them in abundance. But the student of Plato will perhaps discover, that it is more fruitful, because more philosophical, to commence with the points of agreement. And of the sincerity of Plato the best warrant, if such were needed, is, the declaration which in this very Republic, he puts into the mouth of his Master, "Through error of judgment, to destroy life is, in my belief, less culpable, than to mislead those who ask me how Institutions may be built on what is Noble, Good, and Just."

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Essay II. The Protagoras: Can Virtue Be Taught?

Can Virtue be taught? Such is the question which occupies the greater portion of the Protagoras. To it Plato gives no explicit answer, but a proposition is laid down which is a step in that direction. That Virtue is Science is asserted by Socrates, and reluctantly admitted by Protagoras; but that Virtue is teachable is not expressly decided. Socrates, in concluding, points out in words, which he puts into the mouth of an imaginary critic, the seeming inconsistency of himself and Protagoras. He, Socrates, had asserted that Virtue was Science, but he had denied that Virtue can be taught. Protagoras had asserted that Virtue is not only teachable, but actually taught; while he had denied that Virtue was Science. And the imaginary critic, likewise, tells us, that if Virtue is not Science, Virtue cannot be taught. Plato thus seemingly lays down the principle, that Whatever is teachable is Science: but he abstains from asserting that all Science is teachable. At the same time he intimates that the presumption is, that if Virtue be Science, Virtue is teachable.

The express and positive result of the dialogue, is that Virtue is Science. And this result is arrived at in the following manner: —

Protagoras asserts that the proper study of mankind is that which fits him for the discharge of his social and political duties, and not any special branch of knowledge such as Logic, Astronomy or Mathematics. And this proper study he professes to teach. [p45]

Socrates, on the other hand, maintains that neither Protagoras nor any other man can teach Virtue. And his opinion is founded on the well known facts, that the sovereign assembly, on all points, save general policy, takes the advice of trained experts, such as engineers, architects, and the like; but on a question of general policy, they listen to everybody indifferently whether rich or poor, gentle or simple. And this Socrates argues would not be the case if there were professors of Virtue — the Art and Science of Human Conduct in its most general aspect.

The same conclusion is also evidenced by the fact, that eminent men, like Pericles and others, neither themselves teach, nor procure any one else to teach, their children, the principles of that wise conduct by which they themselves rose to eminence; while they have them carefully instructed in the various accomplishments of men of their rank. Protagoras replies by relating a myth which is meant to serve the double purpose of answering Socrates, and of accounting for the fact on which the counter-argument is founded.

The myth, ornamentation apart, asserts that all men are virtuous, more or less, and that, because Virtue is not only teachable, but is actually taught — taught too at every moment of a man's life from the cradle to the grave. Now Virtue (in other words the several qualities, Holiness, Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Fortitude) is taught because of its tutelary and beneficent qualities — because unless men shewed in their conduct some regard for each other, society could not keep together. Such regard moreover is sanctioned by the right, which every society exercises of inflicting the extreme penalty, death, on all who do not exhibit the required minimum of regard for others. And the penalty death, or in less aggravated cases, expulsion from society, fully insures on the part of parents and others, the constant teaching of virtue not indeed by [p46] technical rules, but by the still more potent means of example, and precept founded thereon. For these reasons, Protagoras asserts that Virtue is both teachable and actually taught, and that there are no experts or public professors of the Science of Conduct, because in fact everyone is perpetually teaching and perpetually taught, virtuous conduct: and that too, with the heaviest penalties attaching to negligence in learning, and to error in practice.

Socrates opens his argument rather cautiously, after expressing his admiration for his opponent's eloquence. Protagoras had, says he, alluded to Holiness, Justice, Temperance and Desire of Esteem, as if they were all one single quality covered by the one word, Virtue: Are then Holiness, Justice, Temperance, and Desire of Esteem, are these severally convertible with Virtue, or is Virtue a Whole, of which Holiness, Justice, Temperance and Desire of Esteem are the Parts or Fractions? Virtue, replies Protagoras, is a Whole, and its parts are Holiness, Temperance, Justice, and Desire of Esteem. Now these parts he continues, are related to the whole Virtue, as fractions to an integer, for example, as features to a face, and not as mere additions to an aggregate, not as any one piece of gold is related to all the gold in creation.

If so, asks Socrates, can a man possess one virtue, or rather one fraction of virtue, without possessing the rest? For, if the fractions are severally unique, what is to prevent it; and if so, how are we to reconcile this with the statement, that Virtue is essentially and integrally one — a totality and not an aggregate.

Certainly, says Protagoras, a man may possess any one fraction without the rest: he may be both brave and unjust; and he may be both just and foolish. Each of the fractions is not only unique, but all the virtues are of different values; and of these the most valuable is Prudence or Wisdom. [p47]

Here the point is left; but the question it involves, as to the meaning and force of negation, is fully discussed in the Sophistes. The latter dialogue carefully distinguishes the proposition which simply nullifies — the negative proper — from the Contradictory, which is incompatible with its opposite. Of contradictories, both cannot be true, but two bare negatives both may be true or not, according to circumstances. In other words, the contradictory is that negative proposition, [p48] which bears a certain definite relation to another definite proposition, which is its opposite, while the bare negative asserts more generally, that the alleged connection between subject and predicate does not hold. In the present case, Injustice is the opposite of Justice, and is consequently not Justice. Holiness, is also distinct in certain respects from Justice, hence Holiness is not Justice. Consequently Holiness and Injustice agree in not being Justice, but it does not follow that Holiness and Injustice are convertible. This logical exercise Plato leaves his reader to work out, and various passages in other dialogues turn on this logical distinction.

Socrates proceeds. Imprudence, ἀφροσύνη, is the opposite of Prudence, φρόνησις, and Imprudence, ἀφροσύνη, is likewise the opposite of Temperance, σωφροσύνη. Therefore, Prudence and Temperance, which are the opposites of Imprudence, are but one single quality, or have but one single quality in common, so far as they are opposed to Imprudence, for every opposite must be one, and one only. 332e.

But we had before seen, that Justice, and Holiness, if not identical, are nearly alike, as Justice is a holy quality, and Holiness a just quality. Hence results an apparent inconsistency between the doctrine, that the fractional parts of Virtue are severally distinct, and the doctrine, that a negative proposition has only one single contrary. For if Imprudence is single, its binary opposite, Prudence and Temperance, must be single too; and this also militates against the distinctness of the virtues. But the solution of the difficulty, how opposites may converge to unity, is given in the Philebus 18, of which more anon.

Socrates proceeds to examine the position of Protagoras. According to his opponent, some unjust men possess Temperance, and, therefore, so far aim at what is good. Men, consequently, who are unjust, but [p49] temperate, aim at what is good, and act so as to attain it. That is, their object and conduct are good to some extent. 333b-d.

Now good things, certainly exist; that is, things exist which are good. As to what is good, Socrates is inclined to define Goodness as Utility to Man, while Protagoras widens the definition, so as to include, besides things useful to man, things useful to the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Now, says Protagoras, Goodness is ultimately manifold, and exhibits infinite variety. 331, 334. This doctrine is of course at direct variance with Plato's theory that The Good is essentially one. And he tells us in the Phaedrus, that the essence of anything consists in its intrinsic Unity or Multiety. 271a.

This logical notion of essence is founded on his revolt from the Heraclitan doctrine of Flux or Multiety. But it is not a mere logical subtlety. Did the Good admit of diversity, did it exist as a plurality, or Multiety, morality in Plato's opinion would be reduced to the Protagorean standard. Man — that is the individual recipient — would be the measure of all things. And the Protagorean theory is a case of the Heraclitan Flux — a doctrine thus corrected in the Laws, that God, not man, is the measure of all things. 716c.


“God, not man, is the measure of all things.” — Laws716c.


Socrates, after a lengthy digression, reverts to the original question: Are Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, and Holiness, five different names for the one thing? Or does each of the five names express a separate or distinct quality or specific property? Protagoras admits that the four qualities. Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Holiness, are nearly alike; but Fortitude stands on a different footing. Many men have no good quality, save courage, 349, and have every vice, save cowardice.

Socrates, in reply, shows by an induction, that Ceteris paribus, the most skillful artist in each department [p50] is the most courageous: for example, the most skillful diver dives most courageously. Wisdom therefore is courage, and if so, courage does not stand on a different footing from the other virtues.

This inference is somewhat modified by Protagoras. In this way: — All courageous men display boldness, but on the other hand all boldness is not courage. Boldness may come from skill, from anger, from sentiment, and from madness. While courage comes from natural disposition and proper training.

Socrates replies: Some men live badly, others well. Men who live well, live pleasantly, and pleasure if not followed by evil is good. Now Fortitude enables a man to live pleasantly, and without annoyance. Fortitude, in a word, is both beneficent and tutelary. Fortitude is therefore good, and so far resembles the four other fractional parts. Now men attain what is good by wisdom or prudence; Fortitude, consequently is of the nature of wisdom.

Protagoras, after dividing pleasures into good, bad, and indifferent, a division adopted by Plato himself in the Republic and elsewhere, points to the notorious fact, that men act contrary to their knowledge of what is good: that they are induced by passion, pleasure, pain, love, and fear, to do what they know will be injurious. Their knowledge, in place of directing and controlling their actions, is made the slave of any feeling or impulse which may be uppermost for the time being. Such is the notorious fact.

Socrates, iaccordingly considers what is the meaning of being "overcome" by passion, or pleasure, or pain, or fear, or appetite. Being overcome by pleasure — a common Greek expression — means acting so as to incur certain disadvantages, which more than counterbalance the advantages of indulgence. But in determining how far advantages and disadvantages counterbalance and outweigh each other in each particular case, the [p51] understanding must be called in, dealing as we do, with questions of Equal, Greater, and Less. But questions which involve the notions Equal, Greater, and Less, belong to the science of Measure and Quantity. Consequently, in pursuing that course to which the balance of advantages inclines, we follow the dictates of Science, or Knowledge. In acting in opposition to the balance of advantages, we act in opposition to Science or Knowledge. But to act in opposition to knowledge is to act through a state of mind which ignores the dictates of knowledge, and therefore to act as Ignorance would prompt. For no one, save in error, chooses evil in place of good, as the final end and scope of action: nor will any one (and this is a Variation of the Experiment) with his eyes open, deliberately prefer a greater to a less evil. 358d.

Now acting through ignorance does not mean in Plato merely acting in the absence of knowledge: acting through Ignorance, is, as explained by Socrates, acting under the influence of any opinion or impression, which is at variance with the ultimate reality. Hence Ignorance — denotes in Plato something positive; viz. the presence of disturbing influences, which tend to weaken the force of ulterior interests. In other words. Ignorance expresses all sentiments, passions, and emotions, which lead us to put out of sight the consideration of our permanent interest, whether that interest be sought for in ourselves, or outside ourselves. Ignorance, in short, denotes the presence of temporary inducements, which may be, and generally are, in opposition to our ulterior and permanent advantages. Plato would class under the head of Ignorance, all the Laws of Emotion, both primary and secondary, which Brown has so well explained on psychological principles. Lecture 31, sq. In the vivifying power of emotion, we must seek for the explanation of the fact alleged by Protagoras that unfortunately for us, in moments of temptation, [p52] knowledge is not the master but the slave of impulse and passion. The phenomenon, as explained by Brown, is referred to a well-known psychological law that, when of several notions, any one becomes peculiarly vivid, the rest fade both relatively and absolutely. Plato himself in the Philebus, and the second book of the Laws, gives an explanation of the phenomenon, substantially similar. Just as in estimating distance, we are deceived in the case of very distant objects, so in judging of pleasures and pains we are liable to be deceived in two ways. All future pleasures and future pains appear diminished; and present pleasures dwarf the future pains with which they are contrasted. It is therefore evident, that Plato both saw and provided for the obvious objection from matter of fact to his theory of the rational nature of Virtue. In other words, no objection from experience can be urged against the doctrine. No one is willingly bad. But as exception has been taken to this doctrine by anti-Platonists, from Aristotle to Mr. Grote, it is worthwhile to consider Plato's explicit statements on the point.

In the Republic III. 413, we are told that men change their views either ἑκουσίως or ἀκουσίως and all changes of opinion which involve any sacrifice of truth come under the latter category. Sir James Mackintosh states the doctrine thus, "every soul is unwillingly deprived of truth." That "unwillingly" is a most inadequate rendering will clearly appear, if we study the list of causes which, in Plato's opinion, impede truth. These causes are Persuasion, Forgetfulness, Pain, Grief, Pleasure, and Fear. Now every act, done under the influence of any of these six causes, is said by Plato to be done ἀκουσίως. The man who yields to persuasion, "against his better judgment not convinced," acts ἀκουσίως. The man who from any cause forgets his duty, acts ἀκουσίως. The man on the rack, who utters what is true or false, acts in each case [p53] ἀκουσίως. The man, who in an agony of grief, commits suicide, acts ἀκουσίως. The man, who begs for mercy, acts ἀκουσίως. And, finally, the man who is led astray by the inducements of pleasure, acts ἀκουσίως.

To generalise: — the word ἀκουσίως denotes any and all of the disturbing causes, which induce us to act differently from what we should have done on a calm review of the whole of the case. The opposite state — acting ἑκουσίως — is keeping steadily in view all the circumstances which serve as the final justification of our conduct.

The distinction between the Motive, and the Justification of conduct has not been sufficiently attended to. In fact to understand any system of Ethics we ought i to distinguish between three things, the Motive, the Criterion, and the final Justification, the Excusatio, or Άπολογία of the agent to himself. For example, I see a man in distress: pity prompts me to relieve him. Pity is the Motive. Have I acted right in so relieving him? I have, for I have increased the sum of happiness in the universe. This is the Criterion. But, why should I increase the sum of happiness? Because, says Plato, you thereby help to develop Intrinsic Justice: Intrinsic Justice is the justification. In other words, when we act ἑκουσίως, Motive, Criterion, and Justification are in harmony, though not identical. When we act ἀκουσίως, they are incompatible.

In the Laws 860, sq., the same doctrine is presented to us, but from a different point of view. There, Plato is discussing the relation of Conduct to Legal Punishment. How does the doctrine, that men are "unwillingly" bad, cohere with the right of the state to inflict punishment on them — Punishment, too, which varies according to circumstances, although all forbidden acts are all done equally ἀκουσίως? In this way: — The Legislator regards conduct merely in its overt manifestations, and not in its intrinsic springs. From the Ethical or inner [p54] point of view, all actions are, in Platonic language, just or unjust. The just bring their own reward: the unjust bring their own punishment. From the Legal or outward standing point, actions are regarded solely as producing damage or benefit. The division is a cross one, since an unjust act may produce benefit, and a just act may work damage. And Plato in specifying the motives, which may animate the damage-feasor, and which may consequently subject him to inconvenience at the hands of the Law, mentions Anger and Fear, Pleasure and Appetite, and Ignorance. But Ignorance is, as we have seen, either the absence of knowledge or the presence of positive delusion. Acts done from these motives, because they work harm, are punishable, but they are also unjust, because the inferior motives domineer over the higher; while acts done from the higher motives, though they may produce damage, are always just. And so far as they are unjust, they are all done ἀκουσίως. This is the explanation of the so-called paradoxes of the Gorgias, over which the anti-Platonist imagines he gains such an easy victory. It is an easy victory, but it is not over Plato.

One objection brought by Mr. Grote elsewhere remains to be considered with reference to the desire for Good. "A man sometimes desires what is good for others, sometimes what is evil for others, as the case may be. Plato's observation cannot be admitted — that as to the will or desire all men are alike — one man is no better than another." II. p. 13.

Now, Plato is not considering what may be good for others, or the reverse, but insists that the ultimate end of all action must be either good or the lesser of two evils. Taking the most extreme case — Suicide in despair — even here the suicide proposes to himself a change of state, as he thinks that any thing is better than the present. He proposes to himself the lesser [p55] evil and "jumps the life to come." Whether he may injure himself or others, is a question of Means, but certainly not of End.

But to apply the Law of Emotions to the question in dispute between Socrates and Protagoras: — The four ethical qualities, Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Holiness, are in their essence Knowledge or Science. The point is therefore narrowed to this; Is Fortitude Knowledge or Science? 360b. Now the fact is, that both the coward and the brave man feel fear, but each is afraid of a different thing. The brave man dreads dishonour; he is afraid of being afraid: but the coward is so overcome by present danger, that the dread of subsequent dishonour fades away. Cowardice is therefore essentially of the nature of Ignorance, as previously described, that is the presence of an impression at variance with ultimate reality. But if Ignorance, so understood, is of the essence of Cowardice, its opposite Knowledge must be of the essence of Fortitude. Fortitude, therefore, is not of a different essence from that of the other virtues.

But if Knowledge is of the essence of the fractional parts of Virtue, Knowledge must be of the essence of the integral whole — Virtue. And that Virtue is Knowledge is the positive result of the Protagoras.

But if Virtue be Knowledge, Virtue in Platonic phrase is essentially one. The meaning of this proposition requires some attention.

Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice (one aspect of which is Holiness) are qualities coexisting so inseparably that we cannot apprehend any one without apprehending the rest. This can be proved. Before, however, we proceed to the proof, it may be observed that Holiness bears the same relation to God that Justice does to man. Hence to prevent unnecessary complication, the term Justice will be used as a genus, which includes both Justice Proper and Holiness. [p56]

The proof, that the four ethical qualities coexist inseparably, rests on a fact which is the foundation of Plato's Ethics. The fact is complex, namely that Reason foresees consequences, while Appetite altogether ignores them. From this fact, which is part of everybody's experience, Plato concludes that, while it is the function of reason to direct appetite, by pointing out consequences, it is not the function of appetite to direct Reason, as it can point out no consequences. This is all we require. Plato makes no assumption of Final Causes, nor any appeal to the obnoxious "ought," which so provoked Bentham. Plato insists only on a single fact which every human being admits more or less in practice, and which no one attempts to deny in theory. And this fact yields on analysis the four inseparable qualities.

Because; — a thing directing implies a thing directed, and a relation between the two as directing and directed. The three moments are therefore inseparable, any given one implying the other two.

In the present case, the thing directing is Reason, and the thing directed is Appetite. Now, Reason directing Appetite is the ethical quality Prudence.

But Appetite looks two ways. On the one side, it regards outer objects; on the other, the Agent's self. Now Appetite directed by reason and looking outwards is the ethical quality Fortitude; and Appetite directed by Reason and looking inward is the ethical quality Temperance.

If the reader will recollect that the object-matter of Fortitude is, in Plato, not merely danger, but pleasure, in a word, all bodily states, and that these latter comprehend not merely the actual objects of the senses, but the whole aggregate of rights and duties founded thereon, he will see that Directed Appetite covers all the duties we owe to Man. That is to say the Directing Reason is Prudence, and the [57] directed Appetite is, at once, Fortitude on the outside, or Temperance on the inside. That Fortitude has for its object not merely pain but pleasure, is expressly taught in the Laches, the Republic and the Laws, while legal and social rights and duties are classed with bodily states in the Republic and the Phaedo. Phaedo 66c.

Now, in the Republic, as we have seen. Justice is defined as the Due Division of Energy or Labour. But if reason directs and if appetite is directed thereby, each portion of the microcosm discharges its special function. Hence in such a state of things, the man acts in accordance with the Division of Labour. Justice therefore is but another name for the organisation and interdependence of Prudence, Temperance, and Fortitude. And any one of these implies the rest.

The only difference between Justice and Virtue is that Virtue expresses Prudence, Temperance, and Fortitude, in their convergence to unity, while Justice expresses the same qualities in their divergence to triplicity. The notions are equivalent, but not identical; Virtue is a Whole, and Justice is the Sum of Parts.

Plato's use of the term Fortitude must be attended to. In the Laws, his latest composition, not only is his extension of the term repeated, but the superior importance of steadiness in the face of pleasure to steadiness in the face of danger insisted on by the Athenian and admitted by his Spartan and Cretan friends. Laws 633d-e.

It will be also seen, that Protagoras draws the same distinction between true courage and mere animal dash, which is insisted on in the Republic and the Laws. He admits that science conduces to courage, but denies their identity. Now Plato in making knowledge the essence of courage, implicitly asserts that, in that case, courage must consist in being able to balance advantages and disadvantages in the midst of disturbing influences; and, as in his opinion, pleasure is a much [p58] more fruitful source of aberration than pain, Courage if scientific, must be able to compute the value of the various items of pleasure as well as of pain, and the fact, urged by Protagoras that many men have every vice save cowardice, need not cause any embarrassment. Protagoras to use a convenient distinction is talking of material virtue — of acts done from every motive but the best. Plato is talking of formal virtue — of acts done from no motive, but the best; and done with full consciousness of what we are about, that is, in his technical language, done scientifically — on grounds which we can and do set before ourselves, and, at least, defend in the eyes of others. But such scientific and formal virtue must be in one sense utilitarian: it must deal with consequences and effects of various kinds. And if we once admit the consideration of any consequences, we must in reason admit all. In this way again, utilitarian virtue must be one. It can be hardly necessary to point out that utilitarianism means the consideration of consequences, and must be carefully distinguished from the Greatest Happiness Principle, with which its connexion is purely accidental.

These considerations give us the key to the classification of the modes of virtue in the Laws. First comes Prudence, the directing reason. Second, a temperate habit of soul. Temperance, the directed appetite in its inner relation to the directing Reason. Third, Justice not without Fortitude — appetite on its two sides harmonised with the directing reason. And, fourthly. Courage — Fortitude — directed appetite looking outwards. The minor dialogue, the Laches, will be found in harmony with this account of the Platonic Virtue, Fortitude, and does not require separate consideration.

The original question started in the Protagoras of the teachableness of Virtue has been touched on in the chapter on the Republic. But, before leaving the Protagoras, it may be as well to point out the harmony [p59] of its digressions with the main body of Platonic teaching.

The introduction insists on two points familiar to the student of Plato. First, that the sophist must aim at some specific or definite end. That is, every art or science aims at something definite, there being no such thing in rerum natura as an art or science abstracted from particular matter, although sciences may have different values. 311, 312. cf. 318.

The second point insisted on in the introduction, is the paramount importance of all that relates to soul, the final recipient and assimilator of doctrine, whether for good or ill. 312-314. This point is identical with the main thesis of the Gorgias.

In the myth related by Protagoras, we find three Platonic points. First, the priority, both substantive and logical, of the divine to the human element: Second, the affinity of man to God: and Third, the right of society, coeval with its structure and necessary to its preservation, of visiting with the extreme penalty all open and avowed teaching which tends to subvert it. This last is the more remarkable, as the two ends of human punishment are clearly pointed out in this dialogue, namely the reformation of the offender and the example to others. There is therefore no antagonism between the doctrine of the Protagoras as to the uses of Punishment and the tenth book of the Laws.

In the exposition of the Verses of Simonides, besides the obvious use of the digression as ad absurdum of the way, in which books are quoted without the slightest notice of the context, or obvious drift of the composition, the following points occur. The affinity of Like to Like, the importance of which principle in the Platonic Metaphysics and Ethics is evident both in the Platonic Dialogues and in Aristotle's criticisms. The Principle of Contradiction is applied (340) according to its proper function, as set forth in the Sophistes. Vice is identified [p60] with Ignorance, that is, in other words, No one is willingly bad. 345.

It is interesting too to observe, that Crete and Lacedaemon are, as usual, accredited with superior wisdom; and the eminence of women in philosophy is pointed out. 340-342d.

But with the artistic excellencies or defects of the Protagoras, we are not at all concerned. The object of this chapter was to prove the unity, in Plato's opinion, of Virtue, and to shew how far matter-of-fact was any real objection to the great principle not only true in speculation, but fruitful in Charity — No one is willingly bad.

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Essay III. The Meno: From What Does Virtue Result?

The ethical question discussed in the Meno is, in part, similar to that which occupies the Protagoras. Meno asks, Is Virtue the result of Teaching? If not, is it the result of Practice? Or, does it come by Nature? Or, in what other way? The Dialogue shall, accordingly, be considered in its obvious relation to the Protagoras, without touching on the metaphysical portion, which deals with the Immortality of the Soul, and the famous doctrine of Reminiscence. Both topics have, however, an ethical significance.

Socrates commences by saying, just as he does in the Symposium 199e, the Gorgias 448e, the Republic 354b, and the Phaedrus, 237c-d, that we must first see what a thing is, before we trace out its consequences. For, unless we know what a thing is by itself, we cannot possibly know if any given predicate applies to it, or not.

Meno then declares that all human beings — man, woman and child, old and young, bond and free — have, each and all, their own peculiar Virtue. That, consequently. Virtue in general is relative to the several different objects, which the several differences in the respective modes of life point out, as suited to each individual. Thus, the Virtue of a freeman consists in serving the state, and in being able to protect himself and his friends, and to keep down his opponents. The Virtue of a woman consists in looking after the house, and in obedience to her husband. And so, of the other positions in life.

Socrates replies by showing, that although the [p62] occasions, which call for the exercise of Virtue, may, and do, vary from case to case, and from calling to calling, yet that in every exercise of Virtue we find two qualities at work. By the one, the Agent regulates his own conduct in relation to himself This quality is Temperance. By the other, the Agent regulates his conduct towards others. This quality is Justice. Now, if Temperance and Justice are found universally present in Virtuous conduct, and if Virtuous conduct is of the essence of Goodness, all human beings are good in and through Temperance and Justice. Since, then, all human beings are good in and through the same qualities, it is not correct to distinguish the Virtue, say, of a woman from the Virtue of a man. And from the discussion, as far as it has gone, we may infer that Virtue implies, in every case, a certain regulation of conduct, in regard to ourselves and others.

Meno, then, offers the following definition: — Virtue is the desire for what is good, coupled with the ability to secure it. Meno 77.

To this Socrates objects, that no one desires Evil for its own sake: that, in a word, no one is willingly bad. The definition, then, must be modified in this way: the desire for what is good being equal and constant in all men, men can only differ in their ability to secure what is good. If then the ability to secure what is good be the variable in each case, and if the faculties by which Virtue works be Temperance and Justice, and if Temperance and Justice be fractions of Virtue, we must conclude that Virtue is the ability to secure good by means of Temperance and Justice — by means of Temperance, as regards ourselves, and by means of Justice, as regards others. But, as Temperance and Justice are each a fraction of Virtue, the conclusion amounts to this, that if we have the fraction Temperance, we have the integer Virtue; and that if, on the other hand, we have the other fraction, Justice, we [p63] have the same integer, Virtue. Thus, in each case, the Part is the Whole. The apparent absurdity is obviated by the previous account of the convergence of the ethical qualities to Virtue, and the divergence of Virtue to these same qualities, ante. pp. 23-4.

Socrates repeats his apothegm, that we ought to know What Virtue is, before we enquire, if it admits of being taught. But in the absence of anything better, he proceeds to deal with the question by the following provisional method.

If Virtue be a psychical quality. Virtue must either admit of being taught, or not. Now all Science admits of being taught. If, then. Virtue is Science, Virtue admits of being taught; and, if Virtue is not Science, Virtue, says Plato, does not admit of being taught. Science, therefore, and whatever is teachable are, in Plato's opinion, convertible. Meno 87c. But, as the major is admitted, the question is narrowed to this. Is Virtue Science? And this question is determined in the affirmative in the Protagoras.

The argument in favour of this conclusion is given in the Meno 87c-89a, much more briefly, but more generally. As follows: — Virtue is a good thing, and what is good, is beneficent. Now, nothing is in itself either beneficent or maleficent, but attracts either predicate, according as it is used rightly or wrongly. But the right use of anything involves Knowledge — Prudence — φρόνησις — as its prerequisite. Hence, Virtue is, either partially or totally, Knowledge — Prudence — φρόνησις. But this gives us the negative result, that Virtue does not come by Nature, that is, in the ordinary course of the untutored development of the human being.

The question. What is the Genesis of the Moral Notions, has engrossed a large portion of modern speculation. It is the mode of stating the great problem of ethical psychology most familiar to the [p64] modern reader. And, yet, this mode of stating the question exactly inverts Plato's conception of the problem.

In this way: — According to Plato, the ethical faculty, φρόνησις, is one whose working is automatic — for it is intuitive Reason — and whose inherent activity is always at par, although its movements may be impeded by certain obstructions. The tendency of modern speculation — which has received its impetus from Aristotle, rather than from Plato — is to regard the moral principle as a resultant of counteracting pressures, one of which can only gain in force what the other loses. The preponderant habit, whether virtuous or vicious, grows gradually stronger, until the counteracting force is reduced practically to zero. Now, Plato would admit that the disturbing force may vary in intensity, from complete preponderance to practical non-entity; he would likewise admit that the various perturbations owe their strength to habit; but he would at the same time maintain that the mischief is altogether due to the obstacles which impede the working of the moral faculty, and not to any weakness either natural or acquired in the faculty itself. The strong man is there in all his strength, but he is bound hand and foot. Ethical training is, consequently, according to Plato, a process of removing the obstacles to the working of the moral faculty. Ethical training, therefore, must consist in minimizing the influence of the Senses — including in the latter term, not only their immediate objects, but also the mental notions attached thereto, such as Property, etc., and all other Rights and Duties, legal, social, and political. Ethical efficiency is, consequently, in the present state of things, at its height, when ethical training has reduced to a minimum the effect of all sensuous objects. And so, conversely, the worst state of the ethical subject is when habits of indulgence have maximized [p65] sensual influences. In either case, the terms body or senses must, as has been observed, be understood to comprehend, not only all the objects of the appetites, but also all the rights and duties, to which they give rise — in a word, all things in relation to the senses.

The objections to the doctrine, that Virtue is Science, raised in the end of the Meno, need not detain us long. It will be observed, that they consist in the statement of what is a pure matter of fact — a matter of fact too, which may be easily prevented. The matter of fact is — this, that if Virtue admitted of being taught, there would be professors and students of Virtue — the very objection urged against Protagoras by Socrates. Now Protagoras, as we have seen, denies the alleged fact; and even granting its truth, it amounts merely to this, that no expert in ethical training had as yet appeared. But the author of the Republic and the Laws would be the last man to be hampered by the favourite argument of the foes to improvement in all ages — that what has never been, can, therefore, never be. And the splendid contributions to civilization made by Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, and Epicurus, and their illustrious and zealous successors — contributions to which we owe nearly all that redeems modern thought from what is abject and sentimental — have happily enabled us to see that the objection no longer holds.

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Essay IV. The Gorgias

The Gorgias is divided into three parts:

I. The argument with Gorgias, 447-460.

II. The argument with Polus, 460-481, and

III. The argument with Callicles, 481-523.


I. The argument with Gorgias is to this effect: — The question proposed is, What is Rhetoric? 448. Now every art deals more or less with words; and words in turn deal with the subject-matter of the particular art in question. 450. Rhetoric, consequently, deals with words, but what is its object? To produce persuasion, and that, too, in the most important matters, Justice, and its opposite. Injustice. But, as the Rhetorician is a skilled expert, his business must be about what he thoroughly understands, and so he must know what Justice is. He will then do no injustice; he will not make injustice the ultimate end of his Rhetoric, 460e. But this conclusion is at variance with a previous statement made by Gorgias, that Rhetoric sometimes produces injustice, 456c-d. These two statements Socrates is unable to reconcile, for according to him, the Rhetorician, if he knows what justice is, cannot but do justice. 461. This is of course in other words the famous doctrine. No one is willingly bad.


II. Polus then takes up the argument, and eulogises Rhetoric as a means of obtaining power. In answer, Socrates draws a distinction between arts which do permanent good, and those which produce temporary pleasure. Man consists of body and soul, and there are arts especially adapted to the requirements of each. [p67] Now the arts, which do the body permanent good, are Gymnastic and Medicine, the former increasing its strength, and the latter removing disease. The art, which ameliorates the soul is Legislation, or the art of positive morality. All these do permanent good, but unhappily each is attended by a base counterfeit. Thus, Gymnastic and Medicine, which do permanent good, are counterfeited by Cosmetique and Gastronomy, which produce only temporary pleasure, while Sophistic, to which Rhetoric is an ancillary, apes Legislation, as a teacher of morality. Now things relatively to our volitions are either good, bad, or indifferent; and it is obvious that what is good only can be the ultimate End or scope of human action; whilst the bad or the indifferent is only sought as a step or Means to what is good. 468. To the statement, therefore, of Polus, that Rhetoricians, like despots, can do what they please, Socrates demurs. Rhetoricians do, indeed, what they like, but not what they will, since no one is willingly bad. Mere power, as such, therefore, cannot be praised; on the contrary an unjust use of power is the object, not of envy, as Plato asserts, but of compassion. 469. That is, as Socrates explains, of the two, the doer of wrong is more truly deserving of compassion than the sufferer of wrong, and if it were necessary for him, Socrates, to choose between doing and suffering wrong, he would prefer the latter. He also points out, that the wrong doer, the proper object of compassion, may be quite unaware of his wretched state. 464, 471.

Polus, on the contrary, attributes the unenviable lot of the wrong-doer solely to his liability to punishment at the hands of his fellow-men, who would eagerly commit the very act for which they punish him, if sure of impunity, and who all envy his conduct while they visit it with punishment. "The usurer hangs the cozener." [p68]

In Other words, according to Socrates, if we do harm to others, we do thereby greater harm to ourselves, even if we be guaranteed complete impunity. According to Polus, if we do harm to others, the only possible harm to ourselves is our liability to retaliation at the hands of others. It is obvious, the question between Socrates and Polus is that, which is the Main Thesis of the Republic, that Injustice is undesirable, principally because of its effects, in the first instance, on the Agent himself. Socrates thus lays down a proposition, which Polus accepts as a fair statement of the point at issue, namely, that Wrong-doers are wretched; but that Wrong-doers, who are punished are still less wretched than those who are not. As a logical test of argument, Socrates likewise insists, that no inconsistency can follow from Truth. But if inconsistency does not follow from truth, consistency cannot follow from falsehood. Consequently, inconsistency is a proof of the falsehood of the doctrine from which it flows. The inconsistency in the present case Socrates elicits as follows:

To suffer wrong, is, according to Polus, worse than to do wrong; but to do wrong, involves more Disproportion. If so, says Socrates, doing wrong must surpass suffering wrong, either in positive temporary pain; or in permanent evil; or in both, 475b-c. But doing wrong does not surpass suffering wrong in positive pain, and so does not surpass it in both. Therefore, to do wrong surpasses suffering wrong in some kind of undesirable quality, since it involves more Disproportion. 475c. So far is the first point proved.

The notion Disproportion will be at once understood by the student of Butler.

"The nature of man is adapted to some course of action or other. Upon comparing some actions with this nature, they appear suitable and correspondent to it: from comparison of other actions with the same nature, there arises to our view some unsuitableness or disproportion. The [p69] correspondence of actions to the nature of the agent, renders them natural; their disproportion to it, unnatural. That an action is correspondent to the nature of the agent, does not arise from its being agreeable to the principle, which happens to be the strongest; for it may be so, and yet be quite disproportionate to the nature of the agent. The correspondence, therefore, or disproportion, arises from somewhat else. This can be nothing but a difference in nature and kind (altogether distinct from strength) between the inward principles. Some, then, are in nature and kind superior to others. And the correspondence arises from the action being conformable to the higher principle; and the unsuitableness, from its being contrary to it."

That is, suffering wrong is contrary to man's sensibility; doing wrong is contrary to man's nature considered as a whole — the sum of parts, in mutual correlation and in subordination to the whole. This notion of a whole, at once profound and exact, is one of the many forms of ancient thought, which Butler has the merit of appreciating. A Whole is not a bundle of parts, it is an arrangement of parts, according to their fitness to one another, and to the end or function of the whole.

The second branch of the question is then discussed. Socrates maintains, that if you are guilty of wrong, it is better to suffer punishment than not; and this Polus denies. Socrates argues, it is better to suffer punishment, because the patient may thereby be reformed, and so far receive benefit; and the test of the efficacy of the punishment is the reformation of the offender, 477a. This reformation is brought about by the removal of Injustice, ἀδικία, and Injustice is the preponderance of the lower elements in the inner life — the Disproportion of Butler. Hence, then, just as with regard to the body, the best thing is never to be sick at all, and, if sick, the best thing is, to get well as soon as possible; so the most happy man is he, who neither [p70] commits injustice, nor suffers it; but, if he is unhappy enough to commit injustice, the next best thing is to be reformed, 478e. Hence, then, as has been pointed out in the section on the Republic, it is most unfair to represent Plato as teaching that the just man, say in prison, is absolutely happy. All Plato says, is, that the just man, in suffering wrong, is better off in his own opinion than in inflicting it — than the successful criminal — that Socrates in prison would not, if he had the chance, change places with Archelaus, the murderer and tyrant. 469, 473, 478e. This is virtually admitted by Mr. Mill when he points out that most people would prefer being Socrates to being a pig, though the pig has fewer troubles. Mill, Utilitarianism. Plato asserts, that the state of the good man in trouble is comparative. Plato's critics insist, that the just man's happiness is absolute, that he is rex denique regum, without reservation. And to put his conclusion in a clear though paradoxical form, Plato declares that a revengeful enemy will, if wise, endeavour to prevent his foe from making atonement, and thus exclude him from all the benefits of Reformation, 481b; just as Hamlet will not kill his uncle at his prayers, for fear he would be the means of sending to heaven the murderer of his father. And here closes the argument with Polus.

It is evident that the point upheld by Socrates against Polus, when stated in modern language, will be admitted at once — that a wrong action is wrong, not only for its overt consequences upon others, but still more for its intrinsic effects on the wrong-doer himself. In metaphorical language, as the agent is the producer of conduct, and as his inner organisation is the only machinery for the production of conduct, anything, that impairs the working-efficiency of the machine, stops pro tanto all further production. A couple of quotations will make Plato's meaning plain.

"Formed character is valued, because in feelings and [p71] in conduct, habit is the only thing which imparts certainty; and it is, because of the importance to others of being able to rely absolutely on one's feelings and conduct, and to one's self of being able to rely on one's own, that the will to do right ought to be cultivated into habitual independence. In other words the state of the will is a means to good." Mill, Utilitarianism, p. 60.

This view will not be denied by the disciples of one school of Ethics, nor the following by, perhaps, those of any: "The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness?"

The darkness of the eye, the depraved will, Plato describes by the metaphorical term disease. Mr. Grote, as cited before, argues that if there be disease, there must be pain. That there is no pain, is expressly stated by Plato; and its absence is, he says.

          The flattering unction
Which will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
While rank corruption, mining all within, Infects unseen.


III. Plato is quite aware of the consequences involved in his paradox, that Punishment is desirable: that life, if his theory is true, is turned upside down. Now, it may be observed, that punishment, from his point of view, is only desirable, if it produces reformation in the wrong-doer — if, like medicine, it is the least of evils. Upon this point, the Gorgias and the Protagoras and the Laws (728) are at one.

But Callicles professes to discover a verbal fallacy in the argument: when we say, it is worse to do wrong than to suffer it, worse is used in two different senses. Worse sometimes means What is Worse in a state of Nature; and sometimes What is Worse by positive Law, because it involves punishment. Law and Nature [p72] are thus opposed, 482, as Law is devised to protect the weak against Nature, i.e. the Prudence and Courage of the strong. For Nature, that is Impulse unrestrained by Law, leads the strong to oppress the weak, "the better the worse." What then, says Socrates, do we mean by The Better? If we mean superior in force, then the assertion of Callicles is not true, for then, in respect of strength, the Many are superior to the Few. This Callicles will not allow to be his meaning. But if the Few are to rule the Many, it must be because the Few are more prudent or more wise. Callicles is inclined to give as a definition of superiority. Wisdom and Courage in political life 491; and those, who have an excess of these qualities, ought to be paramount. Socrates then asks. Over whom are they to be paramount? over themselves, or over others? over others, certainly, and not themselves, says Callicles. Over themselves certainly, rejoins Socrates, over their own pleasures and desires 491d-e. No, says Callicles, Prudence and Courage enable a man to advance himself and his friends, and are thus good to himself and them. But Justice and Temperance are good to others only, and are esteemed by them, because they compensate for their own Imprudence and Cowardice, 492. This, substantially, is the view of the moral qualities which is so clearly set forth by Mr. James Mill.

"The actions from which men derive advantage have all been classed under four titles — Prudence, Fortitude, Justice, Beneficence. When those names are applied to our own acts, the first two, Prudent and Brave, express acts which are useful to ourselves in the first instance; the latter two, Just and Beneficent, express acts which are useful to others in the first instance. It is further to be remarked, that those acts of ours, which are primarily useful to ourselves, are secondarily useful to others; and those which are primarily useful to others, are secondarily useful to ourselves. Thus it [p73] is by our own Prudence and Fortitude that we are best enabled to do acts of Justice and Beneficence to others. And it is by acts of Justice and Beneficence to others, that we best dispose them to do similar acts to us." James Mill, Analysis, XXIII. 2nd Ed.

Callicles continues: — If Prudence and Wisdom be the means, pointed out by the light of nature, for securing our own good, and if Temperance and Justice be not means to our own good, but means to the good of others, it follows that Happiness consists in our attaining the objects indicated by Prudence and Courage, as suited to our wants. Happiness as it consists in satisfying wants, implies, in other words, an antecedent uneasiness and a consequent gratification. And here the question discussed in the Protagoras crops up again. Is Good anything more than the allaying of uneasiness? Is there any pleasure which is not good? This is the issue between Socrates and Callicles.

If, then. Pleasure and Good are identical, and if Pleasure and Good consist in satisfying wants. Prudence, Knowledge, and Courage, not being actual gratifications of antecedent wants, are not good. That Prudence, Knowledge, and Courage, are not good, Socrates denies, and then proceeds to make out his case by the following arguments: —

Good and Evil are contraries, 495e, and we cannot have two contraries at the same time. Consequently, if we can find things, which we can both possess and get rid of, in the same time, it is evident that the things, we thus simultaneously have and lose, cannot be Good and Evil, respectively, 496c.

Now, it is possible to feel pleasure and pain at the same time — to feel, for example, the pangs of hunger, and the satisfaction of allaying them with food; and so of our other bodily wants. It is obvious, therefore, that the pains of Vacuity, and the pleasures of Repletion are not Evil and Good, respectively. 496d [p74]

This argument will perhaps appear to the modern reader a mere verbal subtlety; but the distinction, on which Socrates insists, lies at the root of the Platonic Metaphysics. It involves the point discussed in the present day, Whether the Ego is anything more than a case of the universal law of Causation — Whether "the restless whirling mass of cares, anxieties, affections, hopes and griefs, that make up the living man," are the results, and the results only — of organisation, or Whether they centre in something, which is unchanged amidst the turmoil, which surrounds it: Whether we are, with Hume, to extend Berkeley's argument against Matter to Mind; or to admit, with Mr. Mill, that mind is something more than a series, that it is a series which can take cognisance of itself.

With large discourse
Looking before and after.

For, if the formula of our higher life be Pleasure and Pain, and if Pleasure and Pain be Vacuity and Repletion, then the Heraclitan Flux — the causation of Hume, Brown, and Mill — is the law of entire being. And against this law in its application to mind, Plato's whole philosophy. Ethical and Metaphysical, was one persistent protest.

But, if there be anything in our individuality, which is permanent and unchanged, and so contrasted with the ever changing succession of bodily states, it is probable, that the objects of the non-transient element are non-transient likewise. Hence, the argument of Socrates amounts to this: — If there be any thing non-transient, the philosophy of the Transient — that philosophy which in the present day resolves Psychology into Physiology — is not true, for it is not thorough-going, as it claims to be. For, as Socrates argues. Pleasure and Pain are processes of Vacuity and Repletion, and these not only may, but must, coexist in Time. On the other hand, Good and Evil [p75] are not processes, but states of mind in its ulterior development; and these are incompatible at the same moment. The ulterior states, then, Moral Good and Evil, are not of the same order as Vacuity and Repletion. There is, therefore, something for which the Law of Vacuity and Repletion does not account.

What, then, is the relation of Physiology to Psychology?

Dr. Maudsley says, "Few, if any, will now be found to deny, that with each display of mental power, there are correlative changes in the material substratum; that every phenomenon of mind is the result, as manifest energy, of some change, molecular, chemical, or vital, in the nervous elements of the brain." The Physiology and Pathology of Mind, p. 42. 2nd Ed.

But, granting that every step, in the correlative changes of the nervous elements, were so exactly ascertained, that, given any one set of nervous antecedents, we could infallibly predict the corresponding mental consequents, the Materialist could not, on the principles of the most advanced physical Philosophy, make good his case. In Physics, at all events, Hume's view of causation is admitted — we can never, in the absence of positive Experience, argue that a Cause is like its Effect, or that an Effect is like its Cause. We can never argue, that the mental consequent is a mode of molecular or chemical, or vital change. We can, in Mr. Mill's language, prove only invariable, and not, as is required, unconditional, sequence between mind and nervous change. To prove the latter, we should first isolate the mental consequent and the nervous antecedent, and, even then, we should have to try every possible antecedent, until we had exhausted creation. Then, if nothing but nervous change was followed by mental products, we could say, that nervous change is the cause of the Ego, but not till then. But, even then, to infer that, because the nervous change was the cause, its effect therefore resembled it, would be contrary to [p76] all modern thought. There is, moreover, another objection. The Physiologist proceeds by observation and experiment. Experiment, obviously, is only a more delicate and rigorous mode of observation. The microscope appeals to the eye, and so of other instruments. They all appeal to the various senses, that is, to the sensations of the Experimenter. But, that the greater portion of the sensations, which make up the so-called External World, is produced by subjective modifications is admitted by the majority of educated people; and the Berkeleian insists that the whole is due to the action of mind, or minds. Moreover, if we could construct a Frankenstein, and, at a particular moment, the lifeless structure were animated with the individuality and genius of Shakespeare or of Plato, we could not be sure that we had excluded that, which one school alleges to be invisible and incorporeal, and which no physical test has been hitherto able to detect. For, some one given state of the organism, and no other, may, for anything we can tell to the contrary, attract the Ego, and the most ultra-spiritualist may, without danger to his system, admit Dr. Maudsley's proposition in its fullest extent.

The same misapprehension of the true bearing of Physiology embittered recent discussions on the Origin of Man. On both sides, it was apparently conceded, that the existence of a Soul, peculiar to man, was incompatible with his development from species, less highly organized. But, surely, as far as mere Logic, apart from evidence, is concerned, both sides were wrong. There is no more peculiar difficulty in conceiving the spiritual being housed in the more developed Gorilla, than in postulating the special creation of entirely new tenements for the Souls of Men. For, the union of Soul and Body is equally incomprehensible, on either hypothesis. Of course, the logic of the discussion has nothing to do with the evidence alleged on either side. [p77]

The argument against Materialism is, so far, negative only. It may be alleged that, for all that, the Ego or Mind may be a result of organism. True. But, then comes in the positive evidence furnished by Introspection, by what is commonly called Consciousness. "What I perceive, I perceive as visible and solid. I, who perceive, am presented to myself, as non-visible and non-solid. I sum the first set of predicates, and call the whole Material. I sum the latter, and call, with at least equal grounds, the whole non-material, or Immaterial. Mind is, therefore, immaterial, as far as Consciousness testifies, and no Physiology can prove it the reverse. It must be recollected, that, to call the Ego immaterial, does not of necessity attribute nobler qualities to mind than to body, nor does it imply immortality. At the same time, the immateriality of Mind is a strong argument against all modes of destruction, which act by decomposition.

But against the method of self-observation, M. Comte directs a dilemma: "In order to observe, your intellect must pause from activity; yet it is this very activity you want to observe. If you cannot effect the pause, you cannot observe; if you do effect it, there is nothing to observe." But this Dilemma, like most others, can be very easily evaded. It quite ignores the existence of such a faculty as Memory. How do I know that the food I enjoy today is more palatable than what I had yesterday? By Memory. Does M. Comte's dilemma induce a physician to reject the description of sensations, which his patient felt the night before? And why not? Simply because the Physician trusts in introspection, as registered by Memory, and whatever incredulity he feels is due to distrust, not of consciousness, but of the patient's powers of observation. That the results of Introspection differ, renders Psychology more difficult, but certainly not chimerical.

And now to apply these considerations: — If, as [p78] Plato thinks, we can discover a non-transient element in the Ego, the reality of that permanence is as much a fact as the reality of the nervous organism, by which the Materialist explains it away. Nay, an Idealist would add, that there is more evidence for the former than the latter.

To resume: — Good things are good by the presence of Goodness; and in the same way. Pleasure is caused by the presence of Pleasant qualities: now, as both the prudent and the imprudent man, the brave man and the coward, are susceptible of pleasure and of pain, it would follow, that if pleasure and good are identical, these people, so far as they receive pleasure or pain in equal degrees, are equally good or bad, 499b. We must, then, draw a distinction between pleasures, which are beneficial and those, which are not — that is between those, which, produce some permanent advantage, and those, which produce mere temporary gratification — a distinction insisted on in the Republic, the Protagoras and the Philebus. But if pleasures differ thus in kind, we require Science to discover their properties and to tabulate them, according to their respective utilities. And the relation of Science to Virtue has been already discussed in the Protagoras.

We have now, says Socrates, established an inconsistency between the doctrine that it is good to satisfy all our desires, and the doctrine that it is good to satisfy some only. And the inconsistency thus evolved from the thorough-going doctrine of Callicles, shows that is not true. But if we are to gratify some desires only, we must put in requisition the ascetic qualities, Temperance and Justice, to temper the outward tendencies of the non-ascetic qualities. Courage and Wisdom. Hence, then, the task of the Ethical Expert, whether private or public — the virtuous individual, or the wise politician — is to produce Harmony and Order [p79] in the body ethical or politic; and thus bring the Microcosm into harmony with the all-pervading law of Order, which rules the Universe. Nay more, even in the non-ascetic Virtues, whose direct tendency is outwards — Wisdom (φρόνησις) and Courage — we can detect ascetic elements: in Wisdom, as it embraces in its comprehensive ken all consequences whatsoever; and in Courage, for that enables us not merely to confront danger and pain, but to combat the pleasures which "war against the soul." 504-507. But, if this is so, Socrates has proved his point, that, next to being completely happy, in and through abstinence from injustice and exemption from suffering wrong, the second best thing is to undergo chastisement "That must be cruel, only to be kind,"" provided it be the necessary step to the rehabilitation of the wrong-doer.

The positive result of the Gorgias is, to borrow a metaphor from modern physics, that, as in the Macrocosm, the centrifugal force is tempered by the centripetal, so, in the Microcosm, the impulsive qualities, Wisdom and Courage, must be harmonised by the repressive qualities, Temperance and Justice. And we have seen, in the preceding sections, that Wisdom and Courage, Temperance and Justice, are the fractional parts of the one integer, Virtue.


“Upright creatures may want to be improved;
depraved creatures want to be renewed.”


The main conclusion of the Gorgias is condemned by Mr. Grote as inexact. Mr. Grote objects, that the Platonic Ideal exacts as Good, order, system, or discipline; and that, granting this, Plato does not tell us in what particular order, good, system, or discipline consists. Now, as Plato is arguing, throughout the dialogue, against the exertion of the egoistic forces at the expense of the altruistic tendencies, and as the egoistic forces do not require to be strengthened, it is surely to the point, to show that Excellence in Conduct involves a certain amount of self-repression. [p80] When Rhetoric is recommended as a mere instrument of power, quite independent of its use or abuse, when the possible Means of doing evil is exalted to an End, when the Anti-social Qualities are praised just so far as they override the social tendencies, it is surely no small contribution to Ethical science, to enunciate that these doctrines, so far as they regard self alone, are wrong — wrong in theory and wrong in practice. It is, surely, something, to show that the man, who has never done wrong, must repress Self, in order to keep clear of wrong, and to show, that he, who has actually done wrong, requires to have Self still further repressed. And the two conclusions of the Gorgias may be nearly given in the words of the only English Moralist, who approaches Greek Ethics in dignity of purpose and masculine severity of thought; upright creatures may want to be improved; depraved creatures want to be renewed.

The alleged inconsistencies between the Protagoras and the Gorgias will be considered in the closing section.

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Essay V. The Philebus: Pleasure and Pain, Good and Evil

The following section deals with the Philebus so far only as that Dialogue is ethical. To justify Plato's classification of the various objects of the human faculties, would involve an examination of the Platonic metaphysics. Without entering upon that field of speculation, sufficient may be gathered from the Philebus to complement the partial, but not incompatible, doctrines of the Protagoras and the Gorgias.

One metaphysical distinction must be insisted on here. Plato divides the objects of cognition into two classes — The Transient and the Non-Transient. The' Transient element is equivalent to the province of Causation as set forth by Hume, Brown, and Mill. An antecedent A is followed by a consequent B, and B in turn is the antecedent to a new consequent C, and so on to infinity. To this class belong the external world, and our organism. The other class, the Non-Transient, is not subject to Antecedence and Consequence, but is permanent and non-temporal. To this second class belong the higher faculties of the mind, and the Divine Causal Energy, God. In the first class, Plato sets the objects of the bodily appetites, and all such pleasures as are reliefs of an antecedent want. As a want is more or less painful, Plato calls all pleasures that act by stimulation mixed, that is, mixed with pain. The pleasures which are not mere reliefs, he calls unmixed or pure. These words have no ethical significance; they do not connote praise or [p82] blame, but signify merely the presence or absence of want. But as the second class — the non-transient — are the objects of certain mental faculties, Plato confers upon these objects the name Good, Now Good has no contrary of equal rank. To cognise Good, we must be free from certain bodily states, and the presence of such bodily states is Evil. Hence the state of a man may be good, as well as pleasant. - His state may be, likewise, evil and pleasant. But his state cannot be good and evil at the same time. Evil, as far as it extends, effectually excludes Good. Consequently, Pleasure and Pain — Good and Evil — are in Plato's philosophy cross-divisions. This will be seen from the Philebus.

Pleasures are divided into two classes: First, pleasures, mixed with either physical or mental pain; Second, pleasures, unmixed with either physical or mental pain. This classification is obviously psychological.

The Mixed Pleasures are subdivided into three species: Those in which both sensations are corporeal; those in which one sensation is corporeal, and the other mental; and those in which both sensations are mental. But, in each of these three species, some pleasures are good, some bad, and some indifferent. That is to say, the good man will choose the good, eschew the bad, and submit to the indifferent, when necessity compels. What renders them good or bad is the influence which they exert upon the higher faculty — that which confronts Good. It is evident, then, that this division of pleasures is ethical.

On the other hand, the Unmixed Pleasures are all good. They are also subdivided into three species: those belonging to the sense of Smell; those of Sight and Hearing; and those of Intellect. And the latter species includes the objects of the Platonic Dialectic, Being in its highest essence, so far as it can be cognised by human beings. [p83]

The pleasures of Smell are wholly corporeal, but are not preceded by Want. The pleasures of Ear and Eye are partly corporeal and partly mental; and the third species is purely mental in all its varieties. But neither the second nor the third species is preceded by Want.

It is plain, that the pleasures of the mass of mankind belong psychologically to the class of Mixed Pleasures. To such an extent is this true, that Mr. Grote and Professor Bain wish to reduce most of the Unmixed Pleasures, which they admit to be. real, to the class of Mixed. Of this, more anon. But it is likewise evident that an ethical treatise will class desirable things according to their ethical qualities. Goodness or Badness, and not according to their psychological aspects. This is the solution of the difficulties which Mr. Grote sees in the Protagoras and the Gorgias.

The Protagoras tells us to choose the balance of advantages: the Gorgias, looking to the psychological aspect, tells us that the Transient element is generically opposed to the Non-Transient, and as the Non-Transient is Good, the Transient is generically bad. For, the good man regards the Mixed pleasures as necessary evils, and the Unmixed pleasures, which depend wholly on sense, are those of smell only; for one component of visual and audible pleasure is intellectual: such are the pleasures of Proportion and Harmony. But the pleasures of eye and ear are ethically valuable only for their educational uses, since they are only good, so far as they are means to Good. Hence, the conclusion of the Gorgias, that the Transient element, when pursued as an end, is not good, and therefore may be positively bad. The student of Butler will recollect his distinction between Self-love considered as an active principle, and Self-love considered as a passive feeling. In the latter case, [p84]

"It may be questioned, whether Self-love, considered merely as the desire of our own interest or happiness, can, from its nature, he absolutely and uniformly coincident with the Will of God any more than particular affections can; coincident in such sort, as not to he liable to he excited upon occasions and in degrees, impossible to he gratified consistently with the nature of things, or the divine appointment." Analogy I. 5.

In this passage, the Will of God is the objective element of morality, which corresponds to The Good of Ancient Ethics. If the transient or pleasurable element be substituted for Self-love, and The Good for the Will of God, we have in modern language the exact relation of the elements which are distinct, and possibly, but not actually, antagonistic in the Platonic Ethics. Again, to quote Butler, "all things, which are distinct from each other, are equally so." The Transient element — Pleasure — is not the non-transient element Good; Pleasure is, therefore, distinct from Good, and so far opposed to it. And this is the conclusion of the Gorgias.

The positive conclusion of the Protagoras is that Virtue, of which Fortitude is a phase, is Science, and so One. That is. Virtue is a state of the non-transient, and not of the transient element in the Ego. Now Fortitude deals with Pains and Pleasures; and of the two. Pain is the least important object of the Virtue. Laws 633e. If, therefore. Fortitude, when it deals with pain, has to take into consideration what is Honourable and Good, if it has to weigh against the pleasures of safety the pain of dishonour, and the consequent deterioration of the Ego, it is plain that Fortitude weighs Pain against Pain, the fear of the present against the fear of the future. But Protagoras had admitted that the other ethical qualities were nearly alike, but maintained that Fortitude was of separate kind. If Socrates proves that Fortitude has the same essence as the rest, namely Rational [p85] Self-Command, then the doctrine of Protagoras is overthrown. But Fortitude, in the ordinary sense, as used in the Protagoras, deals with pains only. Hence then in the case of Fortitude, as its evil is Pain, its Good must be the reverse, of Pain — Pleasure — and its Evil the reverse of Pleasure — Pain. So that if we set the uses of Fortitude on the lowest ground, we find that it is of the nature of Science; and this conclusion Socrates sets up against the general view.

On the other hand, as against Gorgias, Protagoras, and Prodicus, he establishes the further conclusion, that being Scientific, because it deals with Measure, it is of the same nature as the other ethical qualities. But although in the purview of Fortitude, Evil is primarily Pain, it does not follow that the other "Virtues deal primarily with Pain. Nay, even Fortitude itself, when it deals with Pain, and weighs the future against the present, has to set in one scale considerations of what is Honourable and Good, because these are sources of future pain. In a word, the Good and Evil of the Protagoras are the Good and Evil of Fortitude, and so of the transient element, with which that Virtue deals. But in the sphere of the transient. Good and Evil must be Pleasure and Pain, and nothing more. There is thus no antagonism, but complete harmony between the Protagoras and the Gorgias. The Protagoras discusses the Good and Evil of the Transient, and that Good is identical with Pleasure, and that Evil is Pain. The Gorgias discusses the Good of the Non-Transient, and that Good is not transient, and so distinct from Pleasure, which is transient.

To establish the distinctness of the Transient and Non-Transient elements, would involve an examination of Plato's metaphysics. Such an investigation would be obviously out of place in an ethical treatise. The Reader will, however, find in the appendix the leading [p86] passages in Plato on the subject. But the psychological distinction between Mixed and Unmixed Pleasures rests on what is part of every body's experience. Intellectual pleasure, according to Plato, is not preceded by any Want: the particular instance, Mathematics, is questioned by Mr. Grote, and the general principle by Mr. Bain, at least as far as scientific studies are concerned.

Mr. Grote, criticising Aristotle, who agrees with Plato, observes that "if he had examined the lives of Mathematicians, especially that of Kepler, he would hardly have imagined that Mathematical investigations have no pains attached to them," Vol. ii. p. 607, Note X. Mr. Grote, immediately gives as Aristotle's probable meaning, the very explanation, which Plato gives explicitly on the point: "He probably means," says Mr. Grote, "that they are not preceded by painful appetites such as hunger and thirst." ib. But, Plato in asserting that intellectual pleasure is not preceded by pain, declares that he is speaking of these pleasures in their natural development, stripped of all intellectual associations, Philebus 52b; and he expressly recognises some of the annoyances incidental to the study, ib. a-b.

Professor Bain, besides adopting Mr. Grote's objection, brings a new one of his own. "The highest charms of knowledge are a reaction from the pains of ignorance." Macmillan, Vol. xii., p. 468. But Plato would reply as before. He is talking of natural development, and not of intellectual associations. We may feel humiliated by coming in contact with a better informed man; but the pain of humiliation is not a pain of ignorance. Where such a pain is evoked, it arises either from envy or from shame. Envy may be caused by any superiority at all in size, strength, beauty, dress, rank, wealth; and when we do feel ashamed of ignorance, it is because either our pretensions have been exposed, or because we feel that [p87] we have wasted the opportunities of acquiring the knowledge, which reminds us of our deficiency. On the contrary, accidental associations apart, the better any intellectual object is known the better it is liked. A man of taste may hate the Aeneid, because he was forced to learn it as a task, or because he has been compelled to teach it. But, compulsion apart, are not Music and Poetry better liked just in proportion as they are better known? If so, it is an Experiment by way of Variation in favour of Plato's views. Complete knowledge must exclude all antecedent want. If I know a favourite piece of poetry by heart, I cannot surely want to know it, and yet I can receive the highest pleasure from either reading or hearing it. It is surely far fetched to say, that the pleasure a mature man derives from something he learns when a child is a "reaction from the pains of ignorance." The same facts justify Aristotle in assigning the pleasures of knowledge to more perfect beings.

The distinction, then, between Mixed and Unmixed Pleasures is founded on fact, and as the former merely cancel a want, while the latter are a direct source of positive pleasure. Psychology is on the side of Plato's Ethics. The preceding pages are an attempt to evolve from Psychology a justification of Plato, but the writer is fully aware how imperfect every such attempt must be, if any one portion of Platonism be divorced from its complement. It is one of Plato's pre-eminent merits, that he never allows himself to become the slave of abstraction. The ultimate object of man is good; philosophy is therefore ethical in its final phase, but before it has taken that final phase, it has subsumed the most minute Psychology, and the most profound Metaphysics.

For the Ethics of Plato, the following merits, theoretical and practical, are confidently claimed. Theoretically, the system is perfect; resting as it does [p88] on a statement, like an axiom in simplicity, but unlike in fruitfulness — Reason reckons Consequences; Appetite does not. Practically, the system points to the state of the Agent, as the main factor of the ethical product.

The Platonic Ethics are, moreover, rational, and not sentimental, as they are founded upon the widest and most minute calculation of consequences, without ignoring the emotive element, as an important item in the sum.

As regarding Consequences, the system subsumes, and places in its due position the Principle of the Greatest Happiness to the Greatest Number; for it justifies that Motive by its relation to the Agent; not the Agent by his relation to the Motive. And lastly, as making Emotion the servant, and not the master of Reason, it overthrows the prevalent veneration for mere Will, which has degraded history to Hero-worship, and which fosters the vulgar delusion, that restlessness is energy, and insensibility to argument firmness of mind.

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Appendix A: Θυμὸς — τὸ Θυμοειδές

In an Essay on the Platonic Idea, published in 1866, I stated that the emotional fraction of the Soul, θυμὸς, contains the emotive or impulsive moiety of the Will, as well as the sentimental feelings of Modern Psychology, p. 113. This view, I am happy to say, is confirmed by Dr. W. H. Thompson, in his Phaedrus, App. I. pp. 164-7. To the passages there cited, add τὸ θυμοειδὲς οὐ πρὸς τὸ κρατεῖν μέντοι φαμὲν καὶ νικᾶν καὶ εὐδοκιμεῖν ἀεὶ ὅλον ὡρμῆσθαι; καὶ μάλα. εἰ οὖν φιλόνικον αὐτὸ καὶ φιλότιμον προσαγορεύοιμεν, ἦ ἐμμελῶς ἂν ἔχοι; ἐμμελέστατα μὲν οὖν. Republic IX. 581a-b. As to the abuse of θυμὸς, περὶ τὸ θυμοειδὲς οὐχ ἕτερα τοιαῦτα ἀνάγκη γίγνεσθαι, ὃς ἂν αὐτὸ τοῦτο διαπράττηται ἢ φθόνῳ διὰ φιλοτιμίαν ἢ βίᾳ διὰ φιλονικίαν ἢ θυμῷ διὰ δυσκολίαν, πλησμονὴν τιμῆς τε καὶ νίκης καὶ θυμοῦ διώκων ἄνευ λογισμοῦ τε καὶ νοῦ; Republic 586c-d. θυμὸς is, besides, the instrument and executioner of penal Justice, Laws V. 731b-e, and in this sense corresponds to Butler's Resentment. In the Phaedrus, 253e, 254e, the effect of sentiment on animal desire is described at length. The immortal Steed, θυμὸς, feels αἰδὼς in presence of the beloved object, 254a; he submits to restraint ἕκοντα, ib. c, and the result is, ὥστε συμβαίνει τότ᾽ ἤδη τὴν τοῦ ἐραστοῦ ψυχὴν τοῖς παιδικοῖς αἰδουμένην τε καὶ δεδιυῖαν ἕπεσθαι, 254e. In the same dialogue, the immortal Steed, θυμὸς, is described as ἀληθινῆς δόξης ἑταῖρος, 253d, and the words present some difficulty. Ἑταῖρος is that which is in sequence with something else, either as concomitant or antecedent. So, the mortal Steed, ἐπιθυμία, is ὕβρεως καὶ ἀλαζονείας ἑταῖρος, ib. e. that is, has for its object ὑ καὶ ἀ. In Republic IV. 439d, τὸ ἐπιθυμητικόν is πληρώσεών τινων καὶ ἡδονῶν ἑταῖρος, i.e. has for its object π.κ.ἡ.; and in Gorgias 510a, the alternative is ἢ τῆς ὑπαρχούσης πολιτείας ἑταῖρον εἶναι, i.e. to put oneself en rapport with the establishment. Retaining, then, the ordinary sense of ἀληθινῆς, and comparing Republic 581b, where the Cognitive Faculty [p90] is said to disregard χρημάτων τε καὶ δόξης, which are the objects of the other two Faculties, we may render ἀληθινῆς δόξης ἑταῖρος, which has for its object, true glory, i.e. the pleasures of the Timocratic man, Republic VIII. 550b, as opposed to the respect paid to mere wealth, καὶ γὰρ ὁ πλούσιος ὑπὸ πολλῶν τιμᾶται. Republic 582c.

With regard to the exhaustiveness of Plato's tripartition, excepted to by Mr. Grote, 3. 177, note 7, and in a less degree, by Dr. Thompson, 166, we must recollect that Plato is professedly writing on Ethics, and not Psychology. He, therefore, deals with Psychology, only so far as it supplies Principles and Springs of Action, just as Economy appeals to the same science for its complex mental facts, without requiring any further analysis. For example, it does not enquire whether the Desire of wealth is connate or acquired. Surely an Ethical writer would be warranted in referring the wooing and murder of Desdemona to the same passion, love, although a Psychologist would not. For the former considers any given feeling only so far as modifies Conduct for good or ill.

But, further, θυμὸς is in its Ethical function repressive, and not "protreptic," being evoked whenever the dictates of Reason are disobeyed by the unruly ἐπιθυμία. In the absence of anger, that is, when the Reason is hearkened to, the softer feelings come into play. So the watch-dog, of a good breed, when not angry, is gentle, Republic II. 375e-376a; and the judge, save in cases of absolute necessity, tempers severity with the reflexion, that every wrong-doer is the proper object of compassion, as he wrongs himself more than anybody else. Laws 731b-d. θυμοειδῆ — γὰρ τὸν ἀγαθόν. cf. Gorgias 469a-b. εὐφήμει, ὦ Πῶλε — καὶ ἧττον ἢ ὁ δικαίως ἀποθνῄσκων. It may be observed that these views of Plato are not expressions of sympathy, but consequences of his premisses. And as to the exhaustiveness of the tripartition for ethical purposes, the result may be best given in Dr. Thompson's words:

"We shall therefore, I conceive, be justified in enlarging the term θυμὸς, so as to include, not merely anger, but all the passions and sentiments which prompt to energetic action, and which are thus the natural counterpoise to the appetites, of which either sensual pleasure or mere bodily repletion (πλησμονή) is the object." p. 166.

One of the objects of θυμὸς is Injury, Republic 440c-d, and, [p91] so, it is the emotive portion of the Moral faculty. This will be better seen in App. B.

The opposition between θυμὸς and Appetite may have been suggested by the Hymn to Mercury, 130;

ἔνθ᾽ ὁσίης κρεάων ἠράσσατο κύδιμος Ἑρμῆς:ὀδμὴ γάρ μιν ἔτειρε καὶ ἀθάνατόν περ ἐόνταἡδεῖ᾽: ἀλλ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ὥς οἱ ἐπείθετο θυμὸς ἀγήνωρ, καί τε μάλ᾽ ἱμείροντι, περῆν† ἱερῆς κατὰ δειρῆς. {Then glorious Hermes longed for the sacrificial meat, for the sweet savour wearied him, god though he was; nevertheless his proud heart was not prevailed upon to devour the flesh, although he greatly desired. [Gemoll explains that Hermes, having offered all the meat as sacrifice to the Twelve Gods, remembers that he himself as one of them must be content with the savour instead of the substance of the sacrifice.]}

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Appendix B: Plato's Alleged Inconsistencies

The Four Ethical Qualities

I. Fortitude. As to Fortitude, Mr. Grote says, "in the Laches, one of the several definitions of Courage, tendered to Sokrates and refuted by him, is the very definition of Courage determined by him in the Republic as complete and satisfactory." 3. 164-5. Mr. Grote refers to Republic 429c, 430b, 433c as compared with Laches 194e-195a, τὴν τῶν δεινῶν καὶ θαῤῥαλέων [195a] ἐπιστήμην, 196c-199a-e. Now, the question in the Laches, What is ἀνδρεία, is framed in such a way, as exactly to fit the answer in the Republic. The object-matter of the virtue is the same both in the question in the Laches and in its answer, in the Republic, and the Laws. Not only Danger and Pain are comprehended, but also Appetite and Pleasure.

βουλόμενος γάρ σου πυθέσθαι μὴ μόνον τοὺς ἐν τῷ ὁπλιτικῷ ἀνδρείους, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς ἐν τῷ ἱππικῷ καὶ ἐν σύμπαντι τῷ πολεμικῷ εἴδει, καὶ μὴ μόνον τοὺς ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς ἐν τοῖς πρὸς τὴν θάλατταν κινδύνοις ἀνδρείους ὄντας, καὶ ὅσοι γε πρὸς νόσους καὶ ὅσοι πρὸς πενίας ἢ καὶ πρὸς τὰ πολιτικὰ ἀνδρεῖοί εἰσιν, καὶ ἔτι αὖ μὴ μόνον ὅσοι πρὸς λύπας ἀνδρεῖοί εἰσιν ἢ φόβους, ἀλλὰ καὶ πρὸς ἐπιθυμίας ἢ ἡδονὰς δεινοὶ μάχεσθαι, καὶ μένοντες καὶ ἀναστρέφοντες — εἰσὶ γάρ πού τινες, ὦ Λάχης, καὶ ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις ἀνδρεῖοι — Λάχης: καὶ σφόδρα, ὦ Σώκρατες. Σωκράτης: οὐκοῦν ἀνδρεῖοι μὲν πάντες οὗτοί εἰσιν, ἀλλ' οἱ μὲν ἐν ἡδοναῖς, οἱ δ' ἐν λύπαις, οἱ δ' ἐν ἐπιθυμίαις, οἱ δ' ἐν φόβοις τὴν ἀνδρείαν κέκτηνται: οἱ δέ γ' οἶμαι δειλίαν ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῖς τούτοις. Λάχης: πάνυ γε. Σωκράτης: τί ποτε ὂν ἑκάτερον τούτων; τοῦτο ἐπυνθανόμην. Laches 191c-e.

What, then, is the answer in the Republic? Καὶ ἀνδρεῖον δὴ οἶμαι τούτῳ τῷ μέρει καλοῦμεν ἕνα [442c] ἕκαστον, ὅταν αὐτοῦ τὸ θυμοειδὲς διασῴζῃ διά τε λυπῶν καὶ ἡδονῶν τὸ ὑπὸ τῶν λόγων παραγγελθὲν δεινόν τε καὶ μή. Republic 442b-c. That is, Fortitude is that temper of mind which keeps appetite under the control of Reason. It is obvious that the definitions [p93] rejected in the Laches dwell upon the rational directive element only, and leave out its emotive auxiliary.

2. Temperance. As to Temperance, Mr. Grote says: "in the Charmides, one of the definitions of Temperance refuted, and even treated as scarcely intelligible, by Sokrates (τὸ πράττειν τὰ ἑαυτοῦ) is the same as that which Sokrates in the Republic relies on as a valid definition of Justice." III. 165. Τὸ πράττειν τὰ ἑαυτοῦ is, of course, the definition of Justice in the Republic, and so, is verbally identical with the definition rejected in the Charmides. But the identity is verbal only. For, waiving the objection that the definition belongs to distinct qualities — Temperance and Justice — the definition in the Charmides, τὸ πράττειν τὰ ἑαυτοῦ is explained to be, not only different from the definition in the Republic, but its exact opposite. That in the Republic means the Division of Labour; that in the Charmides, the Concentration of Labour, i.e. that every man for example, like Hippias, should make his own shoes and clothes, δοκεῖ ἄν σοι πόλις εὖ οἰκεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τούτου τοῦ νόμου τοῦ κελεύοντος τὸ ἑαυτοῦ ἱμάτιον ἕκαστον ὑφαίνειν καὶ πλύνειν, καὶ ὑποδήματα σκυτοτομεῖν, καὶ λήκυθον καὶ στλεγγίδα καὶ τἆλλα πάντα κ.ε. Charmides 161e-162a. It is, surely, legitimate to reject one, and accept another, explanation of the same words. If not, what becomes of argument?

3. Prudence. As to Prudence, φρόνησις, there is no such contradiction, as Mr. Grote alleges, between the Theaetetus and the Republic. The question of the Theaetetus is What is Science, ἐπιστήμη, that is. Knowledge considered from the objective side; while the Republic deals with Prudence, φρόνησις, the intellectual faculty in contact with Moral Good. For, φρόνησις is not only the directing faculty, but it is also the faculty which cognises κάλλος, Symposium 203c-d. (Ἔρως φύσειἐραστὴς ὢν περὶ τὸ καλὸν, and he is also φρονήσεως ἐπιθυμήτής. cf. ἔστι γὰρ δὴ τῶν καλλίστων ἡ σοφία, Ἔρως δ᾽ ἐστὶν ἔρως περὶ τὸ καλόν, ὥστε ἀναγκαῖον Ἔρωτα φιλόσοφον εἶναι. ib. 204b) and God, Theaetetus 176a-c, where ὁμοίωσις θεῷ κατὰ τὸ δυνατόν is defined to be δίκαιον καὶ ὅσιον μετὰ φρονήσεως γενέσθαι.

Nor is the account in the Phaedo 69a-b, different, for the difference is pointed out between the Philosophic or Ethical Expert, and the ordinary man. The former acts from φρόνησις, which is thus a Means, and thereby secures still further φρόνησις, which is thus an End, and so is rightly compared [p94] to coin, which is both valuable in itself, and is moreover the medium of exchange. The ordinary man, on the contrary, does not regard pleasure and pain as mere occasions for the action of φρόνησις, (which is both the paramount item as well as the standard of Ethical Utility, Phaedo 69a-b), and so he is said to change token for token, cf. Laches 192e.

In a critical point of view, the Laches is interesting, as there are at least three coincidences between it and the Phaedo, First, the comparison of the ethical qualities to coin; cf. Phaedo 69a-b, with Laches 192e. Second, the use in both of the phrase μὴ προαφίστασθαι, Phaedo 85c, Laches 194a. And third, as to the ethical value of Death, Laches 195d, and Phaedo 62a. But, as the last passage has been much disputed, and, as I think, erroneously interpreted, I offer the following explanation.

One passage runs thus: σὺ πᾶσι φῂς ἄμεινον εἶναι ζῆν καὶ οὐ πολλοῖς κρεῖττον τεθνάναι; οἶμαι ἔγωγε τοῦτό γε. οἷς οὖν τεθνάναι λυσιτελεῖ, ταὐτὰ οἴει δεινὰ εἶναι καὶ οἷς ζῆν; οὐκ ἔγωγε. Laches 195d. The meaning of this is certain, there are persons, for whom it is better to he dead; and there are persons, for whom it is better to live.

The passage in the Phaedo is, ἴσως μέντοι θαυμαστόν σοι φανεῖται εἰ τοῦτο μόνον τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων ἁπλοῦν ἐστιν, καὶ οὐδέποτε τυγχάνει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ, ὥσπερ καὶ τἆλλα, ἔστιν ὅτε καὶ οἷς βέλτιον ὂν τεθνάναι ἢ ζῆν, οἷς δὲ βέλτιον τεθνάναι, θαυμαστὸν ἴσως σοι φαίνεται εἰ τούτοις τοῖς ἀνθρώποις μὴ ὅσιον αὐτοὺς ἑαυτοὺς εὖ ποιεῖν, ἀλλὰ ἄλλον δεῖ περιμένειν εὐεργέτην, 62a. It will, perhaps, appear strange if the question, to be or not to be, lies, contrary to all analogy, in Necessary Matter, and not in Contingent, [but analogy is against this supposition, and so the question, like all others, lies in Contingent Matter; therefore not to be is sometimes better than to be.]. If so, why not in these cases, commit suicide?

Τοῦτο means the whole question at issue, the case Life against Death. That τοῦτο refers to the general question appears from the words immediately preceding, ἤδη γὰρ ἔγωγε, (ὅπερ νυνδὴ σὺ ἤρου,) καὶ Φιλολάου ἤκουσα, (ὅτε παρ᾽ ἡμῖν διῃτᾶτο), ἤδη δὲ καὶ ἄλλων τινῶν, ὡς οὐ δέοι τοῦτο [sc. Τὸ αὐτὸν ἑαυτὸν ἀποκτεινύναι] ποιεῖν: σαφὲς δὲ περὶ αὐτῶν οὐδενὸς πώποτε οὐδὲν ἀκήκοα: I got no precise views on the subject αὐτῶν, either from Philolaus or the rest. Socrates rejoins: ἀλλὰ προθυμεῖσθαι χρή, ἔφη: τάχα γὰρ ἂν καὶ ἀκούσαις, sc. περὶ αὐτῶν σαφές τι. Two passages fix the logical [p95] sense of ἁπλοῦν. οὐ πάνυ μοι δοκεῖ, ἔφη, ὦ Σώκρατες, οὕτως ἁπλοῦν εἶναι, ὥστε συγχωρῆσαι τήν τε δικαιοσύνην ὅσιον εἶναι καὶ τὴν ὁσιότητα δίκαιον, ἀλλά τί μοι δοκεῖ ἐν αὐτῷ διάφορον εἶναι. Protagoras 331b-c Ἆρ᾽ οὖν, ἦ δ᾽ ἥ, οὕτως ἁπλοῦν ἐστι λέγειν ὅτι οἱ ἄνθρωποι τἀγαθοῦ ἐρῶσιν; Ναί. Symposium 206a. ἁπλοῦν, then, is any proposition without qualification as to either Quantity, and so Universal, or, as to Matter, and so Necessary. Οὐδέποτε τυγχάνει is merely the negative form of ἁπλοῦν, as the Greeks were fond of expressing a notion positively, and then negatively, as in γνωτὰ κοὐκ ἀγνωτὰ. I remember noting, with a quaere in the margin of Euthydemus 278a that ἔστιν ὄτε, and such forms, were used in preference to ἐνίοτε to denote the minority of instances, while the shorter form ἐνίοτε merely states that there are cases. At least, the fuller form must be more emphatic. I have not since verified the notion. But Theaetetus 150a-b bears out my view, οὐ γὰρ πρόσεστι γυναιξὶν ἐνίοτε μὲν εἴδωλα τίκτειν, ἔστι δ' ὅτε ἀληθινά. Now, the philosophic births are few. 151b.

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Appendix C: Immateriality

Sir Charles Bell, by experiments instituted on the roots of the spinal nerves, professed to show —

1°. That the functions of Sensation exclusively belong to the filaments ascending by the posterior roots.

2°. That the sole vehicles of Motion are the filaments descending by the anterior roots.

These two propositions are, I believe, admitted by most physiologists. Now, generalizing Sir C. Bell's results, we may safely say, that the last known antecedent to sensation and to voluntary motion is a modification of nerve. But we can never, in the absence of experience, argue from Antecedent to Consequent; in more popular, and, therefore, more vague language, from Cause to Effect. Applying this principle, we cannot tell anything whatsoever of the nature of the Ego from any possible observations or experiments on the antecedents to the main constituents of that Ego, namely sensation and motion. For, all such observations and experiments can only be taken cognisance of by the senses, and that which takes cognisance of anything is always posterior to

1°. the thing cognised; and

2°. the medium of cognition, if any.

Now, that which feels the final consequent — the sensation, is neither heavy, nor blue, nor loud, nor bitter, nor fetid, nor their several opposites; in a word, the Ego has none of the properties of the Non-ego. Even granting, as is quite possible, if not probable, that further research will point out several steps between the facts observed by Sir C. Bell, and the final sensation, yet such facts can never be more than a new set of Antecedents as before, presenting either colour, smell, etc., while the final consequent, the Ego, is characterised by a total absence of these qualities. Whatever then is affirmed of the one must be denied of the other. Hence, if we call the final Antecedent, visible tangible, in a word, material, we must likewise call the Ego invisible and intangible, in a word, immaterial, or in a positive term spiritual. Of course, these [p97] words, save as denoting complete antithesis, are not used to indicate any opinion as to the final destinies either of the Ego or of the Non-Ego. In other words, the immateriality of the soul is not necessarily connected with its immortality, two questions which have been pertinaciously confounded. But as death, as far as we can see, deals with the final and the more remote antecedents only, no one can prove that death is the final destruction of the Ego. This argument admits, for argument's sake, the position of the sensualist, that the senses (including of course nerves and brain) are the sole apparatus of human experience. This position has been denied by some of the greatest thinkers. As, however, such denial is not required hy the argument, it is not called in. Generalising the argument, the result is, that as Physiology can, in no conceivable degree of cultivation, throw the slightest light on the existence of the Ego, so Physiology can determine nothing as to the non-existence of the Ego. In a word, Physiology deals with non-egoistical antecedents only.

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Appendix D: The Hierarchy of Good

Philebus 66a-c. Σ. Ἡδονὴ κτῆμα οὐκ ἔστι πρῶτον οὐδ᾽ αὖ δεύτερον, ἀλλὰ πρῶτον μέν πῃ περὶ μέτρον καὶ τὸ μέτριον καὶ καίριον καὶ πάντα ὁπόσα χρὴ τοιαῦτα νομίζειν, τὴν ἀίδιον ᾑρῆσθαι. Π. φαίνεται γοῦν ἐκ τῶν νῦν λεγομένων. Σ. δεύτερον μὴν περὶ τὸ σύμμετρον καὶ καλὸν καὶ τὸ τέλεον καὶ ἱκανὸν καὶ πάνθ᾽ ὁπόσα τῆς γενεᾶς αὖ ταύτης ἐστίν. Π. ἔοικε γοῦν. Σ. τὸ τοίνυν τρίτον, ὡς ἡ ἐμὴ μαντεία, νοῦν καὶ φρόνησιν τιθεὶς οὐκ ἂν μέγα τι τῆς ἀληθείας παρεξέλθοις. Π. ἴσως. Σ. ἆρ᾽ οὖν οὐ τέταρτα, ἃ τῆς ψυχῆς αὐτῆς ἔθεμεν, ἐπιστήμας τε καὶ τέχνας καὶ δόξας ὀρθὰς λεχθείσας, ταῦτ᾽ εἶναι τὰ πρὸς τοῖς τρισὶ τέταρτα, εἴπερ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ γέ ἐστι μᾶλλον τῆς ἡδονῆς συγγενῆ; Π. τάχ᾽ ἄν. Σ. πέμπτας τοίνυν, ἃς ἡδονὰς ἔθεμεν ἀλύπους ὁρισάμενοι, καθαρὰς ἐπονομάσαντες τῆς ψυχῆς αὐτῆς, ἐπιστήμαις, τὰς δὲ αἰσθήσεσιν ἑπομένας.

{S. Pleasure is not the first of possessions, nor even the second, but first the eternal nature has chosen measure, moderation, fitness, and all which is to be considered similar to these. P. That appears to result from what has now been said. S. Second, then, comes proportion, beauty, perfection, sufficiency, and all that belongs to that class. P. Yes, so it appears. S. And if you count mind and wisdom as the third, you will, I prophesy, not wander far from the truth. P. That may be. S. And will you not put those properties fourth which we said belonged especially to the soul—sciences, arts, and true opinions they are called — [66c] and say that these come after the first three, and are fourth, since they are more akin than pleasure to the good? P. Perhaps. S. And fifth, those pleasures which we separated and classed as painless, which we called pure pleasures of the soul itself, those which accompany knowledge and, sometimes, perceptions.}

In this passage, the hierarchy of Good is delineated as follows: — First, all things which are immediately connected with the Limit, and in this way participate in the absolute and superessential Good. That is, in the order of objectivity, the Idea relatively to its elements stands next to The Good, of which our notion is negative. Second, the Symmetrical, the Beautiful, the Complete, the Adequate. That is, The Idea considered as the result of combination is logically consequent to The Idea considered relatively to its elements. Third, the Intuitive Faculty and Prudence. That is, the psychic principle, as saturated with self-cognition, is at once subject and object, and accordingly logically consequent to The Idea, which is wholly an object. Fourth, speculative and practical branches of knowledge, and also professional skill, not consciously grounded on scientific principles. That is, these branches contain a purely subjective, as well as a noetic element, and are therefore logically consequent to both the psychic principle, the subject-object, and to The Idea. And, fifth and last, Pure Pleasures, that is, the law of antecedence and consequence, so far as it does not obstruct noetic efficiency. In brief, the meaning of the passage is. The Good constitutes an Idea. [p99] The one Extreme is the most objective of objects — The Idea in immediate reaction to the superessential, and as yet unknown Absolute. The other Extreme is the most subjective of objects which can be called Good — sensuous pleasure, which does not interfere with noetic efficiency. The Indifference of the two Extremes is the psychic principle, which, being self-cognitive, is both subject and object, and which as noetic power confronts the Idea, and as emotive susceptibility is in contact with pleasure. The second grade of the hierarchy is The Idea — The Idea regarded as the result of its elements, in relation to the subject. And the fourth grade contains a noetic element which has an affinity to the noetic faculty, and an empirical element which savours of the Indefinite.

The opinions of Ast, Schleiermacher, Trendelenburg, and Stallbaum, may be found in Dr. Badham's Philebus, together with his own view of the passage, Praef. pp. xiv.-xviii. In opposition to these authorities, the writer rests his interpretation, first, on the simplicity of the antithesis between the objective and subjective: and second, on the text itself. The word κτῆμα denotes a thing to be held by some one: and the two first grades of κτήματα are said to be περὶ, while the three last are said to be identical with, certain things specified: that is, the act of acquisition in grades i and 2 is distinct from the thing acquired: but in 3, 4, and 5, is identical with it, or rather, is another phase of the acquirer. But this is precisely the distinction between an objectivo-object and a subjectivo-object. The words χρὴ νομίζειν, as is evident from the reply of Protarchus, φαίνεται γοῦν ἐκ τῶν νῦν λεγομένων, refer to the previous discussion of the nature and affinities of φρόνησις and ἡδονὴ, Philebus 65-66: so that the passage is really equivalent to ὁπόσα τοιαῦτα τὴν ἀΐδιον ᾑρῆσθαι φύσιν, and may therefore be rendered, all such things as have taken on themselves the eternal Nature, i.e., are such, because they have taken on themselves, the eternal Nature. This rendering agrees with Trendelenburg's translation, "quidquid ejusmodi aeternam naturam suscepisse credendum est," save that τοιαῦτα is taken as a predicate and the interpretation is different. Dr. Badham's objections apply to both renderings, and are as follows: —

"In the first place, ὁπόσα χρὴ τοιαῦτα νομίζειν κ.ἑ. cannot be taken thus: for this would be expressed by ὁπόσα, τοιαῦτ ὄντα χρὴ νομίζειν — and though the order might be changed, the participle would be indispensable. But, even if we conceded such an interpretation, what would become of πρῶτον μέν πῃ περὶ μέτρον? It is obvious that, in such a case, περὶ has no meaning nor construction. But, above all, such an expression as, "to have adopted (or received) the eternal nature," is at variance with the whole method of Plato. For if the Good is to be sought for in these, it must be because they are emanations or productions of it: whereas, according to this view, the Good is superadded to them, and that through their seeking it. But no one conversant with the language will understand ᾑρῆσθαι in the sense of παρειληφέναι, or still less of εἰληχέναι. And then, again, why have we the perfect? In speaking of a fact which has no reference to any particular time, the proper tense would have been ἑλέσθαι. Those who feel these objections will not need to have them confirmed by a consideration of the unsuitableness of the sense thus extorted from them: and yet the sense is in itself very objectionable, because it would amount to this — that Plato, having sought by a laborious argument for that which had most affinity with the Good, at last found it — in the Idea of the Good."

Now, ὂντα would spoil the sense, as it would imply that, already being so and so, they had taken on the eternal Nature; as in the same dialogue, we have προσαγορεύεις αὐτ' ἀνόμοἰ ὄνθ' ἑτέρῳ ὀνόματι, Philebus 13a; that is, you call things which are already dissimilar by a distinct name; whereas the meaning is, that they are so and so, because they have taken. With regard to πρῶτον μέν πῃ περὶ μέτρον, why cannot περὶ have the same construction and meaning as in the next clause and in Symposium 203c, and Epistle ii. 312e, Politicus 258d, 297c, and elsewhere passim viz.: to denote the id circa quod of anything.

The full construction is πρῶτον κτῆμα ἐστι περὶ μέτρον καὶ τὸ μέτριον καὶ καίριον, the words being ranged in their logical order. The most valuable acquisition deals with μέτρον, Measure, Limit, and the Limited, and (therefore, because Limited) the suitable for some end or other. That is, suitableness comes from prior adaptation, and adaptation comes from the adapting principle μέτρον, πέρας. With regard to the order of the words, πάνθ᾽ ὁπόσα τοιαῦτα occur in this order, Philebus 54b, 19c, 42d, and the full construction is πάνθ, ὁπόσα ἐστι τοιαῦτα, ἂ κ.τ.λ., as in Politicus περὶ τὰ ξυμβόλαια πάνθ᾽ ὁπόσα κεῖται νόμιμα παρὰ νομοθέτου βασιλέως παραλαβοῦσα, [p101] 305b; and see on the omission of the copula, Prof. Campbell's note on Politicus 281c, p. 92. As to the position of χρὴ with the infinitive, any one who cares to investigate the matter, will see that Plato places χρὴ both before and after the infinitive, apparently guided merely by sound. The word ᾑρῆσθαι expresses exactly, choice determined by proper grounds, in which case the thing chosen is logically prior to the chooser. Besides, ᾑρῆσθαι need not, and must not, be taken in the sense of either παρειληφέναι or εἰληχέναι. If we recollect Plato's use of ὀρέγεθαι, Phaedo 65c; 75a; Republic 572a; Epistle ii. 312e; and Aristotle's objection to Plato's applying ἐφίεσθαι and ὄρεξις to the Numbers, Ethic. Eud. i. 8, we shall see, not only no difficulty, but perfect propriety in the use of the word to express the complete distinctness and harmony of the elements of the Idea. We have a phrase of a similar kind in the Philebus itself, ὡς ἀγαθὰ μὲν οὐκ ὄντα, ἐνίοτε δὲ καὶ ἔνια δεχόμενα τὴν τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἔστιν ὅτε φύσιν 32d. Δέχεσθαι is, as the sense requires less strong, but the general notion is the same — of two things, and of a relation between them. Then, again, as the perfect tense signifies past and present time, it is the proper one to denote the non-transient nature of The Idea. The reading suggested by Dr. Badham and by Professor W. H. Thompson, εὑρῆσθαι, would refer to the process of search, rather than to the nature of the thing sought; but the previous discussion turned altogether on the latter point, Philebus 66. Finally, Plato finds the Bonum most akin to Good in The Idea; for the Good is unknowable; which is the doctrine of the Republic vi. 509a; vii. 517b-c. The meaning of κτῆμα is illustrated by the Laws V. 726, πάντων γὰρ τῶν αὑτοῦ κτημάτων μετὰ θεοὺς ψυχὴ θειότατον.

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Appendix E: The Platonic Number, Republic 8, 546b-e

Fries, Platon's Zahl, Heidelberg, 1823, cited by Goettling, Aristot. Pol. pp. 411-413, has shown that this number is 5,040; the number to which Plato in the Laws V. 737e, VI. 771a, limits the lots of land. This number, Aristotle Politics 5. 10, 1. calls στερὸς, i.e. a solid figure. For, as two factors generated the plane figure, the rectangle, so three factors generated the solid figure. These modes of thinking are preserved in our words Square, and Cube. The factors of the Platonic Solid, which represents the perfect human animal, are according to Fries 32 x 42 x 5.7 = 5,040.

Now, if we attach Pythagorean values to the several figures, the significance of the mysterious Number becomes apparent. According to the Pythagoreans, 3 is the symbol of the Definitive and Formative Principle; 4 of the Inert and Material principle; 5 is the symbol of Colour or Quality; and 7 of Life, Health, and Intelligence. To apply this to the passage in the Republic, the human Solid is at its best, when it combines, in due proportion, Motivity, Solidity, Colour, Vitality and Intelligence; and the first downward step in the Ideal Republic is, when its citizens produce children, who fail in maintaining this proportion. The Platonic number has become the proverbial representation of something mysterious and unintelligible, but it may be seen that Aristotle rejects it, not because it is mystical, but because it is untrue, Politics 5, 10, 1.

To see why a truism is presented to us in such a formidable guise, we must recollect the Platonic fashion, derived from Pythagoras, of attaching a specific Number to a specific Quality; as for example, to the Tyrannic Soul, Republic IX. 587b-e, and to the Structural Solids of the Timaeus. This, in Platonic Language means, that without the One — the Limit — everything is indefinite and incogitable; a proposition worked out in the Parmenides: 157b-159b, 164b to end, and in the Philebus the Limit, τὸ πέρας is defined to be every relation and degree of Number and Quality. This doctrine, [p103] Verification apart, even when applied to the extended universe, is not more startling than the chemical doctrine of Definite Proportions.

In fact, Plato would have revelled in Chemistry; we would have had a Dialogue, The Chemist, enforcing the propositions, where there is quality τὸ ποῖον, there there is Number τὸ πέρας; where there is Number, there there is Intelligence Νοῦς: and where there is Νοῦς, there is Soul ψυχή. Philebus 30c, Timaeus 30a. Nor would the higher doctrines of Modern Physics be rejected by the Academy. If light be motion, if heat be motion, if sound be motion, and if they all be Modes of one and the same force, we would have the same Sorites, Motion, Force, Energy, Number, Intelligence, and Soul, in a word, Spiritual Physics.

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Appendix F: The Harmony of the Republic, the Law, and the Politicus

It is proposed to shew the general harmony on all important points of the Republic, the Laws, and the Politicus; and also to point out, that whatever differences exist, arise necessarily out of the special purpose of each dialogue.

1. As to the End or Scope of Polity. In the Laws, the End or Scope of Polity is Αρετὴ — τὸ ἄριστον. Laws 628c, 692a-b, 693a. In the Republic, the Scope is Δικαιοσύνη = τὸ ἄριστον from the subjective side. As to the Politicus, the Scope is that the ruler, by means of science and justice, should improve the morale of his subjects. Politicus 293d-e.

2. As to the Means of attaining the Scope or End. The Means are in themselves indifferent, provided the End is actually attained. Republic VII. 540d, Politicus 292c, that is, it is indifferent whether the Sovereign be one or many, or whether wealth or poverty is made the test of constitutional efficiency.

Now the Means are of three kinds.

1. The Means put into requisition by pure Science, as set forth in the Republic.

2. The Means put into requisition by Time or circumstances. Laws III. 676a-b.

3. The Means put into requisition by the Scientific Ruler, who adapts circumstances to the great End. This third case is embodied in the Philosophic King, the Royal Weaver of the Politicus 294a, 305e.

In the first case, Polity fit, in the second, Nascitur; in the third, Nascitur et fit.

4. With regard to the object of each treatise. The Republic discusses what is Δικαιοσύνη, i.e. Virtue in the individual. Republic II. 369a, 372e. Republic IV. 420b-c, 430c, 431a-b, 432a, 433d, 434d-e, 435e, 441a-c, 442d-e, 443 b-c, 445 a-c, Republic V. 449 a-d, 462 b-c, 472b-d, Republic VI. 484b, Republic VII. 541b, Republic VIII. 543d, 545a-c, 548d, 550c-d, 553e, 554b, 555a-b, 558c, 559d-e, 561e, 564a, 566d, Republic IX. 571a, 574e, 576c, 577c, 578a, 579c, 580c-d, 588b, 592a, Republic X. 605b, 612c. The Laws deals with the province of Legislation ὀρθότητός τε καὶ ἁμαρτίας πέρι νόμων, ἥτις ποτ᾽ ἐστὶν φύσει, I. 627d; and the Politicus sets before us the Master of Statecraft, who combines the comprehensiveness of a Code with the power of scrupulously adjusting it to the specialities of Cases, 294a-b, 295b-296a.

One would imagine that a disciple of the Positive School would bear in mind the distinctness of the provinces of Ethics and Legislation, yet Mr. G. H. Lewes, in his anxiety to point out the inconsistencies of Plato, confounds Law and Morality in the following passage:

"Even the Socratic view of Virtue being identical with Knowledge, consequently of Vice being Ignorance, and therefore involuntary — even this idea he learned in his old age to repudiate, as we see in the Laws (V. p. 385), where he calls incontinence no less than ignorance (ἢ δι᾽ ἀμαθίαν ἢ δι᾽ ἀκράτειαν) the cause of Vice. In the same sense (iv. p. 138), after speaking of anger and pleasure as causes of error, he says, "There is a third cause of our faults, and that is ignorance (τρίτον ἄγνοιαν τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων αἰτίαν). So that here he places Ignorance only as a third Cause; and by so doing, destroys the whole Socratic argument respecting the identity of Virtue and knowledge." — History of Philosophy, i. 214-3, 3rd edition.

Whatever destruction there is, does not come of Plato. I do not know to what edition Mr. Lewes refers, but the passage in the fifth book occurs in 734b. Steph. The second I am unable to find, except in the ninth, 863bc. Now, in the ninth book, Plato expressly raises the question, How is Legal Responsibility compatible with his doctrine that Vice — Injustice — ἀδικία — is involuntary? Laws IX. 860b-861e. Plato resolves the difficulty by pointing out, that though Vice — ἀδικία — is involuntary, yet that βλάβη — damnum — damage in the legal sense, may be caused either purposely or not. Now, as was shown before. Justice — individual Virtue — Δικαιοσύνη — is the ascendancy in action of the higher principles, and Injustice — ἀδικία — of the lower. But the Legislator is mainly concerned with ἁμαρτήματα, i.e. Delicts, and with the motives which lead to them — in Roman language their Causae — namely, Passion or Anger — Θυμός; Pleasure or Sensuality — ἡδονὴ; and [p106] Ignorance, either mere absence of Knowledge, or positive Delusion, ἄγνοια, 863b-c. Hence, Plato quite consistently tells us that, an act may be just, but at the same time damnific, and that another may be unjust, but beneficent, 863e, 864a. τὴν γὰρ τοῦ θυμοῦ — τὴν τοιαύτην βλάβην. In modern words, the question. Is A liable to an action in tort? has nothing to do with the question. Is A in a state of Grace?

In the first passage quoted by Mr. Lewes, Plato is talking of the causes which make a man fall short of σωφροσύνη, τοῦ σωφρονεῖν ἐνδεὴς ὢν, 5, 734b, and he puts down as causes, ἀμαθία and ἀκράτεια, i.e. a want of φρόνησις and of ἀνδρεία. But in tracing the historical growth of states, in Laws III. 4, he tells us that he is talking of every day σωφροσύνη, 710a, and not of σωφροσύνη in its high sense; and he also insists that a Law should not be merely a command or prohibition, but should have a proemium or preamble containing the reasons which induce the Legislator to make the Law IV. 721-723b. The Legislator should also give his subjects a catalogue of divine and human things in their order of desirability. The student of Bentham will remember two similar suggestions. Now amongst these desirable objects are the various kinds of moral life suited to the individual; and one of these is the temperate, σώφρων, in the popular sense; and the two causes which impede σωφροσύνη are ἀκράτεια and ἀμαθία, that is, in the popular sense, for he had shown in the Protagoras, that ἀμαθία was the essence of all Vice. Here then the Legislator is obviously dealing with the motives of Delict and its opposite. In brief. Ethical Wrong — Vice — is involuntary ἀκούσιον and is the result of ignorance ἀμαθία: but Legal Wrong — Delict — ἁμάρτημα, is the result of ἀμαθία, as well as of other causes, and is both ἀκούσιον and ἑκούσιον. Besides, the Laws, all through, is conceived in a popular spirit: Plato's assistants are from Sparta and Crete, intellectually the least cultivated of Greek states. Plato, on a remarkable occasion, claims to manage the discussion all his own way, X. 892d-e, and the Cretan thinks Homer a clever fellow, though he has not read much of him, III. 860c. The treatise, too, opens with the statement that the author of Laws is Θεός, 624; and θεός and θεῖος are always in Plato opposed to τέχνη, science, Ion 542a-b, Meno 99c to end. On the whole, we may pronounce the Laws [p107] to be an adaptation of Platonism to popular intelligence and sympathies, although even here, Plato maintains that the peculiarities of the Republic are theoretically better than the compromises of the Laws V. 739b-e.

The different arrangements of the several polities in the Republic, the Politicus, and the Laws, which are set forth by Professor Lewis Campbell in his introduction to the Politicus, pp. xli.-xlv., can be easily accounted for by differences in the Principium Divisionis in each Treatise. Thus, the third Laws deals with the historical growth of Polity, III. 676a. The Republic deals with the various Polities in the order of their deviation from the ideal State, Republic 543e-544a; that which deviates least, being least bad. There is only one Ideal or perfect state, either Monarchy or Polyarchy, which governs the Whole for the good of the Whole. All others are deviations, and govern only for the good of a part. These deviations are infinite in number. Republic 445e; cf. Politicus 291a-b; but in this infinity of deviation, we find the four well marked types, Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, and Tyranny. From the point of view of the Republic, Oligarchy takes precedence of Democracy, because Oligarchy governs on principle — the good of the Oligarchy; whereas Democracy has no principle at all, Republic VIII. 557d-c, and as the state is, so is the democrat, 561c-d.

Everything by starts, and nothing long,

and so the Democracy is a very pleasant and genial place to live in, ἆρ᾽ οὐ θεσπεσία καὶ ἡδεῖα ἡ τοιαύτη διαγωγὴ ἐν τῷ παραυτίκα; 558a. Now the standard in the Politicus is ἐπιστήμη — science — on the part of the Sovereign, be it one or many, and the deviations are judged of by their pleasantness as constitutions to live under, τίς οὖν δὴ τῶν οὐκ ὀρθῶν πολιτειῶν τούτων ἥκιστα χαλεπὴ συζῆν, πασῶν χαλεπῶν οὐσῶν, καὶ τίς βαρυτάτη. Politicus 302b. In this way, Democracy is more genial, and therefore preferable to Oligarchy, which, judging from small towns in general, must have been excessively unpleasant.

As to the Minos, the following points of resemblance between it and acknowledged dialogues must be admitted, whatever views be held as to its authorship. Mr. Grote and Mr. Lewes have done good service to criticism in general, by their protest against the German test of authenticity, the Platonisches Gefühl, which proves anything. [p105]

1. Δικαιοσύνη makes men δΰκαιοι 314c, it is also of paramount excellence, ib. d.

2. ἡ ἀληθὴς δόξα deals with existence, 315 a.

3. Real existence is changeless, 316b.

4. Laws are for the good of subjects, 318a-b.

5. Crete and Lacedaemon are praised as usual, 318c-d.

6. The good man resembles God, 319a.

7. Zeus is σοφιστής, and has τέχνη, 319c.

8. Law is based on Morality, 320a.

9. Law, in its effects, is compared to Gymnastic, 321c-d.

10. The definition of Law — δόγμα πόλεως — the will of the State, is accepted with qualification in both Minos, 314d-e, and Laws, I. 644d.

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Appendix G: True and False Pleasure and Pain

Few of Plato's modes of expression have been more vehemently assailed than his application of the predicates true and false to Pleasure and Pain. It has been condemned by Mr. Grote, Professor Bain, and Mr. Poste. Whether the terms are appropriate or not is a question of taste; but the question for the metaphysician is whether the explanation given by Plato is sound or not.

Reserving the question of propriety of language, Plato's explanation of the offensive terms is clear, and, I believe, justifiable; and it is somewhat odd that he carefully provides against the very objection, which is urged against him. As follows: an empirical judgment, δόξα is true or false according as it is verified or falsified by further experience. Thus I see what I imagine to be a man under a tree: I approach nearer and find it to be a wooden figure. My judgment, δόξα, is accordingly false. Philebus 38c-d. Falsity, accordingly, exists only in the reference to future experience. But the subjective impression, whether ultimately verified or falsified by further experience, is never in itself false, οὐκοῦν τὸ δοξάζον, ἄντε ὀρθῶς ἄντε μὴ ὀρθῶς δοξάζῃ, τό γε δοξάζειν ὄντως οὐδέποτε ἀπόλλυσιν, Philebus 37a-b. In the same way, the pleasure, as actually experienced, cannot be false, but may attract that predicate, when examined by the light of further experience, οὐκοῦν καὶ τὸ ἡδόμενον, ἄντε ὀρθῶς ἄντε μὴ ὀρθῶς ἥδηται, τό γε ὄντως ἥδεσθαι δῆλον ὡς οὐδέποτ᾽ ἀπολεῖ, Philebus 37b, cf. 37e; 38a. In other words. Pleasure, as a subject admits of the predicate, true or false, according as it is followed by good or evil effects, Philebus 39e. Pleasure and Pain may be also termed true or false in relation to the Law of Contrast, and the effects of the latter on the vividness of our feelings. [p110]

As to the appropriateness of the terms: Plato's Ethics are rational and not sentimental; it is, therefore, not inappropriate to apply such terms to Pleasure and Pain, and thus force us to see that the Reason or Intellect is the ultimate judge of human feeling and conduct. If Plato had used the terms repented and unrepented, no modern would have excepted, but his terminology in that case would be sentimental and not rational. I do not press his argument, that Pleasure and Pain are ποιώ τινε, that is, as subjects admit of predicates of quality. To discuss this fully belongs to the Metaphysics of Logic. But it fully answers Mr. Poste's objection that "Pleasure can never be an imaginary predicate, but always an immediate sensation." Philebus p. 179.

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Appendix H: Wordsworth's Ode on Immortality

Mr. Mill tells us that the celebrated line,

"Our life is but a sleep and a forgetting,"

is not Platonic, because we are capable of ἀνάμνησισ. But, surely, the process, which ἀνάμνησισ counteracts, is λήθη; and therefore, where there is no ἀνάμνησισ, our life is a forgetting. Nay, more, the majority of men are not, in Plato's opinion, φιλόσοφοι, and therefore never go through the process of ἀνάμνησισ at all. I had intended adding an appendix on Real Existence, but shall reserve it for a more fitting occasion.

Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
  The earth, and every common sight,
    To me did seem
  Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
   Turn wheresoe'er I may,
    By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

   The rainbow comes and goes,
  And lovely is the rose;
   The moon doth with delight
 Look round her when the heavens are bare;
  Waters on a starry night
  Are beautiful and fair;
 The sunshine is a glorious birth;
 But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath pass'd away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
  And while the young lambs bound
    As to the tabor's sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
  And I again am strong:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
  And all the earth is gay;
    Land and sea
 Give themselves up to jollity,
  And with the heart of May
 Doth every beast keep holiday;—
    Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts,
thou happy
 Shepherd-boy!

Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
 Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
 My heart is at your festival,
  My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
  O evil day! if I were sullen
  While Earth herself is adorning,
    This sweet May-morning,
  And the children are culling
    On every side,
  In a thousand valleys far and wide,
  Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother's arm:—
  I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
  —But there's a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look'd upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
  The pansy at my feet
  Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
  Hath had elsewhere its setting,
    And cometh from afar:
  Not in entire forgetfulness,
  And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
  From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
  Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
  He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
  Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
    And by the vision splendid
    Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother's mind,
    And no unworthy aim,
  The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her Inmate Man,
  Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,

A six years' darling of a pigmy size!
See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,
With light upon him from his father's eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learnèd art;
  A wedding or a festival,
  A mourning or a funeral;
    And this hath now his heart,
  And unto this he frames his song:
    Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
  But it will not be long
  Ere this be thrown aside,
  And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his 'humorous stage'
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That Life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
  Thy soul's immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,—
  Mighty prophet! Seer blest!
  On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the Day, a master o'er a slave,
A presence which is not to be put by;
  To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed without the sense or sight
  Of day or the warm light,
A place of thought where we in waiting lie;
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
  O joy! that in our embers
  Is something that doth live,
  That nature yet remembers
  What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest—
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:—
  Not for these I raise
  The song of thanks and praise;
 But for those obstinate questionings
 Of sense and outward things,
 Fallings from us, vanishings;
 Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
  But for those first affections,
  Those shadowy recollections,
 Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
 Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
    To perish never:
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
    Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
 Hence in a season of calm weather
  Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
  Which brought us hither,
 Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
  And let the young lambs bound
 As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
 Ye that pipe and ye that play,
 Ye that through your hearts to-day
 Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
 Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
  We will grieve not, rather find
  Strength in what remains behind;
  In the primal sympathy
  Which having been must ever be;
  In the soothing thoughts that spring
  Out of human suffering;
  In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish'd one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripp'd lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
    Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

FINIS

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Thomas Maguire, 1831–1889, classical scholar and metaphysician, was the first Roman catholic fellow of Trinity College, Dublin. A thorough idealist in philosophy, Maguire's chosen masters were Plato and Berkeley. His published works are: Essays on the Platonic Idea, 1866; Essays on the Platonic Ethics, 1870; The Parmenides, with Notes, etc., 1882; and Lectures on Philosophy, 1885.


Reference

Maguire, Thomas. Essays on the Platonic Ethics. London, Oxford, and Cambridge: Rivingtons; Dublin: W. McGee, 1870. This work is in the public domain.


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